[not a] Parliamentary scam or Government incompetence

Following correspondence by the director of the Parliamentary Review, Daniel Yossman I have made some small changes to this following blog as he was threatening to take me and my company to Court. It seemed easier to make the changes:   Parliamentary ReviewSmall businesses like the one I work for receive hundreds of items of postal and email correspondence every week from people purporting to want to help us grow our business, most of which are pure lies or deep exaggeration and get quickly discarded. However occasionally something arrives that makes you stop and think, and not always in a good way. Yesterday was one of those days when my colleague, Peter received this letter. It was on paper of a similar colour to the letters that come from Parliament, however it was clearly a much lower quality piece of paper. On top of that it [gave me the impression of being] was a cheap attempt to appear to be printed on letter head and then hand signed and addressed by Eric Pickles, even though this was just another font using a different colour ink. On the surface it appeared to be a scam letter, albeit very creative in its approach. Two other details are the fact that it claimed we had received a copy of the Parliamentary Review, which we certainly didn’t and then the list of names at the end of the penultimate paragraph. As it happens none of us are big football fans, but why is the name of Frank Lampard included on a matter relating to the Government when the rest of the names are Pickles, Blunkett, Clegg and Gove and Andrew Neil?

We did a bit more digging, Peter checked out this Daily Mirror posting from the 1st February and we discovered that one business contacted the review and was requested to make a contribution of £3,500 to be involved in the event. I checked out this website which is the one that is formed by the same people who claim to write this letter. It seems strange that the address on the letter and the address on the website are different even if the phone numbers are the same.

So then the final and perhaps in one sense the most significant matter, given that this is not exactly a pure scam, although it is clearly close to it. How did the Parliamentary Review get hold of my colleagues name and address, bearing in mind we sign up to almost every way of blocking junk mail we can find. If as the letter suggests, Eric Pickles has previously sent us a copy of the Parliamentary Review (which he hasn’t) then following the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation at the end of last month, how come we didn’t receive a message asking us if we were happy to stay on their list which we didn’t? I have written to our local MP to ask her if she can shed any light on this. The response so far was a warning that it would take 4 weeks for her to respond to the email.

Let us hope that Eric Pickles and David Blunkett read this and then withdraw their support from this very poor quality attempt to get small businesses to pay for their drinks parties and a document referred to as a Parliamentary Review which was not [received by] sent to our business so it may not even exist.

About ianchisnall

I am passionate about the need for public policies to be made accessible to everyone, especially those who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am particularly interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as health services and strategic planning.
This entry was posted in Parliament and Democracy and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to [not a] Parliamentary scam or Government incompetence

  1. I A Clark says:

    I’m very surprised that high profile politicians are lending their name to this business; their involvement is being used to make this look like a widely-respected enterprise.

    We’ve just had a similar letter and were immediately suspicious. The phone conversation with the organisation confirmed that they are essentially selling space in a free book at well over £3k per entry. It’s basically a very expensive advertorial but it is being presented as a special opportunity to influence politicians and communicate with industry peers.

    We’ve binned the letter!

    • ianchisnall says:

      I agree that such politicians should be ashamed of themselves and in the light of the fact that they are approaching charities and schools that the business should be forced to close down or at least to lose the support of the names.

  2. Daryl says:

    Hello –

    Have you found out any more information about this or uncovered anything? Did you MP get back to you? Two of the companies I work with have received the same. It’s terrible.

    Cheers, Daryl.

    • ianchisnall says:

      Hi Daryl, it is clear that the company has contacted many people including charities and schools which seems even more disturbing than contacting companies. Sadly our MP did not bother to respond.

  3. Rob Powell says:

    I have just been contacted by this company. They had me in mind for a 1000 word article in the online publication. A snip at 950.00. Errrm. No. They should pay me.

  4. Lucy Wilson says:

    I also received the letter. I was asked to contribute, as a small business owner, 1000 words on good business practice in the retail sector. They got the name of my company wrong, although I had been “carefully selected”.Mr Pickles should know any spare change in the run-up to Christmas is spent on stock, not wasted on contributing to scam reviews. Few small businesses can chuck away £3,500

    • ianchisnall says:

      Thanks for this Lucy, it would be nice if at some point the organisation would close down and admit its greed and dishonesty. Still perhaps they are still doing very well.

      • Lucy Wilson says:

        As a follow up I received a copy of the 2019-2020 review this morning, still with the wrong company name. Very glossy with Michael Gove/Liz Truss writing the forewards. Most of the contributors have an annual turnover above a million with more than 10 employees. I still do not understand how the contributors benefited.

      • Rob Powell says:

        Does anyone actually read this? When they talked it through with me, they mentioned that I may be contacted for my views as a specialist in my industry, from Journalists and such, I could obviously opt out. Its basically a legal vanity scam, like the Who’s Who books that you get invited to be in at a cost, that no one ever receives.

  5. Paul Bramley says:

    Just received an identical letter. I regard this as a “vanity scam”. I doubt there is any benefit to the receiving company and considerable benefit to Westminster Publications Ltd (who run this) and those associated with them. You have to wonder whether Lords Pickles and Blunkett are being paid for their support (so are complicit with a scam) or naive. Such action by any (ex-)politicians involved can only damage the reputation of MPs and parliament itself, to the detriment out our democracy.
    I have also received vanity scam contacts form The Parliamentary Yearbook (not as plausible and containing outright lies) and complained to the parliamentary authorities as their “name” was being mis-sued. But they were not interested… disappointing!
    The world is full of people with low morals who add no real value to the economy or society but consider it acceptable to take money from those who do. I makes my blood boil! I will see if I can take this matter further as I regard inaction as allowing other, perhaps more trusting business owners, to waste their hard earned cash. I have had some success with bringong down con men in the past including contributing to a successful DTI prosecution. FYI, the ASA ruled against The Parliamentary Review on 6th November 2019 they upheld 3 complaints.

  6. Paul Bramley says:

    Just obtained latest accounts for Westminster Publications. The sole director (Daniel Yossman) paid himself £519,000 in dividends in FYE 21/10/2018. It’s not clear if he also drew a salary!

    • ianchisnall says:

      Thanks for this additional information. Your contribution is very helpful. Let us hope in due course Daniel or his high profile supporters will be able to bring this to a conclusion and end the appeal to businesses, charities and individuals!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s