Tag Archives: foreign

How is foreign access to MPs the NEXT big scandal when they’ve had Boris Johnson for years?

Bosom buddies: Boris Johnson with Russian industrialist Alexander Temerko, who allegedly has very close links with the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

According to BBC News, the next big scandal to sweep Boris Johnson’s sleaze-ridden Parliament is likely to be one of hostile states buying access to MPs and Lords.

But we already know that Russia has had access to Johnson himself since long before he became prime minister!

The BBC report says All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) are vulnerable to “improper lobbying” by foreign actors, quoting the case of Christine Lee, of the Chinese Communist Party, who helped set up the Chinese in Britain APPG.

It also says she made donations to Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs. Let’s have a bit of balance:

Political influence: Christine Lee has been donating money to the Conservatives for many years, and has been seen with David Cameron (pictured), Theresa May and Boris Johnson.

This Writer considers the report to be a sign of bias against those parties by the BBC, as the report makes no mention of the massive influence exerted over the Conservative Party – through its leader – by Russia.

And the Russians have never needed APPGs to wield this power – they just went straight to Tory MPs.

Let’s remind ourselves of the UK government’s Russian connections. Consider this:

The so-called ‘Russia Report’, released in July 2020 after being delayed by Johnson for more than nine months so it would not harm his chances in the 2019 general election, defined Russian influence over UK politics as “the new normal” – at least while Tories like Johnson are in charge.

It said successive Conservative governments have welcomed Russian oligarchs “with open arms”, giving them access to political figures “at the highest levels” – and made absolutely no attempt to investigate Russian interference in referendums and elections; in fact, the Tories “actively avoided” doing so.

This has led, the report states, to the growth of an industry of “enablers” who are “de facto agents of the Russian state”. The report does not explicitly state that these enablers include Conservative government politicians, but its assertion that Russia had access to “the highest levels” of political figures certainly suggests that this is the case.

Johnson himself was considered a security risk by the UK’s national security services while he was Foreign Secretary – and with good reason.

Remember the time he went to a party to meet a former KGB agent, Alexander Lebedev, days after attending a Nato summit on Russia?

Who knows what secrets may have emerged from this tactless and indiscreet fool’s flapping gums?

That’s just one incident that is known to us. How many more have there been?

How about this?

Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party has definitely taken donations from people linked to Russia’s President Putin – and provided private meetings with the last three UK prime ministers in return.

The money totalling £1.7 million came from Vladimir Chernukhin via his wife Lubov, according to the so-called FinCEN files – leaked “suspicious activity reports” by banks.

And a lot of information came out when Johnson’s government dragged its heels about imposing sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine war:

Public opinion is that the Tories have been slow to act because they have taken a fortune in donations from Russians – and they want to know what these UK politicians were asked to do in return for that – as they understand it – dirty money.

Rather than respond to that question, the government seems to have chosen to leave it hanging in the air – trying to divert attention to what it is doing now:

Apparently a minister (was it Hinds?) said that Unexplained Wealth Orders were introduced years ago to allow the government to confiscate assets from people suspected of wrongdoing – and it is widely believed that much of the Russian cash flowing around the UK – and British politics – is ill-gotten. But this just provoked another hard question – and embarrassing answer:

So, Unexplained Wealth Orders have been an unqualified failure – were they mentioned merely to provide an appearance of activity when none has taken place?

Meanwhile:

It was Boris Johnson’s old friend Lubov Chernukhin. She donated £13,750 in October and £66,500 in December, just months before Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine. In total she has handed £2 million to the Tories.

And what do you think of this?

The analysis – which includes many legitimate companies – suggests that thousands of firms listed on the UK’s business register are controlled by Russian nationals who live in the country, with some linked to Putin’s allies.

The final example of Russian influence in the UK, that I’ll include in this article, is something I heard on Radio 4’s Today programme on March 3:

The presenter – I think it was Evan Davis – said it had been suggested that properties like Sutton Place could be seized and used to house displaced Ukrainians. He expressed deep scepticism that the Tory government would ever have the courage to make such a move.

The Tories have only just announced that they’re postponing publication of any revelations of how Evgeny Lebedev – son of the former Russian spy Alexander who Boris Johnson was reported to have met (above) – was made a UK Lord despite deep reservations by the security services. Because the revelations will be damning and they don’t want to mess up their chances in the local elections?

And yet those Tory stooges at BBC News want you to think APPGs, Labour and the Liberal Democrats are the security risk.

Nazanin’s calm criticism makes nonsense of boasts by Johnson and his government

Home at last: Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has, quietly and with dignity, made nonsense of claims by Boris Johnson and his government that they worked tirelessly to free her.

A newspaper reporter on the BBC’s Politics Live tried to say current foreign secretary Liz Truss was to be praised for achieving the release, but we all know her actions were not even slightly motivated by concern for Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

Truss paid a £400 million debt the UK owed Iran in the hope that it would win a deal for cheap fossil fuels to alleviate the cost-of-living crisis her government has forced on its fellow citizens.

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s calm comments on the way she was mistreated by UK foreign secretaries – including Truss and current prime minister Boris Johnson – should act like daggers in the heart of the Tory government:

Tory voters: take note – if you were in trouble, a Tory government would treat you no better.

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#ForeignOffice admits it was wrong to deny #BorisJohnson authorised Afghan animal evacuation

The Foreign Office has admitted misleading MPs over whether Boris Johnson authorised the evacuation of Pen Farthings dog rescue charity Nowzad from Afghanistan last year.

But you won’t realise that from looking at the BBC report!

Foreign Office boss admits error over Afghan animal evacuation reads as though Johnson had nothing to do with it.

And you have to read a long way into the story to discover that Sir Philip Barton, Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office, was saying that he had not seen emails sent within his department, indicating that Boris Johnson did indeed authorise the evacuation.

If he did, then he lied about it to the media afterwards, when it was suggested that he had prioritised animals over human beings.

People the UK abandoned in Afghanistan when the Taliban took over have since tried to reach this country via the refugee route – crossing the Channel – and this has led to at least one death.

Appearing before the Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee on Tuesday, the prime minister’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Nigel Casey was asked if he knew whether the PM had intervened “in the evacuation of Nowzad staff or animals” and replied: “Not to my knowledge.”

In  written evidence to the committee, published on Wednesday, Sir Philip denied that Mr Casey had received “any correspondence referring to the prime minister’s intervention in the Nowzad case”.

This was contradicted in leaked emails published by the committee subsequently.

And BBC Newsnight’s Sima Kotecha has seen two emails with the subject heading “Pen Farthing and dogs”, showing the Foreign Office and Mr Casey sought guidance from No 10 over the issue.

So now Sir Philip has had to write back to the committee, apologising for misleading its members.

But he stuck to the part of the story covering his involvement:

“As Nigel said to the committee on [Tuesday] he has no recollection of having seen emails in which staff attributed this decision to the prime minister. Nor do I.”

Downing Street is saying that the decision may have been interpreted as coming from Johnson when that was not the case – but it has provided no evidence to support this claim.

So Labour’s Chris Bryant, a member of the committee, is well within his rights to say (as he did on BBC Breakfast News): “All I want to know is who made the decision?”

We all want to know that, Chris. At the moment it seems clear that Johnson has lied again and our civil servants are disgracing themselves in their haste to cover up for him.

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Tory ban on foreign mineral water means we must drink our own that is polluted with sewage

This is the plan by Boris ‘Rivers of Sh*t’ Johnson, isn’t it?

It certainly seems suspicious that, having ensured that so much water in the UK is undrinkable, the government should order that we cannot have bottled water from a foreign country, meaning that we can only drink the stuff they’ve filled with sewage.

And that is what has happened. The ban will be enforced from January 2022:

The decision was taken before the Lords forced the government to promise that it will force water companies to make a “progressive reduction” in the sewage it dumps in rivers, remember.

Ah, but now we have that promise, don’t we?

Yes, but it doesn’t mean much.

Remember Fay Jones, This Writer’s MP, who was caught banging on about the cost of improvements to the “Victorian sewerage system” earlier?

She said in the same tweet that the government was already working to reduce discharge from storm overflows. You can see that at the start of the clip below. The rest of it is worth watching too.

So the government had claimed that Brexit would make it possible to improve standards, and has gone back on that claim. And now mouthpieces like Ms Jones are saying water companies would pass costs on to customers if forced to maintain health standards.

Hmm…

My understanding, when the utilities were privatised back in the 1980s, was that they would be cheaper for the country’s taxpayers because they would use part of their profits to maintain health standards and there would be no extra cost to customers.

It seems to me that, with a government formed by the same party that was responsible for the privatisation now saying the opposite, this organisation may clearly be seen to have been duplicitous – either then or now. The Tories lied to us.

Here’s another clip explaining the current situation:

Yes, it also reflects badly on the water companies. But it seems to me that they are simply acting according to the conditions on which they were sold these going concerns. So the responsibility falls back onto the Tory government.

The rivers are full of human waste now. The ban on foreign mineral water starts in January. And the water companies certainly won’t bother to change their working practices significantly before it begins.

So I hope you’ve all got your water purifiers installed and in full working order.

And this means that, yes indeed, the chances of any future environmental action are slim – not just with regard to rivers, but also from any decisions made at the imminent COP26 climate conference, that is being run by the Conservatives.

They haven’t ensured our rivers will remain free of sewage; they won’t do much (if anything) to improve that situation; so we may conclude that they’ll do nothing to end the threat of climate change.

That’s a shame, because COP26 is being touted as our last chance to avoid climate armageddon. The fact that it is being hosted by Boris Johnson’s Conservatives heralds doom for the whole world.

That is not a joke or hyperbole.

Meanwhile, we have the current situation, as immortalised in satire…

… in images that should stay with us forever (but probably won’t)…

… and in profits for the water companies (together with the Tory Party that receives their donations):

The moral of the story?

Money talks to Tories, in a language they understand better than survival.

AFTERWORD: Following a query from fact-checking organisation Full Fact (over Facebook links to this article) I am happy to clarify that manufacturers of EU mineral water may continue to export it to the UK if they renew their accreditation under UK rules by January 7, 2022.

This information is available to readers of the article who click on the link to the government announcement, above, and then read the government letter. If this context is not clear, the fault lies with the Tory government for ignoring this fact in favour of propaganda promoting UK mineral waters.

But of course, this raises a further question. EU mineral water producers may certainly apply for UK accreditation, but why should they bother?

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A quick note about Liz Truss

Liz Truss: the queen of cheese may prove even more clueless than Raab.

You may have heard a lot of commentary from broadcasters you trust, claiming that Liz Truss’s promotion from Trade to the Foreign Office shows she is a capable politician, a rising star and a possible Tory leadership contender.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The reason she was promoted has nothing to do with her abilities. It happened because the tiny readership of Tory blog ConservativeHome have voted her as their favourite Tory Cabinet member in a regular poll.

I mean to say: do you really think she got it for doing a trade deal in which she’ll send cheese to lactose-intolerant Japan?

Or, for that matter, for this:

Still, the comedy value should be terrific because we’ll get to watch the mouse-brained Queen of Cheese kick up a stink across the world. Just try not to take it personally when people from foreign countries point at you and laugh.

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Raab’s move from Foreign Office to Justice is a DEMOTION

And quite right too – although he should have been kicked onto the backbenches to go back to his lazy old ways.

Remember: Dominic Raab came to public attention as a co-author of the book Britannia Unchained, which alleged that British workers were among the laziest in the world. It was then revealed that he was one of the laziest MPs in the House of Commons.

And let’s face it he’s been absolutely rubbish as Foreign Secretary:

We knew he was on his way out after the debacle that was the UK’s withdrawal from Afghanistan. He actually admitted that the intelligence agencies of both the UK and USA were outsmarted by a gang of desert-dwelling Taliban terrorists (but were they? Or was he just too stupid to pay attention to what they were saying, and did he think the Taliban would abide by what he decided to do? That was Joe Biden’s mistake).

He had only just got back from holiday, although he claimed he had been working – there – from the moment he had been told of the emergency. He denied claims that he had been seen sunning himself on the beach by claiming that “The sea was closed.”

His pathetic performance was highlighted by the resurfacing of an image of him posing with a woman wearing a sign saying, “He has no idea what he is doing” (above).

Trouble is, his role as prime minister Boris Johnson’s official stand-in has been confirmed with Raab named Deputy Prime Minister in this week’s Cabinet reshuffle. But his record in this respect is no cause for pride:

Covid-19 safety rules told us not to touch objects when we don’t know where they’ve been, and then lick our fingers. Raab did it while standing in for Johnson at a Covid-19 press conference.

He still has this job. In fact, it has been given a title for the first time.

Perhaps that’s the reason he has said he is delighted with the change.

Because going from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to the Ministry of Justice is, in no uncertain terms, a demotion. Raab is out of favour, and rightly so. He is a disgrace to UK politics.

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Tory lord says foreign-owned firms perform better. But WHERE DOES THE MONEY GO?

Morrisons: the supermarket chain is currently subject of a bidding war between overseas investors. It doesn’t matter who wins; British shoppers will lose.

This Lord Grimstone is apparently a business minister, which explains why the UK’s economy is tanking after Brexit.

He reckons “overseas invested companies are more productive and produce more jobs”.

And he has pointed at the fact that foreign investors have spent more money acquiring UK-listed businesses in the last eight months than in the previous five years.

This Writer has just two points to make.

Firstly, are foreign investors perhaps bidding on UK firms because Brexit and Covid-19 have cut their value to a fraction of what they were?

These people are probably hoping to make a cheap investment that will turn into a massive profit when the economy starts opening up again. This leads me to the next point.

Secondly, if formerly UK-owned firms are bought up by foreign investors, won’t all the profits go abroad, rather than staying in the UK? Put simply, won’t they bleed us dry?

A good example of this is our privatised rail service, which is now largely owned by foreign government-owned rail firms, meaning the enormous prices we pay for our train tickets helps to subsidise cheap rail travel across continental Europe.

And millions believed the Tories when they said Brexit meant taking back control!

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Racist candidate to be NHS England boss wants to clear ‘foreigners’ out of the service

Dido Harding: now we find she’s a racist as well as a Tory money pit and expertise vacuum.

This is blatant kite-flying.

Dido Harding has suggested a racist employment policy for NHS England, if she gets the job as boss.

She’s probably doing this to gauge whether there are enough ignorant racists in the country to support it – and thereby support the dismantling of the National Health Service in favour of a profit-making business in which your health is a commodity that you can only afford at the right price.

She says – well, read it for yourself:

Dido Harding is vowing to end the NHS’s reliance on foreign doctors and nurses if she becomes head of the health service in England – despite Matt Hancock previously urging a ‘new Windrush generation’ to help fill jobs.

The Tory peer has made ending the ‘prevailing orthodoxy’ that staff are better sourced from abroad part of her pitch to take over from Sir Simon Stevens next month.

However, two years ago Lady Harding penned a report admitting that the NHS must ‘increase international recruitment in the short to medium term’.

You see, the NHS cannot function without doctors, nurses and support staff from other nations. It never could. There aren’t enough home-grown medical staff in the UK and Harding knows it (see the last paragraph of the quote from the Mail, above).

But by omitting to mention that fact, she’s trying to fool you into believing that Johnny (and Janey) Foreigner aren’t needed and shouldn’t be wanted.

Result? If she gets her way, it’ll be the removal of foreign national employees from the NHS and the subsequent collapse of the service.

And you’ll get the blame because you’ll have supported it.

Fortunately, it seems few people do:

I like this idea – praising foreign-born medical staff working within the NHS for their life-saving work:

Of course, Russ added this…

I also like this – NHS staff of foreign origin pointing out the good work that they do, in contrast to … whatever it is Harding claims to get up to:

Will a backlash stop Harding from getting the job?

Probably not…

I mean, take a look at her record (courtesy of Private Eye) and you’ll see a catalogue of disasters – none of which have stopped her from bagging increasingly important and high-paid roles, which she then trashed.

It’s an outrage that Harding is doing this.

So, what are we going to do about it?

Report her for racist hate speech?

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Is aid cut a Tory bid to inflict avoidable megadeaths on foreigners?

RIP democracy: Boris Johnson cut aid to foreign countries without offering MPs a chance to vote on it. His claim that the law allows such a move is highly debatable. 

The message This Writer took from MPs’ failure to force a vote on reversing foreign aid cuts is that it means there will be hundreds of thousands of avoidable deaths in affected countries.

That was said by Tory Andrew Mitchell, who seems to have come a long way since the “BikeGate” controversy.

And the really offensive part was that the decision to cut foreign aid from 0.7 per cent to 0.5 per cent of National Income (do they mean Gross Domestic Product?) was taken without allowing Parliament to vote on it.

It was an offence against democracy, because Boris Johnson’s Tory government believes in dictatorship instead.

And (obviously) it believes in finding ways to ensure that as many people as possible die.

Ministers have said it is possible to vary the amount spent without changing the 2015 law that makes the target binding.

But the decision to make the change unilaterally means there is no deadline for restoring that target – meaning the government could leave the cut in place indefinitely.

Isn’t there a more important question to be answered, about what’s being done with this aid money?

Isn’t it important that it should be used to ensure that the nations receiving the money need less and less of it in the future?

Has that been happening? How can we check?

There are many questions to be answered about foreign aid and This Writer hopes the debate on Tuesday (June 8) provides some of the answers.

The joy of it is that the Tory government has shot itself in the foot, whatever happens.

It has already garnered bad publicity over this in the week before the UK hosts the G7 summit.

It will receive more bad publicity with the debate.

And Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has said he wants a substantive vote, which means if Boris Johnson refuses to grant it, he’ll have even more bad publicity.

Source: Foreign aid: Rebel Tories blocked in bid to reverse cuts – BBC News

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Johnson insults Turing with foreign education scheme on the cheap

Insult AND injury: if the injustice he suffered while he was alive wasn’t bad enough – and remember, it drove him to suicide – it seems Boris Johnson is trying to make it worse by linking one of the UK’s greatest minds with a scheme that will actually prevent students from achieving their potential.

We always knew the UK backed out of the ‘Erasmus’ scheme, for UK students to study in the EU, for only one reason: to save money.

Now the scale of Boris Johnson’s cheapness is becoming clear.

The new scheme, named after Bletchley Park code-cracker Alan Turing, will send students all over the world, rather than just into the EU.

But it will not pay for their tuition. Instead, universities are to be urged to agree tuition fee “waivers” with their counterparts abroad. Does anybody really think that’s going to happen?

Nor will the new scheme pay travel costs for UK students to study abroad – except in the case of students from the most disadvantaged backgrounds (but we know that the Tories are biased against such students from last year’s ‘A’ level results so it seems unlikely that any travel costs will be paid at all).

The European Commission had paid up to £1,315 for UK students to study in the EU, so this will seriously hinder the ability of poorer students to travel.

Oh, and just for good measure, the living allowance has been slashed – by a fifth, according to the Scottish National Party.

Originally, Johnson had promised that UK students would remain part of the far better-funded Erasmus.

But it seems clear that he changed his mind when he realised there was an opportunity to cut spending – and victimise poorer UK citizens at the same time.

(Rich students will still be able to study abroad if they want, because they can rely on the bank of mummy and daddy.)

Instead, he announced the new Turing scheme, doing his best to make it sound like a huge stride forward into a brighter, wider world:

In fact, Johnson is pushing us into darkness and isolation.

Source: New ‘Erasmus’ scheme will not pay tuition or travel costs and living allowance slashed | The Independent

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.

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