Issue 172: 2018 10 04: Diary of a Corbynista

Thumbnail Don Urquhart Red Sky Lenin Cast of Play Red Dawn

4 October 2018

Diary of a Corbynista

Lobbyist Organises Brexit

by Don Urquhart

Mug shot of Don Urquhart27 September

In Washington the Senate Judiciary Committee is seeking to establish whether Brett Kavanaugh’s behaviour should disqualify him from becoming a member of the Supreme Court.  They fear that his nomination could bring the judiciary into disrepute.

In The UK it is too late.  The company Cuadrilla is setting up fracking operations in Lancashire.  Three men have climbed on the company’s vehicles in protest and have been sentenced at Preston Crown Court to prison terms.  It seems that the law is there to protect the interests of big business regardless of its impact on local populations.

The comment from Greenpeace:

It’s a strange society that massively rewards those responsible for causing more climate change while putting those trying to stop it in jail.

Chris Baynes’ article in The Independent

28 September

My request for copies of Crossrail Board Meeting Minutes is ongoing.

TfL responded to my query saying they were worried about Commercial Sensitivity and would let me know their decision by October 26th.

Here’s my answer:

Thank you for responding.  I look forward to your answer by October 26th.  You can leave out anything that is genuinely commercially sensitive.

FOI Dialogue

29 September

This Week, the political programme hosted by Andrew Neil devoted much of its programme to a report by Kate Andrews who is a director of  the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA).  This organisation describes itself as a free market think tank and is a registered charity.

Ms Andrews’ report gave an alternative hard Brexit solution to Chequers that was much to Michael Portillo’s taste.

The IEA describes itself as a think tank when it clearly has a political line, specialising in hard Brexit and NHS privatisation.  Indeed the funding of the IEA is shrouded in mystery.

See Guardian report

This Greenpeace report on their efforts to obtain funding in the USA gives their view of the IEA’s methods and motivations.

Why does the BBC give the IEA so much air time and why is Kate Andrews on the BBC so often?

30 September

With the Tory Conference just starting Andrew Marr interviewed the Prime Minister.  They were sitting facing each other and as the camera panned away at the end they just sat looking at each other.  Usually there is some kind of exchange with the guest but she seemed somehow depressed and shrunken.  It had started well for her on her well-rehearsed Brexit home ground but then he pointed out that 80 of her MP’s were opposed to Chequers, and got on to “burning injustices” – asked about lower life expectancy, her responsibility for the Windrush scandal, the Headmasters’ demonstration in Westminster.  She spoke but, for her, incoherently and in the end he terminated the discussion abruptly.

See it here

1 October

Well I’ll be blowed!  I turn on Politics Live and who do I find chatting to Jo Coburn?  Alongside Justine Greening and Isabel Hardman it’s Kate Andrews yet again extolling the virtues of lower corporation tax and deregulation of the City of London.

2 October

I have watched a couple of Tory Conference speeches. In general the Ministers appeared to be going through the motions like well-dressed zombies.  Esther McVey had plenty to say in defence of the DWP’s victimisation of the vulnerable.  It was fascinating – like watching a cobra preparing to strike.

Apparently Michael Gove was quite energetic but, on doctor’s orders I only ever watch him with the sound turned down.

In Newsnight Emily Maitlis interviewed delegates.  What a depressed bunch!  None of them could come up with a substantial policy they had liked.  A couple said they needed to hear about a policy – building more houses was mentioned.

It is the quiet before the storm.  Boris appears today and the Prime Minister speaks tomorrow.

3 October

The unlamented David Cameron might have called it The Big Society in action.  Five housewives launched a crowdfunding appeal, raised £10,000 and took Surrey County Council to court over planned reductions of £21 million in the Special Needs budget.

Surrey is the second wealthiest county in the UK after London, boasting 59,800 high net worth Individuals.  So it is not a stretch to suggest that the Surrey cuts are just the tip of an iceberg.

Today at the Tory Conference the Prime Minister will use the words burning injustices, hard working families and just about managing.  I guess it’s what the faithful want to hear but the people at the sharp end of austerity will measure the rhetoric against her spectacular track record of non-delivery.

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