2007 - 2020

Good Morning Britain

Good morning. There are currently at least two rogue Cabinet Ministers operating way beyond normal accepted behaviour, unaccountable and out of control, so much that the Cabinet was cancelled this morning. On the plus side  the Tory party’s largest donor is hiding in a toilet, the Deputy Prime Minister is under investigation for extreme porn and the Defence Secretary quit amid sex misconduct claims that nobody really believes.

Still at least the Brexit negotiations are going well?

We are in the extraordinary position where Theresa May met Netanyahu at No10 last week without knowing that Priti Patel had seen him secretly in August.

In her bizarrely revealing press release Patel it’s stated:

“On Friday 3rd November, the Secretary of State was quoted in the Guardian newspaper as follows:

“Boris knew about the visit. The point is that the Foreign Office did know about this, Boris knew about [the trip].”

This quote may have given the impression that the Secretary of State had informed the Foreign Secretary about the visit in advance. The Secretary of State would like to take this opportunity to clarify that this was not the case. The Foreign Secretary did become aware of the visit, but not in advance of it.”

You can read the whole laughable Statement from International Development Secretary here.

If you thought that this was just a case of bad comms and one huge misunderstanding (do you often bump into the Prime Minister of Israel when you’re off on your hols?) – it’s now being revealed that Patel wanted to give British aid money to the Israeli army in Occupied Territories.

But if Patel’s crazy jaunt reeks of duplicity, lying, subterfuge and, frankly, child neglect, the Foreign Secretary’s reign of error is potentially far worse.

As the Independent explains the Boris Johnson gaffe risks five more years in Iran jail for Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe:

“One year and half after the north London mum was arrested in Iran, a period in which she’s been subjected to solitary confinement, alleged torture and separation from her baby daughter, the Foreign Secretary hands a gift to her jailors by confirming their false claim that she had visited the country for anything but a holiday.

Teaching journalism covertly would be a serious crime in Iran – and the fact is it is simply not true as both her husband Richard and her employer Thomson Reuters Foundation have been at pains to point out. ”

It’s not clear whether Johnson is just immensely stupid or completely uncaring.

How has it come to the point where a minister is so badly briefed so out of control and in such a powerful position?

It’s only in a country with such closed elite circles that such a figure would be allowed access to untrammelled power and then left to cause havoc.

A New York Times columnist wrote a few days ago of Britain as “unmoored, heading to nowhere, while on deck, fire has broken out and the captain — poor Theresa May — is lashed to the mast, without the authority to decide whether to turn to port or to starboard”.

I think it’s worse than that. The Cabinet is in open revolt acting completely without consequence. May isn’t lashed to the mast she’s hiding below deck.

When governments collapse it seems to happen in a rush. But the Conservatives are in no rush, they have no replacement in place and all benefit from May’s leadership staggering on.

 

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Comments (6)

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  1. Duncan Maclaren says:

    The saddest part of the statement made by Priti Patel, as the minister in charge of directing aid to the poorest people in the world from one of the richest countries, was “My first and only aim as the Secretary of State for International Development is to put the interests of British taxpayers and the world’s poor at the front of our development work.” Notice the order of words – British taxpayers first, the world’s poor second. It shows her mindset in a ministry that is meant to be the conscience department of any Government. ODA for Israel? It is also one of the world’s richest countries which is ahead of Luxembourg and France on the UNDP’s Human Development Index at number 19 in the league table. Patel’s behaviour in Israel and her subsequent obfuscation of the facts would have been cause enough to have her chucked out of her post long ago if the UK had not been a country run by a shameless elite. Of course, there is also the little matter of PM May rapidly running out of anyone with any ethics to fill ministerial posts.

  2. SleepingDog says:

    If Patel’s activities have been accurately reported, and she acted as would an agent of a foreign power in attempting to secretly syphon off taxpayer funds to support a military occupation in defiance of international law, with foreseeable damage to the UK’s reputation and security: then under a reasonable legal definition she would be facing a charge of treason.

    1. Alasdair Macdonald says:

      The fact that she made contact with the government of Israel is irrelevant to the key issue. Ms Patel is a member of the Government of the United Kingdom and is bound by the principle of collective responsibility of the Cabinet. If the reports are to be believed she has been acting on her own initiative without the knowledge of any other member of the Cabinet, including the Prime Minister. In the United States, for example, for someone to seek to negotiate with another country, without the sanction of Congress or the President, is a crime. The UK has no written constitution so, some might think that there is no formal ban. However, the UK has many procedures and, in addition, has legislation regarding official secrets, treason, etc. So, it seems to me that there might well be a case against her.

      Secondly, irrespective of one’s opinions regarding Mrs Theresa May and Mr Boris Johnson, they are the Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, so, Cabinet protocols require that they should have been informed. Depending on what other matters she discussed, other Cabinet members might have had to have been informed, too. Such contacts require the consent of the PM and Cabinet. The UK Ambassador, nor any Embassy staff were involved. So, we are unaware of how accurately she represented the UK Government’s position in these talks.

      When Mrs May met the prime Minister of Israel, she was unaware of the meeting he had had with him and so, was placed at a potential disadvantage, not least in the fact that her authority had been undermined by Ms Patel.

      Thirdly, it appears from reports that she was untruthful with regard to having informed the Foreign office or its Secretary of State. Now, she did not lie to Parliament, but she has, it appears lied to the UK public and to her colleagues via these statements reported in the press.

      Surely, Mrs May has to sack her. Parliament should demand an enquiry into Ms Patel’s actions. Perhaps the Attorney General and the DPP should be examining if the law has been broken.

      1. SleepingDog says:

        Even the slightest suggestion that an ordinary member of parliament may be seen to have a potential personal interest in acting for another nation (however friendly) is sometimes enough to debar them from office, as can be seen from the ongoing Australian parliamentary eligibility crisis:
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2017_Australian_parliamentary_eligibility_crisis

        And links to Russia may still bring down the current USAmerican administration.

        My view is that political discourse in the UK is still tainted by a subject- rather than a citizenship mentality where too much respect is given to tradition and convention and not enough attention is given to the robust checks and balances which more modern constitutions might be expected to demand. As far as I know, there is little if any formal responsibility from holders of high office to the UK public: I believe that this should be rectified with (amongst other improvements) reform of the treason laws. This would likely include milder grades of offence attracting lesser sentences, but probably all carrying life debarment from political office.

        Even in the UK, MPs being paid to ask questions in the House is unacceptable.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cash-for-questions_affair

        Having watched the BBC documentaries on Elizabeth I’s Secret Agents, I suppose these kinds of concerns go back at least to the times where Catholics were suspected of having loyalty to the Pope above the Monarch. Which was regarded as treason.

        I am not interested in chopping anyone’s head off, nor do I regard treason as necessarily ethically bad. Neither do I expect that Parliament is at all keen to prepare a rod for its own back. But some clarity, accountability to the public (not the monarch) and straightforward enforceability of reformed law (for a serious crime proportional to office, not convention or protocol) is surely in the public interest.

  3. Graham says:

    …and Boris Johnson would have been sacked weeks ago. In fact, a PM with any ethics would never have appointed him in the first place.

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