Announcing the sacking her short-lived Chancellor on Friday Liz Truss assured the country she “has got it” and “is listening” (if not hanging round to answer). At the same time she defiantly claimed she would be sticking to her guns on the “mission” she has set herself.
By Monday people had more of an inkling over what that conundrum meant. The man who had most outraged the country during the ill-fated Conservative party Conference, namely Truss’s newly appointed Party Chairman, Jake Berry, has been conferred a knighthood.
His contribution to the debate in Birmingham had been to make it clear that his solution to the economy is to ensure that all those people whining about making ends meet as costs spiral out of control (thanks to Conservative polices) get the kick up the backsides they need to increase their incomes and solve their own problems.
Speaking to the TV cameras at the conference Jake Berry encapsulated his take on the party’s ‘Levelling Up’ vision by implying that people are poor or disadvantaged only because they are lazy. Therefore, all they need a sharp prod and tough times, such as Liz has been providing, to get them working harder and with more ambition, so they can be more successful and wealthy like…. well Sir Jake himself.
This is nothing new, of course. It is known as the ‘On Your Bike’ philosophy promulgated under Margaret Thatcher many years ago by her own Party Chairman Norman Tebbit. Liz loves to be compared to Margaret Thatcher so she most have gloried in the now ‘Sir’ Jake’s words to Sky TV saying families facing higher energy bills:
“can either cut their consumption, get a higher salary, or go out there and get that new job”.
All of us at the same time and before the winter cold sets in? many across the country asked.
Yes, was the then Mr Jake Berry’s smug message.
The newly installed party chairman then trenchantly defended every aspect of the now defunct ‘KamiKwasi’ budget that was the cause of all the panic and soaring costs and claimed it was “nonsense” to say that his government’s planned tax cuts would disproportionately help the richest Britons. Except, even a primary school child could see they did.
This weekend, with Kwasi now under the bus the new chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, has made clear both that the entire budget is now for the birds and that there will also have to be savage cuts to social spending to pay for the damage and wasted billions caused by the Conservative leadership’s stunning incompetence over just one month.
Rise the unrepentant Sir Jake Berry, still plainly the favourite of the soon to be Baroness Liz when it comes to her ‘philosophy on growth’.
So, with desperately unbalanced budgets looming in so many households across the country are there tips that the ignoramus and lazy section of the population could hope to gain from Sir Jake Berry himself about bumping up the family income?
The answer, it would seem, is yes. Sarawak Report can share that this energetic MP cum paid party official doesn’t merely expect to sit and make do with earnings from that single source of income.
Far from it, he is in business too with various partners who are seeking investment for enterprises such as the ‘Management Consultancy’ Palatine Hill Limited, incorporated just last year with the significant control of the company belonging to himself, Jake (James Jacob Gilchrist) Berry, and his wife, Alice Robinson Berry.
Industrious Alice doesn’t sit around and makes do with just one source of income either. She has just landed herself a job as a Senior Advisor with Liz Truss at Number 10 at the same time her hubby was made the Chairman of the party.
Intriguingly, she is being paid not directly by the government (awful to be on PAYE like all those civil servants, especially now the 45% is back) but rather through the newly minted company of her former and present boss, the lobbyist cum political strategist Mark Fullbrook, Fullbrook Strategies.
Having run Liz’s campaign, Fullbrook is now her Chief of Staff. He had claimed Fullbrook Strategies folded when he entered Downing Street, but it turns out that the company was still employing him and his two former staff now sitting in Liz’s office, rather than them being directly paid.
Given Sarawak Report and others have been raising questions about the probity of Fullbrook’s recent corporate and political clients it appears that arrangement has now to be shelved.
Meanwhile, on taking their new official posts Berry and his wife resigned as directors of Ford Bridge Farm Limited which holds the major shareholding in Palatine Hill Limited. One assumes that acting as a private management consultants might be considered a conflict of interest with their new positions.
However, as yet there is no indication they have surrendered up their shares in their fledgeling business and one of the two remaining directors of Ford Bridge Farm Limited is also a director of Palatine Hill Limited. This would indicate there is still potentially profit in store for the hard-working dual income couple, who are plainly a shining example to the rest of us.
There is more to learn from how the aspirational MP, who has made much of his political ambition to pull the North up by its bootstraps, set about getting investment into the business incorporated just last year.
Sarawak Report has evidence that shows the elected member for Rossendale and Darwen in Lancashire seized an opportunity to engage with a major party donor to support his enterprise – what fools others are to miss a trick like that.
The said donor had a problem linked to party business that a mutual PR pal reckoned Berry could help smooth over, given his connections in the party.
The PR pal e-introduced the pair and has commented that he thought the acquaintance might be “mutually beneficial”. Berry then contacted the wealthy donor, who has given jaw dropping amounts to the Conservatives, and suggested “a walk in St James’ Park” to discuss how he might assist over the matter in question.
After the walk the donor received a WhatsApp from a man describing himself as Berry’s business partner:
“Hi _____ I am Jake’s business partner. He said he had a good meeting with you. Can you please let me have your details for an NDA [Non Disclosure Agreement]. Many thanks ____
The donor responded asking what Palatine was, who the owners were and who the directors were? In return he was sent a proposed non-disclosure agreement to sign with Palatine Hill Limited as a prelude to further engagement.
Sarawak Report understands that according to Berry it was the donor who had suggested to him that he might invest in his business and certainly not the other way round as the donor has suggested. Yet, being a sensible and enterprising MP seeking to maximise his opportunities, he had clearly responded not by deflecting such an offer but by putting his business partner in touch.
Sadly, the donor started to drag his feet on the engagement, according to the documentation viewed by Sarawak Report, and the interchanges fizzled out without money being invested in Mr Berry’s business and without Mr Berry helping the donor straighten out his party-related problem.
However, the episode indicates that Mr Berry is not the sort of chap to let connections slide or to rebuff financial opportunities that might arise, for example, from one’s contacts within the Conservative party with very rich donors who themselves may have all sorts of reasons for supporting a party in government.
Indeed, he sounds the perfect fellow to be Chairman of the party and represent its values of enterprise, initiative and self-enrichment – indeed most deserving of his knighthood. What an example to those who are lazier or queasier, who fail to grab such opportunities with both hands!
Those who might identify a moral issue or express fear of walking into a position of conflict whilst holding political office or a job as a paid MP are plainly losers of the sort who will probably end up at the benefits office when the cold weather bites.
On the other hand, such folk might very well regard Sir Jake’s outlook on the world as callous, conflicted, selfish in the extreme and unrealistic – more Sir Snake than Jake?
Such is politics. In the absence of a government ethics advisor (Truss ditched the post) there is no one to judge the rights and wrongs it seems.