Tag Archives: border

Government department cancels P&O contract over mass sackings

Moored: P&O ferries were subjected to safety checks – which many failed – after foreign agency workers on less than the minimum wage were hired to replace illegally-sacked UK staff.

It’s extremely rare that This Site gets to praise the government for doing something right.

So let’s give credit where it’s due to the civil servants at the Home Office and Department of Transport, who have cancelled a contract with P&O Ferries over the company’s decision to sack around 800 UK-based employees and replace them with agency workers from abroad, paid less than the minimum wage.

Border Force has terminated its agreement with P&O to provide contingency travel services to juxtaposed ports – UK border controls set up in Calais, Dunkirk and some railway stations in France and Belgium, where goods and passengers are checked ahead of travel.

The contract was to transport border staff to northern France if there was a problem at the Channel Tunnel and was the DoT’s only deal with P&O.

But the government has also awarded P&O’s owner, DP World, contracts to run two so-called Free Ports. Some of us have been waiting for those contracts to be cancelled ever since the unannounced (and therefore illegal) mass sackings happened in March.

If all contracts with this rogue company and its parent aren’t killed, then the Tories are effectively supporting the illegal removal of UK workers from their jobs.

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Test for democracy in Northern Ireland as Sinn Fein set to win most assembly seats

Northern Ireland will have a nationalist leader for the first time in its more-than-100-year history after last week’s local elections. But will the unionists accept it?

Ever since the power sharing agreement was set up that made the NI Assembly in Stormont possible, the leadership has been held by a Democratic Unionist Party representative.

In practise, the post is interchangeable with that of the deputy leader, but the role is also symbolic – and the unionists may decide they don’t like the symbol they’ll be asked to support.

This Writer has previously heard rumbles that suggest the unionists would abandon the power-sharing agreements if they can’t be the leaders; that would have serious consequences for the representation of democracy. How can an elected assembly be democratic if only one party can be allowed to take the leadership?

It seems those rumours are not set to become reality quite yet. But the unionists are demanding changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol that prevents a hard border between NI and the Republic of Ireland by keeping Northern Ireland inside the European Union’s (EU) single market for goods. It also creates a new trade border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

The demand isn’t unreasonable; there should not be a hard trade border between one part of the United Kingdom and the others.

But it is a part of the agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland in 1998 that there should be no hard border between it and the Republic.

And the UK’s departure from the European Union means that a border where goods and people passing through are checked has to be placed somewhere, because the Republic is a member of that bloc.

It’s a problem that can’t be solved, it seems. Certainly the UK’s Tory government seems to have no intention of trying, with promoted-past-his-pay-grade Northern Ireland Secretary Damian Lewis hinting that there will be no plan to introduce new legislation on the protocol in the Queen’s Speech next week.

There may be leeway for discussion; new assembly members have until the end of 2024 to vote on whether to continue with the parts of the protocol that create an internal trade border within the UK.

One aspect of the change to a majority nationalist assembly that is unlikely to cause trouble – at least for now – is Sinn Fein’s aspiration to unite the Province with the Republic once again.

The law rules that the UK’s Northern Ireland Secretary may only agree to hold a referendum on reunification if it seems a majority of people in the Province are likely to support that change – and that hasn’t happened yet.

The most recent opinion poll, published in April, puts support at around 33 per cent.

Party leader Mary Lou McDonald has said planning for a unity referendum – also known as a border poll – would come within a five-year framework.

So it seems that, even if a way can be found to resolve problems with the Northern Ireland Protocol, arguments are likely to break out over reunification.

It seems clear that Northern Ireland’s history will continue to be difficult for some time to come.

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People near Ukraine-Russia border think the West is overstating ‘conflict’ hype

Vladimir Putin: He knows how to play the game of brinkmanship. Can Boris Johnson or Liz Truss say the same about themselves?

Kudos to Dorset Eye for finding this clip, which appears to feature genuine comments from people living on either side of the Ukraine-Russia border.

It seems clear that they think talk that Russia is about to invade Ukraine, by Western governments – particularly those of the UK and USA, is nothing more than hot air and fantasy:

@real.reddit.stories What do you think? #reddit #AlaskaAirCAREoke #russiavsukraine #fyp #redditreadings ♬ original sound – REDDIT STORIES

The Russian government has said that its military forces have been carrying out training exercises in co-operation with allies in Belarus – and that troops have been leaving the area as their role in those manoeuvres has ended.

This makes a nonsense of Nato/UK/US claims of an imminent invasion.

Earlier this week, fears were ramped up – by, among others, UK cabinet ministers – that Russia would invade Ukraine on Wednesday (February 16).

But that date has come and gone and nothing happened.

Then we were told that an apparent exchange of hostilities between Russian-backed rebels and Ukrainian forces was a “false flag” incident that Russia would use to justify a military incursion – and that hasn’t happened either.

But Nato/UK/US spokespeople are continuing to claim Russian troops are massing on the border.

Russian President Vladimir Putin may now claim to have humiliated the western sabre-rattlers, mocking their fears as “hysteria”.

It is possible that this was his intention all along.

It may be suggested that he was disingenuous in launching a harsh criticism of plans for Ukraine to join Nato at a time when his troops coincidentally(?) happened to be on that country’s borders, of course.

But that’s how the game of international brinkmanship is played, I suppose.

If Joe Biden or Boris Johnson had given in to their baser instincts and launched any kind of military action of their own, Mr Putin would have had an excuse to invade. As it is, he has been able to claim a propaganda win.

And the standoff isn’t over yet.

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Priti Patel’s planned immunity for officials who cause deaths of refugees is NAZISM

Nazi: Patel wants Border Force staff who cause the deaths of refugees to be immune from prosecution. What’s the defence – that they’re “just following orders”? That was what the Nazis said too.

Somebody has already called it fascism, but in fact this is Nazism:

According to The Guardian,

Border Force staff who enact Priti Patel’s plans to “push back” migrant boats in the Channel could be given immunity from conviction if a refugee dies, officials have confirmed.

The home secretary is seeking to introduce a provision in the nationality and borders bill that could give officials legal protections in the event that someone drowns.

Whether the provision, tucked away in an obscure corner of the bill, would actually protect officers from conviction under international maritime laws could be tested in the courts.

Presumably their defence will be “I was just following orders”.

Wait – where have we heard that before?

Ah yes: Nuremberg. It was the defence put forward by German soldiers responsible for Nazi atrocities like the Holocaust.

And we know it:

Still, there is a precedent. After all, government employees have been immune from prosecution over the deaths of sick and disabled people for years.

Apparently people are being discouraged from pointing out the obvious far-right, Nazi parallels – so kudos to this Twitter user who accurately labels Home Secretary Priti Patel, the fiend responsible for this move:

If this legislation is enacted and people die, she should be dragged out for trial in The Hague – and I, for one, would be quite happy to see her sentenced to execution.

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Rees-Mogg’s hypocrisy over England-Wales travel ban is borderline schizoid

Rees-Mogg: doesn’t he look properly psychotic in this image? Little did we know that it reflects his actual personality. Or did we..?

See what I did there? No? Allow me to explain:

Jacob Rees-Mogg has supported to the hilt plans that would put permanent borders within the United Kingdom – in the middle of the Irish Sea and on the inland border of Kent.

But he reckons a plan by Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford to ban entry into that country by people from other areas of the UK with higher Covid-19 lockdown restrictions is “unconstitutional”.

It isn’t; it simply puts those other parts of the UK in the same situation as those parts of Wales that are under more stringent restrictions and Drakeford is well within his rights to impose this temporary rule.

It seems, regarding internal borders, Rees-Mogg is schizoid – he is literally of two minds.

Here’s Nation.Cymru:

Jacob Rees Mogg replied: “What would you expect of a hard-left Labour Government?

“The approach to putting a border between England and Wales is unconstitutional and will place the police in an invidious position considering that they serve the whole of the United Kingdom.

“We are one single United Kingdom and we should not have… borders between different parts of the United Kingdom.

“And I’m afraid that is what you get when you vote for socialists.”

He did not offer any evidence that the Welsh Government’s plan was unconstitutional. Health is a devolved issue in Wales and can be legislated upon by the Welsh Parliament.

Police are not devolved but organised on an England and Wales, Scottish, and Northern Irish basis.

The measures regarding people coming to Wales from England are the same as those that exist between Welsh authorities.

You can see him making his comment here:

Phew, what a loony!

“Hard-left Labour government”? Rees-Mogg’s own constituency of Bath and North-East Somerset is very close to Wales. All he has to do is cross a bridge to realise that this is not a country full of Bolshevik revolutionaries.

Drakeford himself always struck me as being more of the ‘New Labour’ persuasion than a socialist. Perhaps he’ll take the hint from Rees-Mogg and adopt a more left-wing policy from now on (that would be welcome).

Realistically, we could suggest that Rees-Mogg’s attitude is that of the spoilt boy who finds that someone else has been playing with his toys; perhaps he thought nobody else was allowed to do as Drakeford has – now he knows better.

Alternatively, he’s mad as a bag of cats.

Our friends in the social media have an opinion about that, of course:

Come to that, so do a few people from Wales itself:

Of course it is perfectly permissible to travel out of Wales in order to give Rees-Mogg a verbal battering.

And if you don’t travel through any English Covid hotspots, it’s perfectly permissible to travel back in again.

The only people under any restrictions are those who should not be travelling anyway.

So this Tory fool is making a fuss about nothing.

Source: Rees-Mogg incorrectly claims new Welsh Covid-19 restrictions are ‘unconstitutional’ – Nation.Cymru

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Kexit: for the UK to leave the EU, it seems Kent must leave the UK. Spot the hypocrisy?

The UK’s new border: and the Tories can’t say it’s being imposed on us by anybody but them.

It’s all gone horribly wrong for Boris Johnson’s Brexit.

The government that decided to break international law – and threaten the peace in Northern Ireland – by overruling the Brexit plan to put an internal customs border – within the UK – in the Irish Sea…

… is self-imposing an internal border within the UK – where Kent meets Surrey.

That’s one example of Tory hypocrisy. Let’s see how many more we can find.

Here’s one: the new border means the party that said it would rid the UK of unwanted ‘red tape’ is burying itself under a new mountain of the stuff; Michael Gove is desperately trying to recruit a staggering 50,000 “customs agents” to help business prepare for it.

The measures are deemed necessary to prevent the creation of 7,000-long lorry queues and two-day waits to cross the Channel after the full force of Brexit hits us on January 1, 2021.

So:

Police will patrol the Kent border to turn away lorries without an “access permit”.

Officers will use automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras and “other means” to block drivers.

So it seems any trucker without these new travel passports will be arrested in what hauliers say is an attempt to shift blame for the looming disruption onto them (Tory hypocrisy number three).

The social media wits have really gone to town on this one (which is more than permit-less hauliers will be allowed to do) – using the new regulation to ridicule the attitudes of many jingoistic (Brexiteer) Brits:

Singled out for mockery is arch-Brexiteer Nigel Farage:

They point out that the policy move is an insult to Scotland:

Speculation has been rife about the EU’s response:

It is, after all, particularly ironic:

But at least there is an oven-ready excuse for this additional border: Kent already has a Deal.

Source: Brexit: Police to stop lorries without permits entering Kent in new ‘internal border’ | The Independent

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Bone-head: Tory Brexiteer humiliates himself in Newsnight interview

Peter Bone: he appears to be auditioning for a role as the Ghost of Brexit Yet to Come.

Peter Bone made a name for himself as an annoyance to David Cameron during Prime Minister’s Questions, back between 2010 and 2016.

Now it seems he is embarking on a new career as an embarrassment to the whole Conservative Party.

That was certainly the effect of his Newsnight interview on September 11.

Watch it for yourself:

If your head is spinning after listening to all that self-justifying waffle, I’ve found some handy comments to clear up what he was saying and why it is tripe:

(I think maybe some of these commenters were a bit “tired and emotional” when they were typing these messages. @elisled2, above, probably meant a “waiting” game, rather than a “whiting” game, whatever that may be.)

Well, not all of the comments made sense of what he was saying…

Needless to say, his performance prompted criticism of its own:

Perhaps the best summary came from a parody account:

I’m sure some people supported what he had to say – sad, misled people.

But it seems clear that most of the UK is sick of him, of his party, and of their constant failures.

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Will people realise the food shortages they suffer in January are due to Brexit?

Grant Shapps: he’s telling us supply chains will remain open after Brexit-imposed border restrictions are imposed from January 1. But he’s the guy who said it was perfectly safe to go back to work, while remaining safe at home himself.

Wasn’t it a stroke of genius to stagger the date the UK leaves the EU and the date any changes to our relationship take effect, so people don’t recognise the connection?

Clearly Boris Johnson wasn’t behind it. We can all agree that a yoghurt has more intelligence than the prime muppet.

So the UK is no longer a member of the European Union at the time of writing – but the Tory government still needs to make preparation for border controls that must be imposed from January 1.

And that isn’t happening.

Rod McKenzie, from the Road Haulage Association, said the government should “act now before it’s too late”.

Mr McKenzie told BBC News: “It is a real case of the government sleepwalking to a disaster with the border preparations that we have, whether it is a deal or no-deal Brexit at the end of December.

“The supply chain on which we are all dependent to get the things we need could be disrupted and there is a lack of government focus and action on this.”

He added: “When we are trying to emerge from the crisis of covid, if we then plunge straight into a Brexit-related crisis, that will be a really difficult moment and we need real pace.

“The difference here is between a disaster area and a disaster area with rocket boosters on.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is busy fitting the rocket boosters to this disaster area.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he “could not pre-empt the outcome” of trade talks with the EU, which he conceded created “some uncertainty”.

But, he said the government had kept supply changes going [I think he means “routes open”] throughout the pandemic and “we are absolutely confident we will do that again in the future”.

Let’s take a moment to remember that the Tory government was unable to supply personal protective equipment during the pandemic, meaning many doctors and nurses died of Covid-19 and Covid-related conditions.

The Tory government was unable to supply respirators during the pandemic, meaning tens of thousands of UK citizens died of Covid-19 and Covid-related conditions.

The government did not keep supply routes open – in fact, there is evidence that the Tories consciously shut them down.

And now Grant Shapps wants us to believe in his pie-in-the-sky promise that everything will be fine.

I don’t buy it. And that’s not all that you won’t be buying from January onwards, if your MPs don’t get their fingers out of their collective rear ends.

Source: Brexit: UK ‘sleepwalking into disaster’ over border plans, hauliers warn – BBC News

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The Tories crippled their own border controls. Don’t let them use their own stupidity to boost racism

Tories like scapegoating immigrants – and have been doing it for decades: the current fad is for claiming illegal immigration feeds modern slavery, but the underlying threat has always been that Johnny Foreigner is taking your job. It’s an old con.

This Tory hypocrisy is a little too rich for our taste.

Boris Johnson’s government is whipping up jingoism against refugees secretly crossing the Channel to get into the UK:

It seems ministers have conveniently forgotten that successive Tory governments were responsible for stripping the country of its ability to catch the people-smugglers.

Former prime minister Theresa May, during her term as Home Secretary, spent years cutting Border Force, the organisation that – we’re told – protects our borders.

I published this story in 2014 and matters have only become worse.

If it can’t manage now – and the Tories have had to appeal to the Navy for help – that’s their fault and they should own up to it.

Instead, they’re trying to turn their latest fiasco into a crusade against Johnny Foreigner sneaking onto our shores and boosting modern slavery.

How utterly vile.

I accept that it is perfectly understandable to want to keep unmonitored people out of the UK during a time of international contagion.

However:

The issue is why these people want to come to the UK at all. If we really wanted to stop them, we need to help end their reasons for leaving their own homelands.

(Obviously, making the UK an unattractive destination has failed as a strategy.)

My guess is, these people are running away from wars, and the fallout from wars, that the UK helped start under recent Tory governments.

So whichever way you turn, the finger of blame points at the Conservatives.

It leads me to ask whether this is an attempt at distraction – and if so, I’m wondering what’s so bad that the Tories are happy to expose themselves to ridicule, simply to divert attention away from it.

Source: Home Office seeks military help over migrant crossings – BBC News

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Boris’s Brexit border plans could make UK a laughing-stock, says MP best-known for obsession with cheese

Liz Truss: the queen of cheese is warning that Boris Johnson’s Brexit will cause serious problems.

Boris Johnson’s Brexit border plans could break international trading rules, risk the UK’s international credibility, and lead to smuggling from the European Union, it has been alleged.

And just so you know this is a serious matter, the warning comes in a leaked letter written by the minister best-known – and ridiculed – for her own unnatural obsession with cheese.

Liz Truss – for it was she – outlined four “key areas of concerns” [sic] about the government’s plans to leave EU trading and custom rules at the end of 2020, in a letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Michael Gove.

Here’s UK Business Insider:

Truss said the plans could create a series of logistical, political, and reputational risks for the government, including:

  • A legal challenge from the World Trade Organisation.
  • Increased smuggling from the EU if not all UK ports are ready to carry out checks.
  • Concerns over the union if EU tariffs are applied to all goods heading to Northern Ireland by “default.”
  • The undermining of the UK’s international trade policy.

The whole is likely to make the UK even more of an international laughing-stock than it is now – and that’s frankly amazing because other nations have been laughing at us for years.

They can see what happens when a nation falls into neoliberal decline for more than 40 years.

By the end, it has no public services to call its own, no manufacturing industry, no trading partners, no talent and no credibility.

And the members of the Tory government are prime examples of the philosophy that led to this collapse.

Source: Leaked Liz Truss letter says Boris Johnson’s Brexit plans risk legal challenge – Business Insider

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