Thursday, 17 May 2018

Account For This

Break up the Big Four, says the report into Carillion. We have been waiting for this more than 20 years.

There is nothing quite like the accountancy racket as New Labour set it up. For it was Patricia Hewitt who told speakers at Labour Conferences, "Do not use the word "equality"; the preferred term is "fairness"." She it was, a mere Press Officer, who, in a sign of things to come, was not told where to get off for having presumed so to instruct her betters.

She went on to help found the Institute for Public Policy Research, and then, soon after Tony Blair became Leader, to become Head of Research at Andersen Consulting. That was a position for which she had no apparent qualification beyond her closeness to the Prime Minister in Waiting. In 1997, she entered Parliament, he entered Downing Street, and the Labour commitment to regulate such companies was dropped.

As was the previous Conservative Government's absolute ban on all work for Andersen in view of its role in the DeLorean fraud. Andersen paid just over £21 million of the £200 million that Thatcher and Major had demanded, barely covering the Government's legal costs. It went on to write, among other things, a report claiming that the Private Finance Initiative was good value for money. That was the only report on the subject that the Blair Government ever cited, since it was the only one to say that ridiculous thing. 

As Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Hewitt tried to give auditors limited liability. It took the Conservative Opposition and the Bush Administration to see her off. But the Conservative Opposition is the Government now. And the Official Opposition is very long way indeed from the world of Patricia Hewitt and Tony Blair.


  1. I so wish you were in Parliament to remind them of this, not that most of them ever knew it. Breaking up the big four is the kind of thing Theresa May used to call for in her early days as Prime Minister.

    1. I hadn't noticed that, but of course you are right. She doesn't seem to realise that there would still be a majority for this kind of thing. Not on her own benches, perhaps. But certainly in the House as a whole.