Scandals R Us

Okay, it’s been a bad week for PM Gordon Brown. Is this the “bucket of shit” being poured over his head, a la Kelvin Mackenzie on John Major? It’s coming thick and fast, but is it enough to fool anyone about David Cameron?

I’d’ve liked to blog on all these things if I had the time, but here goes:

* The dodgy privatisation of Qinetiq, a publicly-owned defence research firm, which was sold to the Carlyle Group, which has links to both the Bush and Bin Laden families – and former UK PM John Major.

* The Datagate scandal develops: more discs were lost, it is revealed, including private information concerning Scottish NHS workers. The search for the child benefit dics has switched to the private mail firm involved, despite government claims that the discs were most likely still in their offices. Also, private data was given to accountants KPMG for auditing…

* Small firms are angry at government tax changes and lack of a clear strategy for SMEs, claims the CBI – the big business lobby – in an attempt to look like the defender of small capital whilst rescuing the private equity firms from paying the proper taxes. The Tories are hoping to win support by backing tax cuts for small businesses and, always with a whisper, cutting tax for big business, to boot…

* The MoD denies trying to bury plans to allow the US to use an RAF base in their missile offence system by sneaking out the approval on the last day of parliament. The Foreign Affairs Select Committee is demanding a parliamentary debate on the matter.

* After criticism of Brown from five former military chiefs about his “contempt” for the armed forces, there’s been a development on the question of Des Browne being both defence minister and Scottish secretary. The SNP have demanded that the Scotland Office be axed in favour of a more direct relationship between the devolved parliament and Westminster. I doubt this would happen, as it would strengthen the Scottish government and would make things awkward for Peter Hain at the Wales Office, which has had its budget doubled in a time of cuts.

* Another blow to the government’s case for internment – sorry, pre-charge detention extension – a study by the human rights group Justice shows that in the US, terrorism cases result in a charge being brought within 48 hours of arrest.

* The fishing industry’s problems with EU quotas – forcing them to throw dead fish back into the sea – has been highlighted in the last week. Now, a row over who started it all – the Tories blaming Labour, Labour insisting that the Tories brought in the quotas. Sure enough, it was brought in under the Tories in 1983 and this is rather opportunistic. Neither party will withdraw from the EU, which would be good for a whole host of reasons…

* More proof that New Labour is an anti-union party: the sacking of Michael Gavan, chair of Unison in Newham, by the Labour-run council for organising a meeting against privatisation. In short, he’s been sacked for trade unionism, like the mental health nurse Karen Reissmann in Manchester. Both their cases, and that of the Freemantle workers, have been flagged up by John McDonnell in an Early Day Motion, which you can and should urge your MP to sign.

 * And the most recent scandal is that Ray Ruddick, a Newcastle builder, has admitted giving money to Labour just hours after he denied knowledge of a massive donation to the party that was made in his name. Mr Ruddick is said to work closely with the Labour-linked property developer David Abrahams who now says he “gave the money to “friends and colleagues” Janet Kidd and Ray Ruddick to give to the party” to avoid publicity. I’m sure that more will be written about this one…

Have I missed anything?

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