Why Labour’s patronising grandees have driven people to vote for Stormin’ Corbyn

Labolur's three grandees- Mandelson, Blair and Campbell  Pic Credit: wherebuttheuk.com

Labolur’s three grandees- Mandelson, Blair and Campbell
Pic Credit: wherebuttheuk.com

CROSS POSTED FROM BYLINE.COM WHERE MY SCOOPS ON WESTMINSTER AND WHITEHALL WILL REGULARLY APPEAR 

Alastair Campbell, Peter Mandelson,Gordon Brown, David Miliband, Tony Blair and now David Blunkett have all joined in bashing Jeremy Corbyn because he is the front runner in Labour’s leadership election and they are desperate to stop him.

Anyone but Corbyn is Campbell’s cry. Peter Mandelson has been up to his old tricks using back channels to try and get the election cancelled. The only person who has been wise enough to keep quiet is Ed Miliband who is leaving it to the members.

Yet what are these grandee’s credentials today for saying that Corbyn is unfit to lead Labour while the others would be fine.

Alastair Campbell’s reputation for plain dealing took a hit over the Iraq ” dodgy dossier” and is now a freelance journalist, a lobbyist and earns some of his money from dodgy Central European dictatorships like Kazakhstan.

Peter Mandelson has enjoyed a reputation for the ” dark arts” of politics and now is a strategic lobbyist with strong connections to Russian oligarchs who sympathise with Putin. We don’t even know the rest of his client list.

Gordon Brown is nowadays concentrating on education in Africa and stood down at the last election.

David Miliband is living in the United States doing good work in trying to provide humanitarian relief  to Syria.

Tony Blair is concentrating his entire life in making money from any country that will pay him large sums of cash – it is described in detail in  Blair Inc, my new book with Francis Beckett and Nick Kochan.

David Blunkett  along with Gordon Brown appears to have been the least avaricious but spends a lot of his time as an after dinner speaker.

None of them can say they are really in touch with the present mood of  Labour Party members, and some of them, notably Blair and Mandelson, have more in common with the wealthy global elite than a traditional Labour Party supporter.

And Labour Party activists long treated as foot soldiers and not given their head over policy formation by these grandees are revolting.  Ever since Blair reduced their power at party conferences they have had a diminishing say along with the unions.

The main charges from the grandees is that Corbyn will be hated by the  press and that he could never win an election.

Jeremy Corbyn Mp, not a grandee

Jeremy Corbyn Mp, not a grandee

But whoever leads the Labour Party will be monstered by the right wing press. Expect a simple nasty sexist campaign against Yvette Cooper saying ” vote Cooper get Balls” implying that the Ed Balls – just because he is married to her – will be inside Downing Street directing matters.

If it is Andy Burnham it will be that he is in the hands of the unions. If it Liz Kendall it will all be about inexperience etc

So people have remained unimpressed that by NOT voting for Corbyn they will escape the media’s wrath.

The election itself is five years away and Labour has a long time to redefine policy. Also with Corbyn’s promise of elections to the Shadow Cabinet –  Labour will be more diverse than just one faction.

What is quite clear that people want someone who will stand up for the party and launch a distinctive programme. They will not want a pale shadow of the present Conservative government- they can get a proper version already.

Yvette Cooper’s campaign has been disappointing. Instead of promoting women it has attacked men. Andy Burnham’s started well but seems to have gone all over the place. And Liz Kendall has not made the impact one might have expected.

This left Corbyn who no one expected to take off – striding into the lead. There seems to be a hunger out of there for a radical shift of direction. On September 12 we will know whether it has happened.

Revealed: The Treasury mandarin who said losing £1bn for the taxpayer was value for money

john kingman, second Permanent secretary at The Treasury Pic Credit: worldellows.yale.edu

john kingman, second Permanent secretary at The Treasury Pic Credit: worldellows.yale.edu

CROSS POSTED FROM  BYLINE.COM WHERE SOME OF MY WHITEHALL AND WESTMINSTER SCOOPS WILL NOW APPEAR FIRST AS PART OF A NEW CROWDFUNDING DEAL TO WIDEN THE SCOPE OF THIS BLOG

There has been enormous outrage about the £1bn loss to the taxpayer caused by the sale of the first tranche of Royal Bank of Scotland shares. An article in The Guardian on August 4 reported not only expected criticism from Labour but concern from a banking analyst that the share price of RBS was too low to justify the sale.

What was only briefly mentioned was that the second most powerful mandarin in the Treasury had also given the go ahead. You might expect him to bow and scrape to the Chancellor but actually he has more powers than you might think and he needn’t have followed his instructions.

If an accounting officer believes that a government minister is about to make a decision that will lead to a big loss to the taxpayer he can refuse to approve the action.

These actions are not taken lightly – one of the most recent examples being the refusal by Richard Heaton (soon to become Permanent Secretary at MoJ) who requested one, on value for money grounds, on 26 June over extra funding for the Kids company charity. He was overruled by ministers who have now seen to have made a big mistake as recent coverage reveals.

John Kingman could have done the same thing. He would face being overruled by George Osborne but it would have caused a furore and triggered an eventual Whitehall investigation.

John Kingman Letter Instead as this letter above shows he has positively embraced the sale.

“ I am satisfied that a sale at this time would offer good value for money for the taxpayer and meets all other requirements in accordance with the principles of Managing Public Money,” he wrote to George Osborne.

Really?  Now John Kingman is one of the cleverest mandarins in Whitehall. He hates holidays, lives in Leicester Square and one former colleague describes him in these words: “His arrogance is only marginally ahead of his considerable intelligence, whereas with most ambitious men of his ilk the gap is rather larger.” A profile in 2009 by political editor George Parker in the Financial Times says it all.

He writes “If he can achieve the goal of unwinding the taxpayer’s stake ( in RBS) at a profit, his route to the top of the civil service is clear, even if some question whether he has the patience to manage such a huge, traditional organisation. “

Well at the moment he hasn’t – he has acquiesced in a £1 billion tax loss. And I am not the only one who has noticed this.

The National Audit Office, Parliament’s financial watchdog, which reports on state asset sales, confirmed to me “We are watching the situation”.

They will have to make a report on this. This will lead him to have to appear before the House of Commons public accounts committee to justify why he approved what was done.

No doubt the government would like Parliament to take its time – perhaps not report until the entire sale is over – but that won’t be until 2020.

I say the huge loss to the taxpayer should not go unchallenged for years. Bring it on now!

My radio Interview on the Bunker Programme: Reporting child sex abuse, Westminster and Blair Inc

Last week had a live 55 minute interview with Fabrice Bardsley on The Bunker Programme – a programme put out in the UK and the US by an alternative radio station, Dark City Radio.

Above is a  video of my interview which ranged from how I started investigating Westminster for The Guardian to my more recent investigations into child sex abuse on Exaro News and this blog. There is also a shameless plug for my new book, Blair Inc, written jointly with Nick Kochan and Francis Beckett.

The topics covered ranged from how the Westminster paedophile scandal started to,my views on the overarching Goddard inquiry into child sex abuse. I am also asked about how important the police operation, Operation Midland is investigating the allegations  and my views about the new survivor group Reflections, which is trying to give survivors a real say in the direction of events. I also point out how the whole climate of opinion has changed towards child sex allegations, citing the Esther Baker case, currently being investigated by Staffordshire Police.

If you are interested and can stand 55 minutes of me you can listen by clicking on the picture above.

The Ben Fellows acquittal: A statement from me

Ben Fellows Pc Credit: BBC

Ben Fellows
Pic Credit: BBC

A few people on the internet have either contacted me or challenged my journalism  since Ben Fellows was acquitted by a jury at the Old Bailey.He was accused of attempting to pervert the course of justice over his allegations against Ken Clarke, the former Tory Cabinet minister.and I was one of a number of witnesses.

The only reason I was called as a prosecution witness by the Met Police was two years ago Scotland Yard’s paedophile unit rightly decided to investigate his allegations that he had been sexually abused by Kenneth Clarke at lobbyist Ian Greer’s office while working undercover for The Cook Report on a sting. I was at the time working as a consultant to the programme while employed full time on the Guardian. To make it absolutely clear the TV investigation was not into any Westminster paedophile ring but into the  “cash for questions” affair which involved allegations that MPs have been paid by Mohamed al Fayed, the then owner of Harrods, for asking Parliamentary questions on his behalf.

The police interviewed me and other members of The Cook report about this and quite independently none of us could recall this happening.

At the Old Bailey trial I gave evidence under oath to tell the truth. the whole truth  and nothing but the truth. I stand by everything I said at the Old Bailey. To do otherwise would be committing perjury, which is a criminal offence.

I also stand by my stories on Exaro News  which are correct to the best of my ability. I investigated Ian Greer for over a year and Ken Clarke’s name was never in the frame. I also saw Ian Greer’s entire accounts for the years in question and again there was never a mention of Ken Clarke.

To those on the internet who have suggested that somehow since the 1970s I have been a secret member of the Establishment covertly working with Peter Mandelson, this has been greeted with absolute mirth by anybody who knows me.

Police make first arrest in Esther Baker child sex abuse investigation

Esther Baker

Esther Baker

Staffordshire Police confirmed today that they had arrested a 64 year old man as part of their investigation into an historic child sex abuse ring following allegations made by  Esther Baker. a survivor.

The full statement in reply to a question from me on behalf of Exaro News is:“A 64 year old man has been arrested on suspicion of rape and conspiracy to rape in connection with the ongoing investigation in allegations of historic child sexual abuse.He remains on bail pending further inquiries.In line with our normal policy we will not confirm the details of a person under investigation until such time as charges are made.”

For legal reasons I have been told we cannot name the man but I can say for those who have followed this story it is NOT the former Liberal Democrat MP.

Police investigations are continuing into the allegations which involve a child sex abuse ring which operated in Staffordshire and the West Midlands.