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Tory panic is at fever pitch as evidenced by their furious attempts to vault the public off into the wrong direction with ‘nothing to see here’ plot alternatives and fervent insistences that the Russia Report has nothing relevant to expose, will be “underwhelming” and just a “damp squib,” but their protestations are riddled with guilt. The Torygraph ran a front page story on how it was the SNP who were assisted by the Russians in their Independence Referendum which makes no sense as it holds no particular strategic objective for the Russians. It was the Scottish IndiRef where it’s believed the Tories first trialled their postal votes rigging scam and the results were found to have been so egregiously manipulated as exposed by the Dunoon Report. It is being trailed as ‘old news’ and no longer relevant, blunting the impact of what could have been acted on with regard to the corruption that warped the Brexit result. The publicly available redacted version was released today, but a classified version will remain under wraps.
The press conference from the Intelligence and Security Committee was exceptionally well presented with the new Chair, Julian Lewis, very sensibly deciding to hand over much of the presentation to the two committee members who had served on the former committee and would remain in place on the new committee. His humility and deference to Labour’s Kevan Jones and the SNPs Stewart Hosie would not have occurred if Johnson and his controller had manage to gag the committee by placing a large bucket of whitewash front and centre with Chris ‘failing Grayling’ as their compliant Chair. Jones was emphatic with regard to Johnson’s deliberate delays picking off each feeble excuse offered by the PM and countering with, “not true;” basically he lied, he lied and he lied. Hosie was equally scathing and emphatic in his revelation that the reason no interference was found was that no one bothered to look. He stated that this was astounding given that there was clear evidence of interference in IndiRef and the US 2016 Election.
I will be going through the Russia Report for more indications of what I think the fallout might be, but I wanted to get my post online with material I had been working on while awaiting the start of the press conference. What better to distract the masses than an above inflation public sector pay rises, as if they finally deserve to stop being punished with austerity pay freezes. But it will still have to be carved out of their existing overstretched budgets. Among the public service workers who felt left out were notably the Carers, who have worked so hard and felt so completely abandoned by this Government; Pharmacists were also not in the deal. This positive headline might just dominate the media for the short-term news cycle. The Health Select Committee will also be meeting today to examine the handling of the Covid 19 crisis. Undoubtedly, this will add to the spread of news coverage, but I doubt it will take the heat off Boris Johnson or this corrupt Tory Government. Will the compliant BBC and right-wing media offer robust scrutiny?
Another headline grabber was the fact that Government borrowing has soared to over 35 billion pounds, nearly five times more than the same period last year. On the BBC News this morning Grace Blakely a Research Fellow at IPPR’s Centre for Economic Justice commented on the level of borrowing. She revealed that the majority of Rishi Sunak’s bailout package is going on “Corporate Welfare” that it is “propping up some businesses that otherwise might not be credit worthy, especially with this extension of the furlough scheme, this top up for businesses who keep workers on until January. Your giving businesses a little bit of money; a lot of them, it won’t convince them to keep workers on when actually, probably the best way to deal with this crisis would be to create, for the Government to create jobs itself, green sustainable jobs, rebuilding the economy for everyone.” She suggested that these indebted businesses should be taken into public ownership, touting Labour policies Starmer, with his lack of courage, is so eager to abandon.
However on the pre press conference BBC News, Dame Vivian Westwood stole the show with her bizarre protest dressed as a canary in a cage suspended outside the Old Bailey. Sadly, her core message during the on-air interview with Victoria Derbyshire was not as succinct as it could have been, but she made a valiant, attention getting, attempt to plead for the release of political prisoner Julian Assange incarcerated in Belmarsh awaiting extradition to the US on ‘Trump-ed’ up hacking charges. To be fair there was just far too much information re Assange’s defence for her to possibly articulate in such a brief interview when so much has been deliberately kept from the public up to this point. How sad that it takes such a whacky stunt to get Julian’s plight noticed. It confirms a strategy I learned many years ago; that dramatic and unusual spectacles have a way of irresistibly magnetizing media attention to a neglected cause just as toppling Colston’s statue did. In future protests, we must use whacky stunts to gain media attention.
The Intelligence and Select Committee pushed for a belated Investigation into Russian Interference in the Brexit vote which was rapidly refused by this corrupt Tory Government even before a formal request could be made. Surely, this must be the focus of Keir Starmer’s demands at tomorrow’s Prime Ministers Questions, sadly I fully anticipate Labour’s Tory enabling Leadership will let us down again. The key message made clear in the Russia Report was that we cannot quantify the threat of foreign intervention if we refuse to investigate. It represents the exact same reason that I am still Petitioning for a Comprehensive Investigation into the Covert 2019 Rigged Election. I will be scanning the report to see what more was said about the committee’s recommendations regarding the Electoral Commission, which was touched on very briefly by Stewart Hosie at the press conference. Just like the malign foreign influence that was known about well before the Brexit vote, the vulnerability of our Electoral System to Industrial scale fraud has been ignored for over a decade; it must be exposed to close this loop hole and correct injustice ASAP. DO NOT MOVE ON!