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« Relentless good news | Main | Good lord »
Wednesday
Feb062013

More revolving door

The Department of Business Industry and Skills is busily, industriously and skillfully hosing down insiders with public funds it seems. Here is the latest:

The government is buying a multi-million pound equity stake in a series of onshore windfarms in an unusual move that is likely to anger Conservative backbench MPs campaigning against public subsidies for one of the most controversial forms of renewable energy.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is spending £50m on six windfarms – five onshore and one offshore – through a "cornerstone" stake in a renewable energy fund called Greencoat UK Wind, launched on Wednesday. Some of the farms are being bought outright, while others involve a stake of less than 50% being purchased from two of the big six energy companies, RWE and SSE.

So that's pretty bad. But now consider this. Greencoat UK Wind is a subsidiary of Greencoat Capital. Greencoat Capital is run by Richard Nourse. And this is Richard Nourse's former page at the Department of Business Industry and Skills. It appears that he used to be a member of the Shareholder Executive, the group charged with looking after the government's interests in commercial and quasi-commercial companies. Kind of like all those wind farms that BIS has just bought into.

The notice of the intention to list Greencoat UK Wind on the stock exchange is here. It includes some interesting information about the company's board:

The Company has a strong Board of independent non-executive directors from relevant and complementary backgrounds, offering experience in the investment management of listed funds, as well as in the energy sector both from a public policy and a commercial perspective. The Board will be chaired by Tim Ingram, former chief executive of Caledonia Investments from 2002 until 2010 and will also comprise Shonaid Jemmett-Page, former KPMG partner Financial Services, and William Rickett, former Director General for the Department of Energy & Climate Change. The Company intends to appoint a fourth director to the Board post-Admission.

William Rickett was Director General of the Energy Group at DECC.

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Reader Comments (33)

The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

Animal Farm

Feb 6, 2013 at 10:56 PM | Registered CommenterDreadnought

Keep going Bish, the establishment of a respected 5th Estate is imperative.

The Establishment has successfully assimilated the 4th Estate (“a blinder played”?)

Feb 6, 2013 at 11:04 PM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

I expect to see the whole sordid piece exposed by the BBC and Private Eye.

Feb 6, 2013 at 11:48 PM | Registered Commenterwoodentop

JD, reporting on Charles Hendry and his new troughing role.

Appalling cronyism and corporate back-scratching...............but these men - Nourse, Rickett et al are of a type and it is not just in the DECC is it?

Have a look at the 'record' in the NHS. This lady trashed the NHS and then used her contacts - corporate sleaze meets mediocrity and jobs for the GIRLS and boys.

Feb 7, 2013 at 12:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

"It appears that he used to be a member of the Shareholder Executive"

As did Stephen Lovegrove, the new permanent secretary at DECC who was a person mentioned in Lord Patten's diary.

As for Richard Nourse - on his DBIS page the company Novusmodus LLP is mentioned - they changed their name to Greencoat Capital LLP.

Feb 7, 2013 at 12:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterGareth

I expect to see a whole sordid series:
//
UK Green Investment Bank

In January 2012 the Shareholder Executive took over responsibility for setting up the UKGIB, a flagship Government policy. UKGIB, which will operate at arm's length from Government and will be managed as a portfolio company by the Shareholder Executive, will accelerate investment in the UK's green infrastructure. It has been provided with £3bn funds for investment by 2015.

Paving the way for the UKGIB, a team of finance professionals – UK Green Investments ("UKGI") – has been recruited within the Shareholder Executive to make direct investments on behalf of the Secretary of State, on fully commercial terms, prior to state aid approval for the Bank. UKGI's first transaction was in April and to date it has committed £180m to specialist fund managers to co-invest equity into waste and non-domestic energy efficiency infrastructure projects. Eligible UKGI assets will be transferred to the UKGIB in time.
//
Having just browsed the Shareholder Executive Annual Review, I must say Bish, something about this just seems wrong to me. (The paras above are from the top of page4, 2011/12 ed)

Feb 7, 2013 at 12:09 AM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

Thank you, Dreadnought.

"Richard previously enjoyed a long career in the City, first at Morgan Grenfell and then at Merrill Lynch where he led the EMEA Energy and Power Team."

"offering experience in the investment management of listed funds,"

"The Board will be chaired by Tim Ingram, former chief executive of Caledonia Investments from 2002 until 2010 and will also comprise Shonaid Jemmett-Page, former KPMG partner Financial Services"

Now can we lose all those rants about the whole afffair being a socialist plot?

Feb 7, 2013 at 12:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoHa

Guess who is now responsible for replacement, retirement and reclamation efforts of the windfarms? Guess who will not have to abandon, retire etc. wornout or uneconomic windfarms because the National Interest is now at stake, and the 'farms can be used as experimental stations for future turbine inventions ....

And guess who walks away pleased with the Government's pro-Green business attitude, sure to support said Government initiatives elsewhere or the next time.

Feb 7, 2013 at 12:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterDoug Proctor

RoHa

"Now can we lose all those rants about the whole afffair being a socialist plot?"


Obviously, the short answer is "no". You have given evidence about previous employment but offered nothing about views, beliefs, convictions.

Feb 7, 2013 at 1:30 AM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

Greencoats-Turncoats!
21st Century UK politics - Situation Normal.- We're A.F.U.
Cameron, Clegg, Milliband et al; Gawd bless your manhoods - you've f**ck*d us majestically - consigned us to a life of increasing penury while you'll off enjoying the fruits of our pressings.
B**tards, one and all!
Hope that History recognises the magnitude of your sins and is not backward in the telling of it to your descendents - a tiny victory, for sure but a small revenge is sweeter than none !

Feb 7, 2013 at 2:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoyFOMR

Aren't both BBC and Private Eye employees deeply committed to 'alternative' energy companies and offshore tax evasion?

Feb 7, 2013 at 5:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterZT

As good as this post is, Your Grace, it is, by my reckoning, long on facts and short on crosshairs.

Feb 7, 2013 at 6:32 AM | Unregistered Commenterthe sweat sound of backpedaling

Words fail me at the blatant corruption that we see every day. It is endemic and stretches all the way down to local authorities and even parish councils.

Feb 7, 2013 at 7:27 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

And when the music stops, those still in the game pick up the decommissioning costs.

Government, when venturing into business, always pick the losers.

Feb 7, 2013 at 7:31 AM | Unregistered Commenterssat

But isn't it the norm that Government officials use their contacts to secure their next role? Is that corrupt? I don't think it is actually, its more like self-preservation and I suspect most here would do the same. Once out of Government, officials don't have any formal power to influence the administration, but have to rely on the network they built when in the public sector, which is precisely why the Renewables sector wants to employ them!

If we look at the new Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, he worked for Goldman Sachs in Sovereign Risk before joining the Bank of Cananda. I suspect it wouldn't be legally smart or in anyway correct to suggestion corruption, so why a different standard for the Greens?

Feb 7, 2013 at 8:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterFarleyR

Intresting reading to understand a mind set, lunch time with a cuppa read.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-02-06/guest-post-sheeple-another-look-sad-breed

Remind you of anyone?

Feb 7, 2013 at 8:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterShevva

If we look at the new Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, he worked for Goldman Sachs in Sovereign Risk before joining the Bank of Cananda. I suspect it wouldn't be legally smart or in anyway correct to suggestion corruption, so why a different standard for the Greens?

Your example is one of the outside coming in.You would hope the government would employ people of some experience in positions of great responsibility. There is no problem with that, provided the people actually have the skills and talents they are said to have.

What we see here is featherbedding. People of no great skill or talent manipulate government support and sponsorship that cannot be defended on economic or social grounds. It is rent seeking in purest form.

Obviously, the short answer is "no". You have given evidence about previous employment but offered nothing about views, beliefs, convictions.

That is a farcical answer. Are you seriously suggesting that KPMG's senior managers harbour secret socialistic commitments? That Merrill Lynch is peopled by moles, pretending to be free enterprise but actually secretly leftist all along? These people are not part of some socialist conspiracy, and to pretend that they are is to insist on some political line in the face of any contrary evidence.

Feb 7, 2013 at 9:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterMooloo

FarleyR: Is that corrupt? I don't think it is actually, its more like self-preservation and I suspect most here would do the same. Maybe not formally corrupt, but if the civil service is being used for farming contacts, in anticipation of future benefit, either there should be a discount on current salary or a clawback when those contacts result in actual benefits (-- don't they do something like that for footballers?) In an ideal world, situations where former civil servants contact their former colleagues should be minuted and published.

Feb 7, 2013 at 9:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterDr Slop

@FarleyR - just how would you describe corruption?

What we have here are MPs, Civil Servants etc. promoting certain "industries" (I hesitate to call anything to do with "Green Energy" an industry- more like an "investment vehicle" of the type that screwed the economy back in 2008) and then "moving on" to take up lucrative directorships/positions in the very "industry" they have created/helped stagger to its subsidised feet.
Talk about "feather-bedding!

I have another description.
These guys are crooks and should be up in court with the Enrons and Huhnes of this World.

Feb 7, 2013 at 9:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

"Now can we lose all those rants about the whole afffair being a socialist plot?"

RoHa, you have not been paying attention for the last 40 or 50 years. Socialist plots don;t succeed alone. Nor do uber-capitalist ones. But when the socialist wreckers and the uber-capitalist self-enrichers come together, of course with different aims, thats when things happen. Things that leave the man in the street bemused and p*ssed off, and unable to do anything about the new, worse circumstancs he finds himself in. Both socialist wreckers and uber-capitalists have no interest whatever in the status quo, one lot wants to destabilize it to break oppressions chains etc etc, the other lot want to destabilize it so in the shake up they can get their noses properly into the trough. As for all the small-c conservatives who don;t want extreme change rammed down their throat, well they can just go hang.

Feb 7, 2013 at 9:47 AM | Unregistered Commenterbill

This is simply straightforward corruption. We need an Independent Commission Against Corruption with the powers to arrest these people.

Feb 7, 2013 at 9:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterTaylor

@Don Keiller

Corruption is to operate outside of your legal mandate and wrongly direct resources for your own enrichment [or that of family and friends].

Has anyone here broken any laws? It might be that laws need to be changed, but that is not the core question here. I would caution against making unsubstantiated allegations of corruption on the internet.

Feb 7, 2013 at 10:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterFarleyR

Isn't 'green' synonymous with; venal, base, corruption and filling your boots because you can? Yea, I'd call that peculation, no worries.

Feb 7, 2013 at 10:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

It's corruption, FarleyR, in the same way that it was corruption for Jacqui Smith to claim that her sister's spare bedroom in a terraced house in south London was her 'principal residence' when she and her husband owned precisely one house in her Midlands constituency where her children went to school.

She, too, broke no laws but her behaviour, like that of so many of her colleagues in all parties in the House of Commons, was patently an attempt to enrich herself at public expense by exploiting her privileged position as an MP.

It is the kind of behaviour you would expect in the most rotten of 18th-century rotten boroughs. And it is precisely what we see in the cases of William Rickett, Charles Hendry et al.

Feb 7, 2013 at 11:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterAgouts

In the Netherlands a few years ago, the former minister of transport (Mr. Eurlings) went to the board of airline KLM.
Isn't that kind of the same thing?

I do not see anything wrong with an ex-politician joining the board of a company AFTER his political career.
Having business interests WHILE being in government is a different story of course, and a clear conflict of interest.

Feb 7, 2013 at 12:02 PM | Unregistered Commenterwijnand

I do not see anything wrong with an ex-politician joining the board of a company AFTER his political career.
Having business interests WHILE being in government is a different story of course, and a clear conflict of interest.

So, what's your view of someone who, in government, makes decisions that will reward a specific sector in anticipation of being employed by (some outfit or other) in that sector. Featherbedding, no?

Feb 7, 2013 at 1:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterDr Slop

Are these wind-farms being propped up/taken over by government because they are simply 'too big to fail' (copyright G. Brown)?

Here we go again ....

Feb 7, 2013 at 4:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarbara

@Dr Slop
Yes absolutely featherbedding -cool word!-, despicable behaviour imo. However I wonder if there is anything we can do about it, other than name and shame as the Bish is doing...

Feb 7, 2013 at 6:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterWijnand

@FarleyR if not corruption then what?
If giving one "industry" an advantage by way of your political position to then enrich oneself at a later date is not immoral and corrupt I don't know what is.

But there again the very same people who engage in this chicanery are the very same who are responsible for making legislation. So they can cover their butts.
Perfect!

What about "misconduct in a Public Office"? That casts a wide net.

Feb 7, 2013 at 7:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

I see people are beginning to realise why all these people waste their time in politics. It's not for the perks.

Feb 7, 2013 at 8:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

@Don Keiller

Is this type of rent-seeking behaviour immoral? Yep you bet.

But corrupt/illegal? Sadly not.
Unless someone has some evidence of a law having been broken, I'm afraid we're all going to have to STFU and let them keep supping at the trough :(

Feb 7, 2013 at 9:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterFarleyR

Misconduct in public Office
The offence is committed when:
"!a public officer acting as such wilfully neglects to perform his duty and/or wilfully misconducts himself
to such a degree as to amount to an abuse of the public's trust in the office holder."

I reckon that covers what Yeo, Deben and [snip -venting] are doing.

Feb 7, 2013 at 10:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

RoHa - "Now can we lose all those rants about the whole afffair being a socialist plot?"

Do pay attention 007.

The hideous strength of the CAGW scam is precisely that it is supported, enabled and promoted by powerful groups with widely disparate agenda. The Deep Greens hanker after an Eden that never existed, except perhaps prior to man discovering fire. The Socialists are after World government, or, at least, a global bureaucracy. The less venal politicians see the taxing of air as a nice filip to their "revenue" stream. The more venal see it merely as an opportunity to line their own pockets. Big business, some of it at least, just wants to make as much money as possible out of the scam before it collapses under the weight of its own contradictions. There are other, smaller and more esoteric groups who can advance their own agendas, but the conflation of World Socialism and Big Business is a powerful enough motor to carry the programme along.

Feb 12, 2013 at 5:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterTim Bromige

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