Environmentalists accused Liz Truss’s government of reneging on a commitment made after Brexit to halt the decline of nature by 2030. They say the revoking of 570 environmental laws that were rolled over from EU law after Brexit amounts to a deregulatory free-for-all leaving the environment unprotected.
The bill laid before parliament outlines how 570 environmental laws, and hundreds more covering every government department, including transport, health and social care, working hours and other areas, are being lined up to be removed from UK law or rewritten. These include the habitat regulations that have been vital in the protection of places for wildlife in the last 30 years and laws covering the release of nitrates and phosphates into rivers.
The laws were retained after Brexit when the then Conservative environment secretary, Michael Gove, promised the UK’s environmental laws would not be watered down.
The head of the RSPB says the bird charity is ruling nothing out as it organises a mobilisation of millions of people against what it calls the government’s “attack on nature”.
Beccy Speight dismissed accusations by Conservative MPs that the group was lying to its members and pursuing a marketing drive, as it leads a coalition campaigning against the government over key “growth” policies which it argues will damage wildlife and nature.
The chief executive said a meeting with the secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs, Ranil Jayawardena, had not provided any reassurance that the government’s growth policies would protect nature.
The director general of the National Trust, Hilary McGrady, accused the government of “demonising” conservationists, saying her members were “outraged and worried”.
Starmer’s role has been simply to emasculate the Labour Party, and to purge it of any elements that might seek to pose a threat to rampant neo-liberalism and wealth inequality. His efforts to ban Labour MPs from supporting striking railway workers must be anathema to anybody who has the slightest feel for the history and traditions of that party and indeed the most basic understanding of its very raison d’etre.
This Tony Benn quote from the 1980’s has come into vogue because it is prophetic, and the process appears now complete:
If the Labour Party could be bullied or persuaded to denounce its Marxists, the media – having tasted blood – would demand next that it expelled all its Socialists and reunited the remaining Labour Party with the SDP to form a harmless alternative to the Conservatives, which could then be allowed to take office now and then when the Conservatives fell out of favour with the public. Thus British Capitalism, it is argued, will be made safe forever, and socialism would be squeezed off the National agenda. But if such a strategy were to succeed… it would in fact profoundly endanger British society. For it would open up the danger of a swing to the far-right, as we have seen in Europe over the last 50 years.
Starmer is in one sense the apotheosis of this process. Not only has he acted to purge the Labour Party of socialism, he also offers so very little of a meaningful alternative to the Tories that there is very little danger of the Tories being voted out of office. Not only is he a safe right-wing backstop, he is a self-redundant safe right-wing backstop.
The Guardian has long been viewed as the voice of the liberal-left in Britain, so it surprised many during the Corbyn leadership to see it act as one of the main media vehicles through which the campaign to bring him down was fought.
The paper was a key part of the “anti-semitism crisis” that engulfed Corbyn’s leadership. From 2016-19, the Guardianpublished 1,215 stories mentioning Labour and anti-semitism, an average of around one per day, according to a search on Factiva, the database of newspaper articles.
In the same period, the Guardian published just 194 articles mentioning the Conservative Party’s much more serious problem with Islamophobia. A YouGov poll in 2019, for example, found that nearly half of the Tory party membership would prefer not to have a Muslim prime minister.
The Guardian’s coverage of anti-semitism in Labour was suspiciously extensive, compared to the known extent of the problem in the party, and its focus on Corbyn personally suggested that the issue was being used politically.
The late Jewish anthropologist David Graeber commented after the 2019 election: “As for the Guardian, we will never forget that during the ‘Labour antisemitism controversy’, they beat even the Daily Mail to include the largest percentage of false statements, pretty much every one, mysteriously, an accidental error to Labour’s disadvantage”.
Consider the following example, because it’s about to come true. Someone has been a British citizen for decades. They go on holiday. When they try to return, they’re told that the Home Secretary has stripped them of their citizenship. They are not told why. They are not told the charges against them. They have no functioning right of appeal. They have been made stateless, by ministerial fiat.
This would bethe consequence of a new provision added to Priti Patel’s Nationality and Borders bill, which goes through the Commons over the next couple of days.
Making someone stateless has long been seen as one of the most egregious actions a government can take. In the words of Hannah Arendt, the great scholar of totalitarianism, it deprives people of “the right to have rights”. It makes you an unperson: without protection, without home, without legal status.
This is proper police state stuff. The last-minute amendments crowbarred by the government into the police, crime, sentencing and courts bill are a blatant attempt to stifle protest, of the kind you might expect in Russia or Egypt. Priti Patel, the home secretary, shoved 18 extra pages into the bill after it had passed through the Commons, and after the second reading in the House of Lords. It looks like a deliberate ploy to avoid effective parliamentary scrutiny. Yet in most of the media there’s a resounding silence.
Among the new amendments are measures that would ban protesters from attaching themselves to another person, to an object, or to land. Not only would they make locking on – a crucial tool of protest the world over – illegal, but they are so loosely drafted that they could apply to anyone holding on to anything, on pain of up to 51 weeks’ imprisonment.
It would also become a criminal offence to obstruct in any way major transport works from being carried out, again with a maximum sentence of 51 weeks. This looks like an attempt to end meaningful protest against road-building and airport expansion. Other amendments would greatly expand police stop and search powers. The police would be entitled to stop and search people or vehicles if they suspect they might be carrying any article that could be used in the newly prohibited protests, presumably including placards, flyers and banners. Other new powers would grant police the right to stop and search people without suspicion, if they believe that protest will occur “in that area”. Anyone who resists being searched could be imprisoned for – you guessed it – up to 51 weeks.
Recently, the Guardian broke the news that the reason we are seeing increasing numbers of asylum seekers on our beaches is because they have cottoned on to the fact that, thanks to Brexit, we are no longer part of the Dublin Agreement. This inconvenient truth seems to have escaped Farage and Johnson and all those who are hell bent on ruining the country’s economy at any cost if we can only get control of our borders.
Since 2016, the Tory party has rapidly morphed into the BNP-NF-Brexit Party-UKIP-Tory party but how far has it gone?
Put it this way. Now it’s suppressing its own reports on the reasons people make the treacherous journey across the channel. Home Office data show two thirds of those attempting to make the crossing are genuine refugees, many coming from war-torn parts of the world. As one of the world’s largest exporters of arms, the UK has had a great deal to do with creating the hell that they are escaping.
But the Home Office is not publishing this data. Why? Because it doesn’t fit the narrative. These are inconvenient truths that the Tories don’t want people to hear. So best they just make out that the asylum seekers are illegal immigrants coming over here to scrounge benefits and get a nice hotel on the back of the taxpayer.
Extinction Rebellion (XR) vowed today to begin a major campaign of civil resistance in April, following on from large-scale protests before the coronavirus pandemic.
XR said that world leaders had failed to heed the pleas of experts at Cop26, with United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change executive secretary Patricia Espinosa warning that Cop26 leaves the human race continuing to “invest in our own extinction.”
The criticism coincided with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) saying that, in order to avoid global warming exceeding the target of 1.5˚C, greenhouse gas emissions must be cut by 45 per cent by 2030, but the world is on track for a 16 per cent increase in emissions by 2030.
dizzy: Covid disrupted and frustrated climate activism while – of course – it didn’t disrupt or frustrate the continuing damage to the climate. COP26 was disappointing by failing to achieve any meaningful action, a wasted opportunity. Politicians are owned by the filthy rich and powerful.
Politics in UK is continuing to be dominated by the Brexit lies that promoted the Brexit fantasy. We’re on a path as a consequence and a continuation of those Brexit lies and delusions which are mostly xenophobic, racist and divorced from reality.
I am likely to revise this article but I want to get it out. It’s about the historical and continuing malign and corrosive influence of the Australian-American press baron Rupert Murdoch on UK politics. The article starts by looking at Murdoch’s influence over Tony Blair’s government before looking at how he still wields influence over Boris Johnson’s current government (and needs expanding there). I’m only searching the web so you can do this for yourselves.
Former Sun deputy editor Neil Wallis was in charge during the 1997 election campaign when then-Sun editor Stuart Higgins was on holiday.
The paper made shockwaves when it published a “Sun backs Blair” front page after declaring “it was the Sun wot won it” for the Conservatives in the previous election.
He said he asked for a first-person piece from Blair on his party’s “cut and dried position” on Europe but it was “a piece of PR flim-flam that actually said nothing”.
“I said ‘I’m not running this Alistair [Campbell, Blair’s spin doctor] because it’s just saying nothing’. But I said ‘for this to be coherent, for this to have an impact, this needs to say you will not go into the Euro without a referendum’.
“And I duly got the piece under Tony Blair’s name committing them to a referendum on the Euro if it was ever considered that they would go into it.”
Former UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage directly linked this Sun column with the eventual vote to leave the European Union 19 years later.
He told the documentary: “The price of Rupert Murdoch’s support for Tony Blair was that Blair promised he would not take us into the European currency without first having a referendum, and if Rupert Murdoch had not done that we would have joined the Euro in 1999 and I doubt Brexit would have happened.
“So I think when we look at the long history of Britain’s relationship with the European project that led ultimately to the Brexit vote, I think that was a decisive intervention from Rupert Murdoch.”
So much falls into place with the revelation that Tony Blair became godfather to one of Rupert Murdoch’s two young daughters and attended their baptism on the banks of the river Jordan last year. True, it isn’t yet clear whether Blair had agreed to become a godparent while he was prime minister [see footnote], and the ceremony did take place after he had left office, but the important point is that the relationship underlines Murdoch’s deep entrenchment in British political life.
Murdoch’s third wife, Wendi Deng, who let slip the information in an interview with Vogue, described Blair as one of Rupert’s closest friends. Blair’s account of the relationship in his memoirs is somewhat different, portraying Murdoch as the big bad beast, who won his grudging respect. That is clearly disingenuous. As other memoirs and diaries from the Blair period are published, we see how close Murdoch was to the prime minister and the centre of power when really important decisions, such as the Iraq invasion, were being made.
Blair and Murdoch didn’t have to be bosom buddies for the relationship to be counter to the interests of a healthy national life and politics. As Lance Price, the former Blair spin doctor, has said, Murdoch was one of four people in Britain whose reaction was considered when any important decision was made during the Blair years.
Rupert Murdoch launched an “over-crude” campaign to force Tony Blair to speed up Britain’s entry into the Iraq war, according to the final volume of [total cnut] Alastair Campbell’s diaries.
Mr Blair’s former communications director accuses the media mogul of being part of a drive by American Republicans to drag Britain into the controversial war a week before the House of Commons even voted to approve the intervention in 2003.
The claim is explosive because it appears to contradict Mr Murdoch’s evidence to the Leveson Inquiry. The News Corp chief told Lord Justice Leveson in April: “I’ve never asked a prime minister for anything.”
It is the second time that claim has been contested. Sir John Major, the former Prime Minister, told the inquiry this week that Mr Murdoch threatened to withdraw the support of his newspapers for his Government unless it took a tougher stance on Europe. …
Liverpool MP Andy Burnham has suggested that Tony Blair did not order a full enquiry into the Hillsborough disaster because he did not want to offend Rupert Murdoch.
Mr Burnham, a Labour leader hopeful said he was told not to pursue his demand for an official investigation when serving under Mr Blair.
As a result a “major injustice” was allowed to remain in place for more than a decade, he said.
Mr Burnham was the driving force behind Gordon Brown’s decision to set up the Hillsborough Independent Panel into the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans. … The Sun caused lasting outrage after publishing a report following the 1989 tragedy accusing “drunken” Liverpool fans of attacking rescue workers. …
Former Prime Minister Tony has always adamantly denied allegations he had an affair with Wendi, who was married to the News UK magnate from 1999 to 2013. However, the new BBC show spoke about Wendi’s affection towards him, including an unearthed diary entry in which she spoke about his ‘good body and legs’ before adding: ‘And what else and what else and what else…’.
But it was a series of emails, allegedly from Wendi about Blair, that effectively caused their divorce. ‘She made a bad mistake,’ journalist Ken Auletta explained. ‘She was sending emails on Newscorp email, so it’s easy for one of Murdoch’s minions, or lawyers, to extract those emails and see what they said – and they did. …
dizzy: At Rupert Murdoch and Jerry Hall’s wedding in March 2016 Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Priti Patel were invited – three prominent members of the current UK government. David Cameron and George Osborne – anti-Brexiteers – were not invited. Tony Blair was not invited – he’s been dropped by Murdoch after not having an affair with Wendi Deng.
An update to an earlier post from March 2019 to reflect changes since then. This is a work in progress and needs to be finished.
Since then Boris Johnson was apponted leader of the Conservative party in July 2019 and we’ve had the general election of December 2019. To my surprise the UK Labour party led by Jeremy Corbyn fared poorly in the general election and Boris Johnson’s Conservatives won comfortably. Jeremy Corbyn was replaced by Keir Starmer as leader of the Labour Party and the UK has experienced the Coronavirus pandemic during 2020 with a lockdown starting in late March.
Boris Johnson & Co are rabid Eurosceptics and succeeded at the general election using the simplistic mantra “Get Brexit Done”. Johnson & Co are indicating that they are intending to pursue a no-deal Brexit whereby UK will leave the EU in a chaotic manner. Their strategy appears to be to align closely with US instead of EU so that another simplistic mantra for the simple “we want our country back” is exposed as bolox.
I wrote in my previous post that “Socialists are a diverse bunch often fighting injustice e.g. anti-racism, and campaign for human rights, universal healthcare, democracy, equality, workers’ rights, etc. There are more radical Socialists outside of parliamentary politics fragmented according to adherence to the different historical origins and aspects of Socialist Ideology. The Labour party catchphrase “For the many, not the few” catches the Socialist ethos perfectly.”
Current UK Labour party leader Keir Starmer does not meet this definition and we have instead returned to the normal situation whereby UK voters are denied the opportunity to vote for a Socialist party.
During Keir Starmer’s previous role as UK’s Director of Public Prosecutions, he … < to be continued >
The climate crisis receives very little attention from UK politicians and we currently have allegations of Russian hacking which appear to be a moral panic totally without substance.
... In a speech setting out his goals for trade after Brexit, the prime minister said the UK would not accept a “diminution of standards” on food hygiene or animal welfare as a result of a deal with the US.
He also said Britain would be “governed by science, not mumbo-jumbo” when looking at whether imported food was acceptable for consumption in the UK. Johnson criticised “America bashers” who take a “hysterical” attitude towards US food and view it as “inferior”. …
It appears that computer security / privacy is now historical. Looking into the isues I’ve had, modern puters have co-processors for use by manufacturers and / or three-letter government agencies. They have a direct route into these puters and are able to evade firewalls, etc. (It’s ring -2 and -3 code for geeks).
Congratulations to Sinn Fein on their Irish election results. [Their history is exactly that and they are now a legitimate left-wing party.]
*1 You have a choice: 1. The one thing that sets Boris Johnson apart is that he is a totally unashamed lying cnut. Telling the truth is totally alien to him. You would be closer to the truth by simply accepting the direct opposite of anything and everything he says. 2. Boris Johnson is a very nasty, incredibly resilient alien with acid for blood who can survive molten lead. 3. 1 and 2.
Apologies that I didn’t have much time to prepare this post. I’m otherwise busy.
The UK government has lost in the courts time after time on issues like people’s right to clean air, clean waters and clean beaches. And now, guess what? The Government wants to use the EU Withdrawal Bill to give Ministers the power to set aside those EU related court defeats.
Theresa May’s government said they would retain existing EU case law that was in place when we left the EU. If changes needed to be made then Parliament would go through the process of fresh legislation and public scrutiny. But Boris Johnson’s Government want to exchange that legal certainty for a process of Ministerial diktat. They claim that the senior judiciary will be consulted on any changes before they happen, but the members of the senior judiciary in the House of Lords have expressed deep unhappiness with scrapping EU case law and want it retained so courts can refer to the judgements instead of the painful option of starting all over again.
This is about deregulation. The United Kingdom became a member of the EU in 1973. Since then UK law has developed in tandem with EU law – not dictated by the EU but having regard for EU laws and treaties. Boris & Co want to abandon all the development of law since then and return to the 70s. We had filthy, polluted rivers then and raw sewage on beaches.
It won’t only be about abandoning environmental protections. Jenny Jones’s article continues to discuss workers’ rights. For example abandoning EU case law will effect the paid holidays that we have become accustomed to. The Tories are really not keen on human rights… Then there are food safety standards – US food safety standards are abysmal compared to EU safety standards – they want you to eat siht.
Boris Johnson appeared before the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) today. The CBI are not keen on Brexit. BJ wanted a general election to gain a majority of MPs so that he can pursue a no-deal Brexit without democracy preventing him.
We fully know Boris Johnson’s attitude to business because he’s told us. He said “F*** business”.
The UK’s foreign secretary apparently outlined his new business strategy at a private reception, when challenged about the clamour from Airbus and BMW over the threat to jobs and investment. Mr Johnson’s aides say the remark was aimed at business lobbyists. It makes little difference. (He has now fled to Kabul to avoid having to resign rather than vote with the government for a new runway at Heathrow. The foreign secretary had said he would lie down in front of the bulldozers. It turns out he preferred to lie low.)
“F**k business.” It may have been a casual aside but it was also a revealingly contemptuous one, not least in its indifference to the fate of Airbus’s UK staff. This is the strategic nihilism of a spoiled child lashing out. After two years of failing to offer up even a scintilla of a plan, relying on magical thinking and the belief that if Britain just held its nerve, Europe would fold, this is all he had left — a petulant explosion.