Tag: UK

There is a Good Kind of Republican

But it’s with a lower case “R”.

It refers to people who want to eliminate the monarchy, particularly in the UK:

I'm think about blogging on this, and I just wanted to confirm that my sense of you as a "small r" republican (wanting to abolish the monarchy) is accurate.

— Jack Dorsey Is Objectively Pro-Nazi (M.G. Saroff) (@40_Years) November 18, 2019

Indeed I do

— Craig Murray (@CraigMurrayOrg) November 18, 2019

Craig Murray is a republican, not a Republican.

Good Political Strategy

One of the concerns about Brexit is the future of both the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) as well as their price controls on drugs.

Jeremy Corbyn is now explicitly promising that neither the NHS nor drug price controls will even be brought up in trade negotiations with the US.

In fact, he his proposing legislation to explicitly prohibit any such negotiations:

UK opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said the Labour Party will exclude Britain’s National Health Service and medicines from trade deals with the United States, as he accused Prime Minister Boris Johnson of covering up “secret talks” on the NHS.  


“Our public services are not bargaining chips to be traded in secret deals. I pledge a Labour government will exclude the NHS, medicines and public services from any trade deals – and make that binding in law”, he added.

It’s good policy and good politics.

In the Old Days, It Was Phone Jamming

For 2 days in a row, the Labour Party in the UK has been hit with DDoS attacks, and while no data has thought to have been lost, it HAS interfered with access to their site and their electoral tools:

The Labour party has faced a second cyber-attack, a day after experiencing what it called a “sophisticated and large-scale” attempt to disrupt its digital systems.

It is understood the party was the subject of a second distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on Tuesday afternoon. Such attacks use “botnets” – networks of compromised computers – to flood a server with requests that overwhelm it.


Labour has not said who it suspects is behind the attacks, but said it was confident its security systems ensured there was no data breach.


Labour has not said which digital platforms were targeted, but it is understood some of them were election and campaigning tools, which would contain details about voters. The party has sent a message to campaigners to say what happened and to explain why the systems were working slowly on Monday.

This raises the obvious questions of who did this, and why did they do it now?

There is actually a fairly simple answer:  A deadline is coming up for “Freepost” (in the US, they would be called “Business Reply Mail” leaflets, and currently the system to submit and gain approval for these mailers is offline.

Someone is monkey wrenching Labour voter organizing efforts.

Does anyone know about Labour candidates having big problems with party’s leaflet-creating website? One local campaign chief says: “it hasn’t been working properly & has now completely failed. Candidates can’t get their leaflets off it & approved. It appears to have been hacked.”

— Michael Crick (@MichaelLCrick) November 11, 2019

— Michael Crick (@MichaelLCrick) November 11, 2019

I’m told that some Labour candidates fear that unless the party can resolve the problem very soon, then they could miss the deadline for getting their Freepost leaflets written, designed and approved

— Michael Crick (@MichaelLCrick) November 11, 2019

Bye Bye Boris

Boris Johnson hoped to get his Brexit proposal approved today.

Things did not go as planned :

MPs have inflicted a humiliating defeat on Boris Johnson by passing a backbench amendment withholding their support from his Brexit deal.

Instead of backing Johnson’s agreement in a “meaningful vote”, MPs passed an amendment tabled by a cross-party group of MPs led by Oliver Letwin by 322 votes to 306 – a majority of 16.

The prime minister said he was not “daunted or dismayed” by the defeat, and would press ahead with tabling Brexit legislation next week. MPs are likely to take the opportunity to table a string of amendments, including on trying to force a second referendum.

The move by cross-party MPs was aimed at forcing Johnson to comply with the terms of the Benn act, which obliges him to write to the EU to request a Brexit delay, if he had not won approval for his deal by 11pm.

As to that letter to the EU requesting a delay?  Johnson is doing the absolute minimum as defined by law, resusing to sign the letter asking for an extension, and signing an accompanying letter asking for an extension not to be granted:

Boris Johnson has sent an unsigned letter to European council president Donald Tusk requesting a further Brexit delay beyond 31 October – accompanied by a signed one arguing against it.

The prime minister sent three letters: an unsigned photocopy of the request he was obliged to send under the Benn Act, an explanatory letter from the UK’s ambassador to the EU and a personal letter explaining why Downing Street did not want an extension.

In the signed message, he warned of the “corrosive impact” of a long delay, and that “a further extension would damage the interests of the UK and our EU partners, and the relationship between us”. He said Parliament had “missed the opportunity to inject momentum into the ratification process” yet remained confident Brexit legislation would be passed by 31 October.

The move sparked concerns the prime minister could face fresh court action. One former Tory cabinet minister said: “This is clearly against the spirit of the Benn Act and is not consistent with the assurances that were given by Downing Street to the Scottish courts about applying for an extension. It will also put government law officers in a very uncomfortable position.”


After the extension request was sent, Jeremy Corbyn accused Johnson of “petulant posturing and bluster” and said “his damaging deal was defeated today.”

“Petulant posturing and bluster,” is pretty much the defining feature of BoJo.

I’m expecting a crash-out. 

Churchill on Steroids

I’ve always felt that Winston Churchill was overrated.

His life was a string of failures, and he inexplicably failed up. (His mismanagement of the Norway campaign led to his becoming Prime Minister, & Gallipoli, for example)

Boris Johnson sees himself to be a politician in the tradition of Churchill, and I’m inclined to agree.

  • Fired for making sh%$ up at the Times of London.
  • A long history of racist statements.
  • Fired as shadow arts minister for lying about an affair.
  • The zip-line incident.

And now we have a a senior party member quitting as MP and business minister.

By Boris standards, this will normally not amount to a blip, only said MP and business minister is one Jo Johnson, Boris’ little brother:

Jo Johnson, the younger brother of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, is resigning as an MP and minister, saying he is “torn between family loyalty and the national interest”.

The business minister and Tory MP for Orpington, south-east London, cited an “unresolvable tension” in his role.

BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg said it was “unbelievable timing”.

Mr Johnson voted Remain in the 2016 EU membership referendum, while his brother co-led the Leave campaign.

Mr Johnson’s resignation follows the removal of the Tory whip from 21 MPs this week for supporting moves to prevent a no-deal Brexit.


Jo Johnson’s resignation also comes as the government announced it would give MPs another chance to vote for an early election on Monday.


A Downing Street spokesman said: “The PM, as both a politician and brother, understands this will not have been an easy matter for Jo. The constituents of Orpington could not have asked for a better representative.”

Former cabinet minister David Gauke, one of the MPs who lost the Conservative whip, tweeted: “Lots of MPs have had to wrestle with conflicting loyalties in recent weeks. None more so than Jo. This is a big loss to Parliament, the government and the Conservative Party.”

Labour’s shadow education secretary Angela Rayner said: “Boris Johnson poses such a threat that even his own brother doesn’t trust him.”

This is truly Churchillian, and not in a good way.

Your Brexit Dogs Breakfast Update

 Boris Johnson has moved to suspend Parliament in order to ensure that Brexit goes forward.

While suspending (proroguing) Parliament is usually a fairly routine thing, it tends to be used to clear the decks of legislative items that have piled up over a session, use of the procedure to explicitly prevent parliament from weighing in on a major issue, as Johnson is doing now, is not:

Boris Johnson has set up an extraordinary confrontation with MPs when they return to Westminster next week by announcing that he has asked the Queen to suspend parliament for five weeks from mid-September.

The prime minister claimed there would be “ample time” to debate Brexit, as he wrote to MPs on Wednesday, saying he had spoken to the Queen and asked her to suspend parliament from “the second sitting week in September”. The Queen approved the order later on Wednesday.

MPs will then not return to Westminster until 14 October, when he said there would be a new Queen’s speech, setting out what he called a “bold and ambitious domestic legislative agenda for the renewal of our country after Brexit”.

I do not know enough about UK politics to tell whether the spectacle of people completely losing their sh%$ over this action is a legitimate expression of outrage or political posturing.

My prediction remains the same though, a Brexit, no-deal or deal, will be much worse than the Brexit supporters predict, and much better than the Brexit supporters predict.

I do think that, unlike Theresa May, Johnson understands the nature of the negotiations though, as evidenced by his willingness to walk away.

More significantly, he’s willing to put EU migration rules on the table, which would have the effect of severely curtailing remittances to EU nations from their nationals working in Britain, which would have a devastating effect on the economies of a number of EU members, most notably the Baltic states.

I think that any chance for a graceful transition has passed now, sit it will be a profoundly bumpy ride.

Once Again, May Chooses the Stupid Option

Given the clusterf%$# that is Brexit, it’s not surprising that there was someone toiling away in a back office trying to plan for a no-deal scenario.

Well, now that May has been given 6 more months to get nothing done, she has shuttered the office planning for a no-deal.

May is being short sighted and stupid, but I am repeating myself:

Emergency planning for No Deal was called off today after the Brexit delay was written into law.

Civil servants were reportedly told to stand down from urgent meetings meant to ensure the UK is ready to leave the EU without a deal.

The move comes after the Brexit date was moved from April 12 to October 31 following a late-night Brussels summit.

The decision comes as citizens and businesses – including L’Oreal, Tesco and BMW – were continuing to stockpile for No Deal.


Officials had been working around the clock to make sure Britain would not suffer if we crashed out of the EU without a withdrawal agreement.

Government sources today said the work has been put on the back burner now the cliff edge deadline has been pushed back.

A Cabinet source told The Sun: “We’re easing off on the No Deal preparations because it’s not the priority at the moment.

Six more months of incompetence and inaction does not  justify abandoning preparation for the worst case.

Not planning for the worst case scenario on something as potentially disruptive as Brexit is governmental malpractice.