One of these women is Kimberly Fortier, ex-Publisher of the Spectator, and Mother to one of David Blunkett’s children. One of them is Emma Harrison, daughter of Sheffield businessman and millionaire entrepeneur of David Blunkett’s constituancy.
Blunkett resigned following allegations from a number of newspapers that he had abused his position to the advantage of his lover, Ms Fortier, or rather Mrs Quinn as she was by then. Before she became Mrs Quinn, there was also the small – and some say insignificant – matter of Simon Hoggart, left wing broadcaster and writer on the Spectator.
Ms Harrison, on the other hand, is frequently touted as a self made millionaire – “she started at nine by masterminding an unofficial tuck shop in her junior school” and articles are likely to continue in a similar vein “It has been an incredible journey,’ she says. ‘In my first job, when I was retraining steelworkers”….giving the impression that here was a girl who had hauled herself up by her own bootstraps. Emma won the NatWest everywoman Award 2007 and was a finalist for the everywoman Athena Award in 2007
Let us take note of the ‘first job’ –
“After university she worked for her father’s training business helping unemployed steelworkers in Sheffield find new work. She came up with the then revolutionary idea of starting courses every week, instead of leaving people waiting for months at a time. “It seems obvious now,” she says, “but back then it was genius.”
But she fell out with Daddy – “Distraught, she gave him six months’ notice and walked away from a half-share in the business, which was then turning over £3m a year”
There is another version of this story – “Harrison, 44, would like to think that when her father handed over the keys of his Sheffield business in 1987, it was because he saw something in her. “But I think that’s nonsense. Dad was getting remarried and wanted to go to Germany to live with his new wife.”Indeed, within 18 days of telling her he’d spend two years preparing her to run the Industrial Training Agency, a company which retrained ex-steel workers in other trades, “he said I think you’ve got the hang of it. I’m off.” Harrison was left with a £125,000 business.”
And yet another version: Harrison “went out banging on doors” looking for business from Government agencies, offering to take welfare to work schemes off their hands and train the unemployed herself. “It was survival stuff really”, she says, but it worked: a year later, ITA was turning over £1m. That’s when another bombshell hit. Her father got Parkinson’s. He went from being “incredibly supportive” to being “paranoid” and “intrusive”. Worse, he began helping himself to money from ITA. So Harrison left: “I said, ‘Dad, you can have all the assets, all the money, I’ll just have the people’. He said ‘OK’.”
Neither version exactly tallies with the rags to riches story that Emma likes to put out. In both versions it is obvious that this was the wealthy daughter of one of Sheffield’s left wing elite – a man who had already cottoned onto to the government grants that were available for retraining of the pampered Labour voters known as ex- Sheffield steel workers. A man who would certainly have been on first name terms with Sheffield’s Labour MP David Blunkett and would have introduced his daughter to him.
Little wonder that David Blunkett is still listed as a £30,000 a year advisor to Emma…….
The crucial component in Emma’s success, who today turns over £130m, is the burgeoning public sector, which has allowed her to siphon off tax payers hard earned money and do the work that agencies should have done themselves.
Emma disagrees: “We might charge £1,500” for each person who ends up in work, but, “that’s just saved the taxpayer £35,000” in welfare and health care costs. Whilst Nu-Labour find it unthinkable that the unemployed should be threatened with removal of their benefits for failing to find a job themselves, they have no qualms about threatening to remove their benefits if the unemployed fail to feather Emma’s nest by attending £1,500 a time courses……..
I realise that it is harder and harder to find a job, but if 519,720 young Europeans can travel to this country and find a job, the problem would appear to be with the calibre of young Britains rather than the lack of jobs. Of course there will always be ‘hard cases’ at the edge of any social problem, there will be genuinely talented people unaccountably unable to get a job through no fault of their own – I doubt that the millions being poured into Emma’s coffers will do anything to help them.
The Sheffield Nu-Labour mafia is an interesting barrel to scrape around in, I am sure I am nowhere near the bottom.