Tag Archives: Young Britons’ Foundation

Whatever Happened To The Tory Bullying Scandal?

Tomorrow belongs to me? Megalomania, bullying, blackmail and sexual assault.

As the Crown Prosecution Services prepares to announce whether it intends to prosecute over 30 Tory “individuals” (sic) for failing to correctly declare elections expenses during the 2015 General Election, it’s worth remembering the other scandal into which the Tory Election Expenses Scandal is interwoven. That scandal is the Tory Bullying Scandal.

It is worrying that for more than a year the entire story has gone quiet. Indeed, a current government minister, a former minister and the party chairman are entangled in its web.  A party worker actually committed suicide after a campaign of bullying and intimidation, and a sitting MP was blackmailed for having an affair.

Here is what we know about the Tory Bullying Scandal:

  • In 2014, Mark Clarke was appointed director Conservative RoadTrip2015 by Grant Shapps, the then party chairman. This organization,  bussed activists around the country to key marginals. RoadTrip2015 is at the heart of the Tory Election Expenses Scandal.

  • Clarke threatened to blackmail Robert Halfon, MP over an alleged sexual infidelity.
  • A file on the bullying was passed to party chairman, Lord Feldman, who failed to take action.
  • Elliott Johnson, a young party activist committed suicide after being bullied by Clarke and Andre Walker, whom he regards as a friend.  Walker himself was covertly recorded on a train plotting to smear Alison Knight, the deputy leader of Windsor Council with an associate. Walker also claimed to be Johnson’s lover.

  • David Cameron invited Clarke to Chequers to celebrate the activists’ role in the campaign’s success
  • Sayeeda Warsi, a former party chair, wrote to Shapps demanding action be taken against bullying. She claimed that she received “no satisfactory response”.
  • There was considerable overlap between Thatcherite group, Conservative Way Forward (CWF), Conservative Future (youth wing), RoadTrip2015 and Young Britons’ Foundation (YBF).  It was revealed that Clarke had sexually assaulted several female members of YBF. This forced Donal Blaney, the YBF’s leader to cancel their annual conference. Blaney was also forced to resign from CWF.
  • Shapps was forced to resign as International Development Minister.
  • Clarke was suspended and later expelled from the party.
  • The internal Tory Party inquiry found there were 13 alleged victims. The same inquiry, conducted by Clifford Chance, concluded that senior party figures were “unaware” bullying was taking place.  Elliott Johnson’s parents condemned the inquiry as a “whitewash”.

Clarke appeared on The Cat’s radar back in 2012, when he was listed as the YBF’s Outreach Officer. I’d already written a piece on the YBF and its role as the self-styled ‘madrassah’, which trained young Tory trolls activists.  Clarke and the YBF had even plotted to “take over” the City of London Corporation (Council).  Aidan ‘Nazi Boy’ Burley, the former MP or Cannock Chase, was a member of the YBF. He was also an associate of Clarke and the pair worked together in the Trade Union Reform Campaign or TURC. Indeed, given the names of those involved in the YBF (Blaney, Burley et al), it is entirely possible that this scandal also involves certain members – past and present – of the Hammersmith and Fulham Conservative Party. Clarke was also stepping out with Justine Greening, the current Education Secretary.

While the Tory Bullying Scandal was bubbling along, in December 2015 it emerged that Lucy Allen, the MP for Telford, had left one of her workers a series of bullying rants on her voicemail.  Not satisfied with what she’d already done, Allan added the words “unless you die” to a message from a constituent that criticized her support for bombing Syria. Allan was neither investigated nor disciplined for her actions.

This is a scandal that goes right to the heart of Downing Street. But why has this story gone so cold? Could it have something to do with the Conservative Party’s internal inquiry, dubbed by some as a “whitewash”? The corporate media dropped the story soon after the inquiry. Yet questions about bullying in the Tory Party and the connection between RoadTrip2015 and the Tory Election Expenses Scandal persist.  Will we ever get to the truth?

UPDATE 25/4/17 @ 1808

The Guardian have taken up the story and added more detail.

The Conservatives have failed to hand over a report on allegations of bullying within the party to police despite repeated requests from detectives, it has emerged.

British Transport police (BTP) have asked the Tory party to disclose the full report on the bullying inquiry, which was launched after allegations were made against the former election aide and failed parliamentary candidate Mark Clarke.

The Conservatives failed to hand over a report? Now where have I heard that before? Ah yes, last year, the Tories were rather sluggish to hand over a file to the Electoral Commission. Remember?

You can read more in The Guardian.

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/apr/25/conservative-party-police-bullying-report-elliott-johnson

2 Comments

Filed under General Election 2015, RoadTrip2015, Tory Election Expenses Scandal

Beyond Piss Ups and Breweries

The Tories may be presenting a unified public face for the election campaign but in private there must be a great deal of teeth-gnashing and wailing and weeping (maybe some self-flagellation, who knows what they get up to behind closed doors?) among backbenchers. What an absolute fucking mess of an election campaign. I honestly can’t recall one like it.

The Tories’ election campaign began in earnest with the hiring of Lynton Crosby back in 2013 and since then, it’s been non-stop stream of slogans. It started with “hard-working families, who want to do the right thing and get ahead in life” and ended with “the chaos of a Labour government”. The latter is more of a psychological projection of their chaotic style of government and economic stewardship (coughs), while the former is simply meaningless PR drivel. And besides, hard work is over-rated. Do you think ‘wealth creators’ like Osborne’s daddy got where he is today by working hard?

Then there’s the attempt to insert into the public consciousness the idea of a “weird” Ed Miliband, who “stabbed his brother in the back”. Before that it was “Red Ed” and “Eds under the bed”. Look, if I were leading a political party, I wouldn’t hire Crosby. The man is a buffoon. “Are you thinking what we’re thinking”? You mean you actually think? That’s news to me. I thought you just throw stuff against the wall and if it sticks, it’s in.

A couple of weeks ago, we got this.

Silly Tory poster

 

 

The Tories don’t seem to have caught up with last November’s news: Nicola Sturgeon replaced Alex Salmond as leader of the Scottish National Party. For that reason, it’s also subtly sexist.

There’s also something weirdly Stepfordian about the government ministers who have been doing the tours of the TV studios. When they open their mouths, they’re like Scientologists defending their cult from pointed questions. They’ll look into the camera and say with a blank stare, “Look, I was audited and it didn’t do me any harm”. Alternatively, they’re like Liz Truss on last night’s Question Time, whose tactic was to talk over the other  panellists. This is a trick straight out of the Young Britons Foundation (YBF) training manual: “Shout at your opponents and call them names. It’s better than using reasoned arguments”. That’s how they’re trained in their self-styled ‘madrasahs’.

The Sontaran was in the studios talking about the Big Society. They haven’t mentioned the BigSoc for a while. Remind me, what was it all about? Oh yeah, it was a way of selling public spending cuts. Voters didn’t buy into it then and they’re not going to warm to it now. Save your breath.

Bizarrely and straight out of leftfield came the sudden announcement that the Tories would freeze regulated rail fares. Am I tripping? Next week, they’ll be promising to renationalize the railways. Steady on!

Then there’s the ‘free press’ or, at least, the Tory-supporting section of it, which is pretty much most of it. The stories. Oh, the stories! Yesterday, the Daily Mail ran with “Red Ed’s tangled love life” . Really! Ed Miliband dated before he got married. That’s the story. It’s like a Bizarro World version of an OK! magazine story. Cheap and toothless, it fails to deliver a blow against its intended target. It’s like being savaged by Geoffrey Howe’s legendary dead sheep!

The Tory campaign is a mess of their own (well, Crosby and possibly Gove’s) design. But it’s too late for their ship to change course, because they’re heading towards a huge iceberg that bears their name. The only way is down, baby…

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Conservative Party, General Election 2015

Greg Smith For Kensington?

I spotted this story in the revived local paper, The Fulham Chronicle (confusingly titled London Weekly News and Fulham Chronicle). According to The Chronicle, Greg Smith, the “high flying” leader of the opposition Tory group on Hammersmith and Fulham Council, is being tipped as the front runner for the newly vacated Kensington seat. But “high flying”? Someone’s having a laugh.

As readers will be aware, the current incumbent, Malcolm Rifkind, stepped down a couple of weeks ago after being suspended by his party for being caught on camera offering his services to an undercover reporter for a nice tidy sum. Labour’s Jack Straw was also caught, thus proving there’s little difference between Nu Labour and the Tories. In the ensuing row, Rifkind complained that his MP’s salary was insufficient and he could make loads of money elsewhere. Then he flounced off.

Greg Smith is well-known to this blog for being a member and founder of the Young Britons Foundation and for offering little in the way of opposition to the ruling Labour Party. The only big idea the Tories have offered is an anti-litter campaign and, er, that’s it. Since losing last year’s local government elections, Smith and his party are still licking their wounds and crying into their Martinis (or whatever they drink).

Kensington as a constituency is the revival of an old constituency of the same name. It was joined with Chelsea between 1997 and 2010 and is usually the kind of constituency that selects a high profile, often flamboyant, figure. Smith is neither of those things. Previous MPs for Kensington and Chelsea include Alan Clark and Michael Portillo. It was considered to be one of the safest Tory seats in the country.

The Chronicle’s article closes with “Councillor Smith is highly regarded in Conservative circles”. Shrugs. Well, how about stating the obvious for a change? If Smith is selected, then who will take his place as group leader? Mark Loveday, who, coincidentally is also a member of the YBF? I can’t think of anyone else.

Smith is up against the likes of Toby ‘Helmet Head’ Young; former H&F councillor and fellow YBF founder, Donal Blaney; footballer, Sol Campbell and cricketer Andrew Strauss. Christ, what a shower.

1 Comment

Filed under Conservative Party, General Election 2015, Government & politics, Hammersmith & Fulham Tories, London, Young Britons' Foundation

Tory youth wing ‘Conservative Future’ still singing “Hang Nelson Mandela” at meetings

Conservative Future (who look to the past) are still singing “Hang Mandela”. It’s interesting how this particular comment appeared on Harry ‘Foghorn’ Phibbs’ blog on Conservative Home. Phibbs, as you may recall, was once a member of the Federation of Conservative Students, the former rabid right youth wing of the Tory Party. Their mantle has been recently assumed by the Young Britons Foundation.

Pride's Purge

(not satire – it’s the Tories!)

Well at least until 2006 they were.

Let’s remind ourselves what the Tories used to openly say about Nelson Mandela.

‘Hang Nelson Mandela’ – Federation of Conservative Students

‘Nelson Mandela should be shot’ – Tory MP Teddy Taylor

‘The ANC is a typical terrorist organisation’ – Margaret Thatcher

‘This hero worship is very much misplaced’- Tory MP John Carlisle

‘How much longer will the Prime Minister allow herself to be kicked in the face by this black terrorist?’ – Tory MP Terry Dicks

etc etc etc

OK – that was a long time ago. Most people would say the modern Conservative Party has completely changed now.

Well , maybe.

Strange then that over at the Conservative Home website – a Tory supporter calling him or herself ‘Thatcher’s Stormtrooper‘ – states that members of today’s Tory youth wing ‘Conservative Future’ were still…

View original post 224 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Conservative Party, Government & politics, Young Britons' Foundation

Nightmare on King Street (Part 12): a round up

Things just go from bad to worse for the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. Their cherished dream of ‘redeveloping’ the West Kensington and Gibbs Green Estates as part of the Earl’s Court regeneration scheme has hit a massive pothole in the road. To add to their misery (Mmm, Schadenfreude, I love it!), the Council’s tax affairs, which have been reported in some detail by both Shepherds Bush blog and The Guardian’s Dave Hill, look set to kick another great big hole in their claim to fiscal responsibility.

Let’s look at Earl’s Court first. It would seem that LBHF has broken the law and tried to sign up tenants to some kind of “VIP list” if they co-operate with the Council’s scheme. We already know that the ruling Tory group, anxious about the huge opposition to its plan, had set up its own astroturf group as a means of claiming that it had complete support for the project. Of course this is a lie and to make matters worse, in January, the director of the pro-demolition group resigned.

Now what about that “VIP List”? Hill tells us,

Last month a document was handed to the Metropolitan Police containing information, which, it said, “substantiates allegations,” that officers of the Conservative flagship West London council of Hammersmith and Fulham promised preferential treatment in the allocation of new council homes to certain residents of two housing estates in the borough in return for their supporting the estates’ demolition as part of controversial proposed redevelopment scheme in the Earls Court area.

The document – entitled The Early Movers List: Homes for Votes? – claims to supply “evidence that may contribute to a police investigation into Misconduct in Public Office, which could lead to criminal charges,” and might additionally lead to civil litigation for a breach of the Housing Act 1996. I understand that Scotland Yard detectives have been making an assessment of the material.

Oops! On 11 October, Shepherds Bush blog tells us that the High Court has ruled against the Council.

And the Judge gives short shrift to our Council’s expensive lawyers who tried to get the application by the residents thrown out on the grounds it was submitted late. He had this to say:

“The defendants and interested parties [Hammersmith & Fulham Council and the Developers] argue that the claim was not filed properly and that permission should be refused. I am not persuaded that the claimants [the residents] should be denied permission on this basis.

Last week, the Evening Standard carried this story.

A flagship Tory council faces fines and back taxes of almost £1 million after failing to pay its correct tax bill.

Hammersmith and Fulham admitted a “careless” approach to its finances after telling HM Revenue and Customs 59 cases where it had not taken tax off employees at source, out of a total workforce of 4,800.

The council said it had failed to carry out proper checks on whether people were consultants, who are responsible for their own tax, or staff.

So much for economic literacy, eh? The Tories like to tell us that they’re “good with money” but it seems that they’re anything but. By the way, this expensive blunder happened while the Dear Departed Leader was in charge. He’s now Deputy Mayor for Policing. Yeah, breathtaking, isn’t it?

Meanwhile, the iconic Shepherds Bush Market is under threat. A High Court judged had earlier ruled that what the council’s plans were unlawful. Cllr Stephen Cowan writes,

On Monday night, Hammersmith and Fulham Council’s Conservative Administration met to vote through compulsory purchase orders (CPO) for the shops on the Goldhawk Road. They did this against the wishes of the small retailers who have long run those businesses  – many fearing that this will finish them off.

Incidentally, this is the same Monday night that LBHF Tories voted to end council tenancies for life and deny those with incomes of £40,000 a place on the waiting list. Cowan continues,

I asked the Conservative cabinet members why they had placed hundreds of thousand of pounds of tax payers’ money, their officials’ time and other resources at the disposal of their chosen property speculator. They explained they believed it was necessary to push this deal through.

“Necessary”? What’s the rush? Cowan explains what happened next,

Cllr. Mark Loveday (Con) made a somewhat emotional interjection involving shouting personal insults at my colleagues. In part this was his usual technique to try and stop a line of questioning. But, Cllr. Mark Loveday had been responsible for many of the unhappy deals the Conservative administration has made with big property speculators across the Borough. Regular readers will recall how he enjoyed a £12,000.00 tax payer funded jaunt to the French Riviera where he met many property speculators while hawking the Borough’s “contentious development sites.” He was also exposed as having misled the public about dealings with the same property speculator on another site. So Loveday’s ill-considered personal defensiveness is perhaps understandable.

Personal insults are what today’s crop of Tories use whenever they’re asked to provide explanations. They don’t much care for evidence or questions either. For to question them is to question G*d Himself – or so they like to think. Like many of his cohorts, Loveday is involved in the Young Britons Foundation. Speaking of which, Frank Manning,  YBF’s Campaign Co-ordinator recently wrote a defence of the Council’s decision to scrap tenancies for life on HF Tories blog site. Here’s the last paragraph of his article,

The current system is unsustainable. Houses worth more than £1 million are used as social housing, distorting the market and pushing up rents. In August, Policy Exchange released a very interesting report advocating the sell-off of high value council homes, allowing the government to use the funding to build new affordable homes. As usual, the left used emotive language such as ‘social cleansing’, but the real issue is quite simple. In these difficult economic times, there is only a certain amount of investment available for social housing, and it should be aimed primarily at those most in need and most deserving.

Dissembling. Damned dissembling. It’s a congenital disorder with these Tories.

Back to the Earls Court mess, yesterday the Council’s Chief Executive ordered Deloitte to investigate allegations of a “VIP list”. Shepherds Bush blog again,

More tax payers cash is lining the pockets of accountants as our Council has just responded to the legality of its actions over the West Ken Estate being ruled open to question by a High Court Judge not by simply co-operating with the police or answering the allegations in court, but by instructing Deloitte to investigate things independently.

Stupid question: but do you get the feeling that the Council has something to hide?

Finally, the Lib Dems have become involved. Caroline Pidgeon, the leader of the Lib Dems at City Hall has written to the Business Secretary, Vince Cable, expressing her concern over the way in which the Council has circumvented procedure and corrupted the processes. As I have learned from my own personal experience, the Council is arrogant, makes frequent errors that it refuses to acknowledge and rides roughshod over the wishes of residents.

Leave a comment

Filed under Hammersmith & Fulham, Hammersmith & Fulham Tories, London

Pickles plays the Hokey Cokey with the YBF

Eric Pickles talks rubbish

In a Guardian article from March 2010, Eric Pickles, then the Tory Party Chairman, said that he was “distancing the party from the Young Britons Foundation”.

If that’s the case, Nowhere Towers would like to know why he still turns up to address the young and not-so-young shock troops of the rabid right? Presumably, he’d tell us that he’s attending such meetings in a “personal capacity”. Yeah, okay, if you say so.

The Sontaran  also has close contact with the Trade Union Reform Campaign led by Young Turcs (geddit?) Aidan Burley and Mark Clarke, the YBF’s  “Outreach Officer. In fact, as Political Scrapbook tells us he’s attending this evening’s relaunch of TURC.

Burley was involved in an embarrassing Nazi incident just before Christmas that cost him his job as Justine Greening’s bag carrier. Oddly enough, Nazis didn’t like trade unions either.

So is Pickles in or is he out? Will he shake it all about? Ugh. That’s one mental picture  that I don’t want to see again.

1 Comment

Filed under Conservative Party, Young Britons' Foundation

Beyond fetishes? Union-bashing, Tories, Nazis and Aidan Burley

When it comes to truly barking right wing politicians, Hammersmith & Fulham knows how to produce them. In recent years it has churned out quite a crop of nutty right wingers, whose ‘philosophies’  intersect rather neatly with those of the far right.  While making a casual online search for updates on Aidan Burley… you know, he of the embarrassing Nazi incident, I came across this website.

After last month’s massive strike, Burley got the notion into his wee noodle to set up his own think-tank dedicated to smearing the trade unions.  He’s done this with the apparent blessing of Lord Snooty. The site’s “About Us” page says,

We campaign for reform of the laws and funding arrangements relating to trade unions. We do not oppose trade unions right to exist and to campaign on issues which are important to them. However, we do not believe that the hard pressed tax payer should be forced to pay for their campaigns either directly or indirectly. Furthermore, we believe that when trade unions take action which affects the wider public it should have a greater element of democratic legitimacy.

Burley has deliberately failed to spot the glaringly obvious: his party is funded by unaccountable millionaires and billionaires, none of whom are elected or accountable to anyone but themselves. 22 millionaires currently sit at the cabinet table. On the other hand, union leaders are elected by their members  and are accountable to their electors. Naturally we cannot expect someone of Burley’s character to understand something so simple. Let’s read on,

We provide quality research into trade union related affairs which highlight these issues. We welcome engagement from trade unionists, taxpayers, users of public services and the media who wish to engage with us. We are happy to provide media spokesmen or speakers for debates and public fora on these issues.

So, this this is a think-tank that’s also a union-busting service? It sounds like it. I’m not taken in by this promise of “quality research” either but then, dear readers, you wouldn’t expect me to be.

This organisation is run on a voluntary basis by people who work in both the public and private sectors, outside of their normal work hours. Just as trade unions should be.

I wonder who these volunteers are? More importantly, his view of unions appears to be a little, er, lopsided. How many of his fellow MPs are engaged on private business when they should be working on Commons business? Hmmmm? What about those expenses? The moats, the duck houses?

Helping Burley in his quest to further smash what’s left of Britain’s trade union movement is Harry Cole, Guido’s ‘news editor’.

The Tories are often quick enough to tell us how they loathe Nazis and, more recently, have been equally as quick to claim that Nazis were “socialists” because the word “Socialist” forms part of their name. In their haste to rush to such an untidy conclusion, they have ignored one rather important fact: Germany’s conservative Centre Party handed Hitler power of their own volition. Indeed, the German conservatives had many things in common with the Nazis: nationalism, law and order, crushing workers movements. Far from being supportive of trade unions, the Nazis saw them as enemies and banned them. I would wager that if Burley and other Tories had their way, they would doubtlessly follow the same path. Of course I am not saying that the Conservative Party is a Nazi party or a Nazi sympathizing party. That would be puerile.  Eh, Dan? But clearly there are individual members of the party who venerate Hitler and his vile party and we shouldn’t ignore this. After all, how many Labourites fetishize Stalin or Ceaucescu?

So it comes as no surprise to me that a young Tory, who was once a H&F councillor, should be seen associating with Nazi fetishists. His predecessor at H&F Council, Donal Blaney, made clear his thoughts about access to social housing that could have, quite easily, been spoken by a Nazi.

The Guardian said,

Conservative Central Office confirmed yesterday that it has opened an inquiry following a complaint from the Commission for Racial Equality about the Fulham Homes for Fulham People campaign led by Tory councillors Donal Blaney and Greg Hands.

One leaflet accused the London borough of Hammersmith and Fulham of denying a council house to a “local mum” whose place had been taken by “asylum seekers”.

The name Greg Hands should be familiar to most readers, he is now the MP for the newly created constituency of Fulham and Chelsea. Hands is an arch-Thatcherite, who was once the leader of the opposition Tory group before he was selected to stand for the old Hammersmith & Fulham constituency. He has also recently addressed the Young Britons Foundation.

In the week before Christmas, Burley apologised and was then promptly sacked from his position as Justine Greening’s PPS. According to the Daily Mail, Burley had even hired an SS uniform,

This veneration of the Nazis and their iconography is nothing new. Other Tories have been there before. The most notable example was the racist boor and self-styled rake, Alan Clark who, according to Socialist Unity, took the BNP’s John Tyndall out to lunch. That’s the same BNP that Hannan claims is “left-wing”.

Socialist Unity quoted this from one of Clark’s diaries,

‘Lunched with Frank Johnson [parliamentary sketch writer on The Times]. Frank pretended he wanted to talk about the Tory Party, but he really prefers to talk about the Nazis, concerning whom he is curious, but not, of course, sympathetic. Yes, I told him, I was a Nazi, I really believed it to be the ideal system, and that it was a disaster for the Anglo-Saxon races and for the world that it was extinguished. He both gulped and grinned, ‘But surely, er, you mean ideally in terms of administrative and economic policy you cannot really, er …’ Oh yes, I told him, I was completely committed to the whole philosophy. The blood and the violence was an essential ingredient of its strength, the heroic tradition of cruelty every bit as powerful and a thousand times more ancient than the Judaeo-Christian ethic.

The disgraced former MP, Neil Hamilton once made a Nazi salute while on a trip to Berlin in 1983.

The buffoonish image cultivated by Mr Hamilton in public has managed to gloss over his extreme views. Born in 1947 in a small Welsh mining town, he was a leading light in the Federation of Conservative Students and the ultra right at the university of Aberystwyth. A 1979 election flyer in Bradford, where Mr Hamilton was standing as Conservative candidate, espoused “coloured” repatriation, as did a speech to the Tory selection committee at the same time.

Oh yes, the FCS, I remember them and so does Craig Murray. The FCS is the predecessor of the YBF. Hamilton has recently joined UKIP.

I have previously quoted this blog from Dissembling Dan Hannan in which he claims that the BNP are a party of the “far left”.  His thesis looks even shakier now.

Leave a comment

Filed under Conservative Party, Government & politics, Young Britons' Foundation