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Monday, October 03, 2022

Keeping it in the family

The Tory conference has only been going for one day and already it is looking like a complete train wreck. Highlights include Conservative Pary Chair, Jake Berry telling people that if they can't cope with the rising cost of living, then they should either get a higher paid job or cut back on consumption -  shades of Norman Tebbit's get on your bike speech.

We discovered in the same interview, that Berry and chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng attended a private champagne reception with hedge fund managers at the home of a Conservative donor on the same day he delivered his mini-budget. 

The Guardian says that during this event at the west London home of Andrew Law, a financier, on the evening of Friday 23 September, the chancellor is alleged to have given guests information about forthcoming government spending cuts.

Nobody needs reminding that Kwarteng’s mini-budget earlier in the day, introduced a £45bn package of tax cuts that will mostly benefit the richest fifth of households, triggered economic turmoil and led to sterling collapsing to its lowest level against the dollar since 1985, forcing the Bank of England to act to save pension funds.

And now we learn that the City business partner of Jacob Rees-Mogg has been handed a peerage and job as a senior minister by Liz Truss’s government in a move likely to trigger accusations of cronyism.

The Guardian reports that Dominic Johnson, a financier who co-founded Somerset Capital Management with Rees-Mogg, was appointed as a minister in the Cabinet Office and the Department for International Trade. The announcement was slipped out on the government’s website, which said he had been appointed as of Sunday:

The appointment is likely to be controversial at a time when Truss, her chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, and Rees-Mogg face questions about being too close to the City, after the mini-budget handed substantial tax cuts to financiers and the wealthy.

Johnson is a substantial party donor who has given more than £250,000 and was vice-chairman of the Conservative party between 2016 and 2019. He replaces Gerry Grimstone, the former chairman of Barclays and Standard Life, in his role as trade minister, encouraging inward investment.

The shadow trade secretary, Nick Thomas-Symonds, said it “beggars belief that the Conservatives have appointed an unelected asset-fund manager to the government, who just happens to be a crony party donor”.

You couldn't make this stuff up.

Maybe the Conservatives Conference is a mess, but we should be using this unique situation to put forward how we can do better, not knocking other people like many other parties seem to do.

I looked at our latest manifesto type document and lots of general promises as to what we will do, but not specific ways we will do it.
Yes we are missing a trick by not having a conferance stating how we would do it.
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