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In the Byline Times Article entitled, “The Sick Man of Europe Again – The Mutant Etonian Variant Of English Exceptionalism,” Peter Jukes and Hardeep Matharu remind us of the derogatory tag associated with the UK before we joined the EU, a failing governance to which we now seem destined to return. They “argue that the Coronavirus itself is the main beneficiary of Boris Johnson’s neo-imperial policies leading to the inevitable ‘cordon sanitaire’ around Britain even before a hard Brexit.” I only hope that the shock reality of goods no longer heading into the UK will galvanize minds and spur public protests to call for an extension. Brexit was such an obvious act of self-sabotage even before Covid now it will initiate a total meltdown! They warn that, “Having initially joined the European Union as the ‘Sick Man of Europe,’ as Britain’s dire financial straits were characterised throughout the 1960s and 70s, the metaphor of a diseased nation has turned into a cold, hard clinical reality as Britain prepares to leave the EU this winter.”
The Byline Times say, “Boris Johnson’s announcement on Saturday of tier four restrictions for London and the south-east and stricter Christmas gatherings due to a much more infectious variant of the Coronavirus spreading through the population triggered the closing of many borders in Europe and beyond to British travellers. Days from Christmas and Brexit, Britain is cut off. The end of free movement has arrived and the dreams of a self-isolating nation longed for by Brexiters have been achieved. Johnson’s announcement may have been sudden, but the British Government’s laissez faire attitude to lockdowns, poor tracking and tracing and its late ramping-up of testing, infused with a deadly exceptionalism, always ran this risk. While you can’t sing Rule Britannia to a virus, as Musa Okwonga observed early on in these pages, this is precisely what Boris Johnson and his Brexiters saw fit to do by citing our ‘world-beating’ innovations.”
The Byline Times highlight how, “It now seems that the virus did listen to the absurd siren calls of an Empire ruling the waves – and took advantage of the combination of arrogance and ignorance.” Joking that we were, “Herded out of immunity” they say, “The more the Coronavirus was allowed to run riot through Britain’s densely populated and highly mobile regions, the more likely an adaptive mutation was to occur.” For anyone who is not as passionately concerned about the welfare of people in the developing world as I am, this is an extremely important reason why vaccines must be readily available and affordable for entire populations in poorer nations as eradication must be global to eliminate the possibility of further mutations. This goal is damaged by a disgraceful and vile decision to slash our foreign aid budget commitment at a time when this reduction in funding is further compounding the poverty caused by a drop in remittance money being sent from Western Industrialized nations.
Byline Times report that, “The highly infectious new variant, one of thousands, was initially sampled in September when it was named ‘Variant B.1.1.7’. However, it wasn’t deemed significant enough to be tracked until late October and a full investigation into its genomic sequencing began in early December until the name ‘VUI-202012-01’. According to a report on Sunday by the Government’s New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group, it ‘demonstrated exponential growth during a period when lockdown measures were in place. By the second week of December, more than 60% of all cases in London were ascribed to the new variant and around half of all cases in the south-east. Though there is no sign that this variant is more deadly, the rate of mutation has taken scientists by surprise. Of the 23 mutations, 17 were acquired all at once.”
Byline Times say that, “This variant could have arisen in a chronically infected patient undergoing antibody therapy, but there are also reports that the prison system in Kent was a catalyst for the rise of infections. Whether the source was Britain’s overstretched, underfunded and dehumanising prison system or not, the reality of neglect and negligence in Johnson’s Coronavirus response made some such mutation mathematically much more likely. Byline Times has spent the past eight months cataloguing the failures of Britain’s pandemic response which led to the highest death toll in Europe, the largest number of health and care worker deaths, and the worst economic performance of the G7. Its lax approach was evident from the very beginning, with the first lockdown in mid-March introduced late, after a ‘herd immunity’ approach towards the virus was explored – including by the Government’s Chief Scientific Officer Sir Patrick Vallance who spoke of it on national television.”
When this wholy unscientific approach was debunked, the PM appeared to publically distance himself from the plan, but it just went underground. There is disturbing TV footage of a Scientific Adviser suggesting the Covid will be turned on and off like a tap which is what has happened. Byline Times report that, “Johnson himself had already told the Italian Prime Minister that he wanted herd immunity – a fact that only emerged after an investigation by Channel 4’s Dispatches many months on. When it seemed as if this dangerous idea, which is not advocated in epidemiology except in the context of a vaccine, had been put to bed, it emerged again. Reports suggest that Johnson dismissed a recommendation from the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies to introduce a ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown in September after meeting three proponents of herd immunity: Anders Tegnell, the man behind Sweden’s disastrous COVID-19 approach and academics Professor Sunetra Gupta and Professor Carl Heneghan.”
Byline Times justifiably ask, “Why during a serious health emergency have such fringe views taken hold in the highest positions of Government?” Saying that, “The Rule of Exceptionalism is Exceptionally Bad.” They say that, “Britain has one of the most efficient healthcare systems in the world and is a global centre of both pharmaceuticals and genomics. Along with the US, its ‘pandemic preparedness’ was rated highly by the World Health Organisation. So there was no lack of prior capacity or medical knowhow in the UK. The failures have been of policy and attitude, and – as the twin disasters of Brexit and our Coronavirus response collide – there is a clear pathological path for this new British disease: the Etonian variant of English Exceptionalism.”
According to Byline Times, “From Johnson’s early suggestion that Britain could take on the Coronavirus by being ‘ready to take off its Clark Kent spectacles and leap into the phone booth and emerge with its cloak flowing as the supercharged champion’ to his more recent claims that Britain’s COVID-19 rates are higher than those in Italy and Germany because its people are too ‘freedom-loving’, a delusional sense of supremacy has reigned. But this is just ideology. In the same way that the closed minds of Soviet ideology led to the nuclear disaster of Chernobyl, the propaganda and libertarian obsessions of Johnson’s Vote Leave Government have exacerbated every wrong – from the herd immunity anathema to the scandal of procurement contracts handed out to Conservative Party donors. However, the Coronavirus doesn’t care about the phantoms of a vanished imperial past.”
The Byline Times report that, “What Britain was actually once renowned for – a pragmatic attitude to fact and an empiricist emphasis on evidence and science – would have been the greatest threat to the propagation and persistence of the Coronavirus. But, as with our exit from the EU, the voices of reason have been drowned out by bigotry and arrogance. We have only become ‘world-beating’ by beating ourselves up. We are only exceptional in our failures. And, as the country faces a hard Brexit more physically isolated than at any time since the Second World War, with no real enemies to blame but ourselves and having alienated all our allies, a final reckoning has come.”
The harsh reality of the Tory Governments shambolic lack of preparedness came crashing down om nieve Brits when the French closed the border and the lorries started backing up at the port in Dover. Trucks snaking back for miles and an entire runway at Manston chock full of more vehicles parked there for days. Perhaps Dominic Raab now realizes the importance of this vital port and has finally ‘got’ the full significance of Dover through his Brexiteer dazed head! The EU drivers forced to camp out in their cabs with sparse toilet and shower facilities, will be missing out on a proper night’s rest, a decent hot meal and family Christmas. This is not a test run, it’s the brutal reality of how dramatically unprepared this Tory Government is for the self-inflicted harm that crash-out Brexit will cause. Any hauliers who were considering making one last run to the UK with fresh produce will be reconsidering their options; I think inbound freight, our vital food supplies will stop coming well ahead of the PM’s planned crash-out Brexit.
In a London Economic Article entitled, “Brexit: Public urged not to panic-buy as retailers ‘have no choice’ but to pass on price rises to customers,” Joe Mellor says, “’With many people’s finances already strained by the economic impact of coronavirus, households can ill-afford a significant rise in food prices.’ There are due to be price rises next year due to Brexit as British shoppers have been urged to avoid stockpiling food in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The British Retail Consortium said retailers are increasing stocks to ensure a ‘sufficient supply of essential products’ and that any impact to the food chain is likely to affect fresh produce like fruit and vegetables, which cannot be stored for long. Without a deal, after January 1 the public will face more than £3 billion in food tariffs and higher prices throughout 2021, the trade body said, adding that the uncertainty is making it harder for businesses to prepare.”
Mellor reports that, “Chief executive Helen Dickinson said: ‘Retailers would have no choice but to pass on some of these additional costs to their customers, who would see higher prices filter through during 2021’.” In terms of the burden she says,“Moreover, new checks and red tape that will apply from January 1 will create an additional burden for retailers and their customers. Retailers are doing everything they can to prepare for all eventualities, increasing the stock of tins, toilet rolls and other longer life products so there will be sufficient supply of essential products.” She says that, “While no amount of preparation by retailers can entirely prevent disruption, there is no need for the public to buy more food than usual as the main impact will be on imported fresh produce, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, which cannot be stored for long periods by either retailers or consumers.”
According to Mellor, “Ms Dickinson warned that the public will ‘pay the price’ of a failure to ‘agree a zero-tariff agreement’. ‘With many people’s finances already strained by the economic impact of coronavirus, households can ill-afford a significant rise in food prices. For the sake of customers and businesses around the UK, we need a deal in the next three weeks’,” she said, but that was over a week ago and the losing team are still threatening crash-out Brexit and regularly hurling insults to disrupt the negotiations. The UK isn’t in a strong position facing a united EU, but, still deluded by British Empire exceptionalism, so many people trust that there will be a deal. Mellor says, “Earlier, British Chambers of Commerce president Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith told Sky News the UK needs a deal ‘as soon as possible’, adding: ‘We need to understand how we are going to trade and what the rules are’.”
The massive build-up of freight vehicles in Dover offers a hint of the chaos yet to come, because even as rapid testing dissipates the current logjam, new paperwork will create another bottleneck at Dover. This is partly due to lack of information. Mellor reports, “I think it’s very difficult to be ready because there are a number of areas where we don’t have any detail at all. We don’t understand anything around quota tariffs or quotas. We don’t understand anything in detail about rules of origin. We’re not going to know what tariffs are going to be imposed on any goods leaving or coming into the country, meaning we won’t know the price.” Beyond just food basics, she said, “’What we’ve seen in the pandemic is huge amounts of support given but we still have a significant number of industries shut down. On top of this we don’t know how we’re going to be trading from January 1.’ She added that there ‘could be some significant job losses’, compounded by a “lack of Government support after March as we come out of the pandemic’.”
In another London Economics Article entitled, “No-deal: Nissan source warns there is no Plan B as 60% of Kent businesses not prepared,” Joe Meller says, “We have got the pandemic where people are hanging on by their fingertips in some areas. We have had four years to get a deal and, yes, businesses are cross.” Nissan has repeatedly said its Sunderland plant would not be viable in the event of no-deal, with a source this week warning: “There is no Plan B.” It comes as many as 60% of Kent businesses are not prepared for a no-deal Brexit. Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, has told CNN that she thinks the chances of a trade deal with the EU is now ‘almost vanishingly small’. In an interview with Christiane Amanpour, Sturgeon said: ‘I think the chances of a deal now are almost vanishingly small. They’re not non-existent, and I remain hopeful I guess, because no deal would be catastrophic. But I’m starting to worry not just that no deal is now the overwhelming likelihood, but that Boris Johnson is actually now almost planning for that’.”
Reporting on Nissan Mellor says, “The car giant which directly employs around 6,000 people in the North East has already spent £400 million on machines and preparing suppliers to build the new model of the popular Qashqai next year. But 10% trade tariffs on the models it builds, including the electric-powered Leaf, would make the plant unviable, bosses have warned. Europe chairman Gianluca de Ficchy told a news conference at the plant in October 2019: “If a no-deal scenario means the sudden application of WTO tariffs, we know in that case our business model won’t be sustainable in the future. Our industry works with lower margins and if we are in a situation in which tomorrow we have to apply 10% export duties to 70% of our production, the entire business model for Nissan Europe will be in jeopardy.’ In several interviews since then, global chief operating officer Ashwani Gupta has maintained that remained the case.” How could any responsible Prime Mininster put so many jobs in jeopardy? Johnson just doesn’t care!
Mellor reports that, “A Nissan source said: ‘We have been planning the whole time on the basis that there will be a deal. Look at the money we are putting into the new Qashqai, we are already in trial production for it. ‘There’s no Plan B.’ ‘We have already spent the best part of £400 million on all the machines and tooling the suppliers, reconfiguring the line for the car.’ The plant is in Labour MP Sharon Hodgson’s Washington and Sunderland West constituency. She said: ‘It has always been clear that a no-deal Brexit would be devastating for the automotive industry in the UK, and Nissan, who have a manufacturing plant in my constituency, will be no exception to this rule and Nissan have been vocal on this point themselves. The Government must take securing a deal seriously. We are just weeks away from the end of the transition period and manufacturers still have no certainty or clarity of what will be expected from them on 1st January.’ The plant will shut down for Christmas from December 19, reopening on January 4.”
Mellor reports that, “As many as 60% of Kent businesses are not prepared for a no-deal Brexit, it is feared. Concerns have been raised that companies already ‘hanging on by their fingertips’ after a year of pandemic disruption may not be ready for the ‘seismic shift’ in trade. This is despite Britain being just weeks away from the end of the transition period without a deal being struck. The warning from a group representing businesses in Kent comes as a deadline on UK-EU trade talks looms this weekend. Kent has been a focal point as the end of the Brexit transition period approaches, with a huge lorry park constructed by the M20 amid fears of miles-long queues of HGVs stacking up on the motorways. The county council announced on Thursday that it has been given new powers to clamp HGVs and fine drivers if lorries are parked illegally. Later on Friday, a live test of plans to keep traffic moving on the M20 in the event of cross-Channel disruption will be carried out.” That was last weeks ‘stress test;’ we now have reality!
Mellor says, “There are concerns that hundreds of businesses are unprepared for what is to come because they have not done their ‘homework’, according to the deputy chief of Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce. Speaking to the PA news agency, Tudor Price said he expects some disruption to Kent’s highways after December 31 but that ‘it’s not going to be gridlock’. Where the problem will lie will be the businesses that have failed to address their paperwork requirements and the goods won’t be able to move. ‘That confusion and logjam will obviously have an impact on other parts of the movement and flow of goods through the county where we have got vehicles turning up and being turned away (at the border).’ Mr Price estimated that as many as 60% of Kent businesses are not prepared. He said those 60% are ‘hoping that the problem is going to go away because of a deal’.” Blame delays on Hauliers and the drivers not preparing their paperwork, not the Tory Government keeping them clueless till the last ditch!
Mellor reported that, “Mr Price said businesses that have been left ‘battered and bruised’ by the pandemic are frustrated at the Government’s delay in reaching a decision. He said: ‘We have got the pandemic where people are hanging on by their fingertips in some areas. We have had four years to get a deal and, yes, businesses are cross.’ Mr Price called on the Government to make an ‘absolute decision’ soon and then to allow businesses time to get used to any new rules.” Sadly I strongly believe that the PM made a decision months ago, possibly last year before the Covert 2019 Rigged Election, that he fully intends to crash-out without a deal and blame the EU. This Tory Government is deeply corrupt on many levels including that unfathomable fake ‘landslide victory; that still requires challenge and a full Investigation. Also placing the legitimacy of their win into question; relentless squandering of public funds including paying ‘Integrity Initiative’ to manufacture defamatory smears against the Labour Leader to swing the Election.
Did the people of Sunderland really believe there would be a deal to protect their jobs despite voting to leave the EU. Would they have still voted to Leave if they had known back then that they would not only jeopardize the viability of thousands of local jobs, but that the PM would push that known catastrophic impact on their northern city while they struggled, devastated by the impact of a global Pandemic? Wouldn’t they expect him to back down or ask for more time due to their hardship? Many who are on furlough, zero hours contracts or subsisting on Universal Credit cannot afford to buy food right now; how will they fare when foodbank stocks are hit by the supply chain problems that put them dead last? How many of those who will be most severely impacted know already that there will be no deal? Even if they do they cannot afford to stockpile food. Why do so many people blindly trust Britain’s most notorious pathological liar to act in the best interests of our people? We must demand Johnson’s resignation: Get The Tories Out! DO NOT MOVE ON!