Welcome To Zelo Street!

This is a blog of liberal stance and independent mind

Monday 30 March 2020

Tories Ventilating Supporter Cronyism?

The BBC was one of those media outlets hailing one well-known name for his contribution to tackling the Coronavirus pandemic, reporting last week that “The government has ordered 10,000 ventilators from Dyson to help deal with the coronavirus crisis. The firm, headed by British inventor Sir James Dyson, said it had designed a new type of ventilator in response to a call on behalf of the NHS”. And there was more.
The order is still subject to the devices passing stringent medical tests but that is expected to happen quickly. Dyson has had hundreds of engineers working round the clock to design the ventilators from scratch … It hopes to build the ventilators at scale from its UK base in Wiltshire - using aircraft hangars that were used to stuff parachutes in the World War Two”. But something was missing from the report.

Back in 2016, Forbes ran a feature onDyson, a longtime Conservative Party member”. This matters: the Independent has now reported thatA British-based manufacturer says that they have been told by the government not to produce much-needed ventilators less than a week after being asked to help make thousands of the machines, the company’s chief executive has said”. And which manufacturer might this have been?

Nick Grey, chief executive of Gtech, told … that he had been advised by the government on 26 March not to continue making ventilators, despite his company answering the government’s call for help in producing more than 30,000 of the machines just two weeks prior … It’s not clear why the government allegedly told the company to stop producing the ventilators, particularly seeing as the machines are key to keeping people alive who have trouble breathing because of coronavirus”. This could have been a coincidence, though.
Or rather, it could have been a coincidence until Stoke on Trent Live told readers this morningDozens of JCB employees to return to work - to help with national coronavirus relief effort”. Doing what, perchance? “Around 50 of them are set to return to work at the company's Uttoxeter factory within days to make steel parts to be fitted to models of a ventilator being designed by Dyson”. Well, well. Another coincidence. Do go on.

It comes almost two weeks after the closure of the Uttoxeter factory and follows Prime Minister Boris Johnson's direct appeal for JCB to help plug the national ventilator shortage … A research and engineering team was set up to see how JCB could help and the first prototypes of the steel housing have been sent to Dyson … It is hoped that mass production of the housings can start within days”. And there is a Tory connection here.

As the Guardian reported last January, “JCB has a long track record of working closely with top Tories to further the Conservative cause … The Bamford family, which was said to be worth £3.6bn in last year’s Sunday Times Rich List, along with JCB have handed over almost £10m in political donations since 2001, according to records held by the Electoral Commission”. The Bamfords are also believed to have chipped in to fund the TPA.

So that’s two firms with links to the Tories who appear well set to do good business out of the Coronavirus pandemic. Which begs the question, as Private Eye Magazine might have put it, “I wonder if the two are in any way related? I think we should be told”.

Perhaps one of those political editors will ask the question. But don’t hold your breath.
Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by adding to its Just Giving page at


[The Legalballs Fund has now closed]


Anonymous said...

Surprised we haven't yet seen Coronavirus Inc., a transAtlantic spivvery owned by Branson, Trump, Green and Pence.

You know, those famous "creators of wealth".

Anonymous said...

How many Dyson ventilators does it take to make a garden bridge?