WEEKLY WANKER #060: GRANT SHAPPS

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Cameron with his right hand (con)man.

[CONTENT WARNING: Discussion of suicide, bullying, sexual assault]

Grant Shapps has finally resigned as International Development Secretary, amidst allegations he failed to act on bullying concerns within the Tories which may have resulted in a young activist taking his own life.   Elliot Johnson mentioned Tory activist Mark Clark in his suicide note and the central suggestion is that repeated warnings about the conduct of Clark were ignored by Grant Shapps, who appointed him to head the RoadTrip2015 initiative, in which activists toured the country to drum up support for the Tories.

Details of a number of allegations against Clarke including bullying and sexual assault have now surfaced from a range of sources, including senior Tories.   A previous statement by Shapps advising he wasn’t aware of any allegations until a formal complaint was lodged in August were contradicted by Baroness Warsi, who Shapps has now admitted raised concerns about Clarke‘s conduct following a Twitter incident.  Clarke has denied all the allegations against him.  The father of Elliot Johnson has called for an independent investigation, rather than an internal Tory Party investigation and he is surely owed that respect.

When he resigned from the Cabinet, Shapps said he had concluded that the buck stopped with him.  The fact he had ever been entrusted with the buck is staggering.   How did a total charlatan become a cabinet minister?  Why was an online trickster in a position of trust??  Who the fuck is Grant Shapps???

No sooner was he elected to Parliament, Shapps was appointed Vice Chair of the Tories and was put in charge of campaigning activity.   He was later made Shadow Housing Minister and would go on to be in Cameron’s cabinet in 2010, ending automatic lifetime tenancies and abolishing legislation to protect home buyers, pushing aggressive right to buy policies and generally overseeing a return to the policies which helped create the last housing boom/bust.  Rising to become Chair of the Tories, it was Shapps who brought in Lyndon Crosby, infamous evil genius/election strategist to run the Tory’s 2015 election campaign.   Despite the Tories winning a massive majority, many felt Shapps had embarrassed himself one too many times.  In May 2015, he was demoted to International Development Secretary but his stock had been falling for some time. The question we should be asking is, how the hell did he ever get into a position of power?

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Michael Green of HowToCorp (left), Grant Shapps (right).  Notice anything?

Prior to his election as an MP, Shapps was perhaps best known as the author of  such literary classics as “How to Get Stinking Rich“ via his company HowToCorp.  The online salesman ran the “self help” business under the alias “Michael Green”, claiming his secret techniques had allowed him to amass a fortune of £17m.  The assets of the business were around £2,000.  Shapps/Green put these creative techniques to good use in Government, once stating a million people had withdrawn their disability benefit claims prior to being assessed, when the number was actually 19,700.

HowToCorp once told customers they could make £20,000 in 20 days – those stupid enough to part with their cash were offered the unique opportunity to, erm, recruit more people to the scheme.  What does that remind you of?

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Back in 2012, HowToCorp’s adverts were investigated by the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA).  We’re not suggesting they were total bollocks, we‘re sure “Corrine Stockheath“ was a genuine, satisfied customer… but she must have been using an alias too, since no-one with that name has yet been located.   The ASA dropped their investigation after it was agreed the company would not run the disputed ads again.   Speaking of people with silly fake names, in 2005 the ballot paper contained the name “Grant V Shapps,”   There is no middle name on Grant Shapp’s birth or marriage certificates, and candidates are required to declare their full names.  Who is this V and what does he stand for?

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One of HowToCorp’s online ventures is believed to have sold software with the express intention of creating bogus website to generate ad revenue.  Google subsequently blocked websites using the “scraping” software, which steals and rearranges other people’s content.  Scotland Yard concluded that Shapps “may” have committed an act of fraud but no prosecution was ever pursued.

It’s best not to mention Shapp’s “business” dealings, especially if you’re one of his constituents.  Shapps threatened legal action against Dean Archer before belatedly admitting that he/Michael Green had continued to work for HowToCorp after becoming an MP.  In fact, it’s best not to mention anything to do with Shapps or his alter ego.  Political Scrapbook, who have played a key role in exposing Shapps over the years, have received repeated legalistic threats.  As their editor Laurence Durnan put it,

This is pure and simple intimidation, designed to censor the publication of factually accurate stories which are strongly in the public interest.

But if the political editors won’t budge, there are always those parts of the internet we can edit ourselves, like Wikipedia.  One Wikipedia user removed various negative references to past business dealings within Grant Shapp’s bio but managed to find space to insert the claim he was an “expenses saint.”  The same user edited the bios of Philip Hammond and Dominic Grieve with negative comments; the two men are known rivals of Grant Shapps.   And the same user even managed to blame Tory strategist Lyndon Crosby and George Osborne for that infamous bingo tweet sent by…

An admin banned the user and went to the media, saying it was clearly Grant Shapps or someone working for him,  Wikipedia ended up banning the admin, saying there was “no evidence” this was case and that going to the press jeopardised their independence…

Of course, it would be wrong of anyone to accuse Shapps of involving himself in matters where he may have a private interest.  The tireless local campaigner fought to save an aerodrome, which was earmarked as a site for new homes.  Shapps attempted to have the site designated a “community asset which can never be replaced” despite the council concluding it didn’t meet the criteria to be preserved and was not of “special architectural or historical interest.”  But it was of interest to Shapps, who kept his £100,000 plane there, a fact he never mentioned.

Michael Green had frequently bragged of his high flying lifestyle, his multiple planes and fast cars, Grant Shapps told us his kids shared a bedroom when attempting to justify the Bedroom Tax.   It’s difficult to know who to believe but whoever he is and whatever he’s called, this awful creature has been multiple wankers in his time.

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More Tory Wankers:

WEEKLY WANKER #051: DAVID CAMERON

WEEKLY WANKER #054: MICHELLE MONE

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