Posts

Populism is a cancer that must be cut out from a democracy

Given that Trumps dishonest and often inflammatory and racist form of populist politics has caused a deep division within American society, I am certain many British people will be pleased to see the back of him.


Unfortunately, however many British politicians such as Johnson and Farage are cut from the same cloth as Trump. This is perhaps best demonstrated by their deceit and dishonesty during the EU membership referendum campaign which was often also inflammatory and racist in nature and caused a deep schism in our country which is yet to heal.


Sadly, we have also seen this malign form of politics more recently, with one example being the totally unwarranted claims about the EU made by Justin Tomlinson MP that I wrote about a few weeks ago.


Tomlinson claimed that EU was trying to split up the UK and prevent food being sent to Northern Ireland from the mainland. Not only do those claims lack any basis in reality, they were inflammatory and headed towards racism.


Despite being publicly challenged to provide evidence to support his claims, Tomlinson has not done so. In fact, all he has done is hit the block button on his social media accounts.
Populism, with its falsehood and often inflammatory and racist narrative has no place in democracy and needs to be cut out like the Cancer that it is.

Our Petition Calling for a Public Inquiry into the 2016 EU Membership Referendum

Back in March before Lockdown started, I set up a Parliamentary petition calling for an independent Public Inquiry into the 2016 referendum with the dishonesty and unlawful activity of the Leave Campaign in mind.

I did so not in the hope that the current government would agree to hold one. That is never going to happen given that Johnson and the current leadership of the Tory party were up to their necks in the wrongdoings of the Leave Campaign.

I did so to highlight the fact that we, the remain movement are still here, and that we haven’t gone away. I also had it in mind that maybe, just maybe, if we could force a Government response, they might give us a stick to beat them with.

That response arrived last week and is displayed below, and yes, they did give us a stick to beat them with. The misleading and dishonest nature of the response is quite something.

I have therefore written to the chair of the Petitions Committee, Catherine McKinnell MP expressing my disappointment with the Government response.

I have also written to the Prime Minister, taking apart the Government response line by line, which I have posted below the response to the petition.

The government response to our petition calling for an investigation into the EU Referendum already:

“The legality of the EU referendum is beyond doubt, which is why there are no plans for an inquiry. The referendum result should be respected, which is why the UK has now left the European Union.

Almost three quarters of the electorate took part in the 2016 EU referendum, trusting that the result would be respected. 17.4 million people voted to leave the European Union, providing the biggest democratic mandate for any course of action ever directed at the UK Government.

The referendum was carried out in accordance with legislation passed by Parliament. The provisions relating to the conduct of the referendum were carefully scrutinised and ratified by Parliament, and there was a six week period in which the result of the EU referendum could be challenged by judicial review.

The Electoral Commission is the independent regulatory body responsible for ensuring that elections and referendums are run effectively and in accordance with the law. Fines were levied on multiple groups on both sides of the referendum campaign.

We treat the security and integrity of our democratic processes extremely seriously. That’s why the Government continues to strengthen and modernise the framework which governs electoral campaigning to make sure the rules work, now and in the future.

In the 2019 General Election, the British people cast their votes once again and elected, with a substantial majority, a Government committed to upholding the result of the referendum.

Following the Election, Parliament voted with clear majorities in both Houses for the

European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020.

By honouring the result of the referendum and having now left the European Union on 31

January 2020, this Government has helped preserve confidence in the UK’s democracy.

For these reasons, the Government has no plans to hold a public inquiry into the 2016

referendum.

Cabinet Office”

My letter to Boris Johnson:

Dear Prime Minister

I write on behalf over the 23,000 plus people who have signed my petition calling for a public inquiry into the 2016 EU membership referendum and the 18,000 plus people who support my Campaign to Rejoin the EU.

Last week your Government responded to my petition as it had reached the 10,000 threshold for such a response. There are several aspects of that response that are not satisfactory that I wish to raise with you.

Firstly, your Government claims that the legality of the referendum is beyond doubt.  As I am sure you are aware the outcome of the referendum was challenged in various court cases over the last few years. Whilst those challenges ultimately proved unsuccessful, it should however be noted that it was established in the Miller case that the referendum was ineffective in law. Furthermore, in the Wilson case, the Government’s own lawyer admitted that the Government knew the result of the referendum was tarnished.

The claim made in the response that the legality of the referendum is beyond doubt is therefore simply wrong.

 In addition, it should also be noted that whilst the government treated the referendum as binding, part of the Government’s defence when challenged over the legality of their actions concerning the referendum in the Webster case, was that the referendum was advisory.

That is unacceptable. To treat the 2016 referendum as mandatory as the Government did but subsequently rely in court on a defence that it was advisory to avoid the result being annulled, as the government did, is frankly duplicitous.

Secondly, the response goes on to say that three quarters of the ‘electorate’ took part in the referendum trusting that the result would be respected. However, that ‘electorate’ was defined by the government in such a way that the approximately three million people who had most to lose in the event of  a vote to leave EU were excluded from participating, including many of the British citizens living in other EU countries enjoying their rights of freedom of movement conferred upon them by our EU membership. The response makes no mention of this fact.

Furthermore, many people who took part in that referendum, did so on the basis that they could trust that all parties involved would conduct themselves fairly and honestly. In this later respect, the Leave campaign most definitely did not conduct themselves honestly. Indeed Professor Michael Dougan concluded that ‘The Leave Campaign degenerated into dishonesty on an industrial scale’ and ‘that on virtually every major issue that was raised in the referendum debate, Leave’s argument consisted of, at best, misrepresentations and at worst, outright lies.’

Having conducted my own analysis of the Leave Campaign, I have to say that I concur with Professor Dougan as I have concluded that the entire Leave Campaign narrative was and continues to be based upon deliberate and sustained falsehood.

Indeed nothing could represent this more than the unprecedented intervention by the Head of the UK statistics authority letter in the form of a letter written to yourself effectively pointing out your lies concerning the cost of our EU membership that were also emblazoned on the side of a bus during the campaign.

Such planned and sustained dishonesty is not acceptable and itself represents a gross breach of trust. For the issue of voter trust to be raised in the response is therefore rather ironic and hypocritical.

Thirdly the response states that 17.4 million people voted to leave the EU, providing the biggest democratic mandate in UK history. Those 17.4 million people represented just 37% of the restricted electorate for the referendum which is just 26% of the UK population.

That is not a majority by any stretch of the imagination.

Furthermore, given the dishonesty noted above, together with the unlawful activity of the Leave Campaign that I will address shortly, one must ask how many votes Leave would have received had they acted within the law and with honesty?

Sadly, we will never know the answer to that question, but I suspect it would have been a considerably lower figure.

Given this, the actions of the Government in pursuing our exit from the EU based upon the referendum result has in fact breached the trust that the electorate had in that referendum rather than upholding that trust.

Fourthly, the response goes on to state that parliament scrutinised the conduct of the referendum and that the result could be challenged in the form of a judicial review within six weeks of the referendum.

This parliamentary scrutiny occurred before the unlawful activity by the Leave Campaign came to light and was no doubt conducted under the ‘Party Whip’ system meaning the quality of that scrutiny is questionable. Furthermore, the illegal activity came to light after the six-week period within which the result could be challenged by judicial review, a point the government later relied upon in its defence to the legal challenge in the Wilson case, something that was acknowledged by the judges.

These claims made in the response do not therefore accurately represent the true situation and are at best misleading.   

Fifthly, whilst it is true that both sides were fined by the Electoral Commission as claimed in the response, that does not make such unlawful activity acceptable or justified.  Furthermore, the Leave Campaign was fined the maximum amount permissible for at least one offence, whereas the fines levied on the Remain Campaign were much lower, which is indicative of the unlawful acts committed by the Leave Campaign being much more serious than those committed by the Remain Campaign.

In addition to these fines, the Information Commissioners Office also levied multiple large fines on the Leave Campaign for breaching Data Protection Laws. These are not mentioned in the response and neither are the fines levied on other organisations such as Facebook that were connected to the conduct of various parts of the Leave Campaign such as Cambridge Analytica who stole data from Facebook.

So again, the response by the Government does not accurately reflect the true situation and, again, is at best, misleading.

Furthermore, there is still strong suspicion amongst the electorate at large that the Leave Campaign may have breached criminal Law, a situation exacerbated by recent claims made by Aron banks that the NCA agents investigating him had given him an easy ride as they were Brexiteers. 

Again, this is not acceptable, and one must ask how many votes Leave would have received had they acted within the law?

Sixthly, the response goes on to state that the Government takes the security and integrity of our electoral system seriously. This claim simply does not stand up to scrutiny, given the failure of the Government to request that the security services investigate allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 referendum.

This  failure is particularly concerning as various government figures and parliamentary bodies seem quite willing to admit that the Russians have interfered in various other of democratic exercises such as the Scottish Independence Referendum and the 2019 General Election. Frankly, given those admissions, it is very difficult to believe that the Russians would not have interfered in the one democratic exercise that they stood to benefit the most from, specifically the 2016 EU membership referendum. 

Until this omission is corrected and the alleged Russian interference is in the referendum is fully investigated, the government claims made in the response about taking the security and integrity of our democratic processes very seriously are simply not credible.

Seventhly, the response claims that the British People cast their votes and elected a Government committed to upholding the result of the referendum.  Whilst this statement is factually correct, it is only so because of our flawed electoral system. In December 2019, 53% of the British Electorate voted for parties committed to offering a further referendum on our EU membership.

The 2019 election result does therefore not provide a mandate for your Government to leave the EU and the response therefore yet again fails to reflect the true situation .

Taking us out of the EU, as you have done, is therefore not the act of a Prime Minister or Government committed to democracy.  Additionally, when coupled with your part in the dishonesty of the Leave Campaign in 2016 and subsequently, means that act has no democratic legitimacy whatsoever.

Finally, in the concluding paragraph, the response claims that the Government has helped preserve confidence in the UK’s democracy. Given the above, this is patently not the case and is therefore yet another false claim.

If anything, the Government’s actions have seriously  undermined democracy in our country, and indeed undermined the rule of law and the very existence of the United Kingdom given the way they have allowed dishonesty and unlawful activity to prevail. Still given your role in that Leave Campaign, that is hardly surprising.

Professor Dougan summed this issue up by stating ‘I’m afraid that Leave have inflicted quite untold damage on the quality of our democracy’. I have no reason to doubt his judgement on this issue.

In conclusion I therefore have to state that the response is neither satisfactory or acceptable.

In fact the response is seriously misleading and does not reflect the true situation in any way.

Your decision to remove this country form the EU has no legitimacy and never will.

What you have done is not acceptable, the behaviour of the Leave Campaign relating to the 2016 referendum, including your personal role in that will be investigated, and you will be held to account for your actions.

The Remain Movement is still here, is still active, and is not going away! We will retake our rightful place at the heart of the EU that you and the Leave Campaign have illegitimately deprived us of.

Yours Sincerely

Dr Adam Poole

Organising a Piss-Up in a Brewery by Robert Braban

Organising a Piss-Up in a Brewery

A beginners guide by Boris Joh;son

Although a ‘pissup in a Brewery is an anathema to we of the upper classes who prefer Bacchus to Farage, I have, courtesy of Piss-Up in a Brewery Classes at first Eton and later Oxford, gathered invaluable knowledge on the subject.

At Eton, it was included in our curriculum after a senior member of staff looking at our year group was heard to observe: “Let’s hope a whole fucking generation can get through life without having to find someone who could organise a Piss-Up in a brewery.

At Oxford, it was written in with the introduction: “We cannot let these bastards leave here without a single life skill, seemingly knowing less when they graduate than they did when they arrived”.

Inevitably, if one is from the upper classes and becomes a national treasure, one plans and takes the credit for successes, but delegates actual work to a minion who will take the blame if the venture crashes into the buffers.

As the ‘big cheese’, ‘top banana’ it soon fell to me to organise said ‘Piss-Up’.Dom was adamant that I should delegate. “Given your education, training and experience, this is clearly within your competence, but just in case someone, not you of course, screws up, you need to be able to climb into your fridge for a few days”.

Following advice I did appoint a team, cleverly chosen to meet the two main criteria. Firstly, a check to gauge the attitude of the venue to loose women. A firm policy is essential; who could even consider a venue that excluded loose women? The second critical criterion is the financial probity of the venue owner. A rigid aversion to using company funds to better the lives of Tory politicians or to make contributions to Tory Party funds is very unhealthy.

To oversee general organisation I appointed Chris Grayling, a sharp brain with a great record. Only recently he saved more than £60m by rejecting tenders from P&O and Brittany Ferries and instead selecting an unknown company owned by a pal. Those who don’t understand business criticised Chris because the chosen company didn’t have any ferries. With his brilliant intellect, Chris realised that the ferries were not going to be needed so buying a service that was never going to be needed from a pal who would never be able to supply but would share the profits, was clearly a good deal.

Robert Jenrick was the obviously the best choice to handle finances. With Whitehall’s only stock of brown envelopes he was ready to go and he was straight on it with the additional bullet in his gun that I know some very unpleasant people, not only in government but in the underworld.

They went to work straight away, guided by a list of criteria I drew up. The loose women were invited, glasses were ordered from France and menus were commissioned from the foreign company that prints the Brexiteer’s orgasmic blue passports that are produced in black, but never in blue. Car parking was organised and limousines were ordered from Carr’s of Islington.

Three months later and the fact that it went wrong just wasn’t our fault. Who could have foreseen that the French would send 500 pairs of spectacles, that Carr’s of Islington were makers of Prosthetics and the passport makers are making so much money with the passports they don’t want other work.

The loose women turned up as planned but were not loose enough. They were from the ITV programme and couldn’t get into the Brewery because the owner had retired a couple of years on his share of £40,000,000 conned out of a clown in London who planned to build a bridge, but couldn’t organise a piss-up in Brewery.

YOU WON’T GET YOUR COUNTRY BACK WITH BREXIT by Jon Danzig

→ 4-years ago – my warning about Brexit

YOU WON’T GET YOUR COUNTRY BACK WITH BREXIT

Just ten days before the EU referendum, on 13 June 2016, I wrote an article for Independent Voices with the headline, ‘You won’t get your country back if you vote for Brexit. You’ll give it away to the most right-wing government in recent history.’

And so, it has come to pass. My article was shared by Independent readers a record 67,000 times, but Brexit went ahead.

Today, I am re-publishing my article from four years ago today. Not everything I predicted came true – but too much of it has:

▪ “WE WANT OUR COUNTRY BACK!” is the clarion cry of many who want Britain to leave the European Union.

But whose country do they want back exactly? Your country? My country? Or really, just their country?

Before we leave the European Union and possibly change our country forever, we need to have an idea what country we’d leave behind, and what country we’d get instead, if we vote for Brexit on 23rd June.

Look carefully at those Tories who are running the ‘Leave’ campaign and calling for Britain to completely change direction outside the EU.

What could be their real motive?

Those leading Tories – Michael Gove, Boris Johnson, Iain Duncan Smith, Chris Grayling, John Whittingdale, Priti Patel, and others – have in this campaign viciously attacked their own government and Prime Minister.

It’s been a nasty and sustained ‘blue on blue’ offensive.

Do they know what they’re doing?

Presumably, yes. The referendum presents for them a possible once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to win power for their style of right-wing Conservatism.

So when they say, “Let’s take back control”, they really mean, “We want to take control”.

When they say “Bring back power from Brussels”, they really mean, “We want that power”.

And when they say, “We want our country back”, they really mean their country. The true-blue right-wing Tory Britain of the past that they sorely miss.

These Conservatives have taken a calculated but clever risk. They know that if the referendum results in Brexit, it will mean the end of David Cameron’s premiership and those now in government who support his Remain campaign.

Then what?

There would be resignations and a new leader of the Conservative Party would be elected by the party’s membership.

According to YouGov, Boris Johnson would be front-runner by far to become Tory Leader. On Brexit, we could have a new brand of Conservative government, with Boris Johnson as Prime Minister.

Another election would not legally be required until 2020. (Now the end of 2024)

The country we’d be “getting back” on Brexit would be run by possibly the most right-wing Tory government anyone of us can remember.

Instead of our current alliances with Europe, we could be back to Rule Britannia with orthodox Tory Eurosceptics as our new political masters. They could have uninterrupted power for almost four years.

Opposition? What opposition? Labour and the Lib Dems are in disarray.

If these Tory hopefuls get “their country back” on Brexit, what could Britain become?

For an answer, take a close look at what these right-wing Tory Brexiteers stand for. Here are some brief examples:

▪ Iain Duncan-Smith: Long-term Eurosceptic and former Tory leader, he was until recently the Secretary of State for Works and Pensions.

The social policies he proposed were described by the European Court of Justice as “unfit for a modern democracy” and “verging on frighteningly authoritarian”.

▪ Michael Gove: He was last year appointed as Secretary of State for Justice, with a mandate to scrap the Human Rights Act – which might only be possible if Britain leaves the European Union.

As Education Secretary, Mr Gove was widely criticised for his heavy-handed education reforms and described as having a “blinkered, almost messianic, self-belief.”

▪ Boris Johnson: He’s the ‘poster boy’ of the Leave campaign and the likely new Prime Minister if Britain backs Brexit. His buffoonery and gaffes delight some, but horrify others.

He once joked that women only go to university to find a husband. He has often dithered on big issues, wavering last year on whether to return to the House of Commons while still London Mayor. Some have criticised him for allegedly joining ‘Leave’ only because of the opportunity to become Prime Minister.

▪ Priti Patel: She’s the Minister for Employment. In a pro-Brexit speech last month she said, “If we could just halve the burdens of the EU social and employment legislation we could deliver a £4.3 billion boost to our economy and 60,000 new jobs.”

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady responded, “Leave the EU and lose your rights at work – that’s the message that even Leave campaigners like Priti Patel are now giving.”

▪ Chris Grayling: He’s the Leader of the House of Commons and previously Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice. He provoked the first strike by barristers and solicitors for his cuts to legal aid. He backed reforms to curb the power of the European Court of Human Rights. He caused outrage with his comments that Christian owners of bed and breakfasts should have the right to turn away gay couples (he later apologised).

And waiting in the wings is Ukip leader Nigel Farage who said he puts victory in the referendum above loyalty to his party. Farage also said he would back Boris Johnson to be Prime Minister if Britain votes for Brexit – and could see himself working for Boris’s government.

Imagine our current Tory government morphing into a new government consisting only of right-wing Eurosceptic Tories, with the softer pro-EU Conservatives disbanded because they lost the referendum.

A new Conservative government that wouldn’t be subject to the progressive rules and safeguards of the European Union – such as on workers’ rights, free movement and protection of the environment.

Then imagine that we might not have an opportunity to vote out such a new government until 2020. (Now, the end of 2024.)

If you’re one of those who say “We want our country back”, have a think about what country you’d be getting back if we left the EU, and who’d really be in charge of it. Would they represent you?

Is the EU so bad – and the alternative so good – that we’d want to risk exchanging what we’ve got for what we’d get?

▪ Commentary and graphic by Jon Danzig

▪ My video, ‘Why Remain lost’ facebook.com/watch/?v=791752647903656http://facebook.com/watch/?v=791752647903656

▪ Please re-Tweet: https://twitter.com/Jon_Danzig/status/1271850531766632450https://twitter.com/Jon_Danzig/status/1271850531766632450

▪ Link to my original article published by Independent Voices on 13 June 2016: independent.co.uk/voices/you-wont-get-back-your-country-if-you-vote-for-brexit-youll-give-it-to-the-most-right-wing-uk-a7079581.htmlhttp://independent.co.uk/voices/you-wont-get-back-your-country-if-you-vote-for-brexit-youll-give-it-to-the-most-right-wing-uk-a7079581.html

▪ Tags: #Brexit #EU #EuropeanUnion #EUReferendum #BorisJohnson

My Telephone Conversation with Johnson by Robert Braban

NewPolitical Mafia

“Hello – Before I start I just want to make sure that it’s definitely you Boris, not Bolsanaro or Trump”.

“Ah it is you! I can hear you banging your spoon on the plastic tray of your high chair trying to get someone to feed your ego”.

“ Now Now Boris! When you calm down I want to ask you some of the questions you’ve dodged in Parliament, at the briefings or to which answers have been fuzzy because they were made from inside a fridge”.

“ Bolsanaro and Trump? I’ll tell you what they have to do with you. You’re like a limited company: Johnson, Trump and Bolsanaro. CEO’s of failing companies responsible for the deaths of thousands but with liability limited through the ability to hide the truth”.

“Yes I know Boris. For God’s sake stop crying. I know that when you trampled over bodies to become PM you didn’t realise you’d get the blame for things you’re responsible for but that happened whilst you were on holiday, in hiding, playing tennis or simply shagging at an away fixture”.

“I know. Of course it’s unfair. Life’s unfair. When you write your memoirs you can leave all the unpleasant/unfair bits out. There won’t be much left, but surely you can invent some good bits. That’s not new to you”.

“Yes, exactly like that. Those water cannon were a great buy. Pity you sold them, you could have used them on gammons who refuse to pick and pack vegetables”.

“No, now you’re being too hard on yourself. Not everything you touch turns to shit; just most of it. If it’s too much to remember, don’t worry, other people have it well documented. After all, one of the nation’s favourite pastimes is writing Boris obituaries”!

“Whilst we’re on the subject of cock-ups Boris, I must raise the question of Brexit. I see the border controls aren’t ready. That’s a simple infrastructure job, of the sort given to a junior officer in the Royal Engineers. I assume you’ve been let down by Tory Remoaners whilst you have personally been doing brilliantly with all the more difficult stuff”.

“You’re What? Going for no deal? Surely you’re not going to drop that ‘ready to go ‘oven ready’ deal’? You know, the one with no checks at the border down the Irish Seal”.

“The Bastards turned the oven off when you weren’t looking? I can’t help you there Doris . It could have been one of many. According to Amazon, sales to government ministers of the ‘Magic Gammon Slicer’ kitchen stiletto are up 200% over the past month”.

“I know you’re meeting Van Leiden next week. I see your logic Boris, but it won’t work. It’s a ‘virtual’ meeting so you can drop the thought of trying to get your leg over. Anyway, does she look as if she goes for badly dressed racist slobs with chipolata sized external brains?”

“No they won’t accept that Boris. They have all the cherry pickers. Don’t you get it, like you, all of our cherries are rotting on the ground”.

“Yes, you are rotting Boris. I know you think that the Brexit catastrophe will pale into insignificance along side the killing of more than half of the Covid 19 victims through your personal negligence, but Brexit will be your lingering leprosy. Bits will be falling off your rotting carcass for years”.

“Sorry, no. I didn’t say ‘rutting carcass’. And yes, that will fall off first!”

“Yes, I’m well aware that you want to go off for a few hours tennis after your afternoon nap, but I have got a couple more things to cover. And you can stop banging that bloody spoon. It was your fault”.

“I know you were on holiday, but you’ll just have to get a mobile like other people”.

“Well it’s your own bloody fault we are losing the roaming rate: you’ll just have to pay the extra like everyone else”.

“Something that everyone wants to know is what Dom has on you that you’re so scared of? He can’t be threatening to expose you as a liar or a racist, or putting a foreign prostitute down to expenses, or even someone who knows how to get someone beaten up: everyone is already in the picture on those issues”.

“You’re frightened of him! FFS we know you’re frightened of him. Why?”

“Of course I’ve read about Rasputin and you’re right, he did have funny eyes like Cummings, but really! Listen, he can’t do spells and potions. You saw him at his news conference, he can’t even lie without tripping himself up. And whatever you’ve been told he’s not a Shaman”.

“I don’t care who told you he was. Bridgen will tell you anything. What he probably said was: “He’s away man” – As in: ‘he’s pissed off to Durham for an eye test’!

“Finally, just a timely warning that you ignore at your peril. You want to be thought of as a modern Churchill. Well it’s happening. They’re going to board you up and stand you on a street somewhere so that the pigeons can shit on you. See you in a couple of weeks”

Robert Braban
14th June 2020.