Saturday, October 03, 2009

Take It To The Bridge: Who Is Paying The Atlantic Piper?

Further to yesterday's post and today with a Peter, Paul and Mary / John Denver interlude ... I'm loving the mid-song advertising ... Having seen Manchester blogger Stephen Newton at "a bit of a do" last night I had an inkling of what was to come in Atlantic Bridge Corrupt Conservative Tax Rip Off Charity part two.

An organisation first mentioned on this blog we think HERE as we worried about the Rabid Slash and Burn Neo-Con Wolves lurking beneath the Cuddly visage of the new age Tories.

Essentially it seems that by gaming Gift Aid and wire transfers across the briny and as a higher rate tax payer Tory trougher one can donate £600 to the Atlantic Bridge only for an additional £400 to be put in your Holiday Club by the tax-payer, with your travel subvention of £1000 then arriving from Atlantic Bridge Inc, the Washington end of this resplendent laundry.

One Stephen Hammond, above apparently competing with a wobbly videographer in the squiffy stakes, is of the Tory intake of 2005 and representing the Wimbledon Centre Court, Strawberries and Pimms constituency, and showing absolutely no sign of malnourishment, has benefited from Atlantic Bridge travel vouchers. We're particularly impressed by his local (but not lo-cal!) campaigning HERE. And by his groupie video hagiography HERE (52 hits) confirming, fear not, that Mr Hammond has NEVER voted for equal rights for Gayers, is a Trident missile big boy, and "is a man of integrity, and his wife Sally more so ..."

On the face of it there's no obvious trace of a £600 donation by him or on his behalf to the Atlantic Bridge UK charidee or of a related Gift Aid claim to add almost 67% to his burgeoning pot. Perhaps traces will emerge in due course as Charity Commission SOCO teams take the Atlantic Bridge books apart forensically?

But as Stephen says this Mr Hammond must actually be pretty important, or possibly have been mistaken for his namesake Phillip, a Shadowy Cabinet Minister, and there do appear to be some Hammond name recognition issues on the Tory benches after all.

But this Mr Hammond is himself apparently a Shadowy Transport Mimicster. And on his PCA-funded website he has a naughty party political dig at his predecessor and quotes the Times stating that he is one of the 50 saintly MPs who have so far troubled the scorers the least.

Perhaps it will be the fabled Atlantic Bridge that blows his reputation out of the water. We'll have to wait and see.

For the moment we will simply note another little anxiety. That Hammond S has but two significant employees. One of whom is his wife Sally. Another a researcher called Ben.

Between them they trousered, or pursed, the lion's share of £93,901 in 2007-08. A £20,000 increase since 05-06. Others employ up to four workers for this budget. If this Ben is on a bog standard parliamentary researcher salary this is gonna leave a hell of a lot in the pot for Mrs Stephen Hammond. Even perhaps equivalent to an MP's take?

But she does know Wimbledon ever so well. And she has worked under various other Tories at Westminster, woman and girl since 1984.

Stephen Newton also names four if it were possible even more obscure Tories. Backbenchers/very minor mimicsters who have had USA travel and accommodation donations registered from Atlantic Bridge donor Mr Michael Lewis. Via the office of Dr Liam Fox who chairs the Atlantic Bridge (UK) advisory board. Alas none of them share a surname with a Shadow Cabinet Mimicster though AB may perhaps be involved in some way, we just don't know:

Mark Harper of Forest of Dean who has six named staff and an intern with a lower budget, which doesn't really add up, he is Shadow Mimicster for Disabled People; John Penrose of Weston-Super-Mare whose spouse if a Director at Sainsbury while he is a Shadow Mimicster for BERR; Brooks Newmark of Braintree, not quite commutable for this chap it seems, though no family members trough immediately alongside him; and Philip Dunne of Ludlow with the farthest constituency from Westminster but no ACA, then again he has a family farm at home to run. Dunne is also Assistant Whip, Deputy Party Chairman, Deputy Chairman of the International Office with responsibility for Conservatives Abroad. He is also a Conservative appointed Governor of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy.

As a "Charity" focussed story we're thinking that this may be another one that just keeps on giving. There are going to be big beasts, apart from Dr Faux involved, we can feel it in our salty waters.


RichieP said...

Parties that live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. We won't trust you, it's really simple. I used to be a Labour core voter, now I wouldn't piss you out if you were on fire. Lies, deceit, no principles, spineless, warmongers, fascists.

Chris Paul said...

Interesting. Specific story about Tories gaming charity and tax law. All you can do is wank off a generic "I used to be" line of toss? Come on. Shape up "Richie".

Lionel said...

Referendum now "Ritchie".

Your party's grassroots remands a referendum on Lisbon. Without it the Conservative Party has no credibility with its members and supporters.

The Filthy Engineer said...

Gordon, Peter, & harriet - leaving on a jet plane. Now that would make our day.