This new video from the Federal Trust looks at the issues of Brexit from the musician’s perspective. Read and share.
Read the longer article at The Federal Trust and subscribe.
This new video from the Federal Trust looks at the issues of Brexit from the musician’s perspective. Read and share.
Read the longer article at The Federal Trust and subscribe.
By Adrian Ekins-Daukes
It was not until late Match 2020 that the UK Government began to arrange for protective equipment (PPE) for hospital staff and care workers. The EU had done so in early January. By then Britain had to do so in emergency conditions, and a tightening global market for PPE.
In order to speed up procurement, it set up a up a high-priority channel to assess and process tenders and grant contracts, without going through normal procedures. To maintain transparency, the government was required to declare details of such contracts within 30 days of awarding them. Lord Bethel, a junior health minister, promised that suppliers would be evaluated by officials on their financial standing. On 27 March Government began to invite tenders for PPE.
By the end of 2020, following a report by National Audit Office (NAO) and court cases brought by the Good Law Project, it was clear that the the new system had resulted in setting aside safeguards ensuring good value for public money and against corruption. Suppliers with political connections (such as Ministers, Tory MPs and Cabinet Office officials) were being directed to a “VIP” lane where their tenders for lucrative contracts were automatically treated as credible and prioritised by officials. Such bids were 10 times more likely to succeed than those of non-favoured suppliers. VIP tenderers also got very favourable terms. Despite Government efforts to cover up VIP profits, it is known they received inflated margins of 35% – 45% or more , on contracts up to hundreds of millions of pounds. By comparison, a normal profit margin was 10-20%
The NAO also criticised government for other failures, including lack of transparency, and conflicts of interest. In particular, it noted that the Cabinet Office and Health Ministry had failed to explain why companies with government connections and poor due diligence records were chosen to provide crucial services such as supplying PPE, consulting and policy advice. Some lacked any experience of PPE; NAO disclosed that 195m pieces of PPE had proved to be unusable.
A further report in April 2021 by Transparency International, (TI), a respected anti-corruption organisation, stated that 1 in 5 government COVID contracts awarded between February and November 2020 were marked with 1 or more red flags indicating a need for investigation for possible corruption. 27 PPE or testing contracts worth £2.1bn had been awarded to firms with clear connections to the Tory party. £255m of contracts had been awarded to companies that had only been formed within the previous 60 days. (Such a short lifespan suggests no track record of actual business). As for the Government’s claim that the system was a form of triage, to prioritise serious companies over chancers, a senior TI researcher commented :. “Triage fine, bur why on earth ask politicians to do it? Did they even ask any medical experts? Or was it just prioritised on the basis of who managed to ring the right person at the right time?” TI concluded that there was “apparent systemic bias in the award of PPE contracts that favoured those with political connections to the governing party”. It called on the Government to disclose the identities of companies awarded public money through the VIP lane urgently, a request which the government has so far illegally refused.
All in all, the Government spent £17.3bn on contracts awarded to private companies without competitive tender to tackle the crisis . The total awarded in all COVID contracts was more than the capital expenditure budgets of major government departments such as Defence, Transport and Housing. Although Government regulations require all contracts valued more than £10,000 to be published and sent for publication within 30 days, the procurement consultancy Tussell found although the Health Ministry had spent about £15 bn on PPE by 1 October, only £2.68bn worth of contracts had been published.
This scandalous record of deceit and misuse of public money should be viewed against the PM’s Ministerial Code of conduct, issued in August 2019:
Johnson went on to say:
“There must be no bullying and no harassment; no leaking; no breach of collective responsibility. No misuse of taxpayer money and no actual or perceived conflicts of interest.; the precious principles of public life enshrined in this document – integrity, objectivity, accountability, transparency, honesty and leadership in the public interest – must be honoured at all times as must the political impartiality of our much admired civil service.”
Our Tunbridge Wells correspondent, formerly a staunch Tory supporter, reports from the G7 summit in Biarritz, France this time last year where Boris Johnson began his career as British prime minister on the international stage with a lie which was massive even by his standards. On 26 July 2019 he said:
“We asked the people to vote on whether to stay in or out of the EU. They voted overwhelmingly, they voted substantially to leave by a big majority”
Only a minority of UK registered voters voted for leave – just 37%. 17.4 million Leave voters are NOT a majority in a country with 46.5 million registered voters, or a country with a population of 67 million. The margin for Leave’s win was wafer thin, just 3.8%
By comparison the amount to remain in the 1975 referendum was 34.5%. That was substantial, overwhelming and big.
Johnson further discredited our country’s reputation for honesty and reliability when, having reached an agreement with the EU on fundamental principles for our future trading relationship, he went back on his word after the 2019 election on the key issue of a level playing field As matters stand today, this issue may well result in “No Deal” with the EU which, combined with coronavirus, can only result in total “Britastrophe“.
I’m really sick of Brexit. I’m even more sick of Remainers! Well, not all of them of course. Just the ones that waste their and my time telling me we cannot stop Brexit or that we must have a Brexit deal, even if it is shit. My angst extends to some of the key culture carriers of Remain, such as Femi Oluwole, Mike Galsworthy, People’s Vote rebadged and the self-appointed Byline Times leaders, who are merely gold-plating the reasons why we lost three elections and behave like an outreach group of the Labour Party rather than an apolitical coalition devoted to saving the UK from itself.
However, we are all on the same train in one respect, but these people have satisficed themselves with a longer term unicorn of some vague renaissance of a United Kingdom in a reformed EU at some point between 2024 and 2029. This MAY happen, but the probability is low, especially if we get a Brexit deal, as Brexit will be settled for a generation, with no-one wishing to re-open the toxic issue.
There is a short-term imperative that these people are not addressing. That of Suspending Brexit altogether. I was gutted to listen to Femi “drinking the Johnson Kool Aid” last week, laying out options for future resistance but not listing the goal of suspending Brexit as one of them. Sadly, 500 Remainers listened to this and because we are largely a law abiding lot, most of them probably believed it. Here I set out the rationale as to why Suspending Brexit in the next 2-3 months remains a viable strategy.
We can foresee a veritable shitshow in the next few months, an Autumn of Discontent. Here’s just a few of the things coming over the hill in terms of psycho-socio-economic and political factors:
Will Johnson do another U-Turn on Brexit? It’s possible if we act upon moderate MPs and embolden the opposition to grow backbones. He is possibly one of the few people who could do this AND get away with it.
When Remainers tell me that we passed a law to get Brexit done, they seem to forget that our Government break the law on a daily basis. They have just withdrawn the withdrawal agreement, the very law that would “Get Brexit Done”. And just recall all the other laws they have broken of late:
Since our Government break the law and do U-Turns on a daily basis, they can also suspend Brexit or do a U-Turn on it. There are plenty of good “excuses”, with COVID at the top of the charts.
In simple terms, all that is needed is a phone call from Boris Johnson to Ursula Von Der Leyen. The EU have always left the door ajar for this. This opportunity will not prevail forever, but it is still possible at this time via whatever excuse Johnson can create and whatever mechanism the legal profession can manufacture.
Of course the phone call is not enough. But lawyers would make millions providing the “legal theatre” necessary to “christen” the decision by writing hundreds of documents to validate the decision and make it look difficult. More work for the legal profession.
Paradoxically the removal of a Brexit deal from the mix of negotiations would actually help create the chasm between No Deal + Corona i.e. a Britastrophe:
Baroness Dido Harding stated today that no one could’ve foreseen the upsurge in demand for Corona virus testing at the present time. Really? At this time, schools across the country have been going back. Almost any parent could have told her that, at the beginning of term after the long holiday, many children catch a cold or at least a sniffle almost at once. Under current instructions, this requires them to be taken out of school for a coronavirus test and not return until and unless there is a negative result. Typhoid Harding’s statement shows her total ignorance of modern life and lack of common sense which disqualifies her for any post in this or probably any other area of public service. Matt Hancock continues to support her incompetence.
But at least Dido’s track record has been consistent. Failed at Talk Talk. Failed at stopping people herding at Cheltenham. Failed at the NHS. Failed at Corona Test, Track and Trace. Will she go down with that ship?
I know I left too much mess and
Destruction to come back again
And I caused nothing but trouble
I understand if you can’t talk to me again
And if you live by the rules of it’s over
Then I’m sure that that makes sense
We went out to the quaint town of Deal in Kent yesterday. I heaved a sigh on the morning as I wondered whether it was worth writing a press release for local media. I remembered one of the maxims I took, not from my MBA, but from George Michael and Wham “If you’re gonna do it, do it right”. So I dashed off a press release and mailed local media outlets.
A couple of hours later the press release was picked up by a fantastic journalist. I got straight on to her by phone as we were on our way to the event, managing to lose our way due to multi-tasking on the way! A few more hours later and we had coverage across all Kent with our message that Corona Crisis + Brexit disaster = A Britastrophe. The journalist even included our video, which was quite surprising as it is fairly biased against Brexit. Of course, a note to Byline Times, controversy sells newspapers …
Find the article Kent Online – The comments from a few remaining Brexiteers are quite something to behold. There is far less push back than one year ago but still some of the usual diehards are claiming that they are taking back control just when Boris Johnson is removing all of our rights and the rule of law. These few keyboard warriors are not representative of the vast majority of people, who actually agreed with our proposition, even in Brexity Deal. Brexit realities are at last beginning to sink in with the toxic combination of Corona + Brexit worth a whopping 12% + 9% GDP loss on our economy if we continue with Brexit on 31.12.20. I’d cancel Christmas for the kids right now.
In other news, our latest blog post “Snitch on your MP“ has been extremely well received. In this article, we ask people to report MPs for breaking international law. Feel free to share and snitch on the MPs – it’s the morally right thing to do.
We will soon reach the eye of the COVID-Brexit storm. This offers an opportunity for suspension of Brexit. Our song “Britastrophe” will be launched soon, to be sent to MPs as well as enjoyed in its own right.
We continue to face various threats from trolls and local lunatics. Please support our campaign to protect my family against these people.
I deplore NIMBY-ism (Not In My Back Yard). It typifies the English condition. It is an underlying cause of our Brexit vote (fear of foreigners, “my home is my castle”, Rule Britannia and so on). We experienced a small dose of NIMBY-sim in conversation with the good ladies of Deal on Sunday. We took the seaside town by storm with some candyfloss and cockles. Although the women we spoke to voted for Brexit, they demonstrated typical English parochial self-interest:
“If it does not affect me, I don’t care”
Yet, even these fine women had changed their mind about Brexit. They realised that their quaint town will be filled with lorries from Dover shortly, under any Brexit deal.
So, I cannot help reflect on the looming case of NIMBY-ism about to befall my fellow men of Kent and Kentish women. It was announced on the BBC that 7000 lorries would soon be blocking the roads in Kent and the South East. This represents a single lane queue of some 72 miles, stretching approximately from Dover to Greenwich, Gatwick or Guildford. Of course. it won’t be a single lane queue though …
No, it will be worse than this. About 18 months ago, I spoke with some Councillors at Kent County Council who had undertook some serious road planning for Brexit. Their studies indicated that, in the age of SatNavs, people would attempt to use villages and B roads to beat the jams. Just a few people doing this will effectively block most villages in East Kent. They concluded that big towns like Folkestone, Dover, Ashford, Canterbury, Whitstable, Thanet Maidstone and The Medway Towns would be gridlocked.
Does it get worse? Of course it does. Once minor roads and villages are gridlocked, teachers, carers, nurses, business people etc. will be unable to get to work. Their children will have to stay at home. Contagion dictates that the impact of Brexit is very much in your back garden (and everyone else’s). Today it was reported that Kent will have an internal border something like the island of Ireland, with fines and police enforcement for lorries without the correct papers. Yet, we don’t have enough permits or customs agents to provide the said papers! Michael Gove says it is business leaders that are to blame for this. I rather think it is Michael Gove for not building capacity and capability.
You may well say, we knew that Brexit would make things worse. Well, consider these further facts of life from my experience as a pharmaceutical scientist and business person. 90% of our food supply comes from Europe, especially in winter. Much of it relies on cold storage (cook-chill, fresh food and so on). So that means that much of our food will stand rotting on the M20 and M2, if Kent County Council’s scenarios come to pass. The leaked Government report predicts up to two days delay per lorry in Kent and the South East.
“No problem, I don’t eat” you may say. Well the problem extends to people who need healthcare, as many drugs are imported and some also crucially rely on carefully controlled temperature conditions. Others have limited shelf lives anyway. Radioisotopes literally rely on limited half-lives, especially technetium generators, which are the mainstay of UK nuclear medicine scans. This means that babies and vulnerable people will die for Brexit. Still happy with half a life? Will your child settle for death, in order to deliver a windfall to Jacob Rees-Mogg?
Boris Johnson has just announced extreme measures for social control to suppress resistance to Brexit chaos. Are you still happy about this? If you voted to Remain, are you simply going to lay down and pretend to be dead, based on the notion that spaffer Johnson popped Brexit in the Microwave, Gas Mark 4 on Halloween, then again on December 12 2019 and finally on 31.01.20? if you voted for Brexit are you now beginning to think that Johnny Rotten was right:
“Ever had the feeling you’ve been conned?”
Project fear I hear you say? No, I’m afraid this is project fact. Whether you voted for Brexit or not, my guess is that you did not vote for lorries in your back yard.
It is necessary to suspend Brexit in such drastic circumstances. Corona has contributed a 12% decline in GDP with Brexit predicted to add between 5-11% more. We have to endure Corona as a natural phenomenon, but we don’t need to add Brexit to create a “Britastrophe”, as Brexit is a man-made phenomenon. The economics don’t just add together to produce approximately 20% loss of GDP by the way. In any case, it only took 3.5% GDP loss to produce the 2008 crash. Do you really want this for your kids?
Boris Johnson has accused the EU of not negotiating seriously. As is often the case, where Johnson is concerned, the facts show the exact opposite.
From the outset of the negotiations, there were three unproductive years during which Theresa May negotiated, mostly, not with the EU, but with the Brexiteer extremists in her own party. Johnson played a major part in ensuring that any deal that May drew up with the EU did not gain the support of the Tory right wing which she regarded as essential as a one nation Tory. Throughout this time, he ensured that it was Britain, not the EU, that wasted time rather than negotiating seriously.
Once he became prime minister, Johnson scrapped May’s proposed deal and instead negotiated with the EU a withdrawal agreement and a political declaration laying down agreed principles for a future free trade deal. (The withdrawal agreement has the status of an international treaty, binding in international law; the declaration is non-binding). This enabled him to gain sufficient support in the British Parliament to hold a general election. However, having achieved a substantial majority, he retracted his agreement to a major element in the political declaration, the level playing field which requites alignment of regulations in certain or areas – environment, workers conditions, tax and state aid. The level playing field is regarded by the EU as an essential condition for access to the tariff and quota-free single market. If Johnson had merely required some adjustment to aspects of one or more the areas concerned, this might have been negotiable, within the non-binding terms of the declaration. However, by reneging on the whole concept, regarded by the EU as an essential guarantee that free trade should also be fair, Johnson made it clear that he never intended to stand by the political declaration’s terms once it had served its purpose. That purpose was to fool opponents of No Deal in his own party and other parties into believing that he sincerely intended to strike a deal with the EU, so that they would cease blocking the general election. This is not the behaviour of a serious international negotiator or statesman.
Johnson’s (or more likely Dominic Cummings) choice of negotiator, David Frost, is another indicator of their approach to the negotiations. Frost outlined his own views on trade policy early on when he said that:
“It’s possible to be political partner and economic competitor. Economic competition, between countries as between firms, boosts wealth for everybody in the long run …”
This approach fundamentally misunderstands business as much as it does politics. It leaves little room for alignment of regulations, as required in a level playing field. Frost has not said what sort of competitive practices he thinks countries might legitimately use under his concept of ‘wealth-creating’ competition. Perhaps they might be these:
This sort of free for all leads eventually to trade wars, as seen today between China and the United States. They create poverty for everyone, not wealth as Mr Frost claims. The appointment of a negotiator whose outlook leads to trade wars is not a serious approach to a free trade negotiation.
Johnson is trying to avoid blame for the inevitable catastrophe of No Deal if this occurs over the main unresolved issues of state aids and fish. That is why he is now, disgracefully, denouncing the Withdrawal Agreement, which he himself devised earlier this year and freely entered into. Comment on this, and on the unresolved issues, will be covered in next week’s issue.
This from “The Secret Labour Civil Servant”
A letter to Sir Keir Starmer
Dear Sir Keir,
It is fine to challenge the government to deliver the Brexit they promised and point out the failings when they don’t. It is not fine to pretend that any Brexit is going to be better than what we have thrown away. It is fine to say we want the government to get a good deal that does not compromise the Good Friday Agreement. It is not fine to pretend that a good deal that does not compromise the Good Friday Agreement is actually possible.
When Johnson fails abysmally to get anything like the deal he was promising or indeed any deal, what are you going to be saying ? You cannot in all honesty support a government that has put the peace in Ireland at risk. Nor can you support a government that wilfully gets to the end of the year with only WTO tariffs to trade on. You are quite right to say that the PM should be focussing all his attention on COVID and getting the virus under control, so tell him to suspend Brexit and come back to it when the threat of COVID has passed. Corona Crisis + Brexit Disaster = A Britastrophe
Keir Starmer’s E-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Conservatives pride themselves on being the Party of law and order. Why are they advocating to break the law. Managing Brexit on top of the disaster they have had in controlling the virus is going to cost them dear come the local elections in May. Surely they would be better calling for a suspension of Brexit to concentrate on getting the virus under control.
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