EU: Another Step Down the Slippery Slope


EU: Another Step Down the Slippery Slope

ANDREI AKULOV | 19.06.2017 | WORLD

EU: Another Step Down the Slippery Slope

The EU Commission has launched legal action against Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland which refused to take in refugees from Italy and Greece. The three EU states have acted «in breach of their legal obligations», the Commission said in a statement, adding that it had previously warned the countries to observe «their commitments to Greece, Italy and other member states». The three member states «have not yet relocated a single person», the statement says. The EU members under fire remain defiant.

In September 2015, the EU committed to relocating up to 160,000 refugees from the two countries within two years. However, not all EU states have found the measures acceptable, saying that the migrant crisis cannot be solved through obligatory quotas. Hungary and Slovakia are currently challenging the decision in the EU Court of Justice, and an advocate-general of the court will issue an opinion on July 26. Slovakia was able to avoid legal action against it by responding to EU warnings and opening its doors to a small group of migrants.

Only 20,869 of the 160,000 refugees have so far been relocated in the EU. More than 1.6 million asylum seekers have arrived in Europe since the start of the refugee crisis in 2014.

Now the Commission has launched infringement procedures against the three nations refusing to comply, before possibly referring them to the top European court. The legal battle could last many months or, even, years. As a result, the three states could be imposed financial penalties.

The very fact of launching legal procedures heats up tensions inside the EU at the time the bloc is going through a period of instability and uncertainty, with its unity tested by Brexit, weak economies and growing support for Eurosceptic and nationalist-minded parties.

Perhaps, it’s easier to pay fines than take in refugees and face grave security problems as a result. Going to the bottom of it – it’s not fines that really matter. All the countries opposing the EU migration policy are net beneficiaries of EU funding. A mood is developing among the older EU members to withhold cohesion funds from countries that oppose the relocation of refugees, although no legal basis for this actually exists. But if it starts, the EU will become a battlefield to make the vaunted unity a pipedream. If the events turn this way, the EU will become very much different from what it is today.

The Visegrád countries (V4) – Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary – have found common ground in recent years opposing the EU’s relocation policy and rejecting the idea of a two-speed Europe, but also in advocating the preservation of the Union’s cohesion policy. Indeed, why should East Europeans share the burden of the immigration crisis, especially in view that security policy is a national, not European, competence? These countries call for strengthening of the national states in EU decision-making process.

Poland and Hungary have joined together recently to oppose Brussels stance on human rights.

The V4 also oppose the two-speed» and «multi-speed» concepts supported by EU founders. They believe that the idea would turn them into «second class» members of the bloc.

The «East European revolt» is just part of a bigger process with deepening EU divisions and alliances being formed inside the alliance.

Prospect for the future? The situation inside the EU has bleak prospects for improvement. It calls for a closer look at the recent developments inside the EU. In February, the European Parliament backed three resolutions on strengthening centralization of the bloc. One of the resolutions proposes limiting or even totally abolishing the right of individual member states not to comply with collective decisions – just exactly what the East European members oppose so vehemently. The adoption of the resolutions may be the first step towards a fundamental change in the EU Treaty.

In February, leaders of the lower chambers of parliaments of Germany, Italy, France, and Luxembourg published a letter demanding a «Federal Union» be implemented without delay. It was published by Italian La Stampa on February 27. They call for «closer political integration — the Federal Union of States with broad powers. «Those who believe in European ideals, should be able to give them a new life instead of helplessly observing its slow sunset», the paper reads.

The idea to create a «common European defense» is a dubious endeavor; it presupposes additional financial burden at the time the US increases pressure to make Europeans raise NATO expenditure. Add to this the need to pay more for the migrants against the background of stagnating economy to see how unrealistic all these plans are. Europeans have already been made pay more for US liquefied gas for political reasons, while Russia can offer supplies at much lower prices.

Guy Verhofstadt, the former Belgian Prime Minister and European Parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator, believes that the European Union must reform, or face the risk of collapse as a result of internal and external challenges. Noam Chomsky, a prominent US scholar, has predicted that the EU will disintegrate. The EU will collapse in 2017, predicts Mark Blyth, a lecturer in political economy at Brown University in the US, known for forecasts to come true.

The event marks a turning point in EU history. This is the first time EU members will face legal procedures for non-compliance with the rules established by Brussels. It shows how the migration crisis has divided the bloc. The process will not die away, migrants will continue their route north to the wealthier countries and the tensions inside the EU will grow. Rival blocs and perpetuate divisions will not disappear, turning the EU into a patchwork of blocs within blocs. The project of European integration does not look viable anymore. Legal actions cannot bridge the differences dividing its members.

EU offers UK a lifeline to stay a member

EU tells UK its door still ‘open’ – EUobserver

France and Germany have said the UK could still stay in the EU, as Britain confirmed that Brexit talks would start on Monday (19 June).

The French president, Emmanuel Macron, made the comment after meeting British prime minister Theresa May in Paris on Tuesday.

“Of course, the [EU] door remains open, always open, until the Brexit negotiations come to an end”, he said.

The German finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, told the Bloomberg news agency in Berlin the same day that “if they [the British government] wanted to change their decision, of course, they would find open doors”.

Macron and Schaeuble said they “respect” Britain’s decision to leave.

The French leader said: “I would like the negotiation and then the discussions on the future relationship with the United Kingdom to be launched as soon as possible.”

But he added: “Let us be clear … once negotiations have started we should be well aware that it will be more and more difficult to move backwards.”

Schaeuble added that Germany did not want to punish the UK for leaving. “We will minimise the potential damage and maximise the mutual benefit [of Brexit]”, he said

The EU’s Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, also said on Tuesday that “any further delay [on Brexit negotiations] is a source of instability”.

France and Germany’s “open door” comes after British elections in which May and her hard Brexit manifesto did badly.

She plans to form a coalition with Northern Irish unionists, the DUP, to stay in power, but the political turmoil had put in doubt plans to start Brexit talks next week.

The British prime minister sought to dispel that doubt on Tuesday.

“I confirmed to president Macron that the timetable remains on course and will begin next week”, she said in Paris.

She added that “the productive talks that we’re holding” with the DUP were designed to “give the stability to the UK government that I think is necessary at this time”.

May’s Brexit manifesto said Britain would quit the single market and impose curbs on EU freedom of movement.

But she said on Tuesday “we want to maintain a close relationship and a close partnership with the EU and individual member states into the future”.

Macron and May also discussed counter-terrorism cooperation, the economy, migration, defence, and climate change, Macron said.

Danish trolling

The British election result and the recent election of Macron, a pro-EU leader, have given Europe a new sense of self-confidence on Brexit.

The Danish finance minister, Kristian Jensen, showed that spirit at an event in Copenhagen on Tuesday.

“There are two kinds of European nations. There are small nations and there are countries [the UK] that have not yet realised they are small nations”, he said at a seminar entitled Road to Brexit, according to Politiken, a Danish newspaper.

Jensen mocked May’s slogan “Brexit is Brexit”, saying it “doesn’t mean anything. It’s like: ‘Breakfast means breakfast’.”

“I believe Brexit is, sorry to say, a disaster. Not for Europe but for the UK”, he said.

His comment on “small nations” drew a rebuke from the British ambassador to Denmark, Dominic Schroeder, who said he saw no sign “of a diminished or diminishing power” in the UK

Being In Time: Gilad Atzmon’s journey through post-modern crises

May 22, 2017  /  Gilad Atzmon

By Adam Garrie,

In Being In Time, author and musician Gilad Atzmon explores the historical and psychological basis for the many crises gripping the western world.

Many of the same people lament the state of a broad, however amorphous western society that has succumbed to the trends of hyper-identity politics, political and economic sectarianism, brutal financial capitalism and the death of industry and censorship in societies that still preach the self-righteous yet vague cause of ‘freedom’.

In Being In Time, author Gilad Atzmon offers a philosophical explanation for how these divergent trends are actually systematic outgrowths of societies simultaneously bewitched and confused by the abject failures of the three domineering ideologies of the 20th century: communism, fascism and liberalism.

Atzmon approaches how an uneasy calm in mid-20th century western states has given way to a world where the dams of free speech, prosperity and political predictability have been burst open leading to a flood of insecurity, third world style poverty and perhaps most importantly for Atzmon, the poverty of ideas.

Atzmon who has previously written about his personal struggles with and opposition to Jewish identity politics in The Wandering Who, takes his dialectical approach further, subjecting many contemporary and post-modern trends to the same scrutiny.

Such trends include, post-modernism, Cultural Marxism, post-Freudian social theory, the sexual identity agenda, post-modern attitudes to race and religion and the so-called populist political phenomena of Brexit and Donald Trump.

Atzmon calls his book a post-political manifesto, but it could equally be called a post-dogma manifesto. Atzmon laments a western world that has forsaken the Socratic method of embracing wisdom based on a combination of logic and ethics. Instead, Atzmon sees a western society obsessed with legal minutiae that he traces to strict Talmudic jurisprudence.

The book is very much in the tradition of the great secular conservative leaning sceptics and metaphysicists of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Those who have read Nietzsche or Spengler will recognise familiar diagnosis to modern problems combined with Atzmon’s unique world view shaped by the rejection of the Zionist creeds of his Israeli place of birth.

One might be so bold as to say that a great deal of geo-political philosophical commentary in the 21st century is largely shaped by people trying to either debunk or revise the manifestly ludicrous hypothesis of Francis Fukuyama.

At the dawn of the 1990s, Fukuyama in The End of History and the Last Man stated that history had ceased to move forward and was comfortably numbed to the neo-liberal realities that everyone had accepted.

The problem is that not everyone accepted them and even those who did, have largely been failed by them both materially and spiritually.

Atzmon doesn’t merely lacerate the post-Fukuyama developments in the metaphysical crisis currently gripping an increasingly hysterical liberal western establishment, but instead explains the root of these problems from the perspective of an historic prism illuminated through a combination of late-modern cultural analysis and Atzmon’s own unique trials and tribulations with the crises inherent in intra-Zionist Jewish identity.

I personally rarely recommend such books. I highly recommend this one.

The book can be ordered on  &

The book is now available here


The Globalization of Misery

By Tom Engelhardt

May 15, 2017 “Information Clearing House” –  The closest I ever got to Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, was 1,720.7 miles away — or so the Internet assures me.  Although I’ve had a lifelong interest in history, I know next to nothing about Mosul’s, nor do I have more than a glancing sense of what it looks like, or more accurately what it looked like when all its buildings, including those in its “Old City,” were still standing.  It has — or at least in better times had — a population of at least 1.8 million, not one of whom have I ever met and significant numbers of whom are now either dead, wounded, uprooted, or in desperate straits.

Consider what I never learned about Mosul my loss, a sign of my ignorance.  Yet, in recent months, little as I know about the place, it’s been on my mind — in part because what’s now happening to that city will be the world’s loss as well as mine.

In mid-October 2016, the U.S.-backed Iraqi army first launched an offensive to retake Mosul from the militants of the Islamic State.  Relatively small numbers of ISIS fighters had captured it in mid-2014 when the previous version of the Iraqi military (into which the U.S. had poured more than $25 billion) collapsed ignominiously and fled, abandoning weaponry and even uniforms along the way.  It was in Mosul’s Great Mosque that the existence of the Islamic State was first triumphantly proclaimed by its “caliph,” Abu Bakr al-Bagdadi.

On the initial day of the offensive to recapture the city, the Pentagon was already congratulating the Iraqi military for being “ahead of schedule” in a campaign that was expected to “take weeks or even months.”  Little did its planners — who had been announcing its prospective start for nearly a year — know.  A week later, everything was still “proceeding according to our plan,” claimed then-U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter.  By the end of January 2017, after 100 days of fierce fighting, the eastern part of that city, divided by the Tigris River, was more or less back in government hands and it had, according to New York Times reporters on the scene, been “spared the wholesale destruction inflicted on other Iraqi cities” like Ramadi and Fallujah, even though those residents who hadn’t fled were reportedly “scratching out a primitive existence, deprived of electricity, running water and other essential city services.”

And that was the good news.  More than 100 days later, Iraqi troops continue to edge their way through embattled western Mosul, with parts of it, including the treacherous warren of streets in its Old City, still in the hands of ISIS militants amid continuing bitter building-to-building fighting.  The Iraqi government and its generals still insist, however, that everything will be over in mere weeks.  An estimated thousand or so ISIS defenders (of the original 4,000-8,000 reportedly entrenched in the city) are still holding out and will assumedly fight to the death.  U.S. air power has repeatedly been called in big time, with civilian deaths soaring, and hundreds of thousands of its increasingly desperate and hungry inhabitants still living in battle-scarred Mosul as Islamic State fighters employ countless bomb-laden suicide vehicles and even small drones.

After seven months of unending battle in that single city, perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that Mosul has receded from the news here, even as civilian casualties grow, at least half a million Iraqis have been displaced, and the Iraqi military has suffered grievous losses.

Though there’s been remarkably little writing about it, here’s what now seems obvious: when the fighting is finally over and the Islamic State defeated, the losses will be so much more widespread than that.  Despite initial claims that the Iraqi military (and the U.S. Air Force) were taking great care to avoid as much destruction as possible in an urban landscape filled with civilians, the rules of engagement have since changed and it’s clear that, in the end, significant swathes of Iraq’s second largest city will be left in ruins. In this, it will resemble so many other cities and towns in Iraq and Syria, from Fallujah to Ramadi,Homs to Aleppo.

The Disappearance of Mosul

At a moment when Donald Trump makes headlines daily with almost any random thing he says, the fate of Mosul doesn’t even qualify as a major news story.  What happens in that city, however, will be no minor thing. It will matter on this increasingly small planet of ours.

What’s to come is also, unfortunately, reasonably predictable.  Eight, nine, or more months after this offensive was launched, the grim Islamic State in Mosul will undoubtedly be destroyed, but so will much of the city in a region that continues to be — to invent a word — rubblized.

When Mosul is officially retaken, if not “ahead of schedule,” then at least “according to plan,” the proud announcements of “victory” in the war against ISIS will make headlines.  Soon after, however, Mosul will once again disappear from our American world and worries. Yet that will undoubtedly only be the beginning of the story in a world in crisis.  Fourteen years have passed since the U.S. invaded Iraq and punched a hole in the oil heartlands of the Middle East.  In the wake of that invasion, states have been crumbling or simply imploding and terror movements growing and spreading, while wars, ethnic slaughter, and all manner of atrocities have engulfed an ever-widening region.  Millions of Iraqis, Syrians, Afghans, Yemenis, Libyans, and others have been uprooted, sent into exile, or fled across borders to become refugees.  In Mosul alone, untold numbers of people whose fathers, mothers, grandparents, children, friends, and relatives were slaughtered in the Iraqi Army’s offensive or simply murdered by ISIS will be left homeless, often without possessions, jobs, or communities in the midst of once familiar places that have been transformed into rubble.

Mosul now lacks an airport, a railroad station, and a university — all destroyed in the recent fighting. Initial estimates suggest that its rebuilding will cost billions of dollars over many years. And it’s just one of many cities in such a state. The question is: Where exactly will the money to rebuild come from? After all, the price of oil is at present below $50 a barrel, the Iraqi and Syrian governments lack resources of every sort, and who can imagine a new Marshall Plan for the region coming from Donald Trump’s America or, for that matter, anywhere else?

In other words, the Iraqis, the Syrians, the Yemenis, the Libyans, the Afghans, and others are likely, in the end, to find themselves alone in the ruins of their worlds with remarkably little recourse.  With that in mind and given the record of those last 14 years, how exactly do you imagine that things will turn out for the inhabitants of Mosul, or Ramadi, or Fallujah, or cities yet to be destroyed? What new movements, ethnic struggles, and terror outfits will emerge from such a nightmare?

To put it another way, if you think that such a disaster will remain the possession of the Iraqis (Syrians, Yemenis, Libyans, and Afghans), then you haven’t been paying much attention to the history of the twenty-first century. You evidently haven’t noticed that Donald J. Trump won the last presidential election in the United States, in part by playing on fears of a deluge of refugees from the Middle East and of Islamic terrorism; that the British voted to leave the European Union in part based on similar fears; and that across Europe pressures over refugees and terror attacks have helped to alter the political landscape.

Where Is Globalization Now That We Need It?

To frame things slightly differently, let me ask another question entirely: In these last years, haven’t you wondered what ever happened to “globalization” and the endless media attention that was once paid to it? Not so very long ago we were being assured that this planet was binding itself into a remarkably tight knot of interconnectedness that was going to amaze us all.  As Thomas Friedman of the New York Times put itin 1996, we were seeing “the integration of free markets, nation-states, and information technologies to a degree never before witnessed, in a way that is enabling individuals, corporations, and countries to reach around the world farther, faster, deeper, and cheaper than ever.”  All of this was to be fed and led by the United States, the last superpower standing, and as a result, the global “playing field” would miraculously “be leveled” on a planet becoming a mosaic of Pizza Huts, iMacs, and Lexuses.

Who of a certain age doesn’t remember those years after the Soviet Union imploded when we all suddenly found ourselves in a single superpower world?  It was a moment when, thanks to vaunted technological advances, it seemed blindingly clear to the cognoscenti that this was going to be a single-everything planet.  We were all about to be absorbed into a “single market for goods, capital, and commercial services” from which, despite the worries of naysayers, “almost everyone” stood “to gain.”  In a world not of multiple superpowers but of multiple “supermarkets,” we were likely to become both more democratic and more capitalistic by the year as an interlocking set of transnational corporate players, nations, and peoples, unified by a singularly interwoven set of communication systems (representing nothing short of an information revolution), triumphed, while poverty, that eternal plague of humanity, stood to lose out big time.  Everything would be connected on what was, for the first time, to be a single, “flattened” planet.

It won’t surprise you, I’m sure, to be told that that’s not exactly the planet we’re now on.  Instead, whatever processes were at work, the result has been record numbers of billionaires, record levels of inequality, and refugees in numbers not seen since much of the world was in a state of collapse after World War II.

Still, don’t you ever wonder where, conceptually speaking, globalization is now that we need it? I mean, did it really turn out that we weren’t living together on a single shrinking planet? Were the globalists of that moment inhabiting another planet entirely in another solar system? Or could it be that globalization is still the ruling paradigm here, but that what’s globalizing isn’t (or isn’t just) Pizza Huts, iMacs, and Lexuses, but pressure points for the fracturing of our world?

The globalization of misery doesn’t have the cachet of the globalization of plenty. It doesn’t make for the same uplifting reading, nor does skyrocketing global economic inequality seem quite as thrilling as a leveling playing field (unless, of course, you happen to be a billionaire). And thanks significantly to the military efforts of the last superpower standing, the disintegration of significant regions of the planet doesn’t quite add up to what the globalists had in mind for the twenty-first century. Failed states, spreading terror movements, all too many Mosuls, and the conditions for so much more of the same weren’t what globalization was supposed to be all about.

Perhaps, however, it’s time to begin reminding ourselves that we’re still on a globalizing planet, even if one experiencing pressures of an unexpected sort, including from the disastrous never-ending American war on terror. It’s so much more convenient, of course, to throw the idea of globalization overboard and imagine that Mosul is thousands of miles away in a universe that bears next to no relation to our own.

What It Really Means to Be on a “Flattening” Planet

It’s true that in France last week extremist presidential candidate Marine Le Pen was defeated by a young, little known former investment banker and government minister, Emmanuel Macron, and the European Union preserved.  As with an earlier election in Holland in which a similar right-wing candidate lost, this is being presented as potentially the high-water mark of what’s now commonly called “populism” in Europe (or the Brexit-style fragmentation of that continent).  But I’d take such reassurances with a grain of salt, given the pressures likely to come. After all, in both Holland and France, two extreme nationalist parties garnered record votes based on anti-Islamic, anti-refugee sentiment and will, after the coming parliamentary elections in France, both be represented, again in record numbers, in their legislatures.

The rise of such “populism” — think of it as the authoritarian fragmentation of the planet — is already a global trend.  So just imagine the situation four or potentially even eight years from now after Donald Trump’s generals, already in the saddle, do their damnedest in the Greater Middle East and Africa.  There’s no reason to believe that, under their direction, the smashing of key regions of the planet won’t continue.  There’s no reason to doubt that, in an expanding world of Mosuls — the Syrian “capital” of the Islamic State, Raqqa, is undoubtedly the next city in line for such treatment — “victories” won’t produce a planet of greater ethnic savagery, religious extremism, military destruction, and chaos.  This, in turn, ensures a further spread of terror groups and an even more staggering uprooting of peoples.  (It’s worth noting, for instance, that since the death of Osama bin Laden at the hands of U.S. Special Operations forces, al-Qaeda has grown, not shrunk, gaining yet more traction across the Greater Middle East.)  So far, America’s permanent “war on terror” has helped produce a planet of fear, refugees on an almost unimaginable scale, and ever more terror.  What else would you imagine could arise from the rubble of so many Mosuls?

If you don’t think that this is an ever-more connected planet still being “flattened” (even if in quite a different way than expected), and that sooner or later the destruction of Mosul will reverberate in our world, too, then you don’t get our world. It’s obvious, for instance, that future Mosuls will only produce more refugees, and you already know where that’s led, from Brexit to Donald Trump. Destroy enough Mosuls and, even in the heartland of the planet’s sole superpower, the fears of those who already feel they’ve been left in a ditch will only rise (and be fed further by demagogues ready to use that global flow of refugees for their own purposes).

Given the transformations of recent years, just think what it will mean to uproot ever vaster populations, to set the homeless, the desperate, the angry, the hurt, and the vengeful — millions of adults and childrenwhose lives have been devastated or destroyed — in motion.  Imagine, for instance, what those pressures will mean when it comes to Europe and its future politics.

Think about what’s to come on this small planet of ours — and that’s without even mentioning the force that has yet to fully reveal itself in all its fragmenting and globalizing and leveling power.  We now call it, mildly enough, “climate change” or “global warming.”  Just wait until, in the decades to come, rising sea levels and extreme weather events put human beings in motion in startling ways (particularly given that the planet’s sole superpower is now run by men in violent denial of the very existence of such a force or the human sources of its power).

You want a shrinking planet? You want terror? You want globalization? Think about that. And do you wonder why, these days, I have Mosul on my mind?

Tom Engelhardt is a co-founder of the American Empire Project and the author of The United States of Fear as well as a history of the Cold War, The End of Victory Culture. He is a fellow of the Nation Institute and runs His latest book is Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, John Dower’s The Violent American Century: War and Terror Since World War II, as well as John Feffer’s dystopian novel Splinterlands, Nick Turse’s Next Time They’ll Come to Count the Dead, and Tom Engelhardt’s Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.

Copyright 2017 Tom Engelhardt

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

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Brexit: Proof That Britain’s EU Referendum Was Rigged


By Graham Vanbergen,

“This is Britain in 2017. A Britain that increasingly looks like a “managed” democracy. Paid for by a US billionaire. Using military-style technology. Delivered by Facebook. And enabled by us. If we let the EU referendum result stand, we are giving it our implicit consent. This isn’t about Remain or Leave. It goes far beyond party politics. It’s about the first step into a brave, new, increasingly undemocratic world.”

This was the last paragraph of a near on 6,000 word piece written by Carole Cadwalladre entitled “The great British Brexit robbery: how our democracy was hijacked” – and it was by far the most important article The Guardian has printed for some time. I’ve spoken to several friends who I shared the link with and not one got to read this paragraph. The article was too long and too technical. They struggled to comprehend the implications of what was written and this is understandable given the complexity of the detail. It was really three articles mixed into one. They gave up about half way through and were little the wiser. But its importance cannot be understated.

Image result for Carole Cadwalladr

Cadwalladre starts her disturbing piece describing how “a shadowy global operation involving big data, billionaire friends of Trump and the disparate forces of the Leave campaign influenced the result of the EU referendum.” I did a piece that laid out a similar scenario a month earlier entitled “The Link Between Brexit And The US Election, MI6, Fake News And Dark Money” but it didn’t delve as deeply into this shadowy operation in quite the same way – but my instinct for all this skullduggery was spot on. This might already seem difficult to absorb, but bear with me, it’s only a five minute read from here.

Cambridge Analytica (CA) are at the heart of this operation. Its parent company was SCL (Strategic Communication Laboratories) Group, a private British behavioral research and strategic communication company. They use psychological warfare strategies to win elections in the kind of developing countries that don’t have many rules. A secretive hedge-fund billionaire owns CA. Another character involved in this sordid tale is the billionaire co-founder of eBay and PayPal.

The article demonstrates that an authoritarian surveillance state is being constructed in the US and how democracy in Britain was overturned and corrupted by US billionaire’s. There are references to a right-wing ‘propaganda machine’ and the link with Donald Trump and his chief strategist Steve Bannon – a former media executive and film producer and Goldman Sachs banker with very right-wing attitudes.

Then we have accusations of improper use of funds, illegal use of data and that the activities of CA went far beyond the jurisdiction of UK laws. Illegal coordinated campaigns between rival political parties to secure Brexit are mentioned as are huge sums of money poured into database collections and even military strategies that may have been used in British and US elections. Financial caps and regulations enshrined into British law to protect democracy were disregarded.

SCL/Cambridge Analytica is part of the British defence establishment. And now it appears, the American defence establishment.

Cadwalladre makes the point that a military contractor is using military strategies on a civilian population to sway a national result, in this case, Britain’s EU referendum. Cadwalladre is supported by a UK based professor of sociology who says it is “an extraordinary scandal that this should be anywhere near a democracy” where psychology, propaganda and technology are fused together.

Image result for Facebook insightsAnd who facilitated this huge data bundle that usurped Britain’s democracy – another American transnational corporation called – ‘Facebook.’ As the article points out

Facebook was the source of the psychological insights that enabled Cambridge Analytica to target individuals. It was also the mechanism that enabled them to be delivered on a large scale.”

In last week’s Panorama documentary, Facebook were accused of not being just a social media platform but an important political player who was decisive in the US presidential campaign from which it earned $250 million. Similar accusations are made with regard to British elections and especially the EU referendum.

Other campaigns used negative systems such as voter disengagement and suppression tactics – used to persuade some voters to say at home.

“This is military-funded technology that has been harnessed by a global plutocracy and is being used to sway elections in ways that people can’t even see” – says another expert.

The general consensus is that we (the people) are in an information war with the billionaires who end up controlling government and that we are in very ‘worrying times’ and that all this is ‘profoundly unsettling’.

But what it’s all about is that so much data is in the hands of a bunch of international plutocrats to do with it what they will, is absolutely chilling.

And this strategy is quite clearly working. The company that helped Trump achieve power in the first place has now been awarded contracts in the Pentagon and the US state department. Its former vice-president now sits in the White House.

Related image

The article continues with the big media players, who have used disinformation campaigns. More than a billion adverts reached ‘persuadable’ voters in the last days before the referendum. There is the hint that Britain and America’s spy agencies, GCHQ and the NSA have some involvement, that senior members of political parties like UKIP and activist organisations such as VoteLeave and Leave.EU were intimately involved in CA and others that intentionally swayed the result using subversive strategies intent on getting around laws.

In the end, as the article points out,

“Brexit came down to “about 600,000 people – just over 1% of registered voters”. It’s not a stretch to believe that a member of the global 1% found a way to influence this crucial 1% of British voters.”

You would think the electorate and its representatives in parliament would be ‘up in arms’ to think that a small clique of American billionaires had changed the course of history in Britain. That a new referendum might be considered, inquiries demanded, that individuals warrants would be issued to those deliberately usurping British democracy and its future prospects. But nothing will happen. We now have a government that has just called a snap election specifically to shore up its power base. It has only just been conveniently let off the hook by 29 police forces for financial irregularities with regards to the 2015 election. And as Cadwalladre says it’s about an election

designed to set us into permanent alignment with Trump’s America.”

In short, Cadwalladre has echoed what I said a month earlier – America has just highjacked Britain. Even if you voted for Britain to leave the EU, you should feel outraged that in the end, this was not a clean fight. You should feel outraged that Britain, already a lapdog to the awful ideology that now America represents, is now under the jackboot of Donald Trump’s fascism?

For all of the mainstream media’s constant whining of Russian influence on both sides of the pond, it turns out our so-called closest ally – just shot us in the back.

You now know it the EU referendum was rigged in a very special and technical way. I would rather stay in the EU and influence it than be faced with what is coming down the line next. America, not satisfied with destroying its own country is coming for what is left of ours and this current government is going to facilitate it along with a few billionaire media barons.

British Political Parties and Foreign Policy

British Political Parties and Foreign Policy


British Political Parties and Foreign Policy

With the United Kingdom in the grip of another General Election, it is worth looking at what the British political parties are offering for their vision of Britain in the world, if such vision exists, and what the foreign policies are of the two main British political parties – the Conservative Party led by Theresa May and the Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn.

Firstly, it is important to put Britain’s place on the world stage and position in the pecking order of nations in proper context. Large elements of the British Political Establishment, the political parties, the media and population still think Britain is an extremely important country in world affairs when in reality it is a minor player in the great global issues of the 21st century. The Britain of 2017 is a deeply insular, parochial country consumed within its own trivia. What groups such as The Henry Jackson Society; elements of the Tory Party; the British media and sections of the public fail to grasp is that what goes on and happens in Britain is largely irrelevant to the outside world.

The UK may be absorbed with Brexit and that is largely all you here about in the news and political discourse and once Britain’s impending departure from the European Union comes into full force the country’s weight and voice in international affairs will become even more diminished. Yet the rest of the world, including the EU, is not engulfed with the issue of Brexit (thankfully) and regards it as a typically peculiar, self-generated British nonsense and silly distraction from greater international challenges.

There really is no British foreign policy to speak of or overarching Grand Strategy for Britain’s engagement with the rest of the planet beyond doing whatever the United States asks of it; banging on about the EU non-stop or pretending it still has some post-imperial grip on the nations of what it quaintly calls the «Commonwealth». This is a great shame and terribly limiting for the UK in this highly interconnected, interdependent, global age. Margaret Thatcher, the Iron Lady, started off her Premiership largely as a «domestic» Prime Minister but by the end of it she was immersed in international relations; a force to be reckoned with on the World Stage and became a foreign policy supremo, her very own Foreign Secretary, assisted greatly by her brilliant Foreign Affairs advisor, the real «Deputy Prime Minister» Foreign Office diplomat/MI6 agent Sir Charles Powell. Mrs. Thatcher also grew increasingly frustrated with her sheepish Foreign Secretary Sir Geoffrey Howe who she berated in Cabinet for speaking in such a quiet, mumbling voice typical of many British people who speak in almost hushed, conspiratorial voices. As she said of Sir Geoffrey’s oratorical delivery: «He spoke so quietly that sometimes I could barely hear what he was saying and had to ask him to speak up. And his delivery was not exactly scintillating».

With regards to the current Tory Prime Minister and pale imitation of Margaret Thatcher – Theresa May – she and her Tory Party are offering up a very two dimensional, simplistic, positively provincial foreign policy (if one can even call it a foreign policy). Her main advisors know nothing of foreign policy, international relations and global affairs having no academic credentials and intellectual training in this field; having never worked in the foreign policy community and largely having spent their working lives almost exclusively in the UK either as a football journalist such as Fiona Hill, her co-Chief of Staff, or as a domestic political apparatchik in the backrooms of the propaganda department at Conservative Central Office on «home» affairs such as Nick Timothy. Hill and Timothy’s limited understanding of the world beyond Britain; their lack of professional work experience in the worlds of foreign policy and international relations; their lack of knowledge, erudition and intellectual firepower in understanding global geopolitics, other cultures and foreign policy matters combined with their provincialism, lack of cosmopolitan urbane sophistication shines through in Mrs. May’s policies and speeches.

As Phillip Stevens writing in the Financial Times makes clear: «In Whitehall code Mrs. May is more 5 than 6». It was said she was frustrated with discussions in Whitehall regarding selecting bombing targets in Libya or Syria and more concerned with domestic counter-terrorism. To her credit Mrs. May is correct in that Britain should stop pretending that it is a force in world affairs and stop believing it’s military can make a difference in some kind of post-imperial neoconservative interventionism akin to Mr. Blair’s deeply misguided foreign policy. Britain can’t and should cease wasting any time, energy or resources on thinking it can make a difference in places like Libya and Syria. The only countries which have the power, strength and competence to really shape world affairs are the United States, China, Russia and perhaps collectively the European Union if it pulls itself together with a European army and single European foreign and defence policy.

Instead, Britain should largely give up any pretensions to being a global power and instead focus on putting its own domestic house in order and improving the quality of life for its own citizens at home. Her new National Security Advisor Mark Sedwill attempts to straddle both MI5, which is in essence the Home Office, where he was Permanent Secretary and MI6 which is in essence the Foreign Office were he previously served as British Ambassador to Afghanistan. Whether or not Mr. Sedwill will be able to pull off this balancing act remains to be seen given how engrossed in the Home Office/MI5 the Prime Minister and her top advisors are. There really is no need to go into great depth or analysis of what the Conservative Party’s foreign policy platform is at the 2017 General Election for it has no real depth or multi-dimensional complexity to it a GCSE student could grasp it in a couple of minutes. It can be summed up in a few sentences: hostile to all things EU related and largely anti-European shaped by a Little England, provincial, Home Office/MI5 outlook on the world which is deeply xenophobic, ignorant and prejudiced Hostile to anyone who does not hail from the «Anglosphere».

Subservient to the United States under President Trump backing him and his administration 100% and willing to do anything the Americans ask of Britain. And that is pretty much it. There is no one in the Conservative Party policy making machinery or even in Whitehall who really do foreign policy or have great expertise on these complex subjects. As the Tory MP and former Chairman of the House of Commons Defence Select Committee Rory Stewart pointed there were only two people working on Ukraine within the Foreign Office at the start of 2014. Meanwhile when it comes to the second largest economy in the world and the second Super-Power of the 21st century, the People’s Republic of China as one former UK Government official put it: «There’s no one in the government who gets out of bed and thinks China. It’s a very old fashioned, almost Victorian view of the world». Quite. This is largely to the detriment of the British. If they think the world will come to them instead of going out into the world as part of the European Union, they are in for a very rude awakening.

Then we have the Labour Party. Before the advent of Tony Blair the Labour Party had historically been cool towards American global leadership. The Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson kept Britain out of the Vietnam War much to the chagrin of President Johnson. From Clement Attlee right up to Michael Foot it had also traditionally been the most Eurosceptic of the British political parties. From the Labour Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin to the Labour Leader Hugh Gaitskell, the Labour Party foreign policy regarding the burgeoning European Community had been to oppose British membership. Harold Wilson nearly split his party by applying to join in 1967 and had to offer a Referendum on continued British membership in 1975 with freedom of his party to campaign which ever way they liked. The Europhiles were led by the likes of Roy Jenkins and Shirley Williams while the anti-EEC brigade was led by Tony Benn and Barbara Castle.

Ironically, it was the Labour Party of Michael Foot at the 1983 General Election which pledged to end British membership of the European Community while it was Mrs. Thatcher’s Conservatives which fiercely campaigned to protect Britain’s place in the European Community. Also during the 1980s the Labour Party under Michael Foot and for a period under Neil Kinnock supported unilateral nuclear disarmament and were in lock step with the CND. All this changed under Tony Blair. Mr. Blair ditched the anti-Americanism; the policy of unilateral disarmament; the hostility towards European integration and embraced a pro-American; militaristic, interventionist foreign policy which climaxed with the disastrous decision to follow the Bush administration into invading Iraq and toppling the regime of Saddam Hussein. Mr. Blair, unlike previous Labour Prime Ministers, also became fixated – some would say obsessed – with Middle Eastern issues and was staunchly, unflinchingly pro-Israel. If one were into conspiracy theories one would hazard a guess that perhaps Mr. Blair was a plant within the Labour Party courtesy of the CIA and Mossad!?!

Under the present leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, no Blairite and a traditional socialist, there has been a certain convergence ironically between himself and Mrs. May in that both are rightly sceptical of British military adventurism abroad. But there such convergence ends. While Mr. Corbyn may be moderately Eurosceptic he is not an ultra-Brexiteer and has intimated he may stop Brexit if elected. Mr. Corbyn has rightly opposed British military involvement in airstrikes in Syria knowing full well that it is simply window dressing and superficial symbolism for Britain to pretend it can make any kind of difference through military power in that part of the world.

Mr. Corbyn himself is also rightly sceptical of the continuing maintenance of a horrendously expensive British nuclear deterrent when the money could be better spent on pressing domestic priorities such as health, education, infrastructure, p[pensions et al. There really is no need for Britain to possess nuclear weapons. It is simply a vanity project to maintain the veneer of pretensions to great power status. Germany has no nuclear weapons and feels perfectly fine sheltering under the NATO/American nuclear umbrella. Indeed, we as an international community should be reducing the amount of countries in the world that possess nuclear weapons not maintaining an over-inflated nuclear weapons state status quo. There is an argument that, while nuclear weapons cannot be dis-invented, their possession should be limited to a handful of truly Great Powers such as the United States, Russia, China and one European country say France. One day human kind will hopefully evolve to a higher, more enlightened level of consciousness and think to themselves why on earth did our ancestors waste so much money on building and maintaining weapons that had the potential to wipe out every single life on earth a thousand times over.

The Labour Party foreign policy, like the Conservatives, is not terribly well thought out; sophisticated and deep. Under a Corbyn Premiership Britain would probably become more independent of the United States, most certainly since it is now under the leadership of Donald Trump, and Mr. Corbyn could be relied upon to stand up to Donald Trump unlike Mrs. May who is quite content to be his lap dog. Brexit might be stopped in its tracks but the Labour leadership have been vague and inconsistent on this; one minute stating they will go through with it but deliver a softer Brexit; the next minute intimating that the whole process could be stopped. One matter which is clear – under a Jeremy Corbyn Labour Government foreign policy – there would be no repeat of the Blairite neoconservative military adventurism abroad and a more realist approach to Britain’s place in world affairs befitting of the true power status of the country in international relations. Mr. Corbyn’s foreign policy would probably focus instead on utilizing Britain’s soft power for international development purposes in Africa and he would seek to repair relations with Russia.

His policy with regards to China remains opague given his support for Tibetan independence and the Dalai Lama, though here again I think Mr. Corbyn as a realist recognising that Britain with it’s dwindling resources, dwindling wealth, and dwindling influence in Europe and the wider world will need good relations with the second largest (perhaps soon to be first largest economy on the planet) and that post-Brexit Britain most certainly needs China a great deal more than China needs Britain. I think Mr. Corbyn would be willing to work with the Chinese realising that a strong Sino-British strategic relationship can yield great benefits for Britain based on the principles of mutual trust and mutual respect leading to win-win cooperation. This is something Mrs. May and her Home Office/MI5 crew simply do not understand. But all in all, both major parties whether they the Conservatives or the Labour Party or the very minor fringe party the Liberal Democrats offer very little in the way of an intellectually rigorous, deep, profound, creative and imaginative British foreign policy and Grand Strategy, which is to the detriment of the country at large and the opportunities it could harness for improving the quality of life in Britain.

Brexit Britain on the Brink

Brexit Britain on the Brink. Collapse of the Pound Sterling. “Theresa May, the Wrong Leader for this Perilous Moment”

By Matthew Jamison,

With the formal beginning of the UK General Election with the dissolution of Parliament, the British Prime Minister, Theresa May stood on the steps of 10 Downing Street and started milking the nationalistic fervour of Brexit for all it was worth. Mrs. May declared that Brussels was attempting to “interfere” with the British General Election. The day before she crudely stated the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker would soon find out what a “bloody difficult woman” she was, taking that label first pinned to her by her fellow Tory colleague the wonderful Ken Clarke (who would make a fantastic Prime Minister).

According to an account of a working dinner recently held in Downing Street between Mrs. May and President Juncker the food was awful and Mrs. May was living in another “galaxy”. At the close of the dinner President Juncker said he was “10 times more skeptical” about the chances of a successful deal than he was before. As his brilliant Chief of Staff Martin Selmayr reflected Brexit cannot and will not be a success, it is a “sad and sorry event” that must be at best managed and contained. It would seem reality still has not sunk in with Mrs. May, her party, their followers and at least half the population in Britain.

The first piece of reality to bite was when the President of the European Council Donald Tusk ruled out striking a UK-EU Free Trade Agreement within the two year divorce proceedings. Mr. Tusk, backed up by the European Council, European Commission and all 27 loyal members of the European Union made it quite clear before any talks could even begin on the subject of a future UK-EU Free Trade Agreement the issues of “people, money and Ireland” would have to be sorted out. The divorce bill for Britain to leave the EU and honour it’s budgetary and contractual obligations has risen sharply and now Brussels is calculating it could be anywhere between 80-100 billion Euros.

I think this will be the sticking point at which no deal is reached given the slippery nature of the British State in honouring its financial commitments. Amazingly, back in October Bloomberg News released a report which showed the pound sterling became the world’s worst performing currency in October 2016 against the dollar, even below the Romanian and Colombian currencies and it has not much improved since then. One wonders by the time Brexit takes effect if there will be a pound sterling left? The cliff that the pound has fallen off is already putting severe pressure on prices back in the UK.

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President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker

The UK is already one of the most extortionate places in the developed Western world for prices. The cost of living in the United States, once one strips out the cost of university and healthcare, is actually much cheaper than Britain. This is due to the United States having a moderate sales tax of 9%. In Britain, it is an eye watering, unbelievable 20%. It could go even higher if the Tories are returned.

Mrs. May has pledged not to increase it before 2022 but her word is meaningless. She was for Remain and now is for a Hard Brexit. She was against holding an early General Election but broke that pledge too. May and her ghastly Chancellor Hammond attempted to raise National Insurance contributions for the self-employed only a few weeks ago even though the Tories manifesto at the last General Election promised not to do so. A pattern is developing which is you simply cannot trust a word the Tory Party and Mrs. May say.

One of the immediate effects of Brexit and the collapse of the pound is that prices have already risen sharply. There was the infamous Unilever spat with Tescos back in the autumn and that was just a taste of things to come. Whether it be food, energy, transport, water rates, rents, services etc. the cost of living in the UK is through the roof while the quality of the goods and services one gets is not equal to the price one pays and customer service is appalling. The UK is one of the most places in the developed, Western World for value for money and good customer service.

The UK supermarket Morrisons has had to hike the price of marmite by a staggering 12.5%. Meanwhile the National Institute for Economic and Social Research warned correctly that inflation in the UK would start rising fast in 2017. Indeed it jumped from 1.8% in January to 2.3% in February, quite an increase between one month and could go as high as 4% or more with the increase of import costs inevitably feeding through to the high street. As I said, the UK is already an egregiously and peculiarly overpriced place to live in, whether it is prices in the supermarket or on the high street, or the overinflated housing market and out of control rental sector. If prices are this expensive with an inflation rate currently at some where just over 2%, it will not be fun to see what prices stand at this time next year with an inflation rate of 4%.

Here I think about hard working and hard pressed people like a taxi driver in Cambridge I spoke with recently. He told me he works all the hours God sends him, seven days a week. And he still is only making ends meet and has no money left over at the end of the month to put aside for saving for a mortgage. Yet, according to Mrs. May Britain is such a great country to live in. So great, it has to spell it out by inserting the Great into its formal title. If someone has to tell you how great they are, you can bet your bottom dollar, they aren’t.

Then there is the issue of the Single Market. Britain’s main export market is the European Union. Indeed, the UK does more trade with Ireland than with China. As the German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated on the morning of the referendum result:

“The British people have made it clear. They do not want to be part of the European Union. They do not want to be part of its Single Market”.

Mrs. May confirmed this with her dreadful, contradictory and incoherent “Global Britain” speech back in January. So, with no prospects of a quick and easy UK-EU trade agreement the years ahead for the UK, quite possibly crashing out of the EU and it’s Single Market on to World Trade Organisation tariffs will be very painful for British businesses and customers. This is why the reassurances that the British Government have given Nissan regarding tariff free access for the UK motor industry and its pronouncements that there will be no change in the border arrangement between Northern and Southern Ireland are worthless. It is not going to be up to the UK Government whether or not the motor industry will be free from EU tariffs or whether or not the island of Ireland is going to be subjected to an EU border.

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Brussels holds all the cards on these matters and it will be down to Brussels to decide if the UK motor industry is not subject to EU tariffs and whether border controls and customs checks should be introduced between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland. Britain perhaps has some leverage on these matters but it does not have the final control over them. Ultimately, the UK will have to dependent upon the good will and good graces of the EU with regards to the final outcome on these matters.

This is why Mrs. May is playing a very dangerous and counter-productive game now with stirring up even more anti-European xenophobia for short-term, petty political gain as if the monstrous UK Referendum was not bad enough with the current British Foreign Secretary coming out with statements likening the project of the European Union to Hitler’s vision for Europe. By being so hostile and aggressive with comments such as her “bloody difficult woman” statement and her vulgar declaration on the steps of Downing Street that Brussels was scheming and plotting to undermine British democracy, she is not building the bridges of good will and constructive relationships Britain will need to get a good deal from the European Union.

Last weekend the 27 EU leaders – Theresa May was not present – approved within a minute or so the guidelines for the EU’s negotiation of Brexit first issued on 31 March by President of the European Council Donald Tusk. EU officials said leaders burst into applause as the negotiating stance was waved through. The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, said:

“We are ready… we are together”.

As outgoing French President Francois Hollande said there would inevitably be

“a price and a cost for the UK – it’s the choice that was made”.

This is after all, what the British people voted for, so let them have it. I suspect there will be no deal at the end of the two year talks due to my belief that I can not envisage the UK honouring its financial contractual commitments. Thus, the UK will come crashing out without any deal.

If the EU chooses to subject the UK motor industry to tariffs and decides to institute an EU border between Northern and Southern Ireland, there will be nothing the UK can do to stop it. If the EU decides to make life difficult for the millions of British people who holiday on the glorious European continent each year to escape the miserable British weather and sour, passive-aggressive behaviour of their countrymen, there is nothing the UK will be able to do to stop it. There could be huge queues of cars at Dover and a plethora of customs checks. This is why the Leave campaign was such a fantasy, telling people that the UK could vote to leave the EU and still enjoy access to the Single Market.

This was one of the biggest lies told by Leave, just as big as their pledge to spend the extra money saved from EU budget contributions on the NHS. That pledge has quickly evaporated because it was based on lies and I doubt very much once the UK finally exits the EU in 2019 there will be any new money available to spend on the NHS. Indeed, it will be interesting to see what happens to the NHS which is staffed heavily with EU nationals and internationals because of the UK’s inability to train and retain home grown talent. As Matthew Norman writing in The Independent recently said:

“Those who disdain free movement of workers from inside and outside the EU (until they find themselves in hospital, or the washing machine breaks down)”.

Of all the EU Heads of Government, it has been the German Chancellor who has been the most moderate in her pronouncements on the consequences for Britain of leaving the EU. Now however even Angela Merkel’s patience with the foot dragging and flights of fantasy of the British Government is wearing thin. The Chancellor recently spoke of the “illusions” that some in the British Government still harboured regarding how difficult Brexit and it’s negotiations were going to be. Previously the Chancellor had said that:

“It is going to be rough going I think. It will not be that easy”.

This goes to nub of the predicament that the UK has placed itself in.

When it comes to Brexit it is the EU which holds all the cards. That is why perhaps it would have been wiser and in the national interest not to have appointed the “three Brexiters” of Johnson, Fox and Davis to the key posts that will oversee the massive amount of work involved over the coming years in disentangling the UK from the EU. Those appointments hardly sent a conciliatory and emollient message to EU capitals. In fact, it raised the hackles of many in Paris, Berlin et al and Mrs. May bangs on and on like a robot about how she is the only leader in Britain best placed to handle the Brexit negotiations. I think from her performance so far and that of her Government Ministers who brought about this crisis for Britain, it is clear she is the last person well suited to the task ahead.

It is not just an economic and financial storm which is on the horizon for the UK, but a constitutional crisis which could see the breakup of the United Kingdom itself. While the country as a whole voted by 52% to 48% to leave, a more complex and nuanced picture emerges when one examines the breakdown of the regional voting. Scotland overwhelmingly voted to remain. As did Northern Ireland. The Scottish Nationalist First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been quite right to demand another Scottish Independence Referendum. The Scottish Referendum was held when the UK was still a part of the EU and Scotland was voting to remain part of a UK inside the EU. It would have made more sense to have held the Scottish Referendum after the EU Referendum, not the other way around.

But then, this is Britain after all where there is such poor planning and design with very little though and rigour ever put into anything whether it be the management and running of public services or the design and layout of public buildings. If it gets to such a vote, Scotland could well opt for independence this time as a means to re-enter the EU and gain access to the Single Market, a market place far bigger and far more important for Scotland than remaining in a union with England.

Meanwhile, in Northern Ireland, the decision to leave the EU could very well achieve what thirty plus years of the bombs and bullets of the Provisional IRA failed to do – force a British Exit – with the North reunified with the South within the European Union. For the first time ever in the recent local Northern Ireland Assembly elections the unionists lost their majority for the first time ever and Sinn Fein is now only one seat behind the largest of the unionist parties.

As General de Gaulle said in his statement when he vetoed the UK’s first application for EEC membership in 1962: “England is insular”. It is not just England. Many parts of the UK are insular and brutally provincial, totally un-cosmopolitan and un-globalised. Many British people barely know the correct facts about the composition of their own country, let alone about the rest of Europe and the world.

No one in England (outside of the political, media, diplomatic and business elites) rarely calls the country by its formal title – the United Kingdom or even Britain – it is simply England for many people and most describe themselves as English rather than British. So one side effect of Brexit will probably be the end of the artificial construct known to only a few as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Britain is well and truly on the Brink and .

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