Socialist Worker

Cameron’s Lord cronies don’t even turn up for expenses

Issue No. 2469

A particularly busy session in the House of Lords

A particularly busy session in the House of Lords (Pic: Terry Moore/Parliamentary copyright)


David Cameron has dished out peerages to 26 Conservative cronies.

Douglas Hogg is one. He’s the former MP infamous for attempting to claim £2,000 expenses to clean the moat at his country estate.

Eleven Lib Dems and eight from Labour will swell the bloated ranks by 45—to more than 800.

Their expenses, £300 a day whenever they turn up, also pile another £1.8 million on the £100 million-a-year running costs.

Multi-millionaire investment banker James Lupton is a joint treasurer of the Tories and was in charge of raising cash for the party’s election war chest. With a personal stash of £130 million, he has donated £2.8 million to the party since 2009.

Sir George Young was once a housing minister. He described the homeless as “the people you step over when you are coming out of the opera”. Now he’s a lord.

Also heading for the Upper Chamber are Phillipa Stroud —aide to welfare slasher Iain Duncan Smith—former Downing Street policy director James O’Shaughnessy and Cameron’s deputy chief of staff Kate Fall.

Previous “donor peers” are failing to make any contribution in the Lords. The Tory donor Simon Wolfson, was granted a peerage by Cameron after the 2010 election to become Lord Wolfson of Aspley Guise.

He did not speak during any debate in the last session and did not vote on any bill. 

Then there is Lord Bamford, the JCB chairman who has given £101,249 to the Conservatives in personal donations and millions more via his company. 

He voted three times in the last session and spoke twice—both times about his own company.

Six of the top donors attended parliament fewer than 14 times.

Labour peer Lord Haughey, a Scottish fridge tycoon who has donated £1.7 million to the party, attended seven days in the past year.

Finally, Michael Bishop, the former owner of the BMI airline, became Lord Glendonbrook in 2011.

He has donated £2.1million to the Conservatives but at least spoke—once.


TOFF OF THE WEEK: Greg Barker

Former Tory environment minister

  • Given a peerage in David Cameron’s “crony list” last week 
  • Already has got eight other jobs in the energy sector since leaving office last July. 
  • He once boasted, “We are making cuts that Margaret Thatcher, back in the 1980s, could only have dreamed of.” 

Hattersley the lordly hypocrite  

Roy Hattersley has resigned from the House of Lords because he says it’s “unequal”. 

He can’t be bothered traipsing to London to pick up his £300-a-day allowance reminiscing about the past 18 years he’s spent in the unequal Lords. 

This was a chamber he entered as a reward for being a Labour “moderniser”. 

Hattersley isn’t severing all his ties though. He’s keeping his title of baron. 


Socialist Worker is purged by Labour 

While the Corbyn surge grows some old New Labour methods are back. 

The Labour Party has blocked Socialist Worker from reporting at the special leadership election conference on Saturday.

Under Tony Blair Socialist Worker was barred from entering Labour conferences. A thaw in more recent years saw us welcomed with enthusiasm. Or at least let in. 

Labour press officers told a Socialist Worker journalist as late as Wednesday of last week that press passes had not been allocated. But a single-sentence email that same day said, “I’m afraid we won’t be able to fit you in.”

A press officer was reluctant to explain the decision to exclude an NUJ union press card-carrying journalist.

But when pressed he said, “Socialist Worker is the magazine of the Socialist Workers Party.

 “I can’t very well tell a national newspaper that they can’t come because we’ve given their space to Socialist Worker.” 

He didn’t confirm which publication this national paper had lost out to.


Brooks is back but scandals linger

Humility comes easy to the Murdoch empire. 

The Sun newspaper said sorry over Hillsborough, so they re-hired odious former editor Kelvin MacKenzie.

And to show just how sorry they are about all that phone-hacking Rebekah Brooks is back at the helm. When she last held the role of News UK CEO she managed to miss the industrial scale phone-hacking, blagging and other dark arts going on around her. The case of “Fake Sheikh” Mazher Mahmood still hangs around. Even if the CPS decline to bring a prosecution against him for perjury following the collapse of the Tulisa Contostavlos trial, there are appeals against six of his “stings”. 

How little Brooks knew of the use of Jonathon Rees and others to spy on cops investigating the murder of private detective Daniel Morgan remains a mystery.


Just the job for Boris

Struggling by on just two political salaries and £275,000 a year for writing a column, Boris Johnson is busy writing a book about William Shakespeare.  

The Bard of Bullingdon explains, “I did win the Shakespeare prize at school.” Hodder & Stoughton is said to be paying him £500,000.

Which is nice.


TroubleMaker job spot. “Her Majesty The Queen, Lord of Mann, is represented in the Isle of Man by the Lieutenant Governor. The sucessful candidate will be diplomatic and tactful...The package includes an official reisdence, a salary of £95,348, currently tax free.” Applications close on 15 September.


A nice day in the park on the SNP  

The Scottish government has donated £150,000 to T in the Park which Troublemaker understands to be a gathering of people to listen to popular music.

Festival organisers had a meeting with senior Scottish government figures.

The £150,000 was given to DF Concerts. 

Jennifer Dempsie, a former adviser to Alex Salmond and partner of the Westminster SNP leader Angus Robertson, set up a meeting between Geoff Ellis of DF Concerts and culture secretary Fiona Hyslop.

DF Concerts made pre-tax profits of more than £4.5 million. Dempsie started work for DF Concerts in February.

 


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