Is Jeremy Hunt an NHS troll?

“Jeremy Hunt’s latest tweet will have the majority of Britain asking whether the widely-hated Health Secretary is just uncompromisingly incompetent, or whether he’s actively trolling the entire country.

The tweet is so inexplicably inept that it will have the entirety of Britain asking if Hunt is sticking two fingers up at every single doctor and nurse across the country, whilst simultaneously mocking the Prime Minister, who was too weak to sack him during her botched reshuffle, and who ended up giving the provably disastrous Health Secretary even more responsibility instead despite his many, many catastrophic failures.

The Tory Health Secretary just tweeted an NHS rota, in his words, as an example of a ‘really clever use of technology’ that NHS staff in Ipswich are using to ‘ensure safe staffing levels are maintained throughout the day.’

It seems Jeremy Hunt and his team either failed to actually look at what the rota was saying, or they just think dangerously low staffing levels are absolutely fine and definitely not a massive risk to patient safety. Let’s take a closer look at that rota:

Yes, like probably everybody else with even the faintest idea of what different colours mean on a rota, you’ve probably already guessed the problem: RED MEANS BAD!

Every red box on the rota Hunt tweeted means that staffing levels during that particular time of day, and on the corresponding ward, are considered at high risk due to understaffing.

For instance, on the early shift, the rota appears to show there are only two wards in the entire hospital that have adequate staff numbers and therefore a low risk level, whilst a staggering 11 wards have an inadequate number of nurses leading to these wards being labelled ‘high risk’.

It would appear that Hunt either wants to normalise this type of chronic and dangerously risky understaffing, or he simply hasn’t got a clue what the hell he’s doing.

[The article continues with some response tweets pointing this out]

And just remember, the person running the country just gave this man – a man whose professional history is littered with a catalogue of disastrous failures, missed targets and literal deaths as a result of his incredibly obvious incompetence – the task of ‘improving’ social care in Britain as well.

How people can actually justify voting for these people really is beyond me.”

“Crown representatives” are directors of other companies and Tory donors

“Labour has warned that the crown representatives who are supposed to police public sector suppliers such as the failed construction company Carillion face potential conflicts of interest, as its own research showed that several hold external directorships and one was a Tory donor.

A dossier produced by the party showed that the former admiral Sir Robert Walmsley, who is responsible to the taxpayer for monitoring the outsourcing multinational Serco, also sits on the board as senior independent director of two defence contractors, Ultra Electronics and Cohort plc.

Daniel Green, the crown representative for the energy sector, is a Conservative donor who has given £330,000 to the party and £15,000 to Theresa May’s successful leadership campaign in 2016. His profile on the LinkedIn network says he is the chief executive of a private equity firm, Liquid Business.

Jon Trickett, the shadow minister for the Cabinet Office, said such relationships amounted to “an astonishing conflict of interest and yet other example of the chumocracy”. Some of the crown representatives, he added “turn out to be people who actually work for companies that have contracts with the government”.

The crown representative system was introduced under the coalition in 2011. They are supposed to work across government on a part-time basis to act as a focal point for key companies or groups of companies who supply the public sector. When a company is in trouble, or deemed high risk, a crown representative is supposed to work with that company to develop an improvement plan.

The system has come into acute focus after Carillion’s liquidation. Julie Scattergood, the crown representative responsible for Carillion, retired last summer and was not replaced until autumn – by then the company had delivered profit warnings in July and September.

Sean Collins, the crown representative for Vodafone and the telecoms infrastructure provider Arqiva, is a non-executive director at JT Group, providing telecoms expertise in the Channel Islands. William Priest, the representative for technology services companies IBM and DXC, is a non-executive director at Connexin, a wireless broadband company.

Carillion collapsed a week ago leaving 28,000 staff facing uncertain futures as the government and private sector companies scrambled to take on its contracts. It had a £900m deficit in its pension fund at the time of collapse and it is unclear if employee pensions can be paid out in full.

The chief secretary to the Treasury, Liz Truss, said on Sunday that the government did not know how much the closure would cost the taxpayer. When Truss was asked on ITV’s Peston on Sunday if it would cost “hundreds of millions”, she said: “Well, it will be a significant amount of money, it’s been a serious issue.”

A government white paper designed to give regulators greater powers to block or place conditions on takeovers that are deemed to put pension schemes at risk is also being drawn up for publication in March.

The Cabinet Office did not respond to a request for comment.”

Is it ok for ex-Ministers to work for Chinese? They think so

“The Mail on Sunday leads with what it calls the “political storm” caused by the secret filming of three ex-Tory ministers by Channel Four’s Dispatches programme.

An undercover reporter posed as a representative of Chinese millionaires, offering to pay for advice from Andrew Lansley, Andrew Mitchell, and Peter Lilley about how to make money from Brexit.

All three have denied any wrongdoing, with Mr Lilley calling it “a tawdry attempt at entrapment.”

Writing in the Mail on Sunday, ex-chief whip Andrew Mitchell has strenuously denied any wrongdoing, saying he was the victim of “attempted entrapment” and is “totally innocent”, and that it is not against parliamentary rules for an MP to have a second job.”


“The Guardian has published a rip-roaring story about wealthy landlord who’s trying to get his tenants to pay for fire safety improvements needed to avoid a repeat of the Grenfell tragedy – but they’ve missed one important detail.

It reveals how the owners of a block of flats in Croydon have refused to remove and replace flammable cladding on the building until the tenants stump up the £2 million cost of the work.

That amounts to a charge of £31,300 per flat – more than a year’s salary for many of the tenants who say they are “terrified” about the cladding since Grenfell.

The owner of the block of 93 flats is Proxima GR Properties, which the Guardian points out is “owned by the family trust of the multi-millionaire property mogul Vincent Tchenguiz.”

It notes that Tchenguiz is: “Believed to be worth hundreds of millions of pounds and last year bought a new 165-foot superyacht moored in the Mediterranean called Da Vinci. He is said to own 300,000 freeholds in the UK, including 10 Hilton hotels.”

On top of all that, Scrapbook can reveal that Tchenguiz is also a Tory donor – he gave the party more than £21,000 before the 2010 general election.

His brother, Robert, has also given the Tories a five figure sum and his sister, Elizabeth, made a donation of £100,000 in 2008.

Presumably that means Vincent Tchenguiz’s contact details are hanging around Tory HQ somewhere.

So Sajid Javid should have no problem in getting in touch to sort out this absolute scandal.

If you’ve got enough money to throw some of it at the Tories, you’ve got enough money to keep your tenants safe… “

PFI contracts – windfall tax them says Labour MP who says companies are “legal loan sharks”

Labour MP Stella Creasy on Today programme this morning:

“What the NAO reports shows, to devastating effect, is that PFI and PF2, because the government brought in exactly the same scheme under a different name, is both too expensive to continue on with and very expensive to get out of.

Of that £10bn [the annual charge for PFI contracts] what that study also shows is that half of that is interest on charges. These companies, these type of contracts, really are the legal loan sharks of the public sector. It’s like a payday loan or a hire purchase agreement to build a school or a hospital and then run one. It’s a very expensive way to do it. And the question we all have to ask ourselves is what do we do next.

This is why I’m calling for a windfall tax on these companies. The one place where we do have leverage with them is on the tax they pay. They’ve also had a massive corporation tax bonus because corporation tax on a lot of these contracts [when they] were signed, and it was part of the deal and the reason why we went with them, was around 30%. Under this government it has now dropped to 17%. So we are estimating that some of them have saved around £190m in corporation tax payments alone. That is money that is owed to our public sector, and is money we could get back with a windfall tax.”

“Disgraced Carillion chief now director of firm in charge of inspections at Hinkley Point C nuclear power station”

“Carillion – the firm handed millions in contracts by the Tories – has just gone into liquidation leaving thousands of employees and small businesses facing bankruptcy and redundancy.

In July last year, the man responsible for the debacle – incompetent former Group Chief Executive of Carillion Richard Howson – stood down and seemingly disappeared on the same day the company’s disastrous finances were revealed.

But only after paying himself £1.5 million in pay and tens of thousands in bonuses and perks and leaving the firm with a massive £800 million pension deficit and debts of £1.4 billion of course:

So where is Howson now?

Locked up in a monastery somewhere, contemplating his failures and atoning for his sins?

Surprise surprise.

Here he is, hidden away as a new director of engineering and technical services company Wood Group:

Wood Group has just won a lucrative contract to carry out inspections at the UK government’s new Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant:$16m


Owl says: due diligence (lack of) and “chumocracy” – we know a LOT about that in East Devon!

“More than a week after Toby Young quit from the Office for Student Regulator, it has emerged that ministers turned down three other ‘appointable’ candidates in order to give the provocateur-journo his post. Labour MP Kevin Brennan, who got the facts in a Parliamentary answer, accuses ministers of ‘jiggery-pokery’.

Tory MP Robert Halfon said the appointment of Young “smacks of the elite” and was the “chumocracy at work”. There are concerns over the due diligence failures in the case and how more ‘suitable’ candidates were overlooked. It’s unclear when Young’s replacement will be chosen.”

Source: Huffington Post, “The Waugh Zone” online