Tag Archives: Statecraft

Johnson’s overcooked ‘oven-ready deal’ has blown up in his face. Why is he happy about it?

From Twitter: the caption was “Get in, losers. We’re driving it off a No Deal cliff.”

It seems Boris Johnson is getting exactly the kind of Brexit his backers wanted: ‘no deal’, meaning disaster for the UK economy.

He is putting on his sad face at the moment but that’s not fooling me, and it shouldn’t fool you.

His claim that Brussels has “abandoned” the ambition of a free trade deal is as empty as his soul:

Sky News has this to say:

The UK’s chief Brexit negotiator has told his European counterpart not to come to London on Monday to resolve stalled talks, after the prime minister warned it was time to “get ready” to leave without a deal.

Isn’t this the same prime minister who said there was an ‘oven ready’ trade deal, only last year?

And didn’t he – also – say that failure to secure a deal would be a failure of statecraft?

So isn’t he admitting that he is a failed prime minister? And shouldn’t we be demanding his resignation and replacement at the earliest possible opportunity?

Johnson is, of course, doing his best to blameshift responsibility for his failure onto the EU:

Mr Johnson said in a dramatic intervention that “there doesn’t seem to be any progress coming from Brussels”.

He told businesses and hauliers to “get ready” for there to be no free trade deal.

But this is clearly nonsense, in the light of what he – and other Brexiters – have been saying since before the EU referendum in 2016.

They have spent years trying to convince us that the EU nations would be desperate to forge a deal with the UK that would put us at an advantage.

Instead, it seems we’re going to have to pay high tariffs to sell into a market that was free before Johnson and his cronies convinced 17 million of us to vote the entire nation out.

And remember, Johnson won last year’s general election on this – claiming that he would “Get Brexit Done” and it would create a golden future for the UK.

Well. At best he was mistaken. At worst he was lying.

This Writer remembers the claims that he was in cahoots with a cartel of wealthy hedge fund bosses who had bet heavily on the UK leaving without a trade deal, and on this causing the end of a large number of major UK businesses.

Doesn’t this seem more likely now – especially as Johnson has intervened personally to stop any further negotiations, a month and a half before the transition period ends?

It all seems highly suspicious to me.

And I’m not the only one, it seems:

(Incredible that Boris Johnson’s selfishness has actually put me on the same side as Dan Hodges…)

It seems likely the decision to end negotiations and prepare for ‘no deal’ could also mean the end of the United Kingdom as we know it:

Johnson tried to regain some of the credibility he has lost by suggesting that the UK was headed for an “Australia-style deal”…

He said the UK’s relationship with the EU could be more like the one Brussels has with Australia, which will mean tariffs being introduced on goods between the UK and the 27 other EU countries.

… but it seems he’s either badly mistaken (yet again) or trying to pull over our eyes (yet again):

Perhaps this is the most accurate comment of the day:

Source: Brexit: Michel Barnier told to stay home after Boris Johnson says EU ‘abandoned free trade deal’ | Politics News | Sky News

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To blazes with Brexit – it’s being handled by a government that used PUBLIC MONEY to undermine the Opposition

Jeremy Corbyn: According to the Tory government-funded “Integrity Initiative”, he’s a puppet of Putin. The problem with that claim lies in the fact that the organisation making it is funded to the Tories to do so.

Theresa May’s Conservative government spent £2.25 million of our money funding a “fake news” campaign to undermine the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn – after claiming it was clamping down on fake news.

We’ve just spent months debating whether Mrs May’s handling of Brexit is acceptable but now it should be clear that the only thing she should be allowed to handle in the future is prison food.

Misuse of public funds is an offence.

The so-called Institute of Statecraft – based in an old Victorian mill in Fife, Scotland – runs a programme called the Integrity Initiative using military intelligence specialists and £2.25 million of our cash to post false information on the social media about Mr Corbyn and Labour.

According to the Daily Record, “The ‘think tank’ is supposed to counter Russian online propaganda by forming ‘clusters’ of friendly journalists and ‘key influencers’ throughout Europe who use social media to hit back against disinformation.”

But it seems clear the organisation used the money handed to it by the Foreign Office for party political purposes: “One tweet quotes a newspaper article calling Corbyn a ‘useful idiot’, that goes on to state: His open visceral anti-Westernism helped the Kremlin cause, as surely as if he had been secretly peddling Westminster tittle-tattle for money.’

“Another added: ‘It’s time for the Corbyn left to confront its Putin problem.’ A further message refers to an ‘alleged British Corbyn supporter’ who ‘wants to vote for Putin’.”

Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry wants to know exactly what has been going on. She said: “It is one of the cardinal rules of British public life that official resources should not be used for party political purposes.

“So it is simply outrageous that the clearly mis-named ‘Integrity Initiative’ – funded by the Foreign Office to the tune of £2.25 million over the past two years – has routinely been using its Twitter feed to disseminate personal attacks and smears against the Leader of the Opposition, the Labour Party and Labour officials.

“And this cannot be dismissed as something outside the Government’s control, given the application for funding agreed by the Foreign Office last year stated explicitly that it would be used in part to expand ‘the impact of the Integrity Initiative website…and Twitter/social media accounts’.

“So the Government must now answer the following questions: Why did the Foreign Office allow public money to be spent on attempting to discredit Her Majesty’s Opposition? Did they know this was happening? If not, why not? And if they did, how on earth can they justify it?”

Labour MP Chris Williamson had tabled a Parliamentary question about the Institute for Statecraft, and received the following answer from FCO minister Alan Duncan: “The Institute for Statecraft is an independent, Scottish, charitable body whose work seeks to improve governance and enhance national security. They launched the Integrity Initiative in 2015 to defend democracy against disinformation.

“In financial year 2017/18, the FCO funded the Institute for Statecraft’s Integrity Initiative £296,500. This financial year, the FCO is funding a further £1,961,000. Both have been funded through grant agreements.”

Clearly, this answer is untrue. If the “Integrity Initiative” was intended “to defend democracy against disinformation”, then it had no business posting disinformation to the social media (in fact, nobody has any business posting disinformation to the social media).

An angry Mr Williamson, after the current revelations were published, said the Tories were “using public money to subvert democracy”.

Bizarrely, it is less than a year since Theresa May announced the creation of a “rapid response social media capability” intended to respond to the scourge of fake news, based in the Cabinet Office.

At the time, I wrote: “This is not an attempt to ensure a ‘fact-based public debate’. It is a bid to hijack the news and turn it into Tory propaganda.”

It seems I was right – they’ve just outsourced that function.

The Twitterati have, of course, been abuzz – and who can blame them?

Here’s a very good point:

This is quite right – it would be a list of people who peddle fake news that would be invaluable to those of us who want to stamp it out, although I think it would be better to hand it over to proper investigators, rather than the Cabinet Office organisation, in whatever form it currently takes.

For those of you who may have been convinced that Mr Corbyn really was a Russian puppet, here’s a quick response:

https://twitter.com/ToryFibs/status/1071821310806900736

Of course, senior members of the Labour Party are incandescent with rage:

But there is another level to this – the lack of interest exhibited by the mainstream media. This story has been in two Scottish newspapers – the Sunday Mail and the Daily Record – and on a few social media sites like Vox Political. And that’s all. It is a huge story as it involves the misuse of public funds for party political purposes.

Why are the newspapers and broadcasters not covering it (as if we didn’t know the answer already)?

Yes, we should expect democracy to be defended.

Just not by right-wingers like those running the BBC and most of the print news media – or by our democratically-elected government.

Yet this is the government that wants to push us all through Brexit, in the name of democracy.

It doesn’t stack up. We need an election to get the Tories out of office, and then a police investigation to find out who authorised the Foreign Office to fund this offence.

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