1,952 thoughts on “Craig is in Jacobabad

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  • Republicofscotland

    This is what happens when clowns are in charge.

    Slack jawed Defence secretary Gavin Williamson, who earlier this week, caused great embarrassment when he said Britain would in future hold China and Russia to account, by taking more of a pro-active roll in their regions.

    This asinine outburst by Williamson will cost Britain dearly.

    China’s Deputy PM Hu Chunhua, has withdrawn from trade talks with Philip Hammond, due to the foolish and boastful Williamson remarks.

    What possessed Williamson to air his inept views? With huge cuts to British military forces by the MoD. The paper tiger that is the British military, might end up incurring the wrath of a real Chinese tiger.

    • bj

      He belongs to a class of degenerated nitwits, who could until now afford to be simply clueless and get away with it.
      But this one needs to be in front of cams & mics & notebooks now & then.

      Williamson is the personification of the Peter Principle.

      The cams & mics can be ruthless.
      Enjoy it while it lasts.

      • David

        https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/feb/11/gavin-williamson-defence-policy-uk

        a measured article, by Simon Jenkins, 3 days ago

        British ‘lethality’? Gavin Williamson’s brain has gone absent without leave

        The defence secretary’s brain has gone absent without leave. Gavin Williamson said in a speech today that he intends to send his new aircraft carrier, the HMS Queen Elizabeth, round the world to frighten China. He will equip it with a squadron of F-35 fighter jets, purchased from America. In addition he wants to build two British military bases, one in Asia and the other “in the Caribbean”. They are to “strengthen our global presence, enhance our lethality and increase our mass”.

        Brexit, says the defence secretary, “has brought us to a great moment in our history”, when we must be ready to deploy “hard power” against those who “flout international law”. What on earth is Williamson talking about – apart from a desire to be Tory leader? His budget was last week said to be £7bn adrift of reality. The Queen Elizabeth cannot sail until 2021. It has no business whatsoever in the South China Sea, where such a vast and unwieldy ship would be a sitting target. The Chinese could sink it in an hour. As for new military bases in the Caribbean and east of Suez, they would cost billions and be an invitation to terrorists. The Chinese must be laughing themselves sick. [Yes!]

        Brexit has nothing to do with British foreign or defence policy, since nor did membership of the EU – except that it might involve staying on good trading terms with the Chinese.

        oops, failed the last bit!

      • David

        strangely, I searched the BBC news website comprehensively,

        found this

        https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-radio-and-tv-20966576/unparalleled-journalism-and-incredible-technology

        unparalleled journalism and incredible technology

        but they don’t seem to have noticed the big Gavin Williamson upsets small China, just in time for BREXIT news story

        not a whimper of theis news item, possibly following the Riethian principle of “nation shall speak peace unto nation…” (and not mention anything embarrassing until No.10 gives us the nod?)

      • Ken Kenn

        There are well educated idiots ( you know who they are) and there are badly educated idiots.

        Williamson is the latter and his been influenced by bigmouth stupidly monickered US Generals.

        ” Hey Gavin – Go get me a Burger! ” they say.

  • Sharp Ears

    More on Salisbury from our friends in MI5….. Haynes used to work on the Times in the same capacity. If only we could be told whether the Skripals are alive and their whereabouts.

    Two become three, etc.

    Third suspect in Salisbury poisoning ‘identified as Russian intelligence officer’
    By Deborah Haynes, foreign affairs editor
    14 February 2019
    A third suspect linked to the Salisbury poisoning has been named by an investigative website as Denis Sergeev, a high-ranking Russian military intelligence officer.

    Bellingcat said Mr Sergeev, 45, uses the alias Sergey Fedatov. Sky News understands the name is correct and Sergeev is a senior member of Russia’s GRU.

    The alias Fedatov has been identified previously by Bellingcat, which also exposed the true identifies of the other two Russian intelligence officers who are suspected by Britain of the attempted murder of Sergei Skripal, a Russian double agent, and his daughter last March.

    /..
    https://news.sky.com/story/third-suspect-in-salisbury-poisoning-identified-as-russian-intelligence-officer-11637388

    • michael norton

      Very interesting Sharp Ears, what has never been properly explained, is, if Russia did set up the Novichock Nerve gassing, why were they so spectacularly inept?

      • michael norton

        When Vlad Putin goes for an objective, he plans( multiple moves ahead) and ensures his objective is met.
        If Vlad Putin was behind the Skripal nonsense, he had lost his marbles/touch.
        Yet his touch with Syria has been script perfect, his game with Crimea and the Kerch Bridge has been script perfect.
        Vlad would seem to be preeminent at strategy, yet terribly dumb with Skripal?

        • Kempe

          His attempt at a cover up over MH17 was spectacularly incompetent. Four different versions none of which stood up to scrutiny.

          • Borncynical

            Scrutiny by whom?? A clearly partisan Joint Investigation Team?
            https://www.rt.com/newsline/450989-russia-dialogue-netherlands-mh17/
            https://www.rt.com/newsline/449325-russia-respond-prosecutors-mh17/

            Seeing that you know the Russians to be ‘guilty’ perhaps you might care to explain the evidence presented by the Russians late last year, and so far ignored by the Investigation Team, that the remnants of BUK missile found at the scene of the incident were from a missile in the possession of the Ukrainian military. The Ukrainians had previously confirmed emphatically during the enquiry that all BUK missiles registered to them were ‘accounted for’ so they have put themselves in a position where they can’t now claim that this particular missile was ‘stolen’ from them. Presumably they and the JIT are still working on an implausible explanation for the Russian evidence; hence the silence from the JIT since the Russians submitted the evidence. Or maybe they just can’t provide a believable explanation. So what should they do in such a situation? What the West always does when it comes to blaming the Russians for anything…just ignore the factual evidence and rely on factually lacking accusations.

          • Kempe

            Russian cover up used obvious fake satellite images, fake witnesses and they changed the story several times. Always a giveaway if someone is lying. Not surprised they weren’t included in the investigation and that they still haven’t handed their latest “evidence” over to the JIT.

          • Cherrycoke

            As regards “obvious fake satellite images”, Der Spiegel has issued an apology for claiming that this was the case after experts debunked the article in question:

            http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/expert-criticizes-allegations-of-russian-mh17-manipulation-a-1037125.html

            “SPIEGEL ONLINE: Bellingcat has come to the conclusion that they were edited using Photoshop.

            Kriese: That’s an erroneous interpretation. They claim that the metadata shows that the images were processed using Photoshop. Based on that they are concluding it was the clouds that were likely added in order to conceal something. The truth is that the indication of Photoshop in the metadata doesn’t prove anything. Of course the Russians had to use some sort of program in order to process the satellite image for the presentation. (…)

            SPIEGEL ONLINE: Bellingcat says its findings are based on the use of the analysis tool FotoForensic.com, a website.

            Kriese: And its founder Neal Krawetz also distanced himself from Bellingcat’s conclusions on Twitter. He described it as a good example of “how to not do image analysis.” What Bellingcat is doing is nothing more than reading tea leaves.”

            Here is the apology (in German):

            http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/spiegelblog/bellingcat-bericht-zu-mh17-was-wir-lernen-a-1037135.html

          • jeffleb

            ”Russian cover up used obvious fake satellite images, fake witnesses and they changed the story several times. Always a giveaway if someone is lying.”

            You’re cornering yourself with the Novifart fiction here Kempe.

          • Borncynical

            Kempe (14 February 23.13)

            Not sure where you get the info about the Russians not yet providing their latest evidence. According to the link I provided above (449325) the Russians say that they have provided what information they have in response to all the queries raised by the JIT and that they have had no reaction from the JIT including in response to the latest evidence they provided proving that the BUK missile belonged to the Ukrainians.

          • Kempe

            You’re behind the curve Cherrycoke, the Russians are no longer pushing that particular fairy tale and it wouldn’t be the first or last time Der Spiegel has got things seriously wrong. A couple of items that Bellingcat missed were doubts that the right aircraft is featured and how a fighter jet that only carries 150 rounds for it’s gun could shoot over 800 irregularly sized and shaped holes in the airliner.

        • Squeeth

          It isn’t that Russians or Putin are Confucian geniuses but that the US empire and its Euro satrapies have contented themselves with colonial repression for so long that they have forgotten how to take on enemies who can fight back.

      • Mary Pau!

        Skripal: What do we actually know?

        Early last year something unpleasant, possibly involving drugs, happened in Salisbury, to former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia who was visiting him there. Also to a local policeman in Salisbury. The Skripals have since vanished. The policeman has recovered. There were some Russians in Salisbury at the time travelling under aliases. Some months later something unpleasant happened to two local drug addicts, Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley and Dawn Sturgess died.

        The UK government and state authorities blamed both incidents on the Russians using a Novichok nerve agent in Salisbury, took sanctions against Russia and persuaded other countries to do so. Russia denied using nerve agents in Salisbury.

        UK authorities and politicians issued fake information, conflicting information and D notices to suppress media coverage of events in Salisbury. The UK public have not been told any reliable information and have little idea what really happened.

        Salisbury is near Salisbury Plain, which is a large military training area, Boscombe Down, a military airfield and to Porton Down the UK government’s chemical research establishment.

  • N_

    Has the Malthouse proposal on Brexit already won enough support to get through, with all the rest that’s happening in the Commons a stage-act?

    • michael norton

      PM defeated over Brexit strategy

      well it seems Labour and Conservative are neck and neck in falling apart, who will now take up the reins?
      Perhaps Tony Blair.

      • michael norton

        An SNP amendment, which was also backed by the Liberal Democrats, calling for Britain’s departure from the EU on 29 March to be delayed by three months, was defeated by 93 votes to 315, after most Labour MPs abstained.

      • N_

        Word is to expect announcements at 8pm tonight by splitters (or will it be non-splitters, or perhaps mere resigners if they’re front bench?) from both Labour and the Tories. Any splitting may turn out to be from Labour only.

        There was a Labour MP on the radio – I didn’t catch her name – saying that given these terrible failings by Jeremy Corbyn on the proposed second referendum, on Venezuela, and of course on anti-Semitism, well I forget how she put it but the gist was that the leadership under Corbyn couldn’t count on her not to betray them.

        Anna Soubry didn’t look like she was about to jump at all.

        It’s going to be Malthouse or Malthouse plus or Malthouse squiggle. That or no deal.

        • michael norton

          I went to read abut Angela the Eagle, for her present stance, on Brexit, the People’s Vote and New Labour and found that Angela is only the second openly Lesbian member of Parliament, the first was Maureen Colquhoun

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maureen_Colquhoun
          In February 1976, Maureen Colquhoun asked the then Commons Speaker George Thomas to refer to her as “Ms.” instead of “Miss”. It was the first time such a request had been made. Mr Speaker Thomas responded by letter: “In the interests of the House, I think I must continue to use some form of prefix, but I will endeavour to slur it in such a way as to reduce, if not entirely eliminate, the audible distinction between ‘Mrs’ and ‘Miss'”. The next month, gossip columnist Nigel Dempster contrived to gain an invitation to Colquhoun and Barbara Todd’s housewarming party.
          Colquhoun complained to the Press Complaints Commission, which ruled in the two women’s favour.
          In December 1976, she punched a car park attendant in a row about a parking ticket. Colquhoun was deselected due to her sexuality and her feminist views; in late September 1977, members of her constituency party’s General Management Committee voted by 23 votes to 18, with one abstention, to deselect her. citing her
          “obsession with trivialities such as women’s rights”.

          Now who does that bring to mind?

        • Tom

          I heard that too. Of course, Venezuela is such a big issue on British doorsteps, isn’t it? Still, keeps her CIA chiefs happy, I suppose.

  • Anon1

    Islamic state cheerleading runaway school girl who was not fazed one bit at seeing captives’ heads chopped off into a bin, wants to come back to the UK so we can pay to look after her baby. Piss Off.

    • Republicofscotland

      Not so Anon now.

      What’s Jeremy Fleming like? Does he speak to little minions like you in the passing? Or is he a strictly hierarchy man?

      • Republicofscotland

        Anon1.

        It must’ve been an extra special Valentines day for you, with the added visits of Andrew Parker and Alex Younger.

      • michael norton

        Surely if you make a choice to leave your life as a British schoolgirl and travel vis Turkey to be people smuggled into Iraq or Syria to become a bride of Islamic State, you have crossed the Rubicon.
        No coming back for any reason.

        • Laguerre

          That’s not the present legal situation. As a British-born citizen, she has a right to enter the country.

        • Charles Bostock

          I think I disagree with Norton and (although it hurts me to say this) Anon1.

          The girl/woman, may have witnessed heinous deeds but as far as I know there is no evidence that she carried out any.

          Let us not forget that she was 15 when she went to Syria. Not an age when one can insist on rational decisions, rather an age when one commits foolish acts.

          The quality of mercy would seem to have a place here.

    • Tom

      Relax. The whole story is almost certainly a pack of lies designed to divert attention from Theresa May’s monumental treachery for her American bosses. The girl in question has probably travelled no further than Vauxhall Cross.

    • fwl

      Anon1 – did you see Jacob Rees Mogg express his view on the subject on QT last night. His was the most compassionate of those on the panel and / or compared against the audience views.

  • N_

    Chuka Umunna may resign the Labour whip within the hour.

    Remember how fast he withdrew as a Labour leadership contender in 2015? Him and the polo-themed bar called “Chuka” in the City, near the Bank of England.

    MI5 and their pals at the Tory Whips’ Office are surely able to control Umunna as if he were a model Freddie Mercury or Harvey Proctor aircraft. If he jumps, let’s hope Jeremy and Seumas leak material about him, at least at arm’s length.

    • Ian

      Well, labour are utterly useless, so it is both no big deal and no surprise. Who would want to stay in such a moribund, amateurishly led party.

      • glenn_nl

        You mean as opposed to the exciting, dynamic, utterly professional bunch of fixers and winners currently running the country?

        • Ian

          No, I mean that even with the worst ever government in history, the labour party cannot make even a dent in their miserable, inept, destruction of the country. Both parties are losers, the system is failing, thanks to the stupid, antique two party arrangement. Both of them are shades of the same feeble attitude, they exist in a weird bubble, do not represent the country and are utterly ineffective in addressing the real problems we face. Instead, they’d rather posture over brexit, while selling the country down the river.

          • Tom

            What are you basing that on – apart from opinion pollsters who always lie for their bosses in the corrupt Tory media?

          • Xavi

            Ah, a self-appointed spokesman for “the country”… Funnily enough, there is an extremely well known moderate centrist, pro-EU party that perfectly reflects your views and has been loudly articulating them to tbe countrt ever since the referendum. Two and a half years on and I believe they are on 8% in the polls.

          • Ian

            Hilarious. You just don’t get it, but resort to the typical rigid stereotypes you assume exist. So very wrong, and predictable.

      • Jo1

        Chuka’s own backstory hardly reveals a man of principle. He’s flip-flopped on so many issues it’s hard to keep count!

      • Johny Conspiranoid

        It would be good for the Labour Party if these people walked out because it would mean someone better could be selected by their constituency party. They have made the mistake of confusing whats in the papers with public opinion.

    • Ken Kenn

      The ‘ British Obama ‘ has huffed and puffed ( as have the Tory’ rebels ) about a new Centrist Party.

      Vince and his mates are a bit low in the polls at the minute so it looks like that’s not worked.

      We should remember that many of these careerists are not in politics to help people – they are in politics to help themselves.

      I’ll give the PM her due – it is very stressful and mentally hard work but Chuka and his acolytes aren’t looking for that job they are looking for nice little number like David Milliband. It is a common thread of the Blair intake that many of the Labour MPs have come from NGO’s and the Social Care Sector. They intend to go back to these places in the future on a larger salary.

      They don’t want an election yet because they haven’t got a job lined up yet.

      Nice work at 179k expenses plus the salary is one I’ve read about and she is not a Tory.

      A General Election equals a deselection and good riddance to all of the troughers.

      They are not Socialists just Socialisers on the look out for a well paid job.

    • BrianFujisan

      I think so Too bj

      very early days Re the war on Venezuela;..and it’s kicking off already.

      I shudder at the Coming Consequences of the next stage.

      P.S.. Thank you mods for the All New Spelling Alert..Great stuff

  • Tatyana

    Dear British readers of the blog, do you study Logics? In Russia we have it as a class at the latest 2 years in secondary schools and as an obligatory class in the first year at University. Usually it is a part of Philosophy and/or Cybernetics course.
    While reading this blog I often mention logic fallacies in the comments, I’m sorry.

    • N_

      Logic is not an obligatory course in British universities. You can take courses in logic as part of a degree in mathematics or philosophy. Very few schoolteachers in Britain would have a clue what a major premise was, a minor premise, or a syllogism, let alone an enthymeme. They might know Venn diagrams. A few might manage to use the term “logical fallacy” correctly, but don’t ask them about the fallacy of appeal to authority. I don’t think set theory is on the national curriculum in either England or Wales or on the curriculum in Scotland either. (Note that private schools and home educators don’t have to follow the state curriculum.)

    • BigMac

      The last 2 years in UK secondary schools are spend focusing on ~ 3 (A level) subjects only; the French do much better with their baccalauréat which usually includes even Philisophy amongst over 10 subjects.
      The advantage of having the most universal language at present as mother tongue is negated by early focusing on a few topics and neglecting other languages.

        • N_

          @Rowan – I’m guessing that was as part of A Level Philosophy?

          (@Tatyana – A Levels which are the main qualifications obtained in England and Wales prior to university entry are in specific subjects. For example a student might get them in mathematics, physics, and chemistry; or in English literature, French, and history; or in economics, psychology, and philosophy.)

          • Charles Bostock

            She knows what A levels are, you silly bugger. THat is because she is not what she says and you think she is.

          • Rowan Berkeley

            @Rowan – I’m guessing that was as part of A Level Philosophy?

            – Nope, free-standing ‘A’ level, London boards, 1971 or 1972 I think

      • N_

        @Big Mac – A Levels are in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland; in Scotland there are Highers. Also you are talking about state schools only. Some private schools in Britain cram for offer the International Baccalauréat or the “Pre-U” instead of A Levels.

  • Anon1

    So then, does this latest nail in the coffin of the gay bodybuilders narrative of the 123m spire change any minds? Or are you all going to carry on your defence of Putin’s Russia until the bitter end? I want to know who the true diehards among you are – the ones who will do or say anything to protect Russia.

      • Anon1

        I’m waiting for the “Well so what if Putin wanted to bump of an old traitor anyway?” last line of defence.

        • pretzelattack

          i’m waiting for any fucking evidence, from you or anybody else. what was wrong with your old handle, anyway?

          • D_Majestic

            I’d repeat my previous comments about the whole script being like something by Enid Blyton. But I take that back. At least Enid could write a coherent plot which showed some overall consistency.

    • Stonky

      So then, does this latest nail in the coffin of the gay bodybuilders narrative of the 123m spire change any minds?

      Sorry Anon, but until one of MI6’s mouthpieces is able to provide a remotely plausible answer to one of several obvious questions, I’m pretty much immune to all their carefully dribbled-out ‘evidence’ as to ‘what really happened’.

      You’re welcome to take up the cudgels on their behalf, if you like.

      For example: Why has Yulia Skripal now been held incommunicado by the British authorities for almost a year?

      • Anon1

        “The whole Skripal story is a lie because we haven’t heard from Yulia”

        This is so weak, Stonky. She probably has a new identity to protect her from another attempt on her or her family by Chemical Vlad. It’s probably kind of intentional that we don’t know where she is, don’t you think?

        Nothing will ever change your mind, though, because you are beholden to Russia.

        • Stonky

          Great Anon. I’m delighted to see you taking up the cudgels on behalf on MI6. Now we can have a wee chat…

          “The whole Skripal story is a lie because we haven’t heard from Yulia”
          It’s never a good idea to start your argument with an absurd straw man, because it immediately makes you look stupid and weak.

          It’s probably kind of intentional that we don’t know where she is, don’t you think?
          I’m sure it’s very intentional indeed. But I very specifically didn’t ask where she is. I asked why the British authorities are holding her incommunicado. Maybe you don’t understand what that means. It means she’s not being allowed to talk to anybody. There is no reason why talking to people should jeopardise her ‘new identity’ or her ‘secure location’. So you haven’t answered my question. Would you like to try again?

          This is so weak, Stonky. She probably has a new identity to protect her from another attempt on her or her family by Chemical Vlad.
          This is actually quite an interesting issue, it you’re smart enough to reflect on it for even a second or two. Why on earth would “Chemical Vlad” want to make “another” attempt on Yulia’s life, when he never made any attempt on her life in the first place? According to the tripe you’ve swallowed, it was a complete accident that she was affected. She was never the target any more than Charlie or Dawn were targets. Her Dad was the target.

          And especially after the way things have panned out, common sense would indicate that the last thing in the world “Chemical Vlad” would do would be to attract further international approbation by launching a second attack on a person whom he never intended or had reason to attack in the first place. So there isn’t even any sensible reason for Yulia to need a new identity or a secret location, far less to be held incommunicado by the British authorities, is there? Unless, of course, “Chemical Vlad” is going to kill her just for the sake of it, and damn the consequences. Because he’s evil. And very stupid. Yes, that must be it. That makes sense.

          Nothing will ever change your mind, though, because you are beholden to Russia.
          Start with an absurd straw man, follow it up with a piss-poor argument that doesn’t even begin to address the question that was posed, and then conclude with an ad hominem. I’m really struggling to work out why you haven’t won me round to your side.

          Have another go, Anon:

          Yulia Skripal is a completely innocent victim of a heinous crime. She would be capable of filling in a lot of puzzling gaps in the official version of events. So why are the British authorities holding her incommunicado? Why isn’t she being allowed to talk to anybody?

          • John Goss

            More importantly than that, in her last telephone conversation on 25 July 18 she apologised to her cousin, Viktoria for past accusations and told her that now she had access to the internet and knew everything. It was the last known conversation she had with anyone. Her father Sergei was supposed to phone his ageing mother a few days later. It never took place.

            Once our spooks knew she would not keep her mouth shut what do you think happened to her?

          • Anon1

            Chemical Vlad is not in the least bit bothered by “international approbation”, in case you hadn’t noticed. Litvinenko refers (even Craig believes Litvinenko was killed by the Russian state). Businessmen, journalists, opposition leaders killed and imprisoned in Russia refer. MH17 refers. The Skripals refer. Vlad wants you to know he did it while maintaing some kind of deniability.

            “Traitors will kick the bucket, believe me. Those other folks betrayed their friends, their brother in arms. Whatever they got in exchange for it, those 30 pieces of silver they were given, they will choke on them”.

            What do you think he meant by this? It’s entirely understandable that Yulia, and Sergei, have been given new identities and a safe house, possibly outside the country, don’t you think? But it’s never the obvious explanation with you people, is it? It’s always a conspiracy. Your last one fell apart, so now we have the one about the Skripals being “held incommunicado” (even though Yulia has given an interview) and, I read here, possibly murdered by the British state! I expect you’ll go on and on, though, never able to accept reality. Do you know what kind of credibility you have in the real world, outside this blog?

          • Charles Bostock

            They have zero credibility outside of this blog and others like it. And the ideas they espouse have no influence on the real world. They of coirse no it, which is why they are so shrill and repetitive. On the positive side; they provide good sport for the likes of you and I when we devunl them and their theories.

          • Borncynical

            CB (16.05)

            As you are someone not averse to dishing out personal insults about individual’s intellect and intelligence I’m sure you won’t take offence if I point out that the verb is “know” and not “no”, and that you have clearly never learnt about the dative case in English. The first person pronoun after the use of “to” or “for” should be “‘me”‘ not “I”; same applies to pronouns which are the object of the sentence or follow “of” (genitive case), “by” “with” or “from” (ablative case). An easy test is to remove the reference to “you”, which happens to be the same in both the nominative case and the dative case, and re-read the sentence. Doing this would indicate that you would be happy to say “good sport for the likes of I”. Perhaps you would be. Many supposedly well educated but pretentious people make this very basic mistake, somehow thinking it’s demeaning to use “me” albeit correctly. More often than not (other than when “I” is the subject – aka nominative – in the sentence) “me” should be used and not “I”. Here endeth the lesson for today. All this was drummed into me by a very stern and frightening Latin teacher 50 years ago, never to be forgotten.

      • John Goss

        Stonky, somebody needs to raise a petition showing concern for the wellbeing of Yulia Skripal. I raised one in the early stages, first and e-petition to parliament, which was not allowed. I then raised a Change petition using the same wording as that seeking a parliamentary debate. It left the starting blocks at a rate of knots but I discovered later that the petition was being shadow-banned. And then there was the scripted statement that she read which seemed to slow it almost to a standstill. I think it can still be signed.

        https://www.change.org/p/theresa-may-mp-let-yulia-skripal-speak

        • Stonky

          Be realistic John. E-petitions are like votes. If they could change anything… you know the rest.
          There might be some other way. Anyway, I’ve started reading your blog, which is very good. I’m going to try to goad Anon into coming on and dismantling your arguments. (S)he’s very good at that…

  • Sharp Ears

    100 of the troughers are going off on holiday next week in spite of being told not to by Andrea Leadsom with the Brexit deadlock in the pipeline. But that’s OK. They are being ‘paired’. A joke.

  • Tatyana

    @Borncynical
    “Presumably that should now be “Riam Dalati, former BBC producer on Syria”

    You may be interested in that Mr. Dalati’s Twitter is now ‘private’. What I see today is:
    “Access to this user’s tweets is limited. Only approved users can see the @Dalatrm tweets and full profile.”
    https://twitter.com/Dalatrm

    • Borncynical

      Thanks for this info, Tatyana. Someone has had a word in his ear or done some arm-twisting!
      J.

  • fwl

    Have been reading about supermajority votes and how it might be relevant in the US dispute as to emergency funding on the wall. Supermajorities are quite common around the world (and not only in UK company law).

    I voted Brexit but to be frank I never thought a simple majority was appropriate for the Brexit or the Scottish Indy referendums. All around the world countries protect minorities and constitutional arrangements by requiring super majorities for major structural changes which will affect minorities. In both our referendums there should have been a higher percentage to change the status quo. 55% or 60% or even 2/3.

    Whilst it would be very divisive to have a second Brexit referendum if we were then we ought to consider what the % should be.

    Therefore the PM could say we will have a new Referendum Act requiring a 60% supermajority for any referendum which might adversely affect a minority or substantively change our “constitutional” set up etc.

    Then given that the decision to leave is now part of our set up i.e. it is already the will of the people and the legal position- we are leaving on 30th March, the question for the referendum would be do you want to reverse the position and stay, but now (under the new Act) to stay would require 60%.

    • fwl

      And a 2nd referendum would not be the second vote on whether we leave.

      It would be the 4th.

      We have had the 2016 referendum, at which people voted to leave on a simple majority.

      We have the general election where the vast majority of the country voted for parties committed to leave.

      Parliament voted by a super majority to leave on 30th March.

      Therefore to upset all three votes by a 2nd referendum should require a super majority. One simple majority vote shouldn’t easily overturn 33 majority votes (two of which were super majority victories).

      If say 60% of the voters then turn against all 3 previous votes then fine we should stay.

      • pete

        I agree inasmuch as I think a supermajority would be right in such cases as a referendum where a fundamental constitutional change is involved – as with Brexit or a change in the voting system and in such a case as a vote for a change in the law regarding capital punishment.
        I am sure, however, that an attempt to re-run the referendum on leaving the EU with a higher threshold than has been established by the existing rules would be seen by many as an attempt to fiddle the result and would likely be disastrous for anyone caring about national unity.
        My understanding is that constitutional changes in the US require them to be ratified by a two thirds majority on a state by state basis, the procedure is explained somewhat wordily here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Constitution.
        Some of this takes a lot of time: “Twenty-seventh Amendment, …was pending before the states for 202 years, 225 days.”
        Two thirds is a high bar, maybe too high.

          • fwl

            Oh yes – all referendum, and on a 2nd Brexit my point is that as the status quo ratified by 3 votes is that we are leaving a 2nd referendum seeking to over turn that and stay should require a super majority.

            I’ll have to have a look for some data on US state referendums and as to how many actually pass. Those referendums tacked on to the ballot paper for thinks like legalising smoking dope – do they require super majorities or simple?

    • N_

      @fwl – “All around the world countries protect minorities and constitutional arrangements by requiring super majorities for major structural changes which will affect minorities.

      Can you name some countries where supermajorities are required in referendums? Of course regimes with constitutions place a higher bar for changing the constitition than for introducing lower-level laws that don’t require a change in the constitution. (That’s what a constitution is.) And in referendums, a number of countries require support from a percentage of the electorate as well as from a majority of voters. But I know of no country in the world where the share of voters that is required in a countrywide referendum is more than 50%.

  • Sharp Ears

    He’s nearly gone! Andrew Neil that is.

    This Week, the BBC’s long-running politics programme, is being axed by the corporation after Andrew Neil, its host, decided to step down. The BBC One show will disappear from schedules this summer after the corporation decided it would not be recommissioned, The Times understands. It has run for 16 years.

    The cancellation will disappoint fans of This Week’s** informal and gently satirical take** on Westminster affairs. Despite its late slot, airing at 11.45pm after Question Time on Thursdays, **the programme’s lighthearted but rigorous tone attracted a loyal audience.**
    /.
    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/bbc-to-axe-this-week-as-andrew-neil-steps-down-fmfx2sg9s

    ** Irony alert

    Wikipedia – ‘Neil was appointed editor of The Sunday Times by Rupert Murdoch, and served in this position from 1983 to 1994. After this he became a contributor to the Daily Mail. He was formerly chief executive and editor-in-chief of the Press Holdings group. In 1988 he became founding chairman of Sky TV, also part of Murdoch’s News Corporation. He is the current chairman of Press Holdings Media Group, whose titles include The Spectator, and the ITP Media Group. As of 2019, Neil presents live political programmes This Week on BBC One and Politics Live on BBC Two.
    His outspoken views on international conflict and climate change have earned him controversy, and he was in favour of British military involvement in Afghanistan and the invasion of Iraq. He also rejects the scientific consensus on global warming.

    • Anon1

      Yes! Probably the only pundit allowed even a vaguely right-of-centre viewpoint, tucked away on a late-night slot nobody watches (because it’s not like he’s the best journalist on the BBC or anything). WE MUST CELEBRATE HIS DEMISE!

      • Sharp Ears

        His ‘right of centre viewpoint’ obviously includes the sanctioning of killing millions of brown skinned people in the Middle East.

      • Stonky

        Yes! Probably the only pundit allowed even a vaguely right-of-centre viewpoint, tucked away on a late-night slot nobody watches (because it’s not like he’s the best journalist on the BBC or anything). WE MUST CELEBRATE HIS DEMISE!

        Come on Anon. Don’t be a feardie. You were the one who came swanking onto this thread, waving your wee plastic sword and squawking like a wee squawky parrot: So then, does this latest nail in the coffin of the gay bodybuilders narrative of the 123m spire change any minds?

        I’ve challenged you to a debate, and I’ve challenged you to provide a plausible answer to a very simple question: Why are the British authorities holding Yulia Skripal incommunicado?

        You didn’t do a very good job first time round, but I’m willing to give you chance after chance after chance…

  • N_

    Heard on BBC Radio 4 this morning from a woman from Extinction Rebellion anti-climate change protestors: “I’m willing to die for this movement”. Apparently they have been building a network among British school children.

    A few minutes before that, there had been an item about Daesh and how the loss of the last territory in Syria does not solve the problem of the spread of their network and fanatical ideology in western countries.

    Oh dear, oh dear.

    • nevermind

      will extinction rebellion and its child supporters in primary school be coming under the prevent strategy? I think we should be told whether spooks are now monitoring minors for their daring demonstrations for a cleaner, more healthier future…..

      • N_

        How did ER build up their support among school pupils?

        Are we talking mainly about the small minority of schools that teach about “epochs” and “root races” and Great Britain being an island that floats on the sea, namely Steiner nut schools?

        • N_

          Apparently the UK Student Climate Network (note their monarchism) has four demands. Two of these are a reform of the national curriculum and a change in government communications – with references to “crisis” in both cases.

          Presumably the Steiner machine has personnel ready to help with both of these – and once they’ve wormed their way in I don’t think their plan is to leave.

    • Dungroanin

      Read on Grauniad.
      ‘The environmental protest was one of a series of co-ordinated events around the UK as young people left their classrooms to make their point on global warming.’

      The establishment losing on all fronts now extends the identity politics war to weaponising children! Stinks of IoS blunderbussing.

      That is how Mao and Polpot and Stalin and Hitler reinforced their proxy regimes on the free thinking adults – by turning children into spies on their parents. “hello police, my daddy is burning painted pallets in the woodburner! Help me”.

      Interesting. Such a effort of course originated with Baden Powell and the angloimperialists creating cadres of youth that would man the imperial conquest.

      What goes round – comes round.

      I think that british youth unlike their US or European counterparts may soon throw off the attempt at trying to cleave them into a monolithic new age movement that will have its ‘leaders’ promoted by the media gurus to supposedly lead them away from the dystopian future by ignoring the realist ‘utopian’ socialist democracy that would be the best for them, their parents, grandparents AND their own futures.

  • N_

    In a piece on “Should YOU be stockpiling for no deal Brexit?”, the Daily Express include a photograph of wine, fresh bread, and fresh fruit. Yes, fresh fruit. The caption to the photograph is “Brexit stockpiling: Fears over a disastrous no-deal Brexit are reaching fever pitch”.

    “Today I went online to my Asda account,” they quote some hack writer as saying.

    The text of the article itself lists many kinds of food that really can be stockpiled. But so what? In any article, far more people look at the picture, the picture caption, and the headline, than at the body text.

    OK the showing of fresh fruit is probably down to a picture editor and subeditor and page editor who have got cack for brains and are probably village idiots even among their peers. But in most countries such an almost unbelievable level of stupidity wouldn’t be evident.

    • michael norton

      I’ve been building up my Brexit Food Bank with tins of spam, soup, legumes and fish for several months, got enough to last me two or three months.
      My neighbour tells me I am being “had” by the supermarkets, as he feels this is a ploy to get up to buy stuff we normally wouldn’t, and if it all blows over with no food shortage, after a year or so we will just throw these tins away.
      He is probably right but I am hedging my bets.

      • N_

        I’m hoarding food too, and fuel, and could easily last several months.

        As well as finding today’s article with the picture of fresh fruit, I’ve heard of other people saying they’re stocking up their freezers. They’re probably also relying on electric cookers and kettles.

        Rather than throwing tinned food away, if you wish to sound the all clear you could reduce your stocks gradually through normal consumption or give the food to say a foodbank or other people who need it.

        • michael norton

          Yes, I will give the tins I do not consume to a food bank, good idea.
          Don’t buy stuff to put in the freezer, electricity may go down.

    • Mary Pau!

      I have noticed that my local Tesco and Sainsbury have a lot of fruit and veg from outside the EU these days. Shame the Dutch put the Guernsey tomato industry out of business a few years back but at least one former tomato grower is now growing peppers and there are plenty of abandoned greenhouses which could be reopened.

      There are lots of businesses in the EU dependent on selling to the UK including the entire Spanish region of Murcia. What are they going to do, dump their entire output in the Med or the North Sea? There are 60million people in the UK. Stuff will still be imported but under WTO rules, it will take longer and cost more .

      And I await with interest what will happen to the c.75m cars Germany sold to the UK last year. My sister assures me China is lined up the buy them . Not from what I have read.

  • Sharp Ears

    The idiot Chope has been thwarted in his attempt to wreck the bill banning the practice of FGM. It will have a second reading etc.

    14 February 2019
    Volume 654
    CHILDREN ACT 1989 (AMENDMENT) (FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION) BILL [LORDS]: (BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE)
    Ordered,
    That the Children Act 1989 (Amendment) (Female Genital Mutilation) Bill [Lords] be referred to a Second Reading Committee as if it had been so referred under the provisions of Standing Order No. 90(2).—(Wendy Morton.)

      • N_

        What the f*** is wrong with Chris Chope? I wouldn’t believe him if he said he wasn’t aware of the media coverage and the widespread feelings about his actions. It seems as though he’s trying to say “Look what I can do! And I don’t care that you all despise it!” In his own mind he is probably undeterrably fixed on whatever procedural point he thinks he’s making, as he views himself as an honourable knight who is committed to defending what is proper in complete disregard for what the dirty hordes think.

        His dad was a judge who was convicted of crap driving and he went to Marlborough (I wonder whether his dad did too), so dirty hordes will almost certainly feature large in his world view. He has probably never faced it that joining the same profession as a powerful parent is rarely a sign of intelligence.

        • N_

          Chris Chope is a supporter of the death penalty and military conscription who refers to dining room staff at Westminster as “servants”.

          And he’s got one of the safest Tory seats, with a 25000 majority in Christchurch.

  • Republicofscotland

    Meanwhile, Oriol Junqueras, former VP of Catalonia, stood up yesterday in his show trial, and aired his voice for the first time in public in a year and a half.

    Junqueras, was spot on when he said in the kangaroo court, that he is convinced he’s a political prisoner, and his incarceration is due to his ideas and not his actions.

    Voting isnt a crime he added, working peacefully towards Catalan independence, is not a crime.

    Of course Spain only began moving to democracy after 1975, fascism still runs deep in the corridors of power.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_transition_to_democracy

    Imagine if this show trial was taking place in Venezuela right now or Iran or Syria, the UN would be outraged. However they’re not and the trial is being held in western Europe.

    • Charles Bostock

      D’ye think he’ll call Mr Carlos Puigdemont, his former boss, as a witness on his behalf?

      Or even better, d’ye think Carlos will leave skulking in Belgium and return volontarily to stand as a witness for the defence?

  • jeffleb

    Dan Kaszeta of bellingcat and integrity initiative fame has been given the freedom of the city of London he has announced on twitter. How bizarre.

    https://twitter.com/DanKaszeta/status/1093569703916826624
    https://twitter.com/Strongpoint_UK

    His business flat is just down the road from MI6 according to this twitter thread

    https://twitter.com/MichaelNo2War/status/1095766567835631617
    https://twitter.com/KitKlarenberg

    and seems to have married into British ”aristocracy”/a military family.

    What’s with all these pro war types at Bellingcat/Integrity/Cambridge Analytica coming from British ‘nobility’? Do you get a knighthood for a high kill rate abroad or some such?

    Maybe Anonable1 at GCHQ can chime in?

    (drops more peyote)

    I wonder is the Eliot ‘suck my balls’ Higgins chap a tad peeved.

  • nevermind

    today, almost all papers are falling over themselves to divert from last nights abysmal show by this wretched economic threat that calls itself ‘the government’.
    ‘We don’t know what she has done in IS ravaged Syria’ they say ‘I will do everything in my ability to stop her coming back’, says the home secretary who wants to be PM one day.
    Well Sajid, how about doing the math, she was 15 when she left and got -pregnant three times, so she was a pregnant mother most of the time, not one of the leadei9ngn head choppers and throat slitters who seem to get away Scot free, sitting it out on the Golan under Israeli watchful eyes until some friendly western country takes them in. Why ever don’t they want to join the wahabi’s and Salafists in Saudi Arabia?

    When mercenaries come back from Bahrain, or any other despotic country they fought for and got well paid for, we say nothing at all. When we rescue suspected terrorists from the Mediterranean, full well knowing their background and movements and they commit a massive terror attack we could have foreseen, the PM comes up with shoddy excuses and the MI’s sulk over it.

    But when it is a 19 year old girl who absconded from home as a minor aged 15, we get hordes of women going on to local radio and screaming about how she would use the NHS and benefits to bring up her child as a jihadi, influencing our children blah blah.

    This Murdoch generated diversion from last nights emasculating time wasting execuse is as transparent as the condom over Cameron’s head.
    I am the first to want to see the well paid, now who would be paying them, IS/Daes/Al Nusra and their various splinter groups prosecuted in court, just as I’d like to see those upholding Bahrains despots in power in court, at least then we would follow the money and change our relations ship to the Saudi head choppers and those who willingly supported them, for we are selling them arms and wiski, but that will never happen unless voters demand to be informed about the dirty games we play.

    This young woman will come back, have her baby and be re-educated by various organsations such as the prevent and Quilliam experts, who will get paid handsomely for their deeds. Her phone calls and everything she does electronically will be watched closely, and should anyone want to prosecute her for being pregnant in the IS caliphate, to make a martyr of her and elevate her to cult status, we can and will do that as well.

    I would support a law that says to those who want to fight for other countries’ you fight for other countries but your own, you’ll change your loyalty and are prepared to kill for that country, then will not be able to return to this country and claim your citizenship here. But I also know that there is nobody who would dare and do it as all the old me4rcenaries and ex forces who earn a living in that way would
    not like it one bit, nor would our intelligence agencies who use these conducts for their shady works behind the screen.

    Sort out the law, Javid, no good fudge packing the public with stories like this, stories that could have been made up to create diversion and confusions, we know who paid for these mercenaries with oily money, we know you don’t want these leaders in a court room, so now you presenting us with this sob story, pathetic.

    • Borncynical

      nevermind

      It demonstrates what a strange mixed up and hypocritical society we live in where so many are up in arms about this girl being allowed back into her country when our government invited and welcomed a number of terrorist White Helmets into our midst without a murmur of disapproval to be heard other than on alternative media and forums such as this, and by an impartial investigative UN Committee who reported on their White Helmet conclusions in December. The UN’s findings, to my knowledge, received no coverage in the MSM.

    • N_

      I think Amira Abase is a British citizen by birth and doesn’t need to “claim” British citizenship.

      There is a little bit of a PR-legal problem. Although the British government uses terms such as “ISIS” and “So-Called Islamic State Group” which reference the caliphate indirectly as a country, namely Iraq-Syria or Iraq-Levant, they don’t do it officially and they don’t recognise the country’s passports or citizenship, not even de facto. (That’s except perhaps when they’re negotiating in Geneva hotels or similarly to when gun-carrying IRA leaders in 1972 were driven in limousines to negotiate with poshboy regime representatives in Paul Channon’s house in Chelsea, but nothing like that has been made public. And in any case there are numerous channels to the Saudi dictatorship.)

      Some Tories are talking about “treating her as an enemy combatant” by which they seem to mean making her life a misery for many years rather than recognising her rights under the Geneva Conventions. Since she is British the British authorities could prosecute her for treason, but I think that’s unlikely. They want to help convey the big message, which is that the government is committed to protecting Britain’s borders against an influx of unwanted non-white people who can’t be trusted when they deny being ferociously cruel savages who have enlisted in a murderous inhuman conspiracy. That she is pregnant also plays to the beloved Tory theme of the horrors of non-Tory sexual reproduction in a country that they consider to be owned by the Tories. When you have to allow servants in your house you might let them go to sleep at night and screw each other, but that doesn’t mean they can expect you to run a maternity ward for them in your basement nine months later, as if the world owed them a living. (My neighbour is always going on about “Muslim babies” being born in Britain.)

        • nevermind

          So missis Hartley Brewer ignored the fact that a 15 year old minor absconder from this country was abused by IS charges?
          Nobody seems to want to know about this or makes a point about it.
          sod you Julia.

    • David

      there are other proven ways to deal with returnees from the Syrian conflict. how cone our media and political opportunists don’t seek a working system invented by the Police of a nearby EU country? in 2014!

      What happens if they do return?

      The parents call and tell us that their son just came home. We then call him up, and see how we can help him get a grip on life, so he doesn’t become a walking security threat. Some we’ve been able to help resume their education, which is great, because then they have something to keep them occupied. These are intelligent, young folks – most of them.

      What’s your impression of the returnees?

      Some have been totally stripped of extremism, while others are still radicalized. Some wanted to make a difference in Syria, but were disillusioned by the uphill situation. One came back, just saying he wanted his old life back, that he’d made a mistake.

      Denmark’s way https://www.vice.com/da/article/vdpxny/rhus-is-rehabilitating-fighters-returning-from-syria

  • Dungroanin

    ‘Sánchez, has called a snap election for 28 April’

    Snap? That’s two whole months! No jokes about Spanish mananna.

    So another opportunity to roll back the neocon plutocratic alt-rightist infiltration of Europe.

    My prediction – a massive turnout. Sanchez and Federalists win big. Francoists get back into their holes. The EU becomes stronger and friendlier with the Russian cousins. While we Brits are left looking ob enviously as Mother May drags us away from the EU playingfoelds to some dreary GM wheatfield to run through as more honest fun!

  • Republicofscotland

    Of course there are several possible narratives in play at the moment with regards to the young woman Shamima Begum, and her return to Britain. Head turning on Brexit and the British governments repeated failures is one.

    However ISIS or Daesh or whatever they’re are called of late, are in most part a western backed proxy fighting force. Secondly it’s not inconceivable that Shamima Begum, was/is used as a tool of hatred to stir up anti-Muslim feeling in Britain.

    I say that knowing that the feeling towards Begum appears to be softening in some quarters. Lord McConnell, has vigorously defended the young woman’s position. Lord Carlile, added that Begum, will need to be accepted back into the UK, if she hasn’t become a national of another country.

    We have to remember, women like Begum, are no different in reality to the White Helmets, who as we all know are a propaganda front and enabler of Daesh/ISIS. They too are/will be given residency in the UK where appropriate.

    Assets are being recouped for another day in my opinion.

    • Alexander

      I might be wrong but I think “Begum” means something like “Mrs” or “Lady”. Please excuse the pedantry.

      • Borncynical

        Alexander

        I’ve always been interested in the origin of surnames and, like you, believed that Begum was a female ‘title’ rather than an actual surname. I just did some research which essentially confirmed this and clarified that it is used in many cultures to denote a ‘lady of respectability’ usually as a result of marriage to an honourable or notable man. Apparently it is commonly being adopted now as a surname by unmarried young women to identify them as ‘respectable’. Perhaps it’s time for Shamima Begum to change her name!

    • Rob Royston

      If she’s terrorist, she’s one of our terrorists and needs to be returned here to be dealt with.

      • Charles Bostock

        The girl/woman, may have witnessed heinous deeds but as far as I know there is no evidence that she carried out any.

        Let us not forget that she was 15 when she went to Syria. Not an age when one can insist on rational decisions, rather an age when one commits foolish acts.

        The quality of mercy would seem to have a place here.

        • Rob Royston

          Of course it will, and I’m sure that wise judges will apply it. But, as seems to now be the case, she will have to explain how she was led into abetting terrorism in a foreign country, and by whom.

    • Borncynical

      RoS

      With regard to the White Helmets, they are already in the UK. It was all completed maybe six (? – I stand to be corrected) months ago very surreptitiously and without the fanfare one would have expected for such heroes. It was interesting that at the UN discussions on the White Helmets in December (not attended by the Western ‘alliance’ countries) there appeared to be a common view that those Western Governments who took them under their wings came to the realisation of their true nature only after they publicly agreed to take them and were too embarrassed to overturn the decision and admit they were wrong about them. Rather similar to the circumstances under which Mrs May as Home Secretary was in league with Cameron in bringing the Abedi family and other similar characters to the UK from Libya – and we all know how that ended. Presumably the WHs have been told to ‘behave themselves’.

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