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The Corruption of New Labour: Britain’s Watergate?


John Simkin
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Guest David Guyatt

Think of al those promises he undertook to settle for his business chums when in office... Now it's time for payola.

So very nice t see all these corrupt politico's champing at the bit to get to "power"... no wonder when they can fill their pockets, albeit in a deferred fashion.

Anyone care to join in a quiz? What is the true definition of the word democracy?

Answers here, please.

I'l start the ball rolling as follows:

A conspiracy to pervert the "donations" of the humble taxpayer into the desired pockets.

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Good article by George Monbiot in today's Guardian about how multinational corporations control the Labour government:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/st...2252536,00.html

It is not difficult for Britain's major political parties to move on from their funding scandals: there's a new one every week. Every revelation blots out the memory of its predecessors. Peter Hain's misdemeanours dropped out of the news before we had heard the half of it. I want to drag you back there for a moment, because there's an aspect to this story which was either missed altogether or mentioned only briefly in most reports. It says far more about the rotten state of British politics than Hain's failure to declare his donations.

The new scandal concerns the identity of one of his donors. There is no suggestion of illegality here: it is a moral issue. But it illustrates, perhaps more clearly than ever before, the abandonment of everything the Labour party once claimed to stand for. It shows us that in any contest between money and principle, the money wins.

Hain was not the first beneficiary of Isaac Kaye's munificence. Kaye, who has made many tens of millions of pounds from his drugs companies, gave the Labour party a few thousand in both 1997 and 1998, and £100,000 in 1999. But Hain had two powerful reasons not to put his hand in this man's pocket.

The first is that the company Kaye used to run, Norton Healthcare, is now subject to the biggest prosecution for alleged fraud ever launched in the United Kingdom. Norton is one of five firms accused of dishonestly fixing the price of drugs sold to the National Health Service. The charges relate to the period 1996-2001, when Kaye was the chairman of the company. In 2006 Norton paid the Department of Health £13.5m to settle a civil case concerning the same allegations.

Norton Healthcare has been involved in other controversies. In 1998 the Department of Health named it as one of the companies offering "inducements" to doctors and chemists: Norton gave them mountain bikes and Marks & Spencer vouchers if they stocked its products. Labour's health minister complained that "it is completely unacceptable for pharmaceutical companies to encourage health professionals to use their products through free gifts and other sweeteners".

In the same year, the government announced that it was giving a Norton plant in London's Docklands £990,000 in the form of "regional selective assistance", whose purpose is to boost employment. This grant, the government claimed, would promote "inward investment in the manufacturing sector". As Private Eye points out, the fund - as its name suggests - is normally used to bring jobs to the regions (which means places other than London). But there was something even odder about it: the week before the government announced this funding, Norton's parent company revealed that it would stop manufacturing in the UK, and would shift the jobs in that sector to Ireland.

But the particular discomfort for Hain concerns Kaye's activities in his previous place of residence. Until 1985 he lived in South Africa, where he was involved in another "gifts for influence" scandal. His drugs company, Alumina, gave cars, televisions, chandeliers, swimming pool equipment, tennis courts, shares and trips abroad to people working in the health sector, including academics who sat on the South African government's advisory panels, the head of the Medical Research Council and the minister of health. When these gifts were exposed, Kaye explained that they were "not an inducement, but in appreciation of their having prescribed drugs marketed by the Alumina group". The official inquiry into the scandal found that he had "no scruples about applying dishonest or unethical methods".

More importantly as far as Hain is concerned, Kaye has been accused of providing campaign finance for National party candidates in the apartheid years. Kaye admits to funding the National MP John Erasmus. An article in the Daily Express, drawing on an award-winning investigation by the South African journalist Martin Welz, alleges that Kaye seconded one of his company's executives to campaign for another candidate, Gerrit Bornman. It also claims he provided cars to help Lapa Munnik, the minister of health and a fierce defender of apartheid, win a byelection. Gerrit Bornman told the Express that Kaye had been a "substantial" backer of the National party. I tried to contact Kaye, but I was told he was unavailable. In the past he has denied funding the National party, and has maintained that his company's gifts were not intended to win favours.

Taking money from Isaac Kaye defaces Peter Hain's only remaining conviction. When Hain became a Labour cabinet member and was obliged to ditch everything he once believed, he was allowed to keep just one political memento: his admirable record of opposition to the apartheid government. When he moved from South Africa to Britain he became this country's leading opponent of apartheid. The regime first tried to kill him, then tried to fit him up for a bank robbery. He was a brave and remarkable campaigner. But in 2007 he trampled his medals into the mud to get the money he needed.

This is the story of our political system, of most of the world's political systems. You enter politics with the highest ideals and end up grovelling to multi-millionaires. Campaign finance is not the only reason for the corruption of leftwing political parties. But any system without a cap on individual donations encourages the mass abandonment of political programmes. You need to spend much less time and effort and money to secure thousands of pounds from a rich man than to shake it out of the piggybanks of hundreds of new members. Who can blame you if you adjust your programme to please the millionaires?

The newspapers say that our system is one of the least corrupt in the world. It's probably true - but so much the worse for the world. The British Labour party knows that no enormity would persuade the trade unions to disaffiliate. So it can ignore their demands and concentrate on the needs of the multi-millionaires. In 2006 and 2007, 27% of its money came from individual donations of more than £100,000. Aside from the largesse of Lord Sainsbury and Lakshmi Mittal, almost all of this is City money, much of it from men who run private equity companies. To what extent this influences Labour's failure to tax the super-rich, we will never know - which is, of course, the problem.

Because the Labour party (thanks to the endless funding scandals) is always on the brink of bankruptcy, Gordon Brown has promised to do something. But, in line with the recommendations of the Phillips review on party funding, he proposes to cap donations at £50,000. Witness the democratisation of British politics: even the ordinary millionaire can now participate.

Why should one person be allowed to give the equivalent of 1,388 Labour party membership fees? Brown's formula would preserve Labour's funding link with the trade unions - and the super-rich. I don't mind how it is done; whether, as both the Phillips review and the Power inquiry recommend, the state gives more, or whether the cap is set at £100 and parties must rely on a host of tiny individual gifts. Who cares if they have less cash with which to bamboozle us? Just get the big money out of politics.

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Peter Hain is of course under investigation for the way he raised money for his campaign to become deputy leader of the Labour Party. He should also be investigated for the way he has diverted funds from the tax-payer to his mother. It has been revealed that Hain has been using government money to pay his 80 year-old mother, Adelaine Hain, £5,400 a year for part-time secretarial assistance. This seems very strange as Hain was a minister at the time who has a team of civil servants, special advisers, private secretaries and secretaries to help him with his clerical work. When asked what is mother actually did, he replied that she sent out his Christmas Cards.

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Guest David Guyatt
Peter Hain is of course under investigation for the way he raised money for his campaign to become deputy leader of the Labour Party. He should also be investigated for the way he has diverted funds from the tax-payer to his mother. It has been revealed that Hain has been using government money to pay his 80 year-old mother, Adelaine Hain, £5,400 a year for part-time secretarial assistance. This seems very strange as Hain was a minister at the time who has a team of civil servants, special advisers, private secretaries and secretaries to help him with his clerical work. When asked what is mother actually did, he replied that she sent out his Christmas Cards.

Just another refection of rip-off Britain in action. We shouldn't be surprised anymore. But I am non-the-less at how blatant it is these days.

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Just another refection of rip-off Britain in action. We shouldn't be surprised anymore. But I am non-the-less at how blatant it is these days.

These sort of things have been going on for sometime but now it is in the open and gives us a chance to really make these characters accountable. Until the 1980s Britain did elect a significant number of MPs, on the left, who did try to use the House of Commons to create a more equal society. This has all changed since the arrival of Blair. His first move was to control who became selected as prospective MPs. In this way he got rid of anyone who was willing to admit they were socialists. He wanted young men and women who were willing to express the political philosophy of its leader. As a result, politics became a career that involved making as much money as possible. Blair realized that it was far easier to control people who desired money instead of a change in society.

Gordon Brown is in the same mould. Blair had done such a good job of removing socialists from the House of Commons that when Brown came up for election as leader of the party, the left could not find the required number of MPs to sponsor an alternative candidate.

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Guest David Guyatt
Just another refection of rip-off Britain in action. We shouldn't be surprised anymore. But I am non-the-less at how blatant it is these days.

These sort of things have been going on for sometime but now it is in the open and gives us a chance to really make these characters accountable. Until the 1980s Britain did elect a significant number of MPs, on the left, who did try to use the House of Commons to create a more equal society. This has all changed since the arrival of Blair. His first move was to control who became selected as prospective MPs. In this way he got rid of anyone who was willing to admit they were socialists. He wanted young men and women who were willing to express the political philosophy of its leader. As a result, politics became a career that involved making as much money as possible. Blair realized that it was far easier to control people who desired money instead of a change in society.

Gordon Brown is in the same mould. Blair had done such a good job of removing socialists from the House of Commons that when Brown came up for election as leader of the party, the left could not find the required number of MPs to sponsor an alternative candidate.

And so we end up with a new Thatcher -- that right wing doyen-ess of greed, unbelieveable corruption and fascist principles...

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Members might have missed the fact that the government has quietly dropped the idea of taxing “non-dom” multimillionaires. The idea was proposed after it became the policy of the Conservative Party. At the time, Brown was about to call a general election and the policy was extremely popular with the electorate. However, the problem for Brown was that it was these foreign-born multimillionaires were the main suppliers of funds to the New Labour Party. They threatened to cut off this money supply to the Labour Party.

It was recently revealed that in 1989 Norman Lamont, the Chief Secretary of the Treasury, drew up proposals to tax “non-dom” multimillionaires”. When the prime minister of the time, Margaret Thatcher, discovered what he intended to do, she forced him to withdraw the proposal. Like with New Labour, these foreign-born businessmen, were the main funders of the Conservative Party.

The point is that these businessmen do pay a kind of tax (tribute) in the UK. However, they pay it to political parties and individual politicians instead of paying larger sums to the general exchequer.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Is there a connection between the death of Manchester police chief Michael Todd and the Labour government? I believe that there is a strong possibility of this.

When his body was found the police claimed that Todd had been depressed because of problems that had nothing to do with his police work. It was also claimed that he was separated from his wife. This was obviously an attempt to give the impression that he had killed himself as a result of marriage problems. Yesterday, Todd's wife issued a statement saying this was not true and that they had a very good relationship. Friends and relatives also pointed out that he had not been depressed. This story had come from senior police officers.

It has been suggested that the death might be linked in someway to Todd's investigation of CIA rendition. Something he claimed in 2007 that had not taken place in British territory. Obviously he was lied to about that but it hardly seems an issue that would make him commit suicide. He would not have been the first police officer to be mislead by governments and the CIA.

Yesterday it was announced that Michael Todd was upset because newspapers were just about to reveal his relationship with Angie Robinson, the chief executive of the Greater Manchester chamber of commerce. Why should he be upset by this you may ask? Well, Angie Robinson was the leader of the successful bid for the national "super casino" bid. If you remember, it was this project that got John Prescott into trouble because of his links to the American businessmen who was behind the Dome Casino bid. This was a project that for some reason Tony Blair was so keen on. Anyway, after the bad publicity, Blair could not give the contract to the Dome and was instead given to Manchester. It was believed that the same people behand the Dome bid were secret partners in the Manchester bid. However, when Brown replaced Blair he cancelled the casino contract.

Another important factor is that Gordon Brown and New Labour were quick to defend Iain Blair during his recent troubles concerning the death of Jean Charles de Menezes. Blair clearly lied about this case but it seemed very important to New Labour that he retained his job. Iain Blair had been in overall charge of the investigation of government corruption. Was Iain Blair being rewarded for covering up government corruption.

One of the strangest facts about this case is that the police claimed that they became concerned about Todd's mental state when he began making threats by text. It has never been revealed who these threats were made to. However, today, we hear that Iain Blair ordered the search for Todd after he discovered details of these threats. Blair claims that he was told by senior officers about these threats. Is it possible that he himself received these threats. Was Todd threatening to blow the whistle about the relationship between Blair and the government?

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According to an article in yesterday's Sunday Express, Todd's investigation of the secret CIA flights helped trigger the depression that resulted in his death. The article quotes an unnamed close friend who says that Todd "felt humiliated after it emerged he had been lied to while investigating if Britain had cooperated with secret CIA flights carrying terrorism suspects without extradition proceedings".

All the newspapers are very keen to push the suicide theory. Former girlfriends have come forward to claim that he threatened to take an overdose of pills if they talked to his wife or the press about his sexual relationships. The newspapers have argued that several journalists were investigating his sex life. They also point out that the husband of Angie Robinson had visited Carolyn Todd to tell her about her husband's affair with his wife.

However, he did not take pills like David Kelly. Instead, he walked up a mountain and drank half a bottle of gin, laid down in the snow and died.

It has also been revealled that he was having an affair with a crime journalist on a national newspaper. I wonder what he told her? Will she end up committing suicide as well?

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  • 4 weeks later...
We now know that Blair lied about the decision to bring an end to the police investigation of the BAE System scandal. The letter from Mr Blair to Lord Goldsmith dated 8 December 2006 was released to the High Court during a case brought by two pressure groups who are challenging the legality of the decision to end investigations into BAE Systems' dealings with Saudi Arabia.

There was uproar when the Serious Fraud Office inquiry into the Al Yamamah contract from the 1980s was dropped, but Mr Blair insisted the decision was taken on security grounds and was not linked to commercial interests. Yet the letter shows that was not the case. In the letter Blair refers to "concern" over ongoing business negotiations. It refers "critical difficulties" that might have affected the major contract for new military aircraft. Six days after the letter was written, Lord Goldsmith announced to the House of Lords that the probe into allegations of kickbacks to Saudi princes was being suspended.

He said diplomatic cooperation between Britain and Saudi Arabia was being put at risk by the investigation, with implications for UK security. Recent reports have suggested that Saudi Arabia had threatened to pull out of a potential new order for Typhoons. In the letter to Lord Goldsmith, Mr Blair acknowledged that his intervention in such a case was unusual but said he would be failing in his duty if he did not point out the security issues at stake.

The High Court ruled yesterday that the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) acted unlawfully by dropping a corruption inquiry into a £43bn Saudi arms deal. Two High Court judges described the SFO's decision as an "outrage". The legal challenge had been made by the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT).

Lord Justice Moses, told the High Court that the SFO and the government had given into "blatant threats" that Saudi co-operation in the fight against terror would end unless the probe into corruption was halted. He added that the SFO had failed to assure them that everything had been done to meet the rule of law. "No one, whether within this country or outside, is entitled to interfere with the course of our justice," he said.

Unfortunately the judges in London did not rule that the case would be reopened and Blair and BAE might still get away with this crime.

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Gordon Brown has so far not spoken about the BAE corruption case. However, he has let it be known via unofficial sources that he fully supported Tony Blair forcing Robert Wardle, the director of the Serious Fraud Office, to drop the investigation into secret payments by the arms company to Saudi Arabia. Wardle told the high court hearings that the idea of discontinuing the investigation “went against my every instinct as a prosecutor”. The High Court judges were able to see the memos where Blair and Goldsmith placed pressure on Wardle. What we do not know is what Blair said to Wardle in the off the record meetings.

The Tories have of course tried to exploit the High Court decision be attacking the actions of Blair. However, they are not calling for the BAE investigation to be reopened. The reason being that the BAE/Saudi bribes have been paid since 1985 when the Tories were in office. It was in fact Thatcher who did the original deal. Her payoff was for her son to be given numerous business contracts based in the Middle East. The National Audit Office investigation into this matter in 1989. However, Thatcher was able to stop the report from ever being published.

Two weeks ago the Brown government introduced draft legislation creating a power for the attorney general to halt prosecutions on national security. The bill concentrates power for making such decisions in the hands of the executive and makes a judicial review of a decision virtually impossible. This bill will become law as it has the support of the Conservative Party as it is aware that it will need protection against the High Court when it gains power.

At the moment it is only the power of the judges that is protecting us from a “democratic dictatorship”. This legislation will significantly reduce the powers of the judges to do this in the future.

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Over the weekend Lord Goldsmith issued a statement saying that the reason why the case was dropped was because he was convinced that the prosecution would fail. This is of course completely untrue. Robert Wardle, the head of the SFO made it clear at the time that this was not the reason the case was dropped. He was confident that he could get a successful prosecution.

The original reason given by Goldsmith was that the Saudi government had threatened to withdraw all co-operation on intelligence matters. However, this was denied by Sir John Scarlet, the head of MI6. Then Lord Goldsmith said it was because it would cost British jobs. This was supported by Tony Blair who claimed that Saudi Arabia would cancel the contract for the Eurofighter Typhoons and that if this happened “we would have lost thousands of highly skilled jobs and very, very important business for British industry”. This was also untrue as the order resulted in the diversion to the Saudis of the Typhons originally meant for the RAF.

When it was pointed out to Lord Goldsmith that to drop a corruption case for economic reasons went against an agreement with the OECD he had to change his story again, saying it was really Tony Blair’s decision. It probably was but that still not explain why the case had to be dropped at that particular time.

The real reason the case was dropped was that in September 2006 the SFO received the consent of Swiss banks to supply important evidence for the investigation. Goldsmith and Blair then realized that the SFO would now be able to trace the money via Swiss bank accounts. Why should Goldsmith and Blair care about this? The original contracts were signed under a Tory government. The beneficiaries would have been Tory ministers, Ministry of Defence officials, BAE executives and Saudi princes. Who was paying Blair and Goldsmith to carry out this cover-up?

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Guest David Guyatt

The High Court ruled yesterday that the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) acted unlawfully by dropping a corruption inquiry into a £43bn Saudi arms deal. Two High Court judges described the SFO's decision as an "outrage". The legal challenge had been made by the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT).

Lord Justice Moses, told the High Court that the SFO and the government had given into "blatant threats" that Saudi co-operation in the fight against terror would end unless the probe into corruption was halted. He added that the SFO had failed to assure them that everything had been done to meet the rule of law. "No one, whether within this country or outside, is entitled to interfere with the course of our justice," he said.

Unfortunately the judges in London did not rule that the case would be reopened and Blair and BAE might still get away with this crime.

That's the bloody useless Wardle for you. Can't find a fraud if it's caught on celluloid and transmitted on bloody television every week (and it was, too - i.e., the heap of TV phone-in frauds). This is what happens when you a) politicize the police and B) advance to seniority people who protect their rumps rather than the public.

Disgraceful.

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Guest David Guyatt
The real reason the case was dropped was that in September 2006 the SFO received the consent of Swiss banks to supply important evidence for the investigation. Goldsmith and Blair then realized that the SFO would now be able to trace the money via Swiss bank accounts. Why should Goldsmith and Blair care about this? The original contracts were signed under a Tory government. The beneficiaries would have been Tory ministers, Ministry of Defence officials, BAE executives and Saudi princes. Who was paying Blair and Goldsmith to carry out this cover-up?

Might it be that Blair's darling predecessor, Thatchler, had her and her Party's "commission" on the Al Yamamah deal tucked away in Swiss banks -- including, one imagines, Rothchilds AG Zurich? And opening up that wormhole in space and time might begin to unravel endless other universes of nastiness that has aken place over the decades...

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  • 1 month later...

Lord Levy has just published his memoirs, A Question of Honour. In an interview he gave to the Guardian he was asked how these rich businessmen get the idea that they might be offered peerages if they gave money to the Labour Party via Levy. He denied that he had told these people that if they gave money to the Labour Party they would be given peerages. However he did admit that he told prospective donors to look at how many people in the House of Lords had been financial backers of the Labour and Conservative parties. Of course, there was nothing illegal about pointing out this fact. It just shows that we will not deal with the subject of corruption in politics until we abolish the House of Lords. How can you have a democratic system when the rich can buy their way into the legislature.

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