Tag Archives: markets

Braverman’s disgrace is Johnson’s shame: attorney-general defends law-breaking with nationalistic nonsense

Suella Braverman: her latest appearance in the Commons made her look like a child showing off in front of her elders.

Suella Braverman has once again provided ample evidence to support her removal from the post of Attorney-General.

See if you can watch her ridiculous response to Labour’s shadow solicitor general Ellie Reeves without feeling the bile rise:

All Ms Reeves did was to ask what Braverman had done to defend the rule of law, considering that the Johnson government intends to break it – at an international level – with its Internal Markets Bill.

So why did Braverman start her answer by accusing Reeves of being “emotional”? Was she just throwing a dead cat on the table at the start, because she knew she didn’t have anything to say for herself?

Braverman went on to say that the Bill “protects our country and it safeguards the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”, which is saying the same thing twice without explaining why.

Then she appealed to patriotism – the refuge of the jingoistic airhead. There is nothing patriotic about breaking the law. Quite the opposite, in fact.

“How can she call herself an MP,” demanded Braverman, “and at the same time vote against a Bill that defends the unity of our country…”

It doesn’t.

“… maintains peace in Northern Ireland…”

It won’t.

“… and enables the United Kingdom… to thrive.”

It can’t.

The breach of international law means other countries will not trust the UK and will not want to do business here. Already the US Congress has indicated that it will not support a free trade agreement with the UK if the Internal Markets Bill is approved.

And the body language defies belief. Methinks the lady doth protest too much, as Shakespeare once wrote.

Reeves’s response was restrained, under the circumstances.

Others have been less so:

The SNP’s justice spokesperson went further than Ellie Reeves – he called for Braverman’s resignation over the plan to breach international law.

In response, she actually said it was lawful to break the law. See for yourself:

It isn’t.

It might be possible to do it – to pass a law that makes a breach of international law inevitable – but that doesn’t mean that it is permissible to do so.

Stuart C McDonald is therefore entirely correct: Braverman should resign.

She won’t – but she should. The fact that she is in that post at all is a shows Boris Johnson’s contempt for the law.

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Former PM rips into Internal Market Bill: ‘So much for global Britain’

What a face: Theresa May’s expression shows exactly how she feels about Boris Johnson’s idiotic, selfish and destructive Internal Markets Bill.

Former Prime Minister Theresa May has made a devastating intervention on her successor’s Internal Market Bill, attacking the reasons it has been drafted and its effect on the integrity of the United Kingdom, and questioning whether any other country will trust the UK again.

In a debate on the Bill on Monday afternoon (September 21), she raised several important questions, starting with this:

Clauses 41-45 of the Bill refer to customs arrangements in Northern Ireland. Boris Johnson signed the EU Withdrawal Agreement in January, accepting that NI would remain under EU tariffs and effectively placing a customs border in the middle of the Irish Sea. Now he wants to renege on that.

Mrs May was critical:

And she makes an excellent point.

Her final point was better still – that the circumstances in which the UK chooses to break international law won’t matter to people in other countries; they’ll only see that the UK has broken international law and won’t want anything to do with a rogue state of that kind:

Her conclusion was a devastating blow – not only to the Internal Markets Bill but to her successor, Boris Johnson: “This is a country that upholds the rule of law. That is one of the things that makes us great; it is one of our characteristics… yet we are being asked to tear up that principle and throw away that value. Why? I can only see, on the face of it, that it is because the Government did not really understand what they were signing up to when they signed the withdrawal agreement.

“Frankly, I find it difficult to understand how any Minister can go through the Lobby to support these clauses.

“I consider that… the Government are acting recklessly and irresponsibly, with no thought to the long-term impact on the United Kingdom’s standing in the world. It will lead to untold damage to the United Kingdom’s reputation and puts its future at risk.”

Wow.

It won’t make any difference, of course.

If Boris Johnson was able to gull more than 300 Tory MPs into voting for his Withdrawal Agreement in January, and then to vote against it in September, then the word of a former prime minister won’t stop them doing whatever he wants.

They would probably shoot themselves through the lung if he told them to.

Effectively, that is exactly what they are doing – and the rest of us, too.

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David Cameron regularly broke international law when he was prime minister. Why the change of heart now?

 

Legacy: this spoof heritage plaque gives a very good summation of David Cameron’s role in the UK’s ongoing Brexit disaster. Why should we take any interest in his views now?

He’s saying the right thing – but for the wrong reasons, and it is still a grotesque act of hypocrisy.

I refer, of course, to former prime minister David Cameron, who regularly, during his time as prime minister of the UK, broke international law but is expressing concern at Boris Johnson doing the same now.

You don’t remember? Allow me to remind you that the United Nations ruled that Cameron’s government broke the law to deliberately harm people with disabilities.

And he broke international law to attack Libya too.

The UN launched its probe into “grave and systematic violations” of the human rights of people with disabilities in 2014, when Cameron was prime minister.

It reported in 2016 – after he had quit (and we’ll get into those details momentarily). The findings showed that austerity policies introduced by Cameron’s government had systematically violated the rights of people with disabilities.

That is an offence in national and international law. The Cameron government had already signalled an intent to repeal the Human Rights Act and withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights that the UK created, possibly in order to dodge this finding.

Boris Johnson’s renewed plan to cut human rights legislation out of the statute book signals that he intends to continue this illegal persecution of people with disabilities. Oh, did you think it was about nailing refugees who have been abusing the law to stay in the UK? Now you know better.

The attacks on Libya took place before Vox Political‘s time but I offer this as an example of commentary explaining why the Cameron government was breaking international law – and, indeed, human rights law – by participating.

So it seems out of character for Cameron to come back from the wilderness after four years and attack Boris Johnson for planning the same:

“Passing an Act of Parliament and then going on to break an international treaty obligation is the very, very last thing you should contemplate. It should be an absolute final resort, so I do have misgivings about what is being proposed,” he said.

It shouldn’t even be a last resort, as others have pointed out:

It is an entirely fabricated threat – indeed, it is one that Boris Johnson created himself. He came up with the EU Withdrawal Agreement that put a customs border in the middle of the Irish Sea. He campaigned for it in a general election and all his current Tory MPs did the same. And he signed it in January.

So it is nonsense for him to turn on us all now and say it is vital to change the terms of the agreement – and all his MPs should be opposing him, not just the few who have so far put their noses above the parapet.

And let’s not forget that Cameron is the man who is most directly responsible for the entire Brexit mess.

He launched the EU membership referendum – it was part of his election manifesto in 2015 – in an attempt to keep the Conservative Party from splitting.

He thought the vote would result in the UK remaining in the EU, silencing Eurosceptics in his party. He was wrong. The public narrowly voted to leave (admittedly on the basis of a stream of lies from Brexiteer campaigners including Boris Johnson). That has led us to where we are now.

And he didn’t even save his party from splitting. Some Tories quit voluntarily to join the ill-fated “Change UK – the Independent Group” or whatever it ended up calling itself. Others were forcibly thrown out by Boris Johnson when they refused to support his withdrawal agreement.

That’s the very agreement he is now saying is not acceptable, by the way.

So don’t let David Cameron’s words influence you.

He put the UK into this mess.

Source: Brexit: David Cameron joins all living former PMs in condemning Boris Johnson’s plan to break law | The Independent

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Johnson’s first Attorney General condemns his plan to betray EU withdrawal agreement

Geoffrey Cox: the former Attorney General is pointing the finger of accusation at Boris Johnson.

That’s scuppered the claims that the row over Boris Johnson’s plan to break international law is a last gasp of the so-called ‘Remainers’, then.

Geoffrey Cox – a devout Brexiter – was Attorney General when Boris Johnson signed his EU withdrawal agreement in January.

His announcement that he will not support Johnson’s Internal Markets Bill is proof that the controversy extends much further than the established battle lines.

The story broke in The Times, which is behind a paywall. However, the East Fife Times has this:

Boris Johnson’s former attorney general, Geoffrey Cox, has said it would be “unconscionable” to override the Brexit divorce deal.

The Tory MP said there is “no doubt” the “unpalatable” implications of the Withdrawal Agreement were known when the Prime Minister signed it, a time when Mr Cox was the chief law officer.

So he should know!

He stated:

And he threatened worse:

The Brexiteer warned he would not back the UK Internal Market Bill unless ministers dispel the impression they plan to “permanently and unilaterally” rewrite an international agreement.

[He] said tariffs and customs procedures on certain goods entering Northern Ireland from Britain were part of the deal.

“There can be no doubt that these were the known, unpalatable but inescapable, implications of the agreement,” he wrote in The Times.

He said if the powers in the Bill were used to “nullify those perfectly plain and foreseeable consequences” then it would amount to the “unilateral abrogation of the treaty obligations”

Cox said ministers could use “clear and lawful” options under the withdrawal agreement to remedy their concerns that food imports may be blocked from Britain to Northern Ireland – or, “in extremis”, take “temporary and proportionate measures” via independent arbitration.

“What ministers should not do, however provoked or frustrated they may feel about an impasse in negotiations, is to take or use powers permanently and unilaterally to rewrite portions of an international agreement into which this country freely entered just a few months ago,” he said.

It seems he also said this:

But the article also points out:

The QC… was attorney general during the unlawful suspension of Parliament.

That’s right; Boris Johnson prorogued Parliament illegally – and lied to the Queen in order to do it.

It seems Cox has had enough of such illegalities – and his words carry weight on the Conservative benches in the House of Commons.

They are also carrying weight on the social media:

Johnson and his people are desperately trying to play down the implications of their plan, but nobody is being fooled.

There may be more than verbal fireworks in the political news this week.

Source: Ex-attorney general strikes out at ‘unconscionable’ plan to override Brexit deal | Central Fife Times

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The Bar Council has laid into Suella Braverman so let’s all join in

Suella Braverman: She has made some knowledgeable enemies who may soon wipe that idiotic grin off her face.

The UK’s professional organisation representing barristers has accused Brextremist Attorney General Suella Braverman of sacrificing the UK’s reputation, sidelining legal advisers and bypassing the ministerial code.

At its annual general meeting, members of the Bar Council asked Braverman how she thought the UK’s Tory government could retain “a shred of credibility” in imploring other countries to follow international law after revealing its own willingness to breach agreements.

Here’s The Guardian with details of the festivities:

Five QCs confronted the attorney general during Saturday’s meeting, telling her that a crime which broke the law in a “specific and limited way” – the phrase used by the Northern Ireland secretary, Brandon Lewis, when he announced the move – was still a crime.

Asked if she believed ministers were breaking the ministerial code with the legislation, Braverman on Saturday dodged the question by stating that the code was not legally enforceable. Pressed, she suggested the cabinet secretary had ruled that the code would not be breached.

She was also confronted over why she had sought advice on the measures from three pro-Brexit legal figures, including one junior barrister who had worked with the Vote Leave campaign, rather than relying on senior government lawyers. She refused to disclose the advice she had received, but said that seeking external opinions was not unusual.

Braverman was asked what had changed since former justice minister Lord Faulks stated in 2015 that ministers would not breach international law. She said his statement reflected “government policy at the time”.

The proposals were needed to resolve tensions between domestic and international law created by the EU withdrawal agreement, she said, but the government remained “committed to the rule of law”.

Of course this is not true. A government cannot expect to be believed when it claims to be “committed to the rule of law”, after also committing itself to breaking the law.

We could never expect better from Braverman; she is used to breaking the rules.

Back in 2017, when the European Research Group (ERG) “party within the Tory party” was set up, she was its chair. It was funded illegally, with money from members’ expenses claims (expenses rules state that MPs cannot claim for research or work “done for, or on behalf of, a political party”, but by September 2017 the European Research Group had received more than £250,000 from MPs who claimed the public cash through their official expenses).

After she became a minister in the Department for Exiting the European Union, she remained a member of the ERG, even though the ministerial code prohibits ministers from becoming “associated with non-public organisations whose objectives may in any degree conflict with government policy” – as the ERG’s did at the time.

Neither she nor any of the other then-ministers who were also in the ERG were penalised, which may go a long way towards explaining why she believes she can tell the Bar Council she is above Parliamentary rules.

In March 2019 she was accused of using anti-Semitic language by stating that “As Conservatives, we are engaged in a battle against cultural Marxism”. This refers to a far-right-wing anti-Semitic conspiracy theory which identifies Western Marxism as the basis of an ongoing academic and intellectual movement to undermine and destroy Western culture and values. Challenged over this, she dismissed the idea, stating “We have culture evolving from the far left which has allowed the snuffing out of freedom of speech, freedom of thought…I’m very aware of that ongoing creep of cultural Marxism, which has come from Jeremy Corbyn.” So either she didn’t understand what she was talking about or she is a genuine anti-Semite who used opposition to Jeremy Corbyn to co-opt support from the Board of Deputies of British Jews, which withdrew its accusations against her.

And now we have her vain attempt to justify breaking international law, as described by This Site here.

The reason she thinks she – and the Johnson government – will get away with breaking international law is easy to understand in the context of her career.

She is an extremist Brexiteer who chaired a pressure group that was funded illegally – but still went on to occupy a role shaping government policy on Brexit; she voiced anti-Semitic sentiments – whether knowingly or not – but got away with it by claiming that she and her challengers had a mutual enemy in Jeremy Corbyn.

Based on this past behaviour, she thinks anyone opposing her on this can say what they want but it will not stop her from having her way.

Well, that has yet to be proved.

She may think she is sure of her ground but the Guardian article quotes a groundswell of opposition within the Parliamentary Conservative Party that could pull it out from under her feet.

And the Bar Council won’t be as easily swayed as the partisan Board of Deputies. Already there are murmurings about court action to forbid her from breaking international law in any way, not just the way she has described.

I look forward to seeing her get her comeuppance. It will be well-deserved.

Source: Top lawyers slam Suella Braverman for wrecking UK’s reputation | Politics | The Guardian

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Going, going, Gove: the Tory hypocrite who’ll break international law but demands we obey his ‘Rule of Six’

Spitting Image: Michael Gove’s likeness on the new version of the satirical comedy appears to have certain male genital organs for cheeks – which is entirely appropriate as he was talking a lot of b*ll*cks on TV today.

Michael Gove appeared on breakfast TV, to demand that we all – including our children, obey his government’s new prohibition of social gatherings of more than six people.

Why should we obey this, when he went on to admit that the government itself will break international law and turn the UK into a rogue state that no other country will trust?

I don’t have a clip of him calling on us to obey the ‘Rule of Six’ – which is a stupid demand that won’t stop the now-uncontrollable spread of Covid-19 because it does not target the causes of that spread.

If our friends and family had Covid-19, we would have already caught it, so going out with them makes no difference.

We are still legally allowed to go out on our own and sit in pubs and restaurants that are packed with strangers – any or all of whom may have the virus – but the new rule does not take this into account.

Here’s a link to an article in which Gove accepts responsibility for this act of criminal stupidity:

do have a clip of Gove voicing his support for unqualified Attorney General Suella Braverman, whose defence of Boris Johnson’s decision to break international law by reneging on the EU Withdrawal Agreement in his Internal Markets Bill was comprehensively destroyed on This Site, only days ago. Here he is:

Here’s the appropriate response:

Gove also said the EU was “threatening the integrity of the United Kingdom” by demanding that Boris Johnson honours the withdrawal agreement he signed in January.

Oh, really? That’s not what the Tories said at the time…

… and nobody was fooled by this blatant bid to gaslight the nation:

In fact This Writer can only fault the Twittersphere on one point: those who accused Gove of turning blond to acknowledge his Aryan/fascist/Nazi supporters appear to be colourblind.

His hair has gone grey. And I’m not surprised.

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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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When was Boris Johnson lying about the EU withdrawal agreement? Now, or in January?

Boris Johnson is a fundamentally dishonest animal; we can all agree on that.

He has already been criticised for false behaviour over his new Internal Markets Bill, with which he intends to trample all over the EU Withdrawal Agreement that he himself signed in January.

At the time, he was full of optimism for it, saying it paved the way for his “oven ready” trade deal (among other things).

But it seems the oven wasn’t heated to the right temperature, the trade deal seems likely to fall apart – and other parts of the agreement are also heading for oblivion.

So: was Johnson lying about his agreement when he signed it in January? Or is he lying about his Internal Markets Bill, that he’s pushing through Parliament now?

His current claims are that

the Internal Markets Bill would “ensure the integrity of the UK internal market” and hand power to Scotland and Wales.

He also claimed it would protect the Northern Ireland peace process.

But we know already that it breaks international law, meaning Johnson is actually trying to damage the UK’s standing internationally.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said it will not hand power to the devolved parliaments but is in fact a power grab that will return devolved power to Westminster.

I think she’s right – the Bill sets out plans for a modified internal market – trade between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – in which, if the UK government decides some food imports are acceptable in England, then they will also be allowed in Scotland, even though agriculture is devolved.

Irish politicians are similarly infuriated at the Bill’s apparent disregard for the Good Friday Agreement.

And in Wales, where the Tories are in opposition, their shadow counsel general, David Melding, has resigned – saying Johnson’s behaviour had “gravely aggravated” the dangers facing “our 313-year-old union”.

We know already that this Bill will become law.

We know already that Johnson is a liar – and it seems likely he is lying about this.

So the only thing we don’t know is the extent of the damage he will do to us all.

Source: Brexit: PM defends planned changes to Withdrawal Agreement – BBC News

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Brexit: The people will suffer while politicians squabble – and May is running down the clock

Theresa May’s Brexit: The people will suffer while the politicians squabble.

Fear is setting in over Brexit’s potential impact on jobs, house prices, markets and wages – while the politicians squabble over nonsense and Theresa May runs down the clock in her bid to commit the UK to her dire Brexit deal, or no deal at all.

The Financial Times has polled more than 80 leading economists, and they said Brexit will hobble UK business investment and depress consumer spending in 2019, stunting long-term growth no matter what terms are eventually agreed with the EU. Many said forecasting for 2019 was impossible given the “comprehensive” and “chronic” uncertainty that had become “a way of life” in the UK.

And Ashwin Kumar, chief economist at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said low income households would not share equally in wage growth, with families facing a squeeze on benefits payments. A rise of one or two per cent will not be felt in most households as the rich would be the ones to benefit.

Contrast this with the attitude of UK prime minister Theresa May, who is desperate to convince voters that it is critics of her duff deal who are damaging the economy, which has been dragged down almost to standstill point due to the uncertainty created by years of bickering among the Tory leaders who were supposed to be negotiating the terms of our departure with the other EU countries but instead fell into squabbling among themselves.

Her attempt to divert the blame saw her on The Andrew Marr Show, accusing those who want a second referendum of “disrespecting” the result of the first, and in the Mail saying they are harming democracy.

But she would not say what she would do if she loses the “meaningful vote” on her deal, due to take place on January 15:

And, despite having accused supporters of a second referendum of harming democracy, she did not say whether she would support such a poll if it was put forward in Parliament as a way to break the deadlock.

So she’s only interested in getting her deal past Parliament. We’ve already discussed the reasons for that and they have nothing to do with the national interest.

On the other side of the Parliamentary divide, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is having trouble getting his own Brexit message across because of demands for a second EU referendum by right-wingers within and outside his party.

It seems, if you’re on the right, you can both support and oppose a second referendum at the same time. Perhaps we could describe them as Schrodinger’s democrats; they want democracy both alive and dead at the same time but don’t know which, until after all our choices have been used up.

Much of the pressure on Labour is just talk, though. The Guardian has a scaremongering story that thousands of party members are demanding that the leadership must support a second referendum or they’ll tear up their membership cards and send the party to certain defeat if a snap general election is called. But we know that this isn’t true. Party membership is stable at more than 600,000, polls do not give a clear picture (we saw one last week that showed more Labour members and supporters are in line with party policy), and a general election will be about much more than Brexit.

report of a YouGov poll involving 25,000 people, that shows a new referendum would show a comfortable majority in favour of remaining in the EU and claims that Labour would lose a general election if it did not support staying in, is also in the realms of fantasy. Labour policy is to push for a general election before a second referendum because the result of a second referendum is likely to do little good for the majority of the British people – no matter what the result – if a Conservative government is in office; Tories would tailor the result to their own interests rather than those of the nation.

And an opinion piece by plummy-voiced right-winger Andrew Rawnsley, trying to foment rebellion against Mr Corbyn as a way of stopping Brexit, is exactly the kind of woolly-minded nonsense we have come to expect from the People’s Vote fantasists who have been putting the cart before the horse and hoping you won’t notice.

Rawnsley knows Brexit won’t be stopped by Labour supporters ousting Mr Corbyn in the belief that shifting Labour policy towards a second referendum will make it happen; it won’t. He just wants to cause trouble for a Labour leader whose people-friendly policies are anathema to him.

So the Tories are still – still! – squabbling among themselves after creating this problem in the first place; Labour members and supporters are being incited to squabble among themselves by right-wingers both inside and outside the party, who want to divide the left and unseat the best leader that party has had in 40 years; and in the meantime living conditions in the UK are likely to suffer brutally.

This Writer’s opinion – for what it’s worth – is that we need to take this one step at a time.

First priority is to defeat Mrs May’s deal because it is not in the national interest – it only benefits her and her cronies and is bad for the UK. Next priority will be a general election. A second referendum will only be worthwhile after a Labour government is returned to office.

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