Chagos and the Dark Soul of the British Labour Party 634

Even if you think you know all about the Chagos story – an entire population forcibly removed from their island homeland at British gunpoint to make way for a US Air Force nuclear base, the people dumped destitute over a thousand miles away, their domestic animals gassed by the British army, their homes fired and demolished – then I beg you still to read this.

This analysis shows there could be no more startling illustration of the operation of the brutal and ruthless British Establishment in an undisguisedly Imperialist cause, involving actions which all reasonable people can see are simply evil. It points out that many of the key immoralities were perpetrated by Labour governments, and that the notion that either Westminster democracy or the British “justice” system provides any protection against the most ruthless authoritarianism by the British state, is utterly baseless.

Finally of course, there is the point that this is not only a historic injustice, but the injustice continues to the current day and continues to be actively promoted by the British state, to the extent that it is willing to take massive damage to its international standing and reputation in order to continue this heartless policy. This analysis is squarely based on the recent Opinion of the International Court of Justice.

Others have done an excellent job of chronicling the human stories and the heartache of the Islanders deported into penury far away across the sea. I will take that human aspect as read, although this account of one of the major forced transportations is worth reading to set the tone. The islanders were shipped out in inhuman conditions to deportation, starved for six days and covered in faeces and urine. This was not the 19th century, this was 1972.

The MV Nordvaer was already loaded with Chagossians, horses, and coconuts when it arrived at Peros Banhos. Approximately one hundred people were ultimately forced onto the ship. Ms. Mein, her husband, and their eight children shared a small, cramped cabin on the ship. The cabin was extremely hot; they could not open the portholes because the water level rose above them under the great weight of the overloaded boat. Many of the other passengers were not as fortunate as Ms. Mein and shared the cargo compartment with horses, tortoises, and coconuts. Ms. Mein remembers that the cargo hold was covered with urine and horse manure. The horses were loaded below deck while many human passengers were forced to endure the elements above deck for the entirety of the six-day journey in rough seas. The voyage was extremely harsh and many passengers became very sick. The rough conditions forced the captain to jettison a large number of coconuts in order to prevent the overloaded boat from sinking. Meanwhile, the horses were fed, but no food was provided for the Chagossians.

Rather than the human story of the victims, I intend to concentrate here, based squarely on the ICJ judgement, on the human story of the perpetrators. In doing so I hope to show that this is not just a historic injustice, but a number of prominent and still active pillars of the British Establishment, like Jack Straw, David Miliband, Jeremy Hunt and many senior British judges, are utterly depraved and devoid of the basic feelings of humanity.

There is also a vitally important lesson to be learnt about the position of the British Crown and the utter myth that continuing British Imperialism is in any sense based on altruism towards its remaining colonies.

Before reading the ICJ Opinion, I had not fully realised the blatant and vicious manner in which the Westminster government had blackmailed the Mauritian government into ceding the Chagos Islands as a condition of Independence. That blackmail was carried out by Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson. The court documentation makes plain that the United States was ordering the British Government on how to conduct the entire process, and that Harold Wilson deliberately “frightened” Mauritius into conceding the Chagos Islands. This is an excerpt from the ICJ Opinion:

104. On 20 September 1965, during a meeting on defence matters chaired by the United Kingdom Secretary of State, the Premier of Mauritius again stated that “the Mauritius Government was not interested in the excision of the islands and would stand out for a 99-year lease”. As an alternative, the Premier of Mauritius proposed that the United Kingdom first concede independence to Mauritius and thereafter allow the Mauritian Government to negotiate with the Governments of the United Kingdom and the United States on the question of Diego Garcia. During those discussions, the Secretary of State indicated that a lease would not be acceptable to the United States and that the Chagos Archipelago would have to be made available on the basis of its detachment.
105. On 22 September 1965, a Note was prepared by Sir Oliver Wright, Private Secretary to the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister, Sir Harold Wilson. It read: “Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam is coming to see you at 10:00 tomorrow morning. The object is to frighten him with hope: hope that he might get independence; Fright lest he might not unless he is sensible about the detachment of the Chagos Archipelago. I attach a brief prepared by the Colonial Office, with which the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign Office are on the whole content. The key sentence in the brief is the last sentence of it on page three.”
106. The key last sentence referred to above read: “The Prime Minister may therefore wish to make some oblique reference to the fact that H.M.G. have the legal right to detach Chagos by Order in Council, without Mauritius consent but this would be a grave step.” (Emphasis in the original.)
107. On 23 September 1965 two events took place. The first event was a meeting in the morning of 23 September 1965 between Prime Minister Wilson and Premier Ramgoolam. Sir Oliver Wright’s Report on the meeting indicated that Prime Minister Wilson told Premier Ramgoolam that “in theory there were a number of possibilities. The Premier and his colleagues could return to Mauritius either with Independence or without it. On the Defence point, Diego Garcia could either be detached by order in Council or with the agreement of the Premier and his colleagues….”

I have to confess this has caused me personally radically to revise my opinion of Harold Wilson. The ICJ at paras 94-97 make plain that the agreement to lease Diego Garcia to the USA as a military base precedes and motivates the rough handling of the Mauritian government.

Against this compelling argument, Britain nevertheless continued to argue before the court that the Chagos Islands had been entirely voluntarily ceded by Mauritius. The ICJ disposed of this fairly comprehensively:

172. …In the Court’s view, it is not possible to talk of an international agreement, when one of the parties to it, Mauritius, which is said to have ceded the territory to the United Kingdom, was under the authority of the latter. The Court is of the view that heightened scrutiny should be given to the issue of consent in a situation where a part of a non-self-governing territory is separated to create a new colony. Having reviewed the circumstances in which the Council of Ministers of the colony of Mauritius agreed in principle to the detachment of the Chagos Archipelago on the basis of the Lancaster House agreement, the Court considers that this detachment was not based on the free and genuine expression of the will of the people concerned.

A number of the individual judges’ Opinions put his rather more bluntly, of which Judge Robinson gives perhaps the best account in a supporting Opinion which is well worth reading:

93. … The intent was to use power to frighten the Premier into submission. It is wholly unreasonable to seek to explain the conduct of the United Kingdom on the basis that it was involved in a negotiation and was simply employing ordinary negotiation strategies. After all, this was a relationship between the Premier of a colony and its administering Power. Years later, speaking about the so-called consent to the detachment of the Chagos Archipelago Sir Seewoosagur is reported to have told the Mauritian Parliament, “we had no choice”42It is also reported that Sir Seewoosagur told a news organization, the Christian Science Monitor that: “There was a nook around my neck. I could not say no. I had to say yes, otherwise the [noose] could have tightened.” It is little wonder then that, in 1982, the Mauritian Legislative Assembly’s Select Committee on the Excision of the Archipelago concluded that the attitude of the United Kingdom in that meeting could “not fall outside the most elementary definition of blackmailing”.

The International Court of Justice equally dismissed the British argument that the islanders had signed releases renouncing any claims or right to resettle, in return for small sums of “compensation” received from the British government. Plainly having been forcibly removed and left destitute, they were in a desperate situation and in no position to assert or to defend their rights.

At paragraphs 121-3 the ICJ judgement recounts the brief period where the British government behaved in a legal and conscionable manner towards the islanders. In 2000 a Chagos resident, Louis Olivier Bancoult, won a judgement in the High Court in London that the islanders had the right to return, as the colonial authority had an obligation to govern in their interest. Robin Cook was then Foreign Secretary and declared that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office would not be appealing against the judgement.

Robin Cook went further. He accepted before the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva that the UK had acted unlawfully in its treatment of the Chagos Islanders. And he repealed the Order in Council that de facto banned all occupation of the islands other than by the US military. Cook commissioned work on a plan to facilitate the return of the islanders.

It seemed finally the British Government was going to act in a reasonably humanitarian fashion towards the islanders. But then disaster happened. The George W Bush administration was infuriated at the idea of a return of population to their most secret base area, and complained bitterly to Blair. This was one of the factors, added to Cook’s opposition to arms sales to dictatorships and insistence on criticising human rights abuses by Saudi Arabia, that caused Tony Blair and Alastair Campbell to remove Robin Cook as Foreign Secretary.

Robin Cook was replaced by the infinitely biddable Jack Straw. There was never any chance that Straw – who received large donations to his office and campaign funds from British Aerospace – would stand against the interests of the arms industry or of the USA, particularly in favour of a few dispossessed islanders who would never be a source of personal donations.

Straw immediately threw Cook’s policy into reverse. Resettling the islanders was now declared “too expensive” an option. The repealed Order in Council was replaced by a new one banning all immigration to, or even landing on, the islands on security grounds. This “coincided” with the use of Diego Garcia, the Chagos island on which the US base is situate, as a black site for torture and extraordinary rendition.

Straw was therefore implicated not just in extending the agony of the deported island community, but doing so in order to ensure the secrecy of torture operations. I don’t have the vocabulary to describe the depths of Straw’s evil. This was New Labour in action.

The estimable Mr Bancoult did not give up. He took the British Government again to the High Court to test the legality of the new Order in Council barring the islanders, which was cast on “National security” grounds. On 11 May 2006, Bancoult won again in the High Court, and the judgement was splendidly expressed by Lord Hooper in a statement of decency and common sense with which you would hope it was impossible to disagree:

“The power to legislate for the “peace order and good government” of a territory has never been used to exile a whole population. The suggestion that a minister can, through the means of an Order in Council, exile a whole population from a British Overseas Territory and claim that he is doing this for the “peace, order and good government” of the Territory is, to us, repugnant.” (Para 142)

The judgement did not address the sovereignty of the islands.

Unlike Robin Cook, Jack Straw did appeal against the judgement, and the FCO’s appeal was resoundingly and unanimously rebuffed by the Court of Appeal. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office then appealed again to the House of Lords, and to general astonishment the Law Lords found in favour of the British government and against the islanders, by a 3-2 judgement.

The general astonishment was compounded by the fact that a panel of only 5 Law Lords had sat on the case, rather than the 7 you would normally expect for a case of this magnitude. It was very widely remarked among the legal fraternity that the 3 majority judges were the only Law Lords who might possibly have found for the government, and on any possible combination of 7 judges the government would have lost. That view was given weight by the fact that the minority of 2 who supported the islanders included the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Bingham.

The decision to empanel only 5 judges, and the selection of the UK’s three most right wing Law Lords for the panel, was taken by the Lord Chancellor’s office. And the Lord Chancellor was now – Jack Straw. The timing is such that it is conceivable that the decision was taken under Straw’s predecessor, Lord Falconer, but as he was Blair’s great friend and ex-flatmate and also close to Straw, it makes no difference to the Establishment stitch-up.

If your blood is not now sufficiently boiling, consider this. The Law Lords found against the islanders on the grounds that no restraint can be placed on the authority of the British Crown over its colonies. The majority opinion was best expressed by Lord Hoffman. Lord Hoffman’s judgement is a stunning assertion of British Imperial power. He states in terms that the British Crown exercises its authority in the interests of the UK and not in the interest of the colony concerned:

49. Her Majesty in Council is therefore entitled to legislate for a colony in the interests of the United Kingdom. No doubt she is also required to take into account the interests of the colony (in the absence of any previous case of judicial review of prerogative colonial legislation, there is of course no authority on the point) but there seems to me no doubt that in the event of a conflict of interest, she is entitled, on the advice of Her United Kingdom ministers, to prefer the interests of the United Kingdom. I would therefore entirely reject the reasoning of the Divisional Court which held the Constitution Order invalid because it was not in the interests of the Chagossians.

It is quite incredible to read that quote, and then to remember that the British government has just argued before the International Court of Justice that the ICJ does not have jurisdiction because the question is nothing to do with decolonisation but rather a bilateral dispute. Thankfully, the ICJ found this quite incredible too.

You may think that by the time it fixed this House of Lords judgement the British government had exhausted the wells of depravity on this particular issue. But no, David Miliband felt that he had to outdo his predecessors by being not only totally immoral, but awfully clever with it too. Under Miliband, the FCO dreamed up the idea of pretending that the exclusion of all inhabitants from around the USA leased nuclear weapon and torture site, was for environmental purposes.

The propagation of the Chagos Marine Reserve in 2010 banned all fishing within 200 nautical miles of the islands and, as the islanders are primarily a fishing community, was specifically designed to prevent the islanders from being able to return, while at the same time garnering strong applause from a number of famous, and very gullible, environmentalists.

As I blogged about this back in 2010:

The sheer cynicism of this effort by Miliband to dress up genocide as environmentalism is simply breathtaking. If we were really cooncerned about the environment of Diego Garcia we would not have built a massive airbase and harbour on a fragile coral atoll and filled it with nuclear weapons.

In retrospect I am quite proud of that turn of phrase. David Miliband was dressing up genocide as environmentalism. I stand by that.

While the ruse was obvious to anyone half awake, it does not need speculation to know the British government’s motives because, thanks to Wikileaks release of US diplomatic cables, we know that British FCO and MOD officials together specifically briefed US diplomats that the purpose was to make the return of the islanders impossible.

7. (C/NF) Roberts acknowledged that “we need to find a way to get through the various Chagossian lobbies.” He admitted that HMG is “under pressure” from the Chagossians and their advocates to permit resettlement of the “outer islands” of the BIOT. He noted, without providing details, that “there are proposals (for a marine park) that could provide the Chagossians warden jobs” within the BIOT. However, Roberts stated that, according to the HGM,s current thinking on a reserve, there would be “no human footprints” or “Man Fridays” on the BIOT’s uninhabited islands. He asserted that establishing a marine park would, in effect, put paid to resettlement claims of the archipelago’s former residents. Responding to Polcouns’ observation that the advocates of Chagossian resettlement continue to vigorously press their case, Roberts opined that the UK’s “environmental lobby is far more powerful than the Chagossians’ advocates.” (Note: One group of Chagossian litigants is appealing to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) the decision of Britain’s highest court to deny “resettlement rights” to the islands’ former inhabitants. See below at paragraph 13 and reftel. End Note.)

Incredible to say, that is still not the end of the ignominy of the British Establishment. As the irrepressible Chagossians continued their legal challenges, now to the “Marine reserve”, the UK’s new Supreme Court shamelessly refused to accept the US diplomatic cable in evidence, on the grounds it was a privileged communication under the Vienna Convention. This was a ridiculous decision which would only have been valid if there were evidence that the communication were obtained by another State, rather than leaked to the public by a national of the state that produced it. For a court to choose to ignore a salient fact is an abhorrent thing, but it allowed the British Establishment yet another “victory”. It was short lived, however.

Mauritius challenged the UK to arbitration before a panel constituted under Article 287 of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, a Convention I am happy to say I was directly involved in bringing into force, by negotiating and helping draft the Protocol. Mauritius argued that the UK could not ban fishing rights which it enjoyed both traditionally, and specifically as part of the agreement to cede the Chagos Islands. The UK brought four separate challenges to the jurisdiction of the panel, and lost every one, and then lost the main judgement. It is pleasant to note that acting for the Chagos Islands was Elizabeth Wilmshurst, the FCO Legal Adviser who had resigned her position, telling Jack Straw that the attack on Iraq constituted an illegal war of aggression.

Which brings us up to the present Opinion by the International Court of Justice after the government of Mauritius finally took resolute action to assert sovereignty over the islands. Astonishingly, having repudiated the decision of the Arbitration Panel on the Law of the Sea, very much a British-inspired creation, Jeremy Hunt has now decided to strike at the very heart of international law itself by repudiating the International Court of Justice itself, something for which there is no precedent at all in British history. I discuss the radical implications of this here with Alex Salmond.

This is apposite as throughout the 21st Century developments listed here in this continued horror story, the Chagossians’ cause was championed in the House of Commons by two pariah MPs outside the consensus of the British Establishment. The Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on the Chagos Islands was Jeremy Corbyn MP. His Deputy was Alex Salmond MP.

Chagos really is a touchstone issue, a key litmus test of whether people are in or out of the British Establishment. The attacks on Jeremy Corbyn, the manufactured witch-hunt on anti-semitism, all are designed to return the Labour Party to a leadership which will continue the illegal occupation of the Chagos Islands; the acid test of reliable pro-USA neo-conservative policy. The SNP, at least under Salmmond, was an open challenge to British imperialism and hopefully will remain so.

Chagos is a fundamental test of decency in British public life. If you know where a politician – or judge – stands on Chagos, most other questions are answered.

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634 thoughts on “Chagos and the Dark Soul of the British Labour Party

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  • BrianFujisan

    Thanks for that Post Craig.

    The evil agendas of the U.K / US, Does not Surprise though.. Yemen.

    The human side is harrowing;

    ” The rough conditions forced the captain to jettison a large number of coconuts in order to prevent the overloaded boat from sinking. Meanwhile, the horses were fed, but no food was provided for the Chagossians.”

    John ward
    March 27, 2019 at 15:27 took us on a Visual trip too.. Ghost Villages.. ” There was a beautiful church, the walls built entirely of coral. There was a giant clam shell baptism front inside.. maybe a meter wide ”

    I could see the Imagery.

    The UK doing all this for the U.S air base – Treason.

  • Chemical Britain

    The Chagos story is currently the most pressing issue in the United Kingdom.

    While everyone else has ignored it, thank God our hero Craig is making a meal out of it.

    • BrianFujisan

      The most Pressing thing in the so called United Kingdom.. Is that Scotland need out of it.. And Craig Lends a lot of his time to the Indy movement.. Like speaking in Freedom Square on Sunday at the ‘ Hope Over Fear ‘ Rally.

    • giyane

      Chemical Britain

      Yes brexit Is a story, a Tolkien esque compilation of inter-racial prejudice, or travelogue of British snobbery. We superior beings looking out the train window at the erratic foibles of others confident in our own rationality and common sense.

      Brexit is indeed fiction. Never let reality get in the way of a good yarn about British self-delusion and wasting time instead of purring the world to rights.

      • Kieran

        Perfidious Albion is alive and well and showing it’s hand with how the UK Government is dealing with Brexit and the House of Commons. I think this neatly sums up what’s going on today: two-faced, untrustworthy, duplicitousness, legalistic trickery. It’s all there. The centuries (even the names of countries!) may change but some things do not: the nature of the political class at Westminster.

      • Sharp Ears

        I like the sound of the pussy cat ‘purring’ the world to rights. Cats rule. OK!

  • Stonky

    I think it’s time for Trump Syndrome to be recognised as a diagnosable and treatable psychopathic medical condition.

    Reading the comments beneath this lonely grain of sanity in yesterday’s Guardain, and beneath the endless procession of loony articles on the same subject in the Indepeachment, it becomes clear that the whole faux-progressive left has become completely and utterly deranged. The more proof that there was no collusion between Trump and Putin, the more it proves that there was. They make the maddest of conspiracy theorists with the daftest of conspiracies look sane and well-adjusted.

  • Roger J Wise

    You forget that the fruits fruits belong to all and that the land belongs to no one J-JR

  • michael norton

    Turkey is in recession.
    The economics of Euroland are teetering on the Abbys.
    France, Germany and Italy are already, in reality, in recession,
    France has an unemployment rate of 8.8%
    U.K. has an unemployment rate of 3.9%
    The E.U. want 39 billion from us before they will talk.
    France is a virtual police state, run by a nutter.

    Do we really want to stay with this lot to be fleeced?

    • Ian

      No, let’s get fleeced by Trump, Mercer, China and India instead. Lots of more low wage, gig economy jobs, while the high earning jobs and companies leave. Fantastic.

    • Laguerre

      You do come up with some cr*p, norton. It’s not even worth refuting, tendentious half-truths repeated endlessly from Brexiter websites aren’t..

      • Borncynical

        From a personal perspective, my brother has been assiduously and voraciously following all matters political and economic for all his life (like me he is now well into middle age). For him it is an obsession and I trust his judgement implicitly. Long before ‘Brexit’ was even heard of he would warn me of the dire economic position that the EU and UK were in and that it is all but beyond the point of no return where the whole system will collapse. You may well be right about the “tendentious half-truths” you refer to but they may well be “half-truths” because the situation is even worse than is generally broadcast.

      • Tony

        Sorry, what’s half-truthful about anything Norton wrote? Are you arguing that France, Germany and Italy aren’t heading into recession? Are Norton’s unemployment figures inaccurate? Will the EU talk to us about a future relationship bafore we hand over 39 billion to them? Whilst I wouldn’t use the word “nutter” to describe Macron, he appears to be taking France in the direction Norton describes.

        Replies like yours are not only ad hominem, they are wilfully disingenuous, and should be deleted on the basis of being disruptive and of no factual worth.

        • Laguerre

          It’s boring to have to repeat time and again, that Britain’s unemployment figures are faked. It’s well known. The economics of Euroland are further from the brink than Britain’s are, cliff here we come, and all the rest which you know well. norton reads Brexiter websites and papers, and believes 100% of everything.

          • Geoffrey

            No they are not. Though if you are talking about work subsidies from the state for workers introduced largely by Gordon Brown, I sympathise.
            With regard to rest of Europe, some are much worse than the UK, and some better eg Germany.
            Debt levels very high,particularly in Southern Europe.

        • JMF

          22 March 2019
          In Germany, business activity grew at its slowest rate since June 2013 with new orders declining for a third successive month. Although service sector growth remained robust, manufacturing output fell at the sharpest rate since August 2012.
          **Factory orders deteriorated to the greatest extent since the height of the global financial crisis in April 2009.**
          Hiring in Germany meanwhile slipped to a 34-month low as backlogs of work fell for a fifth successive month and business optimism about the year ahead waned.

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    Odds on Rees-Mogg for next Tory leader are lengthening, 33/1 against 25/1 at the start of the week. Those are attractive odds. Consider.
    Rees-Mogg has been reported as touring the individual associations in the shires to drum up support for Johnson. He has also become a frequent flyer to Belfast again to act as a conduit between Boris and the DUP.
    It must come to pass that the people will realise that Johnson has mair skeletons in his cupboards than the Natural History Museum. In this event, all that canvassing for Johnson becomes ultimately self serving.
    Rees-Mogg has been acting as the “consiliator” between the ERG and the greater party, against the “beserker” act of Baker and Francios.
    Rees-Mogg also has greater face recognition than the more fancied Rabb and Hunt. All those years of nurturing his quaint, eccentric toff act have paid off.

    • Ian

      Emily Maitlis gave him a drubbing last night as a so-called man of principle. Just another charlatan who believes he should rule us.

      • Vivian O'Blivion

        Agreed, but I fear you miss my point. It matters not whether an event should happen but rather the probability that it may happen. Odds of Rees-Mogg being the next Tory leader at 3% must understate the actual probability.

        • Ian

          Johnson the fraud as PM is far more likely and far more dangerous. Another tory coup with the electorate left out of it. This is taking back control, as they meant it. What a bunch of lying fraudsters. Makes the EU look like the epitome of democracy – certainly it has better claims to, compared to this benighted isle. We are really finding out what a sham Westminster is.

          • Vivian O'Blivion

            The attractiveness of the bet is the disparity between the odds perceived by the bookies and those perceived by the punter. Odds for Rees-Mogg have lengthened further to 40/1. Obviously Johnson is more likely to be the next leader but the odds offered at 5/1 are probably realistic so not worth a small figure punt.

        • Teal Ptarmigan

          R-M sure is “good value” at 33s, Viv O’Bliv. Now at 40s- it seems to good to be true.

          I suppose, so the argument runs, the bet won’t win (thus it might as well be 100-1)… and you cannot properly use that value in arbitrage, as the maximum bet-cap is low, hence the problem in rinsing out this very generous edge on R-Moggy.

          Still, a damned fine punt for any amount you can comfortably afford to lose, and way better than fives on Johnson. Good observation, VO’B

  • John Goss

    3 days ago when I started writing this article no western newspaper coverage turned up in any search (including Google). Today I have found articles 3 & 4 days old from the Star and Mirror which appear to be a fair reflection of defector Prozorov’s accusations against Ukraine regarding MH17 though not much about the torture sites. Perhaps they too were being blocked. For twenty four hours I was not allowed to share this blogpost. And unable to use WordPress to write about the experience. This is called muting. To try and combat it I used an old blog. As Craig Murray so often points out torture is in breach of international law.

    This is a more in-depth exposure from a reputable Chilean journalist Whitney Webb.

    It bothers me that our media and social networks instead of condemning these accusations of torture mutes those who are trying to bring it to light. These torture sites have long been known but when the UN has tried to investigate them the old chestnut appears. “You are not allowed to visit for reasons of National Security”.

      • Paul Barbara

        @ Kempe March 29, 2019 at 11:01
        The object of the visits is they be unannounced, not that they be allowed four months later. Plenty of time for the Ukrainians to clear up the sites. I’m surprised that did not occur to you.
        ‘..Under the Optional Protocol (OPCAT), the SPT is mandated to visit all States parties and can make unannounced visits to any places of detention. ..’

      • John Goss

        I wouldn’t have thought you supported torture Kempe. Obviously they are not going to permit visits when torture is going on. There is a network of these black sites. I’m sure you can work it out.

        • Kempe

          I don’t and Amnesty and HRW have presented enough evidence against Ukraine.

          They’ve also published compelling evidence against Russia and Syria but I seem to remember that the reaction of certain posters here was to close their eyes to it on the pretence that both organisations were run by the CIA.

          • John Goss

            “The Russian Federation has refused to allow the OHCHR access to Crimea since 2014…”

            Probably because the OHCHR does not recognise Crimea as being Russian despite the vast majority of its residents believing themselves to be Russian and Crimea part of Russia (as in the 2018 elections). When it starts calling Crimea Russian I’m sure there will be no impeding of inspections,

          • John Goss

            And Russia and Crimea have not to my knowledge been accused of having “black sites” of torture, unlike the government OHCHR chooses to recognise (Ukraine) as having sovereignty over the island against the will of the inhabitants.

    • Sharp Ears

      The money trail – SVT is a Swedish broadcaster.

      ‘SVT also reported this week that Swedbank’s branch in Lithuania funnelled millions of dollars from accounts in Ukraine that may have been linked to the country’s deposed former president, Viktor Yanukovych, who is now in exile in Russia and facing treason charges at home.

      ‘SVT said some of the money had found its way to accounts linked to Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s convicted former campaign chairman, who had previously worked for Mr Yanukovych. Swedbank is also now being investigated by US authorities for misleading them.’

      The banks are SWEDBANK and NORDEA.

  • Laguerre

    Somebody may already have said this, but I couldn’t see that it made much difference whether it was Labour in power or the Tories. The Tories would have done the same, and indeed have on other occasions. It’s a problem of the British establishment, not of Labour. Britain has never had an “ethical” foreign policy, except for about ten minutes under Robin Cook. The exceptional qualities of Labour are supposed to be about social policy, not foreign policy, and indeed the Blairite regime was like that. It was relatively good on its treatment of people, and let down by Iraq. It’s decades-long foreign policies, i.e. subservience to the US, which are the problem, not linked to one government or another. The Labour party doesn’t have a darker soul than the Tories, who indeed have the blackest hearts, as we are witnessing this week.

      • Dennis Revell


        “They call it raison d’etat for a reason”

        Yea, the reason is that there is NO reason based on morality and what is actually reasonable that even dumbed down masses would accept, so they come up with some clever-arsed French phrase in the unreasonably all too often realised expectation that people will go “oh, I see”, when they quite clearly fucking well do not.


    • Dennis Revell


      That is palpable crap.

      As Craig has pointed out, everybody expects the Tories to be bastards, that is their DNA. They have bastard DNA.

      A more than reasonable expection, however, would be that a Labour Party – if there were one – I believe there isn’t, I refer to the entity of that name as the “Labour” Party – would also place some value on the living conditions of working people throughout the World; OK, not so quite so much perhaps, on those of the working people in its own country, but certainly not be in so much disdain of them that it contributes to bombing their life supporting infrastructure all to shit, murdering many of those distant working people in the process.

      And certainly it would not be expected that almost without exception those countries that the “Labour” Party willingy helped to destroy, had pretty good social services and National Health Services – free at the point of use for all, pretty much all, allegedly, goals of that “Labour” Party.

      This foreign policy being independent of political party truly is bullshit. There would have been close to zero serious internal political pressure on Blair had he not joined the United States of World Horror in what was then the worst War-Crime of the 21st century and may still be. IN fact without Blair’s dodgy dossier the war may not have happened at all – the debate in the US Congress was by no means a slam dunk for Bush – and much appeal was made to the views of the perceived-to-be far more reasonable and level-headed Tony Blair and his dodgy dossier (dodgy aka false in this context). Goldsmith telling Blair that the war would be illegal should have clinched it – even amongst those in the UK or the US in positions to pressure Blair to engage in the atrocity; as should be well-known, Blair’s response to Goldsmith was “we have to find a way to make it legal”. Oh, and what was that phrase he used to George Bush? Something like: We are with you whatever.

      Like Craig unfortuneately you go overboard, way overboard in praise of Robin Cook. Ethical? Ethical my arse. Unless the sale of Hawk jet to the brutal sometime ¿near? genocidal state of Indonesia is ethical. That’s just from a couple of comments to a nauseatingly sycophantic obituary to Cook dissapointingly from Galloway’s Respect Party posted at the Indymedia website, linked to below. Gratifyingly to some extent, all the comments appended, bar one, rip Repect’s obituary to shreds – including of course, my own:

      Begin Indymedia comment

      Principled? Man of peace? BOLLOCKS.

      10.08.2005 09:07
      The ONLY difference between Cook and Blair is that the former was a “mere” War Criminal (Kosovo), the latter a SERIAL War Criminal (Kosovo & Iraq).

      Cook lied through his teeth over events in Kosovo, and in particular his gross mis-characterisation of Milosevic’s 1989 Kolovo Polje speech, about which he said:

      “Milosevic used this important anniversary not to give a message of hope and reform. Instead, he threatened force to deal with Yugoslavia’s internal political difficulties. Doing so thereby launched his personal agenda of power and ethnic hatred under the cloak of nationalism. All the peoples of the region have suffered grievously ever since.”

      … which is total crap:
      (actual speech)

      The ONLY thing sad about Cook’s death, as now with ANY “Labour” politician, is that it wasn’t more long drawn out, painful, and MUCH sooner. And that it wasn’t Blair’s.

      But for Kosovo (and his dealings with fascist Indonesia), his opposition to the Iraq War Crime would have given him a more honourable legacy. I can’t figure out his opposition to that, unless it’s to do with some strange affinity he had for Muslims (which would explain his support for the terrorist KLA, and the even more terrorist Indonesian Govt).

      Cook was a lying manipulative motherf**ker, who didn’t give a rat’s backside about the people he helped kill; so he fit right in with New “Labour”.

      Probably a forlorn hope, but may the Iraqi Resistance prevail!

      Dennis Revell
      mail e-mail:
      – Homepage:

      End Indymedia comment


      • Clark

        People can change; is it possible that Cook woke up to sources of propaganda that previously he had trusted? There’s a tendency to think of the corporate media as parroting the government line, which it does when the government happens to be saying what it wants, but it also has its own agenda which is often more aggressive than the government’s.

        I read Cook’s memoirs, The Point of Departure; he was trying to reform parliament to make it more democratic and accountable, and towards the time of his resignation there was a concerted media campaign against him.

        • Clark

          What I’m saying is that members of government can be as susceptible to corporate media propaganda as anyone else.

          • Dennis Revell


            I don’t necessarily disagree with your posts, but I’m talking about what actually happened, and what must be recognised as the real legacy of a former foreign secretary.

            I certainly would not disagree that Straw was easily measurably more evil than Cook – though it would be entirely reasonable for people of the former Yugoslavia and Serbia to disagree with me there.

            THe fact is, just as there was the admirable Scott Ritter – who actually gave a presentation in Parliament – advocating against the Iraq War, saying of his too pro-American boss Richard Butler that he was “lying to his teeth” (which straight-forward answer made the CNN guy almost fall out of his chair), so that MPs SHOULD know better than to vote for that atrocity, so there were also people, advocating from a position of knowledge against the attack and breakup of Yugoslavia and later of Serbia – and a foreign secretary really MUST be expected to be familiar with all such things. Hell, if any bright curious enough kid with Internet access could figure out that the Western orchestrated breakup of Yugoslavia was based on bullshit (primarily emanating from the Vatican, and Germany – the BND still stinging from what they perceived as their largely Yugoslav caused defeat in WW II), then you’d figure a foreign secretary could too – unless, of course, he also was one of your “raison d’etat” bastards.


          • Clark

            Well, I don’t know. If I get the chance to read The Point of Departure again, I shall bear your comments in mind. But it’s not likely since I lent my copy to Craig, and he’s never returned any book I lent him.

      • craig Post author


        re the Hawk sale to Indonesia, read my book The Catholic Orangemen of Togo (you can find it online for free download). I hope it gives a rounded view of Cook.

  • Martinned

    Prominent international law professor (and lefty) Jan Klabbers published an article about what the Chagos Islands case means for other self-determination cases, such as Scotland and Catalunya. I figured this might be of interest to Craig and to a couple of the regular commenters here:

    It is this position that was recently taken by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in its advisory opinion on the fate of the Chagos Archipelago, where the Court assimilates the right of self-determination strongly with decolonization, following the argumentative structure presented by Mauritius, while carving out a little niche, almost in passing, for its application in situations of gross oppression.
    What was also ingenious was to ask the question at this moment in time, in light of discussions in various parts of the world concerning the possible self-determination of groups of people, whether in Spain (Catalunya) or in Ukraine (Crimea) or even the United Kingdom itself, where a referendum on Scottish self-determination had taken place not so long ago. And then there is Brexit, also involving the United Kingdom and yet another attempt to break away from a larger whole under a loose set of thoughts bearing an uncanny resemblance to the idea of self-determination. Counsel for Mauritius sardonically invoked former UK Foreign Minister Boris Johnson’s letter of resignation in support: Johnson had resigned in light of Brexit since ‘no one wants to be a colony’. In short, the timing was felicitous: this was an opportune moment for the Court to operationalize self-determination and make it workable beyond its established value as a right to be taken seriously. And the Court seized the moment, limiting the scope of self-determination to processes of decolonization: shrinking self-determination to fit decolonization.

    • Martinned

      And further down:

      There is however a second, and much more immediately practical reason as to why the Court felt compelled to invoke the right to self-determination, and it can be summarized as follows. As noted above, on some readings, the right to self-determination has been most successful in the context of decolonization. It has been less successful, and downright ‘explosive’, in non-colonial settings, whether Kashmir, Katanga, Kosovo, or any of a multitude of other settings. In such settings, where the ‘mother’ state is unwilling to allow a part to secede, the right to self-determination only leads to overblown expectations leading to violence and bloodshed, sometimes on a massive scale. Put this way, there is every reason to discourage the romantic reliance on a right to self-determination that cannot be enforced in the face of determined political opposition, and put this way. there is every reason to limit the scope of the right to those entities that are generally regarded as non-self-governing in the meaning of Article 73 of the UN Charter. It is too late to prevent bloody struggles in Kosovo, Katanga or Kashmir, but it is clear that this is not where the quest for self-determination stops. Self-determination, moreover, is not just a problem of poor states in the global south, but has also made inroads in the western world: think Quebec, think Scotland. And with populist politicians keen to tap in to romantic notions somehow related to self-determination, whether in the form of Brexit’s return to ‘sovereignty’, or politicians in the Netherlands (some of them, ironically, of immigrant descent) discovering the purity of indigenous Dutch-ness, or the almost-drama of Catalunya not so long ago, the Court must have felt it wiser to close off this avenue as much as it could. The Court cannot, sadly perhaps, prevent lunacy of the Brexit-type from occurring, but it can limit the amount of legal arguments available to those entities that wish to break away, especially perhaps from reasonably well-functioning, reasonably liberal democracies.

    • Martinned

      …and the concluding paragraph:

      In the end, it is clear that according to the Court, whichever way one turns the opinion, colonialism was on trial, and colonialism can only be met by a response based on self-determination. Doing so connects self-determination to non-self-governing territories, and does so almost by exclusion. The Court leaves open (and has to leave open) the possibility for resorting to self-determination outside the decolonization context, as a ‘fundamental human right’ to be relied on in times of great despair. It is striking, however, how reluctant the Court is to extend self-determination to entities such as Catalunya, parts of reasonably well-functioning democracies. In such cases, the Court seems strongly to rely on the sentiment ascribed to Woodrow Wilson a century ago, once his initial enthusiasm for self-determination had cooled off a little: the Catalans, the Quebecois and the Scots live ‘in a democratic country and [can] sort it out through democratic means.’ In such circumstances, there is no need for international law to help out.

      So yeah, this Chagos Islands judgment may not be such good news for independence movements in places like Scotland or Catalunya.

      • Republicofscotland


        One man’s flawed opinion of what constitutes independence, is in no way palatable or sensible to those seeking to self determination.

        Klabbers “romantic notion” as he puts it is laughable, its a natural state for a unique group of people to wish independence. If it wasn’t there wouldn’t be as many countries in the world as there are.

        Klabbers that many countries are born of bloodshed, including his own.

        • Martinned

          You may not like the way he expressed his analysis, but that does not take away from the question of what role the right to self-determination, as recognised in international treaties, plays in a post-colonial world. And his suggestion that the ICJ, in its opinion, sought to identify the right to self determination closely with decolonisation should worry those in Scotland and Catalunya who would seek to rely on international law to support their claims to independence.

          (For the record, I’m not sure that I’m convinced by Klabbers’ analysis. But then, I recognise that he has much more expertise in this area than I do, so I’m not about to disregard his conclusions.)

          • Republicofscotland

            “And his suggestion ”

            I suppose its Klabbers remit to be suggestive if nothing else. On other matters of Klabbers I agree about not dismissing him.

      • Dennis Revell


        And this guy’s a professor of law?? I’ll debate him any day.

        As RoS says, a flawed argument. I would say very flawed in it’s Western European Type (WET) orientation.

        He used the phrase “reasonably well-functioning, reasonably liberal democracies“, a phrase of excuse, a whitewashing phrase to cover the countries we ALL know he’s referring to, primarily those inhabited and/or occupied by predominantly White WETs, and using WET judgement as to what comprises reasonably well-functioning, reasonably liberal democracies; whereas many people, even including many WETs, such as the one typing this, doubt the existence anywhere of such entities. It’s difficult to think of any that are not to varying degree in a shambolic state, and with unreasonable undemocratic restrictions placed on their citizens.

        I think it’s reasonable to assume that Klabber includes those countries that have murdered an almost uncountable number of people and maimed even more as well as destroyed vital life giving infrastructure in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia, etc,etc in that group of reasonably well-functioning, reasonably liberal democracies; whereas I’m pretty sure those actions, in the case of the UK, for example, were not in any party manifesto – for sure the War-Criminal Blair’s destruction of Yugoslavia was not in the “Labour” party manifesto. No doubt all the NATO countries are included in Klabber’s characterisation; including the United States of World Horror, a country whose formation was soaked in blood, and whose continued existence is also. A country that emerged from the largest and most successful genocide in modern history – probably all of history – that of the indigenous North Americans – a genocide (though the word didn’t exist then) much admired by Adolf Hitler – he speaks of it in glowing terms in Mein Kampf.

        On that last point, I wonder if Klabber would think it reasonable for the ICJ to take on the case of the surviving indigenous North Americans – in the US and Canada to have their countries (nations) returned to them by the colonising WETs, followed by expulsion of those WETs? Last time I heard there was no statute of limitations on genocide – in this case I mean “colloquial” genocide – the deliberate directed mass-murder of men and boys, and women and girls (the latter two categories being one reason, beyond the straighforward one of lying propaganda of certain reasonably well-functioning, reasonably liberal democracies, why their Srebrenica genocide allegations were complete and utter bullshit).

        Also it is more than reasonable to assume that Klabber’s definition of reasonably well-functioning, reasonably liberal democracies would not include countries that claim that they are democratic but which the WET countries do not accept as such – according to their preferences. Russia and Cuba come to mind – albeit on closer analysis Cuba may be the most democratic country in the World in terms of citizen participation in the decisions that are made – “all politics being local”. This probable non-recognition also in spite of the fact that Cuba has a parliamentary system closely resembling that of the UK (without all the swearing allegiance to a parasitic figurehead crap), and ignoring the fact that Cuba betters many WET countries in human development indices, including for example, that Cuba has the most physicians per capita than any other country on Earth – more than double the US, and the UK.

        Klabber’s “treatise” stinks to high heaven of the persistent WET onanism, that is nauseatingly difficult to get away from or prevent. WET’s almost take it as read that they are right – yes, I’m stereotyping – but that’s OK because I’m one too. 😉


    • Michael McNulty

      They call themselves Change when they want things to remain. They claim independence with undeclared finance so independent is the last thing they are. They strut around as though elected officials when none were elected to represent what they stand for, and until registered with the Electoral Commission they’re not even a political party. Everything about them is a contradiction, everything said about them a lie. They are serious mischief and we have yet to see the real plans for them and the damage they’re going to do to democracy.

      • Dennis Revell


        Oh, I think any ‘damage to democracy’ would hardly even show at this stage.

        To damage something, you have to have it in fhe first place.


    • Jo1

      They may have to change Change! The campaigning group is objecting and is seeking legal advice apparently.

  • Republicofscotland

    One of the reasons for what we see as the rise of the ugly face of the far right in Europe must be the $51 million dollars that American fundamentalist groups with alleged links to Bannon and Trump, have pumped into far right European groups over the last five years.

    The EU has such great concerns about this, that 40 MEP’s signed a letter urging an immediate EU investigation. The money is also be used to lobby European governments.

    I’d imagine the goal is to vilify immigrants and refugees, in an attempt to keep the EU divided at a political level, and thus weaken the European Union overall.

    • freddy

      About one third of those immigrants and refugees are moslems; Islam being another well-known “ultra-conservative” religion

      Note that the article says money is going to Christian groups, not far-right groups per se (although my vicar is a bit of a Nazi)

        • freddy

          If you say so RoS. At any rate, I agree that Bannon and the Trump administration aren’t fans of the EU. I’d be surprised ‘dark money’ wasn’t flowing in from that direction; it’s flowing in from every other one.

          • Ian

            Banks and the DUP have never explained the £8m they sourced to manipulate data and target voters with false claims hidden ads. Probably Mercer’s money.

          • Clark

            NoScript isn’t “fit and forget”; some sites don’t work without scripts and you have to learn which to enable. But it’s probably better than anti-virus, and it’s a real eye-opener. Scripts are programs loaded across the ‘net that run in your browser (slowing your system down and making it more vulnerable); most of them do things for companies, like discovering what you’re interested in and reporting back to wherever they came from. NoScript lets you see their origin. As a rule, the more commercial the site, the more domains are pushing scripts at you. The gutter press pushes scripts from so many origins that NoScript has to produce a scroll bar!

          • Clark

            This site doesn’t need any scripts enabled, except to search, or comment as a reply to another comment, and then you need to enable and
            And if there are videos you’ll need usually
            You get used to which domains need to be enabled.

    • Michael McNulty

      I think another reason is that as the political left becomes attractive to more people and support for socialist policies grow, western leaders want to peel as many as they can away from the left and towards the far-right. To them ugly fascism is preferable to fairer socialism.

  • Republicofscotland

    The British establishment is told hold a thanksgiving service at Westminster Abbey, to mark 50 years of Britain having nukes.

    “Anti-nuclear campaigners have condemned plans to host a thanksgiving service for Britain’s nuclear weapons system at Westminster Abbey.”

    “The Royal Navy will host a National Service of Thanksgiving to mark 50 years of the Continuous at Sea Deterrent (CASD) on the 3rd of May (1) (2). New CASD Dreadnought submarines are currently being constructed as part of a £205 billion (3) Trident replacement scheme.”

    Of course they’ll tell you that the nukes are a deterrent, yet many other nation don’t possess or host nukes and have not been invaded or nuked.

    The billions of pounds wasted on these British phallic symbols of potency, shouldve been spent elsewhere. On the NHS, infrastructure, teachers, doctors, medicines etc.

      • Republicofscotland

        This is the official reason according to Jens Stoltenberg.

        NATO has been conducting exercises with Georgia, located on the Black Sea, From March 18 to March 29, involving 343 military and civilian personnel from 21 NATO members, Azerbaijan, Sweden and Georgia.

        I recall Ukranian vessels and Russian vessels involved in a skirmish in the Black sea not that long ago. This could be a show of strength by Nato.

        • Sharp Ears

          NATO says Black Sea maneuvers ‘unrelated’ to Ukrainian election
          29 Mar, 2019 16:38
          NATO Standing Maritime Group 2’s exercises in the Black Sea were “long-planned” and are unrelated to the Ukrainian presidential election, an alliance official told TASS on Friday. The maritime group is currently conducting patrols in the Black Sea ahead of Sea Shield 2019 maneuvers, according to its representative. Neither the patrols, nor the exercises, are linked to events in Ukraine, the official said. On Friday, Russia’s National Defense Management Center said that the Russian Navy is monitoring a group of NATO vessels that have entered the Black Sea. In 2018, NATO Standing Maritime Group 2 vessels entered the Black Sea three times as part of planned exercises. Ukraine holds its seventh presidential election on March 31, with 39 candidates running.

          Trust Stoltenberg is pleased with this nonsense.

    • Michael McNulty

      With America as the only country to have dropped nukes on another, letting them dictate who can and who can’t have nukes is like letting the Nazis dictate who can and who can’t have gas chambers.

      • Republicofscotland

        Not that I’m for nukes, but yes you’re correct, it’s a very exclusive club, and North Korea or Iran are not welcome. However Israel is.

        I’d imagine that Britain has done that much shit in the past, and is widely loathed that the nukes are a sort of comforter.

        • Sharp Ears

          Israel being one of the producers of nuclear fuel (and weaponry?), thanks to the US, who have not signed up to the non proliferation treaty.

  • Republicofscotland

    Failing Grayling lambasted again, yet party comes before anything else so he won’t be sacked.

    “The British public has been made less safe by Chris Grayling’s “irredeemably flawed” part-privatisation of probation services, it has been warned.”

    “HM Chief Inspector of Probation said the 2014 decision to divide offenders between the public National Probation Service (NPS) and private community rehabilitation companies (CRCs) had caused “poor quality” monitoring of criminals.”

    • Sharp Ears

      An item on BBC South Today last night showed near empty Brittany Ferries leaving from Portsmouth, part of his £46.5m contract commencing yesterday, supposedly the day on which we left the EU. The conclusion from lorry owners was that the money would have been better spent on infrastructure such as increases in customs personnel at the ports.

  • Charles Bostock

    Thinking about the handle which one of this blog’s most assiduous commenters has given himself made me qsk myself the following question : is it a given that an independent Scotland would adopt the Republican form of government?

    After all, it is possible for fully independent states – much bigger than Scotland – to have The Queen as their Head of State. One thinks, for instance, of Canada.

    I have been unable to find anything in SNP manifestos, position papers and so on about this question. Is the SNP on record anywhere about its position on this matter?

    I also wonder whether any future Indyref could not usefully put this question as a second question on the ballot paper?

    • michael norton

      Charles, the last leader of the SNP wanted to keep the pound and the queen.

    • JOML

      Charles, this came up at the 2014 referendum and was largely pushed aside as an irrelevance. From memory, it was proposed that the Queen would remain in place until such time that the Scottish electorate decided otherwise.
      Personally, I find the concept of a ‘Royal Family’ a bit bizarre and would gladly be shot of them, if you pardon the terminology!
      Quite fond of this anthem though…
      As for having a question alongside an independence question, I’d hope trivial matters such as the Queen is left for another day.

    • Laguerre

      I think she’ll go for an election – there were rumours earlier, and I think they weren’t fake.

    • Republicofscotland

      Westminster is now a zombie parliament, a GE is required to break the deadlock.

        • Republicofscotland

          Actually there’s method in my thinking, that Scotland could declare independence on the strength of a majority electing the SNP north of the border.

      • Squeeth

        This parliament is no more! He has ceased to be! ‘E’s expired and gone to meet ‘is maker! ‘E’s a stiff! Bereft of life, ‘e rests in peace! If you hadn’t nailed ‘im to the perch ‘e’d be pushing up the daisies! ‘Is metabolic processes are now ‘istory! ‘E’s off the twig! ‘E’s kicked the bucket, ‘e’s shuffled off ‘is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisible!! THIS IS AN EX-PARLIAMENT!!

    • Sharp Ears

      ‘An EU official has said: “Following the negative vote in the House of Commons today, Article 50 will now be extended until 12 April as decided by [European leaders] last week.
      “[Donald] Tusk has called a European Council on 10 April to consider the way forward.
      “We expect the UK to indicate a way forward before then, well in time for the European Council to consider.
      “The exact timing and modalities of the [European Council] are still to be decided, but like last week, the UK PM can be expected to participate in the beginning of the meeting.”‘

      The paralysis continues.

      • Dennis Revell


        “Question accordingly negatived.”

        Negatived? – These prats are so arrogant they just make up horrible sounding words on the fly?

        – and if it is a word, it shouldn’t be!



  • michael norton

    Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called for Mrs.Theresa May to resign and call a general election

  • Squeeth

    The referendum was the only democratic state vote held in my life so I didn’t boycott it. I never guessed how much I was going to enjoy the consequences. The boss class is shitting itself at the thought of a real exit.

  • Republicofscotland

    Jeez oh the stupidity of some at Westminster leaves even me breathless at times.

    “A new Royal Yacht Britannia would act as a boon to the UK’s international trade and “unite” the country following the bitter divisions of the Brexit debate, a government minister has said.”‘unite’-country

    Is there anyone in here who believes that a new yacht for the UK’s number one scrounger of state benefits, will somehow bring Britain together again?

    • pete

      Re a new Royal Yacht
      The minister uttering this was Jake Berry: You may recall him as voting against a proposal to make rented housing habitable a legal requirement:
      “In January 2016, the Labour Party unsuccessfully proposed an amendment in Parliament that would have required private landlords to make their homes “fit for human habitation”. According to Parliament’s register of interests, Berry was one of 72 Conservative MPs who voted against the amendment who personally derived an income from renting out property. The Conservative Government had responded to the amendment that they believed homes should be fit for human habitation but did not want to pass the new law that would explicitly require it”
      So, should the new Royal Yacht be habitable?

      • Republicofscotland

        No Pete I didn’t know that thanks for informing me. All rented flat should habital, and if laws are required to ensure that, and I’m sure they must be, then so be it.

        Berry probably has wealthy flat owning (renting out as landlords) friends.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    Excellent Result. Disgusted with almost all our MP’s, especially Jacob Rees-Mogg, who buckled like the soft Jelly fish he is, and actually voted for it. I certainly wouldn’t want him as a Captain of any team, I was in, I would prefer Jeremy Corbyn. I might disagree with many of his policies, but I know he is a person of integrity, in with a chance of reforming the Labour Party, despite the fact that many on his ship, and elsewhere have been doing their best to chuck him overboard. I also know, he wants out of the EU as much as I do.

    I also know, that the vast majority of MP’s who voted today (either way) actually want to stay in The EU, but the game ain’t over till the fat lady sings…and the EU monsters have just gone into a panic….as there is very little now, to prevent the slide into a No Deal Exit, which would be the perfect and just result, especially for all these liars and charlatans. I reckon even The Germans and The French would go for it, just to get rid of us. They will quite obviously want to punish us, and make an example of us.

    We can take that, and we will keep our £39BN.

    Do you want a deal now?

    Do you want us to buy your stuff?

    It’s not that difficult to negotiate. Even I can do it, and come to an amicable agreement.

    When you can’t agree, you just walk away, and give a little smile, over your shoulder, and keep on walking.

    He wants to sell it, and you want to buy it.

    Usually works, and we both think we have done well and shake hands.


  • nevermind

    Baldricks 1st.WW poem, full of doom and gloom fits very well with todays attempt at procedings..
    I believe it goes as follows

    Boom boom boom boom
    boom boom boom.
    Boom boom boom boom boom.

    • Dennis Revell


      Absolutely effin’ hilarious in its stupidity in “appealing” to the Principal lifelong inheritable dole-collector parasite in Buck House..


      “I remain your Majesty’s humble and obedient servant
      … should be obsequious servant

      Didn’t know whether to laugh or vomit.



  • fwl

    A GE is not sufficient. Everyone will want to vote on Brexit but the main parties don’t provide a voice for leavers unless your preferred candidate is of the same view as you. Therefore we need a double election: combine EU and GE then electorate can express their Brexit / EU preference in the EU election and stick to normal concerns on the GE.

    Of course that may not get us there if the usual crowd are re-elected on the GE and continue to ignore the vote in the EU.
    So may a double election + a referendum too:

    1 Do you want to leave or stay?
    2 If you want to leave do you want to leave with the PM deal or no deal?

    alternatively 2 could be: If the majority answer to 1 is that we leave do you want to leave with the PM deal or no deal?

    There is no point including a third option as to customs union etc. We have had two years and its only the deal as negotiated or no deal.

    • Tony

      Be voted for a no deal leave in the referendum – we were repeatedly told prior to the referendum that leaving meant leaving the customs union and leaving the single market. Remain and Project Fear and their pet msm have spent the nearly last three years trying to convince us that we didn’t vote for what we actually voted for, and lying to us about the consequences of getting what we voted for. This is the SOP of the EU’s stooges every time there is a threatened rebellion. Meanwhile, the EU’s masters, the banks and multinationals, continue to make a killing at the expense of the EU countries they exploit.

    • JOML

      A GE may see the demise of the Tories and Labour, with the LibDems (remainers) fighting it out with UKIP (leavers). The latter parties’ manifestos will be clear, whereas the Tories and Labour will struggle to have a clear manifesto. In Scotland, it will be similar, but with the SNP against the Unionist Tories (although SNP leavers will be stumped!).
      What a mess, created by muppets, with no innovative individuals sticking their head above the parapet.

      • fwl

        If Corbyn found a bit of bottle he could go for the PM deal or a no deal Brexit Provided that Parliament incorporates the European Charter of Fundamental Rights into UK law on an irrevocable basis so that Judges can continue to interpret UK legislation on the basis of those fundamental rights.

        • fwl

          And the DUP, Plaid and the SNP could demand a Council of the Isles to ensure that Westminster doesn’t dilute the rights and status of devolved governments.

          In that way NI Wales Scotland and Labour can use a no deal to establish some sort of federal constitution for the UK.

          • Fwl

            Of course if the fundamental purpose of the EU is not to act as a gravy train or super state but to act as a roof or lid on nationalism and to stop war in Europe then then UK has to always accept a role in that and not tend to act in a way which undermines that function, but in other regards we should (a) develop our own way in the world and (b) take this opportunity to set up a federal constitution.

            If one of the underlying unstated purposes of Brexit is to reduce judicial oversight of parliament because that is considered to be a tool to creating business flexibility and competitiveness then people should be aware of that – i.e. labour should resist that side of it and the way to do that would be to incorporate the Charter (or something equivalent) in to a sovereign constitutional document or body of law or principles.

      • Michael McNulty

        A lot of Conservatives and Labour MPs won’t be returned at the next election whether they voted against their constituents’ wishes or for them, Brexit is that divisive. Apart from a lot of votes (not necessarily meaning seats) going to Farage’s Brexit Party, a lot of votes will go to Independents, so by a quirk of fate we may end up with something similar to Proportional Representation and a weakening of the two-party system. That can only be a good thing for democracy because no vote will be easy to force in favour of one side.

        • fwl

          I am coming around to the view that the big motivator for Brexiteers is Parliamentary sovereignty not just over EU (obvs) but also over our own courts. That is because it is only by virtue of our EU membership that our courts gained the upper hand and ability to fetter Parliament. The civil service was neutered and post Brexit the courts are going to be castrated too.

          When we leave the EU we are not only exiting the EU we are also reversing the constitutional control of the UL courts over Parliament. That is an invisible almost a secret side effect of Brexit because we don’t have an obvious constitution as such. One has to consider case law to appreciate how courts gained the upper hand after we joined the EU and recently even began to interpret Acts of Parliament by reference to the Charter (the unincorporated) Charter of Fundamental Rights.

          Reckon Labour and the SNP should forget about the Customs Union and waffle about economic damage, recognising that no one knows and that the EU is wounded economically anyway*, and instead focus on protecting the British constitutional position post Brexit which basically means negotiating something like the incorporation of the Charter or some variation of on a constitutional basis.

          (* which is a significant and worrying concern because it is the economic entwined functioning of France and Germany, which allows the EU to perform its no 1 objective and act as a roof keeping the peace in Europe).

  • Dennis Revell


    Well, politicians apparently acting ethically on some matters, as Robin Cook on the right of return to Diego Garcia, does not preclude them from being complete bastards on others.

    Craig writes:
    “,,,This was one of the factors, added to Cook’s opposition to arms sales to dictatorships and insistence on criticising human rights abuses ….”

    Well, it depends, Cooke certainly wasn’t shy in early on flying out to Indonesia to secure the sale of Hawk jets to that odious regime. Nor did hardly one word of truth emanate from his dissembling mouth concerning the situation in the Balkans, Yugoslavia, Serbia and KosovO.

    As I wrote a long time ago in a comment to an obsequious obituary to Cook – dissappointingly originating from George Galloway’s Respect Party:

    Principled? Man of peace? BOLLOCKS.
    10.08.2005 09:07
    The ONLY difference between Cook and Blair is that the former was a “mere” War Criminal (Kosovo), the latter a SERIAL War Criminal (Kosovo & Iraq).

    Cook lied through his teeth over events in Kosovo, and in particular his gross mis-characterisation of Milosevic’s 1989 Kolovo Polje speech, about which he said:

    “Milosevic used this important anniversary not to give a message of hope and reform. Instead, he threatened force to deal with Yugoslavia’s internal political difficulties. Doing so thereby launched his personal agenda of power and ethnic hatred under the cloak of nationalism. All the peoples of the region have suffered grievously ever since.”

    … which is total crap:
    (actual speech)

    The ONLY thing sad about Cook’s death, as now with ANY “Labour” politician, is that it wasn’t more long drawn out, painful, and MUCH sooner. And that it wasn’t Blair’s.

    But for Kosovo (and his dealings with fascist Indonesia), his opposition to the Iraq War Crime would have given him a more honourable legacy. I can’t figure out his opposition to that, unless it’s to do with some strange affinity he had for Muslims (which would explain his support for the terrorist KLA, and the even more terrorist Indonesian Govt).

    Cook was a lying manipulative motherf**ker, who didn’t give a rat’s backside about the people he helped kill; so he fit right in with New “Labour”.

    Probably a forlorn hope, but may the Iraqi Resistance prevail!

    Dennis Revell

    Every other comment there bar one was similarly scathing.


    On the other hand I would not go to any trouble, for instance, to bother arguing against the proposition that Cook’s eventual replacement Jack Straw isn’t an order of magnitude or two more evil than Cook was – plainly, there are degrees of evil. Here is a letter I wrote – one of many at the time – but this one to Jack Straw with a few et alias, at the beginning of the Iraq atrocity; looking back at it, though sarcastic as hell, I can hardly believe just how polite and (mostly) unprofane I was back in those days – I reasonably blame my “change of state” since then on the clear fact that nothing, NOTHING that I, or Stop-The-War, Uncle Tom Cobbley, or 1.6 million people demonstrating in London have done has changed a damned thing:


    • Anon1

      “The ONLY thing sad about Cook’s death, as now with ANY “Labour” politician, is that it wasn’t more long drawn out, painful, and MUCH sooner.”

      Wow. And this was your kinder, gentler self?

  • JOML

    Is it time for a referendum in all components of the UK – stay in or leave the UK?
    That way, you’ll cut out a lot of the spin and lies – and no single component is oppressed, subsidied or out of pocket, unless by choice, and each component can deal with the EU separately.
    Could it be that simple?

  • Anon1

    Odds now 2/1 for No Deal exit before 13 April. I must inform you all I have a quite substantial sum resting on odds considerably better than that.

  • Jack

    Democracy is hurt every time these people vote against the peoples wish to leave the union.
    On top of that there is obviously politicians that deliberately making the exit harder than it has to, also leaders in the EU.

    • JOML

      Jack, the “people’s wish” was for £350m each week for the NHS, amongst other things. That battle bus headline was 100% pish, so what we’re talking about is ‘what people are conned into voting for’ rather than democracy.
      That said, I’m no fan of the EU and politicians lie at every General Election, but not with such whooping headline, cast iron lies – so to talk about “democracy” in this context is bollocks… in my humble opinion.

      • Stonky

        Jack, the “people’s wish” was for £350m each week for the NHS, amongst other things. That battle bus headline was 100% pish, so what we’re talking about is ‘what people are conned into voting for’ rather than democracy…

        I honestly doubt that you could find a single person in the country (I mean real people, as opposed to imaginary people who live in Guardian readers’ heads) who was going to vote remain, and then saw that message on the side of the bus, and changed their mind, and voted leave. The bus message was a simplistic headline grabber, and that’s all.

        If you want to see a genuine and deliberate lie, then look at the wording on George Osborne’s poster: “Families would be more than £4300 worse off”

        The figure was based on GDP, and not family incomes – and all the more specious because it didn’t actually say so. It was a deliberate and calculated attempt to con people who didn’t follow up on the story, and simple people who don’t know the difference (and there appear to be plenty of “I’m so much smarter than you” remainers who fall into that category).

        • Clark

          Theorem: as news deteriorates to propaganda, associated two-way votes will tend towards 50:50.

          Theory: perceiving themselves to be deprived of factual information, voters’ remaining choice is to accept the pressure of propaganda, or react against it.

      • Jack


        They simply do not like the EU and that vote should be respected = thus democracy is hurt when the vote is not respected.
        I am not sure which headline you refer to, on the other side you can hear the same, how remainers were conned. Its a usless debate.

      • Michael McNulty

        The EU did nothing to save many thousands of victims of Tory cruelty from dying in destitution or by suicide, all while it itself handed out huge sums of money to some of the richest landowners in the EU who would no doubt survive well enough without it. I voted Leave and for not one minute did I believe the lie about £350m going to the NHS. Most of it would go to those same people who didn’t really need that, either.

  • Paul Barbara

    Meanwhile, in Syria, ‘French, Belgian intelligence are plotting false flag chemical attack in Syria’s Idlib – Moscow’:
    Doubtless the British Bropaganda Corporation will be out ahead of the pack in detailing the dreadful ‘atrocity’, and praising the bravery of the ‘White Helmets’ (the headchoppers’ PR outfit).
    And the Bliarites, ‘Change’ and their Tory blood brothers and sisters will be baying for blood, in ‘retaliation’.

  • Stonky

    I confidently predict that after the next election the members of the “Change” Party will be members of the “Any spare change guv?” Party.

      • RichardN

        Will Dominic Grieve be joining them as he’s just been kicked out of his local conservative party in favour of a UKip pantomime producer?!

        If so, I’m sure they’re going to be around for a while and who else do remainers have to vote for?

        • RichardN

          Just for the record, I’ll be voting Green and can’t understand why they’re not doing better?

        • Sharp Ears

          I said earlier:

          ‘Grieve, who as Attorney General, refused to grant an inquest for Dr David Kelly and then again at a judicial review of his decision, has lost a vote of no confidence held by his local Tory partei in Beaconsfield last night. He is spinning it as infiltration by UKIP members.’

          But it was deleted!

          • Ian

            He doesn’t need to spin it. It is a fact that UKIP members have been joining the tories en masse and agitating for deselection of remain/moderate tories. Another Aaron Banks tactic. The no confidence motion was proposed by the former UKIP candidate for his constituency who is now a tory.

  • SA

    Could someone tell me (preferably a brexiteer) why it is anti democratic to submit s marginal vote of 51.8:48.2 to a second referendum but at the same to resubmit May’s deal to not only one but two repeat votes after the first record defeat? Are there any constitutional lawyers who could help?

    • Michael McNulty

      Because for all her words May isn’t working to secure Brexit she’s working to foil it. We voted out with No Deal, not a second or third vote, so you’re trying to say her anti-democratic machinations are somehow ours. This is typical of the dishonesty of those who don’t like the result, and who are trying to change it with another vote which for all your words will be anti-democracy in the guise of democracy. You can’t slap our face then tell us it was a kiss on the cheek.

      • Ian

        You didn’t vote out with No Deal. You just voted out, with no preference for any of the many deals possible. There is no single uniform vote for any deal.

        • Tony

          And on and on and on the remainer lies go. We were repeatedly told prior to the referendum by Cameron and his government that leaving the EU meant leaving the single market and leaving the customs union. And that’s what the majority of people who voted chose. The “we didn’t vote on what type of Brexit we wanted” argument is a false flag introduced by remain after the referendum.

      • SA

        Do you really have to insult others to make a point? Are all Brexiters bad mannered or is it just you?

    • JMF

      Brexit has highlighted the corruption within HMG and thereby opened Pandora’s box. The situation is beyond absurd. One can now also safely assume that corruption within the EU is even worse.

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