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Yearly Archives: 2021

Mugged by Mogg

Mugged by Mogg

By Adrian Ekins-Daukes

Jacob Rees-Mogg has been slammed for suggesting the people died in the Grenfell Tower tragedy because they listened to the fire brigade’s orders. Mugged by Mogg, Jacob claimed that they lacked ‘common sense’. The Tory MP told LBC host Nick Ferrari that the victims would have survived if they’d just ignored what they were told. Since when would anyone ignored the advice of someone in charge of saving lives if your house was burning down. The Metro reported that Jacob would have left the building as ‘it just seems the common sense thing to do’.

Mogg Fish

A happy fish

Faced with furious complaints that lorry loads of fish had to be thrown into the sea owing to delays caused by Brexit red tape, Jacob Rees-Mogg replied as follows to questions in the house:

“The key is we’ve got our fish back. They are now British fish and they’re better & happier fish for it”

Toby Earle MP stated that unsold fish are rotting on docks, seafood companies are hitting the wall.

Others pointed out that rotting fish are not happy fish. Also, the happiest of all are those who are not caught and live out their lives peacefully because British fisherman have all gone bankrupt because they have no one to sell their fish to!

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This piece of condescending Etonian humour stands comparison with Mary Antoinette’s remarks about cake eating. It is fit for an audience of three-year-olds only, not grown ups inside or outside the House of Commons.

Suffer little children

The Mogg Family

Jacob Rees-Mogg is also under fire for accusing UNICEF of a “political stunt” after the UN agency stepped in to help feed deprived children in the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Commons leader hit out at Unicef, which provides humanitarian aid to children worldwide, after it launched its first domestic emergency response in the UK in its over 70-year history. He characterised Unicef’s support as “playing politics” and said it should be “ashamed of itself”.

As part of the support programme of more than £700,000 to help fund projects for children and their families, UNICEF has pledged £25,000 to supply nearly 25,000 breakfasts in a south London borough over the Christmas holidays and February half-term.

After UNICEF’s support in the UK was raised in the Commons, Mogg stated:

“I think it’s a real scandal that UNICEF should be playing politics in this way when it is meant to be looking after people in the poorest, the most deprived countries in the world, where people are starving, where there are famines and there are civil wars. And they make cheap political points of this kind, giving, I think, £25,000 to one council. It is a political stunt of the lowest order.”

He defended the government’s response to child poverty, including expanding free school meals, adding: “UNICEF should be ashamed of itself.”

However, the minister’s comments prompted a backlash, with Labour’s deputy leader, Angela Rayner:

She said: “In one of the richest countries in the world, our children should not be forced to rely on a charity that usually works in war zones and in response to humanitarian disasters. The only scandal here is this rotten Tory government leaving 4.2 million children living in poverty, a number that will only rise due to the coronavirus crisis.”

The Liberal Democrat leader, Ed Davey, said: “Rees-Mogg’s sneering comments are abhorrent – a modern-day version of ‘let them eat cake’.”

Write to your MP using this as content to complain about the slow creep into fascism as espoused by Jacob Rees-Mogg. Refuse to be mugged by Mogg.

Here’s a couple of songs we wrote which express our views on being mugged by Mogg:

Mogg Chorus – with apologies to Paul McCartney
Jacob Rees- Moog – THE BREX-KIP FAR-RIGHT FAR-AGE DOMINATRIX MIX – PG rated

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BACKGROUND

Anna Kettley, UNICEF UK’s director of programmes and advocacy, said: “UNICEF UK is responding to this unprecedented crisis and building on our 25 years’ experience of working on children’s rights in the UK with a one-off domestic response, launched in August, to provide support to vulnerable children and families around the country during this crisis period.

“In partnership with Sustain, the food and farming alliance, over £700k of UNICEF UK funds is being granted to community groups around the country to support their vital work helping children and families at risk of food insecurity during the coronavirus pandemic. UNICEF will continue to spend our international funding helping the world’s poorest children. We believe that every child is important and deserves to survive and thrive no matter where they are born.”

Kettley said UNICEF UK was providing grants of between £5,000 and £25,000, with more than £700,000 being made available in total to 30 community organisations to fund projects for children and families in their area. “For some of the projects, the funding is distributed via a council, but the majority of the grants are being made directly to community organisations,” she said. “In Southwark, the funding has gone directly to School Food Matters, a community organisation.”

UNICEF UK said the first round of grants were confirmed in mid-August and all funded programme activity was due to conclude in February next year.

It has given a £25,000 grant to the community project School Food Matters. The charity says it is working with Premier Foods, Southwark council and Southwark Food Action Alliance – a collective of charitable organisations, residents and community partners – to deliver 18,000 breakfasts to 25 schools for distribution around the borough over the two-week Christmas holidays, as well as an additional 6,750 breakfasts over the February half-term.

The PM’s spokesman declined to comment directly on Rees-Mogg’s remarks, saying: “What we would point towards is the work and the action that we’ve already taken to support the most vulnerable and the poorest families across the country.”

The Brexit Bounce

The Brexit Bounce

I was somewhat depressed when we ended up with a Brexit deal as I had hoped for no deal on the basis that it would offer people a short sharp dose of Brexit realism. I had thought that the slow death / boiled frog syndrome of a Brexit deal would mean that people would not notice any changes and this piece of trickery would allow Boris Johnson to get Brexit done under cover of the terror of COVID. Just 40 days on and we are already experiencing “The Brexit Bounce”. I am surprised to say that, even with our oven ready Brexit deal, the outcomes are far worse than I expected. Proof positive that nobody in Government read the terms and conditions on the sale of the century. In this piece, we review the Brexit Bounce. Remember, we’ve only just begun …

Selfish about shellfish

Both DEFRA and George Eustace have admitted that the EU were right about the problems of selling shellfish after Brexit. Paul Bowers reports that this ought to be a resigning issue for Eustace, but these are not ordinary times, they are Brexit times and instead he’s trying to distract, by threatening military disruption of French fishing. This is a very dangerous game.

Write to Boris Johnson to call for George Eustace to resign. Use Paul Bower’s guide to writing letters to MPs and this example to help you

Selfish about shellfish

In case you are thinking it’s all about the bass, wrong, over half of British traders report difficulties in exporting from UK.

Euromillions

The government has announced a £20 Million fund to help small businesses affected by Brexit. That’s £3.17 per business. How shall we spend it?

Write to your MP. Ask them for suggestions on how best to spend the £3.17

In other news, it is reported that the Brexit hit to London’s financial centre will be £9.5 BILLION. That’s £1533.33 per person. How shall we lose it?

And Amsterdam took over from London as Europe’s leading share dealing centre as more companies plan to leave the UK – Read more at The FT.

Winners and Losers

Don’t stop the music

A great exhortation but one without substance now that musicians are working out the true cost of Brexit. NME report on how Brexit will more or less end touring for artists. Classic FM entered the fray in 2019 on this and the impacts were confirmed by one of our members on our Monday ZOOM call, who works for the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Elton John also stepped in recently in The Guardian as did Fish. Of course the issue also applies to others working in the arts. Reports of up to £600 for visas to perform in Europe make it uneconomical for most artists to even consider working outside Britain.

From Carnaby Street to Brexit Street

Down on Brexit Street

The FT reports on impacts in the fashion industry all the while that second hand clothing piles up at the borders, with 5.3% tariff on clothes, making it almost impossible for charities to continue their work.

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Bread and Circuses

Having declared that the activities of Black Lives matter were disagreeable, the Government plans to erect statues of Captain Tom and Margaret Thatcher. Of course, Captain Tom’s work was laudable. It’s just that his efforts would not have been needed if the NHS were to be funded correctly. Now we also hear that the NHS is once again being prepared for eventual sale, following Matt Hancock’s announcement that health is to be taken back into political control in the middle of a pandemic. This is another extremely dangerous move and the timing is catastrophic.

Welcome to Brexit Britain

Professor Chris Grey presents the most well balanced appraisal of the European Commission’s mistake with reference to the use of Article 16 on the island of Ireland recently. Proportionality matters.

“In and of itself it was an indefensible error by the EU. But all political systems commit such errors and it was speedily corrected, so whilst there may well be some lessons for the European Commission in what happened the idea that it says anything one way or another about the merits of Brexit is nonsense. Inevitably some Brexiters leapt upon it to claim justification, and some erstwhile remainers professed that it had changed their minds about Brexit. But there was no reason for that except for anyone who imagined that the EU is a perfect institution that never makes any mistakes, which remainers shouldn’t have and Brexiters surely didn’t. And let’s be clear, this episode has not led to the breakdown of trust between the UK and the EU – that was caused by the UK’s behaviour over the last four years or so, years in which the EU has been remarkably consistent and rational. That doesn’t excuse this piece of stupidity but it should put it in perspective.”

Professor Chris Grey

Our own Re-Boot Britain correspondent in Northern Ireland Jane Morrice wrote this piece on the subject, where she proposes a creative compromised with Scotland:

“That creative compromise may lie with Scotland. An independent Scotland welcomed into the EU with open arms would leave England and Wales reminiscent of a headless chicken, cut off from their nearest neighbours, isolated and alone. It would also leave Northern Ireland out on a limb more susceptible than ever to increasing pressure for a move towards a shared or united Ireland. If that were the case, the possibility of the three nations that support EU membership coming together to form an arrangement between Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland could be a worthy alternative.”

Jane Morrice is a former vice-president of the European Economic and Social Committee and deputy speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly

Lobster Thermostat

Yet more fishermen have been hit by Brexit this week and the damage is not temporary nor anything to do with the EU. 71 pages of paperwork must be filled in for ONE lorry of fish. 71 PAGES !!! Yet again it is Britain’s fault for not reading the contract, whilst promising the earth to fishermen. Mike Cashman has two songs about fishing featured on this week’s 16 Million Rising radio show.

Sale of The Century

Matt Hancock wants to “take back control” of the NHS. This is quite irresponsible as it is currently at breaking point with COVID. Any sensible person would tell you not to introduce system wide change when the system is operating over capacity. Put simply, more people will die. Also this change is intended to make the NHS more saleable, through giving power to Westminster to make decisions about the everyday management of the NHS.

So, why is he doing this now? Quite simply because they are piling everything that is potentially difficult through Parliament whilst COVID is still driving fear into people’s hearts. There will be no resistance.

Far from The Brexit Bounce, this already looks like The Brexit Flounce

The Brexit Bounce
The Brexit Bounce
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With thanks to Carol Hudson, Daphne Franks, Adrian Ekins-Daukes, Elwyn Lloyd-Jones, Irina Fridman, Helga Perry, Jo Wace, Lisa Lanfranchi, Louise Hunter, Greg Newman, Mike Cashman, Paul Bowers, Peter Daws, Roger Cracknell, Philip Waller and Ron Tendler for their help in producing this.

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Lord of the Lies

Lord of the Lies

By Adrian Ekins-Daukes

Johnson was sacked twice for lying in his earlier careers as a journalist. He continued the habit in the referendum and as PM, hence his title Lord of the Lies. Two major lies during the referendum merit particular mention:

The ‘battle bus’ lie

 Johnson and his team toured England in a bus carrying the message that we paid £350 million per week to the EU, which would be available to improve the NHS after Brexit. This sum amounts to £17.6 billion annually. The true figure was £8.5 billion. This figure was publicly available in the House of Commons library and elsewhere, but Johnson persisted in using his false version, double the true amount …

The Turkey lie 

Just before the referendum, Vote Leave began to warn about the supposed dangers of Turkey joining the EU, arousing fears that Turkey, with a population of 76 million was about to join EU. They claimed this would give its citizens the right to live and work in the UK under freedom of movement, resulting in lowering of wages, more crime and the overwhelming of the NHS. The UK would be powerless to prevent this. This was completely untrue since Turkish joining could be vetoed by Britain or any other member state. Johnson has tried to distance himself from this major feature of ‘Leave’ although as a leading figure on its campaign committee he was well aware of it. However, a week before the referendum  Johnson wrote in a joint letter with Gove”the only way to avoid having common borders with Turkey is to Vote Leave”.

Lying to the Queen

In September 2019, the Queen, on Johnson’s advice, prorogued Parliament for five weeks, enabling him to prevent  parliamentary scrutiny of the government’s decisions on Brexit. Johnson and his Government defended the prorogation of Parliament as a routine political process. On 24 September, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the prorogation had been unlawful and Parliament later deleted it from the record.  Johnson had given the Queen false advice, causing her to act illegally.

Lying to The Queen

Lying to the World

Opening his career as PM on the international stage at the  G7 summit in Biarritz, France,  Johnson told the world at large:  “We asked the people to vote on whether to stay in or leave the EU, they voted overwhelmingly, they voted very substantially to leave by a big majority.”

The actual figures were: Leave 51.9%, Remain 48.1% a wafer thin majority. This was far from being a majority of the electorate.  A minority of UK registered voters had voted for leave – just 37%. 17.04 million Leave voters are not a majority in a country with 46.5 million registered voters, or a country with a population of 65,000,000. 

Lying to Parliament

Up to Johnson’s premiership, it was considered dishonourable to lie to Parliament. For ministers, resignation could be required (QV Profumo), and a formal apology to the House at least has been customary. With Johnson, lying to the House has become habitual, and without apology or correction, as the following examples from the May/June Parliamentary session prove:

  • “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 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.
  • Starmer 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.
  • “97% of the primary schools which have submitted data are now seeing kids come back to school.” (Reply to 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 No10 for the source of the 97% figure, no reply was given.
Lord of the Lies
Lord of the Lies

Other Major Lies

“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.

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 Rashford, to continue free school meals through the summer holidays. On June 16, Johnson stated; “I talked to Marcus Rashford 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?

When challenged by 4 London MPs about the proposed shake-up of Transport for London and the responsibilities of Sadiq Khan, the London mayor, Johnson alleged  Khan had bankrupted the city, he was personally responsible for  damage to Hammersmith bridge and Londoners deserved everything that was coming down the road to make their lives more miserable for having backed him.  According to TfL’s accounts, since Khan took over from Johnson in 2016 he has reduced the deficit of £1.5b by 71%, to £0.5b and increased cash reserves by 16%.   TfL being in trouble is entirely down to the pandemic. Johnson was violently jealous of Khan’s popularity with Londoners which exceeds his own, and Khan’s more successful record. Asking for the country’s trust during a national crisis when you can’t even tell the truth about an audited balance sheet is an uphill struggle.

Lord of the Lies
Lord of the Lies

Write to your MP. Ask them to explain why Johnson lies

We won, get over it

We won, get over it

By Irina Fridman : Brexit happened. Brexit got done. We left the EU. For some, we left Europe. ‘We won, get over it!’ – heard we for the last four years. Predicting a disaster, Remainers cum Remoaners cum Snowflakes kept warning, protesting, marching, fighting: People’s Vote march, ‘Kent, toilet of England’, ‘Operation Pisspot’ … Alas!  ‘We won, get over it!’

Fast forward six weeks, and February’s list of unravelling consequences of Brexit is rotting fish, rotting meat, rotting cheese, rotting clothes, custom duties, paperwork that nobody understands how to fill in, proud end of free movement, lost businesses … it’s only the beginning … And an arrogant ‘We won! Get over it!’ turned into an arrogant ‘You won! Get over it!’

Those, whose livelihoods are now being destroyed, wish they had never voted ‘Leave’. Those, who are not directly affected, are still in denial. Can one eat sovereignty?  But irrespective of whether sovereignty and blue passports can satisfy hunger or not, these ‘hard-core’ Leavers are here to stay. They live among us in this deeply divided country: Gammons versus Snowflakes; we interact with them, willingly or otherwise, on a daily basis – butchers, nurses, teachers…  

One day, when we rejoin (and yes, it will happen), they will still be here. Can we do anything about them? What can be changed? How? We recognise the falsehoods peddled on social media and know that regulation is required, but that will not happen neither tomorrow, nor next year. Yes, education is the key, but it also takes time, and the process is painstakingly slow.  

Buy our bag of sovrinty on e-bay

Can we do anything today?

What should we do?

How can we deal with these people now?  

Let’s start with language. Pointing an accusatory finger and gleefully declare each time ‘We told you so!’ does not help. No matter how much we are reeling inside, it is up to us to be a grown-up in this relationship. And as a grown-up, when dealing with an unreasonable child, we are to adopt a different vocabulary, use different terminology. Forget ‘Brexit’, it’s got done. Let’s ‘build back better’, but build it to benefit everyone.  

Playing to the gallery – The Daily Excess

Let’s drop the argument and change the subject. No, we do not need to forget what’s happened, but as a grown-up, we must be able to hold a civilised conversation and engage in constructive activity. We can draw on precedents: before the Good Friday Agreement many ‘peacebuilding’ projects avoided any conversations between Catholics and Protestants about politics, but built community centres, put up Christmas lights and organised job training for young people. The projects can be dull, narrow, specific, but would benefit everybody. It does not mean we have to like those, who voted Leave, but we will be able to work alongside them.  

By finding common ground in language and deeds, we will move forward, and restore, realign and rejoin. 

Brexit Bollocks
Not getting over it – click to support our work

Obvious attacks on Brexit or the Tories, or Farage are unpopular but if you denounce a result of Brexit by stating that this is not what was promised, or that it’s the result of the government’s poor policy choices, then there will be agreement. (Be more nuanced with Leavers and let them save face).

Find different vocabulary, which does not inflame the issue.

For more on language, read our book on changing minds about Brexit

The same goes for cross-community discussions about infrastructure…The topics can be boring, they benefit everybody. Make the problem narrow, specific.

How to invite the leavers to conversations? Work with trusted messengers, people who have authority within the seditious community, who sympathise with its shared values but are nevertheless willing to talk their comrades down from the brink.

Most are in favour of economic links with Europe (eg. EEA, Norway, Switzerland models). What they don’t want is the idea of the “EU dictatorship”, EUSSR etc. (it’s an emotive issue, so focus on single market membership as a first step).

By finding common ground if we want to Rejoin one day. Don’t just demonise them – it’ll achieve nothing.’

Written by Irina Fridman, author, Foreigners, Aliens, Citizens

Get your copy of Irina’s book on Amazon
Dying for Boris

Dying for Boris

Friday 26 February marks the date for the release of a three track mini album entitled “Dying for Boris”. We aim to chart the song for the following week, to reach populist media with the story about the toxic combination of Corona + Brexit, Russian interference and a host of other issues. To do this, we and need multiple downloads of all three song versions of Dying for Boris, in the same way that we succeeded in getting “Comin over ere” and “Boris Johnson’s a fu…king c..nt” to number one at Christmas. Please download all three versions of the song on all platforms. All downloads count towards chart success. Here are all the options to buy the song:

All formats available via the link https://orcd.co/xdw6erx – click the image to go direct

Vladimir Putin is delighted, having gotten his way with Brexit. With Britain now a third country, he can advance his plans take back control of Eastern Europe with his pal Nigel Farage. A fanciful idea or a warning from history? Dying for Boris is based upon the Russian anthem Варшавянка, originally titled “March Song of the Workers”, but known more widely as “Whirlwinds of Danger”. Boris is the whirlwind, having committed more than 30 000 people to unnecessary death with his “too little, too late” COVID strategy.

Having nearly cracked the UK charts with our football / WWII pastiche “Alo Vera – Brexit’s Comin’ ‘Ome”, Rage Against The Brexit Machine (RATBM) now takes aim on the Russian oligarchs, Johnson, Cummings, Sunak and Gove, lining up for a Top 40 hit from Friday February 26th.

“брексит even sounds Russian doesn’t it?”

Peter Cook, Brexorcist in Chief, RATBM

“Dying for Boris” is the follow up to “The Brexit Party Album” – the party album to end all tomorrow’s parties. Just like the BOJONA-21 virus the song has three ‘variants’, all of which count towards chart success:

1. The Kremlin “Putinescu” mix

2. The Deep Purple “Mistreated” 30 000 unnecessary deaths mix

3. The “Populism will eat itself” mix

“Don’t die for Boris.  Ask him to dye his hair and cancel Brexit"
“Don’t die for Boris. Ask him to dye his hair and cancel Brexit”
“Ra, Ra BrexPutin”

Things to do

GIFT the song to MPs on iTunes

GIFT the song to your Vote Leave friends

Order multiple copies on all platforms

Ask friends to share and share again

Just say no to “Britastrophe”
Just say no to the slow motion “Britastrophe” of Corona Crisis + Brexit disaster

Here is a sample of the song on You Tube. Please note that watching the video does NOT count towards chart success. Downloads and Streams are needed – 150 streams per download.

For an exclusive interview on “Dying for Boris”, contact Peter Cook peter@academy-of-rock.co.uk

Dying for Boris
Dying for Boris Press Release
Mis sold PPE

Were you mis-sold PPE?

By Adrian Ekins- Daukes

Health Secretary Hancock  protests indignantly about the High Court judgement against him in three cases where PPE contracts were granted during the pandemic without competition and announcement delayed until long after the time period required under the  regulations.  His excuse based on urgency created by the pandemic seems  plausible enough . However he might do better to tread more carefully in what may well prove to be a minefield, in the interests of his own future credibility.
The purpose behind the regulations is transparency, in particular to ensure there is no suspicion of bias in the awarding of  public contracts. This suspicion is aroused in at least one of the three cases concerned where a contract worth £252m was awarded to a tiny company  founded by an associate of a Minister. 

Your last gasp?

There are other such cases before the courts, including one where the beneficiary company was owned by friends of Michael Grove and Dominic Cummings, who was responsible for awarding the contract.  If, as seems possible, findings against the government in this and other cases reveal the awarding of contracts at excessive prices, to firms unfitted to fulfil their commitments and  resulting in huge waste of public money , the full extent of ‘chumocracy’, verging on corruption, within the Cabinet Office during the first wave of the pandemic will come to light. 

In fact, there are grounds for suspicion that the Cabinet office, far from being desperately overworked in trying to find suppliers of PPE and other essential equipment at that time, may actually  have obstructed some offers of supply. Could it be that they were seeking to avoid granting contracts to suppliers outside  their own circle, preferring to wait until a favoured producer turned up? If that were so, the Cabinet Office is guilty of actually impeding the NHS  in its war against the pandemic. 

Write to your MP using this as a basis for your letter

Every Breath You Take

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la belle France

My love affair with la belle France

By Jo Wace

Chapter 1

It only takes a hour and forty minutes to fly from Stanstead to Hyeres; well, the airline calls it Toulon-St.Tropez, but it’s neither really. Toulon is another twenty kilometres away, while St Tropez is nearly forty kilometres down the coast.

Hyeres is a town that the mainline tourist trade has ignored, by and large; it maintains its air of a genteel nineteenth century seaside town, with lofty palm trees and gracious Provençal houses. The peninsula, or presqu’ile, leads out of Hyeres, directly south, taking you along the old salt flats, past the pink flamingos and out to the village of Giens. A backwater on the Cote d’Azur, if such a thing can exist. The coastline out at the tip of the presqu’ile is rugged; full of small calanques, and wind-twisted pine trees determinedly hugging the rocky, hilly terrain. If Marion takes you walking, you will discover all manner of fauna unique to the micro-climate on the peninsula. Orchids, in May, in such profusion that you are afraid to put your feet down.  Des bebes noix de cocos, gnarled old olive trees and jasmine; and in the background the constant murmur of the sea. This is the Provence that I love, but it’s not the only Provence.

Chez Ahmed

Here, in this villa, amongst gentle eccentrics – from Corsica, California and the whole wide world – you can still believe in the Riviera of the 1920s, when the rich, famous and interesting would descend en masse at various times of the year. Copious meals, a la fresco, with all manner of friends and neighbours; flamboyant botanists from Rome, complete with fresh mozzarella; American writers, or elderly Communist Jews with stories of daring escapes from Nazi-occupied Poland, under cover of a tarpaulin, in a horse-drawn cart. This place is an oasis of diverse cultures and philosophies.

Even getting here is a journey in itself, for the road is steep, and turns sharply before becoming a dirt track for the last kilometre or so. It is almost as if you are at the edge of the world. No, this is not the only Provence.

The real Provence is still beautiful, but it is a harsher place. The rugged, often arid, landscape gives one an idea of what the indigenous people of the region might be like. It is a tough land to earn a living from. Rocky earth, hot, dry summers and winters that can be quite cold. Few dairy products are produced here: olive oil and goats’ cheese, along with fish, fresh fruit and vegetables are the staple diet. The land can often be inhospitable; it is tough to farm.

Cezanne lived here, at Le Tholonet to be precise; there is still an artists’ colony there – Chateau Noir. And it was Cezanne who inspired me to come and live here, back in 1981. I was full of youthful, idealistic dreams of following in an artist’s footsteps, and fairly fresh from art school in Chelsea. I had played with being part of an artists’ co-operative in Wapping, East London, whilst working for the Arts Council, but felt the need to discover new horizons; and thus a work colleague put me in touch with a French female student who was offering free food and lodging for a fortnight, in return for English conversation. Monique lived in rue Campra, Aix-en-Provence, Cezanne’s home town. Aix in the 80s was a lively, southern town, with narrow streets and tall yellow ochre houses. There were students and bourgeois French, North Africans and Africans; some were well-off, others lived a frugal life-style, but pervading it all was that timeless feel of ‘doucement le matin, et pas trop vite l’apres midi’, that is so reminiscent of the South. The lively markets, full of excellent fresh produce – fruit, vegetable, fungi (in the autumn), poultry (often still alive), honey, spices, olives and olive oil were a wonder to behold. The bustling cafes in la Place de la Mairie, the timeless fountains in la Cours Mirabeau; the shop that sold les calissons d’Aix – if you’ve never tried them you have missed out on a delicacy that is sublime.

I only spent two weeks with Monique in Aix but already I was in love with everything.

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Fish Fucker

60 days of Brexit

60 days of Brexit and the massive success stories of Brexit keep coming in. Here’s a roundup of recent news and fake news by The Express, Mail and Sun.

Brexit realities

Millions face economic shock from COVID. Brexit simply multiples the problem into the long term. See New Economics.

Meanwhile, Kent Police are involved in Operation Mask Brexit, drawing in thousands of Police officers from 33 forces to cover up the effects of Brexit on borders, ports and roads.

Steve Cock, who runs a customs consultancy, regularly sees lorry drivers forced to stay in his firm’s car park at Ashford for several nights because they do not have the right paperwork to get into Europe. Such confusion is echoed by the Road Haulage Association (RHA), which says that 50-60 per cent of freight vehicles are leaving the UK empty. A haulage source was blunt: “We have become the world leader in exporting fresh air.”

There’s still time to make your mark on Boris Johnson’s awful Junta. Please follow the links below and help us chart Dying for Boris this week.

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Daphne Franks writes in The Craven Herald about the realities of clapping for carers versus the hard realities of paying key workers properly. If you care about carers vote the Tories out on May 6th in the local elections.

“We need our nurses. They care for us. We need to care for them”.

A stitch in time saves nine

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Masking Brexit 1984 style

The media are now running ads to tell people how well Brexit is going. The ads are not paid for by Russian oligarchs or our enemies, but by OUR Government !!

Don’t die for Boris – download the song and take back control of our media – click on the image to find all options to bugger Brexit

You know we have reached rock bottom when businesses ask Michael Gove for help with Brexit. The Gove – Johnson marriage of convenience is clearly under strain now that Johnson has put unelected mediocre bureaucrat “Sir” David Frost into the cabinet to fight Gove.

Distraction and gaslighting

Andrew Bridgen wants us to drink “Peckham Spring Water” and not that “smelly Euro water”. Satire made real in his letter to the House of Commons to distract us from Brexit realities.

Peckham Spring
Peckham Spring
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New research confirms that British fish are no longer happy to be British. Billy the Bragging Bass spoke at St James’ Plaice on behalf of all whiting and cod:

“I wanna swim wiv me mates – that Jacob Rees-Mogg is a fucking twat” – Billy

Meanwhile Boris Johnson is once again exposed as a liar. A whole book of it. Do we really want our politicians to lie to us?

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With thanks to Irina Fridman, Mike Cashman, Peter Daws, Helga Perry, Lisa Lanfranchi, Daphne Franks, Adrian Ekins-Daukes, Heike Wilms, Louise Hunter, Martin Housden, Carol Fraser, Paul Bowers and Susanna Leislle.

Selfish Shellfish

EU rules on some types of shellfish leave UK fishers ‘devastated’.

By Adrian Ekins-Daukes

Fishers around the UK have been “devastated” by fresh problems with exporting their produce to the EU, after the government admitted that exports of live mussels, oysters, scallops and certain other shellfish would be subject to ongoing restrictions.

Those are all classified as “live bivalve molluscs” – a category which also includes cockles and clams. Under longstanding EU rules, catches of live bivalve molluscs from non-EU member states can only be imported without treatment if they come from waters deemed of the highest quality. Vessels from non-EU states also cannot land live bivalve molluscs in EU ports.

These rules have closed off many exports of live bivalve molluscs from the UK, since Brexit took full effect. The market for such shellfish is a small and specialist one, valued at less than £12m a year, but for the small number of fishers who operate in it, it is often their main livelihood.

Selfish Shellfish? Click on the image to Re-Boot Britain

The rules, and the disruption their enforcement has caused for fishers,  cannot be termed a “teething problem” as other red tape has been, because they will apply permanently under Brexit unless the government can forge a fresh agreement with the EU to make exceptions for UK produce.

The fishing industry called on the government to do more to try to resolve the problem. Barrie Deas, chief executive of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations, said: “This is devastating for those involved, and it cannot be left as a closed issue. Those of our members who produce mussels and cockles in particular are affected and are very seriously impacted – no exports to the EU as the UK is now a third country. This has to be sorted at government-to-government level and our understanding is that talks are under way, but so far without producing a satisfactory outcome.”

Alistair Sinclair, chair of the Scottish Creel Fishermen’s Federation, blamed the French president, Emmanuel Macron, as well as the UK government for the difficulties, and warned that they were a foretaste of future negotiations. “This is possibly a demonstration of the difficulties that lie ahead Throughout the whole run-up to Brexit, our voice was not considered by the Scottish government and indeed the Tory grandees.”

Fishers could try to comply with the regulations by taking on further processing of the molluscs, to gain the health certification necessary for exports, but this can be costly and time-consuming. Many had hoped that the Brexit agreement would allow for their exports to continue. The EU is the main market for many such specialist fishers.

Brexit was sold on the promise of fish and ships

A spokesperson for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: “Live bivalve molluscs such as oysters, mussels, clams, cockles and scallops can continue to be exported to the EU if they’re harvested from class A waters or cleaned, or have cleared end product testing in the UK. We will continue to raise the issue of live bivalve molluscs not ready for human consumption with the EU, to ensure the trade can continue securely.”

The European commission confirmed that the requirements were not temporary, and were applicable to all such shellfish imported from the UK.

Most of the fisheries affected are in England and Wales. Exports of bivalve molluscs are worth less than £12m a year, of which clams make up more than half, with oysters and mussels worth about £2.7m each. Defra said it could not estimate how much of this market would be affected as some are subject to “depuration” which would allow their export to continue.

The author
All at sea with Brexit?

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Tory deceit experts


During the 2019 general election campaign, the Conservatives rebranded their official Twitter account as “factcheckUK” during the televised leaders’ debate and used it to publish anti-Labour posts.  The inconspicuous Twitter handle remained as @CCHQPress, but all other branding was changed to look like an independent factchecking outlet.  It was not obvious to an individual glancing at the account’s tweets in their feed that it came from Conservative party HQ. The public have increasingly turned to factchecking websites, such as the independent Full Fact, the BBC’s Reality Check, Channel 4 News’ FactCheck and the Guardian’s Factcheck, to verify claims made by politicians.  Changing the site’s  logo to hide its political origins, and using it to push pro-Tory material was a thus flagrant attempt to deceive voters. This was not the only case of malpractice by the Tory digital team. Other examples included a bogus website presented as Labour’s manifesto, and an  interview with  Keir Starmer, then Labour’s Brexit spokesperson, edited to make it appear he was unable to answer questions about the party’s policy on leaving the EU.  

Topham and Guerin

The PR unit behind these deceitful stunts was Topham Guerin,  a New Zealand digital  team signed up by Isaac Levido, the Tory campaign leader. They were not in the least abashed by the criticism of their tactics, declaring that that the success in spreading the Tory message was well worth the controversy it  aroused. After the election, Levido, was ennobled  and in March 2020 Topham Guerin received a £3m Covid 19 contract from the Cabinet Office, without competitive tender, to work on the government’s public communications on the pandemic. According to PR Week’s site, they still play a key role in managing No10’s social media and digital output. 

With the local elections coming:

Don’t believe anything Boris Johnson says

Don’t believe his Ministers

Don’t believe anyone speaking for the Conservative Party

It’s all been masterminded by experts in spin and deceit. And it’s all specially designed to fool YOU.

 

So, remain particularly alert for Tory fake news at this time !

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