Cabinet Office review into its 'Orwellian' Freedom of Information Clearing House calls for it to be disbanded and replaced with a 'centre of excellence'.
This comes after 2 years+ of reporting by @openDemocracy 🧵 gov.uk/government/pub…
When we revealed in 2020 how the Clearing House was vetting Freedom of Information requests from journalists and preventing the release of 'sensitive' information, the Cabinet Office smeared us.
Michael Gove said we were "tendentious and ridiculous"
The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) was introduced in 2011 to encourage a shift to cleaner energy.
The regulator warned people were 'gaming' system - but government did nothing.
Meanwhile Tory MPs, members of the Lords and the very rich profited.
Apr 29 • 9 tweets • 5 min read
A parliamentary inquiry has condemned British government for running a secretive Freedom of Information 'clearing house'.
From moment @openDemocracy broke this story in 2019, government has smeared our work.
So: Any chance of an apology Mr Gove? 🧵 opendemocracy.net/en/freedom-of-…
British government's attacks on @openDemocracy 's reporting started from moment we revealed that a Cabinet Office 'clearing house' was vetting Freedom of Information requests, in November 2019.
A campaigner this week said he had "no confidence" in Gray handling 'partygate' inquiry after she cited the Chilcot Inquiry as an example of how to “releas[e] the information in a managed way”. opendemocracy.net/en/opendemocra…
@openDemocracy has been leading the fight to clean up British politics for years (a thread)
At the weekend, @openDemocracy (with the Sunday Times) revealed that Conservative treasurers who donate £3m to the party get seats in the House of Lords.
Prompted by Telegraph story that said 'the British public wants a referendum on Net Zero'.
Surprise, surprise it's all astroturf and and dark money.
And it's not the only uncanny parallel w/Brexit campaign opendemocracy.net/en/dark-money-…
From the ERG 2.0 - 'the Net Zero Scrutiny Group' - to fake grassroots campaigns fronted by Reclaim party reps to the rush of political donations from oil and gas companies to the Tories, the campaign against climate change really feels like early days of Brexit campaigning.
Jun 8, 2021 • 7 tweets • 3 min read
BOOM🚨British Government has lost three-year-long battle to block transparency over its secretive FOI 'Clearing House' unit
Judge finds a “profound lack of transparency” and Cabinet Office 'misled' court over its FOI operation
Faculty Science - was part-owned by a government minister when it was given Covid contracts - has received furlough cash.
So has Randox, which won £479m in COVID-testing contracts, and paid former government minister Owen Paterson £120 an hour to act as a consultant.
Feb 9, 2021 • 4 tweets • 4 min read
Today's big British media news:
Editors of Times, Guardian, Telegraph, FT, Mirror, Paul Dacre, and many others have all signed an @openDemocracy letter calling for 'urgent' investigation of Cabinet Office's secretive FOI 'Clearing House'.
There were 13,170 centenarians in UK in 2018 according to ONS. Pennsylvania population is c12m, roughly 5 times UK's. So would expect around 2,500 people aged 101+ in PA. Is it a huge surprise that c. a third of these voted?
Oct 28, 2020 • 11 tweets • 5 min read
The IEA is supremely well-connected in Westminster. Its director general is a trade advisor to Liz Truss. It doesn't declare its donors.
Now an IEA advisor says it's 'hiding' behind charity laws to act as a lobbying outfit.
Anthony J Evans says the IEA prioritises “trolling” critics on social media while 'hiding' behind its charitable status to lobby.
Evans is listed as a member of the IEA’s shadow monetary policy committee – he says he stopped participating but “no one appeared to even notice”
Oct 28, 2020 • 4 tweets • 1 min read
Have starting to listen to loads of different morning radio shows to get a better handle on what's happening across the UK/int'l. Today @bbcradioulster. Plus: get great local coverage. Minus: have to listen to Sammy Wilson spread Covid misinfo, then blame rise on the GAA.
Sammy is like the comment pages of the Telegraph made flesh (and given a seat in Parliament)
Oct 17, 2020 • 5 tweets • 2 min read
This really is remarkable. A credit rating agency, Moody's, citing "weakening" of British democracy as factor in yesterday's UK downgrade ft.com/content/117349…
And what does UK government intend to do about this? Well, Tories floated idea of abolishing Electoral Commission...
You'd think having written a book called 'Democracy for Sale' all about how British democracy has been degraded and undermined, I'd be inured to this sort of thing. But I'm still shocked to see a rating's agency say this and barely anyone bat an eyelid.
Sep 24, 2020 • 7 tweets • 3 min read
Remember Lubov Chernukhin, top Tory donor whose husband was secretly given $8m by a Kremlin-friendly oligarch before Brexit ref in 2016? Well, turns out Electoral Commission has had concerns about her and other Tory Russian donors for a while (thread)
In internal emails, UK elections watchdog alerted staff to 'interesting donations' from Lubov Chernukhin, flagged Chernukhin in discussions around 'foreign interference' in Britain and queried other Tory donations from Russian-linked businesses. Ultimately, no action was taken
Sep 21, 2020 • 4 tweets • 1 min read
Sitting down to watch @BBCPanorama 's documentary about how Russian money has flooded into British public life, and the City has facilitated industrial level money laundering. Should be interesting.... 😬
Remarkable line in this Panorama. When journalists went to UK government with their findings, government declined to comment but on Friday, a few days before broadcast, announced new plans for company rules to combat fraud....
Sep 17, 2020 • 8 tweets • 4 min read
Shanker Singham’s consultancy spent $20,000 on Washington lobbyists pushing for a US-UK free trade deal.
MPs raise concerns about conflicts of interest w/Singham is in line for slice of £200m govt contract.
A *very* curious tale. March 16, Boris Johnson told Britons to avoid ‘non-essential contact’. Three days later PM met Evgeny Lebedev's holding company-but No 10 says meeting was 'personal' so refuses to release any details.
New from @RussellScott1 and me opendemocracy.net/en/dark-money-…
72 hours after warning British public to cease all unnecessary contact Johnson meets Lebedev Holdings at the PM's private residence. So that's a company, must be a business/political meeting and fully declared as such? Nope, No 10 says it's 'personal' so all details private
Sep 5, 2020 • 4 tweets • 1 min read
Grimly fascinating to watch how stars of 90s - from Brown to Matt Le Tissier - are demonstrating in real time how conspiracy theories are taking hold across what I reckon is a really sizeable chunk of Britain.
It's easy to just completely dismiss Ian Brown's ravings but that totally misses the point. These aren't aberrations they are very public manifestations of a radicalisation process that is talking place in houses right across the land, especially driven by Facebook groups
Aug 21, 2020 • 5 tweets • 4 min read
A few months before his arrest Steve Bannon boasted to me that he talked to Europe’s populist leaders “on a fairly regular basis” and was “still working behind the scenes driving stuff.”