Jeremy Hunt, and the Satanic Mill that made his fortune.

“Look, you can get children up chimneys only this wide’

The man who will be in charge of motivating medical and support staff in the NHS is today revealed as a ruthlessly insensitive employer, with neither regard nor respect for his employees….who allegedly conspired to falsify questionnaires in order to win a position among London’s ‘Top Ten Employers’.

As more truly degrading allegations of Newscorp involvement in bribing cops and blackmailing Home Secretaries come to light, Jeremy Hunt – the man whose nickname at the Culture Ministry was ‘Warwick’ –  presumably remains as unfazed as ever by the stench at the bottom of the barrel.

At least, this is what one would assume having read some amusing comment threads from a blog published last June by Luke Turner at the website You might call this little reunion in print Memoirs of a Huntcoursing Man, relating as it does to a time some ten years ago when our Jeremy was building up his monopoly-supply sweatshop with former Ogilvy & Mather media bod Mike Elms. The poor lab-rats zooming round the treadmill to sell those ‘Hunt-courses’ must have thought many times, as they laboured, about how much better their employer’s product-descriptor might be with a spoonerism of flavour added.

This is the essential summary of what Luke himself has to say:

‘…in the three years I worked for Jeremy Hunt, from the September of 2000 to the same month of 2003, I think I got a pretty good idea of what was going on…. What made it the worst three years of my life was the working environment, and the expectation put onto the staff by Mr Hunt and the other managers. When a deadline approached, we were expected to work late into the night for no overtime or recompense. Rarely were we thanked for our labours…. One former colleague writes, “For me it was just the whole cumulative effect of all the insensitivity, arrogance, greed and goggle-eyed sociopathy that did my head in over two and a half years”… You would not have picked out Jeremy Hunt as a brilliant intellect, a powerful speaker, a man with any convictions other than those he was born with. This is the impression one also gets from the rest of his colleagues in the Conservative party. It was bad enough having him as a boss – the fact that he and his chums are running the country is far, far worse…’

This is a terrific summation of everything decent people find disgusting about Hunt and his ilk, but without the modern addition of comment threads, it could of course be dismissed as the venom of a man inexplicably rendered bitter and twisted by 36 months of being treated like some impertinently smelly excrement on Jeremy’s designer loafers.

There are, literally, dozens and dozens of submissions at Quietus from other lost souls lucky enough to have worked in that building so deftly used as a tax-dodge by Hunt and his partner two years ago. Here’s a selection of ‘Praise for Hotcourses’ from satiated former workers:

Schadenfreude is indeed a very negative thing to indulge in, but I doubt anyone will begrudge you where that grinning chump Hunt is concerned. I don’t want to see him resign, I want him fired and (please oh please oh please!) prosecuted for corruption.


A former colleague just emailed this little nugget that I had forgotten: “I do remember them rewarding a team who’d spent three months working 15 hour days with “I love Hotcourses” mousemats, though. That stays with me.”


I’m another Hotcourses survivor – worked briefly, in fact, on the same desk as Luke – and can confirm his account. It took a target based approach to everything, however inappropriately. You’d be expected to work half the night, if that’s what it took to get the job done, but woe betide you if the tube made you five minutes late.


On my first day my line manager took me aside and said, “Now, you might hear the other staff saying some bad things about the company. I’d like you to ignore that.” Which set alarm bells ringing rather…there was a certain camaraderie that came from the shared loathing of management. I’ve never had another job that came close to being that bad, and I’ve been working in the media for a decade now. The experience doesn’t give me much faith in Hunt’s understanding of either business or people.


The whole thing was a scam, everyone hated the company apart from a few arse-licking career junkies so there is no feasible way they should have ended up as a Top 10 Company. Never in my life have I worked for a company that made me so angry with the incompetent, unproductive blame culture that the place bred… really sickened me.


Hunt paid himself a £2M bonus just before he entered Cabinet while Hotcourses were laying off people who were earning £15K – £20K per year.


The worst company I have ever worked for. Everything Luke says is true. It’s nice to know that he is just as much a bellend as we always suspected.


They deliberately targeted fresh school/university leavers who have no experience or awareness they are being treated appallingly. Paints a vivid picture of a company that had nothing but its own bottom line at heart, at the expense of its staff. Hunt’s charity work can so easily be dismissed outright as a self-serving exercise during the fledgling stages of his political career to make him a stronger potential candidate. He’s never been that altruistic.


This represents less than half the comments recorded at Quietus, so I’d imagine the employee churn rate must’ve meant that Jeremy and Mike were constantly interviewing new dupes to be put through the mind-blender. And yet somehow, The Sunday Times rated them among the Top Ten Employers in the UK.

Now how did it happen, I wonder, that a Newscorp-owned paper with shared business partnership aims alongside Hotcourses put them among that Top Ten when, in reality, the company was only half a rung up from a Satanic Mill? Even more astonishing is that they achieved this astonishing feat twice running. Former employee PLM offers a clue, however:

I know for a fact that [Hotcourses] human resources collected (incredibly low scoring) completed surveys that were filled out and in envelopes off peoples desks and said, “Don’t worry we’ll send these off for you…”.

Heigh-ho. Could Jeremy Hunt Culture Secretary stoop any lower as an employer? Sadly, yes he could:

‘This [article] rings so many bells of memory that I haven’t thought about in years. It truly was the most awful company culture that I’ve ever had the misfortune to be a part of. The most depressing part of my experience there was during the London bombings in 2005. I was unlucky enough to be in a carriage where 26 people died and 15ft from the explosion. I returned to work after week and a half off in an attempt to bring some normalcy back, only for a second attempted bombing a day or two later. My confidence was shot and I was a nervous wreck again – I returned home via a taxi and spent the next week at home. None of the other upper management or HR ever mentioned it, except to send a letter to my house effectively threatening any continued absence with disciplinary action.’

Larvley Jabbly.


Each of us will have, in our own individual ways, a personal reaction to this snapshot of Jeremy Hunt’s personality. And on the whole, we will draw our own conclusions regardless of what my observations are. But I am going to add a small footnote here, because it’s been an interesting fortnight at The Slog. One, in fact, during which I’ve spent more time on gum-shoeing and phoning people than normal.

I think some of the best stuff The Slog has ever put out appeared during that period, and ironically site hits have dropped because here have been fewer posts. This does show the futility of chasing hits without considerations of quality; but I have found it incredibibly useful as a means of concentrating my mind on the matters reported here.

I want to put this man’s socially sick and at times disturbing behaviour into a broader context of where Western culture is going, apart from into a sewer of sociopathy. Just to highlight the low-points of this coverage:

* Boris Johnson claiming the Olympic ‘success’ story as his own, inviting Rupert Murdoch as his personal guest of honour, indulging in selfishly-divisive tactics within the Tory Party, and continuing to defend indefensible commercial crookery in every form.

* David Cameron inexplicably promoting to Health Secretary a man whose despicable character surely cannot any longer be a matter for serious doubt.

* That Health Secretary consorting with and being bankrolled by a notorious club-owner, who allowed illegal client surveillance to take place on his premises, whose representatives perjured themselves in Court, and whose website was, for over a year, a known haunt for paedophiles.

* Inaccurately lachrymose coverage of a genuine tragedy that revealed systemic lawlessness within the Yorkshire police force, yet pandered to ridiculous conclusions about where the blame lies for the initial events.

* The emergence of an American-controlled, thinly-disguised vehicle (the TPP) as an agent of multinational protectionism among a business elite which, while spouting endlessly about the virtues of free markets, never misses an opportunity to fix the roulette wheel in favour of the house.

* Yet another bank on charges of drug-money laundering.

* Pissing contests between competing egos (Obama/Romney and Schauble/Draghi) bringing the threat, respectively, of global war and european continent economic collapse another big step nearer. (Added nicely to the Cameron/Johnson version)

* A mindless neocon Presidential candidate (who won’t reveal his tax affairs) raising money for his cause by telling donors that only deadbeats and lazy bastards vote Democrat….this same man having moved thousands of their jobs offshore.

* A disgraced media combine – with a terrifying level of political influence in both the US and UK legislatures, and a depraved record of illegal privacy invasion – revealed to have been up to its neck in police cover-ups involving a case, and attempting to obtain information on senior figures in public life with a view to blackmailing them.

Three years ago, I was writing about similar things, and the three names that kept coming up over and over again were Tony Blair, Lord Mandelson and Gordon Brown. Today they are Jeremy Hunt, David Cameron, and Boris Johnson. All six of this foul crew have been happy to take it up the arse from the seventh, secret samurai – Rupert Murdoch.

And now there really is nothing I can add.

Earlier today at The Slog: New blow for Murdoch as Newscorp accused in murder-trail cover-up

33 thoughts on “Jeremy Hunt, and the Satanic Mill that made his fortune.

  1. JW I have noted the drop off in hits that I attribute in part to the wide diversity of topics covered and the way hot issues get rapidly demoted and not commented upon after a new less intensively followed topic moves it down the pecking orders. Perhaps a redesigned front page would do the trick or more time walking the dog whilst the slogerati can digest the outpourings of testicular deconstruction..


  2. As per my father’s recollections, the rank and file in WW2 knew how to effectively deal with ‘officers’ of this calibre! Not that it may have worked with *unt – he seems to be most certainly of the type that would never ever, on any account, venture forth from the rear echelons.


  3. The assumption seems to be that all the hacking and blagging and infiltration has stopped-really?The activities of the news organisations of the UK and elsewhere are small cheese.What about the hacking that is ongoing from “friendly”governments and not so friendly government/mafioso(and I’m not suggeating Italians but Russians/Chinese).The depth of this hacking were it to be widely viewed would shock those on the receiving end.
    Our civil service have been so deeply hacked that I can only assume all the mandarins are being blackmailed.Our senior police have more skeletons than a morgue and again are being blackmailed.There is so much more,I am only a cleaner witnessing this and the hackers could care less,as the hacks are beyond the remit of a small group but government backed and inspired.
    Thanks JW for exposing a little of what is going on.


  4. @OAH.These low volumes in ‘hits’ are mirrored by those in the markets,which market professionals attribute to the stunning silence of Garry,when the EZ fiasco is crying out for leadership from a proven ‘statesman’,with experience of saving the world.The lull before the storm,as they say,and the next big story is how our Olympic heroes were running on drugs supplied by Jurgen,from East Berlin.


  5. @OAH. Agree. JW’s output has always been prodigious, but in this period the seemingly broad mix of topics means that by the time one has thought about it, the wagon has moved on. An old newspaper saying was that today’s hot news will be tomorrow’s fish and chip wrapper; the speed with which a comment thread scrolls past the botttom of the screen is the modern equivalent.
    Another factor for me is that the recent troll attacks caused me to stop and consider the value of my own contributions to the debates.


  6. Thinking about drugs, does anyone else think it’s just a bit spooky that, after generations going nowhere, GB suddenly finds itself with a bunch of road-race cyclists (more than one) who can beat the rest of the world.

    New training regime, harder work, better bikes, smoother legs – or maybe a new doctor’s arrived in town ? You decide.


  7. Regarding the drop in the hit count: Are there any statistics on where the Slog readers come from? For my part, I can honestly say that I’m more interested in international stories than in the domestic UK stuff such as this article, even though I have no difficulty appreciating the amount of work that has gone into it. Maybe, if a substantial part of the readership is from overseas (you guys say “overseas” about anything that isn’t British, right?), then the recent focus on domestic issues could explain why the hit count is dropping a bit?

    If so, then I would suggest to just ignore that boring counter and keep up the good work! Of course you should write about your own neck of the woods, especially since I would imagine that’s where you have the best sources and can make the most actual difference. If many of us “continentals” (another British term for non-Brits, right?) just skim over those articles, then I bet there are many UK readers who find them more interesting and relevant than anything else you write. And ultimately, that’s the point, isn’t it? Not just to get someone to read the stuff, but to get them to actually take it to heart.


  8. @JW – Why Warwick? I thought Berkeley Hunt was the rhyming slang, which I also think is where the word “berk/burke” comes from, as in “what did you do that for,you berk…”


  9. Genuine question – isn’t Hunt a very typical Tory politician? This piece reads like he is a particularly dreadful specimen but he seems rather characteristic of the type to me. Surely he is just another of the shady, greedy, amoral chancers that make up the party? Not that Labour doesn’t have its share but I would have thought it was a prerequisite for entry to the Cons?


  10. Do they care about all this media exposure? No, of course they don’t, why? Because there is no consequence to their actions, and they know it, all the relevant authorities are on the payroll. Bought and paid for.


  11. I can only speak for myself – i am equally interested in UK and International edition of The Slog (a tremendous effort for one man yet unbelievably sharp genuine human and honest). In this globalised world, most stories/problems/issues are connected – no country is isolated from the rest.
    Many of the British issues are the same in my local society (eg. government corruption, the health system).
    I came here some months ago, a continental pig, drugged by the smell of EZ bollocks deconstruction (and boy smelly bollocks they are…). I am wiser today, in a lot of other subjects (the comments section is also a treasure of ideas/perspectives/useful links). The only thing i would wish about UK articles is as much explanations (footnotes) as possible, so that i can absorb everything, Maybe a Glossary section with terms/explanations for the international readers (eg. what is Camerlot?)


  12. @Börjesson & Nick: We say “Overseas” (or used to) because being an island everything is overseas. Many people say “Forrin'”(Foreign) too or worse “in Europe” which I always point out should be “Continental Europe” because we are supposed to be part of it…

    Camerlot is a play on Cameron and Camelot google “King Arthur – The Legend” :)


  13. Another great post – thanks John.

    Looking around the world, including the UK, it seems to me the whole place is seriously going to hell. We seem, as a civilization, to be on the very edge of catastrophe.


  14. @timbo614: thanks for explaining. The combination of Cameron’s Camelot crossed my mind. But then i had second thoughts and i wasn’t sure – it could also come from Cameron+lot = Cameron’s lot :-)

    UK is definitely a part of Europe – distinct and special like the other parts. Still there are times that it seems that only connection is a tiny thread called EuroTunnel :-)


  15. Börjesson and Nick,

    the Brits are a nation of self-centered misogynistic xenophobes whose only lasting exports have been the English language and insults in said language. (F.Off being the first two words you hear when either you arrive here or we visit your place)

    We distrust our immediate neighbors and the people in the next village, those from the next town are classed as aliens who want to steal our goods and kill our children, people from the next county are only one step away from being ‘foreigners’.

    We all have extremely local accents and colloquialisms to identify strangers who we treat with equal measures of suspicion and derision.

    The only thing stopping us slaughtering each other in the streets is we are genetically predisposed to politeness in company. (despite what we think/say in private)

    When we talk of ‘overseas’ we are referring to the wankers who live over there, ‘continentals’ refers to a subset of wankers who live over the channel.

    When we say ‘Socialist’ or ‘Tory’, we aren’t talking about people with Left or Right ideologies, we are talking about wankers who are different to us personally. (although it’s not personal)

    We believe that all those with power and all those without are lying, thieving, cheating scum who are where they are because of those three characteristics.

    We make up profanities and insults as a matter of course such as Camerlot, a conjunction of Cameron (our esteemed leader Dufus Dave) and Camelot (a mythical castle where King Arthur, assorted cronies (Lancelot etc.), a few baddies (Morgan le Fey etc.) and Mervyn the magic money printer all lived at the expense of the undeserving proles (who are not even worthy of a mention)

    We weren’t always like this, generations of Brits being ruled by tossers in a land where it rains every other day (and sometimes twice on Sundays) have made us what we are.


  16. John, the problem is understood – we are letting psychopaths into positions of authority that they should never have been allowed to fill. I’ve been researching this subject for Ten years after I ended up working for one.

    Most of them suffer from narcissistic personality disorder. They are intelligent, engaging, likeable, hard working – the answer to a Director, or voters prayers. Unfortunately they can’t do empathy. They are rotten at the core, totally dishonest, and will stop at nothing, legal or illegal, to get what they need.

    They are also great haters.

    I first ran into one about Fifteen years ago. I couldn’t understand why a pillar of industry and a national figure, started to freeze me out at my city club. Turns out I had recently corrected him about a date at lunch and I was also Twenty years younger than him – that was enough to earn his undying enmity. I then met one in my personal life and coincidently found myself working for another.

    Over drinks with a couple of HR managers I explained the strange behaviors and they put me right – NPD: narcissistic personality disorder. In business, they will lie, cheat ,steal, assassinate, destroy, murder, defraud anything and anyone. They will take everything an employee has to give and then curse them for having nothing left.

    Anyone who is a possible threat to an up and coming narcissist will be eliminated, and I do mean anyone. They will stoop to anything. I once saw a very competent chief of staff fired for merely correcting her bosses mistake in some Board papers. I was asked by said boss to dig up dirt on other employees. I was asked to falsify a portfolio analysis to facilitate an investment that would have facilitated a Board appointment to a venture capital fund for her.

    The key is that they are broken – they can’t do empathy, not ever. This is why Mitt Romney staggers from one verbal disaster to another. He literally does not and cannot know that offering to bet $10,000 with a fellow politician when millions are out of work is offensive. This is why Obama, as President, mouthed off a derogatory remark about “the special Olympics” and got caught in France ogling a girl young enough to be one of his daughters. This is why Obama can casually discard campaign promises.

    To put it another way, this is why Thames Water some years ago “motivated” its call centre operator trainees by telling them that the lowest scoring Ten percent of them would be fired after each training session. The damage narcissists do to people and organisations is terrifying – good people leave. Those that can’t are often scarred for life by the corrosive experience of working for a monster.

    You want examples? Kevin Rudd – Australias Prime Minister who was sacked by his colleagues within Eighteen months of winning a landslide election because of his private foul mouthed behaviour towards back benchers, cabinet colleagues and of course his staff. Leona “Taxes are for little people” Hemsley, Martha Stewart – caught insider trading for a lousy Fifty grand. Frau Merkel – who leaves her husband and takes the refridgerator. Carly Fiorina ex CEO of Hewlett Packard who had her fellow directors bugged. Sarah Palin, Putin, Berlusconi and of course the entire upper management of News Limited. These people self select for high profile office – and they are intelligent and hard working enough to get it – sort of.

    And of course now Mr. Hunt – whose ex employees testify against him. The comments about only arse lickers staying in Hotcourses tells you all you need to know – only other narcissists will work for a narcissist because they have no compunction about “Managing upwards” (aka arse licking) to get ahead. This is incidentally how businesses and organisations go bad. Once a narcissist is in charge, they quickly remove any subordinates they perceive as a threat to their omnipotence and replace them with narcissists – sycophants who will hang on their every word – and in turn these acolytes remove more competent people and replace them with narcissists. The organisation rots from the head down.

    How did we get this way? Simple. We discarded the aristocratic principle and decided to be “inclusive”. We decided to be “unbiased” and “even handed” and relied on “Merit” in our selection decisions. Most importantly we discarded “moral character” as a prerequisite for office, and in any case it is easy to mask a toxic personality if all your constituents see of you is on a computer screen. We no longer care if a candidate is a serial philanderer with a string of broken relationships and a drug or alcohol problem, in fact we are legally not allowed to even enquire as to their personal character.

    To put that yet another way, why do you think the Groucho club was established? To provide a home for people whose character and behaviour was so toxic that none of the city clubs (Boodles, Whites, etc.) would have them.

    Of course Narcissists do “Merit” very well. They are intelligent and hard working. They also know how to tick all the boxes. The females join networks like “Emilys list” and other feminist management forcing clubs where they talk about glass ceilings and plot their next career move. The men “calibrate” their boss and mimic their behaviour – to the point of suddenly taking up golf or pronouncing their interest in stamp collecting or shooting “Why Mr. So and So, what a coincidence!”

    At least when we appointed some old duffer family friend to a position we knew they weren’t a shit who was going to destroy the company. We had seen them at school, at University, perhaps in the services or a sporting club but in any case we had had the opportunity to observe their behaviour – or knew people who had and would vouch for them. To put that another way, I still remember kids from school and university that I would never put in authority over anyone, ever.

    So what does all this mean? It means God help the NHS. *unt will privatize as much of it as he can, making a lot of money for his friends in the process, followed like Brown and Blair, by making a pile himself after he leaves office. The cries and misery of the patients are nothing to him – a chicken farmer would care more about his stock.

    As a general rule with narcissists, try and work out what they are thinking would be best for them personally, and then count on them to do it. The national interests or the good of the shareholders means nothing to them.

    To put that another way, if Obama does or doesn’t bomb Iran, it has nothing to do with Americas strategic interests and everything to do with what’s best for HIM. If he thinks that it will make him look good in the eyes of his equals – the other world leaders, NOT the American people (the untermenschen), then he will do it.

    The defining characteristic is lack of empathy. That is what you need to be sensitive to if you wish to detect them. To put that another way, if you ever find yourself asking the question “Why would someone in his/her position do something so out and out dumb?” its ecuase you are looking at the action of a narcissist.


  17. It is widely known that psychopaths (only a vanishingly small minority of whom are serial killers and the like) tend to rise to the top in business and politics.


  18. “I heard a story about her once,’ said James. ‘She was interviewing a psychopath. She showed him a picture of a frightened face and asked him to identify the emotion. He said he didn’t know what the emotion was but it was the face people pulled just before he killed them.”

    Jon Ronson, The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry.


  19. “Justice departments and parole boards all over the world have accepted his contention that psychopaths are quite simply incurable and everyone should concentrate their energies instead on learning how to root them out using his PCL-R Checklist*, which he has spent a lifetime refining. His was not the only psychopath checklist around, but it was by far the most extensively used.”

    Jon Ronson, The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry


    Also, interesting;
    (Is there such a thing as a spare time psychopath? Probably not, so I guess I’m a professional one. In the last decade or so researchers and experts have published much new knowledge about psychopaths and psychopathy for the public to learn more about this 1% minority of the world. I think some insider information has been missing from the picture and this is why I have decided to contribute with some of the knowledge that only someone who lives with the condition can provide.)

    “Even if you believe that every human being harbors an immortal soul, the problem of responsibility remains: I cannot take credit for the fact that I do not have the soul of a psychopath.”

    Sam Harris


  20. “Justice departments and parole boards all over the world have accepted his contention that psychopaths are quite simply incurable and everyone should concentrate their energies instead on learning how to root them out using his PCL-R Checklist*, which he has spent a lifetime refining. His was not the only psychopath checklist around, but it was by far the most extensively used.”

    Jon Ronson, The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry


    “Even if you believe that every human being harbors an immortal soul, the problem of responsibility remains: I cannot take credit for the fact that I do not have the soul of a psychopath.”

    Sam Harris


  21. Also interesting;

    (Is there such a thing as a spare time psychopath? Probably not, so I guess I’m a professional one. In the last decade or so researchers and experts have published much new knowledge about psychopaths and psychopathy for the public to learn more about this 1% minority of the world. I think some insider information has been missing from the picture and this is why I have decided to contribute with some of the knowledge that only someone who lives with the condition can provide.)


  22. Pingback: Deconstructing neocon bollocks: | A diary of deception and distortion

  23. “When a deadline approached, we were expected to work late into the night for no overtime or recompense. Rarely were we thanked for our labours…”

    The flip side of that much lauded “private sector efficiency” folks.


  24. Pingback: Revenge, Not Politics! | dan lives

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