The business of Greensill Capital, which David Cameron sought to promote, seemed to consist of using investors’ money to pay suppliers early, for which service those suppliers paid a fee by receiving less than they were owed.
It sounds like smoke and mirrors, and the idea that NHS staff might be paid this way is outrageous. Employees have employment contracts specifying when and how much they are to be paid. How could Mr Cameron think that paying them less while he was paid out of the deductions was a public service?
Bury St Edmunds
I felt compelled to repeat the erudite question posed by John Rentoul at the end of his splendid article (‘David Cameron used all his PR skills in front of the Treasury Committee – but only managed to tarnish his reputation further’) on Friday: “When we bought what he was selling in 2010 and 2015, was it snake oil?”
Having emphatically answered, “yes”, I then exclaimed, even louder: “Tragically a large chunk of the electorate are still buying; this time it is just from a different source!”
The excellent articles by Patrick Cockburn (‘Joe Biden wants to avoid the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – but that won’t be an option for much longer’) and Mary Dejevsky (‘We harbour many illusions about Israel and the Palestinians – all of them must now be dispelled’) give us an insight into the conflict in Israel and the Palestinian territories and the complex issues that keep peace at arm’s length.
I can’t help thinking there is something else driving the conflict. I was struck by the unprecedented intervention of Israeli president, Reuven Rivlin, taking over the airwaves followed shortly after by prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. After all, Rivlin has just asked Yair Lapid, chairman of the Yesh Atid party and opposition leader in the Knesset, to try to form a government. Netanyahu claims Lapid cannot seek power while the civil strife continues. He won’t want to concede and face justice for the charges of corruption against him.
Is this a situation where Netanyahu will do anything to hold onto power regardless of the consequences, no matter who suffers and dies? After all, this crisis didn’t begin with rockets from Gaza but tear gas on the Temple Mount.
Kim Sengupta’s article on Northern Ireland (‘An amnesty over Troubles-era prosecutions will only rekindle anger and bitter division’, 13 May) touches on the merits of prosecuting former soldiers, but I’m concerned that higher officials like military officials, civil servants and MPs involved with the Troubles are not being held to account. It is duly right to hold soldiers accountable for failure to work within the boundaries set, but who is bringing to court the officials who gave the orders? Veterans should not be punished for doing their duty.
Indian variant demands caution
Boris Johnson is absolutely right to be cautious as regards the lifting of lockdown. The new Indian variant is a huge cause for concern. Why take unnecessary risks when we are so close to success? We should take every step and every measure possible to avoid another spread and yet another lockdown.
The day the music died
Access to EU markets for musicians (classical and popular) has become a big problem for the artists, their support staff, their fans, and for our exports in the performing arts. Moreover, a range of other professionals whose work takes them regularly to Europe are also in trouble.
Music in all its aspects has been a great British post-war success story. It enriches our lives, interacts with European culture, brings export earnings home, and sustains our cultural reputation abroad. But the music industry is only one of many, both large and small, that have already been damaged by Boris Johnson’s deal with the EU.
The government, not surprisingly since it does not fit their narrative, has little interest in trying to resolve many of the problems that Brexit has thrown up. If they admit they are seriously trying to renegotiate and fix some of the issues, they are advertising the fact that the Brexit deal was full of holes, as well as by implication accepting that their boosterish optimism about our wonderful new freedoms is all an act. Even if a few in government may now have grasped that many businesses are being adversely affected by Brexit, it is more than their political life is worth to say so publicly.
All Scots deserve their say on independence
If we are to be forced by the SNP to endure yet another referendum regarding Scotland’s independence from the UK I believe the following points need to first be considered.
Nicola Sturgeon has repeatedly said that Scottish people should determine their country’s future, so why does she not propose to allow Scots currently living in another part of the UK (probably as defined by those born and/or reared in Scotland) to vote for the future of their country? This exclusion is particularly hurtful given that non-UK citizens, having just arrived in the country, would be allowed to have their say.
If the union between Scotland and the rest of the UK is to be questioned in a referendum, it could well be argued that all UK citizens should be consulted. Scotland is not a British colony seeking independence but is a closely integrated partner within a highly successful union of nations. There can be few Scottish residents that don’t have family members living in other parts of the UK and surely everybody’s view should count on whether they should be separated by a hard national border?
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