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 .

#Brexit: Flip flopping Trump ‘set to put Brussels AHEAD of Britain in trade talks queue after Merkel meeting’

Trump ‘set to put Brussels AHEAD of Britain in trade talks queue after Merkel meeting’
DONALD Trump has shunned Britain and put the UK second-in-line behind the European Union for a new free trade deal with the US, according to Washington officials.

Backtracking on his previous opposition to negotiating with the crumbling Brussels bloc, the President softened his stance after individual EU member states rejected attempts by his officials to start talks on separate trade agreements.

According to the Times, German chancellor Angela Merkel managed to convince Trump at a private dinner last month that striking a deal between the US and EU would be simpler than he thought.

A senior German politician told the newspaper: “Ten times Trump asked her if he could negotiate a trade deal with Germany.

“Every time she replied with: ‘You can’t do a trade deal with Germany, only the EU.’

“On the element refusal, Trump finally got the message: ‘Oh, we’ll do a deal with Europe then.’”

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The move comes after Merkel convinced Trump it would be easy to strike a deal with the EU

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Boris Johnson said in January Britain would be “first in line” for a trade deal with the US

But this “realisation” led the Trump administration to believe a trade deal with the EU would be more important to US interests than a post-Brexit deal with Britain, according to a top White House official.

The news comes in stark contrast to Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s claims in January, where after meeting Trump’s advisers claimed Britain would be “first in line” for a trade deal.

The EU is America’s biggest trading partner, with US exports to the bloc last year worth $270billion, and imports worth $417billion.

However, in the same period, the US exported just $55billion in goods to Britain and imported $54billion.

The developments now mean a new deal could be struck between the US and the EU – but reportedly could also mean a resurrection of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

Trump made scrapping the agreement a key pledge during his presidential campaign last year, but officials have allegedly claimed the White House has softened its position on the deal

#Brexit: Proposed US-UK Trade Deal Slammed as ‘TTIP On Steroids’

Proposed US-UK Trade Deal Slammed as ‘TTIP On Steroids’

A new report says the proposed US-UK trade deal promised by Trump will be “TTIP on steroids,” bringing in “corporate courts,” privatization of health services and a threat to climate change, Sputnik has been told.

The US Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, April 19, told delegates at the think tank Policy Exchange in London, England that the United States and Great Britain play a critical role in promoting regional and global stability, creating new opportunities for trade and economic partnerships, and spoke of the “enduring importance of the special relationship between [the] two countries.”

​”We should measure the success of the special relationship not just by how we treat each other, but rather by how well we can leverage this moment to seize a real opportunity for our two nations,” Paul Ryan said.

However, in a new briefing, campaign group Global Justice Now says a US-UK trade deal will only work for the US, following US President Donald Trump’s “America First” policy.

The group says it would contain “more extreme forms of all the controversial elements of the deal that was being negotiated between the EU and the USA” — the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

“Being desperate to make a deal under any circumstances, while having a very weak bargaining hand, is the worst possible combination for the UK to be entering into any sort of trade discussions with the US, so it’s not surprising that Trump is keen to make a deal when it could so massively benefit US corporations,” Jean Blaylock, trade campaigner at Global Justice Now told Sputnik.

​The report said any US-UK trade deal would still create “corporate courts” that allow foreign corporations to sue governments outside of the national legal system to challenge such things as environmental protection or public health policy, lock in the privatization of public services, including of the National Health Service (NHS) and would undermine climate commitments.

“Tariffs between the US and the UK are already low and trade levels are high. So any deal would be about stripping away protections around labor rights, public services and consumer standards that are hugely beneficial to ordinary people, but occasionally inconvenient to business interests. There’s an enormously powerful private health care sector of the US that is licking its lips at the prospect of being able to open up the NHS under such a trade deal,” Blaylock told Sputnik.

Dispute

At the heart of the TTIP deal is the controversial investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) — the so-called “corporate courts” — protocol, under which companies that are barred from selling their goods and services in any state that is part of the agreement can sue the government for loss of earnings.

If a US food company that produces chicken meat by cleaning the plucked carcass in chlorinated water is prevented from selling it in the EU — where such practice is banned — the company can invoke the ISDS protocol, have the case heard by a special tribunal and sue for loss of earnings. The same is true of genetically modified foods, which are largely banned in the EU, but not in the US.

“Governments can never win from an ISDS case — even if the judgement is in their favor, they have legal costs which on average are just under US$6.4 million for each case,” the Global Justice Now report says

EU should think twice about buying stolen gas from israel

Israel Starts Exporting Palestine’s Gas to EU

Report: Israel Starts Exporting Palestine’s Gas to EU

TEHRAN (FNA)- Reports revealed Israel has signed a $4 bn agreement to sell the gas extracted from the Palestinian seashore to the European Union.

The installed pipeline will transfer the gas from the occupied Palestinian seashore to the EU states passing through Cyprus, Greece and Italy and will rival the Russian gas which passes through Turkey into Southern Europe, Al Manar reported.

Lebanon also will be affected by the Israeli-EU agreement which will deprive the country from a major market to sell its gas resources.

Oil exploration in Lebanon is scheduled to start soon in order to protect the Lebanese resources from any Zionist infringement and to find suitable markets for the country’s production

If Terrorists Targeted Russia, Who’s Behind the Terrorists?

 

April 5, 2017 (Tony Cartalucci – NEO) – Eleven have been killed and dozens more injured in what is an apparent terrorist attack on St. Petersburg’s metro system. Western analysts are assigning possible blame for the attack on either terrorists operating from Russia’s Chechnya region, or possibly terrorist groups affiliated with fronts fighting in Syria.

Western analysts are also attempting to cement a narrative that downplays the significance of the attacks and instead attempts to leverage them politically against Moscow. A piece in the Sydney Morning Herald titled, “Fears of a Putin crackdown after terror attack on St Petersburg metro,” would attempt to claim:

So who is to blame? No one has said officially. The BBC’s Frank Gardner says suspicions will centre around Chechen nationalists or an Islamic State inspired group wanting payback for Putin’s airstrikes in Syria. Or it could be a combination of both. 

Putin has in the past justified crackdowns on civilian protests by citing the terror threat. But will he this time, and will it work?

At least one pro-Kremlin commentator has linked the attack to the recent mass demonstrations organised by Putin’s political opponent.

Yet, in reality, the demonstrations and the terrorist groups being implicated both share a significant common denominator – both are openly long-term recipients of US-European aid, with the latter group also receiving significant material support from US-European allies in the Persian Gulf, primarily Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

US-European support for foreign-funded organizations posing as “nongovernmental organizations” (NGOs) running parallel efforts with terrorist organizations undermining Moscow’s control over Chechnya have been ongoing for decades.

Beyond Chechnya, the United States’ own Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) would admit in a 2012 memo (PDF) that:

If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran). 

The DIA memo then explains exactly who this “Salafist principality’s” supporters are (and who its true enemies are):

The West, Gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition; while Russia, China, and Iran support the regime.

In essence, the “Salafist” (Islamic) “principality” (State) was a creation of the US in pursuit of its attempted regime change agenda in Syria. The current, self-proclaimed “Islamic State” is situated precisely in eastern Syria where the DIA memo claimed its state sponsors sought to place it. Its role in undermining Damascus and its allies’ attempts to restore peace and order to the Syrian state is obvious.

The fact that NATO-member Turkey served as a logistical, training, and financial hub for not only the Islamic State’s activities, but also other terrorist groups including Al Qaeda’s regional franchise – Al Nusra – also further implicates not only possible Al Qaeda and Islamic State involvement in the recent St. Petersburg blast, but also these organizations’ state sponsors – those who “support the opposition” in Syria.

Whether the United States played a direct role in the St. Petersburg blast or not is inconsequential. Without the massive state sponsorship both Washington and its European and Persian Gulf allies have provided these groups, such global-spanning mayhem would be impossible. The fact that the US seeks to undermine Russia politically, economically, and in many ways, militarily, and has recently fielded US-European-funded mobs in Russia’s streets – means that it is likely not a coincidence violence is now also being employed against Russia within Russian territory.

As per US policymakers’ own documented machinations – such as the 2009 Brookings Institution report, “Which Path to Persia?: Options for a New American Strategy Toward Iran” (PDF) – a militant component is prescribed as absolutely essential for the success of any street movement Washington manages to stir up against targeted states.

In the Brookings Institution document, it stated unequivocally in regards to toppling the government of Iran, that (emphasis added):

Consequently, if the United States ever succeeds in sparking a revolt against the clerical regime, Washington may have to consider whether to provide it with some form of military support to prevent Tehran from crushing it. This requirement means that a popular revolution in Iran does not seem to fit the model of the “velvet revolutions” that occurred elsewhere. The point is that the Iranian regime may not be willing to go gently into that good night; instead, and unlike so many Eastern European regimes, it may choose to fight to the death. In those circumstances, if there is not external military assistance to the revolutionaries, they might not just fail but be massacred.   Consequently, if the United States is to pursue this policy, Washington must take this possibility into consideration. It adds some very important requirements to the list: either the policy must include ways to weaken the Iranian military or weaken the willingness of the regime’s leaders to call on the military, or else the United States must be ready to intervene to defeat it.”

The policy document would also openly conspire to fund and arm listed terrorist organizations including the notorious Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK). The document would state:

The United States could work with groups like the Iraq-based National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and its military wing, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), helping the thousands of its members who, under Saddam Husayn’s regime, were armed and had conducted guerrilla and terrorist operations against the clerical regime. Although the NCRI is supposedly disarmed today, that could quickly be changed.

It would also admit that (emphasis added):

Despite its defenders’ claims, the MEK remains on the U.S. government list of foreign terrorist organizations. In the 1970s, the group killed three U.S. officers and three civilian contractors in Iran. During the 1979-1980 hostage crisis, the group praised the decision to take America hostages and Elaine Sciolino reported that while group leaders publicly condemned the 9/11 attacks, within the group celebrations were widespread. 

Undeniably, the group has conducted terrorist attacks—often excused by the MEK’s advocates because they are directed against the Iranian government. For example, in 1981, the group bombed the headquarters of the Islamic Republic Party, which was then the clerical leadership’s main political organization, killing an estimated 70 senior officials. More recently, the group has claimed credit for over a dozen mortar attacks, assassinations, and other assaults on Iranian civilian and military targets between 1998 and 2001. At the very least, to work more closely with the group (at least in an overt manner), Washington would need to remove it from the list of foreign terrorist organizations. 

If US policymakers have openly conspired to arm and fund known terrorist organizations guilty of murdering not only civilians in nations like Iran but also citizens of the United States itself, why would they hesitate to do likewise in Russia?

While the US poses as engaged in a battle against the so-called “Islamic State” in Syria, it has left its obvious, overt state sponsors unscathed both politically and financially.  If the bombing in St. Petersburg is linked to US-European-Persian Gulf state sponsored terrorism, it will be only the latest in a long and bloody tradition of using terrorism as a geopolitical  tool.

The US, having been frustrated in Syria and having little to no leverage at the negotiation table, is likely trying to “show” Moscow that it can still create chaos both beyond Russia’s borders amongst its allies, and within Russia’s borders – regardless of how well Russians have weathered such tactics in the past.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.

10 things you can do to resist hard Brexit

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0 things you can do to resist hard Brexit

Adam Ramsay 28 March 2017

As Article 50 is triggered, here’s what you can do to stop Britain’s slide to the hard right. Add your own suggestions in the comments.

Whichever way you voted in the referendum, hard Brexit is not about fulfilling a democratic mandate to leave the European Union. It’s about Theresa May’s government using the process of leaving the EU to force through its hard-right Daily Mail agenda – at a high cost to the majority of people living in the United(ish) Kingdom. Here are ten ways you can resist, and we’d love to hear more from you in in the comments below.

1)    Join a migrant solidarity group

Jimmy Mubenga, Wikimedia

What Brexit will mean for those who moved to the UK from other European countries is still up in the air. But let’s remember that there are already huge numbers on the rough end of Britain’s increasingly brutal anti-migrant rhetoric. And as Brexit fails to transform Britain into the Land of Hope and Glory that Boris Johnson and UKIP’s Nigel Farage promised, we can be pretty sure about who will get the brunt of the blame from the prime minister who, as Home Secretary, brought us the infamous racist van.

Long before Brexit, there was the tale of Jimmy Mubenga, a 46 year old father of five, who was suffocated to death by the G4S security guards on his deportation flight. Right now, there’s people like Manchester’s Abbey Kyuyene, who faces being deported to Uganda, where he can expect to be imprisoned for the rest of his life because he’s gay. There’s the child locked up for five months alongside a convicted child abuser simply because he came here from somewhere else. And there’s the hundreds of people we imprison indefinitely just because they want to live here.

There are the families Britain breaks apart because Theresa May believes they aren’t rich enough for love. There’s the horrific conditions we expect many of those seeking asylum in the UK to live in and there’s the people freezing in refugee camps just across the Channel. There are the workers who suffer exploitation rather than risk their paperless status being exposed and there are the families still dying in the Mediterranean as they attempt to make it to European soils.

All of these situations were bad before Brexit. All of them risk becoming worse as the government and its cheerleaders in the press cast around for someone to blame for the fact that Brexit will fail to give people any more sense of control over their lives.

All across the country, there are migrant solidarity groups organising to stop their neighbours being deported, demanding the closure of detention centres and providing a range of kinds of practical solidarity. As hard-right Brexit accelerates, they will need more people, more help and more support. Powerful people like to scapegoat migrants because they believe they can be divided from their communities most easily. Organising those communities to fight back is the best way to scare them off.

There’s Glasgow’s Unity Centre, Liverpool and Manchester migrant solidarity, No Borders, Calais Migrant Solidarity, the campaign to close Yarls’ Wood, Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants, Stop Funding Hate, Student Action for Refugees, the People & Planet Undoing Borders campaign… and many, many more people organising to support migrants here in the UK. Work out what’s going on near you, ask how you can help, and get involved – whether you speak another language, have research or legal skills, or can phone an airline to help stop a deportation, there are lots of thing we could all be doing to help our neighbours.

2)    Stop the trade deal shock doctrine

Protests against the EU/US trade deal, “TTIP”. Image: stop-ttip.org

One of the most terrifying potential ramifications of Brexit is a Trump-May UK/US Trade deal. And a UK/China trade deal… and… I could go on. While the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy has vast problems, American agribusiness will be very keen to ensure that what replaces it is nothing like the careful environmental protections that eco-Brexiters like Paul Kingsnorth will have been hoping for. With vast corporations desperate to prise open British markets after decades of EU subsidy and protection, one of the most predictable consequences of Brexit is Britain’s countryside becoming the latest item shed in Westminster’s accelerating asset striptease.

One of the most predictable consequences of Brexit is Britain’s countryside becoming the latest item shed in Westminster’s accelerating asset striptease.

And the fire-sale of the English countryside will only be one item in such a negotiation. Expect US health insurance companies, with their famous lobbying heft, to try desperately to bury both mandibles into what’s left of the NHS. Expect all of the worst bits of the EU/US Trade Deal to be regurgitated back onto the table. Expect the return of some version of the ‘Investor State Dispute Mechanism’ corporate courts, which have been used to ban regulations designed to protect us from cancer or workplace accidents because they damage company profits.

And expect people to organise against them. Global Justice Now and War on Want have so far led the fight in the UK, working with partners across the world and winning astounding victories along the way. Of them, the former is probably easier to get involved with, as it has groups across the country. You can join here.

3) Stand with Scotland

Forth Bridge, George Gastin, Wikimedia Commons.

The Conservative party made very clear before the referendum that they expected to keep the UK as a whole in the single market. As such, May doesn’t really have any mandate for her hard Brexit. But the situation north of the Tweed is worse: Scotland voted by 62% to remain in the EU, and yet people here face being dragged out against their will. May hasn’t even been willing to consider any of the potential ‘special deal’ options proposed by the SNP, Labour and Lib Dems in recent months, along lines I once called a ‘Reverse Greenland’. The only democratic way to resolve the constitutional conflict between the result of the 2014 independence vote, the 2016 result, and the situation Theresa May insists on dragging Scotland into is another independence referendum.

Last night, a majority of members of the Scottish parliament voted to hold such a referendum. For Westminster to block it would be a democratic outrage. And yet that is what Theresa May seems to be proposing to do. Pressure from outside Scotland will be key if Scots are to be allowed to vote on their constitutional future once more.

Write to your MP and demand that they allow they people of Scotland to vote on their constitutional future. (But make sure you read the next point first.)

4) …and with Northern Ireland

The Peace Bridge, Derry, Northern Ireland. Discovernorthernireland.com

If Scotland faces a democratic deficit, the North of Ireland faces disaster. Like Scotland, people in Northern Ireland voted to Remain in the EU. Unlike Scotland, there are significant reasons why Brexit will be a particular problem for people there. The imposition of passport and customs controls along the border between the North and the Republic will cause real economic harm. It will provide another opportunity to return to the old days of sectarian discrimination. The chances that border posts will become a target for violence, which could then escalate, are not trivial.

The chances that border posts will become a target for violence, which could then escalate, are not trivial.

And it’s not just the border. The EU and its human rights laws provide the framework for the Good Friday Agreement which has brought two decades of relative peace, and gave a constitutional framework in which people could be either Irish or British in both identity and citizenship, and live side by side without violence.

So far, the British establishment has got away with treating Northern Ireland with disdainful disinterest. In the run up to the European referendum, their unique case was largely ignored by politicians and the media. In the run up to their recent election, no one paid any attention. It’s only with the death of Martin McGuinness and the collapse of negotiations this week that the media has started to take note.

What should happen in Northern Ireland? It’s too easy for those not from there to propose simple solutions: a united Ireland is certainly tempting, and may be the solution, but that’s as contentious a question as ever. Certainly, we need to make sure that the British government realises that there are people outside of Ireland who care about it. And so, again, a simple place to start may be writing to your MP and demanding at the very least that they do all they can to prevent a hard border. You might even want to include points about both Scotland and Northern Ireland together.

5) Take part in a Reclaim the Power action

Leaving the EU means leaving behind inter-state collaboration on one of the defining issues of our time: climate change. And that means grassroots action will be more important than ever. Fortunately, the good folks at Reclaim the Power (whose name long predates the similar sounding Brexit slogan ‘take back control’) are organising a wave of direct action against the fossil fuel industry, and offer you the chance to get your hands dirty in the fight against the fossil fuel industry. They tell you how to get involved here.

6) Confront racism where you see it

Image: http://blacklivesmatteruk.org/

For people of colour, racism is a lived experience and, well, you don’t need some white guy telling you what to do about that. But for those of us who aren’t from racialised groups, we’re going to have to up our game. There has already been a surge in reports of hate speech and worse since Brexit, and we all need to play our part in stopping it. Check out groups like Black Lives Matter UK and see what you can do to help, and stand up to the racism which surrounds us all, whether that’s a quiet conversation with an uncle or confronting fascists in the street.

7) Read up on what the British empire was really like

Caricature of Cecil John Rhodes,Punch Magazine, public domain.

It often feels like a lot of this couldn’t have happened if Britain had ever come to terms with its colonial history. British imperialists really weren’t the cheerful engineers, kindly building railways for people in far off lands that our culture keeps trying to tell us about. It was all a lot more blood and torture-filled than that. And there is a whole lot more that most of us could be doing to learn about what really went on, and how it is Britain really got rich in the first place.

Whether you prefer fiction or non-fiction, find a few books or articles about what the British empire was really about – ideally written by people from the places we colonised – and begin to sample a flavour of the carnage and plunder that the UK unleashed on the world for centuries. One thing you might want to do is start with one war from the list below, find a book or article on it by someone from the colonised group, and take it from there:

The Opium wars; The Carnatic wars; The Anglo-Cherokee war; Pontiac’s rebellion; The Anglo Mysore wars; The Anglo Maratha wars; The American Revolutionary war; The Irish Rebellion; The Kandyan wars; The Anglo-Turkish war; The Xhosa wars; The Ga-Fante war; The war of 1812; The Anglo-Ashanti wars; The Anglo-Burmese wars; Canada’s Rebellions of 1837; The first, second and third Afghan wars; The Anglo Sikh wars; The Flagstaff war in New Zealand – and in fact the New Zealand wars in general; The Anglo-Persian war; The Black war; The Indian Rebellion; The First Taranaki war; The invasion of Waikato; The Bhutan war; The Klang war; Titokowaru’s War; The 1868 ‘Expedition’ to Abyssinia; The Red River Rebellion; The Anglo-Zulu War; The Sikkim Expedition; The Anglo-Zanzibar War; The Boer Wars; The Anglo-Aro War; The British expedition to Tibet; The Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War; the Irish War of Independence; The 1920 conflict between British forces and the Dervish State; the Great Arab Revolt in Palestine; The British–Zionist conflict; the Korean War; the Mau Mau Uprising; the Cyprus emergency; the Suez Crisis; the Border Campaign against the IRA; the Falklands War. (Just a few, then.)

8) Join a trade union

 

photo: Timm Sonnenschein, TUC.

Brexit is also likely to mean a significant attack on rights at work. But, while the EU certainly helped drag Britain forward, it’s not international treaties which created the real pressure for workers’ rights in the first place: it was workers themselves organising for basic safety standards, weekends, paid holidays, sick pay and decent wages. Without the EU, we’re going to have to get good at that. Check out the TUC website and work out which one is for you. If, like millions of people, you’re already a member but aren’t involved, then get in touch with your union and find out what you could be doing.

9) Start paying for your media

Fewer and fewer people are paying for the news they read, watch and listen to. This means that journalism is more and more dependent on ‘native’ advertising and the patronage of vested interests, blurring the lines between editorial decisions and business or political ones. We can’t fix our politics without mending our media. And that means paying for it. You can set up a regular subscription to openDemocracy here – but whatever media you read and value, support it.

10) Come to the Convention on Brexit

openDemocracy is proud to be a media partner for a major national convention on Brexit, where we will have the conversations that have been largely absent from parliament and the media. It’s happening on 12 and 13 May in central London and will be the first large-scale event to offer organisations and individuals the chance to take part in crucial debates about the United Kingdom’s future, the wider changes that are sweeping western democracies and to debate and strategise together about what to do next.

Be there.

 

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Is Turkey’s President Erdogan Working Directly With ISIS to Bring TERROR to Europe?

by Mark AngelidesTurkish President, Recep Erdogan on Wednesday, said that “If you continue to behave like this, not a single European, not a single Westerner will be able to take a step on the road safely anytime in the world,” to the European Union. This can be spun anyway the media likes, but it is clearly a direct threat if you look at the history between Erdo?an and ISIS. The comments came in response to Germany and Holland both blocking Turkish Ministers from holding rallies to support the Turkish president’s grab for power, which many suggest is the first step to complete dictatorial control. To say that Westerners will not be safe on the streets of their own countries if they continue to interfere with his actions is a statement that it is hard to find another explanation for: other than terror will be unleashed.

Combine this threat with the “deal” in place between the EU and Turkey to hold back “refugees” in Turkey for €3 Billion and visa free access for Turks; the threats start to look not like idle taunts, but a direct action plan to destabilize Europe. Erdo?an’s spokesman has since said that he will flood Europe with more than 15,000 “refugees” per month in order to “blow your mind”. Many of the 15,000 may in fact be genuine refugees, but as ISIS themselves stated, they will send Jihadis into Europe under the guise of refugees; and that 4000 fighters are already in

To date, the most effective opposition to ISIS have been the Kurdish soldiers fighting daily against the enemy. They have achieved “boots on the ground” victories and have shown themselves to be fearsome fighters. But they are being held back by almost constant bombing operations directly on their strongholds; the bombings coming directly from the Turkish military.

 

Oil Supply Lines

Russia has openly accused Turkey of benefiting from the oil supply controlled by ISIS and has held press conferences showing pictures of Turkish trucks going through ISIS oil depots. Here is a video showing trucks going through the Turkish-Syria border at Reyhanli (a supposed “closed border”).

Erdo?an’s Son

Bilal Erdogan (the President’s third son) controls a company called BMZ, which is the big name that keeps coming up with regards to who is buying the oil from ISIS controlled Iraq. IN breach of almost every law regarding business dealings with terrorist organizations, Bilal seems to be making a fortune for BMZ and by association, helping fund ISIS in Iraq. According to the Huffington Post, Bilal is one of three equal shareholders in BMZ.

 

This does not of course mean irrefutably that President Erdogan is working hand in hand with ISIS, but it does pose questions as to how much mutual cooperation and side deals may be taking place between a government that until recently was set to join the EU and a terrorist organization. As Erdogan himself said: “No one should expect me to provoke [IS]”.

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