inequality‘So messed up I want you here 
In my room I want you here’ 

Like a faithful old dog there is always something reassuringly familiar about the Tories; despite frequent changes of leaders, all their regular traits remain. 

Racism / Immigration [] 

Right-wing extremism [] 

Sleaze [] 

Climate change denial [] 

Austerity []  

Norther Ireland chaos [] 

NHS disaster [] 

I have written before that, post-Brexit, right-wing white terrorists have been empowered, an example of this was seen on Sunday when a man threw petrol bombs attached with fireworks at the Border Force immigration centre near Dover. After the attack the terrorist drove to a nearby petrol station, tied an improvised noose around his neck, attached it to a metal pole and drove off, killing himself. 

At a close by ‘processing centre’ in Manston, the local MP, Sir Roger Gale, described the conditions as being  caused directly by ‘car crash’ decisions taken deliberately by a Conservative home secretary. Around 4,000 asylum seeker, over double the stated capacity, sleep on blankets on floors. 

Gale told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘I was told the Home Office was finding it very difficult to secure hotel accommodation. I now understand this was a policy issue and that a decision was taken not to book additional hotel space. That’s like driving a car down a motorway seeing the motorway clear ahead. Then there’s a car crash and then suddenly there’s a five-mile tailback. The car crash was the decision not to book more hotels space.’ 

It is unclear if the current home secretary, Suella Braverman, or her predecessor, Priti Patel, took the fateful decision. However, a government minister, Mark Spencer, told Sky News on Monday, that Braverman had ‘put the block‘ on housing asylum seekers in Manston in hotels, claiming it was because she wanted to ‘process them quickly‘. 

Rather than dealing with the problem Braverman’s actions are exacerbating it. In truth, this is the latest Tory action that has seen virtually all safe and officially recognised routes for asylum seekers closed. In addition, the hard-right are trying to stop the policy of temporarily housing them in hotels. 

Situations like this are unlikely to offend the hard-right, who want to ‘send ‘em back’. One of their cheerleaders, the Telegraph was delighted to see Suella Braverman reinstated: ‘Her determination to crack down on crime and illegal immigration undoubtedly chimes with the views of the country, and especially voters in the Red Wall. Thank God there is someone in the Cabinet to put forward those views.’ 

Her return shows how deeply Rishi Sunak is in hock to the hard right, like every Tory leader from John Major onwards. Restoring Braverman as Home Secretary, and boasting of party ‘unity‘, shows his need to keep the lunatics that drove the Tories to this post-Brexit dead end on-side.

The Express, who are reputed to be closest to that faction, revealed that to see off Johnson, Sunak was so in need of right-wing support that he called Braverman six times begging for her backing; Keir Starmer summed it up PMQs: ‘a grubby deal‘.  

Fellow right-wingers, such as Bernard Jenkin, rushed to her defence, saying he could ‘vouch for the highest integrity of my right honourable friend the home secretary’. So much for Sunak’s promise of integrity, accountability, professionalism, seriousness and competence. 

‘So much for Sunak’s promise of integrity, accountability, professionalism, seriousness and competence’

Readers may recollect that the resignation issue was sending a confidential document to, among others Sir John Hayes, who is often referred to as her mentor. Hayes launched the  Common Sense Group two years ago in the wake of Black Lives Matter. This includes C. 40 MPs all right-wing diehards, and resurrects the old Cornerstone Group (faith, flag and family). 

Hayes, as you might expect, is a Brexiter; he also voted to restrict access to abortion, and is anti-same sex marriage. He is also anti-onshore wind turbines, perhaps unsurprisingly, as one of his outside jobs is as strategic adviser to BB Energy, a global energy trader. During the summer heatwave, Hayes condemned ‘a cowardly new world where we live in a country where we are frightened of the heat. It is not surprising in snowflake Britain.’ 

Braverman’s extremist views and racism came to the fore at the Tory conference where she said: ‘a plane taking off to Rwanda … That’s my dream. That’s my obsession.’  

Peaceful climate protestors fared little better: ‘We’ll keep putting you behind bars.’   

As for benefit claimants, well: ‘I want to cut welfare spending. We have far too many people in this country who are fit to work, who are able to work … the benefit street culture is a feature of modern Britain‘, needing ‘a bit more stick’ to get people back to work. 

Like most right-wing Tory’s she seem to think that the rules are for others. She has now admitted to using her personal email for official business six times. Her excuse was this enabled her to read the documents while taking work video calls. 

a plane taking off to Rwanda … That’s my dream. That’s my obsession.’  

After avoiding questions from MPs in the Commons last week, Braverman has broken her silence with a letter to the home affairs committee chair, Diana Johnson, apologising for her ‘errors of judgment‘. 

She tried to mitigate the situation saying the documents were not ‘classified as secret or top secret‘, or that they ‘concerned national security, intelligence agency or cybersecurity matters and did not pose any risk to national security‘. 

However, in her resignation letter she had claimed that she confessed ‘as soon as I realised my mistake’, whereas it she confessed after she was alerted to the situation and the cabinet secretary, Simon Case, became involved. 

The Liberal Democrat chief whip, Wendy Chamberlain, said the home secretary ‘has admitted breaking the rules on an industrial scale’ and ‘must resign now‘. 

She continued saying, ‘Unless Suella Braverman resigns for the second time, the Conservatives will be putting their own party ahead of this country’s security.’ 

Braverman said she apologised to Rishi Sunak when he reappointed her as home secretary, subsequently he has distanced himself from her claims, as No 10 says the PM did not discuss the circumstances relating to her resignation when he reappointed her, they only discussed getting her old job back. 

Asked whether Sunak believed that the letter to the Commons home affairs select committee would ‘draw a line‘ under the controversy surrounding the home secretary, Sunak’s official spokesperson said: ‘I think the prime minister feels this sets out a detailed account of what happened and responds to some of the interest in this, and that the home secretary is providing a full account.’ 

Braverman’s appointment can be filed under political expediency; her endorsement helped keep Johnson from standing for party leader again, and for a government intent on renewed unpopular austerity measures they will seek to deflect public anger by triggering ‘culture war’.  

In addition to pursuing racist policies the far-right continue to be in denial about global warming. This is despite the fact that soaring carbon emissions, largely due to our addiction to fossil fuels, has us perilously close to a 1.5C degree rise in global temperatures.  

The result has been an increase in the number and intensity of extreme storms, droughts and floods. In addition, we are close to triggering a wave of secondary calamities: the collapses of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets; the destruction of all the planet’s tropical coral reefs; and the thawing of Canada and Russia’s permafrost systems, an event that would release vast stores of methane, a gas many times more potent and dangerous than carbon dioxide. 

‘urgent action to cut carbon emissions, the prime driver of our climate woes, is necessary’

This is the backdrop for the forthcoming Cop27 climate summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. Clearly, urgent action to cut carbon emissions, the prime driver of our climate woes, is necessary. 

According to Cop27’s organisers, C. 90 world leaders will take part, including US president Joe Biden. The glaring absentee will likely be our new PM, who claims he is too busy with his autumn finance statement! 

Not to be left out, our new environment secretary, Thérèse Coffey, has also dismissed Cop27 as ‘just a gathering of people in Egypt‘. Thérèse’s incompetence and stupidity never disappoints that lies at the heart of the current administration.  

Alok Sharma, who had been Cop president since last year’s summit in Glasgow, and Graham Stuart, the climate minister, no longer attend cabinet meetings. Ironically, Boris Johnson is expected to attend Cop27. 

We cannot ignore the unfolding climate catastrophe, nothing should be more urgent. The attitude is the government is deeply embarrassing, a disgrace, demeaning us with our contemporaries. 

Rather than limiting, and seeking to stop the use of fossil fuels our government seems to be encouraging it. 

‘the government is deeply embarrassing, a disgrace, demeaning us with our contemporaries’

Both Shell and BP have made record profits are will hand back money to shareholders by raising their dividends and share buyback.  

Whilst BP will pay C. £600m of windfall tax, Shell will pay zero due to a government-made loophole that allows the company to offset North Sea investments. Instead of leading a green revolution to reduce our carbon footprint, in 2021 we offered the best profit conditions to develop offshore oil and gas fields.  

Greenpeace has said that raising UK levels of taxation to the global average for oil and gas companies would raise an additional £13.4bn.  

In addition, there needs to be taxes on cash transfers to ensure that companies are not channelling money to their shareholders at a time of national economic crisis. The left-of-centre thinktank Common Wealth found that oil and gas companies have handed their owners almost £200bn since 2010.  

The Institute for Public Policy Research and Common Wealth have called for a windfall tax on the share buybacks of FTSE-listed companies. This could generate £11bn – with Shell and BP alone making up nearly half that figure.  

What I find ironic in the governments reluctance to introduce these sort of measure, is that we have a C. £50bn budget deficit, and they are struggling to find areas to make cuts in.

The taxes above would have little, or no negative impact with the electorate, instead they will likely introduce ‘stealth taxes’, e.g., dispensing with the inflation-linked increase in tax thresholds year-on-year which will pull millions of people into higher tax brackets, generating billions for the exchequer.  

‘oil and gas companies have handed their owners almost £200bn since 2010’

It is expected that there will be 50-50 split between tax rises and spending cuts. The need for this, is indirectly caused by Truss’s tax-cutting bonanza. Whilst this has been consigned to history, her stupidity, together with a deteriorating economic outlook has damaged overseas investor confidence. 

Whilst the cost of government borrowing has stabilised and the pound has recovered a little, both are only back to pre-Truss levels.   

Borrowing for individuals and government looks increasingly expensive. It is expected that base rate will increase by 0.75%  to 3% this week, and, potentially, to 5% next year. For the government, in September public borrowing jumped in response to a £7.7bn debt interest bill, £2.5bn higher than the same month last year.  

One of the Bank’s former deputy governors, Paul Tucker, has estimated that the Treasury will be £40bn worse off from QE losses in addition to the higher interest to be paid on new debt, and argued that the government should override the usual rules to prevent this from happening. 

The one piece of good news is the drop in gas prices this month, which should see inflation start to fall, which should positively impact interest rates. 

We finish with Northern Ireland (‘NI’); if only we could! 

As we all know Brexit and the Good Friday agreement don’t go together. Add into the mix the Democratic Unionist party (‘DUP’)  throwing a hissy fit because Sinn Fein won the last election, and NI is, once again a political timebomb 

The current political deadlock has triggered an assembly election, which is expected to replicate the result of an election last May and produce the same deadlock. Therefore, barring a dramatic surprise, little will change and the DUP will continue to boycott power sharing – in protest against the post-Brexit Irish Sea border, paralysing the Stormont assembly and executive. 

Jon Tonge, a politics professor at the University of Liverpool and an authority on Northern Ireland elections said, ‘This is just going to harden things. That’s why it’s a catastrophically stupid thing to do. It will just confirm the impasse.’ 

In May Sinn Féin won 29% of the vote and 27 seats in the 90-seat Stormont chamber, a landmark result that made it the biggest party and its vice-president, Michelle O’Neill, the putative first minister. 

The DUP won 21% of the vote and 25 seats and the centrist Alliance won 13% of the vote and 17 seats. The Ulster Unionist party (UUP) trailed with 11% of the vote and nine seats, followed by the Social Democratic and Labour party (SDLP) with 9% and eight seats. Fringe parties made up the rest. 

Whilst parties will canvas on issues such as the need to tackle energy bills, traditional orange versus green dynamics will still prevail. 

Last May the DUP ran on a promise of boycotting power sharing unless the NI protocol was changed, and won support from unionists who consider the Irish Sea border a threat to Northern Ireland’s position in the UK.  

It is just the latest crisis. Stormont has not functioned for four of the past six years, raising doubts about the viability of institutions established by the 1998 Good Friday agreement. 

Observant readers will notice that my last tick box, the NHS, has escaped comment this week. What is there to say? Used, abused and torn apart.  

‘When I woke up yesterday 
Didn’t understand a thing or two 
But now I see with my own two eyes 
The problem was all right down to you’ 



  1. Local Government Chronicle 

Still plenty on the bone for Philip as things seem to go from bad to worse; the Braverman ‘issue’ was guaranteed to see hackles rising, but that was a price that Mr Sunak presumably thought was worth paying to keep the far right on side and allow him to claim his party is reunited.

The incendiary bile that issues from ‘Leaky Sue’s’ mouth will presumably do no harm in red wall constituencies starved of red meat.

Whether he was spooked by the thought of Boris donning his budgie smugglers, for another holiday in Sharm, or rapped over the knuckles for a monumentally dim decision, it now seems that our illustrious leader will find the time to attend COP27, in between cheesy photocalls of him flogging poppies.

Whatever the reason, we saw his true instinct when he said he would not be going; everything else is just polliticking.

However, the climate emergency appears to be spiralling out of control, with no credible plans to address it; dramatic changes in lifestyle and consumer choices are required to ensure that it’s only ‘really bad’ and apparently in thrall to the fossil fuel industry, this government looks much more like part of the problem than the solution.

There is simply no prospect of viable alternatives at scale to kerosene in aviation before 2050, yet this government is fully behind airport expansion in the hope that the carbon-fairy cavalry, charges in as the chimes start; spolier alert – it’s not going to happen. It’s nuts – aviation s just one example of where behaviour has to change. Dramatically. But is there the will? Apparently not, but the consequences are likely to be horrific.

Mounting anger from both ends of the age spectrum is motivating people to take to the streets, and when the mortgage rate spike that Truss pretty much single-handedly caused, starts to bite, it has the potential to be genuinely ugly; I don’t suppose anybody would expect a considered and proportionate response from our Home Secretary.

So what was Philip thinking?

This week we have had the opportunity to look at our new PM, Rishi Sunak, in action. Impressive? No. It’s just samo, samo. This isn’t a fresh start, a new regime, it’s the same old dog with different fleas.

We have a white racist attack on an immigration centre, and a Home Secretary spouting some vile things. “a plane taking off to Rwanda … That’s my dream. That’s my obsession.” What sort of warped and twisted mind comes up with that?

What is even sadder is that there are people in the party and in the electorate, my own mother included, who admire it!

There is, of course, the question of whether Braverman should be in the job! Perhaps JR was right; “’You’re a Drunk and an Unfit Mother.” Much to my amusement I read that Suella was actually named after Sue Ellen, how sad!

Our attitude to climate change hasn’t changed; denial. Highlighted by our soft treatment of the energy providers. No doubt a few in government have their eyes on well paid jobs after they have finished ruining the country. Speaking of which, I see that Matt Hancock is going into the jungle. After years of talking out of his ass, he will now get the chance to eat some animals ass.

Austerity, what can we say? It’s all been said before.

Northern Ireland. Oh dear. Give them to the Irish.

Lyrically, we start with the Stooges classic “I Wanna be Your Dog”. To end we have the Mighty Wah! and “Hope”. Really? Well actually, no. Some hope, no hope, Bob Hope. Enjoy!


Philip Gilbert 2Philip Gilbert is a city-based corporate financier, and former investment banker.

Philip is a great believer in meritocracy, and in the belief that if you want something enough you can make it happen. These beliefs were formed in his formative years, of the late 1970s and 80s

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