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3 minutes ago, VikingVoyager said:

And those that downplay the sheer levels of it that are going on since 2019 are in the same boat

It has been going on since the dawn of the human species, but the volume of opportunities has grown greater with each passing generation. So instead of one person having a lot of benefit, the benefit is spread more widely with each getting a proportionally smaller amount of a bigger pie.

The current government has been far more Trumpian in it's blatancy.

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We've a young crowd in here today!

It will be pasta and rice next, how have they got through the stockpiles from March?

The Corona virus hit Roscoff overnight, several victims in a critical state.....🤪 Chris

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56 minutes ago, David Williams said:

It is interesting that the Countries that are better at getting their citizens to do what they are told or have given them no options have been better at reducing the virus.

We should all stop thinking of our rights and freedoms and start thinking of our responsibilities. These are not normal times.

Like a war, this will end at some point and we must reduce the number of casualties before we get there. If the Allied Command had every decision and failure securitised by armchair warriors they would not have been able to take the actions needed as circumstances changed.

Which countries were you thinking of? Greece or something more extreme like Taiwan? 

The analogy to a war is not entirely accurate.

In a war, the more you fight the more people you lose but the more freedom you gain.

In this case it's the opposite. The more we fight, the less people we lose but the more freedom we lose.

It's more akin to a fight against a domestic insurrection where you suspect everyone, trust no-one and have your every move observed and controlled. 

Ed. 

 

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1 minute ago, VikingVoyager said:

And instigated a step-change in jobs for friends and allies

It depends on who you are taking about. Cabinet and ministerships have always been a reward for friends and allies.

For political advisors, it goes back to the Wilson government of 1974 where external or special advisors was increased from a few to 30 but mainly for their ability. During the Conservative governments this number stayed roughly the same but the appointees came more political. Blair then made another step change by appointing the largest number of 'external advisors' to date, doubling it to more than 70. The Conservative governments then increased this number, mostly under Cameron, to around one hundred today.  

The change for this 2019 government is that Cummings wants political appointees in the Civil Service US style, rather than the traditional goal of a politically neutral role for the Civil Service.

Unfortunately as the brief history has shown, this suits both sides of the political spectrum so is unlikely to be rolled back without outcry somewhere. 

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1 hour ago, imprimerie said:

The government's side has not been put as well as solutions.Critic is all very well but give us reasonable alternatives and solutions.

I hope you are not serious.

We have had a relentless onslaught of government publicity since the start of the whole situation. If in this time they have not been able to put across their side, then it is their own lack of ability and probably indicative of the calibre of people in government - France, UK or where ever.

Plenty of solutions have been suggested, here and elsewhere, but either ignored or disregarded because it doesn't fit with their current beliefs, or probably more likely their limited thinking on what is possible due to misinformation etc. Governments have ignored them due to not fitting in with their actions and having to admit error.

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16 minutes ago, Shipping Forecast said:

It depends on who you are taking about. Cabinet and ministerships have always been a reward for friends and allies.

For political advisors, it goes back to the Wilson government of 1974 where external or special advisors was increased from a few to 30 but mainly for their ability. During the Conservative governments this number stayed roughly the same but the appointees came more political. Blair then made another step change by appointing the largest number of 'external advisors' to date, doubling it to more than 70. The Conservative governments then increased this number, mostly under Cameron, to around one hundred today.  

The change for this 2019 government is that Cummings wants political appointees in the Civil Service US style, rather than the traditional goal of a politically neutral role for the Civil Service.

All of the above plus government contracts.

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55 minutes ago, Shipping Forecast said:

I hope you are not serious.

We have had a relentless onslaught of government publicity since the start of the whole situation. If in this time they have not been able to put across their side, then it is their own lack of ability and probably indicative of the calibre of people in government - France, UK or where ever.

Plenty of solutions have been suggested, here and elsewhere, but either ignored or disregarded because it doesn't fit with their current beliefs, or probably more likely their limited thinking on what is possible due to misinformation etc. Governments have ignored them due to not fitting in with their actions and having to admit error.

100% correct! 

The UK government does not appear to have considered anything other than what Whitty and Valence has told them. On that point, has anyone seen Pinky and Perky recently? Since their dodgy dossier was torn to shreds last week they appear to have vanished. 

Ed

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17 minutes ago, VikingVoyager said:

All of the above plus government contracts.

Again, always has been, always will be and the current UK government are just being more blatant.

And again mostly in the past entities have been more subtle about it with contract briefs worded to favour one party, unpaid favours and so forth.

Plus there are all the regional and local government bodies and quangos who are far less visible to the public.

The current situation has thrown it all into sharp relief due to the volume of new contracts, the need to appoint people / companies quickly, government ineptitude and the spare time outsiders have had to dig deeper. 

I hope that the Good Law Project legal challenge to cronyism succeeds for this and all future governments whatever their political colour.

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3 hours ago, Shipping Forecast said:

 Glasses wearers have one up here. 

I beg to differ there. Glasses wearers may have some degree of eye protection but masks ensure they are in greater danger of injury or death from other causes as we can't see where we're going half the time.😃

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Am I the only one getting fed up with Johnson's similes? Tooting bugles, now it's 'pummelling' the virus and we have had other nonsense previously. The man has a tin ear when it comes to resonating with people. He loves his silly quotes.

I think we all just want a reasoned sober assessment without any gung ho flourishes which he obviously feels will 'buck everyone up'.

The reality is that the latest vaccine news is very encouraging but it is likely to take until  early next summer before a majority of the vulnerable population is vacinated and it is effective. We still have to get through the winter months. Yet holiday bookings for early 2021 have soared. People don't seem to have got the message.

And that is dependent on the NHS being able to cope. I went along for my flu jab at my surgery this afternoon and was told that they had been having problems with their fridges but they were sure it would be OK. I elected to go ahead on a 'what the hell' basis.

I hope they get their fridges sorted out though....

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3 hours ago, VikingVoyager said:

And again - for "more blatant", read big increase.

To be factual as possible for big increase ...

The Cabinet is a fairly defined size so this is relatively size neutral for increases political favouritism. The table is only a certain size.

Special Advisors - most Cabinet members are allowed two, and a few minsters of state are allowed one. A few  Cabinet members due to the breadth of the portfolio tend to have more than two - Foreign Secretary, Leader of Lords, Home Secretary, Chancellor of The Duchy of Lancaster but these are three or four not an army.

The Chancellor has a couple more, Sajid Javid had six. The only person that is 'unlimited' is the PM. The last figure I saw was the PM had 46, whereas May had 37. In total it looks like a 17% increase which may seem large, compared to end of May's government with an increase of 30% from 2010, Blair's increase of 121%, Major / Thatcher government period of 26%, or Wilson with 275%. In numerical terms Blairs appointed almost double Johnson's new intake and is the biggest step increase in history.

For those interested the biggest influx of new to government special advisors was in 2010 with Cameron at 63. Boris had 58 but almost a corresponding number left. The current annual bill for all these advisors is around £10m.

What has happened under Johnson is that there was a massive turnover of special advisors when he entered government which along with the more higher profile, tweet friendly, younger people appointed, made the issue more apparent. Johnson is also Trumpian in not caring what the man on street thinks about such matters so will be blatant.

As for quango's and institutions from the BBC to OFCOM to NHS Tack and Trace, there are a lot of these so more opportunities for appointees. The new positions is where the growth has come from, the rest is from churn where they don't tow the line or don't want to work with the current regime so left.

The higher turnover has made the appointment of favourites more apparent, especially to high profile topical roles; yes there is an increase, but not the massive jump MSM seems to like to make out. I would also point out that under Blair in the first year of office 75% of appointees were Labour favourites and ironically over 60% of appointments in Cameron's first year had left leaning inclinations.

 

I say this not to defend Johnson or any other government but to set out the real numbers as far as possible. All are available from sources like HMG, Public Appointments Commission etc. I doubt numbers are fully up to date as there is churn, new appointments etc.

For me politicians and political parties are all curate's eggs and as such I am completely ambivalent towards to all of them. The flip flopping depending on the party on power of they are an outrageous expense to a vital asset is almost Monty Pythonese.

The real question for special advisors, quango appointees and possibly politicians, is what are their qualifications to do the job and do we really need them? Or are the only crony qualifications?

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11 minutes ago, Shipping Forecast said:

 

To be factual as possible for big increase ...

The Cabinet is a fairly defined size so this is relatively size neutral for increases political favouritism. The table is only a certain size.

Special Advisors - most Cabinet members are allowed two, and a few minsters of state are allowed one. A few  Cabinet members due to the breadth of the portfolio tend to have more than two - Foreign Secretary, Leader of Lords, Home Secretary, Chancellor of The Duchy of Lancaster but these are three or four not an army.

The Chancellor has a couple more, Sajid Javid had six. The only person that is 'unlimited' is the PM. The last figure I saw was the PM had 46, whereas May had 37. In total it looks like a 17% increase which may seem large, compared to end of May's government with an increase of 30% from 2010, Blair's increase of 121%, Major / Thatcher government period of 26%, or Wilson with 275%. In numerical terms Blairs appointed almost double Johnson's new intake and is the biggest step increase in history.

For those interested the biggest influx of new to government special advisors was in 2010 with Cameron at 63. Boris had 58 but almost a corresponding number left. The current annual bill for all these advisors is around £10m.

What has happened under Johnson is that there was a massive turnover of special advisors when he entered government which along with the more higher profile, tweet friendly, younger people appointed, made the issue more apparent. Johnson is also Trumpian in not caring what the man on street thinks about such matters so will be blatant.

As for quango's and institutions from the BBC to OFCOM to NHS Tack and Trace, there are a lot of these so more opportunities for appointees. The new positions is where the growth has come from, the rest is from churn where they don't tow the line or don't want to work with the current regime so left.

The higher turnover has made the appointment of favourites more apparent, especially to high profile topical roles; yes there is an increase, but not the massive jump MSM seems to like to make out. I would also point out that under Blair in the first year of office 75% of appointees were Labour favourites and ironically over 60% of appointments in Cameron's first year had left leaning inclinations.

 

I say this not to defend Johnson or any other government but to set out the real numbers as far as possible. All are available from sources like HMG, Public Appointments Commission etc. I doubt numbers are fully up to date as there is churn, new appointments etc.

For me politicians and political parties are all curate's eggs and as such I am completely ambivalent towards to all of them. The flip flopping depending on the party on power of they are an outrageous expense to a vital asset is almost Monty Pythonese.

The real question for special advisors, quango appointees and possibly politicians, is what are their qualifications to do the job and do we really need them? Or are the only crony qualifications?

As mentioned above, I was thinking more about government contracts.

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20 minutes ago, VikingVoyager said:

I was thinking more about government contracts.

There has not been a massive increase in government contracts except with regard to COVID which didn't exist at the start of the year so you would expect some increase.

Crony contracts are not new. In a transport vein example, going back to early sixties when Earnest Marples as Transport Minister commissioned Dr Beeching to cut railways, while his road building firm got contracts for increase in road building, doubly benefiting from reduced rail travel. Again Trumpian blatant before Trump.

However it is done from contract specs, insider trading, regulation, legal, tax breaks, grants, monopolies, unpaid favours, old boys clubs, nice job afterwards etc, government cronyism has existed from the start. Like much of the way Johnson acts, he has done contract awarding in a crass manner, but he also knows there is a high probability nothing will happen to him, and if the crony company loses out getting caught, "hard luck chaps". Or the company goes bankrupt and the money disappears, Seaborne Freight ... ? The government picks up the legal bill and provides protection.

At that level it is a game, and like gambling, you only have to win a few to be ahead. Different mindset. Stay inside the technical law, but probably over most people's ethical boundary. Why are most of the wealthy wealthy?

The real trick is get to a level of wealth or wealth influence where government doesn't matter and all doors open. Bit like bankers in the last war who dealt with all sides, as the countries all needed money to prosecute the war.

Nothing new, move along please.

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Running the risk of being political .... the current mob in charge have been busy dismantling democracy to allow a small number of people around the PM to do what they like, regardless of parliament. Self interest has meant that the majority allowed this, though many are now wearing brown trousers.

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I'm not sure that the argument that because something always happened in the past makes it acceptable now. The reverse should be the case. By now governments should have learnt better. Corruption is corruption regardless of when it was done and by whom. 

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1 hour ago, colin said:

Running the risk of being political .... the current mob in charge have been busy dismantling democracy to allow a small number of people around the PM to do what they like, regardless of parliament.

Trying to ignore democracy or pervert the course of democracy a better description, as the prorogation case showed? Perverting the course of democracy sounds much worse.

1 hour ago, Rattler43 said:

I'm not sure that the argument that because something always happened in the past makes it acceptable now. The reverse should be the case. By now governments should have learnt better. Corruption is corruption regardless of when it was done and by whom. 

If this is in reference to my last cronyism post, then I am just stating cronyism in some form goes on at all levels from government down. Cronyism in itself is not illegal, giving a work to a someone we know is a form of cronyism and unsurprisingly that is how most work is awarded, it only becomes corruption if it breaks the law or agreed rules.

As above "Stay inside the technical law, but probably over most people's ethical boundary."

However that boundary is fuzzy and very hard to prove and good cronies do it at arm's length. Using a couple of recent examples, and before doing so I must state that I am not implying anything nor accusing anyone. They are just theoretical examples. 

Did Chris Grayling in giving that contract to Seaborne Freight do it because he was misled, was a chump, expected a £100k port consultation job afterwards, directly pocketed part of the £13.8m or another reason? Directly pocketing definitely corruption, job maybe but easily defendable, but the first two no. Arms length corruption would be the offshore bank account in the tax haven.

Or the companies given PPE contracts. Opportunistic capitalism for people with the skills to arbitrage the situation or cronyism? Or companies doing one thing and switching what they do to take advantage of the situation with PPE, again opportunistic capitalism or cronyism? Many business owners have had to pivot due to the economic conditions of the current situation.

If you want the other view, then how about the whole KPMG kerfuffle with the Labour government back at the start of the 2000s, special advisors, contracts, KPMG's clients etc?

Going back a bit, the word crony comes from the mid 1600s and cronyism from early 1800s. Not a recent thing then and the UK through it's history has refined discrete cronyism down to an art especially with a established legal system. There are so many forms, it is easy to engineer to appear non favourable, and legally proving is hard. That is why Boris, Dominic and their pals are incompetent buffoons when it comes to this. Not commenting on anything else they do ... 

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11 hours ago, Shipping Forecast said:

Trying to ignore democracy or pervert the course of democracy a better description, as the prorogation case showed? Perverting the course of democracy sounds much worse.

If this is in reference to my last cronyism post, then I am just stating cronyism in some form goes on at all levels from government down. Cronyism in itself is not illegal, giving a work to a someone we know is a form of cronyism and unsurprisingly that is how most work is awarded, it only becomes corruption if it breaks the law or agreed rules.

As above "Stay inside the technical law, but probably over most people's ethical boundary."

However that boundary is fuzzy and very hard to prove and good cronies do it at arm's length. Using a couple of recent examples, and before doing so I must state that I am not implying anything nor accusing anyone. They are just theoretical examples. 

Did Chris Grayling in giving that contract to Seaborne Freight do it because he was misled, was a chump, expected a £100k port consultation job afterwards, directly pocketed part of the £13.8m or another reason? Directly pocketing definitely corruption, job maybe but easily defendable, but the first two no. Arms length corruption would be the offshore bank account in the tax haven.

Or the companies given PPE contracts. Opportunistic capitalism for people with the skills to arbitrage the situation or cronyism? Or companies doing one thing and switching what they do to take advantage of the situation with PPE, again opportunistic capitalism or cronyism? Many business owners have had to pivot due to the economic conditions of the current situation.

If you want the other view, then how about the whole KPMG kerfuffle with the Labour government back at the start of the 2000s, special advisors, contracts, KPMG's clients etc?

Going back a bit, the word crony comes from the mid 1600s and cronyism from early 1800s. Not a recent thing then and the UK through it's history has refined discrete cronyism down to an art especially with a established legal system. There are so many forms, it is easy to engineer to appear non favourable, and legally proving is hard. That is why Boris, Dominic and their pals are incompetent buffoons when it comes to this. Not commenting on anything else they do ... 

Cronyism or corruption? I suspect that in most peoples view there's not much difference between the two. They both work to the detriment of the general population whether one is legal and the other is not makes no odds. To those not receiving the things governments pay for or more probably over pay for the distinction is purely academic.

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11 minutes ago, Rattler43 said:

Cronyism or corruption? I suspect that in most peoples view there's not much difference between the two. They both work to the detriment of the general population whether one is legal and the other is not makes no odds. To those not receiving the things governments pay for or more probably over pay for the distinction is purely academic.

What we think, or whether it is academic, is irrelevant In the eyes of the court.

Cronyism does not mean that it is to the detriment to anyone or people are over paying or not getting the service / goods. At it’s base form, cronyism is giving a job, work / contract to a party you favour for whatever reason.

It also does not have to be for monetary reward but it can be for other reasons like political ideology, religious beliefs, heritage et al.

From here, you work your way up through appointing people not suitable for the job, which would probably apply to most politicians appointed to most cabinet / minister positions especially initially, to unsuitable companies etc before arriving at the doors of corruption.

As for governments, just because a job or contract is awarded legitimately, it does not mean they are getting what they pay for or not over paying; the list is long and full in many sectors of the unfulfilled or over paid. But now we are really getting into wider territory, governmental policy and reform.

The only way to prevent cronyism is to hit politicians where it hurts with votes, or by independent legal challenges such as the Good Law Project over Dido Harding - https://goodlawproject.org/news/cronyism/

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