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Monthly Archives: August 2020

Men at Work

Here’s a roundup of the whirlwind trail of news from Brexit land.

Praise the Lord – we have a failed Australian PM as a UK post Brexit trade negotiator! Tony Abbott is a known racist, climate change denier and misogynist. As such he fits in perfectly in our culture wars where rape is not a suspendable offence if you are a Tory MP. Liz Truss, Minister for Women and Equalities, defended Mr Abbott and dodged bullets about his background by seeming to suggest that things done outside of Britain somehow do not count when selecting senior people to handle our affairs.

Meanwhile, the blame game continues with senior resignations in Ofqual whilst Government Ministers who made the decisions re schools remain in post. It rather seems that the new role of the Civil Service is for people to throw themselves on swords as and when needed. Sally Collier resigned with a package of £1 million which should be enough to buy some rolls of gaffa tape to seal her mouth from telling any unfortunate truths.

Brexit mostly delivers pain as we are now beginning to discover with revelations of power cuts and water supply problems to come. But it also provides occasional uplifting moments and I’m pleased to announce that Brexit has provided the name of our latest musical venture. “Mutant Algorithm” will release their first song “Britastrophe” soon.

https://www.facebook.com/peter.cook3/videos/10159021624347754/

It is always useful in business to take a moment to understand how others see us. In this case the Germans have even managed to parody their past in relation to our Ministry of Silly Brexit Walks

And in case any of you are still wondering how Brexit is going, it’s going well if you are a hedge fund manager as all instability leads to possible gains if you work the money markets. Some £8 billion have been bet on Brexit since 2016. Our own national debt has just topped £2 TRILLION. That’s £3000 per person in the UK. We are still asking what the benefits are. We do however know who will pay for Brexit … of course it will be the people. It seems that there are moves afoot to get rid of the triple lock on pensions, a Tory Party manifesto promise from just 9 months ago. Pensioners, many of whom voted for Brexit, will have to pay for it, or possibly die from COVID with Johnson’s plans for a double whammy of Corona, Brexit, Flu and Floods this winter. Still they voted for it and I’m sure lashings of “Bulldog Spirit” will help to stomach the losses …

In March 2020, I made some predictions about the UK in August. Turns out I was mostly right – here they are for the record … Brexit is a big mistake in the wake of COVID. Keep writing to your MP to demand a suspension of Brexit.

Please support our ongoing work to suspend Brexit via https://www.gofundme.com/f/RageAgainstBrexit

I’d rather have Aussie rock band Men at Work in charge than the current crop of fools. At least they understood that BREX – it’s a mistake …

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Lord of the Lies

Boris Johnson has been sacked twice for lying in his earlier career. He continued the habit during the referendum and now as Prime Minister. The following are some significant instances of his lies up to mid August 2020. In none of these cases has he issued an apology or a correction.

“The money going into the NHS is the biggest increase in living memory, a £34 billion increase.”

(November 29, 2019, in response to a caller on LBC during the election campaign and on other occasions)

Johnson’s figure for the NHS budget for the next 5 years is the ‘cash’ increase, which allows for inflation to prevent NHS from shrinking. The real increase, taking account of inflation, is £20.5 billion, just over half Johnson’s figure. This is far from ‘the biggest increase in living memory.’ There were bigger increases in both cash and real terms during the last Labour government. Indeed, Johnson’s planned increase of 3.2% per year in real terms is below the 3.6% average for the NHS’s 70 year history, as well as barely half of the 6% achieved by Labour. (Source : Institute of Fiscal Studies.

The economy of our country under this Conservative government has grown by 73%.”

(January 31 2020)

Assuming Johnson refers to the period since 2010, the true figure is around 20% (up to the pandemic). 73% is the figure for the whole period since 1990, 13 years of which were under the Labour government.


“97% of the primary schools which have submitted data are now seeing kids come back to school.”

(Reply to Keir Starmer in Parliament. June 10, 2020)

The true figure from the Department of Education for that day was 69%. In other words, 31% of primary schools had not reopened – 10 times the 3% indicated by Johnson. When Full Facts asked No 10 for the source of the 97% figure, no reply was given.

“Yes, of course it’s true that it would be great to have an app, but no country currently has a functioning track and trace app.” 

(Reply to Keir Starmer in Parliament. June, 23 2020)

At the time, track and trace apps were being used in France, Germany, Australia, Poland, Latvia, Denmark, Japan and Italy. (Full Facts website, June 23, 2020).

“He (Starmer) is completely wrong in what he says about poverty. Absolutely, poverty and relative poverty have both declined under this government and there are hundreds of thousands – I think 400,000 – fewer families living in poverty now than there were in 2010”.

(June 17 2020)

Response to Starmer in Parliament.  Starmer had quoted from the government’s Social Mobility Commission’s report, that there were now 600,000 more children living in relative poverty. That report was based on the widely accepted definition of poverty generally used in government reports. No 10 could not provide a source for Johnson’s figure. Nor could the BBC’s Reality Check Team find any evidence for it.On July 30 the Office for Statistics regulation agreed with the chair of the End Child Poverty Coalition that Johnson statement was incorrect …

“Of the tests carried out at the 199 testing centres, as well as at the mobile centres, they’re all done within 24 hours”. 

(June 3, in reply to a question from Jeremy Hunt, chairman of the House of Commons health committee) 

Johnson’s reply was contradicted by the NHS’s official statistics for the week to June 3. These show that the proportion of people in England receiving their tests within 24 hours was 19% at regional test sites, 5% at mobile test units and 6% at satellite test centres.

In response to a question from Starmer who had asked whether it was right that care workers from abroad working on the NHS frontline should have to pay a surcharge to use the NHS themselves, Johnson replied:

“Those contributions help us to raise about £900 m. It is very difficult to find alternative sources.”

(May 21 2020)

Johnson’s figure of £900 million is the cumulative total of all such payments from all immigrants, whatever their job, over the past four years. It is estimated that to exempt the care workers in question would cost government about £76m, at the new higher rates to be applied from October.

For more than 24 hours, ministers had been sent to radio and TV studios to defend the government’s decision to reject a proposal by Manchester United football star, Marcus Rachford, to continue free school meals through the summer holidays. On June 16, Johnson stated;

“I talked to Marcus Rachford earlier today to congratulate him on his campaign, which to be honest I only became aware of very recently – well, today.”

(June 16 2020)

Are we really supposed to believe that while this issue was dominating the news and politicians and journalists were talking of little else, Johnson was oblivious to the storm that was raging around him?

Gimme shelter

A thirst for Brexit

I was gobsmacked to note that The Sun reported the possibility of water shortages under Brexit the other day. Yes, water shortages !! Also food and electricity. Well it’s all going well …

Don’t buy The Sun

The more subtle story that The Sun did not report concerns the watering down of the water regulations (pun intended) under Brexit. This means that we will have dirtier rivers again, polluted beaches, etc. The EU are largely responsible for environmental improvements such as clean beaches and there are clear public health consequences for such policies.

Winter of discontent

Don’t buy The Sun

Bordering on the insane

Aside from clean water, another assumption that Vote Leave played under Brexit was that it would enable us to take back control of our border and therefore immigration. This is yet another piece of blind faith.

Once Brexit is done, our “border” will be on British soil / waters, whereas before it was on French soil. Since migrants have essentially no economic value to the French, it’s really quite likely that the French will not seek to stop them travelling to Britain, as it relieves France of the “problem”. Equally, we will not be able to send them back to Calais and will have to repatriate them to their country of origin, effectively sending them to their deaths in some cases. I am left wondering how happy the brave keyboard warriors will be to know that they have put children to death in order to “take back control” of their blue passports?

The drugs don’t work

People will die for Brexit

Corona + Brexit = Britastrophe

The Sun – Extract from leaked Government report

It’s all going well isn’t it?

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Brexit impacts

The negative impact over 10 years of the kind of EU deal now being negotiated by the Johnson regime would be around 6.4% of GDP. This contrasts with 4.9% for May’s deal and 8.1% for No Deal. On an optimistic scenario, such a deal will leave public finances £16 billion worse off, £49 billion under the most pessimistic. (Source: UK in a Changing Europe).

Much has been written about the catastrophic effects of leaving the single market, and the strangling of our European trade in goods with customs bureaucracy, particularly on our once flourishing car sector. But less has been said about services, which make up 80% of our economy. 40% of the UK’s services exports go to the EU, and the impact of Brexit here looks likely to be even greater.

To maintain free trade in services, governments need to align their domestic regulations. Thus, British financial services firms can operate across the Continent through “Passporting”  (control exercised solely by UK authorities applying universally recognised rules). Mutual recognition of professional qualifications means a British architect, for example, can get a job in Lisbon as easily as in Liverpool. Freedom of movement allows firms to send their staff to work in other member states. However, negotiations with the EU have become deadlocked since Johnson reneged on an agreement reached on the level playing field (which includes alignment)  before the general election. Unless bigotry and dogma are replaced in No 10 by a concern for the national interest, these arrangements will come to an end on 31 December 2020.

Whilst Johnson wants us to focus on glamping and the sunny uplands, his Government have not made any plans for Brexit Britain. The EU however have published impact statements for all to see:

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