Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Pretti is only Skin Deep!

... but ugly goes clean to the bone!

I have actually misquoted Dorothy Parker (1893-1967) here, but then she never had the misfortune to encounter Pritti Patel MP. Perhaps, if she had, she'd have adjusted her famous line accordingly too.

'Lovely' Pritti was one of those who campaigned against the UK remaining in the EU. One of those, "Take back control!" ideologues. 'Take back control,' and hand it to the likes of such a character as Pritti? The UK is now suitably emboldened! Or perhaps shackled?

Pritt's government page brushes quickly over her past life, before she became an 'honourable' MP, glossed over as, 'consultancy and worked internationally.' Vague! Why so coy?

So, in order to pad out that vagueness, so as to afford the woman the greater recognition she undoubtedly deserves, let's pick up at around the turn of the millennium. And, to this purpose, we shall have to concentrate upon just two of the strings to Pritti's elaborate bow.

Pretti joined Weber Shandwick PR at the tender age of 27, gainfully employed as a lobbyist for British American Tobacco. In Cameron's cabal (2010) she more than comfortably slotted into the role of placing the profits of big tobacco well ahead of the wellbeing of her's and other's constituents, arguing that the introduction of plain packaging would be a, "... the nail in the coffin..." of the newsagents. See what she did there, humour! 

In 2001 she valued her efforts in peddling premature death, at £165 per hour, stratospherically higher than she did that of virtually all of her constituents almost a decade later, when she first joined the Tory Government. But then, we've already established that she harbours precious little regard for the lives of others.

As an MP she was swift to deny any conflict of interests, when she voiced serious concerns over the government's plans to standardise cigarette packaging. Those poor independent retailers of heightened public mortality! She saw her role as lobbying fellow MPs against those infringing EU tobacco controls. In 2000 Pritti was part of a BAT team charged with influencing the World Health Organisation's conventions on tobacco control. In January 2001 BAT outlined Pritti's role as an MP as 'interacting with fellow Conservative MPs. She duly devoted an official 15 hours a month to this grisly process. No wonder she wanted to 'take back some of that lost control.'

British American Tobacco, of course, have long recognised the vast profits to be made in the business of death, so what's a few more lives in the larger scheme of things? BAT's Burma factories at the turn of the century were jointly owned by the military dictatorship. 'Business' costs, from BAT to the generals of the dictator, were estimated to be in the region of £10 millions.

In Nigeria BAT's thriving tobacco giants happily employed children as young as 7 years of age to work on the tobacco plantations. Such were Weber Shandwick's dealings with BAT that the majority of the PR team sought to distance themselves from the shameful record of the organisation. It was noted that Pritti was just one of two employees who seemed comfortably at ease, when dealing with death and exploitation on such a scale. When asked for comment by the Guardian newspaper, Pritti referred the questioner to her legal representatives.

In October 2010 Pritti voted to overturn the smoking ban.
In December 2010 she signed a letter demanding that the British Government reconsider its tobacco display ban. Perhaps Brexit will give her back the control she so craves?    

And then there came Pritti's time in May's cabal, slithering so seamlessly onward and into the Johnson cabal! Finding the 'robes of questionable profits' to be a mighty fine cut Pritti sought to investigate further the monies to made from human misery.

On the 13th August 2017 the ever-resourceful Pritti flew to Israel, for a 13 day 'holiday' with 'friends' and family, Israel? Friends and family? Holiday? For reasons at which we can only take a wild stab, honorary President of the Conservative Friends for Israel lobbying group, Stuart Polak, appears to have been one of those 'holidaying friends.'

Israel, of all places- "In hindsight I can see how this could be misread." poor Pritti later confessed. 'Misread,' if only, eh, Pritti?

On the 7th September she made time to chat with the Israeli Security Minister Gilad Erdan. Then, on the 18th September of the same year she set aside time in her diary for further socialising with the Israeli Foreign Ministry Official Yuval Rotem- meetings in New York and the UK. On both occasions she was again accompanied by Lord Stuart Polak.

Just to clarify, Gilad Erdan has ploughed a deep enough furrow for himself to have earned the closer attentions of Amnesty International. He is a key figure in the fight against the BDS movement, a group who, amongst other things, monitors the fast deteriorating Israeli human rights indiscretions and arrests. He was, in part, responsible for the arrest, at Gurion Airport and consequent deportation, of Malawian Council of Churches Minister Isobel Phiri. Also, he was responsible for the detention of Raed Jarrar, Director of Middle and Eastern African Amnesty International, at the border from Jordan into the West Bank, when Raed was attempting to visit DfID funded projects in the Occupied Territories.

The Department for International Development (DfID) has for years given money to worthy Palestinian causes- although watch this space, under the premiership of Johnson. Israel, through AIPAC (American Israeli Public Affairs Committee) amongst others, has ever been pressurising the UK to cut this funding. Step into the spotlight young Pritti, who has ordered a review of such funding, or perhaps we should more accurately refer to this 'review/cut' as a 'redirection' of funds? The actual 'spotlight,' we should understand is really something she was hoping, at this stage, to evade.

Pretti, whilst visiting such holiday sights as the Golan Heights, was discussing such ideas as the redirection of foreign aid for Palestine through the Israeli Defence Forces, where it could be very differently targeted. Presumably she never sensed a conflict of interests in that two of the core functions  of the Israeli Defence are to enforce the Israeli occupation and to continue the blockade of the Gaza Strip. Such descriptions as a "... dramatic human crisis!" by the UN, are likely to be as water off a duck's back to Pritti.

We should exercise an element of sympathy for the young Pretti here, when we consider that in order  to visit a forces field hospital in the 'picturesque' Golan Heights both Israeli Military and political clearance would have been required, posing major disruptions to such a short family holiday!

All well and good, the non-discerning general member of the public may well consider, until he/she also factors in the not-inconsiderable and otherwise-unnecessary disruption to the ongoing commitments of then PM, Ms May!

It was following another 'holiday' in Africa- so many dictators from whom to choose- that Israeli newspaper 'Haaretz' disclosed the sensitive information, that Pritti had visited the Golan Heights, internationally recognised as having been under occupation since 1967. Any suggestion that the visit had, in fact, been arranged by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs needed to be very swiftly put to bed! Ms May would need to retain some distance here. All suggestions that the events were already known about by Ms May were strongly rebutted. Strongly!

So, the press release- the UK Government was still doing such things back then- was to be that "Pretti did not come clean with May, about her 12 other meetings with Israeli Ministers, including the Israeli PM, Netanyahu. Hot on the heels of this, it was disclosed that Lord Polak had accompanied Pretti on no fewer than 13 of the 14 meetings. Ms May was at that time denying that protocols had been broken, although nobody quite seemed to realise the scale of the protocols that either had or had not been compromised. Even then Pretti continued to claim that future PM Johnson had known about the meetings that were taking place.

Fire-fighting, on the 6th November, Pretti backed into a corner and officially apologised for breaking with political protocol, although not strictly speaking for the nature or the subject matter of the more-than-a-dozen meetings with Israeli political and military officials.

Later, still fire-fighting, Pretti Patel was forced to resign from May's government... but she's already back and without serious remorse, riding high in a far more reactionary cabinet!

Israel already operates its own form of apartheid. What's Pretti got in store for the UK, are we to suppose?

Pretti studied economics at Keele University, of course she did!

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