G7 FORMAT IS DEAD

South Front

G7 Format Is Dead

US President Donald J. Trump speaks during a press conference on the closing day of the G7 summit in Biarritz, France, 26 August 2019. (Photo: IAN LANGSDON, EPA-EFE)

The G7 summit took place in France’s Biarritz in the period from August 24 to August 26 involving leaders of the US, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Canada, and the UK, as well as the top EU bureaucrat Donald Tusk.

The G7 participants released a surprisingly short joint statement adressing a very limited number of global questions:

The G7 Leaders wish to underline their great unity and the positive spirit of the debates. The G7 Summit organized by France in Biarritz has successfully produced agreements by the Heads of State and Government themselves on several points summarized below:

Trade

The G7 is committed to open and fair world trade and to the stability of the global economy.
The G7 requests that the Finance Ministers closely monitor the state of the global economy. 
Therefore, the G7 wishes to overhaul the WTO to improve effectiveness with regard to intellectual property protection, to settle disputes more swiftly and to eliminate unfair trade practices.
The G7 commits to reaching in 2020 an agreement to simplify regulatory barriers and modernize international taxation within the framework of the OECD.

Iran

We fully share two objectives: to ensure that Iran never acquires nuclear weapons and to foster peace and stability in the region.

Ukraine

France and Germany will organize a Normandy format summit in the coming weeks to achieve tangible results.

Libya

We support a truce in Libya that will lead to a long-term ceasefire.
We believe that only a political solution can ensure Libya’s stability.
We call for a well-prepared international conference to bring together all the stakeholders and regional actors relevant to this conflict.
We support in this regard the work of the United Nations and the African Union to set up an inter-Libyan conference.

Hong Kong

The G7 reaffirms the existence and importance of the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984 on Hong Kong and calls for violence to be avoided.

After the G7 in 2018, when US President Donald Trump withdrew its signature from the final declaration, the 2019 was shown by some mainstream media outlets as a success. However, it’s just another indication that the format is dying after the exclusion of Russia.

No surprise that the return of Russia in fact became one of the key topics during the G7 summit. The Guardian even reproted that there was a kind of scandal on this topic with the US leader openly arguing that Russia should be returned.

G7 Format Is Dead

U.S. President Donald Trump and Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrive for a bilateral meeting during the G7 summit in Biarritz, France, August 25, 2019. Erin Schaff/Pool via REUTERS

“Russia be readmitted to the group, rejecting arguments that it should remain an association of liberal democracies, according to diplomats at the summit in Biarritz.

The disagreement led to heated exchanges at a dinner on Saturday night inside the seaside resort’s 19th-century lighthouse. According to diplomatic sources, Trump argued strenuously that Vladimir Putin should be invited back, five years after Russia was ejected from the then G8) for its annexation of Crimea.

Of the other leaders around the table, only Giuseppe Conte, the outgoing Italian prime minister, offered Trump any support, according to this account. Shinzo Abe of Japan was neutral. The rest – the UK’s Boris Johnson, Germany’s Angela Merkel, Canada’s Justin Trudeau, the EU council president, Donald Tusk, and the French president, Emmanuel Macron – pushed back firmly against the suggestion,” The Guardian reported.

 

The report was followed by an official statement by Trump that having Russia in the group “is better than having them outside” the G7. So, The Guardian’s report part regarding Trump’s stance on the topic was true. At the same time, the newspaper claimed that all others were against. Let’s take a closer look:

  • Italy supported the idea.
  • The report claimed that Japan was neutral. However, in fact, Japan is interested in the expansion of diplomatic formats for the dialogue with Russia, especially regarding the Kuril Islands question. The bilateral talks on this topic is a dead end for Japan because Russia is not going to make any consenquences. The only chance of Shinzo Abe to make some progress is wider formats with help from his Western allies.
  • French President Emmanuel Macron allegedly was against this move during the G7. However, other French statements clearly indicate that Paris will act in the framework of its Big Brother, the US. It is not up to France, that lost a large part of its influence under the new presidency, to decide.
  • German’s Angela Merkel officially linked the return of Russia to the implementing the Minsk agreements related to the situation in eastern Ukraine. Crimea is for a long time beyond the diplomatic rhetoric of Merkel.
  • In fact, the UK and Canada were the only powers really standing against the return of Russia. Since the start of Trump’s first term, the  UK has been the key power representing interests of the Euro-Atlantic establishment. So, there is no surprise in this. At the same time, Canada is not a really independent state that can provide a really independent foreign policy. It’s an open secret that the UK still appoints a Governor General of Canada that has a wide range of options to impact the Canadian policy – for example, to dissolve the Parliament.
  • The EU council president Donald Tusk was also against, according to The Guardian. However, it remains unclear what did he do there. It’s the G7, not the G7 + “EU buerocrats”. If there is a decision to invite various persons to summit to make fun, SouthFront recommends to invite Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in 2020. He would use his comedian skills  to make a great show for the participants.

G7 Format Is Dead

David Lipton (IMF), Moussa Faki (AUC), David Malpass (World Bank), Scott Morrison (Australia), Antonio Guterres (UN), Narendra Modi (India), Guy Ryder (ILO), Pedro Sanchez (Spain), Angel Gurria (OECD), Akinwumi Adesina (African Development Bank). Front: Boris Johnson (UK), Cyril Ramaphosa (South Africa), Paul Kagame (Rwanda), Abdel Sisi (Egypt), Shinzo Abe (Japan), Justin Trudeau (Canada), Donald Trump (US), Emmanuel Macron (France), Angela Merkel (Germany), Macky Sall (Senegal), Roch Marc Christian Kaboré (Burkina Faso), Sebastián Piñera (Chile), Guiseppe Conte (Italy), Donald Tusk (EC) Photograph: Andrew Parsons/PA

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Tell me again how we are likely to benefit from #Brexit

Brexit is crazy, there are no perceivable advantages or benefits for the average British citizens. Nearly 50% of our trade is with the EU and there are no guarantees that can be replaced from elsewhere. Boris Johnson seems to believe that his friend Trump will help him but any trade deals with the USA would be at a cost and could seriously jeopardize public institutions, particularly the NHS.

Undoubtedly there will be a sharp increase in unemployment, factories closing, farmers bankrupt, loss of investment, the pound falling in value resulting in higher prices. This is not scare warmongering, it’s an unavoidable reality.

According to my energy provider 50% of our energy requirements, gas and electricity, are imported from the EU, so we will be at risk of price hikes and a lack of supply. Immigration, the main motivation of Brexiteers, is unlikely to fall, because it’s immigration which we desperately need.

Another complaint by Brexit supporters is that the EU was making British law, but from my experience not one has been able to be specific in regard to which laws they are referring to or which laws hadn’t been approved by the British Government.

So please tell me why are we going through all this uncertainty, pain and expense, what are the possible benefits? No doubt a few individuals might benefit, the likes of Johnson and Farage, from lower wages and lucrative trade deals from sources which do not have the UK’s interests at heart.

A comprehensive history of everything awful Boris “the clown” Johnson has said

A comprehensive history of everything awful Boris Johnson has said

A comprehensive history of everything awful Boris Johnson has said

By Micha Frazer-Carroll

Image via BackBoris2012 Campaign Team / Flickr

So many gaffes! Maybe so many that we need to stop calling them “gaffes”! Blunderous BoJo, what ever shall we do with him? We all make slip ups sometimes. But the former foreign secretary, who today will become our PM, has had his fair share of headlines surrounding Alleged Accusations Of “Racially Charged” Race-Related Comments Reportedly Said By Some To Be Motivated By Race. Or as we like to call it: racism.

He’s also ventured into misogyny and classism in his time – and over the weekend became part of a conversation around the rise of the far-right, led by David Lammy. In the name of the public record, we took a deep dive and pulled together a comprehensive history of times Boris has really, really fucked up. Chronologically. Buckle up!

  • In his 2002 column in the Spectator, Boris penned an article titled: “Africa is a mess, but we can’t blame colonialism”.
  • In the piece, Boris described the continent as a “blot” and suggested that it would be better off if it was colonised again, writing: “The problem is not that we were once in charge, but that we are not in charge any more…the best fate for Africa would be if the old colonial powers, or their citizens, scrambled once again in her direction; on the understanding that this time they will not be asked to feel guilty.”
  • In 2002, in a column in the Telegraph, BoJo described black people as “piccaninnies” with “watermelon smiles”.
  • In 2004, Boris was asked to apologise to Liverpudlians after writing in the Spectator that they were “wallowing” in “victim status” after the Hillsborough disaster. Boris said those who lived in the city needed to acknowledge the role played “by drunken fans at the back of the crowd who mindlessly tried to fight their way into the ground”.
  • In the 2005 leadership contest, bumbling BoJo said “voting Tory will cause your wife to have bigger breasts and increase your chances of owning a BMW M3”.
  • Boris described Papua New Guineans as prone to “cannibalism” and “chief-killing” in his column in the Telegraph in 2006.
  • Boris blamed rising house prices on women graduates in his Spectator column in 2007. It’s almost as if people should stop giving him columns.
  • In the same article, he managed to wrap classism into sexism, writing: “The result is that in families on lower incomes the women have absolutely no choice but to work, often with adverse consequences for family life and society as a whole – in that unloved and undisciplined children are more likely to become hoodies, NEETS, and mug you on the street corner.”
  • Also in 2007, BoJo described Hillary Clinton as looking like a “sadistic nurse in a mental hospital”.
  • In 2008, Boris allowed a piece to be printed that claimed black people have lower IQs, under his editorship at the Spectator. “Orientals…have larger brains and higher IQ scores,” the piece read. “Blacks are at the other pole.”
  • London assembly member Jennette Arnold accused BoJo of all-round sexist conduct in 2012, arguing that he generally treats women assembly members in a “disrespectful, patronising” way that was different to the men.
  • In 2013, Boris suggested that the increase in Malaysian women going to university was down to the fact that they have “got to find men to marry”. Groans were reportedly heard from Malaysian women in the audience.
  • Boris dabbled as a wordsmith in 2016 when he wrote a poem about the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: “There was a young fellow from Ankara / Who was a terrific wankerer / Till he sowed his wild oats / With the help of a goat / But he didn’t even stop to thankera.” Boris won a £1,000 poetry prize for the limerick.
  • In a Tory party conference speech in 2016, Boris claimed that “the values of global Britain are needed more than ever” and that British “beliefs” are necessary to “lift the world out of poverty”.
  • In the same speech, he called Africa a “country”.
  • After Barack Obama suggested that the UK should remain in the EU, BoJo said that the then-president should stay out of the conversation as he was “part-Kenyan” and had an “ancestral dislike” for the UK.
  • In 2017, Boris met with Steve Bannon, founder of Breitbart News, a self-described “platform for the alt-right”.
  • Boris also apologised to political prisoner Nazanin Zaghari-Radcliffe in 2017 after saying she was in Iran “training journalists”, when she was in fact on holiday. He was accused of risking adding an extra five years to her time in prison due to the mistake.
  • Boris was asked to apologise after referring to Emily Thornberry using her husband’s name to ridicule her in the commons in early 2018.
  • Last summer, Boris wrote in his column in the Telegraph that the burqa was “oppressive and ridiculous”, comparing Muslim women to “bank-robbers” and “letterboxes”.

What a silly bumbling, potential Prime Minister he is. Good thing people’s views don’t tend to have an impact on their policies or anything

Idiots Driving World to War

A view of the Grace 1 super tanker in the British territory of Gibraltar, Thursday, July 4, 2019
Finian Cunningham
10620

Like a person going up in an escalator while asserting they are going down, the British foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt has a bizarre way of trying to assure Iran that war is not on the cards.

Hunt, who is vying to become Britain’s new prime minister, stated on camera that “he wants to de-escalate” the danger of a military confrontation with Iran over mounting tensions in the Persian Gulf.

That was only days after he vowed to dramatically increase Britain’s military spending and in particular, boost the country’s naval firepower  – citing Iran as the main threat to British commercial shipping interests.

It also follows news that London has ordered a second warship to patrol the Persian Gulf. Earlier this week a British Royal Navy frigate reportedly challenged Iranian military vessels (three small boats) after they allegedly tried to impede a British oil tanker entering the narrow Strait of Hormuz. Iran vehemently denied any such interference by its boats and claimed that Britain and the US were engaging in a provocation.

Given that the Pentagon has announced plans to send an international coalition of warships to the Gulf “over the next two weeks”, under the guise of protecting commercial shipping from alleged Iranian threats, it must certainly look to Iran like the “war escalator” is speeding upwards.

Hunt has previously asserted that British forces would join in any American military attack on Iran. The resonance of past Anglo-American skullduggery against Iran is no doubt palpable to most Iranians.

There seems little doubt that Hunt is playing the “hard military man” card in his grubby contest with Boris Johnson to become the next prime minister. Conservative Party members are due to vote later this month on who is to replace the hapless Theresa May.

Bumbling Boris is the favourite to win the party race. But Hunt is making a last-gasp bid to rally the rank-and-file with seeming credentials of being a “tough leader”.

This week he wrote in a newspaper oped: “As the son of a naval officer, I know a little of the sacrifices of these individuals and of their families back home.”

He then promised that, if elected prime minister, he would ramp up military spending by 25 per cent, or by £15 billion, over the next five years. He claimed the tensions in the Gulf with Iran are “proof” that Britain needs to overhaul its maritime forces.

That exorbitant indulgence of military spending will likely wreak havoc on public services and prolong years of economic austerity on ordinary Britons. But such is the ambition of Hunt to get into 10 Downing Street, it’s a devastating price he seems willing to make British citizens pay.

However, more damning is Hunt’s reckless gamble from inflaming tensions with Iran. Sending more naval forces to the Gulf at a time of knife-edge fears about a war breaking out is ludicrous, if not criminally irresponsible.

Over the past two months, there have already been numerous incidents of alleged sabotage on shipping in the strategically important Gulf which the US has blamed on Iran. An American spy drone was shot down on June 20 by the Iranians after it allegedly violated Iran’s airspace. That incident nearly resulted in, reportedly, Trump ordering airstrikes.

The seizure last week by British commandoes of an Iranian oil tanker off Gibraltar has added to fraught nerves in the region. More so because Tehran contends that seizure to be an illegal “act of piracy” orchestrated by Washington and London. The refusal by Britain to release the cargo of two million barrels of oil – based on dubious claims of enforcing EU sanctions against Syria – would also seem to be a calculated insult to provoke Iran.

From Iran’s point of view, the British are permitted to hijack oil ships, but whenever its patrol boats even as much as approach a British tanker near its territorial waters, then London and Washington are crying “foul”. The flagrant hypocrisy is in itself another provocative goading.

Let’s be clear: the Buffoonish Boris Johnson would be equally as deplorable as the Silly Hunt. Both of them are unscrupulous sycophants to America’s President Trump and his crazed warmongering towards Iran.

Russia has warned that the escalating tensions in the Gulf could spark a catastrophic war. Potentially a war in the tinderbox region could lead to World War III.

Lamentably, Britain’s shambolic politics and its venal politicians are playing with fire in their pathetic plans for personal self-aggrandizement of power.

Hunt’s double-think posturing of “escalating to de-escalate” is a sure sign that this Tory toff should not be heading to Downing Street, but rather to a padded cell. Johnson could also qualify for a cell next door.

The backdrop to resolving the current madness for endangering global peace seems blindingly obvious. Washington needs to abide by the 2015 international nuclear treaty with Iran, lift the sanctions crushing the Iranian economy, and remove all warships from the Persian Gulf.

As Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said this week, there would be no need for the US or Britain to “protect shipping” in the Gulf if these two states simply respected international law and norms of diplomacy.

It is insane and gut-wrenchingly tragic that world peace is being jeopardized by idiots like Hunt, Johnson and their puppet master in Washington. The only long-term solution is for the whole rotten political class in Britain, and the US, to be thrown out by popular revolt.

Views and opinions expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

The Not So Special US-UK Relationship

The Not So Special US-UK Relationship

The Not So Special US-UK Relationship

The Anglo-American ‘Special Relationship’ has been known to exist as a close alliance between the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom since the days of FDR and Churchill forged during the Second World War. It is called special because of the unique historical and cultural bonds of kinship that unite the American and British peoples through a perceived shared heritage, common political/social/economic values and language. Together over the course of 72 years it has been the White House with the support of 10 Downing Street as its principal strategic leading ally in Europe.The so-called ‘Special Relationship’ is an unprecedented coming together and sharing of two nation states intelligence and national security infrastructures and spy-intelligence organisations. The US-UK relationship is highly integrated at an intelligence, defence, foreign policy and security level. As well as being two highly developed, mature, sophisticated economies that do a tremendous amount of trade and investment with each other there are cultural affinities with a shared language and common ancestry.

At a political level the relationship between the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is an institution of the Anglo-American special relationship and the poster child of it. When it has been good and based on mutual admiration and mutual chemistry with a strong bond of friendship such as Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, Tony Blair with Bill Clinton and George W Bush, John F Kennedy and Harold Macmillan and FDR together with in war time arms Churchill it has served to create an aura of confidence and glamour as well as excitement in the conduct of Western global leadership under the American order. Low points included the evident cold body language and distaste Edward Heath had for Richard Nixon.

Also Harold Wilson fell out with President Johnson regarding not having British involvement in the Vietnam War. British Conservative Prime Minister John Major did not get on well with American liberal ‘New’ Democrat President Bill Clinton regarding differing positions on the Irish peace process and Northern Ireland as well as Major helping Republican George Bush during the 1992 Presidential Election.

Now, quite possibly the US-UK “special relationship” has suffered serious damage and could be at its lowest ebb ever, which will have tremendous consequences for the UK’s position in the world going forward outside of the European Union. The relationship and alliance has always meant far more to London than to Washington DC. But in so heavily involving the British intelligence services in interfering in the 2016 US Presidential election directly working against the Republican candidate Donald Trump and in favour of the Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton, the British State may just have crossed a red line to far in the mind of President Donald Trump.

There has been much banging on about Russian interference in the 2016 US Presidential election. This of course is never spoken of in the context that various American and British Governments have not only covertly interfered and intervened directly in other countries internal democratic elections and political systems such as the case with the British Conservative Government of John Major attempting to help the Republican Bush 1992 campaign against Bill Clinton, but also overtly, such as was the case with Iran after WWII. However, the more one learns of the extent of the British intelligence state’s involvement in the 2016 US Presidential election working in favour of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, the more one begins to see that an argument can be mounted that the level of British State intervention in the 2016 US Presidential election to help tip the balance in favour of one candidate against the other is unprecedented.

Such is the case of one British political ‘activist’ by the name of Simon Bracey-Lane who mysteriously worked as an activist for the Bernie Sanders 2016 Presidential campaign and a very strange organisation called The Institute of Statecraft which runs something spuriously called the ‘Integrity Initiative’. The Institute for Statecraft and its Integrity Initiative is a front for the British Government’s intelligence services. It is funded largely by the British Foreign Office and NATO Governments. It came into being in 2015 long before Donald Trump was ever perceived to be a serious candidate for the White House and its sole purpose is to continue in that most ridiculous and backwards ‘Cold War’ mentality of smearing all things Russian and smearing anyone who takes a positive interest and positive perspective on Russia and the great Russian people.

It would seem Bracey-Lane was an agent of the British Government on a mission to collect up data on Bernie Sanders, the chief rival for the Democratic nomination to Hillary Clinton back in 2016 and then in all likelihood pass such data to the 2016 Clinton Campaign. The British Government at the time at made it known it wanted Hillary Clinton elected President. Senator Sanders was of course a left wing firebrand, the closest American politics gets to having a socialist, who was lukewarm towards Israel and intent on revolutionising American domestic and international policy to take it in a more progressive and liberal internationalist direction. Sanders wanted to reform the bloated US defence budget and military-industrial complex and attempt to tone down aggressive impulses in American foreign policy. With a little extra push in a few primaries and caucus he might well have secured the Democratic Party nomination.

This involvement by the British State in the internal political affairs of the United States is disconcerting. Not only did the British State intervene extensively in the 2016 US Presidential election to tip the balance towards the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, it has at the same time being displaying a deeply ingrained prejudice and bigotry against all things Russian. Indeed, over the last few years the level of anti-Russian hysteria in England alongside the level of anti-EU hysteria has been an appalling and irrational spectacle to behold. Even in English police stations they now have posters up about how to look out for ‘Russian gangs’ etc. which is absolute rubbish, but then the English police are themselves utterly rubbish, as the world has witnessed recently with the disgraceful bungling of the Gatwick Airport drone fiasco. The English really need to calm down and focus on their own internal affairs such as the mess they have created for themselves with this thing of theirs called Brexit.

This British Government front called the Institute for Statecraft and its ‘Integrity Initiative’ was launched in 2015 by the British Government as a secret operation to propagate anti-Russia propaganda into the western media stream and create generally an aggressively hostile anti-Russian media narrative, for what purpose and to what end only the British Government and those who hold such severe and obsessive anti-Russian opinions can answer.

The Institute for Statecraft and its ‘Integrity Initiative’ programs where designed to smear anyone who does not follow the anti-Russia line. The Steele dossier which has been of such great help to the Robert Mueller Special Counsel Investigation was also a largely a British Government operation but seems to have actually emanated from this Institute for Statecraft mission. The ‘Integrity Initiative’ builds ‘cluster’ or contact groups of trusted journalists, military personal, academics and lobbyists within foreign countries. These people get alerts via social media to take anti-Russian action when the British State perceives a need.

It would seem there are some at the very highest levels of the British State who would like nothing more than to start an all out war against Russia, which would be the gravest strategic and human mistake probably made since the last monster thought he could achieve such a diabolical scheme circa 1941. And perhaps there are some at the top of the EU who have never forgiven nor gotten over that it was Russia that was the main liberator of the European continent against the German Nazi Third Reich and it was Russia who was the principle and superior opponent against the Wehrmacht.

Yet the fact of the matter is as per usual when the English are involved they generally end up causing more damage than good. All these anti-Russian efforts by the British State and involvement in the internal affairs of American politics such as infiltrating the Bernie Sanders campaign and gathering up a dossier on Donald Trump has ironically and paradoxically served to actually weaken to its worst level the US-UK ‘special relationship’. Quite possibly US-UK relations are at their lowest point. The management of the President of the United States’ visit to the UK was a public relations disaster for the British Government of Theresa May and Mr. Trump has made it quite clear he has little time for the British Prime Minister, openly attacking her handling of the Brexit negotiations, openly pining for Boris Johnson to replace her and openly stating that a US-UK Free Trade Agreement post-Brexit is not a certainty. Also President Trump has little time for Britain’s defence establishment and its pathetic and ridiculous Henry Jackson Society so-called Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson. President Trump cannot stand pip squeaks like Gavin Williamson and that is why Trump kept the entire British Government in the dark about his troop pull outs in Syria and Afghanistan.

How can #Brexit be about democracy after this?

How can Brexit be about democracy after this?

How can Brexit be about democracy after this?

By Graham Vanbergen: I have written endlessly about the involvement of dark money and right-wing free-market fundamentalists agitating for Brexit who secured positions in high office and the very corridors of power. In my recent book, ‘Brexit – A corporate coup d’etat’ – I highlighted how they established, built and nurtured authoritative organisations to ensure that Brexit was not a wasted opportunity to push forward the next stage of the global reign of free markets

But don’t take my word for it. Some of our media partners at TruePublica have uncovered just as much democracy wrecking shenanigans going on in the background.

Take openDemocracy. They put an investigations team on following the money and found a link between foreign billionaires and Brexit just as I did. They found illicit secretive sources of political funding and exposed Arron Banks, the self-proclaimed ‘Bad boy of Brexit’ and the ongoing scandal of his huge donations. They even worked with accountants to show his insurance businesses were verging on bankruptcy at the time of the referendum and yet he brought £8 million to the Leave campaign. This donation is now under investigation.

Like me, they found the link with Steve Bannon, Trump, Cambridge Analytica and the now infamous Facebook data scandal. That wasn’t that hard but confirming the use of advanced social engineering systems that were used in the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan designed originally to ‘change hearts and minds,’ was. But sadly, that too is a fact of the farce that Brexit has become.

Then there are our partners at Unearthed, the investigative arm of Greenpeace. Their undercover investigation, published in the Guardian, raised concerns about the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) work on Brexit that may have broken charity rules by campaigning for a specific policy outcome. It’s all about a hard Brexit and a US-UK free trade deal.

The IEA is registered as an educational charity. It has been under investigation by the Charity Commission since July as a result.

I go into some detail about the IEA and others and also highlight one American organisation in my book with over 450 business relationships and links to hard-right free-market think tanks, themselves linked to the hard right-wing Tea Party and other profit-driven fundamentalists. These powerful American outfits are also pushing for a hard Brexit and nothing less.

Carol Cadwalladr’s epic award-winning investigations published in The Guardian and The Observer highlighted the secrets of dark money and the foreign billionaires behind Brexit. Again, she was following the money and made the connections between big business interests and Brexit. The list of scandals uncovered by Cadwalladr continues to grow.

Then there’s Theresa May. She has been accused of holding secret weekly Brexit meetings with Cabinet ministers and civil servants of which no record has been made. This is unheard of outside of a wartime government. Of the clandestine gatherings, one insider told the London Evening Standard: “In terms of democracy this feels like a scandal.” It is.

This government is defined by its secretiveness and a desire to avoid any scrutiny whatsoever. Theresa May and her cabinet are now avoiding parliament on anything serious. The problem is, as I have said time and time again over the years even before she became the PM – Theresa May is an authoritarian leader, not a collaborative one who believes in democracy. She has decided what is best for the country and no parliamentary participation is allowed if it does not agree with her position. One only has to look at the scale of democracy denying instruments (such as trashing privacy and constructing the West’s biggest surveillance state) she brought to the country in her time at the Home Office.

The ‘Meaningful Vote’ was cancelled – but only because she was facing democratic defeat. A second vote was then forced upon May – a confidence vote leaving her badly wounded. But no second referendum is allowed. As far as the PM is concerned only she has the right to interpret the view of the country. Let’s not forget May pretty much lost a general election campaign in which she demanded a personal mandate. May disappears into secretive meetings precisely because she can’t communicate with anyone at all – not the electorate, or the Tory party or that of parliament. In the meantime, the government have just been accused of wasting £100,000 on a social media campaign to get support for her Brexit deal at the vote she just cancelled. It is not that May is in a difficult position – it’s that she is clueless as are her woeful advisors.

All these reports, investigations and scandals that have emerged since Britain’s EU referendum must surely lead everyone to conclude that the EU referendum result was, in fact, more the outcome of a paid-for propaganda exercise facilitated by ultra right-wing radicals in the Tory party than democracy in action. It is leading Britain into chaos.

Democracy was denied to Britain when we found out that foreign-born billionaires and corporations had massively overspent official campaigning budgets set in law. Democracy was denied when Theresa May came to power and it will continue to be denied as she constantly changes the goalposts to best suit her game.

There is only one thing we can be sure of. The ‘investors,‘ especially the vulture funds, hedge funds and special interest groups exposed by all these scandals are looking to profit from the very chaos that Brexit causes – and it is unbelievable how been successful that plan has turned out to be!

 

Graham Vanbergen is the contributing editor of TruePublica, a columnist at the European Financial Review and author of Brexit – A corporate coup d’etat.

#Brexit Dark money investigations: what we’ve found out, and why we’re looking

Dark money investigations: what we’ve found out, and why we’re looking

by Adam Ramsay

For the past two years openDemocracy has been tracking down the secretive, wealthy donors trying to influence British politics unseen.

Arron Banks with Nigel Farage: two of “the bad boys of Brexit”. Image, Ben Birchall/PA Archive/PA Images

It started with the Democratic Unionist Party. We forced them to confess that a huge Brexit donation had come via a secretive group in Glasgow. We showed that the chair of that group was connected to the former head of Saudi intelligence and to a Danish man involved in gun-running in India.

We travelled round Northern Ireland and the west of Scotland, banging on doors and meeting sources, but were blocked at every turn. BBC Northern Ireland picked up the story and followed it to Kiev. We still don’t know for sure where this cash came from, but we did help force a change in the law, so this could never happen again.

Then there were the Scottish Tories. We showed that a huge portion of their surge in 2016 was funded by money from secretive sources, and eventually got one of those groups fined. An independent Scottish media organisation, The Ferret, followed our story, and forced an Electoral Commission investigation. And it’s not just the Scottish Tories. We exposed one of the key loopholes allowing dark money to flood into the Labour Party, UKIP and the Lib Dems too.

And then there was “the man who bought Brexit”, Arron Banks. Did the millions he poured into the Leave campaigns really come from his own pockets? We showed that he didn’t appear to be nearly as rich as he claimed: it was hard to understand how he could have afforded his lavish donations. We worked with accountants to show his insurance businesses were verging on bankruptcy at the time of the referendum, and with a reporter in Lesotho to show that his diamond mines didn’t have many diamonds.

The Bannon emails

We got our hands on emails from Banks showing that he’d asked Steve Bannon – advisor to Donald Trump, founder of Breitbart News and vice-president of Cambridge Analytica – for help fundraising in the US. We met sources who showed that he’d lied to Parliament, and then, when asked about our story on the BBC, that he’d lied again.

We looked at how the Brexit money was spent, showing how several supposedly independent campaigns used the same obscure merchandise company based at the end of a terraced row in Ely (and yes, we went to Ely). We explained how Cambridge Analytica itself is the result of the privatisation of military propaganda, and we examined the terrifying connections between the Brexit campaign and Britain’s growing role as the global hub of mercenary firms.

Our story on Darren Grimes, the 22-year-old given a £675,000 donation by Vote Leave, triggered the court case which led to the conclusion that Vote Leave broke the law and to the campaign being referred to the police. We then revealed that the police waited months before bothering to collect the key documents relating to the case.

We investigated a group called Veterans for Britain, who had also taken a large donation from Vote Leave, and exposed connections to the expanding network of privatised military and intelligence contractors – including the mercenary military propaganda firm SCL, and its subsidiary, Cambridge Analytica.

We were one of the first outlets to seriously investigate the European Research Group. We showed how they were set up to turn the UK into “a low-tax, offshore haven”, that they were funded from the public purse and that they had members who were ministers – in breach of the ministerial code. We were the first outlet to disclose their membership, and that they’ve had an office in the Houses of Parliament since the 1990s. And that they got a donation via the same secret group who funnelled cash to the DUP.

Weird interests

As Brexit ministers came and went, we investigated them, too. We showed Steve Baker’s web of weird interests, including that he took thousands of pounds from an arms company whilst sitting as vice-chair of the group lobbying for the arms industry in Parliament, and how he’s got longstanding links to the American radical right. When he stood down, we showed how his replacement, Dominic Raab, was moulded as a politician by the dark-money ‘think tank’ the Institute for Economic Affairs.

Which takes us to Britain’s dark-money-funded think tanks. We showed how a staff member for a group called the Legatum Institute, connected to a hedge fund in Dubai and owned by a disaster capitalist who made a fortune from the collapsing Soviet Union, had unprecedented access to government ministers during the Brexit process, despite the fact that no one is sure who is paying his wages. And when he took a job with a private lobbying agency despite sitting on Liam Fox’s committee of advisors, our story forced him to resign from that committee.

Our work has run in parallel to – and often intersected with – that of others: Carole Cadwalladr is, of course, the icon.

But here’s the bottom line. People have different interests and ideas, and politics is a negotiation between them. We are not investigating the dark money in British politics either because we are for Brexit or because we are against it. We are investigating dark money because the rich and powerful will always hide selfish demands behind the language of ideology and policy wonkery. They hide their political donations because they don’t want us to know that what their representatives say is paid-for propaganda. If we are to have an open and honest conversation about the future of the country, we first need to understand where everyone is really coming from, what people’s interests really are.

And that means we need to keep shining a light into the dark money poisoning our democracy.

So please, contribute to our appeal, so we can keep striving for an open democracy.

We must stop a minority of #Brexit fanatics from holding the United Kingdom to ransom

By Andy Price
The hard Brexit wheels are coming off. We know it, the EU knows it, May knows it.
As the Brexit negotiations peter out this week in Brussels, fevered Brexit fanatics – from Boris Johnson, David Davis and Jacob Rees Mogg in the Telegraph, to many others on Twitter – are ranting and raving about the most sensible thing Theresa May has done in two and a half years of Brexit negotiations by suggesting extending the transition period in an attempt at genuine compromise.
This would be a good opportunity to remind ourselves of some salient facts. These Conservative MPs are speaking on behalf of the hardest of Brexiteers, a collection of somewhere between 60-80 of the Tory MPs.

That’s somewhere between 60 and 80 MPs out of a total of 317 Conservative MPs in the House of Commons. And while having 317 MPs means the Conservatives are the largest party at the last election, they did not win enough of the votes to form a majority. Therefore, for all their bluster and bloviating, let’s just state clearly what the members of this small group are: they are a minority faction, holding a minority view, in a minority government.

Their claims to speak for the “will of the people” as cast in the EU referendum of 2016 thus grow weaker by the day. Time alone is a good enough driver of this – the actual vote on referendum day is fading in the historical memory. But more than this, the electorate is changing by the day. Polling points to increasing scepticism about Brexit and even just the straightforward demographics are telling. More and more people are coming of age, turning 18, becoming voters. And young people are the group most opposed to leaving the EU.

This is the real driver of the hard Brexiteer’s frothing, wide-eyed cries of betrayal and surrender: these MPs surely know that whatever appeal they had in 2016 is withering before the nation’s eyes.

A bus passes an anti-Brexit advertisement paid for by the owner of a plumbing business in London, Britain, October 18, 2018. Reuters/Peter Nicholls

Still squabbling

Nothing more quickly erodes public opinion of politicians than politicians fighting amongst themselves. And the Conservatives seem to be spending more time doing this than any other activity – such as, say, representing their constituents – at present. It’s all doubly distasteful when those doing the fighting claim to be spending all their energies fighting not for themselves or their ideological positions but for the will of the people.

Moreover, the most prominent members of this group only do further disservice to their long-term goals. Jacob Rees Mogg, no matter what levels of popularity he has in the Conservative party, is categorically not the future of a tech savvy, multicultural, diverse, post #MeToo Britain. That ship has sailed, and no amount of quaint caricatures of a gilded past can stop the move to a different kind of Britain envisaged by the generation now turning 18.

But beyond Rees-Mogg, the other figures do the cause no favours either. Johnson and Davies, both key architects of the vote to Leave, very publicly walked away from government and the difficult job of delivering Brexit when things didn’t go their way. In a time of national crisis such as this, this behaviour does not come across as a principled falling on their swords but rather as a desertion of a sinking ship.

In short, the hard Brexit wheels are coming off. We know it, the EU knows it, May knows it. And the reason the wheels are coming off is equally as clear: the Brexit that took shape out of the days following June 23 2016 was always, always, undeliverable in any kind of form that didn’t cause untold political and economic damage to the UK. This is particularly true in the matter of the Irish border. History will show that the lion’s share of the blame for the type of Brexit that emerged in those early days lies with May. Her quite frankly ridiculous political game playing, aimed at pleasing the fanatics in her party, created the red lines that have that run through the heart of this whole debacle.

But even she now knows that the time for compromise has arrived. As in life, so it should be in politics – we compromise constantly in our private and professional lives: why should it be any different here? It seems May might be realising that, belatedly.

Sadly, she is hampered by the fanatics. And this is what the rest of us should be focusing on: how is it that a tiny handful of MPs holding a minority position in society – remember, 99% of the things they are fighting for in a hard Brexit were not on a ballot in 2016 (and indeed, many of them argued publicly against these positions) – came to hijack the political debate as a whole?

That worrying question has many answers – answers we need to address collectively over the coming years. In the meantime, let’s extend the transition period and give ourselves time to breathe as we reflect on how we got to this sorry state – and how we get out of here.


Andy Price, Head of Politics, Sheffield Hallam University


This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

#BREXIT – Finally Laid Bare For All To See

Source

BREXIT - The Final Truth

By Graham Vanbergen:

The dream of Brexit, that of the so-called ‘ultras,’ the buccaneering Brexiteers is finally being laid bare for what it really is – a fantasy. The tally of Theresa May’s appointments who have walked out has now reached 18. The record-setting turnover rate in Theresa may’s government is only trumped in the democratic West by the master of chaos himself – Donald Trump, who to date, has lost 68 members of his Executive office staff – including the Whitehouse physician. And this is the man the ‘ultras’ are courting.

This dream has now turned into a constitutional and political nightmare – it is humiliating to witness. Britain, once a diplomatic titan in an uncertain world is now in catastrophic freefall. Political implosion is what now beckons.

The walkouts in the Tory party have one thing in common, it is what binds them. Not one of them has stated what they would do, or how they would replace Theresa May’s proposal. The only option they are providing – without being honest enough to say so – is a no-deal Brexit.

These political chancers include Boris Johnson – the ex-Foreign Secretary, ex-Brexit Secretary David Davis and Dominic Raab who has also abandoned his post as the Brexit Secretary and chief negotiator with the European Union. Then there’s Shailesh Vara, Minister of State for Northern Ireland, Jo Johnson – Transport Minister, Guto Bebb – Minister for Defence Procurement, Suella Braverman – another Brexit Minister, Esther McVey – the Works and Pensions Secretary.

Less well known are Rehman Chisti who left his role as Conservative vice-chairman, Ranil Jayawardena – Parliamentary Private Secretary at the Ministry of Justice, Nikki da Costa – the director of legislative affairs at Downing Street, Parliamentary Private Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Conservative Party vice-chairman Ben Bradley, Maria Caulfield, vice-chairwoman of the Conservative Party, Scott Mann – a Parliamentary Private Secretary for the Treasury, and yet another Parliamentary Private Secretary, Robert Courts. Then there’s Andrea Jenkyns – Parliamentary Private Secretary in the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and finally Chris Green, who was a Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Department for Transport.

Two and half years into negotiations and the sixth wealthiest country on the planet has proved just one thing – it is incapable of negotiating any deals whatsoever – even with itself.

More cabinet resignations will likely lead to a vote of no confidence in Theresa May. That vote, if successful will spark a Tory leadership battle right at the moment that crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s on some sort of deal with the world’s biggest trading bloc should be done with smiles and handshakes all around.

The Brexiteers who promised us so much mislead everyone. John Redwood said – “getting out of the EU can be quick and easy – the UK holds most of the cards“. David Davis said – “there will be no downside to Brexit,” and my favourite bad guy of them all – Liam Fox, who famously said – “the free trade agreement that we will do with the EU should be one of the easiest in human history.” They were all ruinously misguided at best.

So what now? Well, if Theresa May does survive the next round with her knife-throwing colleagues, the chances of getting her deal through parliament now looks a bit belly up – euthanised by misadventure. In turn, a politically cataclysmic fight for a second referendum will open the doors to the proverbial abyss of chaos, as if we weren’t already most of the way there. And even if Ms May does win the day, what do we get? When politicians and political commentators were working through the options last year they spoke of EEA countries like Iceland, Liechtenstein or the Norway/Canada deal, but this deal is none of those. May has effectively put on paper a deal she herself said no British Prime Minister should do.

Throughout all of this – Britain has not taken back control. A hard Brexit might give us control but at an economic cost that would prove much worse than the effects of the 2008 financial crash where taxpayers bailed out a bunch of irresponsible louts in Lambougini’s.

To be fair to Theresa May she was dealt a bad hand but has proved beyond any doubt she is no card player. Her appointments, designed to keep enemies close – betrayed her, and her strategic decisions throughout have had all the hallmarks of political despair, like a cornered animal facing the final moments with its attacker.

Much as I dislike Theresa May for her bad form in the Home Office, she has at least stuck to her guns – unlike the pitiful shards of a political party that boasted about strong and stable leadership, now forced to the edge of its own cliff. The ‘resigners,’  those that have chosen to walk away from their self-imposed dilemma are much worse though. They have abandoned the people they represent and the country they serve and now wait like salivating wolves ready for the final slaying in the glory hunting hope of being the next leader of the pack.

This shambles all started with Britain’s worst ever Prime Minister, David Cameron, stating in some sort of ‘moment of Blairism’ that he “thought he was right all along” to call the referendum. He wasn’t. This hoodie-hugging pig lover’s other decision of delusion was to blow up the wealthiest county in Africa and turn it into a slave-trading nation, which created the migrant crisis currently destabilising Europe.

Today, the two main political parties of Gt. Britain have literally torn themselves limb from limb. The third has already been cremated and is now dust. Now we have thugs from the DUP calling the shots. Society is fully divided, the country has been reduced to the status of international laughing stock and the very union of Britain is now at threat.

Theresa May’s terrible plan is to make us subservient to a political union next door that is itself fracturing. The ‘ultras’ want to make us subservient to a political union across the Atlantic that would be even worse. Heads we lose, tails we lose.

Brexit is a politically generated crisis and a crisis of their ongoing mismanagement. In reality, it was a contest between the centre-right and radical right – now it’s turning into a fight for all of society.

There’s no way out of this crisis. No matter which way you turn it is a conundrum – like a riddle with no answer.

The fact that David Cameron, who let this uncontrollable genie out of its bottle, was so tragically mistaken is one thing, but the rest of this mess really only demonstrates that many of those walking the corridors of power are psychologically flawed and unfit for office.

This is not Brexit, it’s Brex-Shit – and nothing else.

#Brexit: The Men Who Want to Push Britain Off a Cliff

The Men Who Want to Push Britain Off a Cliff

Theresa May has a Brexit deal. Now a group of feckless Conservatives wants to torpedo everything.

The pro-Brexit, Conservative lawmaker Jacob Rees-Mogg speaking to the media outside the Houses of Parliament on Thursday.CreditCreditMatt Dunham/Associated Press

LONDON — I am scared. The markets are scared. The politicians I have been talking to are scared, or livid.

A few days ago, Prime Minister Theresa May unveiled her deal with the European Union. Within 48 hours, Britain’s government spun into crisis. Mrs. May’s survival is threatened as furious prominent Brexiteers go public with their intention to unseat her. Four ministers have resigned, more resignations may follow and nobody believes that she has the votes to get her deal through Parliament. What happens after that is a conundrum.

The cause of this paralysis is the hard-line Brexiteers, a frighteningly powerful cohort within Mrs. May’s Conservative Party, a group that is heedless about economic damage to Britain in pursuit of a political goal.

The first minister to resign was Mrs. May’s Brexit secretary, Dominic Raab, a cold-eyed man in a hurry, a flintily ambitious Thatcherite. The bid to topple Mrs. May was initiated by Jacob Rees-Mogg, a vain, drawling member of Parliament, a financier who once campaigned alongside his nanny in a Mercedes and has built a career as a political rock star and possible leader on the back of such affectation. They join an earlier defector, the flailing, floppy-haired Boris Johnson, a man who is half-crazed by his repeated failure to become the Conservative Party’s leader and who is desperate to grasp at his last chance, even if it means undermining the country.

Everything is up in the air in Britain’s tumultuous politics right now, but there is one certainty: There is no limit to the practical, economic and psychological damage these Brexiteers are prepared to inflict on the rest of us in the pursuit of their delusions or their demented desire for power.

They savage Mrs. May’s deal and offer no practical suggestions for anything else. This is an utter failure of responsibility. Yes, the prime minister’s deal is pitiful, an awkward compromise that will hobble Britain’s economy and diminish our power. But the truth is — and everyone knows this — there is no better, purer Brexit available without a permanent economic hit.

If they were reasonable people, the pro-Brexit faction would now be shocked into facing reality. But they are not. These are the same politicians who tricked voters out of Europe by promising them that leaving would be all gain and no pain. Britain would become proud, sovereign, powerful, more prosperous. It could slash immigration, enrich its health service, cut magnificent and profitable trade deals with the rest of the world, opt out of European Union laws and still trade with and travel freely in Europe.

It was always rubbish, marketed by people deliberately indifferent to facts. The European Union was never going to let us leave the club while retaining all the advantages of belonging, any more than a tennis club allows ex-members to use the facilities for free. It said so, patiently, repeatedly. The agonizing negotiations of the past 18 months proved that over and over

Mrs. May finally managed some wriggling round the edges, reducing part of the huge and unavoidable economic penalties of Brexit by keeping Britain in the European Union Customs Union and parts of the single market. It is a valuable concession, and one the European Union has agreed to principally in order to not inflame sectarian tensions in Northern Ireland, which would otherwise have to rebuild a border with the Irish Republic. The price that must be paid for remaining in the market is that Britain agrees to faithfully track and follow its rules, while no longer having any voice in how they are made.

These restrictions have sent the hard-line Brexiteers into a cold fury, but they were inevitable. You can’t even join a tennis match if you insist on drawing your own courts and deciding your own scores. The Brexit fanatics blindly ignore that. They have learned nothing, acknowledged nothing.

Rather than accepting their shameful role in deceiving voters over what was possible, they are doubling down on denunciation. They accuse Mrs. May of betrayal, of trapping and binding the country, of breaking her word. It is sheer selfish manipulation, political destructiveness on a huge scale, because they cannot get what they want; indeed, they cannot agree among themselves on what they want. They want the prime minister removed, but while they may secure the votes to challenge her, they’re unlikely to get enough to unseat her.

Even if they succeed in wounding her so deeply that she decides to step down and a hard-line Brexiteer takes her place, a new prime minister cannot negotiate a harder Brexit; the European Union has made it clear that the withdrawal deal is closed. If these craven politicians did find their way to power and tried to force a “no deal” Brexit — leaving the European Union without any kind of agreement in place — Parliament and the country would revolt. Nearly four out of five voters thought Brexit was going badly this July. In some areas that voted Leave, there have been big swings toward staying in the European Union.

In their grab for power, these monstrous, preening egos, desperate for validation and vindication, are already steering the Brexit process out of control, knocking Mrs. May’s deal sideways, increasing the speed at which investors and businesses flee. This chaos could last weeks or months. But the group’s ruthlessness in mowing down the middle ground of a compromise Brexit may give them whiplash. For members of Parliament, who must pass the final vote on any Brexit deal, the recent Brexiteer extremism has made their choices far starker and has raised the stakes.

If Mrs. May’s deal cannot get through Parliament, and the nightmare of a no-deal looms, then it becomes much more likely that a decisive number of members of Parliament will resolve that the final decision has to be returned to the electorate, in a second referendum that is being called the People’s Vote. Last month, an estimated 700,000 people marched in London in support of such a referendum.

The People’s Vote could offer the British electorate three choices: no deal, Mrs. May’s deal and remaining in the European Union. A recent poll found support for such a vote is now running at almost 60 percent, while the Remain vote has shifted from 48 percent in the referendum to 54 percent now.

A few weeks ago, I feared that a second vote would feel illegitimate, that a compromise Brexit, though bad for the country, should go ahead. The dangerous intransigence of the hardest Brexiteers has changed my calculation, and may change that of many others.

These hard-liners are ruthless. They aren’t prepared to accept a compromise that the prime minister has constructed for them. Instead, they are blowing it up. By eliminating the center option, they intend to push Britain to the hardest possible Brexit, toward the wrecked economy and shattered lives that would follow. They have destroyed any sense that I — and many others — had, that we owe it to them to honor and accept the original referendum. They are polarizing and galvanizing us. If no deal is the Brexiteers’ preferred option, I can with a clear conscience campaign for Remain in a People’s Vote. Anyone else could, too.

It’s just possible that the crash the Brexiteers are engineering could also be their own.

Jenni Russell (@jennirsl) is a columnist for The Times of London and a contributing opinion writer.

Theresa May Tells American Investors – Brexit Britain Is Up for Grabs (The future of the NHS is included)

Source

By Graham Vanbergen,

Britain will be “unequivocally pro-business” after it leaves the European Union, Theresa May has promised American investors. To neoliberal politicians, this was always the endgame.

The prime minister told the Bloomberg Global Business Forum in New York that the UK will be the low tax, high-skilled place to invest after Brexit.

Speaking days after EU leaders rejected her plans for future trading relations, Ms May will insist she is “confident” a deal can be reached. One wonders from where does this confidence emanate?

Do you get the feeling that Theresa May is setting up the UK/EU trade deal to fail, having primed American corporations and solicited its President in advance – or that she is using the US as a threat to bludgeon EU negotiators into capitulating to her troubled Chequers plan?

My suspicion is that one way or the other a trade deal will be agreed at the expense of the other. Either way, Theresa May will appear to have won something no matter what. But there’s a problem. Any US/UK trade deal will take years to formally agree and its net effect will be to align almost all standards and regulations to theirs.

Even more alarming is that Theresa May has said that the UK has a plan to create an economy which is appealing to investors across the world, with corporation tax the lowest among leading industrialised nations.

In 1978 corporation tax in the UK was 42%. By 1988 it was 25%, in 2008 it was 21%, is currently 19% and targeted to reach 17% by 2020 – with further reductions strongly hinted at. The current rate in Britain is the lowest in the G20 group of industrialised nations.

The two other leading economies of the EU alongside Britain do not compete on corporation tax.  In France, corporation tax is charged at 33.3% and Germany it is 32.9%. Other struggling member states like Italy charge 27.9% and Spain 25%. Only countries like Albania, Belarus, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Estonia and Lithuania within the EU charge less. That is of course excepting tax havens such as Ireland that can only survive by charging 12.5% on corporate profits through PO Box addresses – that employs no-one.

Most economic experts agree that tax havens and very low tax countries cause unjust laws, political turmoil, increased inequality and discrimination. The reason tax havens are rich countries is simply because very little money is distributed to the rest of the economy – or in neoliberal speak – nothing ‘trickles down.’ In addition, low tax regimes also attract the wrong type of investment and have demonstrably shown historically to be little more than a race to the bottom.

Ms May said:

My message today is that a post-Brexit Britain will be an unequivocally pro-business Britain” stating that Britain will do the “most dynamic and ambitious free trade agreements with old friends and new allies alike.” 

“Crucially we also have a plan to deliver an economy that is knowledge-rich, highly innovative, highly skilled and high quality but with low tax and smart regulation. So let me say this bit very clearly. Whatever your business, investing in a post-Brexit Britain will give you the lowest rate of corporation tax in the G20.”

“You will access service industries and a financial centre in London that are the envy of the world, the best universities, strong institutions, a sound approach to public finance and a consistent and dependable approach to high standards but intelligent regulation.”

This is the language of a Prime Minister that is selling out on Britain as a country. Britain is up for sale to the highest bidder. These are either desperate measures or deliberate actions to prepare corporate America for the deregulation festival that will be on offer come April 2019.

Ms May was dealt a humiliating blow at a summit of EU leaders in Salzburg last week when they rejected her Chequers blueprint for post-Brexit relations. Was this plan designed to fail or was it designed to threaten?

Craig Murray, ex British ambassador commented:

The humiliation of Salzburg occurred because there was never a chance of any sympathy from EU member states for an attempt to dishonour the agreement (backstop” on North/South Ireland relations) of nine months ago. There is no way out of that conundrum. The government has belatedly remembered the existence of the FCO as a potential tool in international relations, and ambassadors in our Embassies in EU countries are currently staring in bafflement at dense and complex instructions urging them to convince their hosts that black is white.”

Ms May went further:

“Our relationship with the EU will change with Brexit. This is why I am confident we can reach a deal about our future relationship that is built in this spirit.”

Ms May attended the United Nations General Assembly, where she met with Donald Trump on Wednesday evening to push for a post-Brexit trade deal. Put on the table was a desire for a “big and ambitious” post-EU trade deal with America.

The Independent reports that

“such a trade deal is considered an important way for Ms May to help offset the economic impact of leaving the EU in March next year. It was high on the agenda when the prime minister ensured she was the first foreign leader to visit Mr Trump in Washington following his inauguration last year. Support from the US president could boost Ms May’s struggle to win over her critics, who have argued her exit plan is unworkable.”*

 

Featured image is from the author.

Ain’t that the truth? #Brexit -Macron Accuses Top Brexiteers Of Being ‘Liars’

Emmanuel Macron Accuses Top Brexiteers Of Being ‘Liars’

French President blasts eurosceptics who thought vote would ‘bring a lot of money home’.

Emmanuel Macron has launched a withering attack on Brexiteers as Theresa May’s plan to extract the UK from the European Union appeared to be in tatters.

The French President said those who pushed the country towards Brexit on the basis it would “bring a lot of money home” are “liars”.

His outburst came after a summit of EU leaders in Salzburg, Austria, where the UK Prime Minister failed to get support for her so-called Chequers plan.

Appearing to take aim at politicians such as Boris Johnson and David Davis, Macron told a news conference: “Those who explain that we can easily live without Europe, that everything is going to be alright, and that it’s going to bring a lot of money home are liars. They left the next day so they didn’t have to manage it.”

Macron echoed the consensus among EU leaders as he poured cold water on May’s plan, which had already faced cross-party criticism in the UK.

He said: “It was a good and brave step by the Prime Minister. But we all agreed on this today, the proposals in their current state are not acceptable. The Chequers plan cannot be ‘take it or leave it’.”

Lisi Niesner / Reuters President Emmanuel Macron holds a news conference after the informal meeting of European Union leaders in Salzburg, Austria

European Council President Donald Tusk also said May’s proposed Brexit agreement “will not work”.

The prime minister attempted to persuade EU leaders in Salzburg last night that her Chequers plan was the “only credible” deal on the table.

But Tusk told a press conference that the UK’s proposal would not be accepted.

“Everybody shared the view that while there are positive elements in the Chequers proposal, the suggested framework for economic co-operation will not work, not least because it is undermining the single market,” he said.

Despite Tusk potentially dealing a fatal blow to her plan, May insisted she was “continuing to work for a good deal”.

At home, May faces opposition to her plan from hardline Brexiteer Tories as from many pro-Remain Tory MPs – complicating the chances of her being able to win a vote in parliament on the deal.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, the leader of the backbench eurosceptic Tory ERG group, said it was time for the prime minister to accept her proposal was dead.

“I think Chequers now has no supporters at all. I doubt even the Downing Street cat is any longer backing the Chequers plan,” he said.

Lisi Niesner / Reuters Theresa May arrives for a family photo during the European Union leaders informal summit in Salzburg, Austria

May has proposed maintaining a “common rulebook” for goods with the EU after Brexit, keeping the same standards and regulations, in order to facilitate frictionless trade.

But under the plan, the UK would have different arrangements for services – a major part of the British economy.

The British government argues Brussels’ alternative plan, which would see Northern Ireland remain in the customs union until a new arrangement could be agreed, would effectively create a border between the North and the rest of the UK – something the PM has said she could not accept.

Time is running out for the UK and EU to agree a deal by the next full EU summit on October 18, raising the prospect of a no deal Brexit.

An special emergency meeting in November has been pencilled in to try and finalise a deal.

The Hysteria in the Conservative Press Indicates That There Will Now be a Labour Government in Britain

Global Research, September 08, 2018

 

The question is when?

1. There is now apparently a majority in the country who are increasingly anxious for both the railway system and public utilities to be brought under state control and operation, with sensible pricing of services and reliable, dependable timetables for commuters.

2. The days of banking bonuses for those city hedge-fund managers who play with our money in order to enrich themselves, are numbered. And, as a result, there will be a surplus of multi-million pound, bijou residences on the market as the bond dealers sell-up and downsize from Hampstead and Canary Wharf.

3. But the real benefit will be to those millions of ordinary households up and down the country who have been paying through the nose to the foreign owners of our national water, electricity and gas supplies who have ripped off the British consumer ever since the Conservative privatisation of these essential services.

4. When a Labour government takes power, there will be genuine state aid for the disabled and a NHS that actually works – from the large London teaching hospitals down to the provincial medical centres and clinics around the country.

5. The tax system will be overhauled to ensure that everyone and every company pays a proportionate amount of tax commensurate with income. Tax avoidance schemes will be made illegal.

6. Compulsory building of affordable housing by all local authorities will be a mandatory duty as will be the care and maintenance of such property. There will never be another Grenfell Tower atrocity whereby a fire-safe building was deliberately clad in a fire- accelerant material that was known to be lethally toxic in case of fire, merely to maximise profit for the property owners.

7. Foreign aid will be cancelled to India and elsewhere where corruption is rife and the monies diverted to our own communities/ regions who require assistance.

8. Immigration will be properly supervised by the state and numbers restricted to those who have suitable skills and/or job offers. Our borders will be policed in order that criminal elements are denied entry whilst genuine refugees who are at risk in their own countries will be eligible for political asylum.

9. There will be a fairer society in which reward for failure will be just a memory from the Tory past. On the other hand, reward for success will be encouraged.

10. First of all we need a General Election to clear out Theresa May, Boris Johnson and the rest of the failures. Britain has work to do and a vibrant, energetic, reforming Labour government is now ready, willing and able to meet the challenge.

*

Hans Stehling (pen name) is an analyst based in the UK. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

NEVERENDING SMEARS: RECYCLING TABLOID TACTICS TO SUPPORT IMPERIALIST WARS

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*Mentality of the author: whitewash a war criminal with the blood of untold numbers on his hands…

A new war propagandist on the scene, seeking to make a name for himself among the Charles Listers, Eliot Higgins, Atlantic Council (NATO) types. Some reactions to his attempted smear on many of us, including yours truly. Note:

*I won’t include the shameful quote from Greenwald, who it seems never ceases to pander to establishment mindsets.

*Vanessa Beeley is *heavily* featured (smeared) in the (inaccurate and libelous) article… She has hit many nerves with her detailed exposing of the fraud that is the White Helmets, among many other issues. 

From: “Chomsky, Hersh and… Boris Johnson? Twitter pundits ponder odd ‘Assadist’ blacklist,”August 27, 2018, RT.com

“…Featured on an unfrequented Medium blog, the “International Assadists References Directory” lists 151 people and organizations who have allegedly “expressed support and/or whitewashed the Assad regime.” The eclectic compilation of “Assadists” features individuals and groups of all political stripes and backgrounds, from the Greek nationalist political party Golden Dawn to Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters. Notable journalists such as Seymour Hersh, John Pilger, Peter Hitchens, Glenn Greenwald and Patrick Cockburn are also listed as reckless Assad apologists.

*

Independent journalist and RT contributor Eva Bartlett, who was accorded an extensive entry in the directory, was particularly amused by the inclusion of Boris Johnson. In an email to RT, Bartlett pointed out that the former UK foreign secretary “supported the ‘Assad must go’ theme.”

Likewise, she said it was strange that journalists Robert Fisk and Peter Hitchens were included on the list, since they “write openly about their contempt for the Syrian government, but have also written honestly on crucial issues like alleged chemical attacks and the White Helmets narrative.”

Bartlett also highlighted the fact that many of the individuals included in the list have extensive on-the-ground experience in Syria, conducting in-depth reporting that often contradicts with mainstream narratives about the seven-year conflict.

“In fact, instead of successfully smearing us, Kester has compiled a go-to list of people to follow for original and truthful content on important international issues today, particularly Syria, Palestine, and Yemen,” Bartlett said. “More importantly, readers should be aware that the author is advocating R2P [Right to Protect] on Syria, aka the humanitarian destruction of that country as per Libya. That alone shows his intent with the smear is to silence voices who starkly oppose such a genocidal position.”

*

Journalist Max Blumenthal believes the goal of the blacklist is to silence the critics of Western meddling in Syria.

“This McCarthyite blacklist is part of an effort to not only denigrate even soft opponents of Western intervention in Syria and beyond, but to literally criminalize dissent against the Washington consensus,” Blumenthal told RT. “It would be easy to dismiss this screed as the isolated irritable mental gesture of a random blogger if it hadn’t been shared by an array of pro-war pundits and regime change activists. In my view, the widespread sharing is the mark of a coordinated campaign.”

*
Evidence used to indict the late Robert Parry amounted to a single link to a blog post about Andrew Spannaus – a journalist who has contributed around 20 articles to Parry’s website, Consortium News, since 2016. Even more odd, the article doesn’t discuss Spannaus’ writings about Syria. In other words, an article used to prove Parry’s Assadist worldview is not about Parry and does not focus on his website’s coverage of the Syrian conflict.

Patrick Henningsen, editor of 21st Century Wire and alleged Assadist, underscored that the list’s inclusion of deceased journalists Alexander Cockburn, who passed away in 2012, and Parry, who died earlier this year, revealed its amateurish nature.

“I didn’t realise this ‘directory’ was posthumous as well. What this demonstrates is that the author has very little grasp of the subject he is attempting to frame. If it were a high school report, it would’ve been graded a failure,” Henningsen told RT. “What’s most shocking however, is that former media professionals have actually endorsed this misadventure, which shows that they don’t care much for facts and reality either. All that seems to matter is who and whom. This speaks volumes as to the deteriorating level of critical thinking in political discourse in certain mainstream echo chambers.”

Henningsen said that, personally, he was flattered to share the blacklist alongside Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh, as well as Martha Gellhorn Prize-winners Patrick Cockburn and Gareth Porter…”

*

@NeilClark66  Neil Clark:

On the subject of the unintentionally hilarious ´List of International Assadists’ (Don’t tell him Pike!´-‘Your name too is going on ze list!’) I’m sure it’s news to Craig Murray @CraigMurrayOrg that he was once the British Ambassador to Syria.
https://twitter.com/NeilClark66/status/1033460421989216257

@BenjaminNorton

So shameful. This former editor at The Guardian is signal-boosting a ridiculous, poorly sourced, error/lie-filled blacklist from a pro-opposition regime change activist who has argued so-called “Assadist propagandists” should “be held criminally liable
https://twitter.com/BenjaminNorton/status/1033101426166321152

Brexit And Rare Accountability For Folly

Boris Johnson (Alexandros Michailidis / Shutterstock.com)Boris Johnson (Alexandros Michailidis / Shutterstock.com)

by Paul R. Pillar

The Brexiteers in the United Kingdom who sold their fellow citizens a bill of goods before the Brexit referendum two years ago are starting to pay a political price. They are paying it as the countrymen whom they bamboozled begin to confront some of the painful reality of what they bought. The process began last month with the resignations of Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Brexit Secretary David Davis, amid stalemate in negotiations over a new relationship between Britain and the European Union. A couple of years ago, Johnson probably was the most popular politician in Britain. Now, as British journalist Jenni Russell observes, “He knows that the verdict of history is about to come down on him—and bury him.” Most recently, Davis’s successor has had to warn British businesses about the red-tape-entangled nightmare that will ensue if the government fails to reach a new deal with the EU.

The vision the Brexiteers offered was never realizable. There was no way to enjoy the benefits of the continent-wide common market without the obligations that make that market possible. The numbers in the ledger books would never come out in a way that would, as the Brexiteers claimed, free up major resources that could go to Britain’s National Health Service. The impossibilities in the Brexiteers’ message have shown up in countless unresolved issues in the negotiations with the EU, such as how to keep the inter-Irish border open and how to avoid gargantuan traffic jams at Dover.

The leading Brexiteers probably were smart enough to realize this. But the demagogic opportunity to ride the Brexit issue to greater political power—and in Johnson’s case, perhaps into the prime minister’s office—was too tempting. The Brexiteers thought they could get away with it because they did not expect to win the referendum. As Russell writes, because the Brexiteers “were confident that the Leave campaign was a hopeless cause, they were free to make ridiculous claims that they had no expectation of ever having to fulfill.” There is an eerie similarity to events on this side of the Atlantic—at least as chronicled by author Michael Wolff, who wrote in his book about Donald Trump that Trump and his entourage did not believe they would win the 2016 election, until this disbelief was replaced on election night by the horrifying prospect of having to assume the responsibilities of governing.

Much commentary has described the Brexit movement in Britain and Trumpism in the United States as two manifestations of a wider transnational phenomenon that also includes xenophobic nationalist parties and leaders across Europe. That phenomenon has produced much grief and bad policy in multiple countries, from retrograde trade practices to the exacerbation of racial and ethnic tensions. But Brexit is an exception in beginning to show some political accountability for the grief. The reason Brexit is different is that it involves a deadline. In accordance with the rules of the EU for exiting the union, Britain is getting out next March. There soon will be either a no-deal Brexit, with all the glaringly obvious disruptions that would entail, or an agreement whose differences from the happy scenario the Brexiteers peddled will be just as obvious.

No Deadlines

The policies of the Brexiteers’ nationalist counterparts in other countries usually do not involve deadlines. There usually is no time limit to stringing people along. There usually is no moment, within a politically meaningful time frame, when the piper must be paid for policy malfeasance. And many purveyors of bad policy remain in power.

There are several reasons such purveyors remain in power even in democracies, where the antidote to policies that affect citizens badly is supposed to be for the citizens to cashier their leaders and vote someone else into power. Some democratically elected governments, such as in Hungary, Poland, and Turkey, have become less democratic once in power and thus better able to maintain their grip on power despite policy failures. The same pattern has not yet prevailed in the United States, although it displays disturbing signs of moving in that direction.

Democracy does not need to be crippled for the accountability problem to persist. As Stephen Walt has written, lack of accountability for foreign policy failures, even really big failures, has long been a prevailing pattern in the United States.

The artistry of the demagogue may have much to do with this pattern. People can be strung along for a remarkably long time if inculcated with the belief that things are bad now but will get better if we just stick with whatever the demagogue is selling. In other words, keep swallowing the snake oil. Lincoln was right that a leader cannot fool all the people all of the time, but this is an instance of enough of the people being fooled for a long enough time.

Donald Trump has added the technique of creating an illusion of progress by first portraying an awful status quo and then, after holding a meeting or signing a paper, claiming a major breakthrough even if none has occurred. His policy on North Korea has featured this technique. A current question is whether this specific illusion is wearing away too fast to continue as the centerpiece of the policy. Most recently he has claimed to have made “maybe the largest trade deal ever” with Mexico and, with a name change, to have replaced the North American Free Trade Agreement when in fact he accomplished neither.

At least the ill effects of something like a trade war are not a can that can be kicked down the road indefinitely, and many of the effects are felt directly enough in voters’ pocketbooks to have political consequences. The stream of interviews with soybean farmers or owners of small metal-using businesses who supported Trump and say they are sticking with him for now despite the economic pain he is causing him cannot continue indefinitely.

Indirect and Long-Term Effects

But on many other issues of national policy, including foreign policy, the ill effects—although they may be substantial—are too long-term and/or too indirect to be easily felt and seen, or at least for most citizens to make the connection between the effects and the policies that led to them. Unilateralist policies that tend to isolate the United States and disrupt its most important alliances will make it more difficult for the United States to accomplish many of the things that it hopes to accomplish abroad, but the causality will be too subtle for most Americans who applauded the unilateralist rhetoric to be aware of that cost.

Or take one of the most egregious modern examples of lack of accountability for policy malpractice: the launching of the Iraq War in 2003. The most enthusiastic promoters of that war—one of whom currently is the national security advisor—have not paid a political price, nor any other kind of price, for that blunder. The immediate human costs of the war for Americans were disguised by an all-volunteer military, and the immediate financial costs were disguised by not raising taxes to pay for the war (unlike what Lyndon Johnson did during the Vietnam War). The total financial costs, which are well into the trillions, stretch out for decades (in such forms as care for disabled veterans), well beyond a time scale that makes accountability feasible. Major political and security costs of the war, including the stoking of sectarian conflict in the Middle East and incubation of terrorist groups, also have a long time frame.

Many other important policies exhibit similar lags in their ill consequences and thus similar difficulty in achieving accountability. This certainly includes climate change, in which denialist policies have catastrophic consequences that will be felt most brutally only by future generations.

Deadlines, where they are possible, work. They not only get students to submit their homework but also help to achieve democratic accountability. Brexit is a tragedy for Britain and for the European Union, but at least there will be some political reckoning regarding responsibility for that tragedy. Unfortunately, many other public policies do not lend themselves to deadlines in the same way. And that is a major reason that many policy misdeeds go unpunished.

Pink Floyd Legend Roger Waters Slams #Skripal Case as ‘Nonsense’

Source

The former leader of Pink Floyd has also blasted the White Helmets, a dubious Syrian volunteer organization which has been accused of staging videos of chemical attacks, as part of the “propaganda war,” echoing the dismissive comments he made earlier this year.

The UK’s Momentary Lapse of Reason

In an interview with the Russian newspaper Izvestiya, former Pink Floyd member Roger Waters dismissed the infamous Skripal case as “nonsense.” “That the attack on the Skripals was nonsense is clear to a person with half a brain. But some don’t even have one half, that’s why they believe in this absurd,” he was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

The Skripal case unfolded in Salisbury, England in early March, when former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter were exposed to a nerve agent known as “Novichok.” The UK rushed to accuse Russia of involvement in the attack, which the Kremlin has repeatedly denied. Although no evidence has been provided that Russia was behind the Skripal poisoning, the UK expelled 23 Russian diplomats, prompting Russia take a similar retaliatory measure, shut down the British Council and close the British Consulate in St. Petersburg.

Waters also accused White House officials of being behind the Ukrainian crisis. He claimed that Victoria Nuland, spokesperson for the US Department of State in 2011-2013, had organized the crisis. “I don’t know how Ukraine is going to find a way out of this situation, but blaming Russia for it is ridiculous.”

Careful With That Hoax, Eugene

When asked about his opinion on the controversial NGO White Helmets, which reported an alleged chemical attack in Douma in April, Waters called its actions “just an episode of the propaganda war that tries to demonize [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, [Syrian President Bashar] Assad, Iran, and so on.” He went on to say that reports from extremist-occupied Aleppo hinted that the White Helmets were militants.

White Helmets uniform found during the search of terrorists’ headquarters in Eastern Ghouta.
Waters, who is known for speaking out on political issues from the stage, denounced the White Helmets as “a fake organization that exists only to create propaganda for the jihadists and terrorists” at a concert in Barcelona on April 13.

His comments came shortly after the NGO released footage of an alleged deadly chemical attack on the rebel-held city of Douma carried out by Syrian pro-government forces. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the video was staged by the White Helmets and the UK.

However, on April 15 the US, UK and France launched an air strike on three Syrian sites in response to the suspected attack on Douma, despite the Syrian government’s denial of ever using chemical weapons

“Ultimate Racists”: A Catalogue of Racism, Xenophobia, Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in the British Conservative Party, 2015-2018 #Corbyn

T.J. Coles
Please share this article as widely as possible – T.J. Coles

British media have singled out the Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour party for relentless and unprecedented accusations of widespread anti-Semitism. The same media have almost completely ignored far more widespread and easier-to-prove prejudice in the governing Conservative (Tory) party. Occasional reports have not amounted to daily, hysterical attacks against the Tories, as is the case with Labour.

Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s remarks about veiled women looking like “letter boxes” is the tip of a very large iceberg.[i] A few months ago, the UN Special Rapporteur on Racism, E. Tendayi Achiume, highlighted what she called “structural racism” at the heart of British society.[ii]

In 2015, ex-Tory advisor, Derek Laud (who is black), told British media, with specific reference to how the Tories treat the migration issue: “There is no other party better at pointing the blame their way than the Tories. They are the ultimate racists because they deal in stereotypes.”[iii] But Laud didn’t stop there. Referring to the treatment of black Tory candidate for west London, Shaun Bailey in 2010, Laud said: “They saw in Shaun a stereotype of what they wanted – black, presentable, committed. But as soon as he had served his purpose they dropped him.”[iv]

In 2016 (updated this year), the British union UNITE published a dossier of alleged and confirmed racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, and Islamophobia within the Tory party. The report made no recommendations and states: “the Conservative Party is regularly beset by allegations of racism against its MPs, councillors and candidates. It’s also clear that only rarely do such instances – even when particularly offensive – result in the person being expelled from the Party.”[v]

In 2016, Dr Feyzi Ismail reported that the British Tory government was refusing to host an online petition to call for an inquiry into racism.[vi]

What follows is a chronology of allegations and confirmations of prejudice made against Tory politicians and councillors. Boris Johnson deserves a separate article of his own for the racist things he’s said and written. (For a Johnson compilation, see Chapter 2 of my book, The Great Brexit Swindle (2016, Clairview Books)). Years covered in this article are 2015 (when the Tories came into office) to the present.

2015

January: Peter Batty, Tory leader for Hinckley and Bosworth, passed on emails containing jokes about black people and Pakistani flood victims.[vii]

April: The Limbury Mead Residents Page Facebook group run by candidate David Coulter posted in reference to Irish travellers: “Red Alert! Be aware the pikies have moved the car park at the shops [sic]. LOCK YOUR DOORS- GUARD YOUR VEHICLES. It is not politically correct, but be damned, they are thieving troublemakers and we need vigilance” (emphasis in original). Coulter denies writing it and said he personally deleted it.[viii]

April: Candidate for Derby Council, Gulzabeen Afsar, was suspended after saying she’d never support then-Labour Party leader, Ed Miliband, whom she referred to as “the Jew.”[ix]

May: No action was taken when councillor Thomas Crockett of Maida Vale compared local youngsters to Hitler Youth.[x]

May: Following a police investigation, no action was taken after Leicestershire Cllr Bob Fahey referred to one colleague as “the Indian” and another as a “Chink.”[xi]

June: Dover District Cllr Bob Frost tweeted that a Big Issue (homeless magazine) salesperson should “fuck off back to Romania.” Frost said it was satire. (Frost has a history of posting racist abuse, or “satire”: calling rioters in London in 2011 “jungle bunnies” and Arabs “sons of camel drivers”).[xii]

July: PM Cameron referred to refugees as a “swarm.”[xiii]

September: Cllr for East Renfreshire, Gordon McCaskill, implied that refugees are terrorists when he tweeted that he wished to see those in Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon’s house reveal themselves to be “Daesh moles.” He was suspended.[xiv]

September: It was reported that Mike Kusneraitis, Cllr for Runnymede Borough Council, Surrey, posted numerous images, including a dog with a towel over its head, presumably in relation to Arabs or Muslims in general. Kusneraitis apologised and said he never meant to cause offense.[xv]

October: Cllr Jim Buckley of Rugby tweeted about Sadiq Khan: “Your next London Mayor? You think his corner shop would be open on a Saturday?” Buckley was suspended but later cleared of wrongdoing.[xvi]

December: Then-adviser to PM David Cameron, Oliver Letwin was exposed as saying in 1985 (when working for Margaret Thatcher) that black people had “bad moral attitudes” and that employment programs would see them move “into unemployment and crime.”[xvii]

December: Bassett and Swaything Conservative Association member, Valerie Laurent, said: “You know the little brown boy who’s standing for Swaything? That should have been mine.” Laurent later resigned, denying the allegation.[xviii]

2016

January: PM Cameron referred to refugees as “a bunch of migrants.”[xix]

February: Cllr for Trafford, Manchester, Matthew Sephton (who was later jailed on child abuse charges), posted a sarcastic leaflet aimed at the welfare state inviting foreigners to “consider moving to England, The Welfare Country,” which also implies that immigrants are scroungers.[xx]

April: Tory Cllr David Whittingham was stripped of membership and sacked from the Fareham North West council borough after he told housing officers he didn’t want any foreigners living near him (by foreigners, he meant non-whites). Whittingham was expelled from the party.[xxi]

April: Abdul Zaman, deputy chair of Bradford’s Conservative Association, implied that due his area being influenced by the Biradri system, Jews and Christians will be assimilated politically. He was suspended.[xxii]

June: Cllr Heather Venter of Driffield, Yorkshire, “liked” social media posts saying: “Shouldn’t employ Muslims. Nothing but trouble” and, “Sadly, looks like Romania’s Gypsy begger/pickpockets [sic] will b [sic] soon replaced by African Muslims.”[xxiii]

August: Cllr Andrew Dransfield, vice chair of Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes’ fire authority, said to a black firefighter, “You’re the first one I’ve seen …  [an] ethnic minority … Now all we need is a woman.” He was suspended.[xxiv]

2017

January: Cllr David Dean of Merton was re-admitted (in April) to the party after he allegedly said to a constituent of Labour Mayor Sadiq Khan: “as a white man … you will be a pariah in your own town. He will treat you like dirt.” Dean denies it.[xxv]

February: Cllr Alan Pearmain deputy chair of the South Ribble Conservative Association and Farington Parish Councillor posted a favourable comment about a tweet featuring Shadow Home Secretary, Diane Abbott (who is black), as an orangutan. Cllr Pearmain describes himself on Twitter as “slightly to the right of Attila the Hun.”[xxvi]

April: Cllr Ray Bray of Shelley on Kirkburton Parish Council appeared to have published a series of tweets about “Muzzie rapists” and taxi drivers. When quizzed by the media, he said he could not remember whether or not he’d posted them. He then said that his twitter account was hacked. Bray was suspended.[xxvii]

May: Warwick District Councillor Nick Harrington was suspended after saying Ireland can “Keep your f’king gypsies! Hard border coming folks!” (his self-censorship). The Warwick District Council said that Cllr Harrington could not be sacked because he is an elected official and not an employee.[xxviii]

May: Michael R. Watson, Kirklees Cllr for the Denby Dale Ward was reported liking tweets, including pro-Nazi messages implying that “men” do not want big breasted women, but rather Nazi Aryan women. He was suspended.[xxix]

June: Following criticism of PM Theresa May over her seemingly indifferent response to the deaths of dozens of people in Grenfell Tower, Tory candidate for Coventry South, Michelle Lowe, tweeted a picture of Hitler and said sarcastically, “Politicians should go out and hug the public more. It proves they are nice people.”[xxx]

June: Gloucestershire County Councillor Lynden Stowe: “I think that some of Corbyn’s policies and the way he behaves are not dissimilar to some of the ways the National Socialist Party came about.” Calling Corbyn an anti-Semite, Stowe added: “In what he is trying to do with some of the younger people – it’s not dissimilar to Hitler Youth.”[xxxi]

July: MP for Newton Abbot, Devon, Anne Marie Morris, had the whip restored in December after she was briefly punished in July for using the anachronism, “Nigger in the woodpile” in relation to Brexit.[xxxii]

July: Tory Cllr Rosemary Carroll of Pendle Borough Council denigrated poor people, ethnic minorities and dogs by comparing poor minorities to dogs, tweeting that they “stink,” have never worked and are brown. Carroll was suspended and claims she shared the joke accidentally.[xxxiii]

August: It was reported that Stirling councillor Robert Davies tweeted of black people boarding a plane: “In the interests of security keep your loin cloths with you at all times. Spears go in the overhead locker.” Alastair Majury, Tory councillor in Stirling, tweeted jokes about Catholics: “Why is the Catholic Church against birth control? Because they’ll run out of children to molest.” Majury also called Catholics “tarriers,” an offensive term dating back to the Great Famine (1845-52). He also compared the Scottish National Party to Nazis. The Scottish Tories said: “Having served a suspension, both councillors have been readmitted to the party after offering unreserved apologies for any offence caused.”[xxxiv]

September: Jeff Potts of Solihull borough council in the West Midlands retweeted the comments of others, such as: “Deport and repatriate all muzlims [sic] from the UK or watch terrorists kill innocent people for generations to come” and, “You’ve clearly not experienced the Pakistani hospitality, having a daughter raped by men who think she’s ‘white trash’.” Potts was suspended.[xxxv]

October: Calls from opposition councillors mounted to suspend Solihull Cllr, Margaret Bassett, over retweets of some of Jeff Potts’ retweets relating to migration.[xxxvi]

November: MP Douglas Ross said of “Gypsy-travellers” that he would impose “tougher restrictions” on their movements and settlements.[xxxvii]

December: Teignmouth Cllr Robert Phipp was revealed to have liked a Facebook post by the far-right Britain First group featuring a covered dog and suggesting it could be a guide dog for blind Muslim women.[xxxviii]

December: It was reported that Cllr Eve Allison (who is black) filed a complaint against local Conservative bosses, accusing them of racism and sexism. She was sacked (a.k.a. deselected), meaning her application to stand for re-election was rejected.[xxxix]

2018

March: It was report that Derek McCabe of South Ayrshire council, who sits on the council’s equality and diversity forum, had posted jokes on Facebook denigrating poor people and black people.[xl]

April: It was reported that in 2013, Councillor Mike Payne of Sowerby Bridge, Calderdale, shared an article which described Muslims benefit recipients as “parasites.” Payne was suspended.[xli]

April: A scandal broke (Windrush) in which it was revealed that for many years, the Home Office (including under then-Home Secretary and now PM Theresa May) had a policy of denying citizenship to Afro-Caribbean-majority Britons, despite many and their parents having been invited to Britain in the 1960s to fill an alleged labour shortage. The Tory government had a policy of creating a “hostile environment” for migrants (or “illegal migrants”, as they claim).[xlii] Home Secretary Amber Rudd took the heat for May and resigned.

May: Rosemary Carroll (the councillor who shared on social media a  joke comparing Asians to dogs) was re-relected.[xliii]

May: Baroness Warsi (Tory) expressed concern about Islamophobia in her party. No action was taken.[xliv]

June: Baroness Warsi again expressed concerns about Islamophobia in the Tory party, stating: “I think that there is a general sense in the country that Muslims are fair game and it is not the kind of community … you can treat really badly and have many consequences. You can get away with it” (sic).[xlv]

July: Warsi called for a full and independent inquiry into Islamophobia in the Tory party, stating that no action had been taken since her last public statements, adding that the attitude among Tories was “fuck the Muslims”.[xlvi]

Resources:

[i] Boris Johnson (2018) ‘Denmark has got it wrong. Yes, the burka is oppressive and ridiculous – but that’s still no reason to ban itTelegraph.

[ii] UN News (2018) ‘UN rights experts voice concerns about “structural racism” in United Kingdom’.

[iii] James Hanning (2015) ‘Conservative party is still racist, says a former adviser Derek LaudIndependent.

[iv] Ibid.

[v] UNITE (2016) ‘A dossier on racism in the Conservative Party’.

[vi] Feyzi Ismail (2016) ‘No.10 website refuses to host petition calling for inquiry into Tory racism’ Counterfire.

[vii] Samantha Hadadi (2015) ‘Top Tory apologises for sending racist and pornographic emailsHinckley Times.

[viii] Luton Today (2015) ‘Tory council candidate David Coulter caught in row over “pikie” post’.

[ix] BBC (2015) ‘Ed Miliband Jewish slur candidate suspended by Conservatives’.

[x] Hannah McGrath (2015) ‘Political row after Maida Vale councillor compares local children to Hitler Youth on TwitterKilburn Times.

[xi] Alex Arnold and Martin Fricker (2015) ‘Police investigate Tory accused of calling fellow councillor a “chink” in election night speechMirror.

[xii] Eleanor Perkins (2015) ‘Councillor Bob Frost gets away with tweetKent Online.

[xiii] BBC (2015) ‘David Cameron criticised over migrant “swarm” language’.

[xiv] BBC (2015) ‘Tory councillor suspended over Islamic State moles tweet’.

[xv] Tom Batchelor (2015) ‘“If Carlsberg did illegal immigrants” Tory councillorExpress.

[xvi] Coventry Live (2016) ‘Former Tory councillor found not guilty of sending offensive tweet to Labour London mayor hopeful’.

[xvii] Matt Dathan (2015) ‘The 5 most shocking quotes in Oliver Letwin’s “racist” memoIndependent.

[xviii] Matthew Snape (2017) ‘Exclusive: Southampton Tories’ history of racism and bullying revealedBlasting News.

[xix] Rowena Mason and Frances Perraudin (2016) ‘Cameron’s “bunch of migrants” jibe is callous and dehumanising, say MPsGuardian.

[xx] Todd Fitzgerald (2016) ‘Councillor prompts outrage after tweeting immigration poster claiming “Only Suckers Work in England”Manchester Evening News.

[xxi] Miles O’Leary (2016) ‘Fareham tory councillor axed from party after racist rantThe News Portsmouth.

[xxii] Campaign Against Anti-Semitism (2016) ‘Confusion over suspension of “anti-Semitic” Conservative councillor’. This organization appears to deny that the statement was anti-Semitic.

[xxiii] Alex Wood and Stewart Paterson (2016) “Ex-Yorkshire mayor in racism storm over anti-Muslim and ‘Romania gypsy’ tweets” Yorkshire Post.

[xxiv] Milton Keynes Citizen (2016) ‘Milton Keynes councillor suspended from Tory party after claims he made racist and sexist remarks’.

[xxv] Adela Whittingham (2017) ‘Councillor David Dean re-admitted to Conservative Party after being suspended’ Your Local Guardian.

[xxvi] Lancashire Post (2017) ‘Lancashire Tory suspended in “racist” tweet row’.

[xxvii] Nick Lavigueur (2017) ‘Twitter account of Tory councillor used to post abusive Islamophobic commentsHuddersfield Daily Examiner.

[xxviii] Simon Gilbert (2017) ‘Eurovision gypsy tweet councillor Nick Harrington “cannot be sacked”Coventry Telegraph.

[xxix] Nick Lavigueur (2017) ‘Second Tory caught in race-hate Twitter stormHuddersfield Daily Examiner.

[xxx] Sarah Morland (2017) ‘Former Conservative candidate for Coventry South criticized for Hitler tweet’ The Boar.

[xxxi] Matt Discombe (2017) ‘Tory councillor in Gloucestershire compares Jeremy Corbyn to HITLERGloucestershire Live.

[xxxii] Mid Sussex Times (2017) ‘Former Mid Sussex councillor has Conservative whip restored’.

[xxxiii] Bridie Pearson-Jones (2017) ‘Tory councillor who shared joke comparing Asian people to dogs suspendedIndependent.

[xxxiv] Kevin Schofield (2017) ‘Anger as Tory councillors in anti-Catholic and racist tweets row are re-instated to partyHolyrood (magazine).

[xxxv] Henry Zeffman (2017) ‘Tory councillor Jeff Potts suspended after sharing racist tweetsThe Times.

[xxxvi] Les Reid (2017) ‘UPDATED: Pressure mounts after “anti-immigration” tweets on Tories to suspend second councillor Margaret BassettSolihull Observer.

[xxxvii] BBC (2017) ‘Tory MP Douglas Ross criticised over Gypsy remark’.

[xxxviii] Tina Crowson (2017) ‘A Muslim father who is angry at a local councillor’s use of a Britain First post calls for an apologyDevon Live.

[xxxix] Hugo Gye (2017) ‘Tory race row: Grenfell Tower council hit with racism complaint as black Tory councillor is sacked by colleagues in “lynching”’ The Sun.

[xl] Kirsteen Paterson (2018) ‘Tory councillor Derek McCabe’s “offensive” posts revealedThe National (Scotland).

[xli] Nick Lavigueur (2018) ‘Councillor denies he’s racist after sharing article that called Muslims “parasites”’ Huddersfield Daily Examiner.

[xlii] Sarah Pepin and Melanie Gower (2018) ‘Windrush generation’ House of Commons  Library CDP-2018-0111, London: The Stationary Office.

[xliii] BBC (2018) ‘Tories urged to act in “racist joke” row at Pendle Councilhttps://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-44022663.

[xliv] BBC (2018) ‘Baroness Warsi: Conservatives must act on Islamophobia’.

[xlv] Benjamin Kentish (2018) ‘Islamophobia “very widespread” in Conservative Party, says Baroness WarsiIndependent.

[xlvi] Dan Sabbagh (2018) ‘Sayeeda Warsi calls for inquiry into Islamophobia within Tory partyGuardian.

UK poll suggests Brits would now vote Remain, despite that the UK Govt. still seems determined to drive off the cliff

UK poll suggests Brits would now vote Remain

The EU and UK are facing a no-Brexit deal scenario (Photo: By Dave Kellam, via Wikimedia Commons)

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The majority of people in the UK would now vote to remain part of the European Union, according to a new poll.

A YouGov survey on Friday (10 August) suggests 53 percent of voters would choose to stay in the EU, if a referendum was held now, as opposed to 47 percent who would opt to leave.

The survey canvassed more than 10,000 people ahead of Britain’s uncertain departure from the Union next March.

The BBC further reports that 82 percent of young people from 18 to 24 years of age would vote remain should a second referendum be held, citing an average of polls conducted over the past three months.

This compares to the some two-thirds of those over 65 who would vote leave.

Meanwhile, talks between the EU and the UK have floundered over the past few months as internal political rifts in Britain appear to further expose tensions over the issue.

Earlier this week, police chiefs in the UK issued warnings of “substantial risk to public safety” by losing access to EU security databases.

The National Farmers’ Union had also warned a no-deal Brexit runs the risk of food shortages as the British pound dropped to a nine-month low against the euro.

Jersey model

The EU and UK have remained at loggerheads on how to proceed given their respective red lines.

Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, maintains there can be “no cherry-picking” when it comes to retaining UK access to the EU single market for goods.

But The Times, a British newspaper, citing unnamed sources, has reported that the EU may now be willing to make a big concession to appease UK demands.

According to The Times, European leaders may be ready to allow the UK to remain a part of the single market for goods while allowing Britain to opt out of the free movement of people.

The plan is expected to be presented next month at a summit of EU member states in Salzburg, Austria.

The reported proposal is based on the so-called ‘Jersey model’ where the UK would remain in the single market for goods.

“If May came with the Jersey model there would be a serious discussion among leaders for the first time,” a senior EU source, was quoted as saying in The Times.

The EU, in exchange, would then demand that UK’s prime minister Theresa May, adopt all future EU environmental and social protections.

Boris (the clown) Johnson slammed over Islamophobic comments

UK: Boris Johnson slammed over Islamophobic comments

New calls for Islamophobia inquiry in Johnson’s party after he says…

New calls for Islamophobia inquiry in Johnson’s party after he says women wearing face veils resemble ‘letter boxes’.

Boris Johnson

Johnson resigned last month as foreign secretary [File: Reuters]

Boris Johnson, the former British foreign secretary, has come under fire after Islamophobic comments targeting Muslim women wearing face veils.

In an opinion piece published in Monday’s Daily Telegraph, the Tory politician and leading figure in a campaign for Britain to leave the EU said that Muslim women wearing the veils look like “letter boxes” and compared them to “bank robbers”.

His comments prompted Muslim groups in the UK to renew calls for an inquiry into Islamophobia in the Conservative Party.

“Boris Johnson’s latest racist insults cannot be laughed off, like they often are,” said Naz Shah, the opposition Labour Party’s shadow equalities minister.

“Saying Muslim women look like letterboxes, comparing them to bank robbers and describing Islam as a ‘problem’ was a calculated attack and published in a national newspaper,” she added.

“[Prime Minister] Theresa May must condemn this blatant Islamophobia and Boris Johnson must apologise,” Shah said.

Many remarked on Twitter that Johnson has been in contact with Steve Bannon, former campaign manager for US President Donald Trump, and accused him of “pandering to the far-right” amid speculation over a future leadership contest within the Conservative Party.

 

David Lammy, a Labour MP, wrote on Twitter: “Muslim women are having their burkas pulled off by thugs in our streets & Boris Johnson’s response is to mock them for ‘looking like letter boxes.’ Our pound-shop Donald Trump is fanning the flames of Islamophobia to propel his grubby electoral ambitions.”

 

Others noted that this sort of language would not be tolerated against other minority groups.

 

Dehumanising remarks

Tell MAMA, an NGO tracking hate crime targeting Muslims in Britain, said in a statement that Johnson’s comments “dehumanise” Muslim women.

“He [Johnson] has little idea of the emotional, mental health and sometimes physical suffering these women feel when they are targeted for hate,” the statement said.

“Maybe he needs to spend some time with us Tell MAMA to understand the impact of dehumanising words on the lives and families of people who suffer hate.”

Islamophobia within the leading Conservative Party has been under scrutiny in recent months as calls to look into the problem have mounted.

Sayeeda Warsi, a senior Tory member, last month called for an inquiry into allegations of Islamophobia in the party.

Warsi, a member of the House of Lords, highlighted the acute issue surrounding Islamophobia and anti-Muslim rhetoric in her party in an open letter published by The Guardian in July.

“There should be a forensic, wide-ranging and transparent inquiry into Islamophobia in the party,” Warsi said, adding “the process should be published, those who are found wanting should be publicly named and membership withdrawn”.

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) wrote two letters to the Conservatives this year urgently calling for an inquiry, as have groups such as the National Union of Students, the Union of Jewish Students, and institutions representing over 200 mosques in the UK.

 

“We need responsibility and action from our politicians, not pandering to the far-right,” the MCB said on Monday, in reaction to Johnson’s latest comments.

“Mr Johnson’s remarks also underscore the Muslim Council of Britain’s call for an inquiry into Islamophobia in the Conservative Party,” the council said on Twitter.

Johnson resigned last month as foreign secretary amid disagreement with May over her Brexit plans on future relations with the EU

Politicians who voted in favour of #Brexit must be held personally responsible for the consequences which undoubtedly will be quite severe

BREXIT – The Collapse of Confidence – What Now?

By True Publica,

These are some of the latest results coming from YouGov about the state of politics in Britain. Public sentiment is driven by the biggest post-war decision the country has made – Brexit – and it is now going very, very badly indeed. Much worse than anticipated.

69% of Britons saying Brexit is going badly

With 69% of Britons believing that Brexit is going badly, and with the political class pointing fingers in all directions, who does the public think is at fault? Now a new YouGov study shows that the answer is very different depending on whether people voted Remain or Leave.

The largest figure of blame for Brexit going badly – is the government. Two thirds (68%) of those who think Brexit is currently going badly say that it is the government’s fault. This includes three quarters who voted Remain (77%) and 58% of Leave voters.

With lots of talk of preparing for a no-deal Brexit, the possibilities of the Tory party completely disintegrating in 2019 becomes ever-more real. The electorate is now becoming very nervous of what Brexit may bring, given that the Conservatives have no idea themselves

The EU referendum: two years on

Slightly more of the British public think that voting to leave the EU was wrong for Britain than think it was the right decision, and on most measures, more people expect it will have a negative than a positive impact.

Despite all this negativity, most people in June, two years after the referendum still thought that the government should go ahead with Brexit, and the overwhelming majority expect that Britain will – ultimately – end up leaving. That was, until Theresa May’s Chequers plan.

The Conservative Leave vote is fracturing

“it appears to be Conservative Leave voters who are moving away from Theresa May’s Conservative party. In the week following Chequers the number saying they would stick with the Conservative party has dropped by ten percentages, with just 64% saying they would now vote for them in a general election.”

Let’s not forget what that actually means. That fall in the electorate voting Tory would prove quite a drama because the fall of ten per cent – is a fall recorded just before the Chequers plan and just after – not the overall fall. This defection has led to the voting intention changing from Tory to Labour.

Voting Intention: Conservatives 36%, Labour 41% (16-17 July)

The latest YouGov/ Times voting intention survey sees the Conservatives on 36% (from 37% in our most recent survey) and Labour on 41% (from 39%). Elsewhere, Liberal Democrat voting intention stands at 9% (from 10%) while 14% would vote for other parties (unchanged).

What this means is that the electorate is losing confidence in the party driving Britain’s Brexit negotiations. This is demonstrated quite clearly as Theresa May’s overall standing collapses.

Theresa May’s favourability score plummets to new low

With the government still reeling in the aftermath of the Chequers Brexit plan and the resignations it precipitated, new YouGov favourability polling reveals that the Prime Minister’s popularity has hit an all-time low.

It should be noted that, as stated above, those turning against the Prime Minister appear to be Leave voters. The only truly amazing statistic about Theresa May is that at the summer recess – she’s still Prime Minister. And few would have bet on that at any odds just six months ago.

The Conservatives are suffering from the events following the Chequers Brexit plan

Having now outlined their most recent Brexit plan, voters are even less clear on where the Conservatives stand on Brexit than they were before. The proportion of people who think the Tories’ policy on Brexit is “very” or “fairly” clear has fallen from 26% in mid-June to 16% now, while the proportion who find it “fairly” or “completely” unclear has risen from 58% to 69%.

The way of interpreting this is quite clear. It’s a mess. We have a lot to be fearful of because of politicians.

What Now?

Jeremy Hunt’s appointment to foreign secretary and the four biggest positions at the head of the U.K. government — prime minister, chancellor, foreign secretary and home secretary — all filled by people who voted to remain in the EU but are now tasked with negotiating a path out.

The electorate don’t believe in their plans for Brexit – even though they agree Brexit should mean Brexit.

That means a battered Britain is in for a further period of instability and more confusion, as a government led by people who don’t believe in Brexit in the first place will now finalize a framework to present to the EU who won’t agree to it anyway.

A no-deal scenario is now a stronger possibility and even the terms of that have to be agreed between the EU and the U.K. by the deadline. This would actually be an economic calamity for both the UK and the EU.

Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, said: “Politicians come and go, but the problems they have created for the people remain. The mess caused by Brexit is the biggest problem in the history of EU-U.K. relations. And it is still very far from being solved.”

As our report – The real Brexit ‘dividend’ – “a decade of economic underperformance and political crisis” from the London School of economics emphasised, “barring a vote to remain in the European Union, Britain faces the prospect of a lost decade of economic underperformance, subdued wage growth and investment and, increasingly, political crisis.”

Truthfully, in a no-deal scenario, that forecast is optimistic. Brace yourselves. It’s time for a new way to manage Britain and it isn’t the way we have right now.

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Featured image is from TruePublica.

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