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A network of nepotism and government contracts is exposed

IT AIN’T what you know, it’s who you know!

If anyone doubted that this is a defining feature of the way we are ruled in Britain then the events of recent days will have disabused them.

The outstanding personal quality possessed by the people who fill each office of state in the Tory government is the same as that possessed by the people it appoints to such sinecures as are in its gift.

It is almost invariably a wise choice of parents.

To this is added the good fortune in going to a school that is endowed with small class sizes, extensive facilities and expert and intensive tuition.

If, by fortunate coincidence, such schools are filled by people who, by happenstance, are well-connected with families already embedded in big business, high finance and the upper reaches of government and the Civil Service, who might find this objectionable?

Add to this the bonds of affinity and friendship that a late adolescence and early adulthood spent in prestigious universities — whose selection procedures rarely fail to reproduce the social milieu of the rich and entitled — and an easy entry into the world of well-remunerated employment in government or business seems almost natural.

The more opaque processes which led to Her Ladyship Dido Harding — who entered the Lords at the gift of David Cameron and who in her personal life has the good fortune to be married to Tory MP John Penrose — to head the Covid Test and Trace organisation remain both obscure and unremarkable.

It is today’s excellent journalism by Gabriel Pogrund and Tom Calver at the Sunday Times which allows us to test and trace the extensive network of personal connections which conjoin the active figures in the government’s disastrous pandemic policies to a raft of further enriched beneficiaries of government contracts. 

As such it is almost enough to permit a breach of the boycott of the Sunday Times – although this material can be read on the internet without enriching Murdoch or perhaps acquired, with a slight delay, as a wrapping to cod and chips.

We have too little information to speculate with authority as to why and how this assault on the probity of Boris Johnson’s government has emerged in the Murdoch press, but the speculation is that it has something to do with a reorientation of government policy — one consequence of which is the departure of Johnson’s consiglieri.

When two absolutely contradictory and perfectly dovetailed stories appear in the press it naturally invites suspicion that they share the same source or at least serve the same interests. 

So, on one hand, we are told that Johnson regrets his Brexit turn and is looking for a way out and, on the other hand, that with the departure of his two fixers he is the last Brexiteer standing in No 10.

And if these two stories are not completely and mutually exclusive, one thing is certain, the Prime Minister is looking for a solution to his difficulties.

Restoring his relationship with the parliamentary Tory Party is one priority.

We should not be surprised if the coming days see a fudge on fishing and a recalibration of the rules around government aid to industry that gives enough wiggle room for those capitalists who look to government for critical investment to be satisfied with an agreement with the EU.

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