I was recently contacted by Bloomberg News and asked to comment on the Francis Crick Institute, a massive research laboratory which is being built in central London on land immediately behind the British library and a road’s width from the Eurostar terminal. The laboratory will be handling dangerous toxins and consequently the site is deeply unsuitable both because of the risk of an accidental escape of toxins or terrorism.
In addition to the security dangers, the land was sold improperly by the Department of Culture Media and Sport. The bid was by public tender withe DCMS secretary of state making a decision on strict criteria. The sale was improper because Gordon Brown when Prime Minister intervened consistently to ensure it went to the consortium backing the Francis Crick Institute.
I met with Mrs Gerlin on 8 November. Whether she will use the story remains to be seen.
The full details can be found by following links given in my Briefing Note to Mrs Gerlin dated 9 November.
Mr Robert Henderson
October 25, 2012
Dear Mr Henderson,
I am a healthcare reporter for Bloomberg News in London. I am working on a story about the Crick Institute, which is to be located near your home. I have read some of your objections to it on your blog and have tried reaching you by email with no success.
I would be interested in speaking to you and would like to arrange to meet you near the site. Are you able to meet with me the week of Nov. 6-8? I will be away from London until then, but if you think you have the time, please call my office (020 7673 2907) and leave a message or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your attention.
39-45 Finsbury Square
London EC2A 1PO
Tel: 0207 330 7500
9 November 2012
Let me summarise our meeting today. The stories for you in the Francis Crick Institute project are these:
1. Gordon Brown’s interference with the DCMS bidding process. The bids were meant to be assessed only by the DCMS ministers. The documents which you saw today showed that Brown was interfering as early as 1 August 2007, the day before the expressions of interest closed, and che ontinued to be involved right up to the announcement he made in the Commons in November 2007. These documents show unambiguously that the bidding for the land was a sham with the Consortium bid behind what is now the Francis Crick Institute actively supported by Brown from the beginning. See http://ukcmri.wordpress.com/2011/02/21/gordon-browns-involvement-in-the-sale-of-the-land-to-ukcrmi/
2. The failure of the unsuccessful bidders to take action when I sent them the details of Brown’s interference with the bidding process which meant they had expended their time and money for nothing. This is almost certainly due to the fact that the serious bidders rely heavily on public contracts and did not want to put future contracts in jeopardy by making a fuss about this bogus contract bidding. See http://ukcmri.wordpress.com/2011/02/24/the-failed-bidders-notified-that-the-bidding-process-was-a-sham/ and http://ukcmri.wordpress.com/2011/03/04/notification-of-the-contamination-of-the-bidding-process-to-the-lead-contractor/
3. The failure of the officers of Camden Counci l who prepared the brief for the planning committee to include the details of Brown’s interference with the bidding process in the brief. See http://ukcmri.wordpress.com/2010/12/19/challenge-to-the-granting-of-planning-permision/ and http://ukcmri.wordpress.com/2011/01/07/camdens-response-to-my-notification-of-planning-permission-irregularities/
4. The failure of the Mayor of London to take up the question of Gordon Brown’s interference with the bidding process after I had sent him the details. See http://ukcmri.wordpress.com/2011/01/14/notification-of-planning-irregularities-to-boris-johnson/ and http://ukcmri.wordpress.com/2011/01/14/boris-johnson-gives-the-go-ahead-to-ukcmri-laboratory/
5. The new leader of the Green Party in Britain, Natalie Bennett, took a leading role in the opposition to the laboratory, including giving evidence before the Science and Technology select committee. Despite having ready access to the media as she was then a Guardian online editor , Natalie refused to use the evidence of Brown’s interference with the bidding process. Try as I might I never got a meaningful explanation for why she would not use the material . At the least there is a considerable disjunction between her public promotion of herself as a Green campaigner and her failure to use information which, apart from being a potent weapon in the fight against the siting of the laboratory , was a first rate political story in its own right. As her politics are well to the left (see http://www.nataliebennett.co.uk/) , a plausible motive for her failure to use the information would be her unwillingness to damage a prime minister and a party with which she had much sympathy. See http://ukcmri.wordpress.com/2012/09/09/the-new-leader-of-the-greens-knows-how-to-keep-mum/
6. The biohazard and terrorist dangers. These include the use by the Consortium of a non-existent classification of biohazard level 3+. They have been persistently challenged on this and never given a straight answer. The section on security in this post covers the issue – http://ukcmri.wordpress.com/2010/12/16/objection-to-ukcmri-planning-application-for-a-research-centre-in-brill-place-london-nw1/
These issues are serendipitous as news stories because there is a cataract of elite misbehaviour still hitting the public, a substantial part of which involves the ill consequences of privatisation through the putting of public work out to private contract. I send by separate email a selection of recent media stories about privatisation, both wholesale and piecemeal, which will give you an idea of how disorderly public contract awarding has become and how prone to corrupt practices.
To make the subject as accessible as I can for you I have placed below links to every post made on the UKCRMI blog (I managed to sort out the lost posts after you went). If you click on them they should take you to each post directly. The titles of the links are self-explanatory.
I am willing to make available to you any of my documentation which is not already on the UKCRMI blog; to give Bloomberg an interview to be broadcast or appear in written form and write an article for Bloomberg.
Re:Francis Crick Institute – Briefing noteTuesday, 13 November, 2012 9:15
Thank you for talking with me and for sending me further details. I
will take a look at this material and let you know if I have any
Bloomberg News, London