Sorry, Johnson Will Not Disappear 948


It is currently popular among those who make money writing media articles about politics, to argue that Boris Johnson will implode next year and be replaced as Tory leader by someone more rational and conventional. I very much doubt this: the most important reason for that doubt being the power of the atavistic English nationalist forces that Johnson has unleashed in British politics. Astonishingly, despite the UK government’s hideously inept performance in the Covid crisis, and the corruption and looting of the public purse on a massive scale for which the pandemic has been used, the Conservatives still lead Labour in the UK opinion polls.

Partly that is due to Sir Keir Starmer having no apparent policy other than to ensure that no party member ever criticises Israel. But it is mostly due to the fact that Johnson’s supporters do not care what happens to the country, as long as they can see news footage of black people being deported on charter planes and immigrant children washed up dead rather than rescued. The racist brand is very, very strong in England. Cummings and Johnson’s plan to appropriate it and target the areas of England with lowest levels of educational achievement as their new political base still holds up as a political strategy. Look at the polls.

Tory MP’s care about themselves. They will ditch Johnson extremely quickly if he becomes a perceived electoral liability and therefore a threat to their own jobs. But as long as the Tories are ahead in the opinion polls, then Johnson is secure. The idea that there is a norm to which politics revert is a false one. Many of the same pundits who are assuring us now that Johnson will depart, also assured us that his kicking out moderate and pro-EU Conservatives from his party, and removing Remainers from his Cabinet, was a temporary move to be reversed post-election. There is in fact no going back to the norm.

Even the dimmest Labour Party members must now realise that Starmer lied when he promised he would carry on with Corbyn’s radical economic policies if elected to the leadership of the Labour Party. The Corbyn phenomenon was interesting. It arose as a reaction to the massively burgeoning wealth inequality in UK society and the great loss of secure employment opportunity with rights and benefits available to the large bulk of the population. That situation continues to worsen. Brexit was in large part a cry of pain resulting from the same causes. But Brexit in itself is going to do nothing to improve the social position or economic prospects of the working class.

Whether the novelty of Brexit will in the long term continue to be enough to channel the desire for radical change away from actual programmes of redistribution of wealth and ownership, I doubt. I suspect the Starmer project will falter on public reluctance to yet again embrace a choice of two Tory parties, and Starmer will be ejected as Labour leader before he can become the third Blue Labour PM. In the meantime, I can only urge those in England to vote Green. I can certainly see no reason to vote Labour and validate the Starmer purge.

As a former professional diplomat, I am going to be astonished if there is not a Brexit deal announced very shortly. It is plainly highly achievable given the current state of negotiations. The EU have moved very far in agreeing that an independent UK body, as opposed to the European Court of Justice, can be responsible for policing UK compliance with standards regulation to ensure against undercutting. The “ratchet clause” sticking point, where a mechanism is needed to ensure the UK does not undercut future improved EU regulatory regimes, can be resolved with some fudged wording on the mutual obligation to comply with the highest standards, but which does not quite force the EU to simply copy UK regulation in the improbable event it becomes more demanding than the EU regime. By making the obligation theoretically mutual the “sovereignty” argument about UK subservience to EU regulations and standards is met, which is the ultra Tory Brexiteers biggest fetish. Fisheries is even simpler to solve, with obvious compromises on lengths of agreement periods and quotas within easy grasp.

It should not be forgotten that David Frost is not the plain loutish Brexiteer he has so spectacularly enhanced his career by impersonating domestically, but is the smooth and effective professional diplomat he shows when actually interacting with Barnier. It could only be an act of utter lunacy that would lead Johnson to eschew a deal that the Express and Mail will be able to trumpet as a massive victory over Johnny Foreigner. I expect we shall be seeing a union jacked apotheosis of saviour Johnson all over the media by a week from now at the very latest – another reason he will not be leaving office.

It is of course, all smoke and mirrors. By expectation management, a deal which is a far harder Brexit than anybody imagined when Theresa May set down her infamous red lines, will be greeted by a relieved business community as better than actually blowing your own brains out. As I have stated ever since the repression of the Catalan referendum, I can live with leaving the EU and live with abandoning its political and security pillars. I continue to view leaving the single market and losing the great advantage of free movement as disastrous.

One thing that has been very little publicised is that, deal or no deal, the UK is going to fudge the worst consequences by simply not on 1 January applying the new rules at the borders. There will not be immigration checks on the 86% of truck drivers entering the UK who are EU citizens, for the first six months. Otherwise the queues by mid January would scarcely be contained by Kent itself. Similarly, the UK side will not be applying the new customs paperwork on 1 January except on a “random sampling” basis. Those who are eagerly anticipating chaos on 1 January will thus probably be disappointed. In fact the deleterious economic effects of Brexit are quite probably going to take some time to show through in a definite way. I do not believe we will see either empty shelves or major price hikes in the first few weeks.

My prediction is this: Boris will agree his thin deal and at the end of January the Brexiteers will be gloating that the predicted disaster did not happen. Effects on economic growth and employment will take some time to be plainly identified, and it will be mortifying how readily the Tories will twist the narrative to blame the EU, and also to obtain English nationalist support for the notion that this gradual pain is worth it in pursuit of a purer country, with less immigration. That may sound crazy to you. But is it not crazy to you that the Tories are still ahead in UK polls after the last year? Mark my words; hope that Boris Johnson will simply vanish is very misplaced.

There is of course the possibility that Johnson is indeed completely bonkers and will not agree any deal at all, in which case 1 January chaos is unavoidable and all bets are off. I should be very surprised indeed. But then I did not think Trump would be mad enough not to concede the US Presidential election. Trying to predict the irrational mind is a pointless undertaking. I don’t think Johnson is that irrational; but I have been wrong before.


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948 thoughts on “Sorry, Johnson Will Not Disappear

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  • Marmite

    I was never convinced by any of that middle-class naivete, which said Johnson could not last that long. I wanted to believe it, like everyone else, but this was just a case of the press feeding the machinery of fantasy, as usual. A more scupulous journalist would have said that the monster that we ourselves created is not going to go away until we ourselves change. But the chance of people opening their eyes to the sickness all around is very slim indeed. Denial is much less painful.

    • BrianFujisan

      Marmite.. Well said.. And on that very note, Caitlin Johnstone has a Great piece today –

      You Have No Obligation To Conform To A Wildly Sick Society

      ” You have no obligation to conform to a society which brands you a Russian propagandist for criticizing the most powerful and destructive institutions on earth.

      You have no obligation to conform to a society which brands you a Chinese propagandist for advocating peace and detente instead of loyalty to the continual unipolar domination of a sociopathic global empire at all cost.

      You have no obligation to conform to a society which brands you a dictator apologist any time you oppose murderous interventionism and the lies which are universally used to manufacture support for it….

      The rest of Caitlin’s Great piece is here –

      https://caitlinjohnstone.substack.com/p/you-have-no-obligation-to-conform?

    • nevermind

      The comma in the headline is undeserved by Johnson. ‘Sorry Johnson will not disappear’ sounds far more appropriate, as the yule tide uturns come thick and fast. Confusing people with multiple messages, endangering children by insisting on schooling, when staff are falling ill and Londons cases are skyrocketing, will guarantee the continuation of emergency law cover for more of his paly shenanigans whence he has bumbled us into a third wave next year.

      Meanwhile his handy cock sidekick struggles with the logistics, computer systems failure of the much trumpeted vaccine roll out and self engrandising appearances before cameras wearing his idiotic smile.
      I suppose he watched the annual rolling cheeses down a hill, once, providing him with the experience.

  • Goose

    Looks like a deal is on its way:

    Brexit trade deal possible within days after Johnson concession, says EU – Guardian

    This also…

    MPs may not get vote on Brexit trade deal

    Boris Johnson’s spokesman refuses 11 times to confirm outcome of negotiations will go before Commons…Pressed on whether ratification would require primary legislation or a simple motion in the Commons or could be enacted by the prime minister alone using the royal prerogative, the spokesman said only: “I’m not going to pre-empt the business of the House. – Independent

  • joel

    “The privately-educated Englishman is the greatest dissembler on Earth. No one will charm you more glibly, disguise his feelings from you better, cover his tracks more skillfully or find it harder to confess he’s been a damn fool.”
    John le Carre.

    • Leamas

      [ Mod: Habbabkuk ]


      Le Carré – who spent time at Oxford snitching on fellow students with left wing views – must have been describing himself.

      • BrambLe

        As proved by his hostility to the genuinely principled and socially democratic Mr Corbyn. Le Carre did not dare break with the “patriotic”, supposedly liberal establishment. A hypocrite who showed his true colours at the end as at the start of his career, when he was a full on patriotic spy.

      • Fwl

        I don’t think Le Carre’s confidence trickster father was privately educated and he was certainly a star dissembler of the truth. It’s sad that Le Carré has died. His books were generally well constructed (some more so than others) had interesting characters, educational with strong characters and were a sort of conscience of the service. In my view they were getting better (I know some thought he had become too political).

        I would like to know what he made of the Covert Human Intelligence Source Bill, which legislates not so much for the services to do unlawful acts but for them and others to authorise their non-employed agents to do so. One might say that it just putting proposing to put a customary position on a statutory footing, but it doesn’t have a lot in the way of checks and balances.

        If it is deemed proportionate to authorise one’s agent (who may well be a criminal / super grass etc) to use criminal means to detect or prevent crime, or to prevent public disorder, or for national security or even for the economic well-being of the UK then it is lawful (the Scottish version though is limited to being for the purposes of crime / public disorder only and I don’t think there is a specifically Welsh provision). There are no specific excluded crimes such as murder or torture although they may be said to be excluded by reason of the reference to the ECHR within the Bill. No warrant is required and the Act will come to the aid not only of the security services but many other agencies including the Gambling Commission. There are quite a few Le Carré type plots in all of that. Anyway what I wanted to say here is just to record Le Carré’s memorable last words in his last book Agent Running in the Field, which ended:

        “I had wanted to tell him I was a decent man, but it was too late.”

        No doubt as Habba reminds us he (like most of us) did some things he was uncomfortable with, but he died a decent man. Rest in peace and may your books long continue to sell and be read.

  • N_

    Funny how when a proletarian hoards stuff that they and their family need to survive, without any intention of selling it, they’re called an anti-social element, but when billionaires hoard stuff that proletarians need, using the name of a fictitious person called “Tesco” and waiting for prices to soar during a shortage that they themselves are actively shaping, facilitated by the bribe-taking idiots in Whitehall, they’re doing it for the general public good.

    Bertolt Brecht, “Supply and Demand” (as sung by the lovely Dagmar Krause!!):

    ***

    There is rice down the river.
    In the provinces up the river
    The people need rice.
    If we leave the rice in the warehouse
    It will cost them more.
    Those who pull the rice barges
    Will then get much less rice.
    For me the rice will then be even cheaper.
    What is rice, actually?
    Do I know? Do you know?
    What’s this thing called rice?
    God only knows what rice is.
    I only know its price.

    When winter comes the coolies all need clothing.
    One must buy all the cotton and then keep
    A firm hold on it.
    When the cold weather comes then
    Clothing will cost more.
    These cotton-spinning mills
    Pay too high wages.
    There’s far too much cotton anyway.
    What is cotton, actually?
    Do I know? Do you know?
    What’s this thing called cotton
    God only knows what cotton is.
    I only know its price.

    Men take too much feeding.
    That’s what makes them so expensive.
    For the making of food
    Men are needed.
    The cooks make it cheaper,
    But those who eat it make it expensive.
    There are too few men around anyway.
    What is a man, actually?
    Do I know? Do you know?
    What’s this thing called a man
    God only knows what a man is.
    I only know his price.

    ***

    • Leamas

      [ Mod: Habbabkuk ]


      Did you know that the GDR government allowed proletarian Bertie Brecht to keep a bank account in……Switzerland?

        • Ingwe

          Never trust a poster who keeps changing his internet identity. See post above you, WeeJim (posted December 15, 2020 at 21:35, insane my post doesn’t appear underneath your post.

          • Wee Jim

            My internet identity remains unchanged. I was merely pointing out that Brecht’s progressive proletarian credentials were even weaker than Leamas suggested.
            Which post of yours should have appeared underneath my post?

    • Rhino

      Exactly the same happened back in Stalin’s Russia. Certain criminal elements were hoarding grain, potatoes, orchard fruit in order to sell on at a higher-price (price-gouging as it is known today). The penalty: execution. Solzhenitsyn writes about this in the Gulag Archipelago which no doubt you have read/audiobook.

    • Karen

      The cynic in me wonders if Tesco are just saying this to give retail sales yet another boost over the Festive period. Has Boris given them an ‘indication’ like defence agents give to the prosecution in court and Tesco aren’t really stockpiling at all. They know damned well that when the say ‘don’t stockpile’ that is exactly what the Great British public will do. Stockpiling, especially if you are anticipating price-gouging is a gamble; you can easily be left with lots of unsold stock counting down to the ‘Best Before’ date. It is not good for business or household ‘cash flow’. A public convinced of a ‘no deal’ will set retail sales on fire over the Festive period. They just need convincing to set to work on shelf-stripping. But who does the convincing? And then we reach the 28th December and find that we are yet again on the ‘brink of a deal’, no time for the Commons or the EU Parliament to discuss this deal so yet another extension is in order. Say to at least the 30th June so that most of the ‘Best Before’ dates have rolled round. The 30th of June is the new deadline and ‘precipice’. And even if there is some sort of ‘deal’ the anticipated shortages will be kicked further down the road. Brexit will then become a true SHTF ™ ® © situation, never-ending, always six months ahead, always ‘just around the corner’, until we all go mad die off from overeating on our ‘stockpiles’.

          • glenn_uk

            I’m pushed to see what bearing that has on anything here.

            It’s even harder to see how my personal finances are any of your business.

          • glenn_uk

            It’s “pompous” to ask why my personal finances should be any of your business?

            Or do you mean it was “pompous” to take you up earlier on the fatuous observation you made in response to Linda’s post?

          • Jim

            We have had what you would call ‘fair warning’ to squirrel away a few extra cans of baked beans. If nothing happens in January or whenever the coast is clear you can always crack open a can.

          • glenn_uk

            Actually I bought a 4-pack of reduced sugar & salt beans in Tesco for £1.00 the other day, you’re being ripped off.

            Then again, the fact that I “bulk buy” beans 4 tins at a time would make me one of those nasty rich people, eh Squeeth? All righteous persons should buy small quantities of food (sufficient for the next meal alone), only as as the money arrives, pennies at a time.

    • London Town

      If ‘no deal’ has been struck by the stroke of midnight on January 1st then NO DEAL it is. As the DWP say on their posters stuck all over this borough “NO IFS, NO BUTS”.

        • Blissex

          «Unless there’s an extension ….»

          That cannot happen because the EU institutions cannot negotiate one: the Withdrawal Treaty for the current extension was negotiated under Article 50 powers which apply only to member states on the way to exit, but the UK is no longer a member state, so the EU can only negotiate new trade treaties with non-member states, with powers that are far more limited in scope under Article 218.
          The Withdrawal Treaty actually allowed a further extension, but only if requested before June 2020, and none was requested.

  • M.J.

    A possible parallel with “A Few Good Men”

    Jessep: Jon, you’re in charge. Santiago doesn’t make 4-6, 4-6 on his next proficiency and conduct report, I’m gonna blame you. Then I’m gonna kill you.
    Kendrick: Yes Sir.

    Public: Boris, you’re in charge, The UK doesn’t make a great deal with the EU and suffers shortages and hardship instead, we’re going to blame you. Then we’re going to kill you.
    Boris: (You guess, we’ll know come 2021)

  • Marmite

    In 1974, when the US installed a dictator in Chile (after ensuring the death of Allende looked like a suicide), nearly the whole world was up in arms, and there were freedom events everywhere.
    Today, near-dictatorial sickos come and go, and nobody bats an eye, because after all, we now have the freedom to shop, drive and pollute, copulate, gorge, watch BBC, and profit off of someone else’s misery.
    Is it just me and my good-ole-days nostalgia, or do others also get the feeling that the human race was a billion times more alive, intelligent, and morally conscientious in the 1970s, a decade in which Communists in parliament was the norm rather than being considered an isolated extremist?

    • Wikikettle

      I wonder how concerned the people of Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Venezuela and all other counties under blockade and not allowed to buy and sell by us are about Brexit ? Discuss

    • Thom Paine

      The Revolt of the 1960’s was Humankind’s Last, Best Hope for Survival.

      At this point, one can still place a bet on what does finally kill us off. Will it be massive climate change induced by the supposedly intelligent life form? Will it be nuclear war? Will it be an obvious inability to provide for basic health care needs, made far, far worse by increasing population growth and overcrowding and mostly needless worldwide air travel? Will it just be that simply the changes in technology have put such power into the hands of the elites that the people don’t stand any chance of organizing and overthrowing such a tyrannical government, and then that government does what government’s that exceed any checks and balances do which is destroy themselves in an orgy of greed and excess? But the end is coming like a freighttrain out of control.

      Nope, can’t tell you exactly how it will end. But, Humankind’s Last, Best Hope for Survival was the revolution of the 1960’s. Corporate Greed and the then growing deep-state faced a people’s revolt, that if it had been successful, could have brought peace to the world and policies of not destroying the Earth for Profit.

      The 1970’s were a period of a bit of freedom and tolerance that were created by the partial victories of the struggles of the 1960’s. But soon Ronny Raygun and Maggie but an end to that. Since then, its just been watching how these evolved monkeys do finally kill themselves.

      • Fredi

        It could be a bio weapon and/or it’s vaccine that ends the show, death or sterility, and of course plausible deniability for the perpetrators of the great cull.

        Then only very ‘isolated’ will inherit the Earth along with the oligarchs and their obedient micro chipped minions.

    • Squeeth

      It was the time of the interregnum and the 1960s London Spring; it’s taken a fifty Years’ War by the boss class to change things so far in their favour. As for the protests against the Allende murder, what difference did they make? The Vietnamese did far more to wind American Caesar’s neck in than a whist drive, car boot sale, a major (and I mean Major) leaflet campaign, a benefit concert and not choosing a campaigning name with the acronym C.L.I.T.O.R.I.S.

    • M.J.

      In the 1970s people were not free to travel from Eastern Europe or China. The Communist dictatorship was real. Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago was a best seller. Apartheid in South Africa was at its height, Steve Biko was killed in a police cell and Donald Woods, the white editor who made friends with him was banned, escaping the country in 1978. Music was played on cassettes.
      There was no internet, but we had good public libraries. If I wanted a new book from America I would place an order with a bookshop and wait for months for a special order to arrive. There were no student loans, because the number of students were far fewer, so the government could afford to subsidise them all. No smart phones, no DVD players, even VHS players were expensive, though schools might have them.
      All this would begin to change in the 80s. Lots of homes had VHS recorders, and CD players would replace cassette players. Come the early 90s Communism (in Europe) and apartheid had fallen, Chinese were now free to travel. Late 90s, the internet was now well known and amazon was revolutionising book-buying, enabling even international sales without leaving home. Google was becoming very useful. Lots of people had mobile phones though call boxes were stil around. Student grants were replaced by loans, at least for undergraduates. But the OU was still subsidised, and it was possible to study part-time without the need for a loan. A few years later the subsidy was gone and the cost of OU study trebled. No longer could anyone with a modest income study with the OU without taking out a loan. But smart phones and DVD players were everywhere.
      A decade later DVDs would be increasingly replaced by internet services, and a lot of free educational material would become available online, even from prestigious universities like Harvard or MIT.
      That’s progress.

      • Mr Shigemitsu

        The UK govt is not financially constrained, as Sunak has helpfully proved.

        There is no economic reason why university education should not be free regardless of the increase in student numbers.

        The govt is resource constrained, so increasing the number of highly educated people in the workforce is precisely the kind of investment that the govt should be making, increasing the capacity of the real economy to absorb a greater amount of public spending, and raising UK living standards as a result.

  • Thom Paine

    Under the current English system, it is impossible to imagine any change until BoJoke’s 5 years are up. His modern Big-Lie style campaign swept into office a bunch of hard-core Brexiteers, and there is little or no reason for them to change their spots at this time. Thus, BoJoke’s majority stays very firm, and in the land we are constantly told is the fount of Democracy, there’s not a damn thing that the people can do about it. Not to mention the fact that I don’t see any reason why another Big-Lie campaign wouldn’t work just as well next time around. Its not like there has been media-reform or anything reigning in massive lies over social media that’s changed what happened last time.

    Nope, we just saw how in the modern British system (broken by Cameron), it is pretty much impossible to get a no-confidence vote even when a large majority opposes the government. Now, that parliament has been replaced by one where BoJoke has a solid majority of people who know they were propelled into office by Big-Lies over Brexit and a Tory media and propaganda machine. Labor seems to think that at some point Just-Plain-Boring will win out, but we just saw in America that the Tory propaganda machine will paint Starmer as the next incarnation of Castro during the next election campaign, and that a vast number of people will believe such nonsense …. just like the last time.

    Labor, like the Democrats in America, appear to have no clue about how modern elections are won. The Democrats won solely because Donald was so disgusting. When the conservatives run The Smiling, Pretty Version of Donald, the Democrats, and America are doomed. BoJoke is somewhere in between, but as long as he stays about the Hated-As-Much-As-Trump line, the clueless Labor crowd won’t beat him.

    • Squeeth

      It is unfair to blame the electorate for the results of an undemocratic voting system. You can blame people for participating in the fascist farce of a FPTP vote instead of abstaining but not the result.

      • Marmite

        But surely we can be blamed for not being out in the streets and squares every day, squatting unoccupied real estate and occupying spaces of power, and making sure our many demands are heard. There is the technological means to organise on a more global scale, but instead we seem to want to accept dysfunctional food banks, billion-pound public handouts to corporations, and soaring rates of death among the homeless. Never mind what happens outside the UK, which is grimmer still. Who was it that said human beings tend to fight harder to be slaves than to be free? Looking at what the English put up with, I am beginning to wonder if it isn’t very true.

      • Deb O'Nair

        “It is unfair to blame the electorate”

        It’s the quality of the repeated choices of the electorate which have led to Boris Johnson and the Brexit Lobby cabinet. One can not even blame the corrupt media as it is the lazy, unthinking, group-think electorate that *chooses* to believe absurdities, lies and propaganda.

        One person-one-vote Western democracy (which is still less than 100 years old in this country) is a failed experiment. The only good thing to say is that the old democratic canard applies “you get the government you deserve”.

        • Stevie Boy

          “It is unfair to blame the electorate” So, after 10 years of Tory lies, incompetence and corruption the electorate voted for more of the same. The definition of madness is to keep doing the same thing and expect a different outcome. The truly sick thing is that the lemmings are enjoying the destruction of our country.

        • N_

          The rise of parliamentary democracy is closely bound up with the rise and reach of the media. The gentry got the vote around the same time that they started reading fast-shipped publications; then the same applied to the bourgeoisie and eventually the working class. Right now the scale of mindcontrol is unprecedented. It’s obviously going to end in tears, big time.

        • Squeeth

          I return you to the point about the fascist electoral system. The confirmatory vote against the remainers during the election shows that the northern working class have no “tribal loyalty” to the Liarbour Party that betrayed us worse under Corbyn than Bliar. That said, the Liarbour Partei has never wanted to be beholden to us working-class people for office.

          • Sarge

            Squeeth
            Young people up north did not buy the Old Etonian moonshine. Only a very distinct type of person did.

    • Ben

      Trump’s irresponsible handling of Covid is why he lost. Barring Covid, his disgusting behaviors are warts to some, Christmas decorations to others.

      I can blame the electorate for giving the Bastid oxygen

    • Johny Conspiranoid

      Thom Paine
      As long as Labour and the Democrats are run by their present ruling groups it doesn’t make much difference who wins the elections. Starmer may be required to take a turn as PM for appearances sake and postal ballots strategically placed will get him over the line but it is doubtfull if he will get enough real votes for it to look convincing.

  • Greg Park

    Another thing that has been very little publicised in the British press is the EU-UK government deal on the Irish Sea border. It is complicated and confusing- perhaps deliberately so – but means in practice that there will be trade borders between Northern Ireland and Britain, though not between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. At the same time, Johnson dropped the clauses in the Internal Market Bill that would have enabled his government to renege on the sea border.

    The British state is ceding a large measure of authority over part of the UK. Northern Ireland will in future abide by EU customs regulations and single market rules and the rest of the UK will not. Unsurprisingly the British media that has been booming defiance towards Brussels in the last few days and telling Johnson to stand firm is largely mute about this diminution in the real power of the British government.

    The unionists in Northern Ireland have not been so shy in expressing their sense of betrayal. But of course anybody putting their trust in anybody so openly duplicitous as Johnson does not deserve much sympathy. Arlene Foster and the Democratic Unionist Party, for all their reputation for ruthless pragmatism, showed childlike naivety in imagining the Conservative Party’s embrace would last a second longer than its dependence on the DUP for its majority in the House of Commons.

    • N_

      The Protestant thugs could stop the ports functioning whenever they felt like it (even if balaclavas plus surgical masks would look a bit awkward), but only assuming the ports are actually functioning in the first place. I’d like to think they’re less powerful now than when they made Britgov eat dirt by staging what was essentially the fascist uprising that wrecked the Sunningdale agreement though. But when it comes down to it they probably aren’t. It’s just that the terrain has changed. Imagine those types in charge of rationing 🙁

  • Ronnie Way

    The great advantage of free movement you champion Craig, has all too obvious disadvantages if you care to look for them.
    Unlimited immigration is pretty much a one way street as far as the UK is concerned.

    • Courtenay Barnett

      Ronnie Way,

      Wouldn’t the UK get a right to have UK citizens live and work in EU member countries as well as have a right of access and sales to EU countries?

      Isn’t that how it works – and if not – please explain.

      Thanks.
      Courtenay

      • JohninMK

        Yes but the problem is that more Europeans from the mainland want to come here than we in the UK want to go there. They want to come to live and work and we want to go on holiday.

        I think the latest figure for EU citizens registering to stay here is around 4.5 million. I am not so sure of the figure the other way round but I think it was under 0.5 million. That is the one way street.

        In general it is not a problem and has been hugely beneficial to some parts of UK society. But the downside was workers coming in accepting lower pay rates than ‘normal’ forcing down local wages, then sending or taking that money home, as well as increasing unemployment among locals. Plus the unplanned nature of the inflows left local government and the NHS unprepared to handle the numbers in schools, housing and medical facilities.

        There is also the flow of cash that that has involved. Part of the logic on benefits payments is that the money paid out is recycled within the UK i.e. stays in £ whereas over the past years some of it has gone into the EU, especially the east, so it has not been spent here plus has been converted into Euros. I don’t know if this will now stop. Mind you, with PAYE and NI receipts the Treasury loved it.

    • Wikikettle

      Ronnie Way. It was the Tories that signed up to that, and now use it as a stick to get the votes. Working people suffer from low wages, zero contract hours, many doing multiple jobs, big unions bought and sold, voting against democratisation in Labour Party NEC elections, PLP bought and sold, Judiciary bought and sold, media bought and sold. All the levers of power in the hands of the few. Even if they get a Labour Government, nothing will change with Sir, as GG calls him, Keith Starmer the taylors dummy.

    • Kempe

      In 2019 around 715,000 people moved to the UK (immigration) and around 403,000 people left the UK.

      I think the majority went to other EU countries.

    • N_

      @Ronnie – “Unlimited immigration is pretty much a one way street as far as the UK is concerned.
      Immigration does exceed emigration, but about 400 thousand per year emigrate from Britain.

      • Sheila S

        It is highly-skilled workers who emigrate from the UK though. Emigration usually refers to Australia/New Zealand where families go to try and settle permanently. If you decide to emigrate to Australia you need be fulfil strict entry requirements: be under 40, with a job good to go to, X amount of capital in the bank, no criminal record etc. You can’t just stroll into Australia and head off down to ‘Centrepoint’ to claim the Aussie dole and be given a ‘free’ house. Emigrating to Europe is usually something single people do on a temporary and is usually job-related. Personally, I spent a few years working in Berlin, purely for the big bucks. People emigrating from the UK are always going to be of benefit to the host country and never a drain on their resources.

    • nevermind

      can you explain the term unlimited immigration please, because those without much means seem to end up belly up in the channel, whilst those who pay their way into the Uk, supported by dubious monies gathered abroad, or ‘kindly’ moved into offshore havens by our ever so selfserving bankers, are welcomed into Londons housing market.
      Migration is not a crime. Ask Paddington

  • Mary

    The Scots are getting a post Brexit lorry park similar to the one Beng created in Kent.

    ‘Scottish airfield earmarked as post-Brexit lorry park
    Exclusive: Transport Scotland hopes to use site in case of delays at ferry terminals linking with Northern Ireland
    Tue 15 Dec 2020

    An old military airfield near the Scottish town of Stranraer has been earmarked as an emergency lorry park in case of major delays at ferry terminals linking the country with Northern Ireland.

    Transport Scotland, a government agency, has been struggling to find space to stack lorries if there are significant hold-ups at two ferry terminals at Cairnryan, to the alarm of freight operators.’

    Such wonderful foward planning by the Tories. Not.

    • laguerre

      All the ports are already blocked up, even before the famous declaration of independence, on the 31st.. Ok Britain has said it wont impose rules for six months. European opposite numbers however are obliged to do so.

      • Wikikettle

        I am sure Nigel Farage, after working in Europe as a Trader, earning a fortune as a Member of the European Parliament, plus expenses, will return to England in his chariot and lead its native people to achieve “Sovereignty ” from : US, NATO, City of London, Nationalise all foreign owned Public Utilities, Transport, end PFI interest extortion, end foreign owned media, ask US to bases to leave, stop billions of bailouts, stop workers pension funds from being nicked a la Maxwell and Sir Philip Green, introduce proportional representation, scrap honors, make illegal lobby groups and so called foreign think tanks influencing our media and politicians. Bring mandatory reselection to keep MP’s working for their constituency, not paid lobby fodder or bribed with Government positions. Scrap the BBC. Then we the people would be some way to gaining real “Sovereignty” not some Nationalistic flag waving against the “Other”

    • N_

      Nice contract if you can get it! Some friends of Scotgov will probably get a grant to run a huge Brexit lorry park next to the Skye bridge next!

    • arby

      “Such wonderful foward planning by the Tories. Not.”

      In fairness it is thought through better than Grayling’s efforts to arrange ferries through a company with no ships.
      At least the airfield has space for lorries.

      Maybe the Tories will start walking erect eventually!

    • N_

      BBC Radio 4 ran a programme today called “Living British“: “As the EU transition period nears the end, Adrian Chiles tries to eat, drink, wear and travel British for a week.” The trailer mentioned vegetables. “Who wants to eat asparagus anyway?” someone asked. “It comes all the way from Peru.” I guess they think they are so clever. Most vegetables consumed in Britain come from the EU. The reason why there will be hardly any vegetables in the shops soon isn’t because Britain screwed up its relations with Peru.

      • Asparagus Man

        [ Mod: Habbabkuk ]


        You obviously didn’t listen to Chiles very carefully, or perhaps you’re just misrepresenting what he said. His point was that perhaps you should eat vegetables when they’re in season and not expect to eat all vegetables throughout the year. Re the example of asparagus : it has a short season in the Northern hemisphere and Chiles was asking whether Europeans should import the thing over thousands of miles from Chile(Southern hemisphere) when it’s out of season in the UK (Northern hemisphere). Your brilliant insight about most veggies coming from continental Europe is irrelevant for Chiles’s asparagus example because the asparagus season in the UK is the same as the asparagus season in Europe.
        Please do think a little before prosing away all the time.

        • Sally

          But what about fruits that are NEVER in season in the UK? Should we continue to import kiwi fruits from New Zealand? Bananas from Colombia? If we can import fruits/vegs that are never in season why can’t we import fruits/vegs that are out-of-season sometimes?

        • Sally

          You are also missing out on the economic impact on countries who rely heavily on certain produce. For many countries their sole export is bananas. Hence the term ‘banana republic’.

          • nevermind

            It will help towards the English realising that the orchards they have not grubbed out, was their seadpnal winter food
            I have still got appled on a rack from this August and will be practising my best BDS this christmas. Nothing shall be consumed from a certain rogue country, regardles whether it induces a Veits dance in Starmer.

          • Courtenay Barnett

            Sally,

            Actually, it was the writer O Henry who coined the term banana republic to describe the fictional Republic of Anchuria ( actually based on Honduras where he had lived for a number of years).

            You are still correct on your mono-crop economic point; as with the Dulles brothers who helped engineer a CIA coup in Guatemala so that they could hold on to their banana planation.

          • Pigeon English

            Sally and Asparagus man
            Banana republic expression is not linked to mono culture of bananas but to state run for and by corporations benefit.
            In Brexit terms no Sovereignty.
            Politics and economics are connected!!! Politics of Imperialism and Colonialism created mono-cultures in Africa, Central America and Caribbean Island to benefit colonialist instead of local population. Enormous wealth was created for plantage owners, by turning whole land to produce , most profitable commodity at the time.
            Politics of American imperialism deployed army in Central America to protect interests of United Fruit Company (Chiquita bananas) against indigenous people revolt. In other words state was run buy interests of United Fruit Company.

        • Ken Kenn

          Due to retaining ‘ Sovereignty ‘ the UK may not find its turnips potatoes etc picked next year as the immigrant hordes will not be allowed to stay because of the new rules re: minimum income.

          Same applies to the oft clapped NHS ( NHS in name only ) as the 40 hospitals that Johnson proclaims will be built will have no staff to run them – not even the one that may be built before the end of this parliament.

          However they are recruiting trainee nurses – I’ve seen it in the papers and on TV.

          About three years wait then.

          Oh – and Doctors/Consultants and Registrars take a little bit longer to train so beware of the heart attacks and other serious illnesses for at leat eight or nine years.

          Like Covid at Xmas – you are responsible for your own behaviour.

          Nothing to do with the government.

  • Goose

    Zoe Williams has an interesting column, about how Johnson is fanning the flames of English nationalism. It’s hard to disagree.

    Somewhat amusing though, considering Johnson was born in the posh Upper East Side of New York, USA. Never mentioned by our press.

    • Tom74

      It makes perfect sense, though, as Brexit is a basically an American-orchestrated project to attempt to divide Europe. Boris Johnson is the perfect ‘Manchurian Candidate’ – “with humour, my dear Boris, always with a little humour…” etc

  • Courtenay Barnett

    Asparagus Man,

    when you post this:-

    ” Mr Barnet

    Sally was making a (correct) economic point but you, with your mention of the Dulles brothers, are merely making a political one (of an anti-USA kind) of doubtful relevance to the economic point. Or are we missing something? “

    Please answer me this – I was born in Jamaica – and when on my maternal side from the 1940s and 1950s a number of my aunts migrated to the US to be nurses. They did well for themselves and so I have a number of US cousins who also did well for themselves. Initially – Aunt Katie – on my paternal side in the 1940s, as a single Mom raised two children in Harlem and one became a lawyer and the other became a doctor. If you want more information – I am happy to provide just how well they did for themselves.

    So when you come with your baiting to me – do accept that I am only too happy to debate on an honest basis to the fullest extent what point you are trying to drive at.
    Your reply please.

    Courtenay

    • Courtenay Barnett

      Dear Asparagus Man,

      Additionally – if you continue to challenge me – then please read this Wikipedia post and further consider that this is not some far right or left post – but facts stated as same unfolded.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1954_Guatemalan_coup_d%27%C3%A9tat

      I further state that I have met intelligence operatives and discussed what ( in the main) the US and UK were up to. I met a CIA operative who was in Guatemala and when I said to him that the death of some 30,000 Guatemalans was rather tragic. He calmly replied that at the time it was unfortunate but necessary. You strike me as that sort of cynical if not totally manipulative type of individual.

      Over to you.

      Courtenay

  • Giyane

    Very very rich people, like Fergie the Duchess of York, believe that life is unconditional. Bullingdon bastards Cameron and Johnson actually believe that the UK has no obligations whatsoever to the EU in exchange for the benefits we receive from the EU . 99% of Britain understands the concept of terms and conditions. But our Tory rulers who voted themselves into.power by algorithm fraud come from that 1% who do not feel obliged to accommodate anybody but themselves.

    We the 99% are being made to pay for the spoilt arrogance of the poor little rich kids who think life is unconditional. Johnson says it’s up to them if they want to give us a deal. Bullingdon boy does not understand that he is obliged to satisfy their demands in order to get them to satisfy the UK’s demands. Corbyn and May were both prepared to concede in order to get a good deal for all of us.

    Johnson doesn’t care if we do or we don’t get a deal.
    He believes life is unconditional. Everything is to be handed on a plate to us and everything taken for granted as our right.

    If there is No Deal, Boris will last less time than his mentor Cameron. Two very spoilt poor little rich boys.

    .

    • BrianFujisan

      Giyane.. Well Said
      Shocking results of Brexit already here.. Miles of trucks at standstill in France Ect… And the masses in the UK seem more concerned with Christmass… Covid or No Covid…Madness.

      Brash Brainless Brexit

      Weaponised, Wringing, Wrangling

      Calamitous Crash.

  • doug scorgie

    Mr B
    December 16, 2020 at 10:42

    “Rumours of an Assange pardon [by Trump}…”
    —————————————————————————–

    Wishful thinking sadly but you never know.


    [ Mod: Off-topic. This rumour was retracted by the source. ]

    • nevermind

      It would be timely present for the winter solstice, Doug, how I’m longing for the sun to come back.
      Julian does not see much sun and his vitamin D household must be very low. He and many other journalists around the world, in Egypt, Turkey and in Saudi Arabia should all be released.
      I feel as if time is running out on our rulers, we are beyond politics.and societies fabric is disintegrating like a wooly jumper.
      please write to Julian, he is of great iinterest to the people of the world.
      To cheer Craig up a wee bit
      o/topic the Canaries are singing on top of yhe tree. Norwich 2 Teading 1….😊

    • Xavi

      In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act. Luckily the Ali cat is still around to correct people like Gilbert, Jones and Butler.

    • Giyane

      Bevin

      In Kurdistan, under a USUKIS government that refuses to let taxes collected be spent on municipal salaries, the people have ransacked not only the two party coalition in power, but also the two supposed opposition Parties, the Change Party and the Islamic Party, for failing to oppose the embezzlement of taxes.

      Starmer has now offered to team up with the LibDems because of his haemorrhage of support described by this eloquent report by Tariq Ali. Thus , on the Kurdish model , the pushback against right-wing Empire2 tripe might be a plague on All your houses. Johnson’s, Starmer’s, LibDems and Corbynites.

      I am appalled to hear on the news daily that the main stumbling block to a deal is the Tory wish to increase the economic divisions in society. Why is Starmer not speaking against this Tory ideology and promising to oppose the Tory vision of Brexit, if that is what the want Britain to become?

      An electrical company I work for charged a huge IT corporation £840 + vat for half a day’s work including £100 for materials. What the silly economy wants is maintain high salaries for managers while reducing worker pay to zero hours slave labour. The EU is standing in it’s way.

      My point is that The Tory Brexit is supported not only by Tories but also by Blairites and dis-empowered Unions.
      After we leave the EU, how long will it take for workers to understand that the entire political spectrum agrees with the attrition on workers rights? Imho about 2 doodles days.

      • bevin

        I am sure that you are right. It looks as if Brexit, as administered by the ruling class, will be disastrous. So has the evolution of the EU from Common Market to ever greater unity, guided by neo-liberals with the express intention of making it “more competitive” by lowering workers living standards.
        The reality is that the decision, by the voters, to leave the EU was reasonable and, in the right political conditions, could have led to radical; change, for the better, a quashing of neo-liberalism and a return to the idea of seizing the commanding heights of the economy in order to transform society. Leaving the EU is neither right nor wrong. The problem is that Parliament, after decades of purging the left, is dominated by neo-liberal careerists who see themselves as constituting a focus group for the bourgeoisie.
        Had the situation be reversed and the government negotiating entry into the EU, rather than withdrawal from it, it would be looking for terms which inflicted the maximum damage on the masses. And the situation would be dire.
        The solution is both clear and generally understood: if people want a government that works in their interests rather than against them, they are going to have to do more than crossing their fingers, they are going to have to build a movement of the many before which the few will crumble in fear. For more than a century, in the Labour Party, the working class have had that very familiar organisation which, having surrounded the Palace with angry peasants, turns around and asks the people to be patient while a small delegation enters to arrange the terms of surrender. A few hours later a leader emerges, reeling from the effects of champagne, and tells everyone that they might as well go home. And they do.
        The thing to remember about Starmer is that he was elected and it wasn’t even close.

    • Goose

      Good analysis from Tariq Ali, but that’s all the left do.

      The left are pathetic for sticking with Starmer and Evans and not being more demanding. Just as Corbyn was pathetic for not driving through open selection after the ‘crap coup’ leadership challenge from the PLP in 2016.

      Why waste time trying to get Starmer’s New Labour 2.0 elected on some platitudinous Ed-stone-esque “An NHS with the time to care” manifesto bollocks? Only to watch this crew give members the middle finger in power.

      • Ingwe

        @Goose December 17, 2020 at14:44-you’re right about Starmer, Evans et al. But apart from wringing your hands and despairing, what do YOU propose we do? Ali’s suggestion of an Independent Labour Party, with 15 or so MPs and a membership base of 50,000 would at least give truly socialist Labour voters something to vote for. JC, with all his weaknesses like apologising to the Zionist mob, has already attracted 20,000 to his new organisation (I’m one). Think of the 200,000 who flooded into the Labour Party, with all the dross like Phillips, Rayner, Nandy etc still there. They need somewhere to focus their energy and funds.
        I fully understand the impotence one feels with a corrupt political process and a choice, at election time, between Coke or Pepsi. But the existing PTB thrive on our despair and hand wringing. Let’s at least make the arguments.

        • Goose

          @Ingwe

          what do YOU propose we do?

          I agree that it’s difficult, the party’s right + centrists were able to challenge Corbyn from a much weaker position only because they had the media doing most of the anti-Corbyn heavy lifting.

          I actually think the problems will be resolved electorally, in time; as what exactly are the current centre-right party leadership going to offer that’s remotely politically attractive to Labour’s core vote and the young ? Starmer may face more votes in the commons that reveal his true political intentions to those who are still in denial and hanging on in there.

          Hoping its ‘their turn’ as Johnson ‘s stock wanes won’t be enough to cut through that voter apathy, not after Corbyn showed in 2017 you don’t have to accept any Tory or establishment ‘terms for power. The best bet is to boycott the party in the meanwhile, if the left are only 40% of the membership, under FPTP, losing 40% of your vote is obviously catastrophic.

          • nevermind

            I am more inclined to agree with Ingwe, electoral change, within this electoral system, with a privately sponsored electoral commission, will never change the existing hiatus into a rightwing swamp. If a new party splits Labours vote, so be it.
            Time to present an agenda that speaks of diminishing resources and lack of equality for women, ain’t that right Ms. Truss?, a future were our children are at least prepared for whats coming, not confused with more neoliberal/con s flying false bannets.

          • Ingwe

            Goose, my answer as to what we should do, is referred to in my post. It’s to support an independent Labour Party, based around a group of Socialist Labour group MPs and a membership of those people who joined Labour when it appeared possible that Corbyn could win, with a socialist agenda.

  • Stevie Boy

    One of the major problems with our system of government, so called democracy, is that there are no consequences, whatsoever, for bad, corrupt or false decisions made by members of the government.
    No member of the government is ever going to have to have to use a foodbank; never going to worry about losing their job and being unable to pay their mortgage; never going to have to fight with NHS staff to get access to a GP, dentist or optician; never going to have to worry about affording decent care for Granny. Multi-millionaire politicians are able to rampage through our economy and freedoms and wage needless wars without any comeback.
    Maybe, we need a means to tie in the actions of these b*stards with financial consequences to their fortunes ?

    • Wikikettle

      Stevie Boy. When the balloon goes up and the nukes are on route for revenge or by accident, our politicians and their assistants and families will have express convoy to nuclear shelters. We the people will be shown films like Protect and Survive, with detailed instruction how to crawl under the kitchen table for shelter.

      • johny Conspiranoid

        Wikikettle
        The hyper rich have bunkers in New Zealand, Tasmania and Patagonia. Lavarov says Russia knows where they are.

  • Goose

    Report that Labour will appoint a Jewish advisory board to help oversee the creation of an independent disciplinary process to respond to incidents of antisemitism.

    You can wager it’ll be comprised of those who hold the most extreme right-wing Likudite and beyond views. We know there isn’t a single collective UK ‘Jewish opinion’ : one state vs two states, yet you can count on one particular point of view dominating this board. Starmer is wading the party into deep waters and I really think, whether deliberately or just through clumsiness, his actions are now an existential threat to the UK Labour party.

    Labour’s antisemitism problem was always just a contrived issue promoted to remove a left-wing leader, however now it’s morphing into demands for Labour membership to become avowedly pro-Zionist with zero-tolerance for pro-Palestine sentiment, at the risk of expulsion. What a dreadful situation.

      • Goose

        I’m not even particularly a huge fan of Corbyn, he must share some of the blame for not standing up for himself and stamping on this contrived AS nonsense when it first started. Nor am I particularly dogmatic about implementing left-wing policies. But feel Starmer and his shadow cabinet are atrocious. Labour have truly taken a wrong turn.

        On policy, Starmer’s clearly going to follow the Ed Miliband approach; that of saying nothing until a few weeks before the election. Then they’ll push out an anodyne manifesto that’s basically full meaningless guff. His shadow cabinet are a collection of those known to identify with Blair and New Labour, they’re on Labour’s hawkish, right and they’ll certainly push things rightwards.

        • Squeeth

          Corbyn lay down in the road for a bus to run over him, said sorry and stayed on the ground so that the zionist antisemites in it could reverse over him.

    • Goose

      If he’s running his party in such an autocratic fashion, can only imagine him in power with full legislative power to impose such nonsense on the nation(s).

      • Goose

        It’s a very effective mechanism for closing down discussion about the daily injustices and indignities faced by Palestinians and Israeli Arabs. I don’t even blame pro-Zionism supporters of Israel for ‘trying it on’, but more fool us for not seeing it in context, for what it really is.

        The Palestinians are becoming the world’s forgotten people, if they weren’t already, with Arab despots being persuaded to normalise relations with Israel in return for US and UK concessions. The UK is getting on the wrong side of history too with Nick Carter recently in Israel promoting closer UK-Israel military and intelligence cooperation. Bad judgement all round. Israel is far from a ‘normal’ democracy until it respects all its citizens including Arabs, equally.

  • Goose

    Furlough scheme extended to end of April 2021.

    Sunak assures the extension has nothing at all to do with Local Elections and 13 mayoral contests scheduled for May 6 2021 … honestly.

  • M.J.

    According to the the BBC Michael Gove has said the chances of the UK and EU agreeing a post-Brexit trade deal are “less than 50%”.

    I guess that means that the chances of both he and Boris losing their jobs come the next election are *more* than 50%, assuming that we will see disruption as a result. In fact, I believe we have already begun seeing disruption at ports.

    • Goose

      If Gove said it was raining outside you’d be wise to go check for yourself.

      What he said to the Commons Brexit select committee, about no deal being the most likely outcome, is more for backbench and tabloid consumption. The last thing they want to admit is they’ve made major late concessions.

      • M.J.

        I hope you’re right. I hope the people who talk about BRINO are right. I hope any concerns about crashing out with disruption and shortages to follow prove to be mistaken. In a few weeks we’ll begin to know.

        • Goose

          Despite Johnson’s bluster the UK isn’t in a strong position to move to trading on WTO rules. The EU have known for some time he’s bluffing too, like a poor poker player holding a really bad hand.

          If 70-80% had voted for Brexit he’d probably be on firmer ground, but the number of ‘no deal’ Brexit ultra ideologues is tiny, probably ~25%. The UK public aren’t prepared to suffer financially for a Brexit fewer and fewer believe in and the EU’s negotiators fully know this.

    • Giyane

      John
      Brino , or Hedge fund gdump gdump gdump as the fruits all line up and Johnson Gove and Patrick Jenkins sink their vampire teeth into the slender neck of the UK.
      You have to admire the tension and dramatic effect.

  • N_

    It could only be an act of utter lunacy that would lead Johnson to eschew a deal that the Express and Mail will be able to trumpet as a massive victory over Johnny Foreigner. I expect we shall be seeing a union jacked apotheosis of saviour Johnson all over the media by a week from now at the very latest – another reason he will not be leaving office.

    Ten days have passed now.

    Jacob Rees-Mogg’s “f*** you” response today regarding UNICEF providing food to poor children in London is not easy to read, except as a window on the Tory attitude towards the poor and towards foreigners international bodies that act in way that Tories don’t like.

    He sounds for all the world like a Tory local councillor denouncing a “politically motivated attack” by his Labour rivals when what really happened is he was caught with his hand in the till. “You’re just making these allegations because you want Britain to become like East Germany!”

    Regarding trade talks with the EU, I wouldn’t assume Johnson knows what the plan is on the part of those who can wield big influence in Britain at moments of “crisis”. The City is keeping remarkably quiet.

      • N_

        Those figures are small potatoes for Somerset Capital Management. The involvement of Premier Foods with UNICEF in Southwark is interesting. They own the Batchelor’s brand. Famine could give a much higher profile to dried soup. Its weight per calorie is very low, and it’s cheaper to store and distribute than many other foods. That some who are already filthy rich make money out of famine shouldn’t obscure the need to feed people.

        None of this excuses Rees-Mogg’s “f*** you” attitude to hungry children.

      • Ken Kenn

        I think I’d call that Punching sideways- Jacob.

        There are 3.3 million kids in food poverty and each I take it has at least one parent.

        That means approx 6.6 million people have/are or have suffered food poverty.

        Now if the ‘ levelling up ‘ government can’t ensure that it can at least keep its people housed and fed then it is not a government worthy of that name and this one is certainly isn’t worthy of a name save from crap.

        The Southwark Executive is on good money and I dare say he or she pays his/her taxes – MPs are on a similar salary.

        So is what you are saying is that the CEO of Southwark should bung half his/her salary into the Charity Mix?

        Charity should be additional to government spending not an instead of and this instead of view has risen in social currency in the last 10 years ( surprise – surprise ) pushed by the BBC and other media.

        In fact the Covid government has pushed this thought even more.

        My view is that the 1% should pay their taxes at least on their turnover in the country where the they charge for their services etc and their employees ( the government and others ) should make sure that they do.

        The fact that they don’t demand that is the reason why charity continues.

        £300 billion was immediately bunged to private banks with no questions asked so keeping your people fed and housed should be breeze in theory.

        Perhaps the Queen might chip in by paying bedroom taxes on her many bedrooms?

        Remember – Charity begins at home.

        Fact is UNICEF has never visited the UK in all it’s seventy years of existence.

        It never has had to.

        It does now and if that’s not a wake up call – I don’t know what is.

        70k plus dead is another one.

  • Wall of Controversy

    Sorry Craig but I believe you are blindsided by your own love affair with the EU and so find it hard to acknowledge that you share this strange affection with a significant majority of Tory MPs who were and presumably still are (beneath the thin veneer of party loyalty) fellow remainers. Certainly I don’t doubt you are right when you say they will continue to stick by BoJoke for so long as his popularity assures their own re-election, but I believe you fail to factor in the numerous and powerful enemies who are now swarming around him. In effect he becomes a lame duck after January and securing any kind of Brexit deal will only cover his blatant lack of competency for a few months. Meanwhile there will be plenty who are now relishing this midterm opportunity to stick it to him, and some of have been sharpening their knives ever since he led the referendum campaign. Given historical precedents I reckon he’s got a year at best, but we shall see.

    • M.J.

      Craig a Tory sympathiser? That’s news to me! Anyway, I think that Boris may very well fail to get a deal (through his own fault) and have to take the consequences when voters hold him to his word. Gove too, for that matter.
      But I’ll be happy if it doesn’t happen.

  • N_

    The Tories are having a real field day, a real foaming at the mouth Toryfest. Germs, disease, foreigners. Here they are in the Torygraph celebrating the fact that French president Emmanuel Macron has got Covid. All they need now is a cartoon of him on a life-support machine with a string of onions around his neck. Sometimes when you think of Tory culture the only thing you can do is want to throw up.

    • Mary

      Unbelievable. It is behind their paywall. This is all that is shown to non Torygraph subscribers such as myself.

      Macron, Brexit, and the truth about French arrogance
      For many, Mr Macron is the incarnation of France’s legendary arrogance
      Anthony Peregrine
      18 December 2020 • 9:20am

      “He wears an annoying semi-smile and the air of a chap convinced that France’s self-interest is primordial not only for the good of France but for the good of the entire world” CREDIT: Getty

      It is easy so see Emmanuel Macron’s catching of Covid as karma. The fellow wants our finance houses – and our fish, insisting that instead we eat humble pie. This will teach him. Testing positive is about the only positive thing the French president has done of late. Let it bring him down a peg or two. This, I think, might be a generic British response to Mr Macron’s misfortune….’

      The author of that piece. He lives in France ffs.

      ‘Anthony Peregrine is an author and reporter, based in the Languedoc and specialising in food, wine and travel. Besides Decanter, he has contributed regularly to The Telegraph, as well as The Sunday Times, MSN UK and Yahoo.
      Anthony Peregrine, Author at Decanter’

      LOL

      • Stevie Boy

        “Anthony Peregrine”, sounds like a perfect ‘nom de guerre’ for an MI6 asset.
        Given Macrons apparently biased approach towards Islam in France, I would have thought the Tory blackshirts would love him.

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    Plug the results of the ComRes, Holyrood voting intentions (field work 11th to 15 Dec) into the D’Hondt calculator and the SNP get a single, solitary, list MSP (H & I region). Yep, a list vote for the SNP is well and truly wasted in every region bar H & I.
    You can of course lend your vote to another Indy party. If you’re contemplating voting Green, check out their death grip with identity politics and ask yourself why they prioritise self identifying bearded lesbians above environmental concerns and social justice.

    • N_

      I can’t see them getting 55% in the constituencies, given among other factors the witch Sturgeon’s high personal vulnerability, but if they do then Johnson’s out. If necessary “the Palace” will give him his cards. They’re not going to lose Scotland from their kingdom just to save a classicist jack of all trades film maker who made it politically in local government and who’s probably too fat to climb on a horse.

    • Republicofscotland

      Vivian.

      Yes giving your List vote to the SNP seems to be wasting your vote, I think out of almost a million List votes in the last Scottish elections the SNP achieved four seats, whilst the British nationalists at Holyrood did rather well, if we want the likes of Wells and Fraser gone, I think we should consider giving our List votes to anther independence minded party, but not the Greens.

      The Greens are obsessed with the trans issue, so much so that MSP Andy Wightman resigned from them today, I feel that the Greens right now are focused on the issues of the minority trans culture, and giving them your vote would be wasting your vote, until the party sorts itself out, the Greens in my opinion are untouchable.

      • Cubby

        ROS

        Not a word on this from the SGP website (James Kelly) self entitled expert on polls and Holyrood voting system.

        If the SNP get this % vote it is likely they will win nearly all the constituency seats and this will make it impossible for them to win any regional list seats but the party faithful keep saying vote SNP twice. It does make you think the SNP leadership are more concerned about keeping out any other independence supporting parties over keeping out Britnat parties.

    • Republicofscotland

      Vivian this is interesting as well.

      An excellent article by Joanna Cherry, where she points out how Welsh Labour, has more of a backbone than Scottish Labour when it comes to standing up for their respective countries interests with Westminster in mind.

      Cherry also points out that the Lord Advocate is still actively hindering Martin Keating’s S30 court case, when he should be carefully crafting a Scottish government bill on independence for the courts to consider, and I thought Mullholland was a possibly the most insincere Lord Advocate of Scotland in recent times.

      https://www.thenational.scot/news/18953220.joanna-cherry-scottish-labour-stand-learn-welsh-colleagues/

  • Brian c

    Both parties are now tailoring their appeals to brain dead pensioners who think the Union Jack is more important than a civilised society. That is a battle the Tories are winning all day every day, no matter how reactionary Sir Keir Starmer and his cronies are, It simply isn’t possible to outflank people like Gove, Duncan Smith and Rees Mogg on the nationalist, imperialist right. This is why the Tories were so eager to get Starmer in place, because they know somebody like him could never get Labour back to the 40 percent of 2017 in a million years. Sadly Labour members flocked en masse to endorse the recommendation of George Osborne and have effectively ended democratic choice for a generation.

    • N_

      The Labour left should form a new party. The same was true in 1994. Both Blair and Starmer are absolutely taking the p*ss. Blair openly praised Thatcher, and as you say Starmer is rabidly waving the Union Jack. He doesn’t deserve to be called “Keir”.

    • Goose

      It’s New Labour 2.0 under Starmer : the definition of, ‘doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result’ – frequently, wrongly, attributed to Einstein.

      The fact that subtle, to the point of almost having everyone on the left fooled, Nato propagandist, Paul Mason, is still shilling for Starmer speaks volumes. Starmer is probably more authoritarian and hawkish, by instinct, than Johnson. Which means not only are Labour supporters wasting their time campaigning to get him elected, Starmer could actually be dangerous, like Blair. He’d certainly be at the US leadership’s beck and call. The FT reported Mike Pompeo met with Starmer in July along with Dominic Raab and quote “hawkish backbench MPs” to discuss toughening the US/UK stance towards China. Mike Pompeo remember was recorded threatening to intervene stop Corbyn becoming PM, saying cryptically, that they wouldn’t wait to ‘push back’? You can wager Starmer would probably just shrug if the last election was rigged, such is the right’s antipathy for its former leader, as seen with the brazen suspension of Corbyn.

      For those favouring the UK winding down its military adventurism alongside the Americans Starmer and Nandy(based on recent comments) are a potential disaster waiting to happen. At least Scots can escape this dark future, if the SNP keep their promises. On which, if Scotland wins independence, you’d hope the Republic of Ireland and the Scandinavian countries would be the international role models. Crudely put, if you haven’t got the military hardware, then the Americans can’t come making demands of you to stand alongside them in their latest hegemony reinforcing adventure.

      • bevin

        :..the Scandinavian countries would be the international role models..”

        Are you sure about that? Denmark? Norway? Sweden?
        You are right about the danger that Starmer’s politics, which are very close to fascist, pose. I would be disinclined to give Labour under his diktat, any support.

        • Goose

          I was thinking more of Finland , which afaik(?) has kept out of the Nine Eyes (Five Eyes + Denmark, France, Holland, Norway) and Fourteen Eyes Alliances( Nine Eyes + Germany, Belgium, Italy, Sweden, Spain) groupings (9*14).

          I’d agree, in recent decades some Scandinavian have become more bellicose as the US’s interests merge with theirs through intel sharing. Though traditionally, they’ve been seen as peacemakers rather than aggressors and upholders of international law.

          • Kempe

            Although not a member Finland works closely with NATO and sent troops to Afghanistan, 60 still remain in the country although that’s expected to fall to 20 very soon.

      • Giyane

        Goose

        ” Starner more hawkish than Johnson. “

        Johnson is as bent as an origami toad. Starmer as bent as a paper dart. There’s no comparison. Johnson boosted his electoral chances with a pre-election MI5 planned terrorist attack on a London Bridge, then strode out with the Patel witch dressed in black to mourn the psyops “victims”. Starmer merely dons his blue batman outfit, a birthday present from MI5. Boris is super chutzpah nerve agent. Starmer just an insinuating back-stabber of the sort the judge described as merely annoying today.

        • Goose

          @Giyane

          Unless you’ve got evidence to back the London Bridge claims up, they should be deleted.
          ——–
          As for the wider point about election rigging(likely the vulnerable postal vote). I’d have once assumed it impossible in the UK, but after the dodgy goings on in the Scottish referendum(some caught on video) and the incredible jump in the postal vote at the last UK election. I’m not so sure I can confidently say it could never happen here.

          • Goose

            It is an odd coincidence… However, the explanation some here are promoting seems pretty dark. You need more than a hunch to promote such theories.

            When May tried to play the ‘national security card’ in 2017’s GE campaign, after multiple terror attacks, it didn’t impress the public much because opposition parties drew attention to the fact the Tories and May had overseen huge cuts to police numbers.

          • Giyane

            Goose

            I tell you what, I’ll have a look in my socks drawer. The whole point anoint multi agency orchestrated state crime is there is no evidence, except the staged appearance of 2 leaders in front of the cameras, which was so fake, it made the rest if the show appear to be a constructed deception.

      • Pigeon English

        WOW, I don’t agree with you. Fro now on you are just semi God to me!😀
        Scandinavian countries have changed so much in the last 20 years for the worst.
        Btw who is NATO General secretary and what is his rhetoric.
        Danes are so proud,(proverbial di*k waving) with number of F-35 they will get in the near future.
        It’s so sad.

  • djm

    I’m looking forward with much glee to being able to read Mr Murray’s written-through-gritted-teeth article after Trump pardons Assange

        • Ingwe

          Much as I want Mr Assange freed from prison immediately and compensated for the time he’s been held in prison, I’d rather it wasn’t a matter of a pardon from the narcissistic fascist Trump. The effect of such a pardon would put JA in the same group as those fellow crooks and thugs pardoned by Thump in his dying days.
          It really should be a matter of this appalling government freeing him on the basis that, he’s done nothing wrong, still less illegal.
          But him just being out of Belmarsh will be a good enough outcome.

          • Ben

            ‘Narcissistic fascist’

            We can agree on that point but I find the lack of antipathy from your peers puzzling.

            Do you also reject Russian enabling?

    • Ben

      Snowden showed some journalistic creds by vetting his data before releasing and thereby displaying objectivity.

      Assange showed no such concern for those who might be innocents suffering the consequences, excluding only those concerns for Russia.

      He’s no journalist..

      • Goose

        Simply not true. If you read the chronology of events that wasn’t Assange’s fault that they lost control of the release.

        No evidence at all that Assange wanted the names of those involved in the public domain, other than a vague recollection of a conversation from Luke Harding.

        • Ben

          Wikileaks leaked hundreds of thousands of secret documents that potentially endangered Americans and allies around the world and, possibly, helped get Donald Trump elected.

          His plausible deniability was wrought from many pseudonyms, even referring to himself in 3rd person.

          Is he a hero or merely a gifted cyberpunk?

          I dunno. But his unaccountability and lack of journalistic standards means any comparison to Pentagon Papers patently false.

          • Goose

            Assange didn’t like Clinton’s hawkishness, so what? No secret in that.

            James Comey’s announcement that the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server to conduct govt business, in the last few weeks of the campaign, was infinitely more damaging than anything WikiLeaks released. Both she[HC] and Comey have admitted this at various times.

            It played right into Trump’s claim she was somehow crooked and those “lock her up” chants he was leading at his rallies.

          • Ben

            Made no mention of Hillary.

            My point goes to the illegitimate claims that Assange should be considered a journalist. Libel laws in the US require a journalist to avoid malice in their journalistic standard- bearing.

            It seems his malice toward Hillary disqualifies him

          • Goose

            I think lots of Americans forget he’s not an American citizen. Nor was the material published leaked by him.

            I’ve heard certain US politicians call him a ‘traitor’ etc., some have even said he should face the death penalty. Were he French, German or Italian, they’d probably see this whole case a lot differently. I.e., I don’t think they’d pursue him at all. How much of this is motivated by the fact he’s a celebrity and they want to make an example of him?

          • Goose

            Perversely , if he were American he’d have full First Amendment Protection. That’s what seems so absurd and unjust about this whole situation.

            He’s an American ‘traitor’ for the purposes of those who wish to prosecute him and throw away the key, but not an American when it comes to basic rights.

            How can Australia tolerate such unfairness for one of its citizens?

          • Ben

            That’s the same nonsensical ‘objectivity’ American journalists draw on, Doug.

            When Trump’s minions are given credibility by trying to address absurdities they propound its similar to giving a career criminal the shirt off their backs and thanking them for their trouble

      • Giyane

        Ben

        Agents of the US helped the US to remove the only credible military threat to Israel. Exactly the same in Libya , where Gadaffi was preparing to fund a pan-African bank with zero interest which would have released Africa from.the colonial ambitions of China and the grasp of international bankers.

        Those agents in Iraq were paid exorbitant sums which they invested in local property and when they fled Iraq, and came to the UK clutching onto the chassis of lorries they brought their warped Islamist ideas to extract money from unsuspecting Muslims in this country.

        Islamist goon mullah Krekar and others had murdered and gangstered the Kurdish population with CIA slush funds under John Major’s no fly zone protection.

        I give you one small example of the twisted fartwas of the CIA agents. When asked why they were agents of the enemies of Islam and helped USUUKIS to colonise Iraq, they reply that the non-Muslims are not bound by the Shariah. They are allowed to do anything they like.

        Osama bin Laden asked the US only for permission to CORRECT THE MUSLIMS, not to wage war or terror against the West. So you think that the Islamist terror against Iraqis, Somalis, Libyans and Syrians , whose entire population has been made homeless, is nothing?
        What about Azerbaijan, Myanmar, Mali, Ukraine, Yugoslavia, Sudan, Pakistan, Afghanistan?

        In all these countries the Muslim.populations have been living under CIA agents ‘ Islamist terror, unreported by the Western MSM. Under the agreement between Usama bin Laden and Bush , Islamism has had cartels blanche to terrorise all these countries with absolute impunity.

        Are these the people you care about so much? The terrorists who declare the enemies of Islam as being free to do what they like, while the Muslims come under their warped puritanical jurisdiction???!!!

          • Giyane

            Ben

            I take it from your silence that you like the destruction of the Muslims by western proxy Islamiats and you care desperately about the danger that The Guardian put them into by not redacting their names.

            Your problem with Assange is that he defended the people that this country and the US brutally attacked in 2003. I also take it from the universal silence on Assange’s unlawful imprisonment and torture that most people in this country agree with you. All Muslim countries must be systematically destroyed from without and within.

            Zionism is universally supported in the West and outwith the West by all the Zionist , otherwise known as Islamist, Muslims

      • nevermind

        you are talking rubbish, Ben, he is the only one among his peers in the MSM to caution the authorities showing due diligence.
        Where did the black hawk pilots, apparently experts, but sounding like trigger happy red necks, aim their caution at?
        children and cameramen from Reuters.
        PROSECUTE THESE WAR CRIMINALS

      • bevin

        Talking rubbish on the authority of Marcy Wheeler, a thoroughly discredited apologist for the DNC: she still insists that Putin won the 2016 US election.

        • pretzelattack

          yeah, at one point she was a valuable voice, exposing the bs used to justify overthrowing the syrian government. then she went haywire, or revealed who funded her, depending on what you want to believe.

          • Ben

            But no evidence or logical mental meandering to support your claim Assange is a journalist: duly noted.

          • Dawg

            “Assange is not a journalist!” Yes he is, idiot.

            Apologies for any perceived rudeness, Ben; I’m just citing the title of an article by Caitlin Johnstone. Here is an excerpt:

            ” … anyone with a functioning brain can see that Julian Assange is indeed a journalist. Publishing facts so that the citizenry can inform themselves about what’s going on in their world and what’s happening with their government is the thing that journalism is. Duh. The need for an informed citizenry is the entire reason why press freedoms are protected so explicitly under the US Constitution, and publishing facts about the most powerful institutions on earth indisputably does create a more informed citizenry.

            “You can look at any conventional dictionary definition of the word and come to the same conclusion. Merriam-Webster offers “the public press” and “the collection and editing of news for presentation through the media”. The Oxford English Dictionary offers “The activity or profession of writing for newspapers, magazines, or news websites or preparing news to be broadcast.” Your Dictionary offers ” the work of finding, creating, editing and publishing news, or material written and presented for a newspaper, magazine or broadcast news source.” These are activities that WikiLeaks is undeniably involved in; they collect and publish newsworthy information to be circulated by themselves and other news sources. The fact that they do their part differently (and better) than other outlets doesn’t change that.

            “Which explains why the WikiLeaks team has racked up numerous awards for journalism over the years, including the Walkley Award for Most Outstanding Contribution to Journalism (2011), the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism (2011), the International Piero Passetti Journalism Prize of the National Union of Italian Journalists (2011), the Jose Couso Press Freedom Award (2011), the Brazillian Press Association Human Rights Award (2013), and the Kazakstan Union of Journalists Top Prize (2014).

            “The claim that Assange is “not a journalist” is both an irrelevant red herring and a self-evident falsehood. It is made not by people with an interest in maintaining a small and specific linguistic understanding of what the word journalism means, but by people who want to see Julian Assange imprisoned by the same government which tortured Chelsea Manning because he made them feel emotionally upset. It’s a fact-free argument made entirely in bad faith for inexcusable motives: the desire to see a journalist imprisoned for telling the truth.

            “When someone says “Assange isn’t a journalist”, they aren’t telling you what Assange is. They’re showing you what they are.”

            Well said, Caitlin, well said.

          • Ben

            An exhaustive piece full of counter-arguments distilled into a sentence. 🙂

            “Everyone is entitled to that constitutional protection equally: there is no cogent way to justify why the Guardian, ex-DOJ-officials-turned-bloggers, or Marcy Wheeler are free to publish classified information but Julian Assange and WikiLeaks are not..”

            No one has a constitutional right to yell FIRE! falsely in a crowded theater. Child Pornography is published. Is that Journalism?

            NYT vetted and edited or redacted Pentagon Papers with a sense of professional responsibility but still had the full weight of the government at their heels.

            Assange just lit a bomb because it was available.

          • Dawg

            Ben, I think you’re conflating activities which are really quite distinct. There is no constitutional protection in the US for people who maliciously shout “Fire!” in a crowded theater, nor is there permission to publish child pornography. But there is protection for legitimate journalism: i.e. reporting the truth on the grounds of public interest.

            If you’re assuming that Assange made no effort to edit or redact the cables, then I think you’ve overlooked an important part of the story. Assange did not publish the leaked cables immediately: he took 9 months to pore over the contents and carefully redact names of informants. Eventually, via Wikileaks, he released instructions for accessing the file containing the redacted cables, which he made available on numerous mirror sites. Later, a book published by the Guardian “journalists” Luke Harding and David Leigh revealed the password to the unredacted files, which had been hidden by Assange but were subsequently located on unauthorised mirrors by internet sleuths. When Assange learned what had happened, he alerted the US authorities about the threat. So your argument about malicious intent is untenable.

            You can read about the sorry saga in Craig’s court reports: Day 13, and Day 14. I clarified how the unredacted files came to be leaked in a comment there.

            I hope that helps.

          • Ben

            https://foreignpolicy.com/2017/08/17/wikileaks-turned-down-leaks-on-russian-government-during-u-s-presidential-campaign/

            https://www.politifact.com/article/2019/mar/18/wikileaks-russias-useful-idiot-its-agent-influence/

            https://www.cyberscoop.com/wikileaks-cia-leak-failed-redactions-kaspersky-lab/

            Not sure how broad your reading habits might be but utilize these links as you wish.

            Useful Idiot or Russian asset are his two choices but his bias in favor of Russia over the US says something about his intent. His antipathy for State criminals is reserved for the West.

          • Dawg

            Those are interesting links, but they amount to little more than rumour.

            In the first report, the sources for the alleged link between Wikileaks and Moscow are … US Intelligence and Mike Pompeo (who doesn’t really warrant the term “intelligence”, unfortunately). But they didn’t have any substantial evidence, as the Mueller inquiry subsequently learned.

            In the second link, Politifact pontificates about whether Assange may have helped the Kremlin unwittingly (i.e. he’s “useful idiot”), and concludes (if that’s the right word) “maybe”. The only basis offered for asserting a connection is the unsourced report that the emails were originally obtained by “Russian hackers”. Avid readers of this very blog will be aware that Craig Murray (a key Wikileaks ally) has consistently maintained that it was a leak, not a hack. The crux of the US Intelligence methodology is exposed at the end of the report:

            “That’s one hell of a coincidence,” Weiss said, referring to the record of WikiLeaks’ and Russia’s congruent interests. “If you’re a U.S. intelligence officer you don’t believe in such coincidences.”

            Their “intelligence” relies on making inferences from perceived coincidences. They also say that they can’t reveal what’s in the sealed indictment against Assange (thereby hinting that there might be a “smoking gun”). However, Politifact published the article in March 2019 and since then we learned about the contents of the sealed indictment (and the superseding indictment) in court. (Much as the PTB tried to suppress the news, they didn’t bank on Mr Murray publishing detailed daily writeups.) And, as Craig explained, their case is risibly weak and factually vacuous.

            The third link, Cyberscoop, refers to “artifacts” that were found in the redacted files. As far as I can tell these were quite trivial. Forensic experts were able to ascertain which software was used for the redaction: so what?! Apparently the name of a CIA employee was found in email metadata, but it doesn’t link the name to any malicious activity. I fail to see the serious jeopardy here. Perhaps you’d like to elaborate. Kindly note that it was admitted in court that there was no evidence of any source coming to harm even from the unredacted cables.

            I think Caitlin was spot on: the desperate efforts to pin a serious felony on Assange reveal more about the psychology of the accuser.

          • Ben

            Dawg:

            Glad you read the links and your perspective favors reasonable doubts about Julian’s motivations being suspect.

            I’ve already stipulated he could be a dupe or accidentally an agent.

            Hes been compared to Philip Agee/Robert Hansson but Schulte as a disgruntled Spook is more apt.

            Obtaining/possessing weighty info affecting many lives should have been a caution to anyone with a social conscience. Yet he appears cavalier and that goes to his disqualifying feature as a ‘journalist’ and that is my salient point. Just as a circumstantial evidence case is more difficult to prove guilt to a jury, this case must be reasoned out and thats where our different perceptions diverge

            Even if Vault 7 files got away from him unintentionally and other actors took their own initiative, its comparable to an inebriated vehicle operator who let his car get away from him and strike a pedestrian, he’s still culpable.

            https://www.emptywheel.net/2020/12/19/three-inconvenient-truths-about-a-hypothetical-trump-pardon-for-julian-assange/

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    You’ve omitted a certain Middle Eastern country with a Mediterranean coastline. A country that’s known to market its expertise in software coding with a specific emphasis on “security”. Ask yourself, who turned the NSA’s fundamentally passive, Stuxnet into a self replicating virus?
    They also have a track record for spying on their paymasters (not that they’re ever punished).

    • Goose

      If it were, it’d probably be smoothed over with a minor slap on the wrist.

      As per the lack of reaction over six British passports being used by Israeli assassins, in Dubai. Iirc, the Israeli ambassador got called in for a chat by the FCO, and that was the end of the matter. If it’d been any of those countries listed above, it would’ve caused a major diplomatic incident no doubt.

    • Goose

      Ars technica is covering it extensively. Whichever country or group it is, it’s a brazenly, ballsy intrusion. As I and many have said, modern OSes are so complex, so much updates etc, by necessity is based on a chain of trust, Compromise certificates for trust based updates and everything looks legit – and because the malware is a new variant its signature won’t trigger the normal security responses.

      Five Eyes have said very little, thus far, although I doubt it’s one of their pen testing exercises that’s been misattributed(as wilder internet rumours will no doubt suggest), that would be utterly absurd if we are attacking ourselves.

      https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2020/12/feds-warn-that-solarwinds-hackers-likely-used-other-ways-to-breach-networks/

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    Legal advice sought in pursuance of defence in the “Alex Salmond” case in the Court of Session is to be viewed next week by the Committee in a “reading room” (shades of Percy Alleline in Tinker, Tailor … ).
    The advice will then be made available in redacted form.
    I’ll unredact that legal advice for you; “Wot! You’re proposing to discipline an EX-EMPLOYEE! Are you fucking mental or something.”

    • Squadra

      The Guardian is now of the opinion that Assange should be released by Biden. Not open for comments, unlike their opinion piece on Strictly Come Dancing.

      • Ben

        Nixon; pardoned

        Multifarious Iran/Contra criminals: pardoned or unindicted.

        Bush Fake WMD Wars: Unindicted…

        At least 25 co-conspirators enabled by Trumpty Dumpty and all the Kings (Wo)Men.

        Its all good.

        • Ben

          As long as nobody is clearly accountable..deserving punishment

          There is no crime

          For crime to flourish, good people must tolerate it.

        • pretzelattack

          none of which has anything to do with assange. he’s not a “career criminal” he’s a brave journalist who exposed US war crimes for the world to see, as significant as ellsberg, another whistleblower who revealed the pentagon papers. i hate seeing garbage like this.

      • Goose

        The guardian’s piece is where they should’ve been all along. I think ex-editor Alan Rusbridger did see the dangers in this case early, but the guardian hasn’t been friendly. And the less said about Luke Harding’s behaviour the better.

        It’s almost hard to believe its the same newspaper that threw its lot in with the lynch mob, the Anglo political aristocracy, who wanted Assange strung up for publishing factual stuff he didn’t even himself leak.

          • Mary

            I thought people were joking on the Siberia handle.

            Giving his full title, the clerk referred to him as “Baron Lebedev of Hampton in our London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and of Siberia in the Russian Federation”.

            The video on here shows him strolling in. He was ‘supported’ by the toad ex Chancellor (Charles) Clarke of Nottingham { https://members.parliament.uk/member/366/career } and Bird of Big Issue fame. Clarke had dozens of jobs.
            https://www.theneweuropean.co.uk/brexit-news/westminster-news/evgeny-lebedev-in-house-of-lords-6855550

            A motley crew. There are now over 790 members of the HoL They can pick up £305 a day to attend and can dine and drink in the numerous subsidized bars and restaurants provided.
            https://members.parliament.uk/members/Lords

          • Goose

            Lord Austin and John Woodcock (Baron Walney) are the most egregious examples.

            As a Labour MP Woodcock was suspended from the party ahead of an investigation into claims he sent inappropriate text messages to a female former aide. He quit the party, and the investigation was never completed as far as I know. But how did either get through the House of Lords Appointments Commission – responsible for the vetting for propriety of all nominations to the House?

          • fonso

            @Goose
            That commission was established to validate the scum not to impede them. Think about the people who created it and sit on it.

    • Cubby

      Vivian

      I read the agreement. You would think it was legal advice about going to war with Iraq rather than ONE man they were getting advice about. What a farce. They are just playing for time dragging it all out.

      Swinney has no reputation left to defend.

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