Since the Conservative party came to power in 2010, they have been mired in non-stop scandals including accusations of corruption and abuse of office, being funded by dark money donations and more recent very serious accusations of accepting campaign cash from individuals closely associated with a hostile government to influence Brexit. There are more scandals to come – one of them will be the big Brexit Cover-up
In 2011, Defence Secretary Liam Fox put national security behind his own personal interests and was quite rightly dismissed in disgrace for it. Cash-for-access came the following year. This was about the clandestine receipt of money for delivering meetings with senior office-holders. Then there was the Westminister sexual misconduct scandal. That involved people from both sides of the house but notable Tories included the Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, Sec of State for Work and Pensions – Stephen Crabb, Mark Garnier, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Trade, and Damian Green, First Secretary of State and Minister for the Cabinet Office to name a few. Then another cash-for-access scandal came along with American donors wanting to influence Brexit.
Earlier this year, Muslim leaders accused the Conservative Party of “trying to cover up” details of its decisions to suspend Tory members accused of Islamophobia. The Muslim Council of Britain made the furious allegation after the party took no action against a string of members following complaints. Tory chiefs ended up saying that an unspecified number of people who were identified as Conservative Party members and made offensive comments were suspended pending further investigation. And then it was covered up.
In the book – Brexit – A Corporate Coup D’Etat there were a number of scandals and political cover-ups surrounding the biggest political crisis Britain has faced since WW2.
Take for instance dark money donations in Northern Ireland being covered up with legislation. What this really meant was that donor details before 2017 remained a state secret. This is because the new law will only cover funding received on or after July 2017. All donations and loans received before the 2017 cut-off will be kept confidential. There was no reason to legislate for this. However, hundreds of thousands of pounds in dark money donations funnelled its way through the DUP – some of which ended up in another political donor scandal in Scotland and both were connected to influencing the outcome of Brexit.
Before that, there was the economic impact report regarding the effects of Brexit on the economy that was leaked and then covered up in January 2018. The government response was to update the Official Secrets Act that then criminalised certain types of leaks by whistleblowers. The implication is that a whistleblower could end up in prison for 14 years. The message from the government was clear – leaking inconvenient truths meant being treated as a hostile foreign state spy – the equivalent of an act of international espionage.
Then the government silenced industry bosses over Brexit. But that was also leaked: “The government has forced “many dozens” of non-disclosure agreements (NDA’s) into the consultation process with logistics companies which operate at Britain’s borders. The agreements mean that the firms cannot publicly comment on information shared with the government about the impact of different Brexit scenarios on the movement of goods coming in and out of the country.”
Tory MP John Redwood was the main architect of another Brexit cover-up, but that got leaked, then reported in The Telegraph and it sounded more like a public state warning. Redwood ordered the corporate world in Britain to ‘toe-the-line’ or face the consequences of a post-Brexit Tory wrath that included being forcibly removed from their corporate positions if they failed to do so. Redwood is quoted as saying “companies who publicly back staying in EU will pay a ‘very dear economic and financial price”, with executives potentially losing their jobs.” Redwood went on to say: “This is absolutely crucial that these people get this. That it will be deeply disruptive to their businesses, and maybe even to their own tenure of their jobs if a chief executive with a handful of shares thinks he can put the voice of a multi-national corporation behind a highly intense political argument in one country in which they operate.”
VoxPolitical wrote: “How kind of John Redwood to give us all a glimpse of the kind of despotism Tories want to inflict on us all – by trying to inflict it on business bosses first.”
Redwood is also an ardent supporter of a highly influential ‘think tank’ that is certainly part of the Brexit propaganda machine – called the Legatum Institute. It turned out to be a fountainhead of false predictions, delusional thinking and empty promises. Its funding came from a shady Dubai-based private investment group backed by a New Zealander who, in the words of a Times article, allegedly made his money by “exploiting trading opportunities created by extreme political disruption”.
Operation Yellowhammer was another cover-up that went wrong. Yellowhammer was the codename used by the UK Treasury for cross-government civil contingency planning for the possibility of a no-deal Brexit. It got leaked just after Boris Johnson became PM. What the public was not aware of was that this document had been leaked a year earlier, hidden behind a paywall and the right-wing press ignored its inconvenient truth. “Britain would be hit with shortages of medicine, fuel and food within a fortnight if the UK tries to leave the European Union without a deal, according to a Doomsday Brexit scenario drawn up by senior civil servants for David Davis.”
Yes, the ‘Doomsday Scenario’ said the same thing as Yellowhammer and Brexit – A Corporate Coup D’Etat published its most salient contents including – confirmation that “the port of Dover will collapse if Britain crashes out of the EU, leading to critical shortages of supplies. This was the middle of three scenarios put forward by senior advisors.” In Yellowhammer, the same thing was said – but conveniently reclassified as the worst-case scenario and played down by the government. The Doomsday scenario story can be read HERE (paywall).
Another Brexit cover-up by the conservatives involved Theresa May. Prior to the EU referendum, there were many negative stories surrounding immigration. It was not until after the referendum, that the Home Office under Theresa May was found to have held back a number of other government-generated reports that detailed the positive impacts immigration had had upon Britain in recent decades.
Vince Cable said: “When I was Business Secretary there were up to nine studies that we looked at that took in all the academic evidence. It showed that immigration had very little impact on wages or employment. But this was suppressed by the Home Office under Theresa May because the results were inconvenient. I remember it vividly. Overwhelmingly it has been the case that overseas workers have been complementary rather than competitive to British workers.”
It turned out that emails dating back to 2014 show Lib Dem advisers, who were then in government as part of the coalition, complaining repeatedly about Theresa May’s deliberate interventions.
“A lot of the pro-free-movement evidence has been removed,” complained one adviser, citing a UCL report that said eastern European migrants were “58% less likely to live in social housing” than British born citizens and one showing migrants paid over £4 billion more in tax then they take in benefits. This was, if anything, a disgraceful cover-up by the government.”
Although not a cover-up as such, British Brexit negotiators have held many more meetings with American negotiators than disclosed. The cover for these secret shadow trade talks was blown when plans were accidentally published online. In the short time they were available to see, plans to form an “unprecedented” coalition of hard-Brexit and libertarian think tanks were shown to push for the ditching of strict EU safety standards. These safety standards included regulations in areas such as food and pharmaceuticals – they are now being pushed by Trump and accepted by British Brexit negotiations as the basis for a trade deal.
“On the other side of the Atlantic, the American Enterprise Institute and Heritage Foundation are listed as participants. The Cato Institute – which was founded by billionaire oil refiner, Charles Koch – will write the first draft of the “ideal” agreement.”
In one small example of what is to come – Liam Fox, the man in charge of Brexit negotiations at the time said the British media were obsessed with chlorinated chickens. However, documents obtained under freedom of information requests revealed that the chlorinated chicken issue was one of the first things Fox was lobbied about when he met with the hard-right libertarian Heritage Foundation – just a week after his appointment as trade secretary.
The plan was to outline the UK/US trade deal blueprint in April – a month after the initial Brexit deadline. That plan will be much more advanced as Brexit continues to be delayed. All these meetings are held in secret, perhaps in the same place where the government has already spent £12 million of taxpayers cash on a luxury penthouse apartment in New York for its trade diplomat to help negotiate a deal.
There are other cover-ups regarding Brexit. One was a huge report made up of 32 reports on the UK-EU relationship across a wide variety of sectors. It took from 2011 to 2014 to build and was to be used by David Cameron as information to bear down on the EU prior to offering a referendum. The whole exercise was intended to trawl for eurosceptic backup to help David Cameron bully for repatriation of powers back from Brussels. It was hailed by William Hague as the “most extensive analysis of the impact of UK membership of the EU ever undertaken”. And what did it eventually find? Nothing. There wasn’t one area with a case for transferring powers back from Brussels.
According to a critical Lords report on this, the government had spent £5million on commissioning the work and then not a penny in promoting it when they found the contents to be useless for their needs. In fact, Cameron buried the last tranche of the reports under the 2014 floods. The BBC barely mentioned the existence of the report, nor did the rest of the media.
These extensive government generated reports called the ‘Balance of Competences‘ was a tremendous opportunity to openly ask influential individuals across a full range of sectors to air their expertise about the consequences of Brexit – but this information was deliberately suppressed by the government.
We should not forget the Tory ministers and peers invested in the Cambridge Analytica scandal who were (allegedly) involved in the theft of mass data and the use of illegal tools to deliver billions of pieces of fake news and propaganda to swing undecided voters. We should not forget industrial-scale voter suppression tactics being legalised by the current government or the scale of dark-money coursing through the veins of Britain’s democracy. We should not ignore the electoral commission swamped with investigations of political wrong-doing and ongoing police cases against Brexit campaigners and their organisations – including one fronted by Boris Johnson.
Remarkably, Boris Johnson also stands accused of presiding over another cover-up after it emerged that No 10 refused to clear the publication of a potentially incendiary report examining Russian infiltration in British politics, that includes the Conservative party and donations. The dossier specifically examines Russian attempts to interfere in the 2016 EU referendum on Brexit. Allegations that Moscow money has flowed into the Conservative party via emigres living in the UK making high-profile donations, were also made. Dominic Cummings was also named – we don’t know why specifically. And also don’t forget, this is not some pre-election smear campaign – this is all information generated by Britain’s own spy and security agencies – the bad bits were redacted and then the entire report covered-up. This story alone has many ramifications.
This government is now characterised by its lying, backstabbing and double-dealing, by scandal, corruption, cover-ups and abuse of office. It is also accused of colluding with a foreign state to assist in its own political agenda. This all sounds like a conspiracy theory or some sort of fictional novel – sadly, it is the inner workings of the current British government about to be re-elected.