MUCH ordure has been heaped on poor little Matt Hancock’s head over the past few months – some of it I must admit to having shovelled myself. His gleeful announcement last week that he was to become the United Nations Special Representative for ‘financial innovation and climate change for Africa’ was overtaken on Saturday when the ‘appointment was withdrawn’. What a shame.
Given his stellar contribution to public life, what has gone awry? Sometimes there is a mismatch between the post and the applicant, so let’s examine the job purpose.
On a web page now withdrawn, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) had explained that the role is to ‘further the UN’s work in supporting Africa’s path to recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic by incentivising financial investment into sustainable economic development, working with organisations like the IMF, G20 and COP26’.
Hancock was to ‘develop policy to deepen financial markets and develop green investment facilities to tackle climate change and support sustainable development’. The position was unpaid and he hoped to work in London and Addis Ababa.
He declared, ‘I’m thrilled to be joining the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa in its impressive efforts to support Africa strengthen its economic recovery from the pandemic and the sustainability of its development. I care deeply about making this happen not only because of the strong economic opportunity but because we share a view of Africa as a strategic long-term partner.’ (‘We’ covers a lot of partnering options.)
Apparently, Vera Songwe, the executive secretary of the UNECA who previously ‘held a number of senior leadership roles with the International Finance Corporation and the World Bank,’ had ‘chosen’ Matt Hancock, considering him competent to do the job based on his ‘economic policy expertise, experience operating financial markets at the Bank of England and in-depth understanding of government and multilateral bodies through his various ministerial cabinet roles’. She praised his ‘success’ in the UK’s pandemic response’ and expressed confidence that his ‘expertise and leadership will offer immediate and long-term impact particularly in effecting long term financial growth’.
Well, I suppose Ms Songwe is not the first person to be deceived by a candidate’s over-inflated CV, or perhaps she failed to run the offer past her UN bosses and the ‘Davos Three’, Messrs Gates, Soros, and Schwab.
The talented Mr Hancock intended to conduct his UN role in addition to his parliamentary duties as MP for West Suffolk, an arrangement which did not pass muster with many of his constituents, though the UK Advisory Committee on Business Appointments chaired by Conservative Lord (Eric)Pickles, had approved the appointment.
The UN may not miss him, already directly employing 44,000 staff. There are 195 assembly delegates and their coteries and hundreds of ‘special envoys’: Like an old dog it attracts hundreds of fleas. Its peacekeeping efforts have faltered, with continuing conflicts in Darfur, Israel, Kashmir, Myanmar, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Previous involvements in Cambodia, Iraq, Rwanda, and Srebrenica still haunt it.
It functions now as a platform for posturing, avaricious politicians and publicity-seeking celebrities. Keen to showcase their compassion, they include luminaries such as Angelina Jolie, a special envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, now educationalist and moral guide for children.
Matt Hancock would have been an even worse representative than any of these woke narcissists. He is one more failed politician, an egotist who by rights should be facing charges of malfeasance in public office. His failures as Secretary of State for Health and Social Care are worth rehearsing.
He led the UK’s disastrous response to Covid-19 and was party to policy decisions that abandoned established protocols for dealing with pandemics and discounted effective early treatments for respiratory viruses. A determined lockdown advocate, he contributed to the immiseration of the UK population and the devastation of our economy.
He effectively closed down a full-service NHS, causing untold misery and leaving more than 12million on waiting lists. He cleared the way for Big Pharma to deliver novel biological therapies under the guise of vaccines, authorised public funds for their development and indemnified them and their medical acolytes in the process.
His business ethics mirror those of the common criminal. The procurement consultancy Tussell investigated the purchase of PPE and found his department regularly breaching its own policies and procedures, buying from companies set up to milk the pandemic and failing to publish billions of pounds worth of contracts.
He appointed his lover, Gina Coladangelo, as a non-executive director at the health department and was caught groping her in his parliamentary office. He failed to disclose that her brother, Roberto, is a director of a company that received multiple NHS contracts.
The ‘Right Honourable’ Mr Hancock acted as facilitator for his entrepreneurial pub landlord, Alex Bourne, awarding him a contract for £30million for vials for Covid testing.
He appointed chums to influential and allegedly lucrative positions: Baroness Dido Harding, a Tory peer married to a Conservative MP, made a hash of England’s £37billion Test and Trace; Mike Coupe, a former chief executive of Sainsbury’s and a previous close colleague of Harding, was given the post of director of testing at Test and Trace without any hint of appropriate skills; Kate Bingham, whose spouse is another Conservative MP, was made head of the UK’s vaccine task force. Unabashed cronyism.
Along the way he has betrayed his wife and children.
Hancock is a man who is confident that he understands how things work in the shady world of would-be totalitarians. Aware that he is on the way out of domestic politics, he has mistimed his play and been left high and dry by the big boys.
This UN position would have allowed him to ingratiate himself further with ‘Mr Global’ and facilitate the continued plunder of Africa to the benefit of international elites. That continent’s poor deserve better than Matt Hancock.