George Osborne courts controversy – cash for brand placement allegations

“Former Chancellor George Osborne was embroiled in a row on Thursday over claims that London’s Evening Standard promised ‘money-can’t-buy’ coverage to big businesses for £3million.

The newspaper faced accusations it had effectively sold positive news coverage to brands including Google and the controversial taxi app Uber, in return for sponsorship of a planned campaign.

The two were among six firms to each pay £500,000 to be part of the paper’s ‘London 2020’ project which will highlight issues including air pollution and housing.

The Evening Standard said it had agreed partnerships to support its campaign but denied the deals threatened its editorial integrity and independence. It said any commercial content would be ‘clearly identifiable’.

Mr Osborne became the newspaper’s editor last year and was said to have directed the London 2020 project, pitched to potential commercial sponsors as offering ‘money-can’t-buy’ coverage.

A sales presentation to businesses said: ‘We expect every campaign to generate numerous news stories, comment pieces and high-profile backers.’

Details of the deal were revealed on the news website open-Democracy, which claimed the Standard offered ‘favourable’ editorial comment and news coverage as part of its sales presentation. …

Blurring the line between journalism and advertising, or allowing commercial pressures to influence editorial content is generally seen as a breach of Britain’s robust tradition of Press freedom and independence.

Mr Osborne’s appointment as editor attracted criticism after it emerged that he had a £650,000-a-year part-time advisory job with City firm BlackRock, which holds a £500million stake in Uber.

The Cameron-Osborne government also came under fire for its close links to Uber. Black cab drivers brought Westminster to a standstill in a protest over claims that former prime minister David Cameron and Mr Osborne told aides to lobby against a planned crackdown on the online firm in 2015.

Rachel Whetstone – a friend of Mr Cameron who is married to his former strategist Steve Hilton – quit her job as Uber’s policy chief as it emerged the information watchdog had begun an investigation into the affair. Critics had raised concerns about the extent of her influence over the Cameron government, both in her role at Uber and in her previous job at Google. …

The Evening Standard was owned by the Daily Mail’s parent company but was sold to Russian-born businessman Alexander Lebedev and his son Evgeny in 2009. …”

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5793155/George-Osborne-faces-backlash-cash-editorial-claims-London-Evening-Standard.html

“Judge quashes grant of planning permission for watersports hub”

“The Administrative Court has quashed Cheshire West & Chester Borough Council’s grant of planning permission for a watersports centre after finding that this changed from a facility for members to one for the public without proper notice to objectors.

HHJ Raeside said Clive Sykes, who lives next door to the site concerned, argued that the council failed to consult on a submission of last-minute information altering the nature of the application from members only use to that of the general public.

In Sykes v Cheshire West & Chester Borough Council [2018] EWHC 3655 (Admin) Mr Sykes argued there was no opportunity for the public to make representations on this late information and the failure to consult was contrary to rules of natural justice.

The judge said: “Any fair reading of a combination of one or more salient planning documents published…prior to the day of the planning hearing make it palpably clear that it was their intention…that the Watersports Hub was to be for use of a private club mainly the boathouse and that had existed for many years before, well-known for its members only [policy].”

He rejected the council’s claim that the change from this to an application for a facility for public use could be reasonably called “a clarification”.
“It is difficult to imagine how a change of use of facility from members only to those of the public can possibly be described as a ‘clarification’,” he said.

“In the ordinary use of the English language this is best described as a volte-face (of course allowing the introduction of French into the English language).”

The judge though dismissed two other grounds argued by Mr Sykes, that the council failed to heed environmental protection team advice that a full assessment was needed of the noise impact, and that planning committees were misled into believing that consultees had been aware the wider public would have access to the facility.”

http://localgovernmentlawyer.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=35472%3Ajudge-quashes-grant-of-planning-permission-for-watersports-hub&catid=63&Itemid=31

“8,900 checks on NHS ‘health tourists’ find just 50 liable to pay”

It almost certainly cost more to find the 50 than to leave this alone.

So, knock on the head – it is underfunding to speed privatisation that is bringing our NHS to its knees NOT health tourism!!!

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/health/8900-checks-on-nhs-health-tourists-find-just-50-liable-to-pay-a3850121.html

Buying votes – Tories in the lead

The Conservative Party accepted £4.7 million of donations in the first three months of 2018, new data shows.

Theresa May’s party received more than three times as much as Labour between January 1 and March 31.

Labour accepted £1.49 million in donations.

The Liberal Democrats received £564,135 and the Green Party just £1,800.

This is £2.4 million less than what was accepted during the same period last year (£9.3 million). …”

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/tories-rake-donations-almost-5million-12620324

Swire and his investment in “emerging economies”

Our MP Hugo Swire is investing in “emerging economies” with his controversial pal, Lord Barker:

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2018/05/28/swire-and-eaglesham-investments-still-not-on-his-register-of-interests/

But what is an “emerging economy”? Fortunately, a business publication has an explanation:

” … Top of the list of emerging markets is China, according to Ross Teverson, co-manager of Jupiter Emerging & Frontier Income Trust. China’s economy is predicted to grow by 6.6 per cent in 2018, compared to 1.6 per cent for the UK economy, as stated by the International Monetary Fund.

“China is the obvious example of an emerging market country making rapid and dramatic economic progress; today, a number of Chinese companies rank among the largest and most innovative globally.”

Another region to consider is sub-Saharan Africa, according to Teverson, where a growing middle class, as well as improved infrastructure, communications, and technology, is creating several attractive long-term investment opportunities.

“Gradually increasing penetration of financial products, combined with remarkable demographics – the median age in Kenya is just 20 years – should create a backdrop that, for well-placed financial institutions operating in the region, should prove conducive to strong and sustained earnings growth for a long time to come.”

While some savers might be sceptical of putting their money at risk in these markets, it’s worth remembering that the emerging economies of today may likely grow into leading, developed ones in the future.

After all, the world’s largest economy, the US, was actually considered an emerging market 150 years ago. …”

Source: City AM
http://flip.it/V6OcZV

So, no investment in East Devon then!