Grant Shapps…making the Unreal Real
The following things about Grant Shapps do not check out: his middle name, his aliases, his education, his business website, his Wikipedia entry, and his Tory Team 2015 website.
This man accuses the BBC of falsehoods. But when it comes to falsehoods, only Jeffrey Archer can match him.
‘Grant Shapps, the chairman of the Conservative Party, challenged the corporation to undertake dramatic changes in the wake of a series of scandals and accusations of bias.
In a major intervention understood to have been made with the knowledge of Downing Street, he said that the Government would consider whether the BBC can keep receiving all the proceeds of the licence fee – £145.50 each year from every household with a television – after 2016, when its Royal Charter expires.’
Choose who, from these three names, you think will get to inherit at least part of the redistributed licence fee:
Rupert Murdoch, Newscorp, or News International. You see, in neolib Cruel Britannia, it’s all about choice.
Talking of names, Labourpress thinks that Grant’s middle name is Disingenuous, but it can’t be because it begins with V. Sorry to be pedantic there Lp, but when it comes to Grant Shapps/Michael Green/Sebastian Fox, it’s important to get the facts right.
Trouble is, nobody seems to know what that middle ‘V’ in Grant’s monniker stands for. When signing on as a candidate for election as MP in 2000, he still signed ‘V’, despite being required to give his full name. So it must stand for nothing, mustn’t it? Or else that would make Mr Shapps a liar. Wouldn’t it?
And as it happens, Grant’s birth was registered with NO middle name: not V or D or Z or X. It’s all a bit odd. But then, the life of Grant Shapps has the word ‘odd’ running through it like the letters in a stick of rock.
As one digs into the hastily buried life history of Grant Shapps, it’s hard to escape the sense of a bloke who has always felt the need for deceit in order to get on. But lest anyone should think otherwise, his life has been far from easy. He suffered serious lymphatic cancer at a young age, and at the even younger age of 20 was involved in a US car crash that left him in a coma.
He is also educationally challenged, and suffers regular memory lapses.
For example, he went to Watford Grammar, but can’t remember what GCSE grades he got. However, some indication of what they might have been (if he got any) is betrayed by his Wikipedia entry which says he went to ‘Cassio College’. Many people might assume this to have been an Oxbridge institution, but it isn’t: these days, it’s known as West Herts College, which ‘works with local secondary schools to offer entry to applicants of 14 years of age and older. Some school pupils may transfer their full-time education to the College in order to restart their education or to take some vocational subjects at Level 1…..A few GCSE subjects are offered to gifted pupils.’ Gifted?
When talking of his educational under-achievement, Shapps uses words like ‘read’ and ‘studied’ to suggest a University degree in the mix. But there isn’t one: Grant flunked his exams….and then went to the kind of crammer Michael Gove
thinks to be a jolly good
basis for further education in the UK. Anyway, it didn’t work, because all Mr Shapps managed was an HND in business studies at Manchester Poly. An HND is the sort of thing with which the dimmer secretary used to emerge from education. Under pressure, he has admitted that he left school at sixteen, and left Manchester Poly without completing the Degree Course after two years.
Is it me, or do others feel that this deceit seems uncomfortably close to another Tory Chairman, one Jeffrey Archer?
Anyway, not being Brain of Britain – it’s hardly surprising that, when he set about making his fortune by writing self-help books (and if anyone needs help, then the Tory Chairman does) Shapps felt it necessary to use a nom de plume on his website. But how many noms de plume does a chap need…unless of course he has other motives? In his Wikipedia entry, Shapps is quoted as saying that he used a pseudonym to keep his business separate from his future political work. A man who can see into the future? My God, this is just what Britain needs.
The only problem for Grant is that this is total bollocks. He didn’t just use one pseudonym – Michael Green – but also another one, Sebastian Fox. And he used them to big himself up: the man now doffed a Rt. Hon. Privy Councillor misled the public by implying that “Sebastian Fox” or “Michael Green” were real people, and that the glowing testimonies they attracted were genuine. Michael Green was depicted
by Shapps as a successful businessman with a personal fortune of £17 million who could make customers “$20,000 in 20 days”. The entire thing was a Kleenex man-sized tissue of lies.
In 2012, a formal complaint about these fraudulent whoppers was made to the marketing publicity watchdog, the ASA. Now, read the right wing press and you will be told that the complaint “came to nothing”. You will see the inestimably ethics-free Quentin Letts tipping Shapps as ‘a future Conservative leader’. But this too is a lie: the How To Corp run by Shapps at the time was forced to make a grovelling apology to the ASA: a year ago this month, the Evening Standard
reported an ASA statement as follows:
‘”We have resolved the matter informally with How To Corp. We have received assurances that the marketer will in future make clear if pseudonyms are used and that they will not use testimonials in the absence of adequate evidence.“
We need to get this straight: there was NO evidence – none whatsoever – for the existence of either Michael Green or Sebastian Fox. Grant Shapps made them up to sell product in a deliberately misleading manner. He is an internet scam-artist; and he is Chairman of the Conservative Party.
But surely we should forgive this one-off momentary lapse? For is Grant not the accelerating leopard who will rush the Conservatives to outright victory? Maybe. But leopards never change their spots. In April this year, Shapps was at it again. And this time, he could hardly blame a biased BBC or New Statesman or Guardian for “manufacturing” a case against him. This time it was the Mail
showing him up as the dissembling cheat he’s always been.
The website produced by Grant’s ‘Team 2015’ wheeze was desperately trying to give the Tory Party a clean-cut, youthful look. But they couldn’t find any Young Conservatives like that, so the website used stock shots of Aussie students. ‘Make It Happen’ says the slogan – alongside a message from the real Grant Shapps – and so Grant made it happen. It’s just that very little he makes (or claims) turns out to be real. The previous year, it transpired that a ’hard working family’ used in Tory ads approved by Shapps had also been pictured promoting insurance brokers, builders and dentists in lots of other countries across the globe. Clearly, that particular family had been working very hard indeed.
This is the man who now challenges the BBC to clean up its act ‘in the wake of a series of scandals and accusations of bias’. Laugh? I nearly paid me licence fee.
Here are some behavioural clues as to why Mr Shapps wants the BBC to be a business lapdog. He wants more transparency in the BBC, but has never voted for more transparency in Parliament. He thinks the BBC should be more representative, but he has always voted strongly against proportional representation to elect MPs. He thinks the BBC should give better value for money, but he voted very strongly to increase the Student fees to £9,000 a year. He thinks the BBC should do more for its licence fee, but as an MP he hasn’t made a single speech during the last year. Know why? Because spinning bollocks to get the Conservatives reelected is a 24/7 job, and he doesn’t care about anything else.
And that means what he really needs is a compliant BBC doing as its told. Just like it did when that nice Alistair Campbell and his chum Tony Blair were lying to Parliament and the media about the Saddam weapons dossier.
Grant Shapps is merely another junior member of the Dowhateverittakes wing of the Conservative Party. But he is becoming senior at a rate of knots.
We shouldn’t find anything unusual or unpredictable in Shapps’s promotion to the highest office. His profile fits like a glove with those of many other spivs among the Camerlot Big Beasts. Hunt’s monopoly selling to the corrupt British Council and falsified accolade as ‘the best course information supplier in London’; Johnson the thug who agreed to beat up an opponent of the fraudster Darius Guppy, who made police-corrupter Murdoch the guest of honour at the 2012 Olympics, and who bent the results on London taxi emissions to help his equally corrupt chum Tim Yeo; Fallon the senior director of the biggest Libor broker who apparently didn’t know anything about rate manipulation. The list goes on and on. Quite how the man who castigated City spivs more than anyone – Vince Cable – can hold his head up while remaining in this den of thieves both baffles and disappoints me.
But equally predictable is that a chancer like Shapps should be given the go-ahead by Downing Street to start moving the goalposts closer together for the BBC….and wider and wider apart for Murdoch’s goal-poachers. It started with the shifting of Cable sideways and harmless, and then the scandalous bias displayed by Hunt during the BSkyB enquiry. When Murdoch and his gangsters were shown to have lied from Day One about phone hacking, enter the mass distraction away from Newscorp with a full frontal attack on the BBC by McAlpine, labelling the Beeb a house of grooming monsters, while neatly at one and the same time putting real systemic and family paedophilia back into the murky shadows.
We all have our feelings about the Beeb, but you can see what’s happening here: Coulson and Brooks go to trial (cue waves of warnings about press reporting restrictions). Hopefully Cameron comes out badly, in comes the former Murdoch employee Gove to replace him, and then in time onto the airwaves goes a Newscorp controlled “business friendly” Channel lauding the virtues of every twister in the City and Westminster….with the Beeb increasingly vulnerable to attack from every truth-censoring sociopath in Parliament, banking and business.
As I have written before, we are witnessing the privatisation of politics
, and the Labour Party is far from innocent in the process. Their MPs too have acquiesced in the formalisation of democracy’s death by deranged, badhat capitalism. As Shapps himself told Total Politics
at the start of the year, “Cards on the table, I don’t think there are enough people with serious business backgrounds in Parliament and, as a result, it’s too easy for governments to do things that aren’t business-friendly”. Coming from a serially mendacious internet lightweight, that is rich fare indeed. But then, “business friendly” has become one of these terms like “Final Solution”: a disgusting euphemism for evil on an industrial scale.
It means, for example, not arresting guilty media moguls despite damning audio evidence, or senior investment bankers, or deputy BoE Governors, or paedophile former Cabinet Ministers, or Plymouth MPs, bent taxi suppliers, report-burying former Home Secretaries, EU Commissioners, privatised rail directors, multinational tax-evaders, and so forth. You know….showing the world we’re open for business.
I prefer the term open to question. Everything about Grant Shapps is questionable. So rebut the evidence of this post Mr Shapps….or sue and be damned. But in the meantime, do us all a favour and shut up about the BBC.