Swire and Parish – more on those votes

A comment on the original post:

“Let’s make sure that everyone is clear what this was all about and why Swire’s & Parish’s votes were fundamentally important.

The issues that these votes related to were as follows:

1. Should the government keep the Attorney General’s legal advice secret so that MPs debate and vote about Brexit could not be an informed vote, but instead would be based on a political interpretation of this legal advice by the Government, in other words an interpretation by government politicians with all the bias towards the outcome they want to see rather than an independent assessment? [Swire and Parish voted to keep the advice secret]

2. Should the Government be allowed to ignore a decision by Parliament that the legal advice should be published in full? In other words, is Government the servant of our MPs or the other way around? Remember, that the only group able to hold the Government to account between general elections is Parliament i.e. MPs – and if Government doesn’t need to be accountable to them, then they are effectively an absolute autocracy, without needing to be accountable to anyone. Scared yet? [Yes, said Swire and Parish – it should ignore the vote]

3. Should the Government – and specifically Mrs May – be allowed to control the Brexit debate in order to give MPs only two choices – a very bad one or an even worse one, and not allow them to debate or vote on the other legally available choices? And to do this to the detriment not only of Parliament but also the people of the UK who have to live with the consequences for at a minimum several decades? [Yes, they voted: only Mrs May and her cabinet of cronies should be allowed to decide what happens next]

In other words, these three votes were not about some minor technicality relating to publication of a specific letter from the Attorney General to the Prime Minister – instead they were about THE FUNDAMENTAL FOUNDATIONS OF DEMOCRACY – that the Government should be able to be held accountable by MPs, and that in the end it is our MPs who take the decisions on behalf of us. [Remember “sovereignty”!]

And that is why both Neil Parish and Hugo Swire’s votes against these motions are so important and so wrong. By now we are all pretty used to Swire and Parish putting Party before People – just look at the awful laws they have voted for which have it the poorest and most vulnerable in our society the hardest. Is it any wonder that the Conservative Party is called “The Nasty Party” by a large proportion of the population?

But these votes were different – they were about putting Party before Democracy itself. Swire and Parish effectively voted for the Government to be unaccountable, and for an absolute autocracy where the Government can do absolutely what they like, regardless of whether MPs agree with it or not. These votes were simply anti-democracy. PERIOD.

Remember, power corrupts – absolute power corrupts absolutely.

So I ask you – yes you, the person reading this comment – do you really want your MP to be voting to give Government ministers absolute power, because that is the first step towards a tyrannical government? Or do you think that above all else, your MP should be voting to preserve democracy? In other words, which is more important to you in the long run – today’s vote or having a genuine democracy? I certainly know my own priority on this.”

Both East Devon MPs voted three times against transparency and parliamentary sovereignty yesterday

Swire and Parish:

Voted that May was NOT in contempt of Parliament to refuse to publish full Brexit legal advice.

Voted AGAINST allowing full publication instead referring the matter to a committee.

And voted AGAINST allowing Parliament a say if May’s deal falls through.

Moral of this story: use your vote wisely next time these men stand for Parliament.

“Rightwing thinktank deletes offer of access to ministers for donors”

“One of the UK’s most influential rightwing thinktanks has deleted passages from its website promising access to government ministers in exchange for donations after the Guardian began making inquiries about its funding.

The Adam Smith Institute, a neoliberal thinktank credited with inspiring some of the most controversial privatisations of the Thatcher and Major governments, offered invitations to “power lunches and patrons dinners with influential figures, including politicians, ministers, journalists and academics” to anyone donating £1,000 a year.

The regulator, the Charity Commission, said on Friday that it had started examining the institute’s accounts for “potential areas of non-compliance” with accounting rules.

It is the second rightwing thinktank whose conduct is being examined by the commission for possible breaches of the rules.

Earlier this year the chief executive of the Institute of Economic Affairs was filmed by an undercover reporter appearing to promise a potential donor access to a minister in exchange for funding a report on agribusiness. The group says it is “spurious to suggest that the IEA is engaging in any kind of ‘cash for access’ system” and denies wrongdoing.

The Adam Smith Institute is made up of three different entities: a British company, a British charity and an American non-profit foundation, each with different rules on tax and the ability to carry out political activity.

In a 2012 book, Madsen Pirie, one of the institute’s founders, said: “It was a very messy patchwork and it took us years to sort it out. We used the term ‘Adam Smith Institute’ loosely to cover all our activities, no matter which heading they occurred under.”

Charities, which enjoy support from the British taxpayer, are required to be genuinely independent from other entities.

There are strict rules on how charities can spend their funds. Research and education are acceptable as long as they do not set out to promote a particular viewpoint, but political campaigning is banned. …

… The Charity Commission said: “All trustees of all charities must ensure they preserve their charity’s independence and make decisions that are solely in furtherance of their charity’s purposes.

“The public rightly expect trustees of charities to take these responsibilities seriously, and demonstrate accountability to the public for the way in which their charity is governed, and the work their charity undertakes.

“An important factor in demonstrating transparency is ensuring financial accounts are compliant with the accounting framework. We can confirm that we are examining the Adam Smith Research Trust’s financial accounts to examine potential areas of non-compliance with that framework.”

The development comes amid questions about the political campaigning activities of a network of thinktanks and groups linked to an address in Tufton Street in Westminster.”


12-year old Jacob Rees-Mogg on his ambitions and how he loves money

Here he is at 12 years old talking about his love for money and his hero:


Owl says:

Matthew 21:16 (King James version)

“And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?”

Don’t think Jesus meant praise for the Conservative Party!

Oh, and his hero Arnold Weinstock?

“Arnold Weinstock spent 40 years building the General Electric Company into a British industrial powerhouse encircling the globe, selling power plants to China, locomotives to America and advanced radar systems to the Gulf. Weinstock’s style of management was frugal and unique. He prided himself on the company’s dingy headquarters at Stanhope Gate in the heart of London. Walls were never painted until they peeled. Visitors were offered water, not tea or coffee.

He would work in his sixth-floor office until late in the night, checking management accounts from dozens of subsidiary companies line by line. Managers lived in dread of the late-night call from the boss who insisted that every screw be properly accounted for.”


Ottery Town Council has very oddly-timed meeting (2.30 pm, 29 November)on future of its hospital … under very unusual circumstances …

Ottery Town Council is behaving VERY strangely ……….

“An Extraordinary Town Council meeting to ‘re-examine’ a decision to set up a working group to retain Ottery Hospital, will take place next Thursday (29 November) at the unusual time of 2.30pm.

Four councillors – Dobson, Holmes, Gori and Edwards have signed the paperwork required to trigger the meeting, at which councillors will decide to ‘support or rescind’ the decision made earlier this month to set up the working group.

At the Ottery Town Council meeing on Tuesday, a proposal 6 November for a working group to help retain Ottery’s community hospital was approved by three votes to eight abstentions.

Next Thursday’s meeting is convened on the grounds of not having enough information, despite myself, Cllr Geoff Pratt, Roger Giles and Dr Margaret Hall (chair of West Hill Parish Council) explaining at length the proposal.

I’m kind of speechless at the apparent determination of some town councillors to thwart plans to save our hospital.

And I have never known an Ottery Town Council meeting in public to take place in the middle of the day either.

Dr Hall’s letter to Mayor, Paul Bartlett, setting out the background to why there is a need for a working group, was published on this blog earlier this week, here – http://www.claire-wright.org/index.php/post/west_hill_parish_council_chairs_letter_to_ottery_mayor_explaining_working_g

Members of the public are able to make representations at the beginning of next Thursday’s meeting.

If you have a view, please do go along and express it.

If you have no view but wish to attend the meeting, please try and be there.

It will be held at the town council offices, just off The Square.

It is only by seeing the strength of feeling in the town to protect the hospital that councillors may relent and allow this vital work to happen.

Unfortunately, I am in London that day, so will be unable to be there.

The agenda will appear here shortly – http://www.otterystmary-tc.gov.uk/Ottery-St-Mary-Town-Council/Default-24395.aspx

Pic: Over 200 people who attended mine and Cllr Giles meeting in October 2014 when Ottery Hospital’s beds were first threatened.”


Local Enterprise Partnership “scrutiny” committee – an oxymoron

Minutes (for what little they are worth) here:


REAL scrutiny by DCC Independent East Devon Alliance Councillor Martin Shaw of this laughable attempt to continue to hoodwink us here:

An inauspicious start for new Scrutiny Committee for the Heart of the South West Local Economic Partnership