The NHS: Brits taking back control

I released a longer video some time ago in which I talked about international trade talks, the NHS  and in particular US trade talks and the practice of negative listing. That’s the idea that unless something is specifically listed as ‘off the table’ in trade negotiations it most definitely is to be considered ‘on the table’.

This week our conservative majority government, including my own MP, Mark Jenkinson voted not to protect the NHS in this way. They could have made it illegal to sell the health service in whole or in part to foreign concerns out to make a fast profit from our taxes but they didn’t. They actively chose to keep our national health service vulnerable to predatory private health providers.

Ah, you might reply, but at least it’s a British decision from the British parliament made via British sovereignty.
But you’d be wrong.

You see, they also voted to extend their own impotence. Tory MPs, including my own, voted once again to ensure that the government doesn’t need the approval of parliament to make far-reaching changes to our constitution, to our system of government, to our democracy and to the institutions of state.

If your MP is not a cabinet minister then you have no representation in parliament because the tory MPs used their majority to give it all away.

How’s that for taking back control?

Joe Biden, democratic rigour and a special relationship across the pond

Finally, after so, so many hours of anticipation we have a result. The overgrown man-child has met his nemesis in Biden and the American presidential election has come to an end… except that it hasn’t. Demonstrating the same emotional immaturity that variously both entertained and terrified the world, the man who still, even now has America’s nuclear codes to play with is taking the mother of all tantrums. He’s dog-whistling his supporters out onto the streets, it’s unclear exactly what for, maybe just to be a rabble, howling like beaten dogs in the night.

Yes, there will be unrest, there will be spurious court cases and hopeless ranting from the orange baby but ultimately his days are numbered. He will be out of the Whitehouse, despite the defensive boundary wall he hastily had erected just a week ago. A new administration will take the reins. And the whole world can breathe a sigh of relief.

Joe Biden may not be perfect but at least he has a grasp of reality.

He may not be young and dynamic but he’s lived a life that would break many a lesser man and so he has empathy.

And he has the popular vote as well as the electoral colleges behind him.

What does Trump have?

Well… he has a track record of narcissistic deceit and racism. He has a history of blatant deception, of false allegations against competitors and perhaps most interestingly, a string of court cases and civil actions awaiting him once he leaves the Whitehouse.

It seems that the American people are determined to rid themselves of this anti-democratic and deeply flawed head if state. And they’re using one of the things Trump respects least to do it. They’re using democratic rigour.

Rest assured, Donald – all the legal votes will be counted, including the legally posted and received postal votes – and they count too. Not that it really matters – Biden has taken 73 states and that’s more than enough to declare himself President elect.

And with Biden comes a new democracy worldwide – not least here in UK.

Trump’s cynicism had left us in a dangerous position here post-Brexit. Expecting to clean up from a weakened British state Trump’s negotiators have egged Boris on and even turned a blind eye to his stitch up of the Irish people and the Good Friday agreement. But Biden is a very different kettle of fish indeed.

Biden doesn’t agree with the UK’s intention to break international law and has said so in public – leading to vociferous attacks from the tory party here in UK. Biden has been clear that there will be no trade deal with the UK if we put Irish people at least. And that means that we have to negotiate with the EU if we want a deal with anyone except Japan (who have screwed us, incidentally).

The new trading dynamics will be negotiated between the Americans and the EU and we’ll need to get alongside or be absolutely stuffed. That means talking to Europe agaqin – not is the churlish, bullish, intransigent way we’ve conducted ourselves so far but actually negotiate in good faith. That means we’ll need to get over ourselves and this fantasy of a no-deal Brexit with its unicorns grazing on perpetually sunny uplands while the rest of the world waits at our feet for discarded crumbs. The truth is what the facts are and these facts are simple.

We can’t have a deal with America if we screw Ireland over.

We can’t avoid screwing Ireland over unless we do a deal with Europe.

So – we have to do a deal with Europe.

And finally, after so long, we Remainers also get to heave a heavy, if cautious sigh of relief. Yes, Brexit is bad – Brexit was always a bad idea but at least now it won’t be so bad as the ‘no deal’ that the likes of Johnson, Gove, Rees-Mogg and the ERG were driving us into.

Thank everything you believe in for an election you had no part in delivering a verdict in another country that has so drastically improved the prospects of those of us who inhabit these little islands off the coast of mainland Europe.

Hitler youth in modern UK?

Denounce your teachers!Early last year a new group started making waves in UK. An American far right import, Turning Point UK (not to be confused with the social care charity of similar name) set its sights on influencing British domestic politics. The alt-right offshoot spared no expense in promoting its cynical message to British youth, even creating the 21st century’s answer to Diana and Unity of the Mitford sisters, Alice and Beatrice whose grandfather headed up one of the nation’s largest banks. I critiqued a couple of their vacuous videos here and here.

Diana and Unity Mitford

The group has been endorsed by senior right wing politicians including Jacob Rees-Mogg and Priti Patel as well as Nigel “Mr. Brexit” Farage himself which really ought to tell you all you need to know about their right wing aims. Farage even misrepresented socialism on video for the group. But in case you’re in any doubt let’s take a look at Turning Point UK’s latest escapade.

In an attempt to further indoctrinate British young people, the far right group has asked children to ‘denounce’ their teachers should they say anything that might be construed as non-supportive of neoNazi ideals. For example.

Yeah, the Trump picture is a bit naughty. Funny though and Trump’s policies really can be argued to be analogous with an aggressive cancer spreading internationally.

Next up is a perfectly reasonable analogy about the behaviour of cells described as “remainer propaganda” in this paranoid campaign.

A lecture on Marxist perspective (presumably in a social history or similar class) is described as evidence of indoctrination – it seems that only one side of the political spectrum is to be taught, even though a balanced approach is the only way for young people to make truly informed decisions.

Here, an appeal to critical thinking contrasted with the non-critical Daily Mail is objected to for no apparent reason. Nobody could seriously argue that it’s not a valid contrast. The Daily Mail is far from renowned for facilitating critical thought – but it is a right wing rag and so the fash from TPUK will brook no criticism of it.

Now where have we seen this sort of thing before? How about the actions of the AfD in Germany – the modern white-supremacist successors to the Nazi party?

“The far-right Alternative for Germany’s decision to set up web portals to denounce teachers who express political opinions in the classroom unleashed a storm of protest this week. Critics hear an echo of Nazi tactics or repression in Communist East Germany.”

In perfect style German teachers have reported themselves en masse to the party, explaining that it’s a matter of public duty to be recognised as someone who stands up to fascism as an example of good citizenship to the young people they seek to educate.

In this country the National Front tried a similar thing, encouraging school children to denounce lefty teachers, several of whom were attacked and seriously injured by NF members as a result. Like all the rest of our examples the NF campaign sought to encourage the teaching of traditionalist, nationalist history with a very definite bias instead of the accurate history, increasingly favoured by modern educational establishments.

The new far-right government of Brazil did the same in 2018 as did Mussolini prior to WW2. But perhaps the most widely known example of this ‘teacher denouncing’ occurred in Nazi Germany, beginning soon after Hitler seized power in 1933 and resulting in an almost complete takeover of German education by the Nazi party. The parallel with Nazi Germany interfering in academic freedoms to promote a bias for Nazi ideology is clear. After all, Turning Point UK doesn’t appear to have any problem with right wing teachers talking politics in the classroom or lecture theatre.

It really is time for British people to sit up and take notice. This is happening now, right under our noses and, just as the German people were too complacent to take the threat seriously, so are many Britons. Nazi Germany was already established with all its disastrous consequences by the time most people realised what had happened. Then, as now, the far right, the racists and the aggressive ultra-nationalists targeted impressionable children because it works. It worked then and if we’re not very careful it’ll work now.

Don’t let that happen here. There’s still time to protect our laws, our customs, our legal system AND maintain our democracy

Oh yes – and just in case you were wondering…It’s not Godwin’s law if they really are Nazis!

UK defence firm defenceless against US dollars and Government capitulation

So parliament is back after the general election. That was an exercise in national decision-making that is yet to be judged by history but the early signs aren’t good.

Parliament returns.jpg

Many people, especially in the ‘red wall’ constituencies of the Labour heartlands voted conservative with such fervour and passion that you’d think hen’s teeth were going out of fashion. Instead, the once rarer than rocking horse excrement tory MPs in towns like Workington in Cumbria have become ‘common as muck’ in Boris’ brave new world of national asset stripping.

Andrea Leadsom.jpgFirst off the blocks in this collective race to the bottom was Andrea Leadsom, one time candidate to lead the party herself but now content to do her master’s bidding and sign off on one of the biggest defence betrayals since William Joyce defected to the Nazis in 1940 and ran a wartime propaganda radio show to undermine British resilience.

Not quite so accomplished a radio presenter, Leadsom had to content herself with what she is good at – selling people out for profit. And just who are the patsies in this little deal? Whose security has just been compromised in the name of profiteering foreign nationals? Well, ours of course – including every single one of those ‘red wall’ voters who lent the tories their vote this December.

Cobham is a British firm, responsible for much of the defence infrastructure our country relies upon for national security since before WW2. Winston Churchill relied upon Cobham to keep Spitfires flying during the Battle of Britain – and they did! American private equity firm, Advent just took over. But here’s the kicker…

The takeover was agreed by Shareholders in the middle of 2019 but not agreed by the  government until after the general election. Now then, why do you imagine that was? Cynics might suggest that the deal was allowed as part of a more general, post trade trade agreement with the USA. Realists might suppose that to tell the public about it before the votes were cast might have left the tories with a few hard questions to answer about the defence of the realm and our newly subservient relationship with our American financial overlords.

Cobham in flightAccording to Simon Murphy’s article in The Guardian…

Lady Nadine Cobham, the daughter-in-law of the company’s founder Sir Alan Cobham, said: “This is a deeply disappointing announcement and one cynically timed to avoid scrutiny on the weekend before Christmas.

“In one of its first major economic decisions, the government is not taking back control so much as handing it away.

“In Cobham we stand to lose yet another great British defence manufacturer to foreign ownership, through a takeover that would never have been approved by the Americans, French or Japanese, all of whom have taken steps recently to raise protections for their own defence sectors.”

logo cropped


In what may well prove to be one of the year’s most prophetic questions Ed Davey, acting Lib Dem leader asked in the same article…

“If Boris Johnson’s government are happy to sell off a leading UK defence and aerospace company to Trump’s America, how can we expect his government to protect our defence and manufacturing sectors, not to mention every other sector of our economy, as they negotiate trade deals after Brexit?”

How indeed, Ed? How indeed?