The Murdoch Sunday Times has got hold of a most inconvenient report on the prospects for a no-deal Brexit, and splashed it all over today’s front page. Under the headline “Operation Chaos: Whitehall’s secret no-deal plan leaked”, readers are told of problems with food supplies, fuel shortages, delays in obtaining medicines, months of disruption around the Channel ports, and trouble flaring up in Northern Ireland.
This is clearly not in accordance with the wishes of the Tory leadership, and so Michael “Oiky” Gove, minister for disinformation, has been instructed by the central praesidium to rebut these anti-party elements. So the BBC has reported “Mr Gove, who is responsible for no deal preparation, said ‘very significant steps’ had been taken to boost Brexit planning since Boris Johnson became PM”. What, in three weeks? Yeah, right.
Failure to control those rascally rabbits again
Not surprisingly, there has been a sceptical response, made worse when Kwasi Kwarteng went on Sky News to rubbish his own Government’s report. James Felton mused “In case it wasn’t entirely clear how batshit this government now is, here’s a pro-brexit government minister calling his own pro-brexit government’s report ‘scaremongering’ and ‘project fear’”. There was disquiet among the proletariat. More disinformation was needed.
Especially as someone had mentioned a real worst case scenario called Black Swan. So out came “Oiky” Gove. “We don’t normally comment on leaks - but a few facts - Yellowhammer is a worst case scenario - v significant steps have been taken in the last 3 weeks to accelerate Brexit planning - and Black Swan is not an HMG doc but a film about a ballet dancer”. Laugh? I thought I’d never start. Gove convinced no-one.
And he certainly didn’t convince Peter Jukes of Byline Media. “Three factual inaccuracies: Yellowhammer is NOT the worst case scenario - as the documents spell out. Two: the document explains businesses are LESS prepared than March. Three: before Black Swan was a ballet dancing film, it was an outlandish event described in Nassim Taleb’s book”.
At this stage, the combination of Useful Idiot and Futile Gesture was called for: Christopher “No” Hope of the Telegraph piped up “Boris Johnson's Government has accused Remain-supporting former minsters of "deliberately leaking" details of no deal planning by Theresa May's government to damage his trip to the European Union this week”.
It was all the work of dissident counter-revolutionaries! David Schneider was not impressed. “I presume that the government’s Yellowhammer report commissioned by the government for the government will be rebutted by the government rebuttal unit set up by the government to help the government rebut No Deal ‘myths’ such as the Yellowhammer ones spread by the government”. It was becoming Double Plus Ungood!
Sebastian Payne of the FT had the new official communiqué, and also seemed unimpressed. “This doc is from when ministers were blocking what needed to be done to get ready to leave and the funds were not available. It has been deliberately leaked by a former minister in an attempt to influence discussions with EU leaders”. Special directorates of Moscow Centre had been at work! A great propaganda leap forward!
But in the land of plain speaking, Alex Andreou had seen and heard enough of the Tories trying to chase their tails as the news cycle span out of control.
“Gove’s response to the leaked No-Deal planning document: it only represents the ‘worst case scenario’. But it’s precisely the same ‘worst case scenario’ he described in July as his ‘working assumption’ … Also, ‘I don’t comment on leaks, but here is my comment on this one’. Clown”. The minister had failed to transmit his disinformation successfully.
Instead, the revisionist running dogs had conspired with those anti-party elements to bring the public that which Comrade Gove most feared: factual reality.
Our Government cannot even manage to be incompetent effectively. Be afraid, everyone.
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I wonder when the RMVP will be set up?
As loads of people have observed elsewhere, Gove's tweet said 'a' worse case, rather than 'the' worse case.
When there was that late winter storm on its way a few years ago, the tabloids really bigged up the fact that it might be really bad, and the result of this in my part of rural Somerset was a complete emptying of fresh fruit and veg from all the supermarkets, and sizeable gaps throughout the stores. Produce went out on the shelves (when it arrived) and soon went, but the supermarket I use the most couldn't actually get things onto the shelf from truck to store to shelf quickly enough. That supermarket seems to be having continual problems with levels of many products, which I think is due to attempts to find post-Brexit supply lines.
It will be interesting - to put it mildly - to see what the tabloid press is going to do with a possible No Deal exit, because their usual approach to something like this would be similar to that with that winter storm. However, if they use that playbook with Brexit they are going to stoke panic-buying, and that really doesn't go with their 'wall-to-wall-Unicorns'/everything's peachy approach to Brexit.
The rats are beginning to eat each other. Even the Murdoch strain. Evolution taking its course.
Herein lies the problem. Any semblance of Project Fear actually becoming Project Reality and the scenario you envisage will be realised, and rapidly. I have to confess I have been quietly stocking up on tins and packets with a good use-by date on them: the one thing I cannot do that with is medicines I use.
Why was the document leaked to the Sunday Times? It's more an Observer sort of thing isn't it?
How long has the Sunday Times sat on it? It cannot be coincidence that it's published a day or two before Johnson goes to Paris and Berlin to meet, respectively, Macron and Merkel.
It’s also just six days before the start of the G7 summit which starts in Biarritz on Saturday (24 August). Publishing it next Sunday, in the middle of the summit which finishes next Monday, would not have had the same effect.
You can always tell when the tories have fucked up yet again.
Kwarteng gets wheeled on as a reliable patsy. The sucker.
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