ENRON'S John Wakeham

 

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FIRSTROW, FROM LEFT, Ken L. Harrison, John A. Urquhart, Robert A. Belfer, Norman P. Blake, Jr., Robert K. Jaedicke, Ronnie C. Chan, Jeffrey K. Skilling, Kenneth L. Lay and Wendy L. Gramm. Second Row, from left, Bruce G. Willison, John H. Duncan, Joe H. Foy, Charls E. Walker, John Wakeham, Jerome J. Meyer, Herbert S. Winokur, Jr. and Charles A LeMaistre.

Blind Faith: How Deregulation and Enron's Influence Over Government Looted Billions from Americans
http://www.apfn.org/ENRON/Blind_Faith.pdf


Lord Wakeham - the 'Fixit' man

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Once described as "a man so well connected that he probably networks in his dreams", former Tory Whip Lord Wakeham has a reputation for a low-profile, no-nonsense approach to problem solving.

His appointment, in 1999, to head a Royal Commission on Lords reform in 1999, was welcomed on all sides.

As chairman of the Press Complaints Commission, he already knew most of the personalities involved in the debate.

And his abilities as a pragmatic negotiator - which have earned him the nickname Mr Fixit - were expected to have a calming influence on the heated Royal Commission.

However, Wakeham's stated opposition to wholesale reform of the Upper Chamber raised a few eyebrows at the time.

And his report, when it appeared, two years ago, was attacked in some quarters for not going far enough.

His proposal that fewer than a quarter of Lords members should be elected came in for particular criticism.

Self-made man

Wakeham's initial ascent through the Tory ranks under Margaret Thatcher went largely unnoticed.

It took a tragedy, in the form of the IRA's Brighton bombing, for him to reach the spotlight. Mr Wakeham's first wife Roberta was killed in the blast and he was trapped in the rubble of the Grand Hotel for seven hours.

Often referred to as a grandee of the Tory Party, he rarely turns down the opportunity to set the record straight.

John Wakeham entered politics at the relatively late age of 42, having started out as an accountant before making his reputation as a self-made businessman.

It's a long way from his original ambition, to become a writer. He gave up on the idea after his father bluntly told Wakeham junior he lacked the talent.

Before he entered the Commons in 1974, Mr Wakeham was a wealthy businessman with more than 60 directorships to his name.

Succession of top jobs

His business nous probably endeared him to Baroness Thatcher, whom he served as chief whip through the boom years of her rule in the 1980s.

 

He went on to become Leader of the Commons in the late 1980s, piloting arrangements to televise Parliament.

He won further praise from his own side for successfully turning around the fated task of electricity privatisation in 1989, as energy secretary.

In 1992 he was appointed a life peer by John Major and took hold of the reins at the Press Complaints Commission in 1995.

In that role he has vigorously defended self-regulation for the newspaper industry, helping to beat back the threat of legislation.

It is a stance that earned him the jibe of sounding "like a eunuch" from Gerald Kaufman, the Labour chairman of the then National Heritage Select Committee.

But by his own admission, not everything Lord Wakeham touches turns to gold.

"The more people call you a fixer the more difficult it is to be the fixer next time," he said in 1996.

Recommendations ignored

Wakeham's 216 page report on Lords reform was produced in record time in January 2000.

The government has had nearly two years to study it.

But its White Paper, The House of Lords - Completing the Reform, at less than a quarter the length of Wakeham, has been accused of being short on specifics.

In several important respects, Labour has rejected Wakeham's recommendations and largely gone its own way.

This may have prompted the normally low-profile Wakeham to speak out.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/uk_politics/newsid_1750000/1750283.stm

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Lord John Wakeham
Chair, Press Complaints Commission


John's power over our lives has increased since he left cabinet. Once a Tory energy minister and leader of both the House of Commons and the Lords, he now has a hand in Britain's arms trade, energy generation, education, water supply and media.

John sits on the board of bankers NM Rothschild, who have acted as advisors on over a dozen major privatisations, including Labour's final abandonment of its stake in the Mersey Docks.

As chairman of Vosper ThorneyCroft, which sell warships to the autocracies in the Middle East as well as to the British Navy, John has benefited from Labour's continuing support for the arms trade. Through Vosper he also has a major role in careers education. The firm is the largest single supplier of careers advice to schools on contract to the government. David Blunkett decided to give the Tory-run arms firm an even greater role in education by putting John's Vosper in charge of Hampshire's "school improvement services".

John also sits on the board of Enron, a right-wing American energy firm and long-time George W Bush supporter. However, Enron also funds the Labour Party, and was allowed to take over regional utility Wessex Water when Peter Mandelson was Secretary of State for Trade and Industry. Enron was also allowed to build gas-fired power stations in the UK even though this meant job losses for coal miners and contradicted government policy at the time.

Anyone worried about press coverage of privatisation, arms sales, or the appalling pollution record of Wessex Water can contact the chairman of the Press Complaints Commission ... that's Lord John himself. He is, of course, utterly impartial.

As PCC Chairman, Long John has offered a sympathetic ear to Mandelson and Blair over press coverage of their personal lives. In turn, Blair made him chair of the Royal Commission on the Reform of the House of Lords. Unsurprisingly, the commission came to the conclusion that the new Lords must not be elected, and instead should be made up of appointments of the right kind of people.

His lordship was chair of the Carlton Club from 1992-1998 and counts among his hobbies sailing and horse racing.

http://www.redpepper.org.uk/natarch/wakeham.html

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Lord Wakeham

Monday July 16, 2001
The Guardian

Job: chairman, press complaints commission
Industry: publishing
Age: 69
Star in: balance

The environment secretary under Margaret Thatcher and a former Conservative leader of the Commons and the Lords, John Wakeham replaced Lord MacGregor as the press complaints commission's chairman.

He has won plaudits for his tough but fair stance as the second chairman of the body, which was created to stave off the threat of the statutory regulation of the press.

The first major test of his authority came in 1995 with the News of the World's publication of photographs of Countess Spencer attending a clinic.

Lord Wakeham asserted his authority by speaking directly to the paper's proprietor, Rupert Murdoch, who gave Piers Morgan, at that time editor of the News of the World, a public dressing down.

In the mid-90s, Lord Wakeham was preoccupied with the relationship between the tabloid press and the royal family - a relationship that came to a head with the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.

He has since taken tough measures to protect Prince William, Prince Harry and other royal children from tabloid intrusion.

Lord Wakeham has also ruled against the Sun editor, David Yelland, for his paper's publication of topless photographs of the Countess of Wessex; and again against Morgan for his conduct during the Mirror City Slickers share dealing scandal.

The PCC's 10th birthday party this year was a quiet testament to Lord Wakeham's success in treading a difficult line between freedom of speech and the need to curb the excesses of over-zealous reporters.

http://media.guardian.co.uk/Print/0,3858,4212574,00.html

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Lord Wakeham: Carries the reputation of a political fixer

UK Politics

Lord Wakeham - the quiet 'can do' man

The appointment of the former Conservative high-flyer Lord Wakeham to head a Royal Commission on reform of the Lords looks set to go down well on all sides.

The man who has earned the nickname Mr Fixit, because of his low-profile, no-nonsense approach to problem solving, is a seasoned politician of both Houses of Parliament.

He already knows most of the personalities involved in the debate and, as chairman of the Press Complaints Commission, has strengthened his reputation as a pragmatic negotiator.

Opposition to reform

That he should be offered the job will raise some eyebrows in light of his opposition to change in the second chamber.

Five years ago, the then Leader of the House of Lords, wrote: "The House ... does work.

"To tinker at the edges with reform of the Lords seems to me likely to prove burdensome out of all proportion to any benefits achieved," Lord Wakeham wrote in the parliamentary newsletter The House Magazine

His initial ascent through the Tory ranks under Margaret Thatcher went largely unnoticed. It took a tragedy, in the form of the IRA's Brighton bombing, to catapult him into the spotlight. Mr Wakeham's first wife Roberta was killed in the blast and he was trapped in the rubble of the Grand Hotel for seven hours. He later re-married.

Often referred to as a grandee of the Tory Party, he rarely turns down the opportunity to set the record straight.

John Wakeham entered politics at the relatively late age of 42, having started out as an accountant before making his reputation as a self-made businessman.

It's a long way from his original ambition, to become a writer. He gave up on the idea after his father bluntly told Wakeham junior he lacked the talent.

Before he entered the Commons in 1974, Mr Wakeham was a wealthy businessman with more than 60 directorships to his name.

thatcher.jpg (4389 bytes)
Wakeham had the reputation of Lady Thatcher's lieutenant

Succession of top jobs

His business nous probably endeared him to Baroness Thatcher, whom he served as chief whip through the boom years of her rule in the 1980s.

He went on to become Leader of the Commons in the late '80s, piloting arrangements to televise Parliament. He won further praise from his own side for successfully turning around the fated task of electricity privatisation in 1989, as energy secretary.

In 1992 he was appointed a life peer by John Major and took hold of the reins at the PCC in 1995. In that role he has vigorously defended self-regulation for the newspaper industry, helping to beat back the threat of legislation.

It is a stance that earned him the jibe of sounding "like a eunuch" from Gerald Kaufman, the Labour chairman of the then National Heritage Select Committee.

In appointing him to the Royal Commission on Lords reform, the government would do well to heed Lord Wakeham's own analysis that not everything he touches turns to gold.

"The more people call you a fixer the more difficult it is to be the fixer next time," he said in 1996.

Resignation row

As if to prove the point, last year he quit as chairman of the British Horseracing Board after objecting to a radical plan to shake up the sport's financing.

But evidence suggests he will be a powerful calming influence amid the heated debate of the Royal Commission.

He once said, when presented with a problem and four alternative solutions: "We want a solution now. What is the up-side of having a row about i

http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/uk_politics/newsid_259000/259227.stm

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H  O  U  S  E   of   L O  R  D  S

EXCERPT:

The Government published a White Paper, "Modernising Parliament: Reforming the House of Lords" on 20 January 1999 and, at the same time, announced the establishment of a Royal Commission. On 8 February 1999 the Royal Commission, chaired by Lord Wakeham, was appointed to consider the role and functions of the second chamber and the method or combination of methods of composition.

http://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk/pa/ld199798/ldbrief/ldreform.htm

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