Conservative donor Lord Ashcroft gets lucrative chumocracy contract

https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/dark-money-investigations/revealed-tory-donor-lord-ashcrofts-outsourcing-firm-given-350m-vaccination-contract/

A healthcare company ultimately controlled by leading Tory donor and former party chairman, Lord Ashcroft, has received a £350m contract as part of the government’s COVID-19 vaccination roll-out, openDemocracy has learned.

Last month the Department of Health and Social Care gave the lucrative contract to Medacs Healthcare plc. In recent weeks, the outsourcing company, which specialises in providing staff to the NHS, social care services and private healthcare providers, has been advertising for staff to work on the huge vaccination project.

Medacs is a subsidiary of Impellam Group, a FTSE-listed firm whose largest shareholder is Michael Ashcroft, the Belize-based Conservative peer who has donated millions to the party, including more than £175,000 in the past year.

The award of a major COVID contract to a firm with close ties to the Tories has sparked further questions about politically connected firms benefiting financially from the UK’s pandemic response.

Medacs was criticised in 2019 when a Care Quality Commission report on a homecare service run by the firm was rated “inadequate”.

The regulator found “that the care people received was not safe. The majority of people’s care calls were not delivered at the time they were expected and people gave examples of where this had impacted significantly upon them and the safety of the care that they received.”

Furthermore the report noted that: “medicines records were not kept up to date and CQC identified instances where medicines records showed a potential overdose”.

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Memo to President Biden and Vice-President Harris

I congratulate President Bident and Vice-President Harris on becoming president and vice-president and I sincerely wish you well.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

It’s not black and white

A few music vids. Although I have dedicated these to some abbreviated names, I don’t want to exclude anyone & these are for all who believe that they deserve them. They are also for everyone to enjoy and perhaps reflect. X

CM(y), OD(y), CD(s)

Ttn & me ;) Isn’t it? AFa,

AFa again, JJ & BHs

Everyone. Probably more to follow. Love X

edit: Respect to everyone who is pursuing similar objectives. X

ed: Missed JC, I have a lot of respect for him.

later: Fun pantomine farce How Not to live your life Don’s Posh weekend

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UK govt attributing blame for Covid-19 on the general public

Nishat Siddiqi is a consultant cardiologist based in South Wales. He discusses the UK government under Boris Johnson’s lamentable response to the Coronavirus crisis. Boris ‘the falaffel’ Johnson neglected to attend 5 consecutive Cobra meetings addressing the UK’s response to Coronavirus.

Shifting the Blame

By Nishat Siddiqi

As Britain’s Covid death toll exceeds 100,000, the government has set out to blame the public – but from the very beginning its recklessness, ineptitude and cronyism have paved the way for this tragedy.

Because reality showed Boris to be wrong, the government has firmly decided that we, the supposedly feckless general public, are primarily to blame. During one of her rare public briefings on the coronavirus, Priti Patel proudly declared that the police have issued 45,000 fines to people who have flouted the rules, saying that a minority of people were putting the health of the nation at risk. Scrolling through Twitter feeds of my fellow doctors, I often see remarks on how the flow of traffic has not reduced, unlike the first lockdown. They ask: “where are all these people going and why aren’t they staying home?”

Meanwhile, contracts for PPE were awarded to firms with no experience in this field, but with close links to the Conservative Party, often leading to delays, substandard equipment and the waste of millions of pounds. Since 11 March, at least 216 frontline health and social care workers have died from Covid-19, with many complaining about inadequate PPE before succumbing to the virus. The British Medical Association is now calling for all healthcare workers to be given face masks identical to the ones used in ICUs.

Johnson promised a “world beating” test and trace system. But like so many of his promises, the reality was a source of national shame more than pride. The outsourcing to companies with next-to-no experience led to an overwhelmed system with poor communication between private companies and the NHS. The initial policy of discharging elderly patients from hospital back to care homes without testing for the virus was an unforgivable move that led to the virus spreading among some of our most vulnerable people; the fact that this coincided with strict lockdown measures, meaning that many care home residents were denied visits from loved ones, only added to the tragedy.

As Johnson finally condemns Trump, Britain should examine its own shift to the right

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Donald Trump and pedophile (paedophile) Jeffrey Epstein

Paedophile is the UK English spelling of US pedophile. It may be a little surprising what you find if you search the internet better for this …

Donald Trump and paedophile / pedophile Jeffrey Epstein

Donald Trump and paedophile / pedophile Jeffrey Epstein

Donald Trump and paedophile / pedophile Jeffrey Epstein’s accomplice Ghislane Maxwell

Paedophile / Pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, Ghislane Maxwell, Donald Trump & his missus

Paedophile / Pedophole Jeffrey Epstein and P/P? Donald Trump

ed: Looks like the last photo is Trump’s daughter looking uncomfortable. It’s still clear that he was close to paedophile / pedophile Jeffrey Epstein and his accomplice Ghislane Maxwell.

9/1/21 later

https://www.esquire.com/entertainment/tv/a32784116/jeffrey-epstein-donald-trump-connection-friendship-explained/

The wealthy pair were fixtures of the 1980s and 1990s society scene. “In those days, if you didn’t know Trump and you didn’t know Epstein, you were a nobody,” famed attorney Alan Dershowitz, who’s served as a lawyer for both men, told The New York Times last year.

The same Times article told of a party the future president hosted at his Mar-a-Lago club in 1992. The guest list? Epstein, Trump, and 28 “calendar girl” competition contestants. Ten years later, Trump told New York Magazine that he’d known Epstein for 15 years. “Terrific guy,” said Tantrump. “He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.” Trump’s name appears on the flight log for Epstein’s plane, and Epstein’s brother claimed that Trump flew on the aircraft “numerous times”

When the allegations against Epstein became national news in 2019, Tantrump distanced himself from the convicted sex offender, saying that he “was not a fan” of the disgraced financier and eventually banned him from Mar-a-Lago.

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Regarding Trump

Let's address a few issues about Resident Donald Trump.

The US Congress building was besieged and invaded by intimidating Trump supporters yesterday to disrupt the certification of Biden as the next US president.

The rioting mob was directly incited and encouraged by Trump and Rudolph Giuliani. Giuliani called for "trial by combat" which I understand is what knights in armour in medieval times got up to so he's certainly somewhat divorced from reality.

I have some difficulty blaming the rampaging mob actually. The problem is that they have been wound up by Trump, Giuliani & Co for months on end. The deluded rampaging mob probably truly believed that they were defending democracy while those truly responsible will likely avoid being held to account due to their privileged positions.

What of Trump himself? While he quite possible believes that he is a very stable genius he is in reality a very maladjusted megalomaniacal and narcissistic fekking moron. You have to be extremely fekking moronic to fail to understand that he lost the election fair and square, that he's a luser sacked by the US electorate. His latest tantrum may be about him losing attention.

We've leaned that he's a racist misogynist and Fascist. A Fascist evidenced by his disregard for democracy and the rule of law and his authoritarianism. We've seen this in his actions abroad before his latest spree in the US.
 
We also know that he was associated with Jeffrey Epstein, wished Epstein's accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell well, promised his 17-year-old daughter that he would not date anyone younger than her - although we also know that he's a prolific liar or otherwise a total stranger to the truth - and that he would inspect semi-naked teenagers in beauty pageant changing-rooms. 

Oh, and a tax evader. I'm sure that I've missed more.

Trump is such a moron that he's shat on the very people he's going to depend on. Such people might take more of an interest in his affairs, security may be less inclined to provide a fully attentive service after he endangered capitol police, he may have alienated himself from many circles

...



Trump lies “I’ll be there with you.”

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Memo to Resident Trump: You’re fired

Well. it wasn’t me who fired you, it was the US electorate.

I would like to add, however, that you are a total useless corrupt shit.

ed: Actually, it’s worse than that. The World would have been a much better place without you.

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Youth Activists Ring In 2021 With Renewed Demand That World ‘Wake Up to the Climate Crisis’

Published on Friday, January 01, 2021 by Common Dreams

“It must be the year we take real action instead of continuing to repeat meaningless words and empty promises.”byAndrea Germanos, staff writer

11 December 2020, Hamburg: Activists with "Fridays for Future" display a prop demanding climate action on December 11, 2020 in Hamburg, Germany.

Activists with “Fridays for Future” display a prop demanding climate action on December 11, 2020 in Hamburg, Germany. (Photo: Axel Heimken/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Youth activists around the world kicked off the new year Friday with a fresh round of #ClimateStrike actions and demands that 2021 be the year policymakers take sufficiently bold action to address the climate emergency.

Many of the pleas included the hashtag #ClimateStrikeOnline, as the coronavirus crisis has forced many “school strike for climate” events to be virtual.

“2021 must be the year that we finally wake up to the climate crisis,” tweeted Sydney-based activist Patsy Islam-Parsons, noting that it was her 69th week of Fridays for Future actions.

“It must be the year we take real action instead of continuing to repeat meaningless words and empty promises,” she wrote.

Greta Thunberg, who catalyzed the worldwide Fridays for Future movement, shared her signature Skolstrejk för Klimatet placard in a Friday tweet and said, “New year, same crisis.”

The Swedish teen’s message was mirrored in a tweet from Leah Namugerwa of Uganda, who wrote: “This is week 99 #schoolstrike4climate in Uganda. The struggle continues…”

Other climate activists added their hopes for the new year on social media as well.

Please see missing content at the original document: Youth Activists Ring In 2021 With Renewed Demand That World ‘Wake Up to the Climate Crisis’

Dominique Palmer, a climate justice activist and member of the U.K. Student Climate Network, put the sweeping changes needed to address the climate emergency in the context of the global efforts that emerged to contain the spread of Covid-19.

“This year has shown that urgent action in times of a crisis is possible, and now more than ever is the time to push for a green recovery,” Palmer tweeted, pointing to a need for a system that “fundamentally restructures the economy for a habitable future.”

In an op-ed published Thursday at the Guardian, Greenpeace U.K. executive director John Sauven also addressed the simultaneous crises. He wrote, in part:

[W]hile the pandemic was raging, so was the climate emergency, like two horror films overlapping. We saw record-breaking wildfires engulf the West Coast of the U.S., a record number of powerful Atlantic storms, the Arctic ice failing to freeze in late October, and deadly floods hitting countries from Italy to Indonesia. We got a glimpse of a chaotic world battered by multiple crises, each making the other worse, and it was terrifying.

Exceptional as the calamities of 2020 may seem, they could be just a taste of what’s to come unless we change direction.

“It’s clear,” wrote Sauven, “that nothing short of a complete transformation of our economy and society can save us from climate breakdown.” He continued:

This is why sliding back to the old normal is not an option. Unless we stop oil firms drilling for more oil, food giants destroying rainforests, and destructive fishing depleting our seas, the worst isn’t over—it’s just begun. Ending the pandemic is only half the job—we must also start something new and better. We must create new green jobs, invest in communities, and tackle the hardship faced by many at the same time. And 2021 is the year to do it.

That call for change was also captured in a New Year’s Eve tweet from Thunberg. 

“May 2021 be the year of awakening and real bold change,” wrote Thunberg. “And let’s all continue the never-ending fight for the living planet.”

Republished under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

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Brexiteer Farage calls for NHS to be abolished

Posted in Brexit, Nigel Farage | Leave a comment

Boris …

“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm”

Winston Churchill

UK Prime – for you to insert here – Minister Boris Johnson was absent from the first five COBRA meetings addressing Coronavirus.

… Boris crap Johnson, Boris absent Johnson, Boris Johnson, Boris nothing more than unruly hairedness Johnson, Boris pfaff Johnson …

Posted in Boris 'Rice pudding' Johnson, Boris Johnson, politics | Tagged | Leave a comment

Christmas / Mid-winter Appeal

Image of goats

I’ve not done a Christmas / Mid-winter appeal before so here we go.

The Christmas celebration is terribly wasteful – we often give people gifts that they don’t want or need. If you can afford it, I’m asking you to support ActionAid or a similar charity this year. Gifts can be bought from ActionAid UK here. Looks like you can buy from outside UK or otherwise please find a similar charity.

The advantages of buying a gift from ActionAid is that you’re not being wasteful – you’re buying something that someone actually needs and it’s also very good value.

There’s also the change to hit the jackpot. Send the card to a current resident of Pennsylvania Avenue and you’ll hit 3 out of 3. I’m sure that he’ll be so pleased that you’ve bought him a gift supporting black women in one of those &#!7#0l3 countries he loves so much.

I wish you all a happy Mid-winter festival. Take care and please remember that it’s not too wise to travel all over the country atm.

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The trouble with Boris Johnson

Well c’mon you all know the trouble with Boris Johnson. He’s am upper-class twat.

Image of Boris Johnson wearing Bullingdon Club uniform

I’ll have to continue this but I think that you understand. It’s not only that he’s a twat, it’s also that he’s a condescending upper-class twat and that he was an insulting upper-class twat while a member of the bully, bully, bully Bullingdon club. Well, anyway he’s an arse.

Image of Oxford's Bullingdon Club

The Wikipedia page for the Bullingdon Club excuses their activites. The Bullingdon Club was about excessively wealthy through inheritance Oxford university students belonging to a select gang that would humiliate people through their vandalism and wealth. Restaurants and pubs were vandalised by them followed by them humiliating the owners/proprietors for a second time by paying for the damage in vast amounts of cash (vast quantities of physical money the likes which normal people have probably never ever seen).

Image reads "The rich and powerful piss on us and the media tells us it's raining"

Anyway, Boris is a rich twat totally divorced from reality who has a history of vandalism and humiliating normal people.

Sexism, vandalism and bullying: inside the Boris Johnson-era Bullingdon Club

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I strongly advise against taking the UK approved Coronavinus/Covid-19 ‘vaccine’

The alleged vaccine has not been tested in any meaningful way,

I strongly advise against taking the UK approved Coronavinus/Covid-19 ‘vaccine’. Despite Boris warning against the nonsense of anti-vaxxers, I am warning against the pro-vaxxers BS.

later edit: It’s not about anti-vaxxers & pro-vaxxers. Boris & co have attempted to constrain the debate in the context of anti-vaxxers vs. this vaccine which is unfair & distracting. The debate should be about this potential vaccine, not anti-vaxxers.

* The vaccine has not been tested in any meaningful way. It’s absolutely f’ing ridiculous that this has been accepted as anything approaching any scientific validity. I very strongly suspect that UK govt has used evil* methods to get this passed.

* This vaccine is based on a totally new unknown science involving injecting people with RNA.

* Evil UK legislation: We direct you to do this and not divulge it to anyone on threat of being imprisoned for ever.

This vaccine is not even going to work

ed: and may well damage you terribly. UK government has granted impunity from prosecution to the vaccine manufacturers.

7/12/20 corrected minor typos

9/12/20 It occurs to me that it is totally insane to introduce alien RNA into someone’s system, and that it’s totally alien to the rules of nature. It occurs to me that it is totally perverse and why on Earth would anyone even contemplate it never mind actually do it. It looks like absolute desperation when what’s needed is rationality and reason.

later: It’s been tested on 40 or so people over 55. [12/12/20 I don’t recall where I got that figure but I thought that it was first or second-hand from pfizer, reporting their vaccine trial. It seems to me that reports are changing which is disturbing. https://www.pfizer.com/news/press-release/press-release-detail/pfizer-and-biontech-announce-publication-results-landmark:“The median age was 52 years, and 42% were older than 55 years.”] It’s approved as for use as an emergency measure. It’s not approved for use with other medications. Granddads and grandmothers in care homes are sacrificial.

Image reads "TRUTH the new hate speech"

later: Which raises the issue who are they a sacrifice to? I suggest that the answer is this crap useless government that has been so incompetent and negligent with Boris neglecting to attend the first 5 COBRA meetings addressing the Coronavirus crisis. Boris’s UK shambolic incompetence is only matched by his Trans-Atlantic brother blond incompetent luser.

later yet: And what about that one? He’s insane. You lost the election, you total a**hole. You lost the election because more people voted against you than for you. It is inanity (and insanity;) that he can’t understand that.

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Stop the secrecy: save our Freedom of Information

https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/save-our-foi/

The UK government is running a secretive unit inside Michael Gove’s Cabinet Office that’s been accused of ‘blacklisting’ journalists and blocking the release of ‘sensitive’ information. Experts say they’re breaking the law – and it’s an assault on our right to know what our government is doing.

We’re not going to let it stand. We’re launching a legal battle – but we also need a huge public outcry, showing that thousands back our call for transparency. Will you add your name?

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Priti Patel Refuses To Resign After Bullying Inquiry

Home Secretary Priti Patel – protected by Prime Minister Boris Johnson – refuses to resign after bullying inquiry

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Greenpeace Releases Far-Reaching ‘Just Recovery Agenda’ to Tackle Interlocking Crises of Inequality, Racial Injustice, Covid-19, and Climate Chaos

We must “shift from an economy that is extractive and exploitative to one that regenerates and repairs,” the new report says.byAndrea Germanos, staff writer

Republished from Common Dreams

“Over the past four years, we have cared for one another,” said Greenpeace USA campaigns director James Mumm. “Now, we must come together to ensure that Joe Biden and the new Congress care for us, and to see that everyone—no matter their race or where they come from—has what they need to thrive.” (Photo: Michael Nagle/Greenpeace)

The “just, green, and peaceful future we deserve is possible and together we can build the power to manifest it.”

This moment “calls us to be visionary in our pursuit to people—not corporations or wealthy elites—at the heart of governance and public life.”
—James Mumm, Greenpeace USA

So declares Greenpeace USA’s new “Just Recovery Agenda.” Released Tuesday and packed with more than 100 sweeping policy recommendations for President-elect Joe Biden and members of the next U.S. Congress to embrace, the visionary document plots out a path for erecting new systems that no longer put corporate greed above the public and planet’s well-being.

“Going back to normal is not an option,” the report bluntly states, because what “we knew as ‘normal’ was a crisis.” The coronavirus crisis has thrown that truism into relief, says Greenpeace, but the worsening climate and ecological crises and deep inequality have long made the case for a bold transformation of the dominant economic system.

With post-pandemic policies now being charting out—and a new presidential administration just months away—Greenpeace says it’s crystal clear now is the time for pivotal change.

“The policy choices we make in this disruptive moment will shape the path forward for millions of people—the Covid-19 crisis and clarion call for racial justice in 2020 must mark a turning point for federal policy-making,” the report urges.

Greenpeace USA campaigns director James Mumm put the new report in the context of former Biden’s victory over President Donald Trump.

“We the people have chosen Joe Biden, who will arrive in the White House with a forceful mandate to lead our recovery from Covid-19, address the climate crisis, advance racial justice, and build an economy that puts people first,” Mumm said in a statement.

“Over the past four years, we have cared for one another,” he continued. “Now, we must come together to ensure that Joe Biden and the new Congress care for us, and to see that everyone—no matter their race or where they come from—has what they need to thrive.”

The report expands on what that means by pointing to “dignified work, healthcare, education, housing, clean air and water, healthy food, and more.” In this new work, says Greenpeace, the world must “shift from an economy that is extractive and exploitative to one that regenerates and repairs.”

Centering all the prescriptions—which range from boosting voting rights to expanding renewable energy—are values of equity, community justice, freedom, compassion, and creativity.

Actions demanded of federal lawmakers include establishing a federal minimum wage of $15 per hour; strengthening the National Environmental Policy Act; enacting and enforcing new antitrust standards to curb corporate power; “passing bold and just recovery legislation in line with the THRIVE Agenda to lay the groundwork for a Green New Deal and world beyond fossil fuels”; enacting the pro-democracy the For The People Act of 2019; banning permits for new or expansions of existing factory farms; “enacting The BREATHE Act to police brutality and racial injustice by investing in Black communities and re-imagining community safety”; and enacting a ban on deep sea mining.

“As we look to recover from the interlocking crises we face as a nation,” said Mumm, “it’s time to use the tools and power of the federal government to solve problems rather than exacerbate them.”

“This moment calls us to be bold and advance solutions at the scale science and justice demand,” he continued. “It calls us to be holistic and navigate out of multiple crises at once. And it calls us to be visionary in our pursuit to people—not corporations or wealthy elites—at the heart of governance and public life.”

Make no mistake—the “us” Mumm refers to really means all of us.

“Telling our story will not be the job of a single, appointed messenger, be it a politician, celebrity, CEO, or activist,” says the report. “That responsibility lies with everyone who believes in the vision of a better world.”

“Together we will build a movement broad, inclusive, and powerful enough to deliver the future our communities need and deserve,” it states. “Together we will rewrite the rules of society.”

Extra video by dizzy deep

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Boris Johnson government chumocracy and covid cronyism

‘Chumocracy’: how Covid revealed the new shape of the Tory establishment

Appointments made and contracts awarded during the pandemic have uncovered a web of connections

The anti-establishment claims of a government led by Johnson and Dominic Cummings were always audacious, and in the appointments and contracts awarded during the pandemic, the shape of a Tory establishment has come into focus. Critics are calling it a “chumocracy”.

Companies benefiting from government contracts awarded during the pandemic have links, among others, to the Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove and Cummings, the prime minister’s chief adviser. Cummings shock departure from Downing Street following the resignation of his close ally Lee Cain, who was head of communications, now signal a realignment of power in No 10, but the web of connections drawing complaints of “cronyism” extend beyond any single Tory faction.

Bingham’s appointment shares similarities with that of Dido Harding, to head the NHS test and trace operation in May. She was made chair of NHS Improvement in 2017 after an open recruitment process, her CV gleams with executive experience, and also opens a window to a small world of Conservative connectedness. Married to the Tory MP John Penrose, she was given a peerage in 2014 by David Cameron, a friend, and sits in the House of Lords as a Conservative.

Neither Bingham nor Harding are being paid for their roles, but critics complain that two central pillars of the pandemic response, vaccines and testing, are being led by two well-connected executives appointed without an evident formal process.

Government outsourcing of COVID-19 response is “national scandal” says select committee member

Labour’s Dawn Butler says pandemic being used as a “cover” to avoid accountability, comments come in wake of latest openDemocracy COVID contracting revelation.

The government has been accused of presiding over “a national scandal” by awarding multi-million COVID contracts to companies with minimal oversight and accountability. 

Labour MP Dawn Butler told openDemocracy that many of the firms that had received lucrative government contracts had failed to deliver. 

“There is public money being given to companies that are not delivering a good service. I think the pandemic is being used as a cover,” said the member of the House of Commons science and technology select committee. 

Butler’s comments, made in a live webinar, came after openDemocracy revealed a PR firm close to Dominic Cummings and Michael Gove that has received more than £1million worth of government contracts without any competition had been hired to clean up the A-level exams result fiasco.    

Government contracts are usually awarded after a tender process which allows multiple providers to compete to provide the best value.

But since the COVID-19 pandemic struck, the government has used an exemption in procurement legislation to avoid having to open up public contracts to tender. 

Government departments have handed huge sums of money out to private firms under the emergency rules since the beginning of the pandemic.

Role for former Conservative chairman and corporate lobbyist Andrew Feldman prompts fresh concerns about privileged access given to Tory ‘friends and donors’

The British government has been accused of “blatant cronyism” after an openDemocracy investigation found that former Tory chairman, Andrew Feldman, was quietly given a job advising a health minister despite potential conflicts of interest with clients of the lobbying firm that he runs.

Lord Feldman, who has been mooted as a contender for Boris Johnson’s next chief of staff, worked as an unpaid adviser to health minister Lord Bethell between March 24 and May 15 this year.

At the time the government was assembling an informal “task force” with private and public sector organisations to scale up coronavirus testing as a precursor to its test and trace programme.

The Tory peer is also managing director of PR consultancy Tulchan. Yet his advisory role, which was supported by a “small civil service private office”, according to officials, was never formally announced by the government.

The Department of Health and Social Care said that the Feldman’s appointment had been “fully documented” – but were unable to point to any examples of where his role had been made public before being contacted by openDemocracy.

Revealed: ‘Failing’ Serco won another £57m COVID contract without competition

As Serco’s share price soars, government accused of “shovelling huge sums of public money to a handful of outsourcing companies without competition, rigour or accountability”.

Outsourcing giant Serco was given a £57 million contract to run COVID testing centres across the UK without any competition, openDemocracy can reveal.

The Department of Health and Social Care handed Serco and other private firms previously secret multi-million pound contracts to provide “management services” at sites across the country.

The news comes as the FTSE-listed firm announced this morning that the government has renewed an earlier contact-tracing contract – worth a reported £410 million – despite a swelling chorus of criticism of the scheme’s failings.

Sage, the government’s scientific advisory team, has warned that “engagement” problems and “delays” means the track and trace system is only having a “marginal impact” on reducing the spread of the virus.

Serco’s unscheduled trading statement Friday sent its shares soaring. The company predicted that profits could hit £165m, thanks largely to a slew of lucrative government contracts.

Under the terms of the newly unearthed contract, the government paid both Serco and outsourcers G4S an initial fee of £57 million to run COVID testing sites at locations across the UK. Another outsourcing firm, Mitie, was given £32 million to provide similar services. All these contracts were awarded without a competitive tender process.

The contracts were only published last week – despite rules stipulating that contracts must be made public within thirty days.

Stroud councillor Steve Dechan ran a small, loss-making firm distributing medical devices. Documents show it signed a £156m deal to import PPE from China

A small, loss-making firm run by a Conservative councillor in Stroud was given a £156m contract to import PPE from China without any competition, openDemocracy has learned.

Steve Dechan’s company, P14 Medical, signed the huge contract to supply medical gowns in May, even though the firm suffered significant financial losses in 2019, and its previous track record in PPE procurement is unclear. Transparency campaigners say the deal “reeks of cronyism”.

Dechan, who stood down from Stroud town council in late August, had previously made headlines when it emerged that P14 Medical had landed a contract worth almost £120m to supply face shields to the Department of Health and Social Care.

The £156m gowns deal was signed in late May, but details were only published at the end of September. Government contracts are supposed to be made public within 30 days.

Questions have also been raised about large contracts awarded to other small firms with limited experience of supplying PPE, including many with links to the Conservative party.

Cabinet Office accused of breaching rules after handing £840,000 contract to PR firm run by co-author of the 2019 Tory manifesto for focus groups initially listed as ‘EU Exit Comms’.

The Cabinet Office has awarded an £840,000 contract for researching public opinion about government policies to a company owned by two long-term associates of Michael Gove and Dominic Cummings, without putting the work out for tender.

Public First, a small policy and research company in London’s Tufton Street, is run by James Frayne – whose work alongside Cummings dates back to a Eurosceptic campaign 20 years ago – and Rachel Wolf, a former advisor to Gove who co-wrote the Conservative Party’s 2019 election manifesto.

The government justified the absence of a competitive tendering process, which would have enabled other companies to bid, under emergency regulations that allow services to be urgently commissioned in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

However the Cabinet Office’s public record states that portions of the work, which involved conducting focus groups, related to Brexit rather than COVID-19, a joint investigation by openDemocracy and the Guardian has established.

There’s more at openDemocracy. Donate

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I’m fairly certain that Guantanamera translates to a girl from Guantanamo

X

later: Wasn’t Guantanomo a part of Cuba. They must have broken the lease agreement. I think that I would kick them out anyway

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That total cnut Trump destroying families

See the original post here: https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/11/09/lawyers-cant-reunite-666-seized-migrant-children-parents-121-more-previously

Lawyers Can’t Reunite 666 Seized Migrant Children With Parents—121 More Than Previously Believed

The children were separated from their families under the Trump administration’s widely condemned “zero tolerance” immigration policy. byBrett Wilkins, staff writer

A Guatemalan father and son embrace after entering the US following a long and harrowing journey through Mexico. (Photo: Paul Ratje/AFP/Getty Images)

A father embraces his 6-year-old son after entering the United States on May 16, 2019 following a harrowing trek through Guatemala and Mexico. (Photo: Paul Ratje/AFP/Getty Images) 

Last month, the world was shocked and outraged to learn that lawyers tasked with locating relatives of child migrants seized by U.S. immigration agents under the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy were unable to locate the parents of 545 children. Now it turns out that the actual number of children and infants separated from their parents is significantly higher than previously thought, according to an email obtained by NBC News

In the email, Steven Herzog, the lawyer leading the effort to locate the children’s relatives and reunite the families, says that 666 children—about 20% of whom were under the age of 5 when they were ripped away from their parents—remain separated. Herzog attibutes the initial undercount to the fact that the government did not provide phone number contacts for 129 of the minors.

“We would appreciate the government providing any available updated contact information, or other information that may be helpful in establishing contact for all 666 of these parents,” Herzog wrote to Justice Department attorneys representing the Trump administration. 

Last month, the House Judiciary Committee released a scathing report revealing the administration knew it would not be able to reunite migrant families when planning the “zero tolerance” separation policy, but implemented it anyway. The Democratic-led committee spent 21 months investigating the planning and execution of the administration’s policy, which resulted in the seizure of more than 2,500 migrant children—including some with physical and mental disabilities—from their parents, the majority of whom are believed to have been deported from the U.S. 

Both parents and children—who were often told by U.S. officials that they would never see each other again—have suffered tremendous emotional and psychological trauma that Physicians for Human Rights has called “torture” and “state-sanctioned child abuse.” The federal government often separated families who presented themselves at U.S. ports of entry and legally requested asylum after fleeing violence or persecution in their home countries, much of it resulting from U.S. policies and actions.

Some of the children have been given to U.S. families, who are sometimes able to petition for permanent custody of them, and some of the children may indeed never see their parents again.

In late June 2018, as public outrage mounted in the face of stories like a breastfeeding baby being torn away from her mother and a father driven to suicide after being separated from his wife and child, the administration reluctantly rolled back the policy—which along with forced surgical removal of reproductive organs of migrant women has been called the Trump administration’s worst domestic human rights violation.

President-elect Joe Biden vowed last month that he will form a task force to reunite all of the separated children with their families. President Donald Trump, on the other hand, continues to defend the separation policy while falsely claiming that the seized children were brought into the country by human traffickers. …

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Comment by dizzy: This is not and should not be regarded as any less serious than – for example – demanding money with a threat of serious injury[ed: Perhaps a bit confused there. How does destroying a family compare to a mugging using a knife or gun. I think that he point is that it doesn’t compare but that the total cnut is not even anything. He gets to destroy families without even – well nothing }. Depriving young children from their families is serious and I suggest criminal. I think that it is treating people as less than people.

Laws should apply to everyone. Individuals should not evade prosecution by having or previously having high office.

2.55/3 GMT Later ed about electoral fraud: Well the point is that the Imbecile appointed the head of USPS to stop mail-in votes, deliberately to disrupt them. That’s obvious electoral fraud – a deliberate attempt to obstruct legitimate votes. Lock Him Up.

ed: There are so many reasons that he should be prosecuted – destroying families, treating them as less than human and electoral fraud are only two of them.

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‘Hypocrites and greenwash’: Greta Thunberg blasts leaders over climate crisis

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/nov/09/hypocrites-and-greenwash-greta-thunberg-climate-crisis

Leaders are happy to set targets for decades ahead, but flinch when immediate action is needed, she says

Greta Thunberg has blasted politicians as hypocrites and international climate summits as empty words and greenwash. Until humanity admits it has failed to tackle the climate crisis and begins treating it as an emergency like the coronavirus pandemic, society will be unable to stop global heating, she said.

In an interview with the Guardian, Thunberg said leaders were happy to set targets for decades into the future, but flinched when immediate action to cut emissions was needed. She said there was not a politician on the planet promising the climate action required: “If only,” said the teenager, who will turn 18 in January.

But she is inspired by the millions of students who have taken up the school strike she began by herself in Sweden 116 weeks ago. Since then she has addressed the UN and become the world’s most prominent climate campaigner. She also has hope: “We can treat a crisis like a crisis, as we have seen because of the coronavirus. Treating the climate crisis like a crisis – that could change everything overnight.”

“So the first thing we need to do is understand we are in an emergency [and] admit the fact that we have failed – humanity collectively has failed – because you can’t solve a crisis that you don’t understand,” Thunberg said.

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