Posts Tagged ‘Northampton’

Vox Political on Hidden Payments to MP’s Funding

July 30, 2016

More electoral corruption from the Conservatives, though Mike points out that it appears unconnected to the wider issue of electoral fraud by Tory MPs. Yesterday, Mike reported that the BBC had uncovered that three payments of £10,000 had been made to the fighting fund for the Tory MP for Northampton South, David Mackintosh. Although the payments, comprising £30,000 in total, were made under different names, they appear to be all from the same company, 1st Land Ltd, which is being investigated for the disappearance of millions of taxpayer’s money. Mackintosh says he will fully co-operate with police, and that he had no reason to believe the money didn’t come from the donors claimed.


Corruption is endemic at all levels of politics, and some of the prize examples of electoral fraud and the bribery of MPs and local councillors can be read regularly in the pages of Private Eye. If affects all parties, but Tory funding is particularly murky. About a decade ago Colin Challen, a Labour MP, wrote a series of articles in Lobster about his attempts to trace the funding of the Tory party. It’s unknown, or at least, it was then, where the Tory party got half of its money. It’s clear from this that the Tory party is funded by some very powerful, extremely secretive, and very probably extremely corrupt individuals and companies. Dubious payments like this made to Mr Mackintosh is just the most obvious tip of a very large, nasty iceberg. It’s probably small potatoes, and run of the mill corruption compared to what else is going on in the party.

From 2010: Private Eye on Cruelty to Children at G4S Detention Centres

January 21, 2015

G4S is another government contractor, that has kept winning government contracts since the 1990s despite a record of appalling incompetence and failure. Amongst other examples of their manifest inability, the company has been responsible for prisoners escaping from custody as they were being transported to trial, and the rioting of asylum seekers in one of their detention centres as a result of neglect and abuse. In their edition for the 14th – 27th May 2010, Private Eye covered several cases of the maltreatment of children at their detention centres, including one case which resulted in the death of the boy concerned.

Scare Centres

“We recognise that when your child arrives at one of our centres they may be bewildered, tired and worried,” security giant G4S tells the families of young people locked up in its secure training centres.

Children may rightly be worried. A G4S manager has just been sentenced to a 40-week suspended jail term for assaulting a 13-year-old in his care at the run-for-profit Rainsbrook child jail near Daventry. Northampton crown court heard that 27-year-old team leader Neil Hanna dragged the boy along tarmac and then up a flight of stairs, causing him severe abrasions.

Rainsbrook is of course where 15-year-old Gareth Myatt (Eyes passim) choked to death during restraint by three “care” staff three days after he arrived. The teenager, who was only 4 ft 10 in tall, had refused to clean the sandwich toaster.

Meanwhile, the British Safety Council, (BSC) last week announced that it was withdrawing the 2009 International Safety Award presented to G4S for its other for-profit detention facilities – immigration detention centres. The move followed the death of Eliud Nyenze, a 40-year-old from Kenya who collapsed and died at the Oakington centre in Cambridge after allegedly being denied swift medical help following an apparent heart attack (see last Eye).

For-profit prisons are notorious. That arch-Tory, Peter Hitchens, is no supporter of them, on the base that the power to prosecute and punish crime should only belong to the state. More seriously, one of the private prison companies appears in the Michael Moore documentary, Capitalism: A Love Story. One section of the film describes how a series of teenagers, including a girl, were given custodial sentences despite the triviality of their crimes. If I remember correctly, the girl may have skipped school for the day. The children’s offences were all at that level. They were a pain and a problem but hardly a menace to society, nor anything that a good parental talk and grounding couldn’t have sorted out. But nevertheless, they were sent to the hair-rising regime of adult prisons. Why? The judge was on the payroll of the local private prison contractor, and so it was in his interest, and theirs, to keep their little gulag well stocked.

It’s time the private prisons and detention centres were scrapped, and a good, long look taken at G4S’ suitability as a government contractor. But I doubt that’ll ever be forthcoming, as they’re probably another Tory donor.

Richard Baxter and the Puritan Celebration of Science

May 3, 2013

Amongst some atheists, the Puritans have a reputation as the cruel opponents of science. Much of this appears to come from the writer Nathaniel Hawthorne’s view of Puritan responsibility for the horrors of the Salem witch-hunts. A previous generation of historians of science, such as the sociologist Robert K. Merton, believed that the Scientific Revolution was partly caused by the Puritans. This view has since been rejected. The interest in science and desire to promote and expand scientific knowledge was not unique to the Puritans, but also included other Protestants, such as mainstream Anglicans, and Roman Catholics, as is shown in the numerous scientific academies that existed in Roman Catholic countries, such as France and Italy. Nevertheless, many Puritan ministed strongly supported and took an intense delight in the new science, which they saw as leading to a knowledge of God. Richard Baxter was one of these Puritan ministers. Amongst his other achievements, he was the leading advocate of religious toleration during the British Civil War. Its inclusion into the American Constitution was due to his influence, rather than that of later Deism. He also strongly supported and promoted science. In his Christian Directory, written in 1664-5, he wrote:

‘The very exercise of love to God and man, and of a heavenly mind and holy life, hath a sensible pleasure in itself, and delighteth the man who is so employed … What delight had the inventors of the sea-chart and magnetic attraction, of printing, and of guns, in their inventions! What pleasure had Galileo in his telescopes, in finding out the inequalities and shady part of the moon, the Medicean planets…’

Modern American science owes much of its existence to the Dissenting Academies set up in England by the Puritans during the 16th and 17th centuries. The Puritan academy in Northampton, for example, taught mechanics, hydrostatics, physics, anatomy, and astronomy. The founder of one of the earliest of these academies was Charles Morton. Morton later emigrated to America, where he became vice-president of Harvard. He then introduced to that great, august American institution the system of science that he had established in England.

Far from being uniform opponents of religious liberty and scientific investigation, it was the Puritan ministers and educationalists Richard Baxter and Charles Morton who founded the American tradition of religious liberty and science respectively.

Source: C.A. Russell, Science and Religious Belief.