Three Strikes and You're Out – If Only
If any further proof were needed of the urgent need for root and branch reform of our political and electoral systems, for the Tories to be out of government - this week’s headlines should more than suffice.
Strike 1 - Nadhim Zahawi
The details of Tory Party Chairman Nadhim Zahawi’s tax affairs have eventually come to light, importantly not because of the effective work of due process by the government and the HMRC, but instead by the excellent and tireless work of tax lawyer Dan Neidle. When institutions neglect their duty, and it takes motivated, civic-minded individuals to unearth and reveal wrongdoing amongst the wealthy and powerful, then the system is not working.
The systemic weaknesses and corruption across most of our institutions require urgent reform. HMRC even went as far as to note that, “There are no penalties for innocent errors in your tax affairs”, which will be news to any ordinary people who have been penalised for far smaller omissions than Zahawi’s reported seven-figure blunder. This encapsulates the ‘one rule for them and another for us’ modus operandi of the current government. Given the PM’s own well-publicised issues with tax avoidance, it is little wonder that his promise of 'integrity, professionalism and accountability’ has unravelled so quickly.
Instead of sacking Zahawi, Sunak has asked for an inquiry – paid for with our taxes. A key question for the Prime Minister is whether he was told about a settlement with HMRC and did this settlement include a penalty at the time of appointing Zahawi? According to sources, Downing Street was informed of the penalty and settlement with HMRC prior to Zahawi’s appointment as chair of the Conservative party.
Strike 2 - Suella Braverman
Suella Braverman has dismissed two of the three Windrush Inquiry reform recommendations, in a deliberate and cynical move to avoid scrutiny. Wendy Williams, who headed the enquiry has openly challenged the decision, stating “I am disappointed that the department has decided not to implement what I see as the crucial external scrutiny measures.” Braverman has chosen not to increase the powers of the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration or hold reconciliation events with the Windrush community; many of whom came here 75 years ago. As a reminder, Home Secretary Braverman was sacked for security failures and then rehired a week later for supporting Sunak, just three months ago.
Strike 3 - Dominic Raab
And Deputy PM Dominic Raab? He is now facing accusations of bullying from an astonishing 24 civil servants that he worked with at the Ministry of Justice, the FCO and the Department for Exiting the European Union. Officials close to the inquiry are said to be shocked by some of the claims that have emerged, including individuals being physically sick before meetings, regularly in tears and, in more than one case, left feeling suicidal because of Raab’s alleged behaviour.
Reform at the next General Election – Once in a Generation Opportunity
As the Government drowns in ever more sleaze and scandals, we are approaching a crucial General Election, with a once-in-a-generation opportunity to strengthen our political system and machinery of government that transforms public conduct, culture, and ethics in our corridors of power, and refocuses on people, not party. It is imperative to bring in new laws that close the loopholes and lax systems exploited by professional politicians.
Much as military forces are prone to prepare for the last war, rather than the next one, political thinking is often determined by giving too much weight to what happened at the last election. Following Boris Johnson’s thumping majority in 2019, the received wisdom – fuelled in part by the Conservatives’ woeful polling – is overestimating the certainty of a landslide majority outcome for Labour at the next election. Many pollsters are talking about the ‘soft lead’ Labour has, and in research this week the most common words associated with Keir Starmer were ‘don’t know’. Even polling guru John Curtice is now talking about the likelihood of a hung parliament. This creates a brilliant opportunity for True & Fair.
True & Fair have announced a slate of common-sense proposals to combat sleaze and remove the existing incentives for unacceptable behaviour amongst our elected officials. By focusing on a limited, carefully selected number of target seats, we can harness the vote of those disenchanted, politically homeless and disgusted by a status quo that supports the antiquated two-party duopoly.
We are the party determined to clean up the stench of sleaze, political corruption and cronyism engulfing Parliament. Tax penalties, fixed penalty notices, dodgy financial deals, back-scratching, bullying, security breaches and misuse of the RAF as a personal air taxi service – shouts that enough is enough!
It’s time to back real change. To be part of a civic-led movement that can get people with principles, integrity, and courage into Parliament.
We need you to help us to help you – so please contact us to:
- Become a member and join our campaign teams
- Help with events
- Build awareness in local media, across social media, with friends and family
- Donate – as an extremely small, efficient, and nimble team your money goes even further
Change is possible. As the Dalai Lama said, “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”
New Campaign HQ
True & Fair has opened Gina Miller’s Campaign HQ from where Gina will be challenging the Tory incumbent Chris Grayling, who has gone unchallenged for 21 years.
In The Media
Gina interviewed on ‘Uncovering Politics podcast’ University College London - listen to the podcast here.
Other recent media coverage here.
Have a great weekend,
The True & Fair Team