It seems I wasn’t far wrong when I blogged on Sunday that I thought the hard-right, rent-a-gob ex-Labour MP John Mann had swapped sides and joined the Conservatives. It turns out that he is taking a peerage in Theresa May’s ‘reward the cronies resignation honours list.’ Mann may not have signed a Tory membership application form on the dotted line, but he hardly needs to. His new role as the government’s freshly minted ’anti-Semitism tsar’ means that he has been given a license to continue his attacks on Labour from the upper house, which is the only reason I can think of why the post has been created and Mann recruited to it.
It leads to the question what exactly are these ‘tsars’ for? Can anyone remember any of them achieving anything? Can anyone remember any of their names? The last of these who’s name I do remember is Alan Milburn, created a social equality tsar (technically the chair of the Tory/LibDem/austerity government’s Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission) a job which could only be described as a fig leaf in a vain attempt to disguise the impacts of austerity in those very areas. After five years of achieving nothing Milburn resigned in 2017. But by then he had other things on the go as Wikipedia tells us:
In 2013 Milburn joined PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) as Chair of PwC's UK Health Industry Oversight Board, whose objective is to drive change in the health sector, and assist PwC in growing its presence in the health market . Milburn continued to be Chairman of the European Advisory Board at Bridgepoint Capital, whose activities include financing private health care companies providing services to the NHS , and continued as a member of the Healthcare Advisory Panel at Lloyds Pharmacy . Early in 2015, Milburn intervened in the British election campaign to criticise Labour's health plans, which would limit private sector involvement in the NHS. Milburn was criticised for doing so while having a personal financial interest in the private health sector.
I've just remembered the name of another 'tsar.' That's Keith Hellawell, former chief Constable of West Yorkshire police, who was made a 'drugs tsar.' A fat lot of good came out of that. At least Keith went on to a job as Chairman of Mike Ashley's Sports Direct, where shareholders found him similarly useful. Now that he's to be a 'Lord' will Mann the socialist discover his inner capitalist?