Boris Johnson – an Ethics Free Zone 80


The total absence of even a shadow of an ethical dimension to UK foreign policy is nowhere better illustrated than its continued relationship with the appalling Uzbek dictatorship. There is competition of course for the role of most unconscionable British policy. The support for the vicious tyrant of Bahrain and the suppression of the Bahraini Shia majority, the secret British military presence on the ground in Saudi Arabia assisting the bombing campaign that has killed thousands of children, these are sickening examples of Britain’s true role in the world.

But for sheer hypocrisy, the continued military support of a dictatorship universally recognised as having no equal in repression outside North Korea, takes the prize. Here are some truly vomit-inducing passages from a speech today by the British ambassador to Uzbekistan:

The Ambassador stressed the great importance of the defence relationship between the UK and Uzbekistan and expressed his gratitude for Uzbekistan’s assistance and longstanding support for transit arrangements that facilitate UK military operations in Afghanistan. Defense cooperation between the two nations has been steadily increasing over the period and is continuing to develop in a mutually beneficial manner. Among many other notable achievements, the British Embassy is proud that the UK was the first nation to sign a defense education agreement between our military academies.

Ambassador Allan spoke about the many positive results achieved over the 25 years of UK-Uzbekistan bilateral political relations. He mentioned the visit of the first President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, HE Mr. Islam Karimov, to the United Kingdom in November 1993, which gave a powerful early stimulus to the development of the relations between two countries. Fittingly, last year – the 25th Anniversary of Uzbekistan’s independence – was a particularly important one for bilateral relations in the political sphere. In April 2016, Tobias Ellwood, Deputy Minister at the Foreign Office, visited Uzbekistan to further deepen the bilateral relations between the UK and Uzbekistan. And in December 2016, Sir Alan Duncan, Minister of State at the Foreign Office, also visited Uzbekistan. Minister Duncan was privileged to be the first foreign dignitary to congratulate President Mirziyoev on his inauguration in person. The visit of His Excellency the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdulaziz Kamilov, to Great Britain in November 2013 marked an important step in enhancing relations between the two countries and the UK hopes to welcome His Excellency back to London during the course of this year.

You may wish to compare and contrast these extracts of a speech which I wrote and delivered while British Ambassador to Uzbekistan:

Uzbekistan is not a functioning democracy, nor does it appear to be moving in the direction of democracy. The major political parties are banned; parliament is not subject to democratic election and checks and balances on the authority of the executive are lacking.

There is worse: we believe there to be between seven and ten thousand people in detention whom we would consider as political and/or religious prisoners. In many cases they have been falsely convicted of crimes with which there appears to be no credible evidence they had any connection. Reputable Human Rights groups such as Human
Rights Watch and Amnesty international have brought to our attention specific instances where the same crime is used serially to convict a number of people. There appears to be a belief that such persecution of an individual can be justified by labelling them as an “Islamic extremist”.

Now, with the US and other allies, the British government remains in the very forefront of the commitment to the war against terrorism. And we are most grateful for the invaluable assistance rendered to the coalition by the government of Uzbekistan in respect of operations in Afghanistan. We acknowledge that we face the same global
threat.

Nobody should seek to underestimate the genuine security concerns of the government of Uzbekistan and the difficulties it has faced in countering those who seek to use religion and the problems of poverty to promote terror. Uzbekistan’s strategic situation has put it in the forefront of countries struggling to deal with problems such as terrorism and narcotics trafficking.

But let us make this point: no government has the right to use the war against terrorism as an excuse for the persecution of those with a deep personal commitment to the Islamic religion, and who pursue their views by peaceful means. Sadly the large majority of those wrongly imprisoned in Uzbekistan fall into this category.
But it is not only Muslims who suffer; the British Embassy yesterday observed the trial of a Jehovah’s Witness, being prosecuted for pursuing his beliefs. It should not be a crime to practice your religion, nor to tell others about it. And a number of those imprisoned are ethnic Russian human rights defenders, colleagues of some of my audience. I would like to say at this point how deeply I admire you on a personal level. I am very conscious that I stand here in a very privileged position, in the literal sense. You on the other hand daily risk persecution to stand up for the rights of your fellow citizens. You have my deepest respect and one day your countrymen will be in a position to show you their gratitude.

Uzbekistan is to be congratulated on a good record of ratifying key UN Conventions on human rights; unfortunately there appears to be a gap between obligation and practice.
World attention has recently been focussed on the prevalence of torture in Uzbek prisons. The terrible case of Avazoz and Alimov apparently tortured to death by boiling water, has evoked great international concern. But all of us know that this is not an isolated incident. Brutality is inherent in a system where convictions habitually rely on signed confessions rather than on forensic or material evidence. In the Uzbek criminal justice system the conviction rate is almost 100%. It is difficult not to conclude that once accused by the Prokurator there is no effective possibility of fair trial in the sense we understand it.

Another chilling reminder of the former Soviet Union is the use of commitment to lunatic asylums to stifle dissidents. We are still seeing examples of this in 2002.
Nor does the situation appear to be getting any better. I have been told by people who should know that there are significantly more political and religious detainees now than there were this time last year. From my own meetings with human rights groups from across the country there appears to be a broad picture of a reduction in the rate of arrests in the first half of this year, but a very substantial increase around August. Just last week saw another highly suspicious death in police custody in Tashkent. There is little sign of genuine positive change in Human Rights.

And that is what we want to see; genuine change. By that I mean change which actually increases the liberty of Uzbek citizens in their daily lives.

Among the classified documents I leaked when I blew the whistle (for which under current legislative proposals I would get 14 years in prison) was the correspondence with the FCO in which I cleared this speech for delivery. I think this has gained rather than lost interest over the years and you can read it here.

I do not pretend to be surprised that my tenure as Ambassador did not feature in Ambassador Allan’s account today of the 25 years of British/Uzbek diplomatic relations. He rather outlined a catalogue of British arse-licking. I am however quietly content that so many decent people see my efforts as rather more worthy and substantive than the current shameful policy. Twelve years after my resignation, I still hear from Uzbeks fighting for freedom every single day of my life. In twelve years time nobody in Uzbekistan will recall the name Boris Johnson.


80 thoughts on “Boris Johnson – an Ethics Free Zone

  • Ian Seed

    Have to take issue with “Reputable Human Rights groups such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty international ”

    You know more about the crimes of the Uzbek administration, but Human Rights Watch and Amnesty international are anything BUT “reputable”

    They are brazen liars and soft power tools of the US.

    • glenn

      I don’t know about that. Obviously there are lackings in some quarters (as there will be in any organisation, to varying degrees at different times), but to suggest all members of AI and HRW are US stooges is plain silly.

      • Ian Seed

        The “Assad hanged 13,000” in Syrian jails is so utterly preposterous that it should signal the end of AI. It was written in London, AI didn’t visit any prisons and the authors spoke to persons anonymous in Turkey by telephone while drawing pictures of what they imagined the jail to look like on software like Autocad on their PCs.

        AI are nothing but a sad joke. The good work that IS done by honest staff is now questionable because of the antics of the criminals inside AI.

        Staff move between the US State department, HRW and AI regularly.

        Ken Roth basically works for the CIA. HRW are totally and utterly discredited.

        • craig Post author

          I agree absolutely that Amnesty fell badly short of their own standards of evidence gathering in the report on Assad’s jail. This is deeply concerning. But it does not invalidate all they have ever done.

        • glenn

          But take a look at AI’s monitoring of Uzbekistan :

          https://www.amnesty.org.uk/cse/search/uzbekistan

          Is this the work of “nothing but a sad joke” ?

          This is not a vast government military arm with unlimited funding, of course it is going to fall foul of state sponsored mischief, misplaced people and misdirection now and then. Particularly if that same organisation was prone to embarrassing that state power by telling the truth.

          To dismiss an entire multinational organisation whose mission is for the benefit of humanity, simply because a few rogues made bad decisions, is demanding a level of purity only found among the angels.

          Look at what happened to a well-placed person, such as a UK ambassador for telling the truth. How much do you suppose the likes of established annoyances as AI are likely to be infiltrated and corrupted where possible, to give people like you the opportunity to dismiss them in their entirety?

        • Kempe

          ” The “Assad hanged 13,000” in Syrian jails is so utterly preposterous ”

          Why is it utterly preposterous? You only think so because you don’t want to believe it. That nice Mr Putin would never ally himself to anyone quite so nasty so it must be US propaganda and AI a subsidiary of the CIA!

          I don’t suppose AI got to visit any prisons in Uzbekistan either, such regimes are hardly likely to throw open the doors of their torture chambers to investigators.

          I don’t know if the AI claims about Syria are true but having had some dealings with the country before the war I do find them entirely credible.

          • Laguerre

            The only people who find the “Asad hanged 13000” accusation un-preposterous are right-wingers who have some obsession against Asad. Just looking at the satellite image of the prison shows you that it is too small to have dealt with 13,000 executions in the three years or so concerned. It just shows the little effort that Amnesty made to check the stories the opposition partisans were feeding them.

            I don’t suppose that your “dealings” with Syria led to to your actually visiting the country. Asad’s regime is not particularly nice, but not to the extent the partisan exiles make out. At any rate, far better than the crazed jihadis who will replace him, if he is forced out. It’s noticeable in France that one of the major presidential candidates, François Fillon, a strong Catholic, if he is elected, is likely to reverse French policy on Syria, because, um, the Christians support Asad.

          • Kempe

            The Amnesty report says the executions have taken place since 2011 which would be about 5 years. How big a prison would you need to hang seven people a day? Even over three years it would only be 12.

            The Assad regime has a reputation going back years of making leading opposition figures disappear.

          • john young

            Kempe do you understand the culture of most if not all middle eastern countries up to and including the central Asian plateau,they do not do “monks” life in the main is harsh their leaders are harsh/strongmen no pussyfooting,why would you single out Assad or for that matter any of the other plethora of harsh leaders yet leave out Netanyahu and any of the western leaders that have contrived to kill many many more people in the name of our perception of democracy.Syria at least for all it,s failings was a functioning workable country.

        • Temporary Sane

          I think the US enlisting HRW and AI as propaganda purveyors was done, in part, precisely because they _have_ done honest work and built a reputation on it. A report by either of these groups has prestige and is taken seriously by the media and moves to the top of the “must release” pile. Syria and Trump have caused the deep transatlantic state to reveal its hand.

    • Clark

      I think the reliability of Human Rights groups is a complicated and variable matter:

      * Their reports are spun as soft power tools; even if unbiased, governments and media can amplify some reports and ignore others.

      * In war zones etc., they go mostly where permitted or directed by the military of the various sides, or where it is safe enough to go, and thus see what certain powers want them to see.

      * Such groups are subject to cultural and systemic bias, and may also be infiltrated, at all levels including activist, administrative and editorial.

      On the whole I think they do considerably more good than harm.

    • Michael McNulty

      I agree. The US in its drive for full spectrum dominance [what the Nazis had the honesty to call world domination], they have taken control of every important international NGO from the Olympics to the World Cup to the Nobel Prize. They even asked the Red Cross to use its ambulances to transport arms across Afghanistan. They can’t be totalitarian until they gain total control, the Nazi shits. I despise them.

      • Temporarily Sane

        Tim Roth of HRW Tweeting nonsense about what he “sees” happening in Syria and including photos of Gaza under Israeli bombardment claiming it is Aleppo and a beer keg “barrel bomb” etc. does not do the group any favours. Sure HRW also report on the Saudi/US/UK onslaught against Yemen but these reports are all but ignored by the media (just contradicted my previous post there…not all their reports get equal MSM airtime or ink). And Roth is not drawing attention to Yemen or Palestine with his Tweet fits. How convenient. Issuing reports is helpful and all (when they are true) but they alone don’t change anything.

        If the head, and other senior members, of leading HR organisations go out of their way to emphasise (real or otherwise) atrocities committed by official enemies of NATO and coming close to fabricating “evidence” while downplaying atrocities committed by NATO allies, or simply letting them sink to the bottom of the priority stack, they are not acting impartially and have compromised their ideals.

        They should be roundly condemned, not downplayed and given a pass.

  • wildcat

    When was the British state’s foreign policy ever ethical? Although many naïve and uncurious people believe that post WW2 British foreign policy has been fairly benign and that it was only at the height of empire that Britain had a bad record.

    From Britain’s interventions in 1940s Greece, to British conniving at the violent toppling of the Mossadegh government in Iran in the 1950s. From the brutal oppression in Kenya to Churchill having the moderate socialist government of Dr. Cheddi Jagan in British Guiana removed in 1953. Down to Tony Blair’s warmongering in Iraq in 2003. There are many more examples.

    • wildcat

      Not to mention British treatment of the Chagos Islanders in the sixties, which Craig has written about on this blog before.

    • bevin

      Yes, many more examples including complicity in the massacres which accompanied Suharto’s rise to power. Cyprus, too, the entire Suez business, the “Emergency” in Malaya and, of course, our old and tried friend, Britain in Palestine.
      It was not so much changing attitudes as declining military capacity and tightening budgets that produced a temporary diminution in shocking behaviour.
      Oh yes and how about Partition in India?
      The fruition of a divide and rule policy (complete with cheating Congress and doing everything possible to boost the Muslim League whose initial cost in lives was enormous.
      But only a down payment on a constant bloodletting which has included bloody coups and wars-notably that which produced Bangla Desh, Curzon’s ‘one in the eye’ of Nationalism- the constant crisis in Kashmir, had much to do with the wars in Afghanistan and now presents the world with two nuclear armed powers, which hate each other because British Imperial policy made it convenient to encourage them to do so.
      No other country has created as much mayhem as Britain has done: shia/sunni civil wars? Arab/Settler war? Hindu/Muslim riots? The tensions between Indian and African communities in the Caribbean? In east Africa?
      And we always forget the terrible tale of the indigenous peoples in Australasia and Canada, and Central and South Africa.
      The only connection between British foreign policy and ethics has been in the construction of false narratives, the development of racist ideologies and the imposition of transparently specious historical accounts upon ourselves. The world just laughs at Albion’s perfidy and hypocrisy.

      • SA

        In fact the whole history of the ME since the end of WW1 and the Ottoman Empire has been one of constant interference and manipulation of the nations involved in order to prevent the rise of true nationalist secular rule in Arab countries.

        • Pyewacket

          and a bit before that in the case of Persian Oil. Britain was in there during the 1830’s.

          • wildcat

            Also in 1920 the RAF was used by the British government to bomb civilian populations in Iraq.

            The concentration camp was a British invention in the second Boer War.

          • Bhante

            The world’s first ever use of the aeroplane for acts of terrorism was the use by the British army of early biplanes in Africa for shooting civilians to influence voting. It was a number of years before the start of WW1, around 1908, in one of the British colonies (maybe Tanzania or somewhere, I am not sure). The aim was literally to terrorise, to get the election results they wanted. I don’t remember the details of the election, but the army were flying around the bush shooting randomly at innocent and unarmed civilians going about their normal lives.

      • wildcat

        Then there was the British rigging of Nigeria’s first elections after independence so that there would be a government that would serve British oil interests.

        During the resultant Biafran War the Labour government of Harold Wilson amply supplied the Nigerians with arms in the full knowledge they would be used on the people of Biafra.

  • mickc

    Is there credible and material evidence of UK military involvement in the Saudi bombing campaign?
    If so, it needs wide publication…..if any of the MSM would do it, of course….

  • John Goss

    Unfortunately, Craig, as far as the establishment is concerned you are no longer persona grata so you would not get a mention. But who would want to be part of the current establishment where speaking truth to power is no longer allowed. I notice the cotton slave-trade – no mention of that either in Christopher Allan’s tribute to Uzbekistan – is still finding its fibrous end-product onto British shelves. Are children still working the fields?

    “Exports to the UK from Uzbekistan include ferrous metals and cotton.”

  • giyane

    The buck stops with the Foreign Secretary. He should therefore be intensely aware that the whole world now knows that the UK has organised and financed Islamic terror organisations Al Qaida and Islamic State. The world in which a cruise missile can accurately convey tonnes of explosive to a target 400 miles away across many borders is also a world in which state secrets can no longer be hid.

    This is from Preface to Lyrical Ballads by William Wordsworth:
    ” yet I am sensible, that there would be something like impropriety in abruptly obtruding upon the Public, without a few words of introduction, Poems so materially different from those upon which general approbation is at present bestowed. ”

    What is required in the light of the worldwide web is a complete change of emphasis in UK policy, from complete denial to selective transparency, if only to convince us that he does not think we are completely stupid. Craig has demonstrated over the last 15 years that it is possible to make ethical decisions while at the same time furthering national interests. Dictator Erdogan found out the hard way, with Russian photos of oil tankers stretching over the horizon, the folly of telling big fibs.

    • SA

      But it is interesting to note that this revelation by Russia received very little coverage in the Western MSM.

    • Sharp Ears

      I hope your predictions are wrong Giyane but I fear they may come true.

      Boris tbe Bullingdon Boy blaggard has had two meetings with BLiar the war criminal recently.

      Boris Johnson has secretly met Tony Blair TWICE to get advice on the Middle East despite branding him ‘unhinged’ over Iraq
      Johnson and Blair met in October and in January to discuss the Middle East
      The 30-45 minute meetings came as Johnson tried to broker a Syria peace
      Johnson has repeatedly mocked and criticised Blair over the 2003 Iraq war
      19th February 2017
      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4239126/Boris-Johnson-secretly-met-Tony-Blair-TWICE.html

  • SA

    There was a brief attempt at an ‘ethical foreign policy’ under Robin Cook but we know how that ended.

    • giyane

      Cameron knew he was going to be forced to finish Assad same as he finished Gaddaffi. He chose political Hara Kiri instead. Boris Johnson eagerly picked up the job. There is a brief respite in the war on Islam because of President Trump’s election. Trump has set his targets on the CIA’s Al Qaida and Islamic State.

      The day Trump goes out for a walk unattended is the day Boris Johnson attacks Damascus. Do I think he’ll go through with it for King Netanyoutube, Little Tkaia and country? No, he’ll do what Cameron did, put it to parliament and get Mr Nonukes Corbyn to make the case against.

      Assad will be killed by the SAS dressed as Al Qaida-Daegshit followed by a collapse of power like Libya. Why would the ‘ Moderates ‘ miss a chance for mass slaughter of innocent Muslims. No doubt the stooge has already been groomed in London to take Assad’s place.

  • T.H

    Boris Johnson, what a joke, the same guy that said:

    “Boris Johnson warns of ‘brutal’ era and ‘strong man cult'”
    http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/in-full/boris-johnson-warns-of-brutal-era-and-strong-man-cult-1-4306915

    …and that fund the nice litte dictatorship Saudiarabia:

    “Saudi Arabia was also particularly a lucrative market for the UK, which sold almost half of its total manufactured weapons to Riyadh.”
    http://presstv.ir/Detail/2017/02/20/511336/Global-arms-trade-Sipri-report

    Good riddance!

  • Geopolite

    The CIA/Turkish Govt/Gullen network installed all these aliev type proxies during the breakup of the USSR in its satellite states like Uzbekistan,Azerbaijan,Turkmenistan,etc. A key facilitator being the extensive Gullen network underpinned by turkic tribalism further cloaked under sunni Islam fervour in all these areas, even as far as Xinjiang in the PRC. Now with the Gullen-Turk govt-CIA axis broken, we can expect the Russians,Chinese and Iranians to re-assert a measure of control over their landlocked backyards again.

    • Laguerre

      The Turks have less influence in the Turkic Central Asian republics than they like to think, in my experience. People like Islamkarimov or Nazarbayev are perfectly explicable in the local context, without external conspiracy theories. Former Communist Party honchos, feeding off the local tradition of 19th century absolutist khans.

    • giyane

      The Grand Mufti has a right to defend ‘ people of the book ‘ i.e. Christians, against the worshippers of CIA dollars, the ‘ takfiris ‘. But he was very unwise to defend President Assad whose sect is not from ‘ the book ‘ by publicly leading Muslim prayers with Assad. That was a highly misleading political photo-opportunity which should not have happened. The UK claims that Assad is Shi’a. He is no more Shi’a than he is a druid. In fact he may be more a druid than a druid.

      Politicians need pure slogans to get our votes.

    • Kerch'ee Kerch'ee Coup

      I have not yet found any corroboration fom ME sources of the story,which if true is a further descent into brutality;perhaps not unconnected wirth the misleading Amnesty report..

  • Iain Orr

    So excellent an envoy: that was, to this
    Hyperion to a satyr…

    The sad point is that Craig’s speech was cleared with colleagues in the FCO, effective, honest diplomacy which could not happen now because human rights are so low in FCO priorities.

      • michael norton

        Scottish Shambles
        Scottish child abuse inquiry: Senior panel member resigns
        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-39040995
        A third senior figure on the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry has resigned.

        Glenn Houston, who was the only original panel member, cited personal reasons for his departure.

        He remained on the inquiry team last year after the resignation of the chairwoman, Susan O’Brien QC, and panel member Michael Lamb.

        One survivors’ group said it was “indicative of a crisis” in the inquiry which is examining allegations of child abuse in residential accommodation.

        Andi Lavery, spokesman for the survivors’ group White Flowers Alba, said victims were rapidly losing confidence in the inquiry’s credibility.

      • michael norton

        Israel currently has control of about 500 square miles of Syria and Israeli settlements have been constructed in The Golan.

        “In 2015, it was reported that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked USA President Barack Obama to recognize Israeli claims to the territory because of these recent ISIS actions and the fact that modern Syria has likely “disintegrated” beyond the point of reunification.
        The White House dismissed Netenyahu’s suggestion, stating that the president continues to support UN resolutions 242 and 497, and any alterations of this policy could strain American alliances with western-backed Syrian rebel groups.”

        So, no chance of hope of Israel being a friendly actor to Syria?

      • Kerch'ee Kerch'ee Coup

        Giyane
        When we do, we want our money(paid to the Scottish Parliament members)back, with compound interest.
        The rhetorical question ,”Was there ever such a parcel of rogues in a nation?’ has sadly been answered too often by Westminster.

  • Node

    But for sheer hypocrisy, the continued military support of a dictatorship universally recognised as having no equal in repression outside North Korea, takes the prize.

    By implication, North Korea is the most repressive state you can think of. Where is your evidence? If you have a credible source of information, please share it. I am unable to find one.

    • Kerch'ee Kerch'ee Coup

      Node,
      I think we should distinguish’ brutaly repressive’ from’ effectively or efficiently reprerssive’.The most effective repression is that voluntarily exercised.North Korean repression works largely through collective responsibility/liability or fear of endangering your family/group.I personally know quite a few North Koreans who have made the long trek out through China and their stories are quite enough to convince me of the reality of the opprssion.
      Nevertheless, like most people who have lived under overtly repressive regimes, most North Koreans remain engagingly cynical and concerned with’travail,famille,patrie’.

  • Aidworker1

    I’m in Cambodia and visited the Killing Fields site today.

    I was not the only one crying.

    Keep up the good work Craig. We can make a difference although today was just pure dispair.

  • Republicofscotland

    It does look like that the British government has no qualms about getting into bed with dictators, and countries that have proven terrible human rights record.

    I wonder if Craig knows this guy Kayum Ortikov.

    https://www.buzzfeed.com/maxseddon/flayed-alive-in-uzbekistan-frozen-out-by-great-britain?utm_term=.pwEoz4q7j#.tqJgbjD71

    Britain’s relationship with Uzbekistan, and also that of the Great Satan, is added to with Uzbekistan’s position in the region close to both Afghanistan and Russia.

    Id imagine both the Great Satan and its minion Britain are also friendly with Turkmenistan, which sits right on the border of Northern Iran.

    I’m sure I read recently that Armed Forces Minister Mike Penning, intends to send troops back into Afghanistan, officially to combat the Taliban. In my opinion it will be to protect the poppy fields and the private contractors, and bolster the puppet government.

    https://www.rt.com/uk/376958-troops-return-afghanistan-war/

  • michael norton

    Scottish Shambles
    http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/news/14508233.Council_suspends_under_fire_official/
    Police have met senior figures at Glasgow City Council amid allegations of malpractice, it has emerged.

    It follows claims of cronyism within the land and environmental services department.

    A long-running internal investigation has been looking at a number of issues, including alleged procurement irregularities.

    The department’s executive director resigned last November.

    Police Scotland said their inquiries were at an early stage.

    BBC Scotland understands officers have taken an interest in issues that arose through Glasgow City Council’s internal investigation and that the local authority would be willing to co-operate with police.

    • Republicofscotland

      HSBC shares fall a staggering 62% or $7.1billion dollars. HSBC is on a cost cutting exercise and has already slashed 8,000 staff from its books and it’s also looking to close 62 branches in Britain this year.
      HSBC, is worried over Brexit and plans to move more than a 1000 jobs (maybe more) to Paris are on the cards.

      As soon a Theresa May and the bungling Brexiteers trigger Article 50, the slow seeping drain of jobs in Britain to Europe and Ireland, will become a raging tidal wave, that will make Moses parting of the Red sea seem positivelyy tame.

    • Republicofscotland

      Michael.

      Thank goodness for that, the unionist Labour ran Glasgow city council, has been suspected of all manner of underhandedness for decades. I hope the police root out and prosecute those odious councillors.

      On the upside however this will severely damage their chances if holding onto a unionst ran council come May.

      Thanks Michael.

    • kailyard rules

      M.Norton. It’s not a Scottish Shambles. It’s a Labour in Glasgow shambles. Glaswegians have always known. They (Labour) will be rooted out come May.

  • Republicofscotland

    As the Tories continue to slash and burn the NHS South of the border, and eventually introduce Trumpism, in the meantime those same Tories are planning another attack on YOUR health service.

    “Hospital services in nearly two-thirds of England could be cut or scaled back, BBC analysis of local plans shows.”
    “The proposals are part of a programme to transform the health service and save money across 44 different areas.”

    “The BBC found 28 proposals affect hospital care, from full closures to centralising services, such as A&E and stroke care, on fewer sites.”

    Brexit will only speed up the reductions and closures, which will be filled by American styled privatisation.

  • lysias

    Things like Marine Le Pen’s refusing to wear a head scarf in order to meet a Muslim leader will undoubtedly help he in the French presidential election.

    Le Pen Gains in French Polls as Security Concerns Win Voters:

    Marine Le Pen gained ground on her rivals for the French election as she benefits from concerns about security while other candidates trained their fire on independent front-runner Emmanuel Macron.

    Monday’s daily OpinionWay poll showed that first-round support for anti-euro candidate Le Pen rose 1 percentage point to 27 percent, with Macron and Republican Francois Fillon unchanged at 20 percent each. While no surveys so far have shown Le Pen even close to a victory in May’s run-off, she’s quickly narrowing the gap to her rivals. OpinionWay showed Macron would defeat Le Pen by 58 percent to 42 percent in the second round. His advantage has halved in less than two weeks.

    Macron lost half his lead in a runoff in two weeks. That’s some momentum.

  • Republicofscotland

    Theresa May was so worried that the undemocratic and unelected House of Lords, was going to hold up her Brexit bill that she attended the Lords for the opening statement.

    A highly unusual thing for a PM to do, infact you need to back to 1990, and John Major, or 1947 and Clement Attlee, to see a similar situation.

    Speaking of the overbloated, undemocratic and unelected House of Lords. Former Lords speaker Baroness D’Souza has claimed that many, many, many Lords contribute absolutely nothing in the upper chamber.

    That some of them attend just for the privileges, and one (unnamed) Lord even kept a taxi running outside the chamber, whilst he signed in to receive his hundreds of pounds privilege, paid for by the tax payer.

    Of course this should come as no surprise to those who pay attention. The House of Lords is in all essence a group of over privileged ex-politicians business people and clergy, that are unelected by the people. The House of Lords should be abolished immediately.

    • Harry Vimes

      Perhaps that issue could be flagged up to those amongst the populace who have over the past year or so been waxing lyrical about ‘taking back control?’

      While they are at it they could also look at ‘taking back control’ by having a proper elected Head of State and an effective written constitution. They could also further the ‘taking back control’ agenda by getting of their arses, because actions speak louder than bullshit rhetoric, by way of a fit for purpose electoral system which does not disenfranchise over two thirds of the electorate for decades on end and defend our public services from piratisation, including the NHS, along with the cooperative ethos and values which built those services.

      It’s no bloody use to man nor beast these mardy arsed wassocks pontificating about ‘taking back control’ when it’s clear to a blind man on a galloping horse not only do they not have a clue what this phrase actually means but would die in a ditch, doffing their caps and tugging their forelock, to prevent any meaningful progress towards the real meaning of that ideal.

  • michael norton

    * CIA-backed aid for SYRIAN rebels frozen after Islamist attack *
    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-rebels-idUSKBN1601BD
    CIA-coordinated military aid for rebels in northwest Syria has been frozen since they came under major Islamist attack last month, rebel sources said, raising doubts about foreign support key to their war against President Bashar al-Assad.

    Rebel officials said that no official explanation had been given for the move this month following the jihadist assault, though several said they believed the main objective was to prevent arms and cash falling into Islamist militant hands. But they said they expected the aid freeze to be temporary.

    The halt in assistance, which has included salaries, training, ammunition and in some cases guided anti-tank missiles, is a response to jihadist attacks and has nothing to do with U.S. President Donald Trump

    And if you believe that you will believe anything, of course The Scottish Donald is behind the de-throning of the CIA warmongers.
    Drain The Swamp.

    • michael norton

      Idlib Province, is ajacent to Hatay Province.
      Hatay Province was stolen from Syria by Turkey.
      Turkey set up The Free Syrian Army, in Hatay POrovince, then when the war got going they moved to Idlib and Aleppo.
      After the Russian – Syrian Government forces, cleared out the Islamists from Aleppo, they all moved to Idlib.
      The Americans have been bombing the shit out of their “Moderates” in Idlib, they need them to be silenced.

      • michael norton

        The CIA-backed program has regulated aid to the rebels after a period of unchecked support early in the war – especially from Gulf states – helped give rise to an array of insurgent groups, many of them strongly Islamist in ideology.

        A similar program continues to operate in southern Syria with Jordanian backing. Some of the FSA groups backed through the MOM in the north continue to receive Turkish support as they participate in the Turkey-led Euphrates Shield offensive against IS and Kurdish groups to the northeast of Aleppo.

        FSA groups have long complained that the aid provided falls far short of what they need to confront the better armed Syrian army. Their demands for anti-aircraft missiles have been consistently rebuffed.

        U.S. intelligence and military officials said the leakage, sale and capture of U.S.-supplied and other weapons from units of the FSA to Islamic State, the Nusra Front, and other splinter militant groups have been a concern since the CIA and U.S. military began arming and training a limited number of rebels.

        The support funneled to vetted FSA factions has included contributions from Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia – states that have opposed Assad. It is one of several foreign aid channels to rebels. Others still function.

        The CIA declined comment on the reported freeze in support. A Qatari official said his government had nothing to say on the matter. Turkish officials said only they could not discuss “operational details”. There was no word from Saudi Arabia.

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