Why these liars, cheats and fraudsters should be prosecuted for ripping off taxpayers and cheating London’s firefighters

Westminster Confidential

assetco_3417t John Shannon , former chief executive of Assetco. now exposed as a liar and fraudster, banned for 16 years from practising as an accountant and ordered to pay £550,00 in fines and costs


This month one of the most devastating reports into a privatisation rip off was published by the Financial Reporting Council, which regulates chartered accountants. It involves a saga much reported on this blog, the failed privatisation of London and Lincoln’s  fire engines, handed over to what are now revealed to be liars and fraudsters who ran Assetco at the time.

The three top directors, chief executive, John Shannon; chief financial officer, Frank Flynn; and group financial controller, Matt Boyle, could not even be bothered to attend a tribunal hearing to defend themselves against 27 allegations of misconduct. Shannon and Boyle are thought to be somewhere in South East Asia Flynn is in Northern…

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Who is stepping over a line?

Smearing Corbyn is not working…..

rebel notes

Last night I was outraged by Margaret Hodge’s disgusting abuse of the Jewish experience in the Holocaust to shield her appalling behaviour over a political difference with labour leader jeremy Corbyn on how the Labour Party combats antisemitism.

Today I’ve been getting more and more wound up by her outrageous assertion in the same interview (or rather “platform” – because in an interview you might be challenged), that there is “a very thin line” between supporting Palestinian rights and antisemitism.

Margaret-Hodge-Jeremy-Corbyn-1004616She claimed that Jeremy Corbyn had crossed that line ( slandering him again as an antisemite, with the same lack of evidence but more self-control).

What an insult to the Palestinian people, living as refugees in exile or under occupation for so many decades, to believe that their assertion of their rights and their campaigning for human dignity might, at any moment, tip into antisemitism.

What a clear example of…

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22/08/2018 · by SKWAWKBOX · in Uncategorized. ·

Tory chair Brandon Lewis

In March, the Conservative Party mystified observers when Tory chair Brandon Lewis claimed its membership had ‘soared’ to 124,000.

That mystification was shot through with a good deal of suspicion, not least because the Tories’ were claiming membership of almost 150,000 in 2014:

Many people considered the claim to be little more than empty ‘PR’ – and now the party has itself published information, without pointing it out of course, that suggests such an assessment was entirely justified.

The Tories have published their ‘Consolidated Income and Expenditure’ for the last financial year – and its income from member subscriptions doesn’t fit with a ‘soaring’ membership:

Member subscriptions in the party fell by forty-three percent compared to the preceding year – hard to reconcile with a claim of ‘soaring’.

Could the party have suddenly given discounts to existing as well as new members? It seems unlikely, as it appears the Tories only give discounted membership to ex-forces and youth members.

The fall has other embarrassing aspects, too. Business Insider‘s Adam Bienkov pointed out that the party now makes far more money from dead ex-members than from live current ones:

View image on Twitter

Adam Bienkov


Last year the Conservatives made twice as much money from dead supporters as they did from living members.

11:15 – 22 Aug 2018


726 people are talking about this

But all of its other income combined is dwarfed by the ‘donation income’ from its small number of hugely rich donors. What a story that tells.

The SKWAWKBOX contacted Tory HQ press office to ask how the party explained such a huge fall in subscriptions when numbers are supposed to have taken flight. No response has been received so far. None was received when this blog queried the ‘soared’ claim five months ago either.

Tory MP James Cleverly did try to explain away the huge fall on Twitter – but that didn’t go well:

Ms G Richards


So what you’re saying is that your annual audited accounts are not a full and accurate record of the @Conservatives annual fiscal activity? Really?!

I think there’s a word for that James?

Someone help me here, I think it begins with “F” #ToriesOut #ToryFraud @UKLabour

James Cleverly


Replying to @AdamBienkov

Great headline, happens to be completely untrue. Bulk of our membership fees are collected, reported, and spent at local association level. They don’t show up on these figures.

15:56 – 22 Aug 2018


See Ms G Richards’s other Tweets

Twitter Ads information and privacy

Of course, even if James’ claim is true and most member subs never appear in the Tories’ accounts, it still doesn’t do anything at all to explain why the number fell by almost half in just a year when the party has claimed an increase.

Twitter wags were quick to have fun:

Rachael Swindon #JC9


· 5h

I’m sure @BrandonLewis won’t mind confirming reports of the Conservative Party membership now standing at just 55,000? Ooof.

Owen Lowery


#SavetheTory. There are now just 55,000 Tories left in the wild. Our children may grow up in a world without Tories, unless we act now. For just £500 a month, you can help save the Tory, before it’s too late, and we’ll send you a cuddly Boris Gnome and Welcome Pack. Thank you. pic.twitter.com/UsoCnE6FwP

11:28 – 22 Aug 2018


See Owen Lowery’s other Tweets

The Labour Party, by contrast, raised over £16 million from individual member subscriptions, with large numbers of small individual donations helped raise its income to almost £56 million.

Negotiating Labour’s Antisemitism Minefield

Posted on

May 22 by chelleryn

Before I started writing this I wrestled with whether I should write it. I’m not Jewish, I’m not an expert on antisemitism, so what do I know? And then I thought to myself, I’m a Labour member. I have a nose for injustice. I’m being called an antisemite in the street, for sitting in the passenger seat of a car that sports a Labour bumper sticker. Of course not everyone will agree with what I’m about to write but these are my thoughts laid out for those who are interested in reading them. This is me unpicking what ‘Labour’s antisemitism problem’ really means to me, and what we can do about it.

 Has Labour got an antisemitism problem?

Yes, in so much as any degree of antisemitism is a problem.

Less than 0.1% of Labour members have been disciplined for antisemitism over the past three years. This might seem like a relatively low figure, but unreported incidents mean it could be much higher than this, and in a

party that prides itself on being opposed to all forms of discrimination and prejudice, we should be aiming for 0.0000%. Of course this is a tall order but we don’t shy from tall orders on the left, like the eradication of homelessness, so let’s let our much maligned idealism guide us on this too. There is also a tendency by a small minority on the left to buy into conspiracy theories about shadowy, hugely wealthy figures running the world. This is not a giant leap from nazi propaganda about Jews running the world, and therefore needs to be challenged and avoided. We need to see it as a system we are striving to transform, rather than a few all powerful individuals who need to be overthrown. The understandable and passionate anger surrounding the actions of Israel can occasionally cross the line into Jew blaming, though of course it is NOT antisemitic to blame the state of Israel for its actions toward the Palestinians and the two should not be conflated. Those who do conflate it, should be condemned. We can educate ourselves to become more aware of antisemitism, and what constitutes questionable or offensive language, theories etc via organisations like Jewdas.

Does society have an antisemitism problem?

According to the Institute of Jewish Policy Research, over a quarter of all Brits hold antisemitic views to some degree. So yes, it is a huge societal problem. According to hate crime figures in the UK, crimes related to antisemitism are on the rise, with 1382 incidents recorded last year,the highest figure since records began in 1984. Empathy and validation for the understandable fears Jewish people feel about antisemitism on the left and in society as a whole, are essential if we are going to move forward together.

Why is there so much focus on antisemitism on the left when research has proven its far more prevalent on the far right?


Because the left are close to power and the far right are not, is the short answer. Under Corbyn we have become a populist party with a strong vein of anti-Israel sentiment running through it. This is enough to trigger anxieties which stem from a collective trauma still recent in historical terms. Of course this fear will be exploited by those who don’t want to live under a Corbyn led government.

How should cases of antisemitism in Labour be dealt with?

As swiftly as possible and via education where possible, rather than expulsion, unless the person is closed off to being educated. Why? Because when antisemitism is not addressed within the party via education, all we are really doing is washing our hands of it, rather than tackling it as the societal issue it is.

Are some MPs, sections of the media etc, exaggerating and therefore exploiting the understandable fears around antisemitism?

Undoubtedly. The same MPs who try to insinuate the membership is made up of Trotskyite thugs, who spend all their days trolling hard working MPs online, are the same MPs who are now labelling the left as being intrinsically antisemitic. This is no coincidence. We are right to be angry about this, and we are right to call it out when we know it’s happening. However we should

not fall into the trap these people are deliberately setting for us where we grow so defensive, we deny there is any antisemitism on the left. I’m not saying that’s easy. As I mentioned earlier, only a week ago a complete stranger marched up to my friend’s car which sported a Labour sticker, and aggressively shouted ‘antisemites’ at us through the open drivers window. That was living proof that Labour is being so successfully stained as an antisemitic party, people assume you must be antisemitic if you are a member. That hurts and makes me angry because it’s wrong. Labour has a proud history of fighting racism and antisemitism and we are continuing that tradition under Corbyn. A small element with antisemitic views does not mean Labour is an antisemitic party, anymore than a few callous doctors means medicine is an uncaring profession. Fighting negative stereotyping is part of our political DNA, so why should we allow ourselves to be unjustly stereotyped? However we must still accept the exploitation of antisemitism and the existence of antisemitism are not either/or issues. Either the issue is being exploited, or there is no issue.

Both can co-exist, albeit uncomfortably alongside each other.


What makes you so sure it’s being exploited?

Apart from the fact it’s the same MPs who have denigrated Corbyn and his supporters from day one of his leadership and before, who are suggesting the party is a hotbed of antisemitism, they do often out themselves as exploiters through timing (ramping up the outrage just before key elections, and then falling relatively quiet after), or by inadvertent comments through which their agenda slips. For example, Thangam Debbonaire, an MP on Labour’s right, stated on Daily Politics that antisemitism in the Tory party is not her problem. As a Labour MP her concern was only with antisemitism in the Labour Party. Why would you only care about antisemitism in your own party? Doesn’t antisemitism within government ranks affect your constituents just as much, if not more than antisemitism in the Labour Party? Or is it the case that antisemitism in the Tory party is of no interest to you because you are not interested in damaging them electorally? The same goes for the right wing media. I tallied up 42 Labour/antisemitism based articles in the month preceding the local elections and only 3 since. If antisemitism is a huge problem in the Labour Party, why does it cease to be a huge problem the day after elections?

 There are many left Jews who are angry at antisemitism being exploited  in this way, and they are right to be, and deserve our support. There are also left Jews who are growing increasingly frustrated at the way the issue is slammed as merely a smear or a non issue. We need to ensure we call out the exploiters without denying antisemitism exists.


Why doesn’t antisemitism and racism in the Tory Party get a fraction of the exposure Labour are getting over antisemism?



Because they are Tories, and no one in the establishment or on the Labour right wants to give them a hard time.


But aren’t we falling into their trap if we say the left have a problem with antisemitism, when statistics show we are not rife with it?

No. Falling into their trap is denying we have any problem with antisemitism at all, because firstly, that’s not true. How could we be spared a problem so prevalent in society? And secondly, denial of its very existence feeds into the fears of Jewish people who need reassurance that we do take it seriously. I actually think Jeremy Corbyn has it right when he cites the actual statistics whilst acknowledging the problem exists. That way we are not denying the issue, but we are putting it into context.

A No Deal Brexit could leave nearly 500,000 expatriate Brits with frozen pensions like those living in Canada and Australia

Westminster Confidential

brexit and state pensionCROSS POSTED ON BYLINE.COM

Last year  it looked like the 474,000 expatriates who retired to 27 European  Union countries had their pension increases protected forever and a day. A deal which meant the UK would sign up to the EU Social Security Convention  guaranteeing pension payments both to British expatriates abroad and EU citizens remaining in the UK.

There was only one caveat “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed,” which would prevent this happening and  the  government’s aim is the commitment would be reflected in the Withdrawal Agreement with the EU. This was emphasised in the White Paper on Brexit in July.

But now the spectre of a No Deal Brexit is again being raised everything is being thrown into the air. Supporters like Liam Fox talk of a country thriving on new free trade but what about the social cost? What is clear is that without a signed withdrawal…

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Time to call their bluff

Read it
Pass it on….

rebel notes

It is surely getting near to the time when Jeremy Corbyn will need to call their bluff. Whose bluff? The self-proclaimed and self-important leadership of the Jewish community, who don’t want to talk to Jeremy at all – they just want to talk at him. When Jesus said “It is better to give than receive”, the Board of Deputies thought he was talking about “advice”. They want to humiliate him. They want to drive him from office, to save Theresa May’s bacon (or salt beef, if you prefer), and keep us all nervous about discussing the rights of Palestinians.

But he’s got to speak to Jewish leaders – we elected them. Didn’t we? No, very few of us Jews did that. Jewish Leadership Council? Unelected. They just announced themselves. Chief Rabbi? No, appointed not elected. Campaign Against Antisemitism? Where the hell did they come from? Completely unelected. Ah, but the…

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New-party plan really is “cowards’ coup”. Here’s the plan – and a Labour response

Posted on August 7, 2018

Cowardly plotters

The SKWAWKBOX warned at the weekend that the next anti-Corbyn coup was already underway – and showed yesterday that it is a ‘coup of cowardice’, with right-wing malcontents attempting to inflict maximum damage on the Labour Party before peeling off to form a tiny new party. This was subsequently confirmed by information leaked to the Daily Express.

Now the SKWAWKBOX can provide further details about how the shaky ‘rebels’ hope to execute their plan – and cowardly barely covers it, but is combined with an arrogance that puts on display an astonishing sense of entitlement.

The malcontents hope to create a new party – but without disaffiliating from the Labour Party. They hope this would result in a formal ‘party within a party’ –  along the lines of the Co-operative Party’s current status – consisting of MPs ‘temporarily’ suspended from representing Labour,

Their idea is that they will only rejoin if Jeremy Corbyn is no longer leader – and they hope to cultivate pressure to force Corbyn to quit for the sake of reunification of the movement.

The ‘soft rebels’ hope to number twelve to fifteen – but insiders say five is a more likely number. Nonetheless, they entertain an ambition to hold the balance of power in a hung parliament and to leverage this to force Corbyn’s resignation, thereby disenfranchising not only most Labour members but the public who votes for him.

The 5-15 – already down from the 12-20 mooted when the SKWAWKBOX broke the news of the plan some weeks ago – consist of ‘usual suspects’ that will surprise few if any Labour supporters.

However, they think they have soft support from a wider number of Labour MPs on the basis that they guarantee not to contest Labour marginals,  which. explains how an East Midlands MP knew about the plan – but such a promise is currently a sticking point.

There are issues with the plan, however – particularly that it only works if the plotters make their move after an election. If they do it before, they will be expelled from the party, won’t get any campaigning resources and will have no chance of selection for their own seat.

This suggests that. they are hoping to retain their position as Labour candidates and then spring the breakaway party on election day – this would be overtly cynical and would not go down well with those who just voted for them as a Labour candidate, but it could be done.

But a post-election move would be irrelevant to the question of Labour marginals – suggesting a two-phase plan, with new candidates attempting to win – or prevent Labour winning – marginal seats, followed by a ‘defection’ by the ‘soft rebels’.

It appears that their containment and self-imposed isolation has fostered delusions as well as a flawed plan, however.

A senior Labour insider, asked what the party’s response would be, stated flatly:

That we don’t negotiate with terrorists – and that the local phone-box is already occupied by the LibDems.

The SKWAWKBOX understands that recent polling, which showed Labour as much as five points clear of the Tories, was a huge shock to the plotters and a considerable spanner in their works – which puts much of what followed in a clearer light.