Tag Archives: union

How long until Gove’s ‘safety net’ that breaks international law becomes ‘the right thing to do’?

Michael Gove: This Site has better pictures but the Spitting Image dummy reflects his shifty personality so well that it is hard to find an excuse not to use it.

Michael Gove is living evidence that you can get further by talking nonsense constantly than by rational behaviour.

He has just said that talks on implementing the EU withdrawal agreement are at a “healthy stage”.

That’s odd, when the EU side is that the UK’s negotiating position is still “far apart from what the EU can accept”.

The issue is the Internal Markets Bill – or at least those parts of it that override the EU withdrawal agreement where it concerns customs borders in Northern Ireland.

The European Commission’s Maros Sefcovic… said there was a “window of opportunity” to come to an agreement on the Northern Ireland protocol, but added that was “rapidly closing”.

And that’s what Gove calls a “healthy stage”!

Mr Sefcovic says the EU wants the UK to remove the “contentious parts” of the bill by the end of September – that’s Wednesday.

He said the EU would “not be shy” in using “legal remedies” written into the withdrawal agreement to address any “violations”.

What do you reckon the chances are that the EU will have to use those remedies – and that when it happens, Gove and the other Tories will say the EU is to blame for the failure of the Withdrawal Agreement?

Source: Michael Gove: Brexit provisions to stay in Internal Market Bill – BBC News

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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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#ToryLawBreakers launch membership drive based on their lie about a fake threat from the EU. Isn’t this fraud?

Boris Johnson is swiping whole chapters from the Goebbels playbook with his new Conservative Party membership drive.

Just take a gander at the following nonsense, from a genuine recruitment campaign started in Johnson’s name on Tuesday (September 15):

“Last night I voted to protect the United Kingdom, as any prime minister would do.” Any PM ought to vote to protect the UK; this is true. Boris Johnson did not. He voted to support his Internal Market Bill which endangers the union by undermining the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland, and shatters the UK’s standing among other countries by breaking international law. It also threatens NI, Scotland’s and Wales’s continued memberships of the union by stealing devolved powers away from their governments.

Parts of the Bill, if passed into law, would overrule a binding treaty that Johnson himself signed. He was authorised to do so by the votes of his MPs – the same MPs who have now, sheep-like, authorised him to contradict himself.

“Unfortunately, I was not joined by a single Labour or SNP MP.” Of course not. The Labour Party, and the Scottish National Party, abide by the law.

“Instead Labour and the SNP chose to side with the EU and their outrageous threats to carve up our union.” The EU has made no such threat. This is a lie.

“Making it clear we’re the only party willing to stand up for the United Kingdom.” This is deceitful in several ways. Firstly, as already discussed, breaking international law, jeopardising peace in Northern Ireland and taking powers from NI, Scotland and Wales is not standing up for the UK but an attempt to shatter the union. Secondly, lying about a made-up threat is not standing up for the UK. Thirdly, it is wrong to say the Tories are the only party willing to stand up for the UK just because the other parties stood up for the rule of law. Would you like me to continue?

“Last year in good faith I signed the Withdrawal Agreement, believing the EU would stand by their word to be reasonable.” We have only Boris Johnson’s word that this is his reason for signing the Withdrawal Agreement – and he is a habitual liar.

“But regretfully, as Labour know, in recent months the EU have suggested they would go to extreme and unreasonable lengths.” This is a lie. If Johnson is using that as his justification for reneging on an international treaty, then his recruitment drive is an act of fraud.

“Threatening to put up blockades across our own country, divide our own land and change the very economic geography of our own union.” This is a lie. The person who threatened to put up barriers, divide the UK and change its economic geography is Boris Johnson. The possibility of tariffs being imposed for “at risk” goods was in his withdrawal agreement, that he pushed through Parliament. He is simply denying responsibility for his own action and pushing it onto somebody else.

But there is another issue here – that of the EU stopping food products from entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain. Johnson has made it explicitly clear that he includes this in his claim about blockades, division and economic geography. But it is not mentioned in the Internal Market Bill, so he should not be using it in a party recruitment campaign based on Monday’s vote.

(The EU would have to grant “third-country approval” to the UK’s regulatory regime to allow food into NI because Northern Ireland will remain in the single market and continue to use EU standards for its goods after December 31, 2020. It has been unable to grant this approval because officials reckon the UK has not provided sufficient details of the so-called sanitary and phytosanitary regime for animal and plant products post-Brexit – possibly because of the free trade agreement Johnson wants to do with the United States, that would bring diseased, chlorinated chicken into the UK for us to eat? Johnson’s government says it has provided ample information for the EU to grant approval but Johnson lies.)

Put it all together and this is a Nazi strategy.

Hitler’s propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels was very keen on what he called “The Big Lie” – an idea he claimed to have taken from the British. The idea is that if you repeat a blatant lie often enough, eventually the majority of people will believe it is the truth.

Johnson’s recruitment drive is riddled with lies, and lies supporting those lies. It is not information. It is propaganda. And that puts him on a level with the Nazis.

You’d have to be a fool to believe him, too. These people weren’t:

What sort indeed. If you have a Tory-supporting friend, why not show it to them, explain why it is full of lies, and see how they react?

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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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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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Andrew Bridgen destroys his government’s credibility on EU trade talks

Andrew Bridgen: winner of this week’s “Inverse Genius” award.


Everyone with any political nous in the UK has been laughing at eurosceptic Andrew Bridgen after he swallowed both feet (metaphorically) in a Channel 4 News interview.

Discussing his Fuhrer Boris Johnson’s plan to renege on the EU withdrawal agreement that he signed in January, Bridgen said – well, see for yourself:

The reaction on Twitter has been universal:

https://twitter.com/cbailiss/status/1303110907732602883

What a… typical Conservative MP.

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If Johnson is ready to renege on EU withdrawal agreement, what’s the point in a trade deal?

Brexit lies: Boris Johnson said he had an “oven-ready” Brexit deal waiting to slot into place with the EU.HE LIED.

Boris Johnson seems to think that negotiations are proceeding too slowly – and is pushing the EU to give him the ‘no deal’ Brexit he wants.

That’s the only interpretation that can be put on the revelation that he is planning to break the withdrawal agreement that he merrily signed in January.

EU negotiators will see that no deal struck with the UK under his leadership will carry any weight. This Writer would not be surprised if they walk away from the negotiating table in disgust.

On the eve of negotiations resuming, the Financial Times reported that the Internal Market Bill would “eliminate” the legal force of the Withdrawal Agreement, struck less than a year ago, in areas including state aid for business and Northern Ireland customs.

As part of the terms of the Northern Ireland Protocol, the region is expected to continue to follow some EU rules after the transition period ends on 31 December 2020 to ensure there is no hard border.

But Mr Johnson is expected to say later that if no agreement is reached by 15 October, both sides should “move on”.

The prime minister will tell EU counterparts that completing the UK’s exit from the bloc without a trade deal would still be a “good outcome”.

It won’t be.

We have already learned that huge numbers of UK farmers are likely to go out of business if there is no deal and now Johnson is practically guaranteeing it.

This Site has already said we should not necessarily sympathise with them because the vast majority of farmers voted for Brexit, no matter what it meant.

But this latest move is likely to mean tariffs of 40 per cent on UK goods being sold into the EU – a huge extra cost that means most of them will be unable to trade in that bloc in the future.

The economy is not strong enough to weather this, so it seems the hedge fund bosses who (may or may not have) supported Johnson in his bid to be prime minister will get what it’s been said they want: an enormous recession and the collapse of big name UK brands.

https://twitter.com/Beaker64625289/status/1302915231010762754

Make no mistake:

By legislating to cause this, Boris Johnson is signalling that it is what he has wanted all along.

Tory elected representatives are already misrepresenting the facts:

Oh, and for all those who voted Conservative in December last year, basing their decision on the slogan that Johnson would “Get Brexit Done”… How does it feel to be betrayed?

This is a complete u-turn on the plan and a betrayal of every Tory voter who thought Johnson would achieve an advantageous Brexit:

How do you feel about this betrayal?

Source: Brexit: Ministers plan laws overriding part of withdrawal deal – BBC News

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Why is Boris Johnson trying to blame the EU for steering us towards the ‘no deal’ Brexit THAT HE WANTS?

Boris Johnson: don’t believe him when he says the EU is blocking a Brexit trade deal; he has been the obstacle, all the way down the line.

“Pass-the-buck” Boris is at it again!

It seems Boris Johnson is trying to hoodwink us into thinking the European Union’s refusal to compromise is pushing us towards a ‘no deal’ Brexit:

Boris Johnson has admitted the UK is currently heading for a no deal Brexit, with progress now “very difficult” as the two sides refuse to compromise.

In a new gloomy summary of the state of the talks, No 10 described an agreement as only “possible” – with a strong attack on the EU’s refusal to bend.

“An agreement is still possible and this is still our goal, but it is clear it will not be easy to achieve,” the prime minister’s spokesman said.

But isn’t it true that Johnson is the one whose refusal to compromise has put us all in this position?

Immediately after last year’s election it was reported that Michel Barnier had said it was “unrealistic” to expect a “global negotiation” on trade to be completed by December 31, 2020 – meaning it was known that we were unlikely to leave with a deal, nine months ago.

I wrote: “That will be exactly what Johnson wants, if he really is in cahoots with rich hedge fund managers who have been said to have funded his Tory leadership campaign on the condition that he take us out of the EU without a deal so they can profit from betting on it.

“And it will make it possible for Johnson to sell off our remaining national assets – including all those parts of the National Health Service that are worth having – to the United States in the dirty deal that many of us have been foretelling for several months.”

It’s all coming true.

And the 14 million people who voted for Boris Johnson were told it would happen and chose to ignore the warning.

An infinitesimal minority will profit from it – that’s the whole point of leaving without a deal.

But that leaves very nearly 14 million Tory voters who are going to spend a long, long time regretting their choice in December 2019.

Source: Brexit: Boris Johnson signals no deal increasingly likely and hits out at EU for refusing to compromise | The Independent | Independent

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