Lobbying: “The Next Big Scandal” (and its influence on NHS privatisation)

This is my latest letter to our local MP, John Glen, regarding a promise made by David Cameron concerning the “next big scandal”.

 

Dear Mr Glen,

Before the last election Mr Cameron promised there would be no top down reorganisation or privatisation of the NHS. He also pointed out that ‘Lobbying’ would be the next big scandal and promised to do something about it.

Three years after the last election, I note that a disturbing number of contracts in the privatisation of the NHS (part of a massive top down reorganisation) have gone to companies that have been generous donors to individual MPs, government ministers or the Conservative party in general. I also note that a disturbing number of MPs and Lords, not just Tory, stand to gain financially from the outsourcing of NHS services.  It would seem then that Mr Cameron’s prediction is about to come true. I am sure that you want to avoid this as much as ordinary ‘hard-working ‘ citizens, whose tax payments will fund this scandal.

I am therefore keen to ensure that the government fulfils its commitment to create a statutory lobbying register. If it is not legislated for in the next parliamentary session, I am sure that you will be concerned that the government may miss its chance to implement this pledge, which was in the coalition agreement.

Please can you ask the minister in charge, Chloe Smith, to seek an assurance that the legislation for it will be announced in the Queen’s Speech?

Also, if you have not yet done so, please sign EDM: 222 Register of Lobbyists.

This, on its own, will not be sufficient to prevent the scandal but will be a small first step and will indicate that the government is serious about this particular promise.

Many thanks,

Colin Lawson.

NB: Abundant evidence to substantiate the conflicts of interest, lobbying and political donations that are a part of the NHS ‘reforms’ is in the public domain but I can provide details if you so wish.

Some evidence from 2012: Special Report –  Selling the NHS: how parliament and the healthcare industry got cosy

NHS is threatened by ‘legalised corruption’ March 2012

 Unhealthy influence: The rise of the NHS Partners Network  Social Investigations, March 2013

The Chair of the committee that advises on business appointments to departing senior civil servants is a director of a company that has won a contract related to the Health and Social Care Act in which he voted in favour.  Social Investigations, April 2013

Latest on Conflicts of Interest:
CCG head awards “£70,000 contract to a firm where he is medical director.” http://bit.ly/14BELbz 

BBC News – Conflicts of interest ‘rife’ among new GP commissioners

GPs need protection against conflicts of interest, say legal experts  Pulse, 4th April 2013

GP duty of candour undermined by ‘inappropriate’ gagging clauses in CCG constitutions  Pulse, 5th April 2013

And, in case anyone wasn’t paying attention:How the BBC betrayed the NHS: an exclusive report by ‘Open Democracy’ on two years of censorship and distortion

Healthcare trusts seek big increase in income from private patients, raising fears of two-tier service  Observer 6th April 2013

1,000 GPs gagged by CCGs from talking about local health services  D Telegraph 6 April 2013

More than 100 lobbying professionals still hold parliamentary passes: Senior managers at interest groups and businesses still have passes despite coalition promises to change perception of lobbying  10th April, Guardian

 

Cameron won’t make me a Minister… I’m a white, Christian, married, bloke from the Home Counties says Tory MP, John Glen.

On the night before a likely cabinet reshuffle it might be worth remembering this very strange and rather unpleasant article from the Daily Mail of Nov 2010: Cameron won’t make me a Minister… I’m a white, married, Home Counties Christian, says Tory MP

Cameron won't make me a Minister... I'm a white, married, Home Counties Christian, says Tory MP John Glen

The article claims that John Glen “has made a scathing attack on David Cameron for pro­moting women and people from the ethnic minorities over ‘white, Christian, married’ men” and that he  said “his background effectively ruled him out for a ministerial job under Mr Cameron.”

He said: ‘I don’t anticipate any early calls to Government. I’m a white, Christian, married bloke from the Home Counties so I probably don’t fit the description of what the leadership wants at the moment.’

The Daily Mail in its usual unpleasant  style made the most of this – any excuse to imply that ethnic minorities and women might be getting the upper hand irrespective of the evidence.  But then evidence and facts are generally ignored by the Daily Mail.

The facts of course are that out of 100 government ministers less than 20 are women and only a couple are from ethnic minorities.

In fact of course most ministers are white, male, home counties etc etc.  A disturbingly large number went to Eton & Oxbridge, were born wealthy, have never had a proper job and seem singularly unqualified for their roles, why didn’t John Glen mention that?

I don’t normally recommend a Daily Mail article but I assume that the quotes are correct and it is worth reading just for these.

Cameron won’t make me a Minister… I’m a white, married, Home Counties Christian, says Tory MP

UPDATE (Tuesday 4th Sept 2012):  as far as I am aware John Glen has not made it into the cabinet or become a junior minister in the reshuffle. However, Cameron’s new cabinet consists of 85% men, 100% white,70% Oxbridge, 100% wealthy and not one lives in the real world.  So Mr Glen, where are all those women and ethnic minorities???

WHY is this important? The headline is designed to reinforce the Daily Mail’s continuing agenda of racism and misogyny. It implies that a male, white, home counties, Christian is somehow at a disadvantage compared to ethnic minorities or women. The article does not offer one shred of evidence to support this. In fact the allegation is clearly ridiculous, particularly given the make up of our current government.  But the majority of Mail readers will not read the article in full, they will just see the headline and confirmation bias will allow them to reinforce their prejudices.  This particular example is too comical to be taken particularly seriously but the insidious effect of unsubstantiated and usually totally false headlines day in day out should not be underestimated.

UPDATE: Just heard (Wed 12th Sept 2012) that John Glen has been made PPS to Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.  Congratulations to John.

This should be interesting to watch as John Glen grapples with the conflict between the interests of his constituents and the doctrinaire policies of Eric Pickles.

UPDATE: (3rd Oct 2012) Seems John failed to have any influence on Eric (Localism) Pickles concerning the Hampton Park II estate which has got the go ahead over the wishes of residents and councillors.
Pickles  1  Localism 0
Hampton Park II to go ahead after review plea fails (Salisbury Journal, 3rd Oct 2012)

UPDATE: 22nd Dec 2012 Here is the latest photo of the Cabinet, taken to commemorate the visit of the Queen.    Yes, David Cameron has certainly been “promoting women and people from the ethnic minorities over ‘white, Christian, married’ men” here’s the evidence:

Photo of Cabinet

UPDATE (PMQs 5th Feb 2014):  David Cameron’s all white, all male, front bench:allmalefrontbench2

The tory party freeing upwomento do other things

UPDATE 28th Sept 2014: Have just noticed that John Glen has been promoted to the Number 10 Policy Board (Home Affairs and Constitution) to work on the constitution and devolution.   So perhaps being a white, home counties, Oxford educated, Christian wasn’t such a dreadful disadvantage after all. Well done John!

UPDATE Feb 2017. Just thought I would add a photo of the current cabinet. I guess Mr Glen can feel disgruntled about the small increase in the number of women in the cabinet at his expense but other wise it looks like the same old mix of white, home counties, privately, educated men:

current cabinet

UPDATE: June 2017 John Glen MP has finally made it – he has been made a Junior Minister (Minister for the Arts, Heritage & Tourism) at the Department of Culture Media and Sport – well done John.

UPDATE: Sept 2018  Having been promoted in Jan 2018 to  Economic Secretary to the Treasury and City Minister, John Glen has now blotted his copybook somewhat by accidentally revealing a Treasury no-deal Brexit document ‘Operation Yellowhammer’.

john glen yellowhammer

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/treasury-no-deal-brexit-document-13202141

John Glen MP on Barclays Libor Scandal

John Glen MP on Barclays Libor ScandalI cannot let this disappointing Tweet from our local MP John Glen go without comment. He made it on the day of the House of Commons debate about the Barclays / Libor debacle during which there was a pretty unedifying display of the kind of partisan, point scoring, shouting and insults that the public finds so disconcerting about our politicians. It was also the day after the Select Committee comprehensively demonstrated, with their pathetically inadequate questioning of Bob Diamond, that a parliamentary inquiry into the LIBOR scandal would be totally ineffective .

The facts and evidence are clear, deregulation and liberalisation of the City of London and the glorification of the greed is good culture, started with Margaret Thatcher and her neolibertarian colleagues supported by the powerful lobbying strength of the banks.  They were followed by Blair and Brown and New Labour who just as enthusiastically followed the neolibertarian route of light touch regulation (lax regulation) and yielding to the lobbying power of the City Institutions. Meanwhile Osborne and the Tories were cheer-leading for the process, criticising New Labour for not going far enough in ridding the city of  regulation.  Clearly both major parties are up to their necks in blame for where we are to day – the evidence for this is incontrovertible.

In response to John Glen’s Tweet I would suggest that what the public wants is for our politicians to forget their petty party political squabbles and put the interest of the country first.  The level of corruption, greed and clinical delusion in the city threatens the livelihood and well being of everyone of us, not least the poor people who work for the high street banks and other retail sectors of the financial industry and who are blameless*, but like the rest of us are suffering the consequences.    (* except those who helped with the miss selling of PPIs and other dodgy financial products)

Yes the public want action – we want the Vicker’s commission recommendations to be implemented in full (not the watered down Osborn version), with a complete separation between High Street Banks and casino banking (rejected by Osborn) and we don’t want to wait until 2019 (another Osborne sop to the City).

We then want an independent enquiry into the whole financial mess in the vain hope that we can turn our brains on and avoid  this all happening again.

NB: The narrow point that John Glen was making about Ed Balls, based presumably on the Osborn allegation that Balls interfered in the Libor rate at the height of the financial panic (since retracted by Osborn’s office) seems to be a pretty weak criticism.  Ed Ball’s interference would have been in an attempt to save the financial industry in general and Barclays in particular from total collapse.  It is crystal clear that Ball’s and Osborn’s behaviour towards the City would have been the same – any suggestion that Osborn would have regulated the City anymore effectively is risible.

Always Ask a Banker to Put the Lie in Writing (Bloomberg)

Revealed: The £93m City lobby machine

The revolving door between the City and Government:

Here is yet another example of the revolving door between regulator and regulated

Trade Minister Stephen Green and HSBC

One in six peers have paid links to financial services industry