Why the king’s speech stinks

Art Spells Out UK Corruption

Some artists, when faced with the stark white walls of a gallery space, would be forgiven for taking a nervous gulp and wondering how best to fill it. Not the case however for Carlisle multidisciplinary artist Molly Hughes, who understands that if there’s one thing that isn’t running short, it’s institutional corruption.

Known for taking on the powers that be with their mix of 80’s punk spirit and 90’s aesthetic, Molly is bringing some long missed anarchist spirit back to Cumbria. Here they tells us a little about their motivation for covering Carlisle in a list of corruption cases within our police force, government and royal family.

Bourgeois art is dead, long live the sharpie!

“I created this piece because I was becoming sick and tired of nuances, when the evidence of corruption was staring us right in the face. Information about corruption in the government, police and the royal family were all readily available to us yet goes largely ignored. Whilst art that is less on the nose about these things is incredible and something I derive a lot of inspiration from, this piece stemmed from a place of anger.

I just got to the point where I thought to myself, why the hell should I waste my time in create something that merely represents their corruption? I’m going to give it to you, in a way you cannot ignore.

The writing itself took me 15 hours, floor to top of the wall – and the research for that writing took about the same length of time. No government party, nor institution, is safe from scandal and corruption.       

Declan McKenna’s song “British Bombs” was also a source of inspiration to the piece. I would recommend just listening to the lyrics and you will understand why”.

Oh – and if you’re up for a long read, here’s the work in digital form for you, next time you’re arguing for systemic change, feel free to dip in to this and arm yourself up!

The Burrell affair – allegations about the behaviour of the British royal family and their servants with possible constitutional implications. (2002) The apparent suicide of Dr. David Kelly and the Hutton Inquiry. On 17 July 2003, Kelly, an employee of the Ministry of Defence, apparently committed suicide after being misquoted by BBC journalist Andrew Gilligan as saying that Tony Blair‘s Labour government had knowingly “sexed up” the “September Dossier“, a report into Iraq and weapons of mass destruction. The government was cleared of wrongdoing, while the BBC was strongly criticised by the subsequent inquiry, leading to the resignation of the BBC’s chairman and director-general. In April 2004, Beverly Hughes was forced to resign as minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Counter Terrorism when it was shown that she had been informed of procedural improprieties concerning the granting of visas to certain categories of workers from Eastern Europe. In 2005, David McLetchie, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, was forced to resign after claiming the highest taxi expenses of any MSP. These included personal journeys, journeys related solely with his second job as a solicitor, and Conservative Party business. David Mills financial allegations (2006). Tessa Jowell, Labour cabinet minister, was embroiled in a scandal about a property remortgage allegedly arranged to enable her husband, David Mills, to realise £350,000 from an off-shore hedge fund, money he allegedly received as a gift following testimony he had provided for Silvio Berlusconi in the 1990s. Nicknamed by the press as “Jowellgate”. Cash for Honours (2006). In March 2006 it emerged that the Labour Party had borrowed millions of pounds in 2005 to help fund their general electioncampaign. While not illegal, on 15 March the Treasurer of the party,Jack Dromey stated publicly that he had neither knowledge of nor involvement in these loans and had only become aware when he read about it in the newspapers. A story was running at the time that Dr Chai Patel and others had been recommended for life peerages after lending the Labour party money. He called on the Electoral Commission to investigate the issue of political parties taking out loans from non-commercial sources. Angus McNeil (2007). The married SNP MP who made the initial police complaint over the cash for honours scandal was forced to make an apology after it was revealed that in 2005 he had a “heavy petting” session with two teenage girls aged 17 and 18 in a hotel room at the same time his wife was pregnant with their third child. In November 2007, it emerged that more than £400,000 had been accepted by the Labour Party from one person through a series of third parties, causing the Electoral Commission to seek an explanation. Peter Watt resigned as the General Secretary of the party the day after the story broke and was quoted as saying that he knew about the arrangement but had not appreciated that he had failed to comply with the reporting requirements. On 24 January 2008, Peter Hainresigned his two cabinet posts (Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and Secretary of State for Wales) after the Electoral Commission referred donations to his Deputy Leadership campaign to the police. Derek Conway (2008). The Conservative Party MP was found to have reclaimed salaries he had paid to his two sons who had in fact not carried out the work to the extent claimed. He was ordered to repay £16,918, suspended from the House of Commons for 10 days and removed from the party whip. Cash for Influence (2009). Details of covertly recorded discussions with four Labour Partypeers which their ability to influence legislation and the consultancy fees that they charged (including retainer payments of up to £120,000) were published by The Sunday Times.United Kingdom parliamentary expenses scandal (2009). Widespread actual and alleged misuse of the permitted allowances and expenses claimed by Members of Parliament and attempts by MPs and peers to exempt themselves from Freedom of Information legislation.The Iris Robinson scandal in which First Minister of Northern Ireland Peter Robinson stepped aside for six weeks in January 2010 following revelations of his wife’s involvement in an extramarital affair, her attempted suicide, and allegations that he had failed to properly declare details of loans she had procured for her lover to develop a business venture.Red Sky scandal, involving contracts given to company Red Sky by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive. The 2010 cash for influence scandal, in which undercover reporters for the Dispatches television series posed as political lobbyists offering to pay Members of Parliament to influence policy.On 29 May 2010 Chief Secretary to the Treasury David Laws resigned from the Cabinetand was referred to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards after The Daily Telegraph newspaper published details of Laws claiming around £40,000 in expenses on a second home owned by a secret partner between 2004 and 2009, whilst House of Commons rules have prevented MPs from claiming second home expenses on properties owned by a partner since 2006. By resigning Laws became the shortest serving Minister in modern British political history with less than 18 days’ service as a Cabinet Minister. On 14 October 2011 Secretary of State for Defence Liam Fox resigned from the Cabinet after he “mistakenly allowed the distinction between [his] personal interest and [his] government activities to become blurred” over his friendship with Adam Werritty. (He again served as a cabinet minister under Theresa May.) The Ed Balls document leak was exposed by the Daily Telegraph and showed that shadow chancellor Ed Balls was involved in a supposed plot known as ‘Project Volvo’ to oust Tony Blair as leader and replace him with Gordon Brown shortly after the 2005 election. Conservative Party ‘cash for access’ scandal involving Peter Cruddas and Sarah Southern, March 2012. In February 2012 Liberal Democrat MP Chris Huhne resigned from the Cabinet when he was charged with perverting the course of justice over a 2003 speeding case. His wife Vicky Pryce had claimed that she was driving the car, and accepted the licence penalty points on his behalf so that he could avoid being banned from driving. Huhne plead guilty at his trial, resigned as a member of parliament, and he and Pryce were sentenced to eight months in prison for perverting the course of justice.[27]In April 2012, Conservative Party MP and Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt came under pressure to resign as a result of his closeness to Rupert Murdoch‘s media empire and alleged corruption in dealing with Murdoch’s bid for News Corporation’s takeover of BSkyB. In October 2012, Andrew Mitchell resigned from his post as Chief Whipfollowing allegations made about his conduct during an altercation with police at Downing Street on 19 September, the incident becoming known as “plebgate“. In the 2013 Labour Party Falkirk candidate selection, which began following the announcement that the incumbent MP Eric Joyce was to step down at the 2015 general election, allegations were made on the significant infiltration of the selection process by the Unite trade union, the Labour Party’s largest financial backer. In April 2014 Maria Miller, the Culture Secretary, resigned following pressure relating to the results of an investigation into her past expenses claims. On 20 November 2014 Emily Thornberry resigned her shadow cabinet position shortly after polls closed in the Rochester and Strood by-election. Earlier in the day, she had received criticism after tweeting a photograph of a house in the constituency adorned with three flags of St. George and the owner’s white van parked outside on the driveway, under the caption “Image from #Rochester”, provoking accusations of snobbery. She was criticised by fellow Labour Party MPs, including leader Ed Miliband who said her tweet conveyed a “sense of disrespect”. Namagate, involving allegations that First Minister of Northern Ireland Peter Robinson may have financially benefitted from a deal with National Asset Management Agency (NAMA). In September 2015, Lord Ashcroft published a biography of David Cameron, which suggested that the then Prime Minister took drugs regularly and performed an “outrageous initiation ceremony” which involved inserting “a private part of his anatomy” into the mouth of a dead pig during his time in university. This became known as “piggate“.It also led to questions about the Prime Minister’s honesty with party donors’ known tax statuses as Lord Ashcroft suggested he had openly discussed his non-domiciled status with him in 2009, earlier than previously thought. There have been several allegations of unlawful campaigning in the 2016 EU referendum, in addition to some allegations of Russian interference.Stewart Hosie, Deputy Leader of the SNP and MP for Dundee East, resigned as Deputy Leader after it was reported he had been cheating on his wife, Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport in the Scottish Government, Shona Robison MSP. He had been having an affair with Westminster journalist Serena Cowdy. In 2017 the contaminated blood scandal, in which many haemophiliacs died from infected Factor medicine, hit the headlines and Parliament with allegations of a “industrial scale” criminal cover-up. MP Ken Clarke retracted remarks from his autobiography relating to the scandal and a public inquiry is now underway. The Renewable Heat Incentive scandal in Northern Ireland, in which Arlene Foster set up a green energy scheme but failed to introduce cost controls, creating perverse incentives which eventually led to a £480m bill to the Northern Ireland budget.There were allegations that members of the Democratic Unionist Party attempted to postpone the closure of the scheme, which gave way to a spike in applications and causing the public purse millions of pounds. In January 2017, the scandal caused the resignation of the deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, after Foster refused to stand aside as First Minister pending an investigation, collapsing the Executive Office and triggering an early election of the Northern Ireland Assembly. The resulting political rifts meant the Assembly did not meet again until 2020. The 2017 Westminster sexual misconduct allegations in which a number of MPs, MSPs, AMs, and other political figures were accused of sexual harassment and assault. The 2018 Windrush scandal, involving members of the Windrush generation being wrongly detained, deported, or threatened with deportation which caused the resignation of then Home Secretary, Amber Rudd. Jeremy Hunt property scandal – In April 2018, The Daily Telegraph reported that Hunt breached anti-money laundering legislation by failing to declare his 50% interest in a property firm. The Guardian reported that Hunt was able to buy seven luxury flats at Alexandra Wharf, Southampton, with the help of a bulk