David Cameron showed a ‘significant lack of judgment’ by lobbying ministers on behalf of Greensill Capital, MPs will say
David Cameron showed ‘significant lack of judgment’ in lobbying for Greensill
Criticised after messages to ministers and top civil servants on their behalf
Comapny wanted access to billions of pounds through Covid support schemes
By Martin Beckford For The Daily Mail
Published: | Updated:
David Cameron showed a ‘significant lack of judgment’ in his lucrative lobbying work for a controversial finance firm, MPs will say today.
The former prime minister is criticised in a major report after sending dozens of text messages to ministers and top civil servants on behalf of Greensill Capital.
The Treasury committee found he should have ‘taken a more restrained approach’, having made contact 56 times in four months, particularly as ‘signals’ showed the now-collapsed firm was in trouble.
The company, for which the ex-Tory leader was reportedly paid more than £730,000 a year as a senior adviser, wanted access to billions of pounds through Covid support schemes.
David Cameron (pictured) showed a ‘significant lack of judgment’ in lucrative lobbying work for Greensill Capital, MPs will say today
But Greensill’s claim that it would support small businesses was ‘more of a sales pitch than reality’, the MPs found.
The Treasury is also criticised for not telling Mr Cameron to use ‘more formal methods of communication’ and for failing to consider whether his contact with the department ‘posed any reputational risks’.
Tory MP Mel Stride, chairman of the committee, said last night: ‘Our report sets out important lessons for the Treasury and our financial system resulting from both Greensill Capital’s collapse and David Cameron’s lobbying. The Treasury should have encouraged David Cameron into more formal lines of communication as soon as it had identified his personal financial incentives.
‘However, the Treasury took the right decision to reject the objectives of his lobbying, and the committee found that Treasury ministers and officials behaved with complete and absolute integrity.’
It is the first parliamentary report into the lobbying scandal, which erupted earlier this year. The MPs note in their report today that the ‘economic benefits from Mr Cameron’s relationship with Greensill were clearly very significant’ and point out his use of the firm’s private jets, including for personal trips.
The former prime minister is criticised in a major report after sending dozens of text messages to ministers and top civil servants on behalf of Greensill Capital
His ‘obvious personal links’ with those he was lobbying are clear from his ‘Love Dc’ sign-off when writing to the Treasury’s top civil servant Sir Tom Scholar, and his habit of sending texts and WhatsApp messages to their private mobile phones.
The report concludes: ‘Mr Cameron’s use of less formal means to lobby Government showed a significant lack of judgment, especially given that his ability to use an informal approach was aided by his previous position of prime minister.’
It notes that he ‘did not break the rules governing lobbying by former ministers’ – which apply only in the first two years after leaving office – but adds that this shows ‘there is a strong case for strengthening them’.
Last night, Mr Cameron said: ‘While I am pleased that the report confirms I broke no rules, I very much take on board its wider points. I always acted in good faith, and had no idea until the end of last year that Greensill Capital was in danger of failure. However, I have been clear all along that there are lessons to be learnt.’
Back in April, the General Court found the Council guilty of withholding an opinion by its own legal service that raised concern about the rule of law conditionality. Now the Council has announced it will appeal the ruling by presenting the same arguments already rejected by the court.
Law professor Laurent Pech, who brought the case before the Luxembourg EU court, is positive that the Council will lose once more.
He told Politico: “I am pleased to see the Council appealing the General Court’s judgment in my case as this will give an opportunity to the Court of Justice to adopt the General Court’s reasoning and in doing so, adjust its previous case law to the new constitutional framework organised by the Lisbon Treaty.
“It is time for the Council to accept that transparency must be the principle when it comes to the EU’s ordinary legislative procedure and not simply pay lip service to this principle.”
The legal opinion withheld by the Council was from 2018, when the rule of law conditionality provision was still a key element of the Commission’s proposal for the current Multiannual Financial Framework.
The top EU court’s ruling piles pressure on the Council – limiting the options for them to classify legal advice by its own lawyers as secret.
In its appeal application, the Council wrote: “Given the wide implications of this judgment for the work and the decision making process of the Council, an appeal against the General Court’s judgment before the Court of Justice would appear to be justified.”
But the court had already said that any impact on decision-making was “purely hypothetical.”
The Council was not the first EU institution to be found guilty of lacking transparency this year.
Polkadot’s parachain auctions will mark the most significant milestone on its roadmap since the mainnet launch in 2020. Currently in the testnet on the Rococo network, the next stage of the launch will involve the rollout of parachains on Polkadot’s crazy cousin, the “canary network” Kusama. The rollout of Polkadot parachains on the main network will follow.
What does this mean? The Polkadot mainnet has officially been in live operation for nearly a year now. However, only the central Relay chain has been up and running, with the last 12 months of development focused on implementing the platform’s decentralized governance.
The parachain rollout is the final stage in allowing decentralized applications to launch on the Polkadot network. However, with the rollout now past its initial rumored release date of Q1 2021 and with almost three months passing since the development roadmap was unveiled, there is still no exact date for when the deployment will eventually happen. So, what can we expect from this launch, and which projects will participate in the auctions?
How do the parachain auctions work?
Parachains are effectively shards on the Kusama or Polkadot networks, and the purpose of the auctions is to allocate parachain slots to projects wanting to operate on either network. The overall objective is to have 100 parachains operating concurrently. However, these will open up in batches, with the goal of having around 30 parachains operational within the first year.
Projects wishing to secure a Kusama parachain slot can participate in the auction by bonding their KSM tokens in a decentralized candle auction. These can be their own tokens, but a crowd loan mechanism is available for projects to source tokens from their communities.
A candle auction is a variation on the open auction where no fixed end time is given. This type of auction emerged in the 16th century when a candle was burned to determine the bidding time period. The idea is to encourage participants to make their highest bids as early as possible because they don’t know when the auction will end. Therefore, it prevents “sniping,” where a bidder swoops in during the final minutes with a winning bid.
Rather than a candle, a random number generator will determine the endpoint of each slot auction once bidding has been closed. Therefore, later bids will be disqualified if they come in after the retroactively determined closing time.
It’s worth noting that the successful bidders won’t “buy” their slots — only lease them, with the total value of the bid locked for the duration of the lease. Lease durations will be fixed (and the durations may differ between Polkadot and Kusama), and projects can bid for up to four successive periods. Therefore, the total duration of the bid will also be weighted into its value.
At the end of the final lease period, the slot will once again go up for auction.
Peter Mauric, head of public affairs at Parity Technologies — the company behind the Polkadot ecosystem development — said that it’s likely that competition will be fierce. Speaking to Cointelegraph, he said:
“Competition, especially for early slots on Kusama and Polkadot, is expected to be fairly intense, in my opinion. Because competitive auctions at the start are generally expected, I doubt projects will be severely disappointed, especially considering there is a new slot open every two weeks to bid on.”
Which projects will be bidding for a parachain slot?
In theory, any project can participate in the parachain slot auctions. However, they do need to have a codebase and either hold or have crowdsourced enough KSM or DOT tokens to outbid the competition.
Furthermore, the Kusama Council has stated its intent to award two Kusama slots to infrastructure projects deemed to be for the “common good” of the ecosystem. These are PolkaBTC, providing a bridge to the Bitcoin blockchain, and Snowfork, bridging to the Ethereum blockchain. Similarly, Statemint, a generic asset issuance platform, has been proposed as the first common-good project for the Polkadot network.
There have already been several projects that have expressed interest in participating. Acala, which aims to become Polkadot’s one-stop-shop for decentralized finance, will be bidding for its Kusama implementation, called Karura. Moonbeam, an Ethereum-compatible smart contract platform, will be seeking a slot for its Kusama version, dubbed Moonriver. And Kilt, which aims to bring decentralized credentials in the form of a universal log-on for Web 3.0 applications, will also be looking to secure a parachain slot. All three projects have been extremely active on the Rococo testnet and have active community participation.
Cointelegraph spoke with Dan Reecer, vice president of growth at Acala, about how the dual Kusama–Polkadot implementation will work in practice. He explained that both Acala and Karura aim to be the decentralized finance hubs of their respective platforms, and the project plans to run them concurrently in perpetuity. However, each has a role to play, as he stated:
“The difference between Karura and Acala is that with Karura, we’ll be more willing to take risks and experiment with new features and products. We are following the Polkadot ecosystem paradigm of testnet to experimental network (Kusama) to major network (Polkadot). Acala will remain the bank-grade, risk-averse network for DeFi on Polkadot with likely much higher TVL and assets under management in the Treasury.”
Despite the roadmap not having fixed any dates, it seems that projects are ready to go into production within weeks or even days of securing a slot. Derek Yoo, founder of the Moonbeam Network, confirmed that Moonriver is all but ready to deploy. He told Cointelegraph: “Moonbase Alpha has been running continuously since September 2020, and in that time, we have been able to release six upgrades to the environment, each with important new functionality,” adding:
“We have been able to iterate quickly because we have this stable testnet environment, and we feel that it has prepared us well for going live as a parachain.”
Ingo Rübe, CEO of Kilt Protocol, told Cointelegraph: “After winning a Kusama parachain slot, Kilt will go live within days rather than weeks. The functionality for decentralized identifiers (DIDs) and verifiable credentials is ready and has proven to be stable on our testnet.”
If demand for a slot indeed proves to be high, then many other projects will likely voice their interest in vying for a slot on Kusama, particularly considering that many projects have been waiting patiently for the parachain auctions without any confirmed date for when they’ll happen. Plasm, Darwinia, Robonomics and Crust are just a few of the other projects likely to participate.
What about prices?
Assuming that competition for the slots is high, then it’s a reasonable enough predictor for some bullish price action to come for KSM and DOT. On the most superficial level, more competition means bidders will be likely to go in high from the start. Because tokens are bonded for the duration of the lease, it will remove a share of the circulating supply of DOT and KSM from the markets, constraining supply.
However, the Kusama parachain auctions are the first live event of this kind, so there’s a chance that things might not pan out as planned. While the barriers to entry for acquiring a slot are set reasonably high, there is an outside chance that some actors may attempt to outbid the competition purely to sell it at an even higher price on secondary markets.
Indeed, this is a scenario acknowledged in the Polkadot documentation. There’s also the possibility that such an actor may attempt to “squat” on the parachain slot simply to prevent other projects from using it.
Such a scenario wouldn’t look good for the Polkadot ecosystem and would make it difficult for projects hoping to secure a parachain slot. About the price of tokens, it’s difficult to say. On the one hand, a bidding war could be positive for prices, but on the other, the reputational damage could negate any bullish effects.
Another unknown is around how the lease rules and continuing auction process may affect the overall stability of the Polkadot ecosystem. Projects that are already operating could lose their slot further down the line. Again, bidding wars at auctions might spell good news for token prices, but they could deter smaller projects from participating.
However, Parity’s Mauric doesn’t believe this will be a problem. He explained to Cointelegraph that the early parachains will most likely end up in the hands of well-established projects “that have been building their Substrate-based chains for years,” elaborating further:
“There are several options for a project that doesn’t win a slot on Polkadot at first, including deploying a parachain on Kusama or exploring deployment as a parathread in the future. Many application-layer projects will deploy on parachains as they launch, opening additional opportunities for teams and projects to collaborate and build on the active parachain while awaiting their own slot if that is their community’s goal.”
A word of caution
Ultimately, the hotly anticipated rollout of parachains does not just mean good news for the projects involved or those holding on to KSM and DOT tokens. While BTC and especially altcoins have experienced a boom in recent months, for example, the price of DOT has mostly gone sideways ever since the initial surge above $ 40 in mid-February. Further delays to the release will likely put more pressure on the price of the token.
Finally, when considering participating in the crowd loan process, beware of scammers. The Kusama auctions page holds a warning that there may be fake crowd loan campaigns doing the rounds. So, if you’re planning to stake your DOT or KSM in a parachain crowd loan, make sure that you’ve done your due diligence on the project in question.
None of this is to say that any of these potentially worst-case scenarios will come to fruition and negatively impact the milestone on the Polkadot journey. The project has a ready-made suite of projects that are ready to go, and from that perspective, this launch is perhaps a bigger deal than many other mainnet launches that subsequently have to work to attract development.
Just like millions around the world, Joanna Lumley grew up listening to the incredible music of Elvis Presley. In fact, just a couple of years ago, the 75-year-old made a documentary about The King and met Priscilla Presley at Graceland. The former Bond girl and Ab Fab star is more interested in the younger Elvis but remembers the shock of his untimely death.
Speaking with the Radio Times around the time of her Elvis Presley documentary, Lumley said: “I’m not interested in the last two years of his life when he over-ate and was hooked on prescription pills, and he looked ill, sad and revolting.
“Those times weren’t really Elvis. People didn’t really know what he was going through.”
Elvis was just 42-year-old when he died of a heart attack at Graceland on August 16, 1977.
At the time, Lumley was shooting The Avengers in Canada and was “appalled” by how the press reported his passing.
Sally told us: “I’ve always been an Elvis fan and I’ve always had those questions like why does he turn to the prescription medication? Why does he die in such a similar way to Gladys at a similar age?”
“I felt like there had to be a correlation there because they weren’t both taking the same prescription medication and why does he have all these really geriatric diseases very young in life with glaucoma, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and different things like that?
“When I discovered that his maternal grandparents were first cousins, I just thought from a fan perspective, maybe this is part of that answer to the why question that all Elvis fans have. I felt an obligation to this story to full investigate it and that only grew the deeper I got into the project.”
And then the author found that as she delved further into The King’s health history, she didn’t have to theorise anything at all.
Sally added: “Just from what we knew, I was able to build a very strong case for all the ailments he had and either where they came from or certainly prove that they were certainly present before fame.
“And that was really the real goal, because if we can show he had serious illness prior to fame then we know the prescription medication didn’t cause it – for example his colon problem, I was able to trace that back to the Presley family.
“It’s something that Elvis dealt with her entire life but it’s often set aside as ‘Well the prescription medication will have slowed his bowels and that would have caused it.’”
Elvis: Destined To Die Young is out now and available to purchase here.
And it pays off. “On average, people’s disability is cut in half,” Dr. Szanton said. “Their pain decreases. Their ability to bathe and dress improves. People stuck on the second floor of their houses for years can go on family trips.”
Elsewhere, users of assistive devices tell similar stories. “We all know someone who had an aunt or a mother who couldn’t get out of the tub or off the floor, and bad things happened,” said Wendl Kornfeld, 72, who lives in Manhattan with her 83-year-old husband.
They had grab bars installed in their two showers for roughly $ 120 total, “not a huge investment and worth it for peace of mind,” Ms. Kornfeld said.
In Mt. Kisco, N.Y., Joan Potter appreciates the apartment renovations her late husband oversaw 20 years ago. He used a wheelchair, so their bathroom had a roll-in shower with a hand-held shower head, a raised toilet and grab bars in key locations. Now that Ms. Potter, 88, has undergone two hip replacements, she said, “I’m so grateful I have all these things, because I’m not so agile myself anymore.”
Why don’t more seniors take advantage of such devices?
Some adaptations that help people remain at home, like outdoor ramps and stair glides, carry high price tags; basic bathroom devices, widely available in pharmacies and online, generally don’t. But cost can still present an obstacle.
“Medicare covers ‘durable medical equipment’ — hospital beds, wheelchairs, walkers,” said Tricia Neuman, who leads the Kaiser Family Foundation’s program on Medicare. “It doesn’t cover hand rails or grab bars, things used around the house.”
Despite regularly outperforming other films, Black-led projects have been “consistently underfunded and undervalued,” concluded the McKinsey study.
NEW YORK — For years, researchers have said a lack of diversity in Hollywood films doesn’t just poorly reflect demographics, it’s bad business. A new study by the consulting firm McKinsey & Company estimates just how much Hollywood is leaving on the table: $ 10 billion.
The McKinsey report, released Thursday, analyzes how inequality shapes the industry and how much it ultimately costs its bottom line. The consulting firm deduced that the $ 148 billion film and TV industry loses $ 10 billion, or 7%, every year by undervaluing Black films, filmmakers and executives.
“Fewer Black-led stories get told, and when they are, these projects have been consistently underfunded and undervalued, despite often earning higher relative returns than other properties,” wrote the study’s authors: Jonathan Dunn, Sheldon Lyn, Nony Onyeador and Ammanuel Zegeye.
The study, spanning the years 2015-2019, was conducted over the last six months and drew on earlier research by the University of California, Los Angeles, the University of Southern California and Nielsen. The BlackLight Collective, a coalition of Black executives and talent in the industry, collaborate with McKinsey researchers. The company also interviewed more than 50 executives, producers, agents, actors, directors and writers anonymously.
McKinsey attributed at least some of Hollywood’s slow progress to its complex and multi-layered business — an ecosystem of production companies, networks, distributors, talent agencies and other separate but intertwined realms.
RELATED: Mickey Guyton, Keith Urban to host ACM Awards
RELATED: Jane Fonda calls for more Hollywood diversity in Golden Globes speech
But the lack of Black representation in top positions of power plays a prominent role. The study found that 92% of film executives are white and 87% are in television. Agents and executives at the top three talent agencies are approximately 90% white — and a striking 97% among partners.
Researchers found that films with a Black lead or co-lead are budgeted 24% less than movies that don’t — a disparity that nearly doubles when there are two or more Black people working as director, producer or writer.
Among other measures, McKinsey recommends that a “well-funded, third-party organization” be created for a more comprehensive approach to racial equality. The film business, it said, is less diverse than industries such as energy, finance and transport.
Following the Black Lives Matter protests last year, McKinsey said it would dedicate $ 200 million to pro-bono work to advance racial equality.
RELATED: Netflix touts its record on inclusivity by laying out the data
The Royle Family star Sue Johnston, 77, has hit out at Coronation Street following her experience in the ITV soap. The actress played Gloria Price in Corrie from 2012 to 2014 and admitted she struggled on the set due to a lack of quality control and rehearsal time.
Sue cited her frustrations over the soap’s shooting conditions as part of the reason she decided to leave the show.
She also became concerned because she wasn’t able to ask the directors any questions that she had at the time.
The star previously played Sheila Grant in Channel 4 soap Brookside from 1982 to 1990, which she claimed was “totally different” behind-the-scenes than the experience she had at Corrie.
Sue divulged: “I didn’t know what to expect because it had been so long since I’d done it, and also I’d been in a soap, which was Brookie, but it was totally different, it was a shock, I have to say.
READ MORE… Anne Hegerty steps in to support Jenny Ryan in row over Piers Morgan
“How fast it was and how little prep there was.
“If I started talking on set, ‘You know when I’d been,’ and you’d see them looking at their watches.
“‘This is trouble, she’s trouble.’ No rehearsal, just run through the lines mostly.”
The former Brookside actress added to the Daily Star: “I think the other thing that freaked me out a little bit.
She recalled: “There came a thing in my head where I knew, and that’s when you have to make a decision as an actor, will I stay or will I go?
“Either you commit to that and have a very good life and make some very great work, or do you go for this dangerous life outside.”
A representative for Coronation Street told Express.co.uk: “Sue is a much admired actress and we loved having her as part of the Coronation Street family.”
Elsewhere, Sue recently received her coronavirus vaccine in Cheshire.
Timo Werner has been anything but a rousing success since joining Chelsea from RB Leipzig last summer and the German forward admits his lack of goals may have played a part in Roman Abramovich’s decision to sack Frank Lampard.
Werner was hailed as the new focal point of Chelsea’s forward line when he signed a big-money deal to spearhead the Blues’ attack as part of Abramovich’s major investment into the club’s playing staff over the summer months.
So far though, the 35-times capped international has flattered to deceive up front, finding the net just five times in 24 Premier League appearances ahead of Sunday’s showdown with Manchester United at Stamford Bridge.
Also on rt.com‘Even the mascot’s in disbelief’: Fans stunned as Chelsea star Werner misses sitter from just yards out vs Rennes (VIDEO)
Werner has admitted that he has struggled to adapt to the pace and physicality of the infamously combative Premier League after an impressive campaign in the Bundesliga last season which saw him claim 28 goals in just 34 appearances.
And if he had been able to hit the ground running in West London, he says that things might just have been different for Frank Lampard – the club legend who was compelled to fall on his sword in response to a prolonged spell of poor form, and was subsequently replaced by Werner’s compatriot Thomas Tuchel.
“When you come here to play as a striker and be the man to score the goals, of course I felt a little bit guilty that I missed so many chances,” Werner told Sky Sports. “For the club, for the old manager but also for me because I want to score all the time and as much as I possibly can.
“Of course, if I’d scored four or five more goals maybe the old manager would still be here because we’d maybe have won two or three games more but you can’t look too much into the past because there are too many games ahead of us.”
Chelsea’s initial signs under Tuchel have been promising. The club remain undefeated under his tenure, even if the type of dazzling, free-flowing style of football craved by Abramovich has yet to bed in.
Installing the German into the Chelsea top job was thought to be – in part at least – designed to coax improved performances from Werner and the other megabucks summer investment from the Bundesliga, Kai Havertz.
And the signs, at least initially, are promising.
“I understood the old manager very well,” he said. “It was not because of the language, but when you can talk German to someone, there are things he can explain to me easier than the old manager could. It’s different when you talk to someone in your own language because one word is enough to make a sentence completely different.
“For me, that was the thing he changed. He knows me and his assistants know me from the Bundesliga. He gave me trust back and confidence back to be the Timo from the Bundesliga, to be back at the top and scoring goals.”
Also on rt.comRoman’s revolution: As Werner admits to ‘struggling’ since Chelsea move, how are the rest of Lampard’s major signings performing?
Everyone associated with the club – even Lampard, the man who campaigned so vigorously to bring Werner to London – they will be hoping that Werner’s Premier League apprenticeship soon begins paying off.
And there is no better place to start than at home to Manchester United.
Jayne Torvill, 63, and Christopher Dean, 62, or just Torvill and Dean as they are best known, were partnered as skaters in 1975 and have remained close friends ever since – so close, that fans often mistake them for a married couple. But 40 years on their relationship is still the epitome of bliss, to the point where a director once labelled them “too boring” to make a documentary on because there was no drama between them to film.
Addressing whether they argue or have ever argued properly, the pair confessed like any close friends, they’ve had their moments.
And who could blame them, being under intense pressue and in close proximity with each other day in day out while training must become trying at some point, even for the most patient of people!
But luckily those moments don’t come very often, much to the disappointment of a documentary director who wanted some juicy scenes to spice up the program.
Torvill explained: “Once there was a documentary being made about us and the director said, ‘There’s no drama in this, you’re just too nice.’
READ MORE: Torvill and Dean admit ‘secret kiss’ as they dabbled in romance
They pair giggled as Torvill continued to tell The Mirror: “We sound like little angels!
“There were moments of exasperation, but you get more frustrated with yourself than the other person.”
But since their training days, the duo have put their talents to good use as judges on ITV’s Dancing On Ice.
Appearing on the panel since 2018, they were formally coaches who trained the aspiring dancers.
But this year has been somewhat of a disaster, as many of the celebrities taking part have fallen foul to injuries, leading to some pulling out of the competition altogether after bad falls on the ice.
Not only that, but Covid has also wreaked havoc on the casting, with Rufus Hound quitting the series and Joe-Warren Plant withdrawing earlier this month after contracting the disease.
Stars Faye Brooks, Rebekah Vardy and Colin Jackson are among those still left in the competition.
Last week the show was cancelled but ITV confirmed it’s return tonight at 6pm.