We Don’t Need This Fascist Groove Thing, 15th October 2020; Evil, Mean, Incompetent, Divisive, and Undemocratic




‘One minute born, one minute doomed
One minute up and one minute down..’


The title could be the description of governments in third-world countries, or from the history books describing Fascist Italy or Stalinist Russia. Sadly, this is how I view our own government. There were other adjectives but spellcheck rejected them!

Let’s start with evil the speciality of Priti Patel, the current Home Secretary. As we know she is determined to crack down on immigration, and to use her own words, ‘Those defending the broken system – the traffickers, the do-gooders, the leftie lawyers, the Labour party – they are defending the indefensible.’

Apart from ignoring the plight and/or rights of applicants it is rank hypocrisy. She herself is from an immigrant family, and, as she admitted in an interview on LBC in February, under her rules her family may not have been allowed in (1).

The fact is they were, her family worked hard and were successful, in return they had the benefits of living here. Unfortunately, she has a noticeably short, or convenient memory.

Her statement panders to party members prejudices, and anyone opposing them is a criminal. Her comments also endorse the party’s plans to limit judicial oversight and make the appointment of judges a political one. All of which is meat and drink to the core Tory voters, backbenchers, and the fawning right-wing press

As Home Secretary, Patel has the power to rewrite the immigration rules with minimal parliamentary and judicial oversight.

Lest we forget, from 2010 Theresa May used that power to target authorised migrants in Britain, insisting they must earn above a Whitehall-approved threshold before they could bring their husband, wife or partner into the country, which lead to the national disgrace of the Windrush scandal. And she was a vicars’ daughter.


‘Stained glass windows keep the cold outside
While the hypocrites hide inside..’


Patel has chosen to conveniently forget her families past and has created rules so complex and oft changed that the judiciary have said of them:


  • Lord Justice Jackson said immigration law had reached a degree of complexity that ‘even the Byzantine emperors would have envied’.
  • Lord Justice Beatson compared it to the street plan of a ‘shanty town’.
  • Lord Justice Underhill said that the web of rules and guidance had become so tangled ‘even the spider has difficulty controlling it’.


I doubt that these damning comments will worry either her or the government, and the respective law lords will be banished to recesses never to be seen again.

Within this we should not forget the role of Nigel Farage, a man desperate to find a cause to enable his return, or the TV companies that pander to him. Patel could have told the truth, and admit that Britain takes far fewer refugees than Germany, Spain or France, but instead she took the cowards option in demanding another change to the rules and accusing those who oppose her as the ‘accomplices of gangsters.’

Unfortunately, if you’re black and successful you will have the police after you. To them, a black person in a nice car means ‘stolen vehicle’.

Think I’m a ‘do-gooder’ who has it in for the police, well… England footballer Danny Rose has claimed he is regularly stopped by police in his hometown – and was breathalysed after being approached by officers in a car park last week.

The Premier League star said he is often asked by officers whether his car is stolen when returning home to Doncaster.

‘My friends have been there with me a lot of the time when it’s happened,’ he told the Second Captains podcast.’

‘The last time, last week, when I’d just been at my mum’s house, I had pulled up in a car park so the engine was off.’

‘The police pulled in and they brought a riot van, three police cars and they questioned me. They said they’d had a report that a car had not been driving correctly.’ (2)

A riot van and 3 cars, he’s a footballer not Al Capone. This is simply racial stereotyping

Before anyone says, ‘oh, yeah it’s a mistake, a one-off,’ there is Bianca Williams and Ricardo dos Santos, two innocent athletes, stopped, handcuffed, and searched by officers in London.

Williams, a gold medal winner at the Commonwealth Games, and her partner, Dos Santos, a Portuguese sprinter, were stopped in Maida Vale, north-west London, while traveling in a Mercedes on 4 July, their 3-month-old baby son was in the vehicle.

Dos Santos said police claimed they smelled cannabis. The couple were found to have committed no offence. Their only offence was to be black and in a nice car.


‘White youth, black youth
Better find another solution
Why not phone up Robin Hood
And ask him for some wealth distribution…’


And, from the evil to the mean, before we do, this column offers its congratulations to Marcus Rashford on his MBE and warns him not to buy an expensive car!

Alas despite Marcus’ best endeavours analysis by the Food Foundation estimates that as many as 900,000 more children have sought free school meals, on top of the 1.4 million who were already claiming, as the Covid-19 crisis plays havoc with family incomes.

Marcus said: ‘The numbers recorded here just reinforce the need for urgency in stabilising households … we must act now to protect the next generation and the most vulnerable across the UK.’

Analysis by LGA Labour reveals that more than 450,000 pupils face spending half-term under increased lockdown restrictions but without free school meals. Most of those children are concentrated in the north of England and the Midlands.

‘All across the country, millions have lost their jobs or been furloughed, businesses are going under and everyone is finding things hard – eight out of 10 families feel worse off thanks to the pandemic. The economy is in dire straits and new restrictions will make it even harder to make ends meet,’ LGA Labour’s deputy leader, councillor Michael Payne said.

The Food Foundation analysis showed even where they were eligible for free school meals, many children were missing out on a hot lunch – the key meal of the day for children in poverty – as some school canteens had not yet become fully operational.

Of more than 1,000 UK school-age children surveyed by the foundation in September, only 45% said their canteens were running as usual and 8% reported their canteens were closed. One in 10 said most pupils had been asked to bring a packed lunch, while 21% said canteens were only serving a small number of pupils.

I understand that school meals can be C.£45 a month for one child, and eligibility for free school meals is restricted to children in households where parents claim out of work benefits, including some on universal credit. The latest official figures showed 1.4 million children in England were on free school meals in 2018-19.

The Department for Education said it was anticipating a rise in free school meal registrations. The next set of official figures is not published until December. A government spokesperson said: ‘We have taken substantial action to make sure children and their families do not go hungry during this pandemic.’


‘We are the children
The hungry children..’


For incompetence there was an embarrassment of riches but, to keep it topical, I will satisfy myself with Johnsons’ 3-tier lock-down.

Let’s start with a simple, incontrovertible fact; the virus is out of control in many areas. The government has, in recent months, managed to create confusion and discord, with a mishmash of local restrictions that have satisfied no one and have done little to reduce the number of cases.

Whist under the 3-tiers the rules are less opaque the question is why the virus has been allowed to spiral out of control? And, why have simple measures such as reinstating the 2-metre social distancing rule have not been applied?

The government seems to have no other plan than relying on the crude tool of social and economic restrictions. There is nothing that could be described as a coherent strategy that inspire confidence in people, and safeguard their jobs’ and businesses in.

10-years of austerity and the neglect of the NHS meant that by 2012 the life expectancy of the population of England has stalled, and for women in the most deprived areas it was falling.

This neglect has led to the absence of both basic public health knowledge and experience at the heart of government, which as part of Tory policy means that any major problem or catastrophe can only be resolved by pumping billions into a select number of private sector corporations.

We claim that we are following the science, i.e. the advice of SAGE, when it’s perfectly clear that we aren’t. As this column highlighted previously, although Italy and Sweden applied contrasting solutions both followed the advice of the scientific advisers.


They both succeeded because their leaders trusted the public to follow the advice and the public trusted their leaders


They both succeeded because their leaders trusted the public to follow the advice and the public trusted their leaders, sadly neither are true of us.

Take for example, the absurdity of the situation of pubs that are ‘food led’ being able to stay open despite the new rules.

This was perhaps best summed up by the housing and communities secretary Robert Jenrick, who is himself absurd; in an interview on LBC radio yesterday he said a Cornish pasty is a ‘substantial meal’ before adding that it would need a side order of chips or similar in order to qualify.

If ever something was an accurate summation of a situation this is it. Our measure of safety is limited by the need to visit pubs!

Johnson wants people to act responsibly, but his libertarianism won’t let him shut the pubs.

In addition, he has to contend with a lockdown-sceptic Tory faction in parliament who are supported by much of the media which has taken against public health regulations with all the gusto of a Weatherspoon’s’ customer spying cheap beer. Johnson is stuck between his party’s impatience to unlock and SAGE’s counsels of caution.

To succeed Johnson must persuade people to comply, to change their behaviour, and to disapprove of those who do not. For this to happen there must be trust on both sides and a willingness to accept the unacceptable.


Johnson is stuck between his party’s impatience to unlock and SAGE’s counsels of caution


But how can the public trust Johnson? Announcing the latest restrictions, he issued a tacit licence for disobedience describing them as ‘erosions of liberty’. Previously he said the pandemic rules cut against the grain of ‘freedom-loving’ British culture. If he does not believe his own rules how can he expect others to?

He rails against Keir Starmer for failing to support his efforts when, all he is doing, is highlighting the governments ongoing incompetence.

He praised Liverpool’s Labour mayor, Steve Rotheram, for working with the government on the latest measures, whilst implying that central government resources would be withheld from less cooperative regional authorities.

The reality is stark, the PM doesn’t know what to do, he’s out of his depth, sunk by a problem that he can’t run away from and leave to someone else, which, to date, has been his modus operandi.

My last two adjectives, divisive and undemocratic I will tackle as one.

In his conference speech last week, Boris Johnson recited the standard Tory mantra: ‘The state must stand back and let the private sector get on with it.’

It’s a lie; what he wants to do is take control, to stop parliament from voting on crucial legislation, stitching up trade deals without parliamentary scrutiny, shutting down remote participation, so that MPs who are shielding at home can neither speak nor vote, and shutting down parliament altogether, if it suits him.

The internal market bill could enable Westminster to take back control of devolved policies from Scotland and Wales. At the same time, he is strengthening central government over local authorities, side-lining mayors’ and councils as he imposes new coronavirus measures on their cities.

Peoples powers over planning decisions are being reduced, as is their judicial right to legally challenge government policy, both the Coronavirus Act and the covert human intelligence sources bill grant the police inordinate power over our lives.

His promise to restore sovereignty is at odd with his policies that increase the powers of the state, often done in a stealthy fashion that is easily missed.

His reliance on ‘the market’ simply means the private sector which, in-turn leads to public funds being squandered.

As an example, the chief executive of the Irish Health Service Executive estimates that the full-year cost of its test and trace system is up to €700 million, whereas the UK government has made provisions of £12bn (3). Irelands population is C.5m, a tenth of England’s whereas our system is estimated to cost 17x more.


private contracts are granted to favoured companies without advertisement or competitive tendering


Often these lucrative private contracts are granted to favoured companies without advertisement or competitive tendering.

Covid has, and continues to change so much, many jobs are temporary, many people work from home, the focus of our lives has shifted back to our neighbourhoods, and this is where or focus should be.

Peoples wish for control has been manipulated by a government that sidesteps parliament whenever they can, and continually passes control to the ‘economic elite.’ If Johnson really believes in taking back control, he should remember what Abraham Lincoln said, ‘Democracy is the government of the people, for the people and by the people’


‘You’re the book that I have opened
And now I’ve got to know much more…’



  1. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/priti-patel-immigration-laws-parents-home-office-brexit-a9343571.html
  2. https://news.sky.com/story/england-footballer-danny-rose-regularly-stopped-by-police-and-asked-if-his-car-is-stolen-12041737#:~:text=England%20footballer%20Danny%20Rose%20has,when%20returning%20home%20to%20Doncaster.
  3. https://fullfact.org/online/ireland-uk-tracing-app/


Those that follow his column will have experienced Philip’s highs and lows; moments of soaring optimism at the prospect of building back better and addressing inequality all too often quashed by disappointment, anger and frustration.

No shrinking violet, he has diligently exposed incompetence and skulduggery on either side of the Pond and his prognostications have invariably been proven correct; I can’t recall a preamble as bleak as the one that accompanied his latest contribution.

‘We will continue to lurch from disaster to disaster because that is all they are capable of’ and ‘I doubt anything Johnson tries will be followed by the public, there is no trust there so why bother’ rather indicate the direction of travel of a rather sombre piece.

Philip’s feelings toward Priti Patel are unequivocal; given the sheer magnitude of her hypocrisy, that feels proportionate.

His musings on Dibble suggest that Constable Savage is alive and well almost 40 years after Not The Nine O’Clock News introduced him to an unsuspecting world; when ‘we are the children, the hungry children’ is one of the lyrics it is difficult not to be ashamed by just how far we have fallen.

Boris’ handling of the pandemic requires no parody from Philip; it’s a complete dog’s breakfast. Mr Jenryck will no doubt be able to enlighten us as to whether or not that constitutes a substantial meal, but there can be little doubt that lives will be lost as a direct result of the confusion and lack of leadership.

To perpetuate the sense that we are seemingly being inexorably sucked down one of Thomas Crapper & Co’s sanitary products, the two main headlines on BBC News just now are ‘PM warns he may ‘need to intervene’ on Manchester’ and ‘UK’s trade talks with EU are ‘over’, says No 10′.

Still, no worries mate, we can now apparently look forward to an ‘Australian Deal’ which was, of course, what we were hoping for all along. Bonzer.

Lyrically, Philip’s tracks offer little light relief; we’re taking online entries only this week to remove sharp objects from the equation, but there are fully 33 pts on offer.

First off the rank, ‘the greatest band of all time fronted by a genius lyricist. The title is simply perfect’ gives away the Velvet Underground for a singleton, but 3 for ‘What Goes On’; next, wow – ‘I have been saving this song for a special occasion, it will hopefully offend many. A man full of anger and frustration’  3 pts for PiL and 3 for ‘Religion’.

Then, this week’s ‘gimmie’ – ‘As protest songs go, they don’t get much better than this’ – one apiece for The Clash and the excellent ‘(White Man) in Hammersmith Palais’.

Next, and you’ll probably not find it anywhere else – ‘Oh man these guys were scary, LA punk at its finest and most theatrical’ five and five for Misfits and ‘The Hunger’.

Last but not least ‘trip-hop defined. This is just a great song that everyone should listen to’ – and depressingly nearly 30 years old. 3 pts for Massive Attack, 3 pts for the haunting ‘Unfinished Symphony’ and a generous 5 pt bonus for the name of the singer*.

Dark days indeed, but ‘at his best when at his boldest’ – no points, but bragging rights for identifying who that is attributed to. Enjoy .


* Shara Nelson


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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