Week in Review July 12th – 18th

18th July 2020 / United Kingdom
Week in Review July 12th - 18th

Editor’s Review Of The Week

It’s difficult announcing the biggest story of the week nowadays when there’s so much to report. Take for instance the Parliamentary Constituencies Bill that has just had its second reading in the Commons. To all intents and purposes – its a power grab by the Tories. If the Bill is passed, which it will, this is just one of the conditions – “Recommendations of the Boundary Commissions will be no longer require Parliamentary approval and government ministers will have no power to alter recommendations.” The key objections to this Bill were first and foremost – “the removal of Parliament’s role in having a final say by voting implementing the Commissions’ recommendations.” (read the House of Commons report). No doubt, when this Bill gets Royal ascent – there will be outrage that boundaries have been moved and parliament is no longer needed to agree to whatever changes are made. This is how democracies die.

It was David Cameron who naively courted the Chinese during his disastrous premiership. When he was booted out by the Tories after the EU referendum in 2016, that’s where he went to make his riches – once again miscalculating that the Chinese are the people to do business with – and failed. It was Cameron who gave the Chinese huge contracts over the Hinkley-C Nuclear plant – another white elephant. That, just like HS2 is massively over-budget, out of date, won’t bring any real benefits and will be late. The company involved in Hinkley-C is another US blacklisted company (source) and no doubt someone is going to be asking questions about that just as they did over Huawei. Of course, it was ‘Dave’ who also authorised Huawei and its nationwide 5G rollout (source). This week, the chief executive of BT has said it would be “impossible” to strip Huawei products out of the UK’s telecommunications network within the next decade and warns of outages if it is (source). So the government has gone ahead and said it will remove Huawei from the 5G network in seven years. All this just demonstrates that these so-called ‘political elites’ haven’t a clue what they are doing and are simply ‘winging’ it when it comes to our future, which they are systematically putting at risk with their willful negligence and failed ideologies.

Boris Johnson has surrounded himself with very agreeable people – that is to say, only people who agree with him. The nearly two dozen life-long Conservative MP’s who didn’t were sacked. Now Johnson can add another scalp – Dr Julian Lewis. Lewis, as you will have read, ousted ‘Failing-Grayling’ for the job of Intelligence chair handed to him on a plate. It’s not clear what Johnson will do next – but you can bet he will try to stop Lewis publishing the Russia Report. But making an enemy of an ERG member who is now an independent is playing with fire. Accusations of ‘psychopath politics’ and accusing the Tories of being a ‘grubby shower’ won’t be forgotten.

Mask wearing is today’s new political battleground. This weekend, protests are supposedly being organised in London by people who believe that masks are ‘muzzling’ the population in readiness for a massive social control project that includes a vaccination programme where you will be chipped like a dog and will have to behave like one in future. Apparently, Tory party members are slicing up their membership cards (source) and ‘leaving the party in droves.’ Right now, Britain is still in the middle of a pandemic with one of the worst deaths tolls in the world, facing economic ruin, with an ideology called Brexit just five months away that 70 per cent of business leaders think is suicidal – and the nation can’t even put on a mask without a punchup. Masks are the very last thing anyone should be worried about. England joins 119 other countries worried about C19 bouncing back and causing more hugely damaging lockdowns.

Like it or not, there are further signs of strain for the United Kingdom. A Business for Scotland poll found almost half of English residents agree with the statement: “England should be an independent country and Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should be allowed to stand on their own two feet.” The survey, conducted by Panelbase, found 49% supported independence whereas 51% backed retaining the union, when the “don’t knows” are removed. Is it possible to imagine more Brexit like campaigns as the union literally tears itself apart for another decade? (source)

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Inside Downing Street

Public First – and Last: As if dodgy backroom deals being exposed every week isn’t enough, this week seems to top it off nicely. A PR firm with close ties to Cummings and Gove landed a government contract worth nearly £1 million, without any tendering process or competition. The firm, ironically called Public First – just happens to be run by the author of the 2019 Conservative manifesto – which signed the lucrative deal in June under emergency COVID-19 measures, meaning it didn’t have to compete for the contract. But here’s the catch: the work actually started in March, weeks before the COVID changes came in. And some of it was running focus groups on Brexit – not the pandemic. It’s the latest in a string of cosy backroom deals exposed during COVID-19, which represents little more than corruption that Britain’s taxpayer is burdened with.

Funnel tunnel: Another story of government corruption comes with the news a private company owned and controlled by Dominic Cummings paid more than a quarter of a million pounds (source) to the artificial intelligence firm that worked on the Vote Leave campaign. Vote Leave was fined for breaking British electoral rules after funnelling £675,315 through pro-Brexit youth group BeLeave, days before the referendum in 2016, which helped ensure it did not breach its £7m spending limit. It is not known how much more was used by undisclosed donors and illegal sources. It is suspected that this is ‘chicken-feed’ compared to what really happened.

Wheels within wheels: This week, we also got to hear about how the Conservative government gave over £80,000 to a right-wing lobby group for a report costing £70 which then paid thousands of pounds in benefits to Priti Patel, Michael Gove and others. The so-called ‘charity’ refuses to disclose who its donors are. Theresa May, Amber Rudd and David Cameron all take starring roles in this little Exposé where the Tory machine looks to subvert freedom of Information requests, move money around a third party and has connections to the CIA and the Israeli government. (READ MORE)

Special powers: It’s extraordinary to learn that Dominic Cummings demanded Boris Johnson sign a contract giving him special powers whilst he is in Downing Street (source). Cummings is lauded as some sort of intellectual supremo that knows better than anyone on everything. The fact is that Cummings is at the heart of a government unable to control their own messaging let alone control massive civilian reformation projects that will affect us all. Don’t forget, Cummings was Michael Gove’s sidekick when Gove was Minister of Education. And Cummings created mayhem there, massively accelerated the Academies project which is now widely recognised as having failed. Cummings wrote on his own blog about this corruption of education – “We got away with subverting every Whitehahall & No10 process, & it took (me) 4 yrs to surrender’. There are now 9,000 of these quasi-independent schools that operate outside of their democratically-accountable local authorities worth £60bn. One-third of all schools are now in the hands of private companies. Cummings then moved onto subverting democracy by using an illegal propaganda campaign never seen in Britain before over Brexit. After just a few months in power, this government is now mired in accusations of corruption, malfeasance and abuse of public office.  Cummings is unpopular, untrusted, unelected and threatens the stability of the country. The Tories handling of the economy hangs in the balance. (READ MORE)

 



Inside Brexit

Director’s dread: Only one-quarter of business leaders say their organisations are fully ready for the end of the Brexit transition period, according to a survey by the Institute of Directors. Nearly half of the 978 company directors polled late last month said they weren’t able to prepare for a transition now, and one in seven said they were focused on the coronavirus pandemic, the survey said. Almost a third said they need more clarity about forthcoming changes before they make any adjustments. “With so much going on, many directors feel that preparing for Brexit proper is like trying to hit a moving target,” Jonathan Geldart, director-general of the Institute of Directors, said in the statement. “Jumping immediately into whatever comes next would be a nightmare for many businesses.” 69% of respondents said reaching a deal was important for their organizations. And even more, 89%, highlighted its importance to the overall economy. Even among the directors who favoured shifting away from EU rules, 71% said a deal was important for the economy. (READ MORE)

Canada refuses Brexit deal extension: Canada is refusing to extend its trade deal with the European Union to the UK if there is no Brexit agreement. This is a huge blow to Britain’s hopes of maintaining continuity in a no-deal Brexit, and it could severely impact businesses that sell goods to the Canadian market. It goes against assurances from Conservative ministers who have insisted that replicating the UK’s existing trade arrangements would be straightforward and easy. Liam Fox, the international trade secretary, promised in 2017 that up to 40 EU trade deals would be replicated by the time Britain left the union. CETA is one of the biggest it had hoped to have in place. Brexiteer MP’s were warned numerous tiems that trade deals couldn’t simply be replicated or made ‘oven-ready’ and in saying anything else were either incompetent, lying or both. (READ MORE)

Brexit Bomb: Old “Project Fear” scare stories from the 2016 Remain campaign about masses of customs paperwork and increased costs for traders, as well as restrictions on immigration for vital sectors, are becoming reality. It took a 230-page government document to explain what to do if you do business with the EU. Boiled down – hundreds of millions of customs forms will be required each year once the changes are fully brought in, collectively costing firms £7bn. It also means 50,000 border personnel will be required at a huge taxpayer cost of something like £11bn (source). Then there are huge truck parks currently under compulsory purchase schemes costing undisclosed millions. Home Secretary Priti Patel unveiled more details about the post-Brexit immigration points system the Vote Leave campaign promised back in 2016. Under the plans, there will be special visas for some professions, while so-called unskilled workers (carers in particular) will have no route to settle in the U.K. Then there’s a £93m propaganda budget telling us all how wonderful it will be to wait at borders to cross into Europe, having more expensive travel insurance and roaming charges and having everything that is imported more expensive because each import/export document will cost business £34 each. Oh – and don’t forget new trade tariffs. Michael Gove said to the Commons this week – “It is time for our new start, time for us to embrace a new, global, destiny.” He just didn’t quite point out that there are quite a few downsides to Brexit especially as none of the upsides have turned up yet. We should not forget another great lie – that Brexit would free Britain from EU bureaucracy. In 1985 an 85-page document outlined that being an EU member dissolved over 300 areas of red tape in trade alone.  (READ MORE)

Sinking into the sea: Award-winning author Sir Philip Pullman has warned that the UK is ‘done for as a nation’ and that it will ‘sink giggling into the sea’ because it will continually reject reformed politics. Pullman’s analysis makes an interesting point – “They (Johnson/Cummmings) rather thought that everybody was like themselves, impatient with the rules, not inclined to obey them and that when they said ‘you’re to stay at home’ they expected us to say ‘up yours mate’, and go to the pub and generally carry on.” But as Pullman says – they didn’t. “This government has behaved disgracefully. It has been an absolute travesty of what a decent responsible calm-headed, clear-minded government should be.” He goes on to make a stark warning about the future of the UK. (READ MORE)

 



Outside the News

Cash for Conspiracies: A huge amount of money has been split between the conspiracy theorists, the ‘alternative’ media and the tech giants themselves. This is the result of research by the Press Gazette demonstrating that professional conspiracy theorist David Icke and London Real’s social media followers could be worth more than $40m a year to Facebook and Youtube alone. A spokesperson for Centre for Countering Digital Hate said – “The fact that conspiracists continue to profit from these platforms makes a mockery of tech companies’ claims to be playing their part in the recovery from this pandemic.” Jason Kint, chief executive of US digital publishing trade body Digital Content Next said: “The major tech platforms nearly act as investors in the success of this content and certainly they benefit.” Banner advertising on Icke’s website costs £600 a month where he promotes conspiracy theories on his website – like the claim that protective masks are harmful. (READ MORE)

HateBook: Global brands are finally waking up to the scale of hatred that Facebook spews out of its toxic algorithm every day with over 500 household named brands temporarily boycotting the platform. Even after a staff walkout and Zuckerberg’s personal charity – ‘Chan Zuckerberg’ accused Facebook of ‘inciting violence’ (source) – the platform has consistently proved to have done little to curb racial hatred in real terms. One compelling personal story why HateBook executives should be charged for the profiteering from their deliberate negligence comes from a Guardian journalist who started investigating White Supremacists groups on Facebook and was then hunted down in a weeks-long campaign of racist and sexist harassment that followed (PodCast HERE)

51st State: Not reported by the mainstream media is the growing concern that once Britain leaves the EU and becomes ‘independent’ that it will be subservient to the United States and become a de-facto 51st state. Britain has sacked it’s most senior diplomat because Donald Trump didn’t like him (source), protected an American non-diplomat against arrest for killing British citizen Harry Dunn on British soil (source), is treating WikiLeaks journalist Julian Assange as some despot dictatorship would do – all because Downing Street has been told to. Huawei, Hong Kong and the US/UK trade deal are other examples add to that story. But then there’s this. Britain and America have just signed a contract on joint modernisation of both the British and US Army (source). If the UK had signed such an agreement with the EU there would have been outrage all over the papers. The question here is – who is now in control of Britain’s national security.

 

 



Inside the Economy

What’s next? Worrying hints from the US and EU come on the same day. The FT reports that three of America’s biggest banks have set aside nearly $30billion for Q3 loan losses (source). Is this a hint of another type of contagion – loans that banks borrow from banks that go bad? Then it was reported that a European Central Bank survey has found that lenders expecting to governments’ to wind-down loan guarantee schemes are set to cut the flow of credit to businesses. Is this the warning shot of an oncoming credit squeeze? (source). Another warning to send investors running is the New York University professor who developed one of the best-known formulas for predicting corporate insolvencies. He says that this year’s spate of “mega” bankruptcies is just getting started. More than 30 American companies with liabilities exceeding $1 billion have already filed for Chapter 11 since the start of January, and that number is likely to top 60 by year-end. Companies globally have sold a record $2.1 trillion of bonds this year, with nearly half coming from U.S. issuers, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The question – will contagion over bad debts, a credit squeeze and bankruptcies end up crippling economies all over the world for another decade of pain? (source)

OBR dire warning: The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) said the economy was on course to shrink by an eye-watering 12.4% in 2020 – double that of the financial crash in 2008 – with borrowing set to rise to a peacetime high. This would mark the biggest economic decline in 300 years. The OBR’s most pessimistic scenario, where no vaccine is found and social distancing measures continue “indefinitely”, would lead to a “significant” loss of business investment. In this scenario, unemployment would rise to four million, up from 1.3 million in 2019, while the UK’s high streets would be left permanently scarred as shoppers stay away. The OBR’s central projection assumes a slower recovery than the watchdog outlined in April, with a coronavirus vaccine found in about a year. Even then, record unemployment and a severe economic contraction is expected. (OBR – Fiscal Sustainability Report July 2020)

Freedom: Rishi Sunak is set to bring in tax cuts and overhaul planning rules (AKA-  dodge local democratically elected councils wishes) to kickstart 10 new freeports around the UK as part of plans to boost the country’s economy. There are very sound economic reasons for freeports (source) and 135 countries host 3,500 of them. Freeports are good – but only if they are strictly managed. In Britain, they won’t be just like the City of London has become the world’s leading centre for money laundering (see below). The EU is ending its experiment with freeports, citing “high incidence of corruption, tax evasion and criminal activity.” There has been a swathe of reports in recent years from organisations such as the World Bank and the UN, all pointing the finger at the risks posed by freeports. Here is an interesting article published exactly one year ago that explains the risks to Britain’s global reputation – (READ MORE)

Tax-dodgers: The UK, Switzerland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, now considered to be the “axis of tax avoidance” – are responsible for 72 per cent of global tax losses. Multinational firms operating around the world are shifting over $1 trillion in profits every year to corporate tax havens, in order to underreport their profits where they operate and consequently pay billions less in tax each year. Not only this but Tax Justice Network analysis estimates that actual profit shifting is approximately 50 per cent higher again. Rishi Sunak has kicked off an investigation as to how to raise taxes to pay for the economic damage caused by the pandemic – and his first port of call (excuse the pun) would be make these companies pay or jail their CEO’s – and not go after homeowners, which has been suggested. (source)

 

 

 



Covid-19

Mask Conspiracy theories: First Draft – a specialist non-profit created to combat harmful, false, and misleading information makes the following statement on wearing face masks to protect against the spread of C19: “We are also seeing false narratives around the efficacy of masks which are often associated with conspiracy theories, such as a post on a Facebook Page offering “spiritual teachings” which claims that masks are “useless” and are about “compliance not health.” (source)

Track and Waste: The fiasco over Track and Trace continues to look more like a sitcom than reality. You seriously couldn’t make this up unless corruption was a liquid running through your veins. Even the Daily Mail (amongst others) reports that Tory Ministers have blown an astonishing £10 billion on the bungled test and trace programme that doesn’t work (source), and won’t for months – if ever. Don’t forget, one system that does work was offered for free and another rejected by the UK government because it was developed in the EU! In the meantime, UK contact tracers found themselves locked out of their accounts because the password changed. (source) This government are also responsible for developing a Customs and Freight App ready for January 1st and Brexit!

Moderna: TruePublica has never advocated anti-vaxxers. Mass vaccination programmes have saved hundreds of millions of lives. It is true that some people have negative responses to them, but they are thankfully rare given the sheer scale of vaccinations issued in the last 100 years. However, take note of a company you may hear more about soon called Moderna. The shares of this American biotech company have rocketed 400 per cent since March. We don’t need to warn you as you can read about their profile on Wikipedia, which starts with the words – “Moderna is attempting to insert synthetic mRNA into the living cells of patients that would reprogram their cells to create their own therapies and vaccines, rather than being created externally and injected as with conventional medicines. It is a novel technique abandoned by several large pharmaceutical and biotech companies which were unable to overcome the dangerous side-effects of getting RNA into cells. As of May 2020, no mRNA drug has been approved for human use. In May 2020, Moderna was valued at $30 billion but none of its mRNA molecules had reached large clinical trials, and several had failed due to side-effects.” Moderna has just moved onto human clinical trials for a Covid-19 vaccination. (READ MORE)

Cobra cancelled: Britain is in the grip of a global pandemic where tens of thousands have lost their lives. The country is being economically ravaged by it and soaring unemployment, bankruptcies and national public debt are just a few of the many negative outcomes of 2020. We’re in the midst of a national crisis not seen since the war. And yet, Boris Johnson has not held a Cobra meeting since May, the mayor of London has revealed. Cobra meetings bring together the prime minister with experts, politicians and leaders of Scotland, Wales and the mayor of the capital city, to take decisions in response to national emergencies. Johnson has better things to do obviously. (source)

 



Fact File

  • The Child Poverty Action Group estimates that there were 4.2 million children living in relative poverty in the UK in 2018-19, or 30% of all children living in the UK. This is expected to rise to 5.2 million by 2022 (source)
  • A new report from Justice and Care and the Centre for Social Justice finds there are at least 100,000 slaves in Britain today, based on access to new police data. Experts admit it is likely even higher and is ten times higher than previous reports (source)
  • The percentage of adults in Great Britain worried about the effect of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on their life was 69% between 2 and 5 July 2020. (source)
  • Single parents of dependent children are least likely to be able to cover a loss of income as a result of C19. Considering employees only, 50% of lone parent households with dependent children would be unable to cover three months and are some of the most vulnerable in society during the pandemic. (source)
  • A YouGov poll for the University of Oxford’s Reuters Institute reported a 19% drop in public trust in just five weeks in the Government’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis, a 13% reduction in trust in politicians generally, and 11% in the news media. (source)
  • Over a quarter of adults (26%) had formed a support bubble with another household in England and Scotland, and nearly 9 in 10 (89%) of them had either visited or been visited by that household at least once (source)

 



Tweet of the Week

Tax expert Richard Murphy has something to say about what voters were not told when the biggest propaganda campaign in British history was extolling the virtues of Britain’s future with a new ‘golden era’ and ‘sunny uplands’ outside of the EU.

 



 

Weekend Reading

A Very British Coup: Dr Andrew Corbett, formerly in command of two Trident submarines, is a teaching fellow at the Defence Studies Department, King’s College London, and the Joint Services Command and Staff College. His article entitled ‘A Very British Coup’ published in the Byline Times asks could such a thing be occurring in plain sight or is this simply a wild exaggeration of a few bumps in the road in our democracy? (READ MORE)

Assange fit up – refitted: The imprisonment of Julian Assange has been a catalogue of gross injustice heaped upon gross injustice, while a complicit media looks the other way. In a truly extraordinary twist, Assange is now being extradited on the basis of an indictment served in the UK, which is substantially different to the actual indictment he now faces in Virginia if extradited. In other words – the first one failed in court – so they’ve invented another. This is not what we call justice in Britain – its what banana republics do. Former UK ambassador aires his views on the matter, which is well worth the short read. (READ MORE)

PPE scandals: In an article entitled – ‘The truth about the billion pound PPE procurement fiasco’, some rather obscure companies with seemingly no ability to deliver PPE to the NHS have been awarded big contracts in the tens of millions. One was registered in a tax haven to avoid paying tax (£252m), several have no registered assets or employees (£116m, £32m, £18m) and another was registered three days after the lockdown with capital of just £2 (£10million). Hundreds of millions in taxpayers money has been awarded to dozens of companies without any scrutiny where it is simply not known if the PPE orders ever appeared. (READ MORE)

Decoupling failed: An interesting story from award-winning journalist Naffez Ahmed on the climate crisis. One statistic stands out. Over the next 30 years, humanity needs the global economy to produce 2.6 times more GDP out of every ton of material used, under conditions where that same material use diminishes at roughly 40 per cent globally. ‘Decoupling’ as it’s termed, hasn’t happened and the latest research says it’s actually going in the wrong direction. The question is – is it possible to achieve high levels of human welfare without high levels of GDP growth? (READ MORE)

 

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