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The Tories are running scared into the local elections – and scared Tories are DANGEROUS Tories

Face of fear: Boris Johnson’s time is running out. The local elections will show him just how short that time may be. How far is he prepared to go to hold on to power?

Enjoy this video by Richard Murphy (I did):

Yes – Tory policies are going very badly, and the propaganda machine won’t be able to hide that from the majority of us when those failures hit our quality of life.

Brexit has screwed our businesses.

Covid-19 isn’t over – there could be another wave by July (possibly fuelled by variant strains that have bred in the gap between vaccination doses).

The Conservative government is rife with corruption.

And nationalism is on the rise in Wales and Scotland, while Northern Ireland is on fire because Unionists have realised that they have been sold out by the Westminster government and their own DUP politicians who supported the Tories during Theresa May’s ministry.

What’s Boris Johnson’s response?

He’s provoking people. He’s trying to blame those who oppose as if they are the provocateurs.

Through his ‘identity politics’ process of calling out those he describes as “woke”, who he is therefore chastising for their commitment to equality on a range of grounds… he is trying to provoke [them] to attack him.

That is standard right-wing … fascist policy.

Murphy’s conclusion is accurate, too, I think:

They know that their policies are failing so all they can do is use blunt force to try to maintain their position in office.

… Like the fascists they are.

Hence the new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill that proposes draconian new powers for the police, who are to be used as political tools, putting down any opposition to Tory dictatorship. And to ensure that these powers are exercised, what do the Tories do?

They are provoking crowds; they are seeking riots.

Because then they can point at the rioters, and at the peaceful people who agree with the reasons for rioting, and claim that they are the enemy.

Toryism is about “othering”. It is about dividing us and setting us against each other, so we fail to act against our real enemy: them.

It is encapsulated in the story about the Tory, the worker and the immigrant:

A Tory, a worker, and an immigrant are sitting at a table with 20 biscuits. The banker takes 19 biscuits, turns to the worker and says: “Watch out, that immigrant is going to take your cookie away.”

Murphy’s last point is chilling:

They’re not sure they want to go without a fight and we don’t know how tough that fight is going to be.

This Writer reckons it will be very tough.

Tories don’t mind spilling the blood of poor people. In fact, they delight in it. When they send the police to break up protest demonstrations, they see it as poor people fighting among themselves. It’s a huge jolly for them.

In the past, Tories have always known when to give up. They’ve recognised the signs and withdrawn before events escalated too far. That’s why the UK has never had a popular uprising or revolution like those in France, Russia, or China, to name a few other countries.

But the current Tory leadership isn’t like those old statespeople. Boris Johnson wants to hold on to power and will do anything to keep it.

I wonder what we’ll be prepared to do when the time comes to take it away from him.

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GP surgeries are being privatised by the Tories. Do you really want your healthcare dictated by profit?


Doctors’ surgeries across the UK are being bought up and run for profit by private firms – including at least one from the United States.

American health insurance giant Centene has just taken over 49 NHS GP practices. In the last few years, they have bought NHS surgeries in Nottingham, Basingstoke, Milton Keynes, and Leeds. Yours could be next.

Centene appears to be a “bad actor” too – described by the Daily Mail as “profit greedy”.

In 2018, the company took control of a group of surgeries in Essex, including the historic Osler House surgery, founded in 1955. Soon after, Osler House was closed, leaving thousands of residents without a GP within 40 minutes’ drive from their house.

Healthcare provision doesn’t matter to them, you see. Their only concern is their profit.

In the US, Centene has been sued by thousands of people who bought insurance from them. Court papers showed that those people had “difficulty finding — in many cases cannot find — medical providers”.

Campaigning group We Own It said: “Your own local GP surgery or the local GP surgery your friends and family depend on may not be affected today. But if this takeover goes ahead, your GP surgery is not safe.

“Our local Clinical Commissioning Groups – the bodies that make local healthcare decisions in every area – can stop this.”

The group is urging you to sign a petition calling for an end to Boris Johnson’s privatisation of GP services, and for you to urge your family, friends and colleagues to sign it too. Will you?

The petition is here.

The choice is yours.

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Record annual slump for UK economy in 2020 – but should Johnson be slammed for it?

Johnson’s blunders: he made promise after promise – and mistake after mistake. And the UK’s economy suffered.

Yes he should, although it may have seemed a tricky one to call.

The simple fact is that the UK’s economy was bound to suffer in the year of Covid-19.

Business – and school – closures were inevitable. Even though Johnson didn’t want to do it, eventually he had to.

And that’s part of the reason he should be blamed: he had to be dragged into every correct decision he made – and usually too late to prevent some harm from being done.

His lockdowns were only ever partial (so not really lockdowns at all), and he pulled out of them too early.

We recently learned that he ignored scientific advice to do so.

He diverted commercial contracts connected with tackling the virus away from experts in order to hand billions of pounds to friends of the Conservative Party who knew little or nothing about the work they were being asked to do.

Test and trace work, to quote a much-criticised example, suffered badly because he put an ex-jockey in charge, who didn’t realise that a virus can mutate – something that seven-year-old children read in school textbooks.

As a result of all this, the pandemic affected the UK far more than it might otherwise have, and the economic effect was worse, as we can see:

The UK economy shrank by a record 9.9% last year as coronavirus restrictions hit output, official figures show.

The contraction in 2020 “was more than twice as much as the previous largest annual fall on record”, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

Muddying the issue is the fact that previous governments had dismantled the UK’s ability to cope with a pandemic infection over many years. But Boris Johnson was part of some of those governments, so he still can’t dodge some of the responsibility.

And, because it is a deadly infection, we don’t know how many people were likely to have been infected – or died – if Johnson had acted more responsibly… or indeed if he hadn’t bothered to do anything at all.

So we don’t know what would have happened in either a worst- or best-case scenario.

So we are left with the knowledge that the economy was going to suffer in 2020, no matter what.

But Johnson did not act fast enough to minimise the damage – and his choices were either wrong or, on the rare occasions they were right, delayed.

We don’t know how badly the economy would have been affected in different circumstances.

But it’s a fair bet that it would have fared better if Johnson’s choices had been wiser.

Source: UK economy suffered record annual slump in 2020 – BBC News

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In London’s mayoral race, UKIP pins its hopes on Gammons

Once again, the UK Independence Party has made itself the butt of the joke.

You’ll be familiar with the expression “gammon”, meaning “a middle-aged or older white man with conservative, traditionalist views, stereotypically characterized as having a red or flushed complexion”. It has been linked with supporters of UKIP for many years.

Today (January 15) we all discovered the name of the party’s candidate in the London mayoral election… and the fun began:

We all had a few giggles about the coincidence:

But the real punchline is the fact that this is not the first time UKIP has been ham-strung (sorry) by an unfortunately-resonating name:

This Writer, for one, is grateful to Mr Gammons.

He has brightened up an otherwise miserable day.

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

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

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

Here comes the list:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Expect much more of the same in the future.

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Perverted UK right-wingers use riots by their US counterparts to attack British SOCIALISTS

Ian Austin: this wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing is trying to divert blame for the US Capitol riots onto socialists – who weren’t there and had nothing to do with it.

Already the Far Right in the UK is twisting the narrative of the US Capitol riot into a bid to blame the Left.

The riot in Washington DC yesterday (January 6) was carried out by members of far-right political groups in the United States, at the bidding of Donald Trump, one of the most right-wing presidents that nation has had, certainly in its recent history.

And what is the message our politicians are projecting?

Well, let’s look at former UK Labour MP Ian Austin’s opinion:

First he equates the Labour Party under former leader Jeremy Corbyn with the “hard left”, which is false. Corbyn’s politics was centre-left, of the kind we see in government in several European countries including the very successful Scandinavian nations.

He follows it with a lie that supporters of this centre-left viewpoint are somehow wholehearted supporters of terrorists (the IRA) and totalitarian dictatorships. There is no evidence to support these wild claims.

Finally, he claims that socialists would not accept an election defeat, in complete denial of events here in the UK in December 2019 – which really isn’t very long ago!

Needless to say, genuine socialists have responded hotly – and accurately:

But a lie can run around the world before the truth has got its shoes on, as the saying goes.

Socialists do not organise riots – fascists do.

And then they lay the blame on socialists. Know your enemy.

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Four dead after Trump provokes US Capitol riot – and the UK Tories are taking notes

Buddies: Boris Johnson and Donald Trump. Johnson has refused to condemn Trump’s involvement in the US Capitol riot; indeed, he was probably too busy taking notes.

It has been claimed that what happens in the United States is brought to the UK several years later.

With that in mind, watch this clip of Priti Patel refusing to condemn Donald Trump for provoking a riot in Washington DC yesterday:

UK prime minister Boris Johnson also condemned the riots but stopped short of criticising Trump:

The reason? They’re taking notes.

Trump has spent the last two months protesting against the result of last November’s presidential election, which he lost decisively to Democrat Joe Biden.

He triggered a scandal earlier in the week when it was revealed that he had engaged Georgia’s (Republican) Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in an hour-long telephone conversation in which he appealed for his colleague to “find” 11,780 votes – one more than the 11,779 majority that Biden achieved in that state.

This is electoral fraud and Raffensperger wouldn’t have it.

Trump went on to spout a series of conspiracy theories that (it has been claimed) far-right internet sites have been promoting – including that his opponents tampered with voting machines in the state. His claims were greeted with a blunt “no” from the leading lawyer on Raffensperger’s team.

The revelation was greeted as a scandal bigger than Watergate. The only reason Trump wasn’t facing impeachment after the recording of his call was published by the Washington Post is that unlike Richard Nixon, his own party leaders in the Senate and House of Representatives are not willing to condemn him.

Then came the riot.

Congress was due to meet yesterday (January 6) for a purely ceremonial event to confirm Biden’s election victory – but Trump wasn’t having it.

He tweeted a call for his supporters to attend and protest, appealing for them to “stop the steal”.

Events escalated out of control into a riot in which members of the US public stormed the Capitol, and now four people are dead.

One, unofficially named as San Diego-area US Air Force veteran and Trump supporter Ashli Babbit, was part of a group that forced entry into the House room while it was still in session. They were confronted by plain-clothes police officers, one of whom pulled out a weapon and fired it. She was rushed to hospital where she was later proclaimed dead.

Another woman and two men died as a result of “medical emergencies”, officials said, without giving details. At least 14 members of the police were also injured.

Trump has not apologised for instigating the riot or for the deaths to which it led. He is still denying the legitimacy of the election result but has agreed to an “orderly transition” of the presidency to Biden.

Add it all up and it amounts to a shocking degeneration and indictment against Trump in the last days of his presidency.

And the silence from the UK’s government is equally appalling.

But then, we should remember that Boris Johnson’s Conservative government has been a wholehearted Trump supporter – with Johnson himself even suggesting the soon-to-be ex-president should receive the Nobel Peace Prize:

But let’s not restrict this to Johnson (and Patel, above). Plenty of other UK political figures have supported Trump:

That is why I feel the need to amplify these comments:

Think about it – because you can be sure Johnson and his planners are.

They’ll be looking at what happened and how it happened, and working out how they can create the same situation in the UK and spin it to make them look good.

Then they will have a little ace-in-the-hole if their policies look like creating civil unrest in the future.

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Don’t be fooled: Johnson’s Brexit deal is a DISASTER for the UK

Will he call it the “Christmas Eve Agreement” after the day it was reached, or the “New Year’s Eve Agreement” after the day it will be ratified?

Either way, Boris Johnson will try to give his dire Brexit deal a legitimacy it does not deserve by creating an association in our minds with the Good Friday Agreement, which brought huge benefits to the people of Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom.

His Brexit deal does no such thing.

Here’s the reason:

It’s a simple truth, but one that will bear repetition – many times, because Johnson will be pushing his lie for all he’s worth.

While there was certainly much to criticise about the European Union’s demands on the UK when we were a member state, our ability to trade frictionlessly with every other state on the bloc was not part of that and the deal must be, by definition, a huge step backwards.

Just getting to it cost us – that’s you and me, the UK taxpayers, not the Brexiteer businesspeople who sequester their cash in tax havens to avoid being affected, remember – a huge amount of money that the nation could ill afford to lose.

Sadly, not all of us will realise this because they’ll be tranquillised by the Tory-lickspittle press. But some of us do know what it means:

Johnson must know that he can’t fool all the people, all the time – and with trade, which is happening all the time, he must know that people are going to feel the adverse effects of his deal very quickly.

So the smart money reckons he will quit very soon, having achieved what he set out to do:

Other responses have been more satirical. Let’s have a read and a giggle before we get on to the hard facts:

Hm.

Johnson has described the deal as his Christmas present to the UK. Oh dear…

… and now there’s a big war of words about what it all means:

But one thing is for sure:

So, what’s actually in the deal?

Perhaps before we go into the details, we should consider the attitudes adopted by the different sides:

If you enjoyed that bit of Johnsonism, you’d better hope it sustains you when the hardships start to bite.

Here’s a document that summarises the changes in the new, 1,200-page (plus 800 pages of appendices) agreement:

I’ll write them out below and we’ll see what people have had to say about them so far:

Free movement of people

Border checks will be re-imposed between the UK and the EU nations.

Restrictions will be re-imposed on pets travelling between the UK and EU.

Roaming charges will be re-imposed.

Visa-free travel between the UK and EU beyond 90 days’ duration will end.

But visa-free travel up to 90 days may continue. It is the only aspect of this subject heading that remains unchanged.

Work, residence and study in another EU country are now subject to restrictions particular to the new agreement – and they are already controversial, as we shall see shortly.

Trade in goods

Under the new agreement, frictionless trade between the UK and the EU is ended.

Oh, there will be no tariffs or quotas – but the whole purposes of the 2,000-page document is to create barriers that did not exist before January 1, 2021.

The UK will no longer benefit from any of the EU’s international agreements.

Sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures – to protect humans, animals, and plants from diseases, pests, or contaminants – will be re-imposed. It will be interesting to see what they reveal (although let us hope that the find nothing untoward from the UK).

All other matters under this heading will be subject to new bureaucratic procedures – red tape – under the new agreement. Remember years ago, when David Cameron announced a “bonfire of red tape”? It created a huge number of problems as it turned out that those measures were actually necessary – and now Cameron (who demanded the EU referendum) is responsible for much, much more of it:

New customs formalities.

New rules of origin procedures that will check where parts come from.

A new fisheries agreement.

Trade in services

The former financial services passport is abolished.

And there will be no easy recognition of professional qualifications.

That creates more red tape!

Air transport

UK air traffic will no longer be free to travel anywhere within the single aviation area.

And the so-called “fifth freedom” for extra-EU air cargo will be withdrawn from the UK, replaced with new rules in the Brexit deal.

More red tape!

Road transport

The UK is out of the single internal transport market for hauliers. Truckers will need import and export declarations, security declarations and other paperwork for their shipments. New infrastructure is being built at ports to deal with queues and to check loads.

Cross-trade operations will be subject to even more red tape!

Energy

The UK will no longer be part of the single internal energy market.

And energy trading platforms will be subject to yet more red tape!

Access to EU programmes

The UK is out of Erasmus (what’s Erasmus? You’re about to find out!) along with NextGenerationEU and SURE. It will be shut out of the Galileo encrypted military signal.

Did you know the UK was part of any of that?

And access to Horizon Europe (it’s the the European Union’s future framework programme on research and innovation (R&I) for 2021-2027) will be subjected to even more red tape!

There’s another part of this which puts a sinister aspect on the deal, reminiscent of the TTIP – the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership that was stopped because of a “dispute settlement” process that would have given businesses more power than governments.

The UK-EU trade deal includes a dispute settlement mechanism, and both sides will have the right to slap tariffs on the other unilaterally to protect against unfair competition. EU businesses will be able to restrict those in the UK.

That’s a lot of red tape!

It seems the Brexit deal also establishes an organisation for policing the agreements. The joint partnership council has 19 sub-committees and seven working groups. That’s in addition to a Parliamentary partnership assembly, a civil society forum and domestic advisory groups.

I tend to agree with Briefcase Michael’s sarcastic comment: “So it’s goodbye to all that EU bureaucracy!”

And I especially agree with Carole Hawkins who described these red-tape groups as: “Hot air talking shops which will achieve diddly squat as always.”

It might be informative to examine the deal in comparison with what was promised by the organisation Vote Leave, which was the primary motivating force that encouraged more than 17 million UK citizens to support Brexit.

Bear in mind that Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings were the figurehead and mastermind behind Vote Leave, and they ended up running the UK together after the December 2019 general election.

So did they make sure they achieved everything they promised?

That failed comedy double-act? Not a chance!

The website Politico ran an article comparing the bold promises with the bare realities. It listed them as follows:

1. Trade with the EU will be tariff-free and involve minimal bureaucracy

The deal is tariff free for now. But it comes with numerous strings attached and significant bureaucracy. Vote Leave also promised that businesses that do not trade with the single market will not need to follow single market rules… At the very least, Northern Ireland will have to follow single market rules to ensure its land border with Ireland will remain open.

2. Northern Ireland border ‘absolutely unchanged’

The border between Great Britain and Northern Ireland is changing. There will be customs procedures for goods crossing the Irish Sea because Northern Ireland will have access to the EU customs union while remaining in the U.K. customs union. That will involve paperwork checks and border control posts (though not physically at the border) to undertake physical checks on some plant and animal products.

3. End supremacy of EU law and the EU’s Court of Justice

Northern Ireland will remain subject to EU customs union and single market rules, which will be overseen by the Court of Justice. So it would be wrong to suggest the entire U.K. will not be subject to judgments from the court.

4. Take back control on immigration and asylum, and cut migration to the tens of thousands

it is still unlikely that the U.K. will cut immigration to the tens of thousands, as Michael Gove promised Brexit would allow it to do.

5. Britain will take back control of its fisheries

Johnson said he wanted talks on EU fishing access to U.K. waters to take place annually… There is a process to get there. It involves a five-and-a-half-year transition, during which the EU will have full access, but the quantity of fish the U.K. can take out of shared waters will increase. Negotiations would be annual after that, and the EU will be able to retaliate with tariffs if the U.K. refuses to grant it access. So it depends on the definition of “control.” The important detail is exactly how much more fish the U.K. will get to take out of shared waters across 100 or so stocks.

6. £350M for the NHS instead of being sent to Brussels

The U.K. net contribution to the EU budget was more like £230 million a week, but Britain has had to spend huge sums on the divorce bill and on preparations for Brexit. The NHS did get a funding boost – but this isn’t as a result of the EU departure.

7. New trade deals, and access to a European trading zone ‘from Iceland to Russia’

The U.K. has so far failed to sign a single brand new trade deal that it did not have as part of EU membership. The U.K. has agreed a tariff-free, quota-free deal, but the customs barriers have increased, it is still subject to numerous EU conditions, and there are still big gaps on services — for example, many business travelers will need work visas. Britain still needs to lock in trading terms for EFTA states Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland, and complete a free trade agreement with Turkey.

8. Continue cooperating on security issues and counter-terrorism

Both sides will continue to cooperate on security and counter-terrorism — but … the U.K. will no longer have direct, real-time access to EU security databases, such as on passenger records, criminal records, DNA and fingerprints. The deal allows for “ambitious and timely arrangements” to share such data, according to an EU document. The U.K. will continue to observe the European Convention on Human Rights, and could see law enforcement and judicial cooperation cut off if it fails to do so. It will also have to adhere to strict data standards. There will be “cooperation” between Europol and Eurojust, but that will amount to nothing more than what other third countries get when dealing with the EU. However, in other areas, such as the extradition of criminals, the cooperation will be closer than with third countries.

9. Financial protection for farmers who get cash from Brussels

The government will implement a new regime in the years to 2025 that will change the rules for funding farmers in England. Cash will be tied not to the amount of land, as in the EU system, but to whether that land is used for public good. It is unclear whether, in the long run, farmers stand to receive the same amount of money as they do now, as Vote Leave promised.

10. Continued participation in EU science research schemes, deeper cooperation on scientific collaboration, plus increased funding for science

The U.K. is retaining membership of the Horizon Europe program, under which EU states pool funding for science projects. It will also continue to participate in the Euratom Research and Training program, the Copernicus space program and others.

11. Wages will be higher

Even government economic forecasters reckon a deal with the EU will hit UK GDP compared with retaining membership. Some wages in some sectors might increase (customs officials?) but others might even lose their jobs.

12. The union will be stronger

In recent months, repeated polls have shown that Scotland would vote for independence if given another referendum, with Brexit a particular grievance for Scottish National Party voters. The debate is turning to whether Johnson will be able to hold off on granting one if the SNP wins big in Scottish elections in 2021.

Welsh nationalism is on the rise as a result of Johnson’s cack-handed Brexit negotiations, and also due to his failure to control Covid-19. And who can doubt that Northern Ireland will come closer to the Irish Republic after this?

13. Cut VAT on energy bills to save the average household £64 a year

Outside the EU [the UK] can. But Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who also backed Brexit, has not announced that the government will make the change. The promise remains outstanding.

14. Scrap VAT on sanitary products

The EU has long insisted it will scrap VAT on sanitary products but is still yet to do so. Sunak announced in his March budget that it would be scrapped in the U.K. Johnson won a concession from Brussels when he struck the Withdrawal Agreement that the so-called “tampon tax” would not apply to Northern Ireland if it remains in the customs union, which it will. So that’s a checkpoint for Vote Leave.

15. The new treaty should be ready within two years and before the next election (which was May 2020)

Well…

For a snapshot of the way people have responded on particular issues, let’s consider the Erasmus scheme.

Erasmus is an exchange programme that allows UK students to study and work across Europe. More than half the UK students abroad are there as part of the Erasmus scheme.

But Boris Johnson has ended the UK’s involvement in it – after promising to Parliament that this would not happen:

Johnson says he is replacing Erasmus with a new scheme called Turing – after Bletchley Park Omega device solver Alan. Also named after Turing is the test to distinguish human beings from artificial devices created to fake it. One gets the impression Johnson would fail:

Given all of the above, what is one supposed to think of this deal that Boris Johnson claims is so good?

Earlier this month This Site published a piece asking whether Johnson became the figurehead for the Brexit campaign purely to stop the European Union clamping down on the City and its role in money laundering and financial crime across the globe. Was it his intention to preserve the City of London as the financial crime centre of the world’s economy?

What do you think?

Personally, I’m wondering if it’s the first time in history a nation has been asked to celebrate spending a huge amount of time and money on a plan to waste even more time and money – with absolutely no profit in it for us.

What was the point?

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Is the United States getting serious about climate change? If so, it could be a game-changer

It seems Joe Biden wants to tackle the climate crisis. Perhaps he sees it as a way to make his mark on history.

If so, he is to be applauded. If the United States commits to net zero carbon emissions by 2050, it will take a lot of pressure from smaller countries – and pile it onto larger economies like China, Russia and India.

And while the UK has paid lip-service to climate commitments, the influence of America could force Boris Johnson (and his successors) to pay closer attention to making sure they are honoured.

This is another good news story. Perhaps the tide is turning at last.

The US will hold a climate summit of the world’s major economies early next year, within 100 days of Joe Biden taking office, and seek to rejoin the Paris agreement on the first day of his presidency, in a boost to international climate action.

Leaders from 75 countries met without the US in a virtual Climate Ambition Summit co-hosted by the UN, the UK and France at the weekend, marking the fifth anniversary of the Paris accord. The absence of the US underlined the need for more countries, including other major economies such as Brazil, Russia and Indonesia, to make fresh commitments on tackling the climate crisis.

Source: US to hold world climate summit early next year and seek to rejoin Paris accord | Climate change | The Guardian

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#USAElection2020 – it’s Biden! so Boris Johnson is in trouble

Joe Biden has beaten Donald Trump in the US presidential election – meaning trouble for UK prime minister Boris Johnson.

Biden topped the 270 electoral college votes needed to take the presidency when Pennsylvania declared for him on Saturday afternoon (UK time – November 7).

This means – hopefully – we will all be treated to the sight of Donald Trump being dragged from the White House by secret service men, kicking and screaming. That’s what he promised!

Trump may well follow through on his threat to bog the process down with litigation. We’ll see.

Assuming such shenanigans are dismissed, Biden’s accession to the Presidency creates serious problems for Boris Johnson.

Once described by Biden as a “kind of a physical and emotional clone” of Trump, he has long been considered hostile to Johnson’s right-wing, populist politics.

Part of this can be traced back to Johnson’s dismissal of Barack Obama. His claim that Obama’s “part-Kenyan” heritage gave him an “ancestral dislike of the British Empire” may be considered racist.

Biden’s team has, we’re told, kept a close eye on the Johnson government, taking offence at the way it has cosied up to Trump.

Dominic Cummings has been likened by some on Biden’s team to Stephen Miller, the Trump policy adviser who contributed to a controversial 2017 travel ban and policy of separating migrant children from their parents.

More tangibly, Biden warned Johnson away from his threat to break international law on Brexit and – potentially – undermine the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland.

Biden’s own heritage is Irish. It seems, when it comes to ancestry, Boris Johnson’s judgement is poor indeed.

So when it comes to trade deals, Johnson may find himself losing any ground he gained by cultivating close links with Trump.

That doesn’t mean we’ll all be saved from eating chlorinated chicken after all.

In fact, it’s more likely to mean Johnson will toss more of our national property in, to sweeten the deal.

Whatever happens, it seems Boris Johnson is heading for even more trouble – and, as usual, it’s all of his own making.

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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