Tag Archives: European

Racist Tories indicate they’d rather have criminals driving our lorries than foreigners

I’m not happy with this.

It seems Boris Johnson’s government is thinking of letting convicted criminals – who are serving prison sentences – deliver lorry loads of goods to ease the driver shortage caused by Brexit (not Covid-19).

The option was tabled by the Association of Independent Meat Suppliers, which is apparently meeting with HM Prison Service this week (although I don’t know why. Most of the prisons are run by private companies these days, aren’t they?) to ask for lorry drivers to be prioritised on the Release on Temporary Licence (ROFL* ROTL) scheme.

The meeting comes after Nando’s had to close 45 fast food joints due to a shortage of chickens. In related news, McDonalds recently ran out of milkshakes.

And of course the nation is running out of patience.

But that didn’t stop ministers rejecting calls for temporary work visas to be handed to drivers from the European Union after overtures were made to Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng.

The response was clear – and clearly racist: “The British people repeatedly voted to end free movement and take back control of our immigration system and employers should invest in our domestic workforce instead of relying on labour from abroad.”

In other words: “We don’t want Johnny Foreigner coming over here and helping us out of a problem we created because of our racism against him! We’d rather cut off our noses to spite our faces!

The statement continued: “We recently announced a package of measures to help tackle the HGV driver shortage, including plans to streamline the process for new drivers to gain their HGV licence and to increase the number of tests able to be conducted.”

In other words, new drivers will be trained to a lower standard, and tests will be of a lower quality, in order to put more drivers on our streets. And bring more death to our roads?

The alternative is the use of prisoners. You can read about it here and here.

Owain Gardner (below) makes some good points about it:

And so does Richard Murphy:

We’re coming to a point where we don’t mind who we trust to deliver our food – or what condition it may be in when it arrives. That’s why I don’t think such a scheme will work.

Which prisoners would the government allow to be used? What crimes would the government deem to be harmless enough to allow them to deliver food to us? How would they be supervised?

My guess is that the answers to these three questions are: any, all, and not at all.

And that creates a danger to us. It only takes one con with a chip on his shoulder to cause all kinds of problems. I’m sure I can leave the consequences to your imagination.

Oh, I’m exaggerating; overdramatising. Sure.

But we have prisons to stop dangerous people from doing dangerous things. This scheme will give them free rein to do it.

And I’m only wrong about this until something happens to prove me right.

*ROFL is of course an Internet acronym meaning “Rolling On the Floor Laughing”. I mention it because of its similarity to ROTL, and also to connect with Keir Starmer’s howler at his latest relaunch of his party leadership, in which he used the slogan “Winning The Future” (WTF). You’re probably aware that WTF is Internet-speak for “What The F***”.

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Should Northern Ireland split from the UK to end deadlock with the EU and keep Biden happy?

Deadlock: The EU has a trade agreement and couldn’t care less if it harms Boris Johnson. And Joe Biden’s commitment to co-operation with the UK may waver if a solution can’t be found and the Troubles return. What if the Province splits from the UK – for the good of its people?

It makes a nice story on the eve of a G7 summit – especially one taking place in the UK. And that’s what the BBC propagandists want.

But while US President Joe Biden and the UK’s pipsqueak Boris Johnson might agree that trade problems in Northern Ireland due to last year’s UK-EU deal need to be solved, we have no reason to believe they agree on how.

The European Union has no problem with the current situation. All the problems were created by Boris Johnson because he rushed through a trade deal, either without understanding it or without caring what was in it – to meet a deadline he thought he needed to maintain public confidence.

Even the BBC had to admit it:

French President Emmanuel Macron said: “I think it’s not serious to want to review in July what we finalised after years of debate and work in December.

“We have a trade deal – it has been painfully discussed for years… if six months later, they say: ‘What we negotiated with you, we don’t know how to respect it’, then that means that nothing is respectable anymore.”

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said the Northern Ireland protocol – the name for the post-Brexit trading rules – was the “only solution” and should be implemented fully.

Biden’s interest dates from the 1990s, when his forerunner Bill Clinton worked with people on all sides of the Northern Ireland question to help bring about the Good Friday Agreement that ended the so-called “Troubles”.

The BBC (again) has already published details of a planned speech in which Biden was set to voice concerns that deadlock on the Northern Ireland Protocol could jeopardise peace in the Province.

Sadly, with Biden taking pains to stress that he is not “warning” the two sides in any way, the EU unwilling to give any ground at all, and Johnson incapable of understanding the complexities involved, it seems there may be “Troubles” ahead once again.

There is a simple way out, of course: Northern Ireland could vote to leave the United Kingdom.

I’m not even suggesting that this means joining the Republic of Ireland.

The simple fact is that the people of this region have suffered terribly because of the “Troubles”. If I was living there, I would be furious that Johnson’s insensitivity has put NI back in the firing line and would be prepared to consider any alternative to prevent it.

And there’s no reason they would want to stay in the union – Johnson has created a situation where they are actually worse-off, the longer they put up with the current situation.

If Northern Ireland quit the UK but did not join the Republic, Biden would be happy; future violence could be averted. The EU would be happy too – it would make trading much simpler.

The only loser would be Boris Johnson. He would become the prime minister who forced the nation to split – and voters are not likely to forgive him for that.

It would be poetic justice. He thought he could get away with any old rubbish. He thought wrong.

Source: G7: UK and US in complete harmony over Northern Ireland – Boris Johnson – BBC News

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Tory Brexit has decimated the UK’s financial industry – and YOU will suffer the consequences

This is UK money: enjoy the sight of it because it is currently being turned into Euros and we are never likely to see as much of it again – and you have Boris Johnson and his Conservatives to blame.

Wow. Boris Johnson’s insistence on his silly Brexit deal has meant the one industry in which the UK remained a world leader – finance, is falling.

More than 440 financial firms have shifted thousands of jobs and £1 trillion of assets out of the UK and into the EU because of Brexit.

That’s about 10 per cent of the total assets held by the UK banking system – meaning that our banks have been decimated, according to the classical definition of the term (decimation, in army terms, was the killing of one in every ten of a group of people as a punishment for the whole group).

And worse is to follow, according to research from the New Financial think tank.

Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal didn’t cover financial services, you see. He relied on “blue sky” daydreaming that a separate deal could be reached with the EU. This dream has turned into a nightmare with the EU refusing to give ground.

7,400 jobs have moved from the UK to the EU – and are not likely to be replaced.

And the UK is set to lose much of its £26 billion annual financial trade surplus, meaning the nation’s balance of payments (the difference between profits from exports and payments for imports) is likely to slip much deeper into the red.

It’s further evidence of a bizarre Tory policy – to give all of the UK’s business assets to foreign firms and governments.

The privatisation of UK industry – begun under the Thatcher governments and continuing to this day – has taken ownership of firms away from the general public and placed it mostly in the hands of foreign organisations.

Firms run by the governments of EU countries now run most of our railways, water services, and (I seem to recall) power supplies. Now our banking services are set to atrophy.

And of course, it will be ordinary working-class UK citizens like you and This Writer who will suffer.

Businesspeople always pass the consequences of their failures down. That’s why Tories have been able to persuade so many voters that pay rises for the workers are a bad idea – the bosses would not forgo their profits to support them but would hike their prices instead.

With less cash coming into the UK via the banks, the ultra-rich parasites will be looking for new ways to suck money out of us.

The result will be the impoverishment of the UK. We will be a once-great nation destroyed by political midgets with over-inflated opinions of themselves.

Source: Banks and insurers move £1 trillion of assets out of UK due to Brexit | The Independent

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Gove rebuked for fiddling the figures on post-Brexit trade

The UK Statistics Authority has delivered an official reprimand to Michael Gove and his Cabinet Office for faking the figures on post-Brexit trade.

The Road Haulage Association published the results of a survey in February, showing that the volume of exports to the EU fell by more than two-thirds (68 per cent) in January, immediately after the UK finally severed its membership of the European Union.

Gove’s Cabinet Office then pretended that the RHA was wrong, stating that “inbound and outbound flows (across all UK ports) were close to normal, at 95% outbound and 96% inbound, in spite of the impact of Covid lockdowns on trade.”

The UKSA’s reprimand pointed out that the Cabinet Office’s response contained “claims based on unpublished data, and as such these figures cannot be verified”.

Worse still, it referred only to “flows” of lorries, and not to the amount of freight they were carrying.

It is entirely possible that the number of lorries going out to the EU was almost as high from January 1 onwards as they had been before.

But the claim that exports had dropped by two-thirds is also likely to be true if most of those lorries were empty – and they were.

Gove has been caught trying to mislead the public over this important issue. By rights he should resign. But does anybody think he will?

Source: UK Statistics Authority rebukes Gove over Brexit figures | Brexit | The Guardian

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Bang goes the Good Friday Agreement as paramilitary groups accuse Johnson of betraying peace

Northern Ireland: it seems Boris Johnson’s stupidity may end not only his post-Brexit free trade deal with the EU but also terminate 23 years of peace.

Paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland have withdrawn support for the Good Friday Agreement due to Brexit – and they aren’t nationalists but unionists.

The Loyalist Communities Council, a group representing the views of the UVF, UDA and Red Hand Commando, are protesting at Boris Johnson’s Irish Sea trade border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

The group has written to Johnson and Ireland’s taoiseach, Micheál Martin, warning of “permanent destruction” of the 1998 peace agreement without changes to post-Brexit arrangements for Northern Ireland.

The letter said unionist opposition to the Northern Ireland protocol – the part of the Brexit deal that keeps Northern Ireland a part of the EU’s single market for goods – should remain “peaceful and democratic”.

But this is a decision to withdraw support for a peace deal that underpins power-sharing in Northern Ireland. If a solution is not found quickly, peace in the province could be lost – again.

And it would be Boris Johnson’s fault.

In fact, the Brexit deal seems to be unravelling fast for Johnson. The European Union has refused to ratify it for a second time after Brussels accused the UK of violating it.

The decision came after Johnson’s ministers said they would unilaterally change parts of the agreement to give businesses in Northern Ireland time to adapt to new trade rules.

Johnson is unsafe wherever he goes now.

If he decides to change the Brexit deal again, to preserve the Good Friday Agreement, his dream of free trade with the EU (which turned out to be a nightmare in any case) will be over forever.

But if he doesn’t, he risks re-igniting the Troubles – as violence by nationalists and unionists in Northern Ireland between 1969 and 1998 was known.

Loyalist paramilitary groups endorsed the Good Friday agreement and say they have no desire to reignite the Troubles.

But the LCC said the Northern Ireland protocol had breached safeguards in the Good Friday agreement to protect the status of the province and the rest of the UK.

So Johnson has put himself in the worst of all possible worlds. And he only has himself to blame.

Source: Brexit: loyalist paramilitary groups renounce Good Friday agreement | Northern Ireland | The Guardian

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Since Brexit the UK has lost 68% of exports to its biggest market – because Gove ignored the experts

Michael Gove says the UK has had enough of experts: it seems his Chelsea scarf has cut off the supply of blood to his brain.

Now we know why senior Tories have been quietly telling us we’ll have to wait a number of years before seeing the benefit (ha ha) of Brexit.

I notice that the number of years mentioned seems to vary between five and 50. That also tells us much.

But it is our memories that we should be consulting. We were told that Brexit would take us out of the shadow of the EU and into the “sunlit uplands” of independence (even though we were never dependent on the European Union, when the UK was a member).

That was the happy fantasy; this is the bitter fact:

The volume of exports going through British ports to the EU fell by a staggering 68% last month compared with January last year, mostly as a result of problems caused by Brexit.

It’s a drop of two-thirds – a disastrous amount for any country. For the fifth-richest in the world, it signals a precipitous fall to a place much lower in the international wealth rankings.

And there must be no passing of blame. Responsibility lies firmly with Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove, it seems – who ignored repeated warnings from the Road Haulage Association.

In a letter to Gove dated 1 February, the RHA’s chief executive, Richard Burnett, also told the minister he and his officials had repeatedly warned over several months of problems and called for measures to lessen difficulties – but had been largely ignored.

In addition to the 68% fall-off in exports, about 65%-75% of vehicles that had come over from the EU were going back empty because there were no goods for them to return with, due to hold-ups on the UK side, and because some UK companies had either temporarily or permanently halted exports to the EU.

“I find it deeply frustrating and annoying that ministers have chosen not to listen to the industry and experts,” he said.

Ah, well. We all know Michael Gove’s views about experts.

Yes indeed. Mr Gove said the people of the UK had had enough of experts getting it wrong all the time.

Unfortunately for him, it seems the experts – and, yes, they do come from an organisation that can be reduced to an acronym – were right and he was wrong.

I wonder how many billions of pounds he has cost his fellow UK citizens?

Source: Fury at Gove as exports to EU slashed by 68% since Brexit | Brexit | The Guardian

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Is this yet another example of Tory racism?

The Tories said that EU nationals would be encouraged to apply for “settled status” rather than being forced to leave the UK after Brexit.

That’s what they said.

But they have put obstacle after obstacle in the way – barriers to application and delays in Home Office decision-making being significant factors in pushing vulnerable EU citizens out.

And from January 1, EU citizens were quietly added to the Tory government’s voluntary returns scheme, offering them paid flights and £2,000 resettlement money to get them to leave of their own accord.

It seems clear that Tory policy hasn’t moved an inch since Theresa May was attacked so bitterly for sending advertising vans around London telling people from foreign countries to “go home”.

Worst of all, this is cutting our collective nose off to spite our face.

The UK relies on EU migrants to do a lot of important work. Without them – especially in the Covid crisis – we’ll struggle.

Either the Tories haven’t thought about that or – more likely, considering the Covid death toll – they simply don’t care.

Source: EU citizens offered financial incentives to leave UK | Brexit | The Guardian

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Now Brexit has happened, will Boris Johnson backtrack on his promises and scrap our protections?

Daniel Hannon: he has also called for NHS hospitals to be sold to private US companies after Brexit. It makes you wonder whose side he’s on.

We shouldn’t be surprised.

They’ve already backtracked on their promise not to use a pesticide that kills bees (albeit admittedly in conjunction with other EU countries).

And they’ve cancelled our freedoms to travel to and from EU countries – deliberately making it especially difficult for musicians to work there.

So why shouldn’t the Tories follow Daniel Hannan’s demand and ditch the other protections UK citizens have enjoyed as members of the European Union?

Safeguards for the use of data, pay and conditions, GM foods, hedge funds, dangerous chemicals and the disposal of environmentally-damaging vehicles should all be binned, Daniel Hannan said.

He wants to ditch:

the Temporary Workers’ Directive – which guarantees agency staff receive equal pay and conditions with employees in the same business.

the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – that gives individuals control over their personal data and limits its transfer to other countries.

the ban on products made from genetically modified (GM) crops – potentially allowing US food derived that way into the UK, as part of a future trade deal.

the REACH Directive – to outlaw chemicals linked to health problems including cancer, thyroid disease, hormone disruption and slow development.

the End of Life Vehicles Directive – to achieve environmentally-friendly dismantling and recycling, with targets for the reuse of vehicles and their components.

the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD) – introduced to regulate hedge funds and private equity following the 2008 financial crash.

the ‘Droit de suite’ rules – that pay artists a fee on the resale of their works of art, instead of the American ‘first-sale doctrine’ that removes rights from subsequent sales.

“chunks of” the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II) – the legal framework to harmonise regulation of securities markets and trading venues.

He doesn’t say how that makes the UK more competitive.

To This Writer’s untutored eye, it seems he just wants to hurt his fellow UK citizens for no very good reason.

His plans would make the country less competitive as they are backward steps that help nobody.

Source: Scrap EU consumer and worker protections now Brexit is completed, leading Tory says | The Independent

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Why did the Tories use Brexit to stab our musicians in the back?

Festival: this site stated before Brexit happened that, if you’re a musician who regularly performs at EU events, you can kiss those big crowds goodbye – unless you’re getting paid big bucks for your performance.

This is unlikely to be music to anybody’s ears: not only are musicians facing red tape and costs that make touring in Europe prohibitive after Brexit – it turns out the Conservative government deliberately arranged it that way.

According to the Independent,

The UK rejected an offer of visa-free tours by musicians to EU countries, despite blaming Brussels for what the industry is calling the devastating blow of them requiring permits.

A “standard” proposal to exempt performers from the huge cost and bureaucracy for 90 days was turned down… because the government is insisting on denying that to EU artists visiting this country.

It seems insane. Last year the UK music industry brought £2.9 billion into the country.

Some of that came from tours that went to EU countries. This Writer is willing to bet that more money came from the EU to the UK than in the other direction.

So by denying a reciprocal deal for visa-free tours, Boris Johnson has turned down a huge amount of tax income.

Maybe he isn’t musical.

(More accurately, it seems Priti Patel is the one with the tin ear – as the extra red tape is part of her crackdown on immigration which has introduced tough restrictions on tours by EU musicians.)

If you’re wondering why this is such a problem, the new rules that make touring in the EU under post-Brexit conditions prohibitive are detailed here.

Stars including folk singer Laura Marling and Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess have signed a parliamentary petition demanding visa-free tours, backed by almost 230,000 people.

Burgess explains the problems in another Independent article:

Bigger artists putting on stadium shows will more than likely be able to survive, but anyone below that level will be hit hard. Primarily by, you guessed it, “bureaucracy and red tape”.

Those costs mean that the precarious economics of touring Europe would make it impossible for so many artists starting out. Those artists that are lauded when they make it – those future Florences, Adeles and Eds – are having so many more obstacles put in front of them. It puts the music industry everyone is apparently so proud of under serious threat.

The government has said the Independent‘s story is incorrect and misleading.

But the restrictions have been imposed.

So who, exactly, is misleading who?

And how long will it be before the Tories realise they’ve made a mistake?

Source: UK ‘rejected offer’ of visa-free tours by musicians in EU, despite blaming Brussels for permit blow | The Independent

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A week after Brexit, how are the UK and the EU getting on? Not very well, it seems

I was going to leave the headline as a rhetorical question but too many people would have tried to answer without reading the article.

And who can blame them? It all seems a nasty mess at the moment. But are these really only teething problems?

Here comes the list:

The UK and the EU are heading towards a confrontation over financial services after trading in £6 billion worth of euro-dominated shares started moving to European continental stock exchanges in Amsterdam and Paris.

UK financial service providers and banks have lost the so-called passport that gave them the right to operate without restrictions throughout the EU, and now depend on unilateral decisions from European authorities to extend them an “equivalence” based on regulatory convergence, sector by sector.

Bank of England boss Andrew Bailey has said the UK should not become a so-called “rule taker” by mimicking EU regulations just for the sake of obtaining an access to European markets.

To This Writer’s uncultured eye, he seems to be saying we should lose a lot of business. Or is he he suggesting that trade will come back to the UK if businesses see an advantage in trading outside EU regulations?

This is not likely to sort itself out for several years.

Marks & Spencer has discovered holes in the so-called “zero tariff” trade deal with the EU that means its Percy Pig sweets – manufactured in Germany, transported to the UK, and then re-exported to other countries like Ireland – would face taxation and bureaucratic “red tape” costs.

The firm has already dropped hundreds of products, including chocolate fudge pudding and sweet and sour chicken, from its Northern Ireland stores after it saw competitors’ lorries barred from travelling between the mainland and Northern Ireland.

John Lewis has scrapped deliveries of its products to EU countries (although the firm says this is because of a business decision to concentrate on the UK). Debenhams and Fortnum & Masons have also suspended deliveries to Ireland and the EU respectively, blaming uncertainty over post-Brexit trading rules.

Scottish seafood firms are already facing financial difficulty as new post-Brexit rules demand that every single box has to be offloaded from lorries, opened and checked by vets before leaving Scotland – creating five-hour delays per lorry.

And overseas customers are cancelling orders – putting the £1 billion-per-year business in jeopardy.

Expect much more of the same in the future.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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