About admin

Following a long and successful career in the wine trade, I found myself facing six years in jail for a crime I did not commit. Whilst I accepted the jury's verdict at the time, based on the evidence they were permitted to see and indeed still do, I continue to fight for the full story to emerge. In the meantime, I am now a writer and Holocaust historian. Please take the time to browse the site and read my story.

My novels, Right to Live and Greed are now available in paperback from Amazon and eBay

For those of you who dislike the idea or feel of an ebook reader, it gives me
great pleasure to inform you that both Amazon and eBay have made the
paperback versions available. You can find them here:

Right to Live on eBay and Amazon

Greed on eBay and Amazon

Just click on the highlighted links above.

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Right to Live and Greed are now in Paperback

I am delighted to share my news with you: Right to Live and Greed are now available in paperback from Create Space, using the highlighted links.

They are also available on eBay: Right to Live here and Greed here.

The sequel to Greed, entitled “Greedier” will be published in early 2016 and the sequel
to Right to Live, entitled “Left for Dead” will be published in late 2016.

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ISIS Entertains

HMP YOI Isis

This headline might possibly bring about some unwanted views, but perhaps its intrinsic ‘appeal’ to the curious may work.

Lyn and I spent the evening at HMP YOI Isis, part of the Belmarsh complex in south-east London. Not a place one would relish going to, as a visitor, educator or prisoner. Built in 2010, it houses men between the ages of 18 and 30 who have been sent to prison often as a last resort and was built to Category ‘B’ standards, which means that it has quite high security for longer term inmates. I hesitate to use the word, ‘offender’, as I feel it is a term used far too frequently by the establishment, often erroneously.

For me, initially, it was about going back to prison, this time as a visitor. Yes, going beyond the visits hall and into the jail dressed in civvies and knowing I would be able to walk out later felt very strange, almost unnerving, yet the staff made the ingress as easy as possible. The Pimlico Opera company, a truly great bunch of individuals who put on shows in UK prisons had taken on the task of producing a new version of Our House, a light opera inspired and written by Madness, featuring songs from the truly brilliant back catalogue of same. The prison gym had been transformed into a theatre, complete with full lighting rig, sound system, tiered seating and interactive stage. I had taken the opportunity to read a critique of ‘Our House at Isis’ by Musical Theatre Review, so kind of knew what was coming our way. However, as the production was on its final night last night, I felt that a more generous appraisal would be appropriate.

Led by Tom Child and Jocasta Almgill as Joe Casey and Sarah, his girlfriend, the cast featured Suggs McPherson as Joe’s dad and Victoria Ward as his long-suffering and loving mum. As a Madness fan, the music was, for me, going to be a big part of the evening and it did not disappoint. To say at this stage that the production was professionally run from start to finish wouldn’t even do it justice. It carried weight, gravitas, emotion and passion, which brings me to the best part of the whole evening, the supporting cast. Twenty-four inmates of HMP Isis played their roles extremely well and whilst I would hesitate to single anyone out, I found Ray C as Reecey to be highly convincing. Let’s watch out for him in the future as his previous time spent studying performance arts at Kingsway College doesn’t seem to have been wasted at all. Great stuff. Other notable performances were Hakeem J as the hapless and ultimately ‘unsuccessful with girls’ Lewis and Jordan H as Emmo. Their interviews in the programme show them as self-effacing and displaying an honesty rarely found amongst the young. I also enjoyed the performance of Callum, played by Jordan D, an inmate who on his own admission speaks mainly Patois but managed his role very well. The supporting professionals from Pimlico Opera were highly entertaining, especially in the song and dance routines which were superbly choreographed by Chantry Dance Company.

So, a two hour light opera. In a prison. On a Friday night. Was it worth it? You bet it was. This is rehabilitation working at its best. Among those in the audience were the Chief Inspector of Prisons, Nick Hardwick-a man who in this writer’s opinion will be sorely missed by those wishing to improve conditions in Britain’s prisons, James Timpson of Timpsons-a company which has chosen to employ ex-prisoners in the workplace and many others who believe passionately in the right way to help the incarcerated.

We need a lot more of this.

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A Short Movie about Auschwitz made by the USC Shoah Foundation

In co-operation with Auschwitz Memorial and Museum, Oswiecim, Poland.

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Right to Live Published!

Right to Live Cover Large Portrait

 

After seven long years of writing, not writing, research and despair, I am delighted to confirm that my second novel, ‘Right to Live‘, has been published this morning on Kindle.

I have often agonised over my belief in the legitimacy of this work, but have been bolstered up and reassured by many good friends and confidantes that I should go ahead and do it. To write about the Holocaust is indeed a challenging task and to write a novel seems in some ways even more of an ordeal that to write about it from a historical, academic point of view. I hope that readers will understand my reasons for continuing with the project and will see it for what it is: a story.

If you do decide to read the book, I would be grateful for honest, forthright reviews on any of the review sites. If you like the book, tell your friends. If you don’t, please tell me.

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ISIS Needs a Leader

Apparently ISIS are looking for a new warmongering leader who thinks he knows a lot about Middle East politics, is efficient at extracting millions, is a recent convert to an extreme religion and will shortly be looking for a safe haven, away from the forces of British law. Step forward…TONY BLAIR!

Despite the Chilcot Inquiry inexplicably being delayed until after the election, though Cameron did make it quite clear that it was Labour who did not vote early enough to get it through prior to the General Election of this year, (I wonder why?), it would seem that things are hotting up for our former great leader. This will be, for sure, his annus horribilis.

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Eulogy for Eve Wharam

Mum_0006

Where to start when talking about such a truly special person as Mum? For that, simply, is what she was and what she always wanted to be. As you will know, I am the only child from her long and happy marriage to my Dad, Tom, yet we are certain she would have loved to have had a large family, for she had more than enough cotton wool to wrap an army in. To be a part of my growing up was one round after another of tea and cakes, themed parties, newly washed football shirts and filling the house with my friends, to help compensate for a lack of brothers and sisters, something about which she worried, yet never needed to. She made sure that we were all catered and cared for. She had an abundance of love to give and made sure it was doled out in large portions.

Sadly, Mum was widowed in 1983, yet in 1984, her lovely grandson David came along and a new chapter in her life began. After leaving Cardiff, she settled in Devon for a few years before renewing her nomadic approach, during which time her garden acquired sandpits, toys and footballs to keep him entertained during his holidays with her. Devon gave way to Eastbourne, then came Spain, where she met a clairvoyant who told her that the Mediterranean lifestyle would extend her life by 7 years. Let us hope that it did. She welcomed so many friends to the villa over there and in some ways, reincarnated her times spent with my Dad in Gibraltar and southern Spain in the 1950s. Happy times she often referred to. I look forward to welcoming you all to join me at the Riverside Inn later to look at some of those memories in picture form and to raise a glass of champagne to someone who truly made a difference to so many.

During the past year, after moving to Chelmsford to be nearer to us, she talked a lot about what she had done and in some cases, what she hadn’t done. At the age of 93, to hear someone talk so clearly and so fondly about where she had lived, the people she had met and the experiences she cherished was very uplifting.
In 2013, she took the great step of embracing technology, announcing that she wanted “one of those Apples”. An iPad was duly purchased and she began to enjoy the delights of Facebook, photographs and searching out childhood memories. From here one, whenever we talked of anything she needed to research, she would fix me with that look of hers, as Dad often called it and say, “…just ask Dougal. Dougal it…” Chats with David on Skype were a constant source of amazement to her. “Ask him what he is doing, Philip”. “No, Mum, you ask him. He’s right there”. Video Skype was something else!
“Well, I just want to know who is paying for all this.”
She played a huge part in the Christmas of 2013, staying for all of the Christmas Day and Boxing Day parties at our house, keeping the family entertained and joining in with all the fun and games. Laughter rang around the place and the newer, younger members of her extended family made all the difference to her.
There were aspects of her life she wished she could have expanded after the war, such as tennis playing in her beloved Cheshire she had enjoyed as a teenage girl in the 1930s, but the accident had put paid to that.
“Of course, we didn’t have teenagers in those days,” she would say, in that gently authoritative voice she used, especially when talking to me, as in her eyes, I generally never passed the age of 6. The war and the ambulance incident put paid to pretty much all physical activity for her, save for her love of swimming, yet she regaled me with stories of playing tennis with Fred Perry’s doubles partner, tea dances in Manchester and holidays in North Wales as a child in the 1920s. We managed one last northern tour with her in 2010, visiting all her favourite places, including the house where she and her brother Gordon grew up in Glossop. The present owner even invited us in for tea and a look round. Much of it was just the same and you could clearly see she was back in her young days once more.
Right until the end, she still had that wicked sense of humour, in fact it came out even more. We had to fill in a health check at Broomfield Hospital in August after she had been admitted again and during this, the nurse had to ask about her lifestyle. “Do you smoke, Mrs Wharam? “No”, she said firmly. “Do you drink?” “Not any more”. Mum paused and looked up, “…but I do watch an awful lot of pornography…”
Thank you, Mum.

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Auschwitz January 2015

January 27th 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation by the Soviet army of the three camps of Auschwitz I, Auschwitz II Birkenau and Auschwitz III Monowitz, the slave labour factory operated by German company IG Farben, the manufacturers of Zyklon B, the gas used to murder millions of Jews and other races/groups in the extermination camps.

For many, it will be a reminder that even the horror of that place could finally come to an end. For the survivors, a new, shaky and terrifying beginning elsewhere; some to Palestine, others attempting to return home to what was left. For the many thousands of perpetrators still free to enjoy their lives, with luck, a time for atonement for the heinous crimes they themselves perpetrated and helped to perpetrate. For Ephraim Zuroff and his courageous “Operation Last Chance”, an opportunity to play on the minds of those who have helped to hide the murderers and others party to the Nazi killing machine and to shame them into finally disclosing the whereabouts of the despicable thousands lurking in Europe, South America and beyond.

On that day, please spare a few thoughts for the millions who did not make it. As we near Christmas, take a look at the picture below. These are children’s shoes, placed carefully for the visitors to see, to remember, to never forget.Children's Shoes

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“Attempts” to Tackle VAT Carousel Fraud

I have found several links to reports on the effect of carousel fraud over the past 12 years or so. How interesting that whilst there is plenty of hot air about combating it, very little has been done to eradicate what is, on the surface, damaging to the UK exchequer.

The Guardian in 2002. Written by James Oliver.

The Economist in 2006, referring to 2002.

The Guardian in 2007. Laundering the proceeds of VAT Carousel Fraud in 2007.

Financial Times in 2009.

Carbon Trading Fraud in 2010.

Carbon Trading Fraud in 2012 in The Daily Mail.

BDO in 2013.

£28m Phone Fraud in 2014

As I have asked previously, where has all the money gone? Not the few millions for flashy cars and high living, but the real money? The billions. Why do all the trials involve such large number of Public Interest Immunity hearings? Why are so many of the individuals named in unused material still at large, still perpetuating frauds years after they were originally detected at lower levels of criminal activity?

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A View on VAT

Whilst conducting research into my forthcoming book on the murkier side of the VAT system, I came across this fascinating article from a US website. Currently, the US employs a system of purchase tax, levied on the retailer and appearing separately on till receipts. The writer is concerned about the introduction of VAT and the implications thereof. He is not wrong. I recall discussing this topic with an officer of Her Majesty’s Customs & Excise back in the late 1980s, who stated quite categorically that Customs wished to see a great reduction in the number of businesses operating within these borders. “It would be much easier for us if everyone shopped at Tesco,” he said. Wouldn’t do much for competition, though, would it?

The current system in the UK and Europe does seem to allow for fraud and the misappropriation of Government funds on a massive scale, yet precious little is ever done to counteract it. During the early 2000s, when figures were released more regularly, it would seem that upwards of £8 billion pounds per annum were being siphoned off from the UK economy, “…enough to build 200 hospitals…” Perhaps those hospitals would be needed to treat all the Whitehall staff trying to cope with the stress of losing all that money. VAT has existed within the UK for 40 years. During that time, how much money has actually disappeared? Each year, a few fraudsters are thrown into jail, serving anything from a few months to several years, yet the sums never seem to add up. The very nature of VAT means that each company in a chain is responsible for a portion of the 20% VAT profit element. A classic split in a VAT fraud would be 2.5% for the missing trader, 1% to 2% for the traders, 5% for the exporter and anything up to 6% for the overseas “handling company”. The full amount of VAT is never recovered by the authorities, nor indeed is it brought into question in trials. “Conspiracy” is always the mantra from the prosecuting QC, yet it would seem that all conspirators are not equal.

If it is so easy to extract VAT from the system, why is it so difficult to trace the money? With the increase in CCTV and ever more sophisticated banking software, why is it that so many of the companies and individuals involved in money laundering are simply ignored by the law enforcement agencies? Are they really that indifferent as to where the largest part of the cash has gone? Perhaps there is a darker, more sinister side to VAT after all.

More to come.

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