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Thursday, 16 July 2020

Shamima Begum And The Sun

As the BBC has reported, “Shamima Begum should be allowed to return to the UK to fight the decision to remove her British citizenship, the Court of Appeal has ruled. Ms Begum, now 20, was one of three schoolgirls who left London to join the Islamic State group in Syria in 2015. Her citizenship was revoked by the Home Office on security grounds after she was found in a refugee camp in 2019”. She was effectively made stateless.
The lights are on, but is anyone home?

But before the ruling was given at 1030 hours today, lawyer Mohammed Akunjee, who has represented Ms Begum’s family members, was approached with a proposal to effectively commit contempt of court. To no surprise at all, the approach, yesterday evening, came from the odious flannelled fool Master Harry Cole, who has taken his pretence to be a real journalist all the way to the political editorship of the Murdoch Sun.

Like his predecessors in the role, Cole is a singularly unpleasant individual. But unlike faithful Murdoch retainer Trevor Kavanagh and the non-bullying Tom Newton Dunn, he has no journalistic skill worth the name. Like his hero, alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, his career has been one of optimistically winging it. Training and basic skills are beneath him; he trusts his instinct. Which is invariably wrong.

So it was that he messaged Akunjee just before 2130 hours yesterday. “Hear big news coming tomorrow?” he proferred. “Who is this?” responded Akunjee, not unreasonably, after which Cole decided to actually introduce himself. “My apologies Mr Akunjee, it is Harry Cole. Journalist [yeah, right. Fuck right off with that one]. We covered Shamima Begum last year [yes, your paper dumped all over her. Tell us another]”.

There was more. “Understand big ruling in her favour coming tomorrow from Court of Appeal at 1030. Any guidance?” Akunjee asked, linking to this blog, if he had the right Master Cole. “Lol yes. Are you reading mad blogs?” asked Cole, at which point the discussion began to go downhill fast - and it was all Cole’s fault.

Akunjee: “I’m surprised you bothered to contact me. I thought you were fine with unsubstantiated whispers in the wind”.

Cole: “Sorry I was under the impression that you were a professional, not an activist”.

Akunjee: “You seem to be under the impression that you are a journalist too [BOOM!]. I can’t help you with your beliefs … The judgment is embargoed until tomorrow morning”.

Cole: “Yes. But given it’s already been widely leaked by family members [no citation] is there a statement … Please”.

Akunjee: “I am aware of no leaks” [at which point Cole should have taken the hint].

Cole: “OK. Let’s talk in an hour or so” [Contempt of court, Master Cole. Remember?].

Akunjee: “That would be before the embargo ends. Can’t help you I’m afraid. Also I am not an activist”. Would Master Cole like to make matters worse? He certainly would.
Shamima Begum

Cole: “Not sure what the belligerence gets us [pot, kettle]. Trying to report fairly [that’s another Straight-A Fuck Off]. You behave like one by quoting Zelo Street bollox [that guarantees I get a sight of the exchange]. All best”.

Akunjee: “A professional would not breach an embargo” [another hint not being taken].

Cole: “Well take that up with you [sic] clients … woah”.

Akunjee: “Are you an actual child?” [no comment]

Cole: “Is that your comment?

Akunjee then warns Master Cole that he is going to post the exchange on Twitter, to which Cole, who has been aggressive throughout, whines “I really don’t understand the aggression. I’m trying to give all sides a fair hearing”. From the Sun? Ho yus.

After noting that the Sun’s splash has been, for all too obvious reasons, pulled, Akunjee concludes “Journalism at its finest I see … I know a good lawyer for contempt of court allegations”. Contempt which the Sun appears to have indulged in, and which Cole has invited Mohammed Akunjee to also indulge in.

Harry Cole was a clueless numpty when I first encountered him almost a decade ago. He has been consistent in his cluelessness in the intervening period, and probably always will be. Consistency is a commendable quality in journalism. Unless it’s being consistently wrong. Along with Cole’s singular ineptitude in eliciting information.

He went to catch his first big scoop. And, in no style at all, he dropped it.
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Grayling v Lewis - Who Fouled Up?

Once again, alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson has presided over a foul-up as chaotic as it was unnecessary: the attempt to secure Chairmanship of the Security and Intelligence Committee - under whose auspices the Russia Report will finally be released - for Chris Grayling failed, and instead, Tory Julian Lewis won the vote, for which transgression he has had the party whip withdrawn.
Julian Lewis, the latest fall guy

It was authoritarian, it was gratuitous, it was the most public own goal. As the BBC’s Nick Eardley said, “It's an embarrassment for No 10 who are widely thought to have favoured the former transport secretary. A spokesman said the decision was for the committee alone”. But when the committee alone made the decision, Downing Street decreed that it was the wrong decision and threw Lewis out of his own party.

The charge sheet included this gem: “[Lewis] has been told by the chief whip that it is because he worked with Labour and other opposition MPs for his own advantage”. But, as Dominic Grieve told on Newsnight last night, “This is a non-partisan committee … it has never had a vote in its history … the idea that there is something wrong with someone like Julian Lewis getting support from [Labour and the SNP] cannot be right”.
It is clear that those in Downing Street do not understand the Intelligence and Security Committee. It is also a dead giveaway as to who is behind the authoritarian decree that Lewis, by building a consensus with those representing two other parties, was somehow guilty of a disloyalty so serious that he had to have the whip withdrawn.

Grieve also said this: “What troubles me about this episode, quite apart from its utter absurdity and now withdrawing the whip from Julian, who is indeed highly respected, is the mindset if gives of what on earth is going on in Downing Street. Why did they try and manipulate this process? They shouldn’t have done. The committee can only exist, the committee can only be respected … if it is seen to be non-partisan and independent, and on the whole, in its previous years of existence it succeeded in doing just that”.
So, the question has to be asked as to who is taking the decisions. And the conclusion has to be that it is not Johnson. As when he was Mayor of London, he has chaps to do that sort of thing for him. Whatever his Mayoralty did not get right, it was not an authoritarian show. My conclusion is that Johnson is not behind Julian Lewis’ defenestration.

One person now in Downing Street, though, certainly does know about authoritarianism, because that is how he proceeds, whether or not he knows what he is doing. He proceeded in that manner at the Department for Education when in the service of Michael “Oiky” Gove. And so it has continued: my Occam’s Razor is pointing me directly at chief Downing Street polecat Dominic Cummings as the one Wot Done It.
There can be no dissent from whatever the Polecat decrees: he must have control of every aspect of the Government machine. Hence the removal of the Civil Servant leading the inquiry into allegations of bullying against Priti Patel. Any whiff of non-conformity with his wishes, and out you go. This is an intolerant and out of control individual.

Of course, while the Tories are ahead in the polls, all will be well for Dom. But he should remember what happened to Mrs T. The Tories, like Spectre, do not tolerate failure.
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How Right-Wing Is Brillo?

The BBC has felt the need to make cuts to some of its programming. Contrary to rumour - well, it was spun by the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog - Politics Live is not being scrapped. But The Andrew Neil Show is, although the Corporation claims it is still open to using his services for set-piece interviews and one-off events like General Election coverage. This prompted a variety of comment.
One of those commenting was Femi Oluwole, who offered up his honest opinion, telling “I think Andrew Neil is biased and scarily Right-wing but he is such a heavy hitter when it comes to Paxman-style interviews, including when holding his own side to account, that I am genuinely disappointed to see him go”. The Great Man was not best pleased.
We've never met or talked. You have no idea what my views are on any major issue today, tho you think you do. To call me scarily right-wing’ is inaccurate, a smear and a hard left trope. You should withdraw it”. Oluwole most certainly should not; he expressly prefixed his comment with “I think”. And in any case, evidence is on his side.
Take, for instance, this quote from Brillo’s own memoir Full Disclosure: “On many of the biggest struggles of [Margaret Thatcher’s] decade in power, the Sunday Times [edited by Himself] stood shoulder to shoulder with her … Thatcher’s battles were our battles”. Then there are a number of observations made by Nick Davies in Flat Earth News.
Long-term participant in the Murdoch project ...

Referring to an article in the October 1984 Political Quarterly, he notes “What Hugo Young was seeing was the outcome of Rupert Murdoch’s standard behaviour: for the sake of his business interests, he had forged an alliance with Margaret Thatcher; and in order to maintain that alliance, he had imposed a right-wing framework on the [Sunday Times], a framework which well suited the personal politics of the editor whom he then appointed, Andrew Neil”. He also called Neil “a key figure in the demise of Fleet Street”.
... "Thatcher's battles were our battles"

Discussing how the ST and its Insight team were manipulated to smear Thames Television’s Death On The Rock, concerning the Gibraltar Shootings of March 1988, Davies tells “[Andrew Neil] was deeply opposed to anything left-wing or liberal, including apparently left-wing or liberal journalism, and, as a former member and employee of the Conservative and Unionist Party, he was even more opposed to Irish Republicanism”.
The rock on which the Insight team's credibility foundered

Davies later adds “Andrew Neil … had strong political views which helped him to maintain his alliance with Margaret Thatcher … Where Harry Evans was an enthusiastic hirer of talent, Andrew Neil was a delirious sacker. He dumped so many people for being leftish that the reporters discreetly conducted a poll and found that at least half the newsroom were Tories”. Coming right up to date, we move on to Neil’s Spectator role.
Behold the medium of inclusivity and tolerance

Here, he has overseen a publication which has become a by-word for bigotry, a cesspit of prejudice, excused only by the routine trumpeting of the mantra FREEZE PEACH. Whether it is rabid Islamophobia, irrational Europhobia, climate change denial, or the tolerance of a known anti-Semitic columnist, the impression of selling a product on the back of hate speech is inescapable. Which leads to an inevitable conclusion.

There is also his using the Sunday Politics to push climate change denial. Small wonder he took such exception to Owen Jones calling him out. Femi Oluwole was right.
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Wednesday, 15 July 2020

Laurence Fox And Lewis Hamilton

Minor thesp and aspirant chanteur Laurence Fox has clearly had time on his hands, and so he has been showing anyone who will listen that he has been cancelled, honestly. In pursuit of this incursion upon his freedom of speech, he has been using, er, his freedom of speech to go after six-times Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton, who is one of the few F1 pilots who is not white. But this is entirely coincidental.
Hence Fox telling “[Lewis Hamilton] is the new Harry and Meghan”, followed by a photo of Hamilton giving the raised fist salute with the sneering caption “Make tax havens great again”. Then another one with “Hands up if the sort code at your special Monaco bank is 00-00-00”. Jealous, much? And he wasn’t finished with the captioning.
Laurence who?

Hands up who just lost touch with all the sports fans who used to watch sport in order to take a break from politics?” Sport and politics are intertwined and have been for decades, from the Nazis using the 1936 Berlin Olympics to promote themselves, to the USA refusing to field a team for the 1980 Moscow Olympics over the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, to the 1984 Russian counter-boycott of the Los Angeles games.
Then there was South Africa being excluded from cricket and rugby, and ultimately, yes, Formula 1. And don’t forget the Daily Mail bullying the British Government into giving Zola Budd a British passport, along with the fallout from her on-track coming together with Mary Decker that came rather close to causing an international incident.
Still, on sneers Fox, using a photo of a Mercedes F1 can being wheeled along by a team of mechanics to ask “Hey [Mercedes F1] Can you confirm that you are committed to diversity in [F1] and reassure myself and others that this picture is not representative of the current [Mercedes F1] pit crew/technical staff? Thank you. #BlackLivesMatterUK.
And then came “I wonder what [Lewis Hamilton]’s white half thinks about all of this”. If it looks like racism, acts like racism and smells like racism, it’s highly likely that it is racism. So is it racism, or just having a go at someone who lives in Monaco?
Well, let’s see just how much stick Laurence Fox has been giving all those other F1 drivers who have chosen to live in Monaco, and other places that have been described as tax havens. Jackie Stewart, for instance, lives in the UK now, but for 18 years lived in Switzerland. More recently, Jenson Button lived in Monaco. And David Coulthard still does live in Monaco. So what has Fox said about any or all of them?
He hasn’t. Nothing. Nil. Nix. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Zero. Not a sausage. Bugger all. No criticism of three white blokes who live, or have lived, in tax havens. But plenty of criticism for the one bloke who isn’t white. Add to that his whining about politics, when sport is a political thing and always has been, and his talk of “Lewis Hamilton’s white half”.
Peter Hain has weighed in on Hamilton’s behalf, calling Fox “ignorant and prejudiced”. He should have spent less time on the alleged actor and just called him a racist.

Laurence Fox claims this country is tolerant. Maybe he already emigrated, then.
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Polecat Pals And Government Contracts

Last Friday, Peter Geoghegan and David Conn had an article published by Open Democracy headlined “Key Cummings and Gove ally given COVID-19 contract without open tender … Cabinet Office accused of breaching rules after handing £840,000 contract to PR firm run by co-author of the 2019 Tory manifesto for focus groups initially listed as 'EU Exit Comms’”. It was a very close ally of Cummings and Gove, too.
Public First, a small policy and research company in London’s Tufton Street [they’re at #11, before you ask], is run by James Frayne - whose work alongside Cummings dates back to a Eurosceptic campaign 20 years ago - and Rachel Wolf, a former advisor to Gove who co-wrote the Conservative Party’s 2019 election manifesto”. Do go on.

The government justified the absence of a competitive tendering process, which would have enabled other companies to bid, under emergency regulations that allow services to be urgently commissioned in response to the COVID-19 crisis … However the Cabinet Office’s public record states that portions of the work, which involved conducting focus groups, related to Brexit rather than COVID-19”. And there was more.

A Cabinet Office spokesman said that this was due to bookkeeping methods, insisting that all the focus group research done by Public First was in fact related to the coronavirus crisis … Government work is legally required to be put out for competitive tender, so that a company best qualified to carry it out is appointed, except under exceptional circumstances such as an unforeseen emergency”. This smells moderately ripe.

But, as the Guardian’s George Monbiot has observed, the story has not been picked up elsewhere, not even by broadcasters. He quite reasonably asks why contracts are being awarded to companies, some of whom have so little in assets that they are being paid significant amounts up front - payments which exceed the Government’s limits.

He goes on to tell “There are plenty of other cases: such as the employment agency with net assets of £623 that was awarded an £18m government contract to supply face masks; the confectionery wholesaler that according to the [Good Law Project] was given a £100m contract to supply PPE; and the £250m channelled through a ‘family office’ registered in Mauritius, specialising in currency trading, offshore property and private equity, also to supply protective medical equipment. Altogether, billions of pounds’ worth of contracts appear to have been granted, often to surprising companies, without competition”.
In the case of the Open Democracy story, Monbiot notes that the GLP has “issued proceedings in the high court against Gove, alleging breaches of procurement law and apparent bias in the granting of the contract to his longstanding associates” (the action is being crowdfunded, see HERE). The CrowdJustice page is titled “Just how does public money end up in the pockets of Cummings' friends?” And Monbiot has this caution.

This is not just about value for money, important as that is. Transparent, competitive tendering is a crucial defence against cronyism and corruption. It is essential to integrity in public life and public trust in politics. But the government doesn’t seem to care … We know it cheats and lies. It knows that we know, and it doesn’t care”.

It seems the broadcasters, and most of the press, doesn’t care either. Worrying.
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Allison Pearson Dishonesty Unmasked

Alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson finally climbed down off the fence and made a decision: face coverings would be compulsory in shops from July 24th. This would help reduce transmission of the Coronavirus. Most understood this and moved to comply, but, inevitably, there were those who saw the move as another opportunity to score More And Bigger Attention Grabbing Benefits For Themselves Personally Now.
In the latter category, to no surprise at all, has arrived increasingly wayward pundit Allison Pearson, inexplicably given a berth by the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph. Here, she has told readers not yet asleep “Compulsory face masks are proof the British bulldog has become the scaredy-cat of Europe”.

So desperate is the Tel, in fact, that Ms Pearson’s latest rant has been classified “Premium”. Sadly, however, she has managed to miss the fact that other European countries have already made face coverings compulsory. And as Steve Garelick has asked, “why does the Telegraph care about Europe [when] they have just spent the last few years begging the Country to leave the EU”. Indeed. But on to that column.
Masks suppress human interaction, but their ability to suppress Covid is less clear”. Try doing some research before ranting. Sadly, there is more. “At the salon a couple of days ago, a young therapist said nervously: ‘I’m sorry, Allison, would you mind wearing a mask?’ I told her there was no need to apologise. ‘I didn’t know you had to wear a mask in the salon,’ I admitted. ‘You don’t,’ she said. ‘Just that we’ve had some clients complaining that other people aren’t wearing them and they don’t feel safe…’”.

This is bullshit. Face coverings are now a fixture of hairdressers. Including here in Crewe. Along with disposable gowns which are binned in front of the customer. But, having set her fictional scene, Ms Pearson then goes for The Full Dishonesty.
Did I protest? Did I tell her that a hospital consultant told me that anything other than tight-fitting, surgical-grade masks are utterly pointless – like trying to stop a bullet with a chain-link fence? [No citation, and nor will there be] Did I bombard the poor girl with facts and figures? The ones that say the city in which we live is as good as free of the virus [No citation, and nor will there be], that our hospital echoes with an eerie emptiness [No citation, and nor will there be], that the predicted Covid tsunami which was supposed to overwhelm the ICU never materialised [you guessed, No citation, and nor will there be]”.

Have another go: “data released on Monday showed that Wales and Scotland saw no Covid deaths in the past 24 hours while England recorded just 11, 10 of them from previous days: one death from that wicked Covid in almost the entire United Kingdom”. Yesterday’s data recordsNumber of additional deaths on Tuesday 14 July 2020 … 138”.
Maybe Ms Pearson should pay heed to the words of one real person, Leshie Chandrapala, who has movingly told “My bus driver Dad died of Covid-19 because people weren’t told to wear masks on public transport early enough. Watching him die on a ventilator has left me traumatised. I am utterly lost without him. Please those of you advocating #NoMasks rethink … WEAR A MASK AND SAVE LIVES”. That is what it’s about.

Meanwhile, ignore idiots who rant in the Telegraph. I’ll just leave that one there.
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Tuesday, 14 July 2020


And so, at long last, after weeks of aimless dithering and a weekend where they appeared to back away from the idea, the Government has made a decision on the wearing of face coverings in enclosed spaces like shops: they will be compulsory for all throughout England, but only from July 24th. The BBC dutifully brought us the news.
Wearing a face covering in shops and supermarkets in England is to become mandatory from 24 July. Those who fail to comply with the new rules will face a fine of up to £100, the government has announced. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said it would ‘give people more confidence to shop safely and enhance protections for those who work in shops’”.
There was more. “The move will bring England into line with Scotland and other major European nations like Spain, Italy and Germany”. Once more, England has lagged behind others, and that has given impetus to the inevitable contrarian backlash, demonstrating that a lack of medical knowledge can take a pundit a long, long way.
Who would like to kick off? The world’s most inept form-filler Darren Grimes would, sadly: “I know many will tell me of my selfishness for this, but I despise wearing a mask and dread the compulsory wearing of them. They're so dehumanising. You miss a smile, you can miss dialogue and social interaction with staff. They're the most miserable public health initiative yet”. Like anyone smiles when they see Dazza approaching.
Another not generating smiles was mercenary hack Isabel Oakeshott. “Muzzles should be voluntary, not mandatory. Another sinister encroachment of the state! [Michael Gove] was right - keep the law out of it; and let people exercise their common sense”. Muzzles? The kind of things applied to rabid dogs? Slight dramatic excess, much?
Meanwhile, Grimes had someone endorsing his views, but sadly, it was the serially dishonest Suzanne Evans. “It’s not selfish at all. Masks are anti-social [no citation], unhealthy [no citation] and won’t protect you from covid [they will reduce its transmission if everyone wears them]. Your view is completely sensible”. And to that I call bullshit.
This is a straightforward public safety measure. Like the imposition of speed limits on the country’s roads, introduced in order to stem a death toll that was approaching that of a minor war, the compulsion of wearing a safety helmet when riding upon a motorcycle, and wearing a seatbelt in a moving car, the motivation for the move is in the category of stating the bleeding obvious. But, as with all those other measures, there are naysayers.
The economy is being gradually opened up; however, the Coronavirus is still present and does not make exemption for contrarians. NHS staff would rather not deal with too many people who have had to be scraped off the road after not obeying the speed limit, helmet law or seatbelt rules. By the same token they would rather not have to deal with Covid-19 sufferers who are there merely because of their lawbreaking ability.
Nietzsche would NOT wear a mask. And don't call me stupid

With a reopening of the economy, we have new freedoms. With freedom comes responsibility. Wearing a face covering reduces the transmission of Covid-19. Reducing the risk to our fellow citizens is a responsible sort of action. It is an intelligent solution.

The inconsiderate “no masks” movement is not. It is literally a no brainer.
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Fawkes Alt-Sage Spin BUSTED

The Sage committee is well-known, particularly in view of its meetings and decisions relating to the Coronavirus pandemic. What is less well known is that there is also a group called Independent Sage, chaired by former Government Chief Scientific Advisor Anthony King. Its committee includes specialists in epidemiology, virology, primary care, operational research, mathematical modelling, and more. But no spinners are present.
Behold the arbiter of taste and decency

Their mission statement is put directly: “Independent SAGE believes that the UK government must fundamentally change its approach and we propose a new overarching strategic objective of achieving a Zero COVID UK, i.e. the elimination of the virus from the UK. We believe this should be informed by science and debated in public, and a proper coordinated strategy for its achievement developed with the public”.

This openness and forthright expression of purpose has clearly incurred the displeasure of those in the orbit of chief Downing Street polecat Dominic Cummings, who knows even less about epidemiology than how to run the Civil Service, but sits in on Sage meetings. So a crude hatchet job on Independent Sage has begun.
What time is it Eccles?

To no surprise at all, this has principally been down to the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, who also have an understanding of the science not unadjacent to zero, and so have taken to playing the man and not the ball. They take no issue with Independent Sage’s findings - they just smear them as lefty activists.

In May, we were toldAmong its membership are actual communists, Labour Party donors, activists, Corbynistas, ‘anti-Zionists’, Brexit conspiracy theorists and even a former Greek MP”. This has now mutated intoPolitical Activist Group Behind ‘Independent Sage’”, where replacement Fawkes teaboy Tom Harwood claims he “spotted something fishy in [sic] buried in the description of their official crowdfunder”. Do tell us more.
Shahmir Sanni - guilty of whistleblowing

The fund is being run not by Independent SAGE, but by a political organisation called All the Citizens … ‘We, the Citizens’, also known as ‘All the Citizens’ is an activist group that campaign [sic] against the government”. Yes? Yes yes? Yes yes yes? “The people behind All The Citizens … include failed Brexit whistle blower Shahmir Sanni, his lawyer Tamsin Allen, and conspiracist Carole Cadwalladr”. Why single out those three?

Ah well. Staines is known to be singularly vindictive, hence the selection. Shahmir Sanni exposed the depths to which Downing Street was prepared to sink in order to smear its opponents - by outing him openly, without giving him chance to even tell his family. Ms Cadwalladr has to be smeared at every opportunity because she exposed Cambridge Analytica - and shed light on Staines’ own creative contributions to data gathering.
Carole Cadwalladr - investigation being warned off

And Tamsin Allen is the lawyer who was instructed by this blog after Staines threatened to sue over a post in early 2015. She was the one who told The Great Guido, in considered and diplomatic tones, where he got off. Whether it is calling out the Tories for bad behaviour, revealing the dark underside of data manipulation, or exposing Staines as an impotent bully, no-one can go unpunished in the vindictive world of Paul Staines.

Meanwhile, the Fawkes rabble fails to address Independent Sage’s evidence. Because they haven’t got a Scooby Doo what it’s all about. Another fine mess, once again.
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Brexit Ball And Chain EXPOSED

Such is the severity of the latest bad Brexit news that hardline Brexiteers are already engaging in desperate and dishonest spin to try and make it go away. But the £12 billion annual burden on British businesses is coming, it’s real, it’s going to be happening year-in, year-out, and it’s going to be yet another ball and chain imposed by alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson and his pals on already struggling firms.
As the rest of our free and fearless press exhorts its readership to Look Over There at the Government finally deciding to make face coverings compulsory in shops - but only from the 24th of the month - the ever-vigilant FT has put the grim Brexit news on its front page, telling readers “Business faces £7bn-a-year Brexit red tape bill in Gove border plan”.
The article goes on to tell “British companies trading with Europe will have to absorb a post-Brexit bureaucracy burden and fill in an extra 215m customs declarations at a cost of about £7bn a year, according to Government officials … The scale of the additional red tape involved in future trade with the EU was confirmed … in a 206-page document that included the admission ‘Customs declarations are complicated’”. There was more.
Mr Gove has not disputed industry estimates that some 50,000 private sector customs agents will have to be hired by businesses to deal with formalities at the UK-EU border, regardless of whether the sides reach a trade deal”. But there was good news, too.
In spite of fears from business that new IT, customs experts and lorry parks will not be ready by the end of the year, Mr Gove and Boris Johnson insisted that the ‘Project Fear’ warnings of anti-Brexit campaigners would turn out to be ill-founded. The Prime Minister claimed that the Covid-19 crisis had put the costs associated with Brexit ‘very much into perspective’”. That claim, of course, is irrelevant. No disputing the extra billions in costs.
That £7bn has to be added to thee cost of all the extra customs agents the Government will need to hire, hence the estimate of an extra £12bn in total. Broadcaster Steve Richards surveyed the damage and mused “Fantasies of leading Brexiteers being tested by reality now...huge sums on border infrastructure, new bureaucratic obstacles that'll make UK businesses less competitive, N.Ireland border problems, costly travel insurance etc, etc..they'll blame EU but this is their project alone”. There was more.
Labour MP Ben Bradshaw observed “But we were told leaving the EU was all about cutting 'red tape'. Tory #Brexit Tax to cost U.K. businesses an extra £7 billion on top of [the] #Covid19UK disaster”, to which Jessica Simor added “It’s really rather late to be waking up to this”. David Schneider, meanwhile, had seen enough.
At least now we know sunlit uplands = £800m+ for more red tape … Trade made harder … End to free movement … End to health insurance in EU … Businesses going bust … Job losses … End of the union … £130bn+ economic hit … I’ll never forgive the liars & swindlers who did this”. Except the liars and swindlers are now the Government.

And are now working on the longest suicide note in history. I’ll just leave that one there.
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