Monday 28 February 2022


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Boris Johnson is lying – the UK could have done far more to stop Russia

by Oliver Bullough


Protesters outside Downing Street demanding action from Boris Johnson


At the end of 2004, Zhamalayl Yanayev checked in for a flight at an airport outside Vladikavkaz, a city near Chechnya in southern Russia.

Waiting in the departure lounge to board a plane to Moscow for medical treatment, Yanayev was suddenly summoned by security. After that encounter, his family never saw him again. And, as far as we know, neither did anyone else.

It is not clear why Russia’s security services detained him, or why they murdered him, or why they never informed his wife or relatives that he was dead, but the general nature of his offence is pretty obvious: he was of fighting age, male and Chechen. He was inconvenient.

Like Yanayev, Ukraine is now discovering how it feels to become inconvenient to Russia’s

Sunday 20 February 2022


 I have been playing the role of a Jeremiah in my blogposts ever since the COVID pandemic was allowed to gain such a hold in this country through the inactions and actions of the man in No.10 and his special advisor. For as long as Johnson remains the prime minister, I shall be Jeremiah. Johnson's narcissism renders his actions on the pandemic toxic. He has consistently followed a pattern of doing too little, too late which explains why the UK death toll now stands at 181,424. Officially, the UK death toll is around 20,000 less but that was an accounting sleight of hand that Johnson and Cummings orchestrated at No.10 in 2020 to make the figures less appalling. 

In the thick of it - Johnson and Cummings, architects of 'social murder'. 

Here's a headline form the Independent online on 6 June 2020:

'With the second highest death toll from the Covid-19 coronavirus in the world, reports this week claimed that the UK had more daily deaths than the whole of the EU combined on a recent day, despite its population being just one seventh of the size.'

Please don't forget just what a world-beating nation we became - and we are still up there with the nations clocking up the most deaths per 1 million of population. These figures below are taken straight from the web today and note well that the

Tuesday 15 February 2022


Hot on the heels of the post I published this morning, here's another cut and paste job. I'm sharing the good news of a victory in the courts for the Good Law Project:


This brilliant cartoon has a timeless quality - at least until he's gone.

Good Law Project

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Dear Rob,

In a landmark verdict, the High Court has today found that the process leading to the appointments of both Dido Harding and Mike Coupe was unlawful. It held that Matt Hancock broke the law in appointing Dido Harding as Chair of the National Institute for Health Protection (NIHP) and in appointing Mike Coupe as Director of Testing at Test and Trace (NHSTT). The High Court was also clear that the Prime Minister broke the law in appointing Dido Harding as Chair of Test and Trace. 

The Court declared: “The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care did not comply with the public sector equality duty in relation to the decisions how to appoint Baroness Harding as Interim Executive Chair of the NIHP in August 2020 and Mr Coupe as Director of Testing for NHSTT in September 2020.” (paragraph 138 of the judgment)

While the formal declaration reflects only the appointments made by Matt Hancock, the High Court is clear that the process adopted by the Prime Minister was also unlawful (paragraph 116 of the judgment). All three appointments breached the public sector equality duty.

In reaching this conclusion, the Court accepted the argument made by race equality think tank the Runnymede Trust and Good Law Project that the recruitment process adopted by the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State ignored the need to eliminate discrimination against the country’s disabled and ethnic minority communities, and to ensure they have equality of opportunity.

In appointing the wife of Boris Johnson’s Anti-Corruption Tsar John Penrose MP to Chair the National Institute for Health Protection, the Government failed to consider the effects on those who, the data shows, are too often shut out of public life. The Government also ignored its own internal guidance, which requires Ministers to consider how discrimination law will be complied with. 

The Runnymede Trust and Good Law Project brought the case to highlight what it means to disadvantaged groups for the Government to push its associates and donors into key jobs. The Court’s declaration will have a real impact on how public appointments are made in the future. 

The Government must now take seriously its legal and moral obligations to narrow the disadvantages faced by people with disabilities and those of colour. Public appointments must not be made without taking steps to eliminate discrimination and to advance equality of opportunity, even when normal processes don’t apply, for instance during a public health emergency. The Government will now have to be much more careful to make sure its recruitment processes are fair, equitable and open to all.

We want to thank you for your continued support of this case. Without you, we simply couldn’t have done this. We are the arrow, but you are the bow.

Thank you,

Jo Maugham - Good Law Project

You can read the full judgment from the High Court here.

Good Law Project only exists thanks to donations from people across the UK. If you’re in a position to support our work, you can do so here: 

Good Law Project

3 East Point High St Sevenoaks Kent TN15 0EG

This email was sent to If you would like to know more about how Good Law Project processes your information, you can see our Privacy Policy here. If you no longer want to receive our email updates, you can unsubscribe here.


 Here is the latest newsletter from Open Democracy - I've copied and pasted; I'm sure they won't mind. They are an invaluable source of information in our creaking democracy.

The prime minister (for the time being) behind bars

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Exclusive: Consultancy firms win £700m in UK government’s COVID spending spree

by Martin Williams


Boris Johnson wearing a surgical mask during a visit to the Northern Centre for Cancer Care, North Cumbria, in Carlisle


Consultants have raked in almost £700m from UK government COVID contracts since the start of the pandemic in 2020, openDemocracy can reveal.

Many of the contracts were awarded without competitive tender, meaning that other companies couldn’t bid for the work.

Whitehall departments have faced criticism for a “worrying lack of transparency” over many of the deals, which include supporting the Test and Trace scheme and the vaccine rollout.

Research carried out last year found that some £600m had been awarded to dozens of consultancy firms in response to the pandemic. 

But fresh analysis by openDemocracy shows that the spending splurge has continued – with another £100m of consultancy deals announced in the past ten months.




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The true value spent by the government on consultants is likely to be even higher, because not all contracts have yet been published. In fact, some of the deals awarded in 2020 were made public only in recent months.

“Any government worth its salt should be a true guardian of the public coffers that spends carefully and delivers effectively,” said Labour’s Margaret Hodge, the former chair of the public accounts committee. 

“This important investigation by openDemocracy demonstrates once again that this Tory government is not up to the task. 

“They have splashed our cash on a roll call of expensive consultants without a care for how taxpayer’s money is spent or a consideration for transparency. If you look up profligacy in the dictionary, you might just see a picture of Boris Johnson.”

openDemocracy’s analysis looked at consultancy work awarded to 14 of the sector’s biggest companies – including Deloitte, KPMG, EY and PricewaterhouseCoopers – and made public in the past ten months. 

It reveals how consultants have continued to win eye-watering sums from Boris Johnson’s government.

Last year, analysis found that Deloitte alone had been handed 26 contracts worth up to £278.7m. But details of several more contracts with the firm have now been published, totalling more than £10m, including work on the government’s COVID pass programme.

KPMG was awarded a £4m contract by the Department for Transport to research the pandemic’s impact on Transport for London.

Another firm, PA Consulting, has been awarded a string of COVID-related contracts by Whitehall, including work on ventilators and testing.

The government also paid consultancy firm McKinsey the equivalent of £14,000 a day to create a replacement for Public Health England, in May 2020.

Many consulting companies have enjoyed healthy profits through the pandemic, with top bosses receiving huge payouts. 

Partners at Deloitte were set to take home a £1m payout last year according to reports, while partners at the American firm Boston Consultancy also received £943,687 each – after it won a string of UK government contracts.

And PWC’s chair Kevin Ellis saw his profit share rise to £4.4m in 2021 after it won millions of pounds worth of deals from Whitehall. In its annual report last year, PWC said it had helped the UK government “to enable economic repair”.

“Work that could and should have been done within government has instead been done at jaw-dropping day rates by private consultants,” said Jolyon Maugham, the director of the Good Law Project, which has taken the government to court over different COVID contracts. 

He added: “This – the inevitable consequence of years of austerity – is expensive for taxpayers and suboptimal for outcomes. We need to stop sacrificing efficiency at the altar of small-state ideology.”

Some consultancy deals have also been criticised because the government suspended its normal procurement procedures at the start of the pandemic. Rules were lifted in March 2020 to allow officials to skip the often lengthy competitive tendering process – and instead hand contracts directly to their chosen companies.

However, months later, openDemocracy revealed that departments were still giving contracts to consultancy firms without competition – leading to accusations of sloppiness by the government.

Many consultancy contracts have also been kept secret for months after being signed, before eventually being published online.

The Labour Party has previously urged the government not to rely so heavily on a small handful of multinational consultancy firms, saying there is a “worrying lack of transparency” around COVID contracts.

Rhys Clyne, a senior researcher at the Institute of Government, told openDemocracy: “There will always be a need to bring outside expertise and resource into government, but the government’s extensive use of, and spending on, consultants demonstrates the problem of allowing a reliance on contractors rather than maintaining and improving the capabilities of the civil service.”



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