Monday, 11 April 2016

As we approach, the final curtain ...

So the weekend has gone and the British MSM has tried to pretend nothing much happened by largely ignoring the Junior Doctor's protest against Hunt's destructive NHS contract and then pretended there was nothing to see at Downing Street on Saturday except maybe most of the Metropolitan Police not already committed to football matches. Today's misplaced story is being turned into an SNP 'baad' story, as I type, as the actual perpetrators of the PFI hospital and schools scam on Scotland's taxpayers rush to hide behind the Mighty McTernan, 'Red Banner' Jacqui of the BBC and equally frothing Torquil at the Record of last resort, as they pump out more smoke and ash than 'Krakatoa' in an attempt to prove you can fool all of the people all of the time and give their Labour bestest pals a chance to run for the hills while they cover up the 'omnishambles' Gordon Brown's failed PFI project has left in its wake.

A simple way to understand how a PFI contract works is; the council asks for bids to design, build and maintain a new school or schools.  In general terms the initial bids from the main PFI contractors have all the fiscal credibility of a Jackie Baillie shadow budget or a Dugdale tax revenue claim. The council CEO recommends a preferred bidder to the councilors, according to Gordon Brown's Prudence Rule, who then either accept or reject the recommendation. Only after the councilors have given the main PFI contractor the green light does the actual business of costing, design and the cascade of competitive sub-contracting bidding begin. In other words the main PFI contractor basically has a license to print money at the taxpayer's expense by maximising cost estimates while squeezing the subcontractors as hard as possible (PFI contracts are routinely three times more expensive than their own outline tender and more than twice as costly as a conventional council build over the twenty five year contract). The council's only contribution to the initial process is to give the PFI contractor the land to build the new school on which remains in the main PFI contractor's hands at the end of the contract period, usually 25 years. The Education Committee have no right of oversight of the new build or ability to alter the contract or design as the main council has signed up for PFI as an arms length contract. The specifications of the build are all under control of the main contractor's designated architects and engineering practice. The designated architects and consulting engineers are, of course, seeking to maximise their profit margin by utilising cheaper and less experienced members of staff. A habit which cascades down through out the build and to the eventual building maintenance contracts for repairs, servicing, grass cutting and cleaning. This is seeking to maximise profit is part of the reason why you end up frequently having new primary and secondary schools already over crowded on the day they open (Greenock Academy / Kirkcudbright Primary), more classrooms means less profit all the way down the sub contracting chain, all justified by using out of date demographics, provided by the local council but collated in a way which does not reflect what the actual demand is now or is going to be in the future.

Back to the core issue. In 1986 if Thatcher had been caught up in the Panama Scandal in the same way as Cameron there would have been a vote of no confidence and she would have been gone, we would now be heading for a UK general election and the 'In/Out' EU referendum in June would have been cancelled. So why is this not happening?

The Boris / Duncan-Smith Tory faction would love to bring forward a vote of no confidence in Cameron's Government based on the Panama Scam but they can not as they are also up to their necks in the scandal and to do so would expose the corruption inherent in the current bunch of Tories for all to see, as leak after leak poured out from either side in this Tory civil war, in an outburst of muck spreading. The last thing Boris or any of the Tories want is even greater exposure of their tax avoidance scams as their MSM friends try hard to spike the Panama story and their grubby involvement in it, as of no interest to the average British subject by refusing to cover it.

Corbyn would also like to bring forward a vote of no confidence in Cameron but is stymied by the surfeit of Blairites in the Labour Parliamentary Party and Lords who would also be likely to be exposed as beneficiaries of Panama's less than honest broking. What is best for Labour is to hope this all goes away and the Tories self destruct in the aftermath of the June EU vote, no matter the outcome.

The SNP could bring forward a motion of no confidence in Cameron's government but for the reasons outlined above, it is not in Labour or the Tories current self interest to do anything else but ensure any SNP no confidence motion fails.

Meanwhile, back in Scotland, Labour and its Scotch organisational sub group are now in the even deeper thick and steaming as the PFI contract new school builds, forced on Edinburgh's Labour Council by Labour's Chancellor, Gordon Brown, begin not just to unravel but to physically collapse. Whether the reason for the buildings failure is lack of maintenance or deficiencies in the build, the finger of blame can only be pointed at the PFI main contractor who has failed to provide a building fit for purpose over the twenty five year period of the contract.

The problem arises as the original PFI contractor company will by now have collapsed in on itself after selling on the PFI contract to, say, a Cayman Island's offshore tax avoidance vehicle, via their legal friends in Panama. You can not sue or force reparation by a PFI company or its ex-directors which is no longer trading nor is it likely the officials in the Cayman Islands will be very forth coming about the real owners of the shell company, under their jurisdiction, which purchased the PFI contract.

Millers, the original main building contractor, no longer exists as a trading company and Amey will already have their legal beagles checking for a way out of any 'knock on' liability that their purchase and liquidation of Millers may entail.

So just who will Edinburgh Council have left to pursue or will Edinburgh's council tax payers be left to carry the fiscal can for yet another Labour inspired municipal disaster?

It may be clearer now that both Labour and the Tories are equally vulnerable to any further Panama leaks and exposure which will not only reveal just how deep our UK politicians are in this avoidance scam but the degree to which a blind eye to the avoidance scam has long suited UK Governments of both stripes, since the 1980's, as a way to bury the real costs and risks of the use of PFI 'public service' contracts to the UK taxpayer and the UK economy.

The only group of people who are 'better together' in today's UK are the Labour, Tory and Libdem MPs and Lords. The rest of us are being well and truly screwed over.

I am now hoping that England will vote to leave the EU in June while Scotland votes to stay. If this is the case, Scotland can ask the EU to acknowledge it as the UK's EU successor state. Given the statements coming out of the EU with regards 'England' I would be very surprised if the EU did not welcome Scotland aboard with open arms and by Scotland joining the EU, the UK Union would cease to exist. All that could happen in line with Ms Sturgeon's recent suggestion Scotland could yet be independent by 2018 ... just saying .... all to the sound track of Frank Sinatra singing 'My Way' in the background.


  1. An excellent read, you clearly describe the situation with PFI/PPP, even showing it's relevance to tax havens.
    Well said.

  2. Yes, an illuminating piece. Fills in the gaps I was missing. Isn't there some way of establishing who the payments went to after Amey bought and liquidated Millers? If they went to Amey, then isn't that company liable? Technically and morally?

    1. Depends how the original contract was written. Amey may well have insured themselves against claims made retrospectively against Miller Contracts where liability may become Amey's. In which case Amey will make good as it is not effecting their bottom line.

  3. So much that is just being swept under the carpet, it's sickening. The PFI scam when looked at in detail, conjures what a novel abut the mafia might read like.

    Ok, perhaps it is best for that scenario after all, Scotland in, england out...was thinking best if its a vote to stay, but the what you say could be right.