Reply To: Elections Aftermath: Was our 2019 Vote & the EU Referendum Rigged? #TORYRIG2019


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Kim Sanders-Fisher

I wasn’t holding my breath, stressed out over painfully slow progress on a non-negotiation or bracing for a final painful resolution on Sunday. I knew the PM couldn’t bully the EU into a last ditch capitulation in favour of Tory Brexit demands: it didn’t happen. Even the much dreaded, but inevitable no-deal crash–out Brexit Tories have been maneuvering towards for well over a year was unlikely to be finalized on Sunday as Johnson deceitfully bargained for a bit more time. The closer Johnson gets to Christmas, the easier it will become to drown out the horrific reality of self-harm the Tories are so eager to inflict on the disillusioned British public. Our prospects as a nation will be washed into the sewer with Xmas punch to a tune of Ho, Ho, Ho, Here comes Santa Claus. Most are blissfully unaware of the looming New Year Sovereign Dictatorship stranglehold that will put Tory boots on our necks for decades to come. The Canary Article entitled, “Tory anger over Navy no-deal threat as trade negotiations enter crunch stage,” was an opening salvo.

The Canary claim, “Senior Conservatives have reacted angrily to Boris Johnson’s handling of the Brexit trade negotiatons and the threat to deploy Royal Navy gunboats to patrol UK fishing waters in the event of no-deal. The Ministry of Defence has confirmed that four 80-metre armed vessels have been placed on standby to guard British waters from EU trawlers in the event that there is no new agreement on fishing rights after 31 December when transitional arrangements end. Reports also suggested that military helicopter surveillance will be made available and that ministers are considering beefing-up Navy powers in legislation to authorise them to board and arrest fishermen found to be contravening post-Brexit rules. Tobias Ellwood, Conservative chairman of the Commons Defence Committee, called the threat ‘irresponsible’ while former European commissioner Lord Patten accused the PM of behaving like an ‘English nationalist’.” This was among the ramping-up of threats before Sunday’s deadline came and went.

The Canary reported that, “UK and EU negotiators begin final push to salvage post-Brexit trade deal,” but in reality I still fear that they have no intention of doing any type of deal with the EU, just prolonging the anxiety with endless futile talks; certainly their threatening conduct speaks volumes. “They said that, ‘The decision to ready the Navy for increased territorial patrols, likely to be read as a warning in Brussels over fishing rights, comes after Johnson met senior minister Michael Gove, who has responsibility for Brexit planning, and other officials on 11 December to ‘take stock’ of government plans for a no-deal exit. The prime minister and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen have both warned that a no-deal outcome looks more likely than an agreement in the trade negotiations, with the pair having agreed to take a firm decision on the future of the talks on 13 December.”

The Canary reported that, “Former defence minister Ellwood voiced his concern about the Royal Navy proposals and urged for the gaps in the negotiations to be bridged before the deadline. He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘I think these headlines are absolutely irresponsible. We need to be focusing on what is already in the bag – 98% of the deal is there, there are three or four outstanding issues. Important though they are, let’s park those for the future. Let’s get this deal because economically, but most importantly, international reputationally this would be so damaging to Britain – it would be a retrograde step, a failure of statecraft.
Patten, speaking to the Today programme, said he feared for the UK’s future under Johnson’s premiership after the Conservative leader said on 11 December it looked ‘very, very likely’ that the country was on the prospect of leaving the single market without new trading arrangements in place for 1 January.”

The Canary noted that, “Former Tory chairman Patten said: ‘While I hope for the best, I do fear for the worst because it is very, very difficult to see what the plan is, how we’re going to do so brilliantly when we’re out of this ‘cage’ of Europe – which we of course helped to build because the main constructor of the single market was Margaret Thatcher.” The Canary claimed that, “The trade talks continue to be deadlocked over the thorny issues of fishing rights and the so-called level playing field “ratchet” that would tie the UK to future EU standards. The bid to shore up protection of British waters came at the suggestion of government backbenchers, with Shrewsbury MP Daniel Kawczynski tweeting on 11 December that naval forces should be deployed in the New Year “to prevent illegal French fishing in our waters’.”

The Canary reported that, “Admiral Lord West, a former chief of naval staff, also said he agreed that the Royal Navy should protect UK waters from foreign fishing vessels if asked to do so in a no-deal Brexit scenario. Lord West told Today: ‘It is absolutely appropriate that the Royal Navy should protect our waters if the position is that we are a sovereign state and our Government has said we don’t want other nations there. There are complications in that you can push vessels aside, you can cut their fishing tackle but boarding these foreign ships, they’ll need to pass probably a little thing through Parliament to give authority to board and get on them. There is no doubt if you are a fisherman who has fished for years there – they are, as our fishermen are, quite stormy people – and you get a bit of a punch-up and you might need some Marines and things.” Deliberate provocation of a complete breakdown of trust, a worsening relationship with the EU and threats of use of force; do the Brexiteers want war with France?

The Canary reported on, “Preparations are also being made at ports, with part of the M20 motorway to be shut for four consecutive nights across the weekend as Kent tests plans to tackle any disruption as a result of customs changes.” Little news today on how that experiment went! It’s beyond Tory comprehension that lorry drivers might boycott routes leading to our ports, but this is taking place already. The working poor are meant to just choke it down however unreasonable the demand; why wouldn’t they want to camp out in their cabs for days on end, backed up on the motorway while losing money on their freight. Perishable fruit and veg will rot anyway; it’s just not worth the hassle to go through such torment to feed arrogant, ungrateful Brits. Prices will soar just as those on benefits, furlough or pitance frozen wages become less able to buy food. They said, “Chief trade negotiators Michel Barnier and Lord Frost are set to talk throughout the weekend in Brussels.” The weekend has come and gone, but they are still negotiating…

The Canary Article entitled, “Gove lets slip the truth about Brexit. The timing couldn’t be more embarrassing,” but thre is nothing that embarasses a Tory; no monumental screw-up is great enough to trigger self-awareness let alone remorse. They say, “Earlier this week, cabinet office minister Michael Gove dropped a spectacular clanger when he inadvertently revealed that the Johnson government’s Brexit dealings are nonsensical. The phrase Gove used to describe the latest agreement regarding Brexit and the north of Ireland actually describes the situation before the referendum.” This followed another Tory U-turn, this time on the Irish border, they say, “On 8 December 2020, Gove and European commission vice-president Maroš Šefčovič, co-chairs of the EU-UK Joint Committee, announced that certain clauses in the Internal Market bill relating to the north of Ireland would be dropped.”

According to the Canary, “This amounts to a huge u-turn by the Johnson government, particularly as only three months earlier Gove swore on his job that the government wouldn’t back down on the bill (and, presumably, any of its parts). This change in direction means that there will be no checks at the border between north and south Ireland. However, there will be a ‘regulatory’ border between the north of Ireland and the rest of the UK. The UK government has also issued comprehensive guidelines on what happens with goods entering or leaving the north of Ireland after 1 January. The Northern Ireland Protocol, published in 2019 as part of the EU Withdrawal Agreement, provides further details. Crucially, the protocol ‘avoids a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, and safeguards the all-island economy and the Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement in all its dimensions’. That protocol will only last four years, after which it’s subject to renewal.”

The Canary report that, “Gove triumphantly announced that the changes will mean: ‘Businesses in Northern Ireland now get the best of both worlds, access to the European single market and at the same time unfettered access to the rest of the UK market.’ But as Dr Mike Galsworthy, founder of Scientists for EU, pithily remarked: ‘Gove says NI now have the best of both worlds as they’ve unfettered access to EU Single Market & UK Single Market. Hold on. This ‘best of both worlds’ scenario is exactly what we had in 2016. So WTF have we just burned £200bn on Brexit for? Some fish??’ Scottish National Party (SNP) MP Ian Blackford commented that if the north of Ireland can have the ‘best of both worlds’ then so should Scotland: ‘Northern Ireland is getting ‘the best of both worlds. Why then is @BorisJohnson denying Scotland access to the EU single market and customs union? We are being utterly shafted. Even @ScotTories warned about this, we all await their letters of resignation… #Brexit #PMQs’.”

The Canary warn that, “if the north of Ireland remains in the EU single market, that may add to the argument for an eventual united Ireland” and the point to Gove’s admission by dredging up a “Cameron endorsed document.” They say that talk of, “this ‘best of both worlds’ when applied to Brexit is not some new notion. Far from it, for the phrase was the title of a white paper presented to the UK parliament in February 2016, with a foreword by then Prime Minister David Cameron. The full title of the white paper was The best of both worlds: the United Kingdom’s special status in a reformed European Union. It argued that the UK should remain in the EU, given certain reforms within the EU. Cameron stated: Our special status gives us the best of both worlds. We will be in the parts of Europe that work for us – influencing the decisions that affect us, in the driving seat of the world’s biggest market and with the ability to take action to keep our people safe. But we will be out of the parts of Europe that do not work for us.”

The Canary remind us of the ambitious Tory pledges of ‘cake and eat it’ fantasy deals documented by Cameron, who claimed, “So as well as being out of ever closer union, we will never join the euro and never be part of Eurozone bailouts or the passport-free no borders area. He added: Leaving Europe would threaten our economic and our national security. Those who want us to leave cannot say if British businesses would be able to access Europe’s free trade single market, or if working people’s jobs are safe or how much prices would rise. All they are offering is risk at a time of uncertainty – a leap in the dark. I do not believe that would be right for Britain. My recommendation is clear: I believe every family, household, business, community and nation within our United Kingdom will be stronger, safer and better off by remaining inside this reformed European Union. Now that’s all history.” Tories are still touting fantasy ‘cakeism’ and the huge benefits once we reach the sunny uplands as we are swallowed by the rabbit hole!

The Canary say, “Meanwhile, the negotiations between the UK and the EU in regard to what happens after 1 January 2021 are continuing. There may only be days to go before those negotiations cease, with only a no-deal option remaining and the consequent massive hit to the already coronavirus-ravaged UK economy.” But they contend that, “The glaringly obvious question remains: if Gove admits that the north of Ireland will get the ‘best of both worlds’, then why not the entire UK too? Indeed, Gove’s inadvertent admission arguably equates to a damning of the entire Brexit deception, exemplified by the lies sold by the Vote Leave campaign that he and Johnson fronted.”

Another vital question looms as the Canary Article asks, “How could a no-deal Brexit affect UK healthcare? Preparations are already being made, with the stockpiling of medicines and provision of alternative freight routes aimed at ensuring as little disruption as possible to healthcare in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Here is a look at some of the main issues:– Medical supplies and equipment: Medical suppliers have been encouraged to try and stockpile six weeks’ worth of stock, with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) describing such actions as a ‘key part of contingency plans’. In a letter to medicines and medical product suppliers, the department advised that having extra stocks ‘provides a further buffer against disruption’. At the time of the letter, dated 17 November, the department said it was on course to have six weeks’ worth of stocks of ‘fast-moving medical devices and clinical consumables’, including supplies which it said are ‘vital’ to the coronavirus (Covid-19) response, by the end of December.”

The Canary say that, “Labour call on govt to deliver promise of ‘oven ready’ deal. However, deputy chair of the British Medical Association (BMA) Dr David Wrigley raised concerns that some medicines with short shelf lives such as insulin cannot be stockpiled. The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) welcomed other preparatory measures including an announcement in October of agreements to secure freight capacity on nine routes serving eight English ports in areas thought less likely to experience disruption. The ABPI, which said 45 million packs of medicines move from the UK to the EU and 37 million come back the other way every month, has consistently argued that a ‘comprehensive trade deal’ is the best outcome for both sides.” One of the presenters on the BBC Paper Review focused on this as he expressed worry over his own insulin supply; this reckless Tory Government is playing Russian Roulette putting the lives of vulnerable patients at risk.

The Canary report that, “Mark Dayan, policy analyst at health think tank the Nuffield Trust, warned the public against stockpiling medicines. He said: People should not stockpile medicines themselves, because I’m really worried that could lead to a shortage of some medicines that actually otherwise we would have had enough of, because it could affect medicines that actually have been stockpiled successfully, or are coming into the country, even medicines we make in the UK, so I would urge people not to act like that but I do understand that it is a worrying prospect. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) – which made global headlines this month after approving the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine, will leave the European Medicines Agency(EMA).”

The Canary say, “In October, the government announced that from 1 January the MHRA will join Australia, Canada, Singapore, and Switzerland in what is known as the Access Consortium. The government has described the consortium’s goal as maximising international co-operation, reducing duplication, and increasing capacity to ensure patients have ‘timely access to high-quality, safe and effective therapeutic products’.The MHRA will also become part of Project Orbis, a programme to review and approve promising cancer treatments which is coordinated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), alongside the above countries and Brazil. The ABPI is also calling for the UK to ‘fully participate’ in the Horizon Europe €100bn (£91bn) research and innovation programme and ‘continue to influence the EU research programmes as far as possible’.”

There are growing concerns over how the Healthcare workforce will cope. The Canary report that, “A points-based immigration system is being brought in to determine who can live and work in the UK, while the EU Settlement Scheme has been introduced so European citizens and their families already living in the UK can apply for permission to remain in the country when freedom of movement ends after the transition period. Concerns have been raised that the £25,600 salary threshold for skilled migrants to come to the UK with a job offer could cause staff shortages in social care because the industry is heavily reliant on foreign workers to fill typically low-paid positions. As for doctors, Dr Wrigley said: Since the whole referendum went through there’s been a deep, deep sense of concern from the European-qualified doctors who work in the UK and my belief is there’s around 22,000 of these doctors at the moment in the UK working in the NHS.”

Quoting Dr. Wrigley who remarked on how, “very little progress had been made on issues around the recognition of qualifications, and is concerned this could affect things like people coming to the UK to carry out medical research.” The Canary report that, “He said: ‘If there is no deal and these aspects are not recognised I think these doctors will begin to question whether they should stay in this country. We are world leaders in medical research so they (researchers) come here to advance their research, to offer their knowledge and skills in our fantastic academic institutions.” He added that, “They’ve got visa-free travel at the moment, there’s reciprocal arrangements available. But all this again is put at risk because we’re not sure how that will stand. He also expressed worry around workers’ rights and doctors potentially having to work long hours in the absence of EU protections.” The Working Time Directive is absolutely vital to providing safe Medical care, without it Doctors in particular are grossly exploited.

The Canary say, “Trades Union Congress general secretary Frances O’Grady has said: Surely the PM can sign up to workers’ rights in Britain being at least as good as those in the EU? Dr Wrigley said: Without those protections, we may see doctors’ hours going up again, which is not good for patient safety and patient care. Dr Wrigley said a lot of NHS contracts are ‘very high value’ and that ‘other countries may say ‘actually, we want a slice of that pie’. He said the NHS’s multi-billion pound budget means ‘there’s a lot of rich pickings there’. But trade policy minister Greg Hands told MPs last month that the NHS ‘will not be for sale in any future deal, trade deal with the US or indeed any trade deal at all’. He said protecting the UK’s health service is ‘a fundamental principle of our trade policy’, adding that its services and the prices it pays for drugs are ‘not for sale and we will not agree measures which undermine the government’s ability to deliver on these commitments’.”

The Canary report on, “Secret documents published in November 2019 seemed to show that the NHS would be up for negotiation in future trade talks with the US. Dayan said social care providers should be braced for general price increases affecting supplies the sector needs ranging from food to laundry products. He said: It’s probable that just because of the new customs barriers, the cost of getting many of these things into the UK will go up, and so far as care homes in particular need to purchase these, they will be facing an additional financial hit there. This probably is more the case for a no-deal than an exit with a deal, but either way I think you’ll also have the short-term shock to supply, with the risk of not being able to get hold of some things at all. I know the NHS, for example, has been directing trusts to think about their menus and food that they serve to make sure they are not too exposed or reliant on supplies that may be harder to get hold of, so there would be similar concerns I think in social care.”

The Canary say, “European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC), issued in the UK to access healthcare in Europe, will not be valid after the end of the transition period, with some exceptions. Those eligible to apply for a new UK EHIC that they can continue to use from the beginning of January next year include students from the UK who are studying in the EU, some British State Pensioners who live in the EU and their families, and EU nationals in the UK. Anyone on a trip in Europe that began before 1 January 2021 can still use their UK-issued EHIC until the end of the trip. The government warns that an EHIC is not a substitute for travel insurance and advises therefore that people take out insurance before a trip. Dayan said EHICs have been a ‘lifeline’ for people with long-term conditions who want to travel, who may now have to spend more on insurance. He said: For many people that’s a minor but manageable nuisance but actually if you have a condition which definitely is going to require some high-cost treatment then it may really be quite a prohibitive amount of money.”

I can only feel a tremendous weight of guilt that I have enjoyed all of the amazing benefits of freedom of movement that will now be denied to young people in this country, due to the selfish vote of my generation hoping to secure an irretrievable isolationist past. My own life would have been very different, less exciting and less fulfilling; my own travel as a teenager on the continent predated EU membership with fewer restrictions than will be put in place after January 1st! I used to spend the best part of every year away, less than two months in the UK; now 90 days will be the limit: it’s a severe regression. Nothing short of a full scale people’s revolt with massive nationwide protests can save us from the self-harm Tories intend to inflict on this country. This is not “the will of the people!” We must challenge the legitimacy of a Tory Government that has railroaded us since the Covert 20119 Rigged Election. We must contest and Investigate that incredulous result that brought so much misery to our people: expose the truth and Get The Tories Out! DO NOT MOVE ON!