Weekly News Review 17th – 23rd October
Editors Weekly Poke
It’s not as if the government of Boris Johnson has enough on its plate without piling more on it through their scaled-up ‘world-beating’ programme of incompetence. The battle with Andy Burnham, Manchester’s mayor was destined to be yet another loss – and yet they ran straight into it as a child runs to a puddle on a rainy day. Burnham set the pace, controlled the narrative and becomes a hero – the king of Manchester. Johnson angers northern leaders and is defeated by the one thing they are supposed to be good at – soundbites. And they came thick and fast – “Failing Grayling’s ferry fiasco cost the taxpayer £33 million. That’s £11 million more than the Tory govt offered” was one of many. The amount offered to Manchester in this high profile war of words is an inconsequential fraction of the billions thrown to the out-sorcerers of failure such as Serco, G4s, KPMG, Deloitte et al. It is microscopic compared to the £745billion handed to City of London spiffs and speculators in the form of QE when they blew up the markets and destabilised the country a decade ago. For another analogy, the government spent twice as much on last year’s political campaigning for a Brexit that hasn’t happened, than they’re giving to Manchester. From all of this, the only conclusion that the public can come to is that Boris Johnson’s levelling up plan – is just another lie. The so-called northern ‘red-wall’ are now facing a dangerous winter, a north-south divide, the intentional hypocrisy of rapidly rising child hunger and poverty and a threatened no-deal Brexit. Their constituents will never forgive them – ever.
Ireland is now into its own six-week lockdown, Wales has gone for two weeks. The question now for Whitehall officials is when, rather than if, the UK in its entirety will end up in some form of national lockdown. There’s a degree of inevitability about this, especially as just about everything the government has done to strangle Covid has failed. The Test and Trace programme is a failure and so now officials are banking on better testing. Unfortunately, that programme dubbed ‘Matt’s Moonshot’ has also failed. A new programme of rapid result testing has started this week targeting hospitals, care homes, schools and universities – with airports on the list of hotspot trials. In the meantime, all the scientific evidence suggests that even if a vaccine becomes widely available – it is unlikely to control the public health issue for the entirety of 2021. And there’s not a word of planning for that.
In the meantime, tensions between No10 and the treasury next door are also high. Sunak is close to destroying Johnson’s £100bn plan of capital projects promised in the Conservative manifesto over the next three years. These projects that Johnson dubbed his ‘New Deal’ to include new hospitals and investment in schools were roundly debunked as misleading anyway (source). The following day – a new political battle then emerged between London Mayor Sadiq Khan and the government over the possible bankruptcy of Transport for London. Ministers are now threatening to take direct control of TfL unless Khan accepts higher council tax, a larger congestion charge zone and higher tube and bus fares in return for a £5 billion bailout – all of which, will go down badly as London is hardly cheap to live in, in the first place. In addition, TfL would have to accept ‘pension reforms’ (source).
Khan has claimed ministers want to extend the £15 Congestion Charge Zone to the North and South circular, expanding the zone to cover 4 million more Londoners. He also says the government wants to increase fares by more than inflation, and introduce a new (undefined) tax on the capital to pay for public transport. The mayor has blasted the “ill-advised and draconian” proposal and warned it would “punish Londoners for doing the right thing to tackle COVID-19.” It’s another Andy Burnham showdown in the making.
A final comment by me about our PM and that of the new normal. In any other time, Boris Johnson and his lover Jennifer Arcuri would be properly investigated by the police and, if criminal offences have been committed, they would be prosecuted in the eyes of the law. In any normal country, adhering to the rule of law, especially in public office is considered important. Johnson has set the scene once again with this example of his sordid and sleazy behaviour. He stands accused of using public money for sexual favours and in return get Arcuri favourable treatment in business deals. This is our PM – he shouldn’t be. Today, Downing Street is as disreputable a place as any – a cesspit which needs hosing out.
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Inside ‘Drowning’ Street
Punching above his weight: When Johnson first broke away from the advice of his medical experts (this time, not last time) and then decided to fight a war of attritional with political leaders in the north of England, what has emerged is something of a gamechanger. Starmer has sat back this week to allow Andy Burnham to punch the hell out of the Tory government. One senior Tory concedes that Tuesday was Johnson’s “worst day politically in the crisis so far” – although a few other days have come close. One Tory official said – “Barnard Castle took 9 points off our poll lead. We’ll be doing well if we’ve only lost another 9 by this time next week.”
Starmer’s Move: On Wednesday, Labour went forward with two Opposition Day motions, calling for a “fair one nation deal” for areas facing Tier 3 restrictions. The government has not said how much money is on offer to local leaders. The motion calls for the furloughed workers to get 80 per cent of their salaries, rather than the 66 per cent now on offer from the treasury. Starmer’s motion is strategically set to back ‘red wall’ leaders into a corner by forcing them to choose between telling their constituents why they aren’t voting for more financial support or rebelling against the government.
War-Gaming IndyRef2: A leaked memo has turned up, prepared by the Hanbury Strategy consultancy for, among others, Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove. To all intents and purposes, this is a wargaming exercise on how the government plans to avoid a second Scottish independence referendum. The memo warns how Brexit has changed the political landscape in Scotland and pushed a once undecided Scotland into one that is firmly ready to take that leap: “Put simply, there are not enough Leave voters to convert to the ‘No’ side to make up for the movement of Remain voters into the ‘Yes’ camp.” The memo recommends targeting pro-EU voters when it makes the case against a second referendum, with “a new settlement” that could be put to a vote and “co-opting the EU into demonstrating that there is no viable pathway to renewed membership.” Given the nasty and illegal tactics used by this government to get Brexit dragged over the line and then get into power – Scotland should ready itself for a sophisticated campaign using tech and social media (source).
Rashford Acts: On Wednesday, Labour forced a Commons vote in parliament to extend free school meals over the holidays as a result of Covid. This was after Downing Street refused to yield once again to the campaign led by Manchester United footy star Marcus Rashford. This is the second half of a match between the government and a football player where the government is already one-nil down. The entire idea that poverty struck kids, being deprived of a meal by a government in the middle of a pandemic – who are throwing billions in cash at their mates on a corrupt gravy train is abhorrent to anyone with a functioning brain. This is why the government U-turned the first time around. Rashford’s petition has romped past 300,000 signatures (source). On Thursday, a member of the Bank of England monetary policy committee admitted that the Bank could do another £500 billion or more of quantitative easing to fund the government. Tory MPs voted that children should go hungry. In that context, it’s shameless callousness. That callousness was demonstrated when one Tory MP – Brendan Clarke-Smith attacked Rashford’s “celebrity virtue signalling on Twitter” and argued against “nationalising children”.
Deep breath … Let’s continue …
The Great Con: AIQ is a company at the heart of Brexit. It had access to the personal data of UK voters – data that the Information Commissioners Office has confirmed it should not have had (source). AIQ, SCL Elections, Cambridge Analytica and Facebook worked together on the Brexit project. Dominic Cummings was at the heart of the campaign that used these new tools of technology for distorting the truth, that led directly to Brexit. All of it was found to be illegal. They denied it, then they cooked up stories to say the whole thing was a conspiracy theory and then paid paltry fines for their crimes. Now we find more proof that Ukip, Leave EU, CA, Steve Bannon and others like Cummings were all in cahoots as contract papers emerge in legal cases (source). There is now more evidence that Brexit was mired in an illegal mass propaganda campaign (source). It is the great con (source) that will enrich the few, disfigure Britain’s democracy, pillage the middle class and pauperise everyone else.
Watch my Lips: “The UK continues to believe there is no basis to resume talks unless there is a fundamental change of approach from the EU.” These words actually ended with the UK’s Brexit negotiator David Frost and his EU counterpart Michel Barnier in talking this week.
Carry on Brexit: Business Secretary Alok Sharma says the difference between an Australia-style deal with the EU and a No Deal Brexit is a “question of semantics”. In other words, not even he can promote this arrangement as anything positive as there is no difference between an Australia deal that the government keeps on harping about and no-deal. Watch this car-crash episode of – Carry on Brexit right HERE.
Fishy Headlines: The Daily Express, the newspaper that cheered on the right-wing free-marketeers of Brexit are starting to get jittery. “FISHERIES could stand to be wiped out if Boris Johnson fails to agree a Brexit deal, UK fishermen have warned” is a headline from this week. The paper worries that fleets could suffer tariffs which could decimate them but also says – that French boats may blockade ports or halt UK exports. This from a newspaper that regularly warns us of alien sightings, visitations and invasions.
Head-in-Sand: Police in the UK “will be increasingly unable to cope” in the event of a no-deal Brexit because existing data-sharing agreements with the EU will be cut, a former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation has said (source). It was only Tuesday this week that Theresa May signalled her disgust at Michael Gove in the Commons as he insisted the UK’s security and counter-terrorism capabilities would flourish in the wake of a no-deal Brexit (source).
Below is an infographic produced by the Trade Justice Movement. It demonstrates the complete lack of transparency in Brexit negotiations in Britain as compared with potential trade partners such as America, Japan and not least the EU itself. What this demonstrates if anything is that A) democracy is all but dead in Britain and B) if Brexit was so great, why the need to suppress all information about what is being negotiated and then deny representative democracy to decide? The UK’s censorship of these negotiations and destruction of democracy is comparable to the workings of tinpot dictatorships that we all used to look down upon.
Inside the Economy
Blame Game: The no-deal Brexit the government is now offering is disturbing. In recent days the government have been warning British businesses to get on with no-deal Brexit planning. The trouble is, they are working in survival mode due to the pandemic and so the government, keen not to waste the opportunity of a crisis are now ready to shift the blame of their next almighty failure on to them. Going back to the promises of 2016 made by Johnson, Gove, Cummings, Leave EU and many, many others – businesses should have been preparing for a mountain of new free trade deals and a huge reduction in red tape. The exact opposite has happened. Deals signed so far don’t even reach a quarter of trade lost to the EU and so now British business – like scientists, teachers, Public Health England and so on will instead become the scapegoats of Brexit.
Negative Rates: One of the Bank of England’s independent monetary policymakers indicated on Tuesday he was minded to vote soon for more stimulus in response to a deteriorating economic situation. This would be a mix of QE and negative interest rates. With the virus spreading and risks “starting to materialise”, he added that “in my view, the outlook for monetary policy is skewed towards adding further stimulus”. In other words – bankruptcies are looming large. The QE programme is already sitting at £745billion to save the banks over the last decade (source).
Spending: The government spent £36.1billion in September – £28.4bn more than last September, and the third-highest in any month since records began in 1993, the Office for National Statistics said. The ONS said the pandemic has had an impact on public sector borrowing “unprecedented in peacetime”. Not only was extra money needed to pay furlough wages and support businesses, lower spending and corporate profits meant the government received less in VAT and corporation tax (source). The national debt now stands at £2.060 trillion or 103.5% of GDP – and climbing.
Grim Outlook: UK investors are more downbeat about the short-term prospects for their own economy than their global peers, according to new research. “The fact that the UK was one of the worst-performing economies during the second quarter this year could have been a contributing factor,” UBS economist Dean Turner said. “Another factor, which is something quite stark when you look at the performance of global stock market indices year-to-date, is the notable underperformance of the UK market,” he continued (source).
Inflation holds: Prices of transport, cultural activities and eating out pushed UK inflation to rise slightly in September, but the rate remained low as the UK economy braced for a new wave of coronavirus restrictions. Consumer prices rose 0.5 per cent annually last month, up from 0.2 per cent in August, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics released on Wednesday. The small rise was driven primarily by prices for leisure and cultural activities, the ONS said, but lower prices for furniture, games and food offset the increase (source).
Dividends Slashed: The amount of cash paid out in UK dividends was down 49 per cent in the third quarter of 2020 compared with last year, as companies continued to tighten their belts amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Some two-thirds of companies cut or cancelled their payments in the quarter, totalling £14.5bn of lost dividends. This has prompted a number of fund managers to seek yield elsewhere (source).
Nationalising Rail: The Welsh government is going to nationalise the railways. Bailout talks with the current operator failed to agree a privately led deal after the pandemic led to a vast drop in income. This now sees the government transferring operations into the state-owned Transport for Wales (source).
That National Scandal: Serco, the (lawbreaking) outsourcing company, gets yet another £multi-million contract care of the taxpayer just as the government is continually accused of “shovelling huge sums of public money to a handful of companies without competition, rigour or accountability“. This contract, worth £57million goes alongside £410 million just announced to continue Serco’s failed track and trace programme, itself now described as a ‘national scandal. Steve Goodrich, senior research manager, at Transparency International UK, said: “Government departments have the option of running rapid open competitions for COVID-related contracts, so it raises the question of why they are instead opting for a more arbitrary and opaque approach” (source).
Consequences: Delays in treatment due to Covid are set to cause a 20 per cent rise in deaths among newly diagnosed cancer patients in England — 6,270 excess deaths this year. Treatment for strokes fell by 45 per cent during lockdown and there were more than 2,000 excess deaths in from heart disease. In addition, more than 50,000 operations for children were cancelled. On top of that, organ transplants fell by two-thirds, with the number of those who died on the transplant waiting list almost doubling. Calls to child abuse helplines rocketed just as rates of depression and anxiety doubled and thousands of recovering alcoholics have relapsed.
On the Brink: The Commons health and social care committee began its inquiry into “workforce burnout” of NHS and social care staff. This looks at how these frontline workers are coping with the incredible demands that Covid-19 has placed upon them. Whilst this committee hears of how staff are coping, the chief executive of an NHS trust group in the Midlands has said the second wave of the covid pandemic will be ‘10 times harder’ for the NHS – “because you’ve got staff exhaustion, you’ve got elective recovery, you’ve got winter, and you’ve got covid all happening at the same time” (source).
Test, Trace, Fail: In more bad news for the government, outsourced test and trace system has failed to reach nearly a quarter of a million close contacts of people who have tested positive for coronavirus, according to a new analysis. Private firms Serco and Sitel failed to contact 245,481 contacts in England either online or from call centres over four months – missing nearly 40% of contacts, the figures show. Labour said the figures show test and trace is “on the verge of collapse” – hence the need for the very thing that the government wanted to avoid – lockdowns (source).
Numbers: 70% – the amount of PPE which will be manufactured in the UK by December, according to Boris Johnson. 35% – the actual amount of PPE which will be manufactured in the UK by December, according to a government report (source).
Super Snoopers: DWP chiefs are planning a range of new laws to get access to people’s bank account data to make sure they’re not cheating their way onto Universal Credit. Yes, you read that right. New laws to crack open private bank accounts at will without scrutiny. Where would that lead to?? One MP called it ‘Orwell’s 1984’ (source).
- Covid-19 has profoundly shifted how financial services workers want to do their jobs in the future, with one in two wanting to continue to work from home for at least part of the week once the pandemic passes, according to a new report by the Financial Services Skills Commission (source).
- Global accounting and consulting firm Deloitte will close four of its 50 British offices as it reviews its real estate portfolio in the coronavirus pandemic but will retain the staff on work-from-home contracts, it said on Saturday. Deloitte said it would shut its offices in Gatwick, Liverpool, Nottingham and Southampton, where about 500 people work (source).
- Almost half of young people not in education, employment or training — also known as NEETs — are worried they won’t get a job, according to a survey released by The Prince’s Trust. And 58% of all young people are scared of being unemployed. The survey of 2,000 young people also found 41% believe their future goals seem “impossible to achieve” with the percentage rising to 50% for those from poorer background. And 36% have “lost hope” for the future with 38% saying they feel they will “never succeed in life” (source).
- Britain’s biggest companies think it will take longer for demand to return to pre-pandemic levels than they did a few months ago, another sign of how the outlook for the country’s economy is worsening, a survey showed on Monday. Accountants Deloitte said 62% of chief financial officers at major British companies thought it would take at least until the second half of next year before demand recovers, compared with 49% in the previous survey published in July (source).
- Which political parties have the most ambitious climate and energy policies? The answer, according to a new study, is surprising. In Germany, France, Spain and Italy, parties across the political spectrum, from the Greens to the Liberals, show a similar level of ambition on this score. However, researchers have also identified a major impediment to the energy transition: none of the investigated parties has a convincing idea for a technology mix that would ensure grid stability despite weather-related fluctuations in wind and solar energy (READ MORE).
- The UK competition watchdog has urged the government to step up plans for a new digital regulator as it warned it is preparing to take action against tech giants such as Facebook and Google (source).
- The U.S. Navy and British Royal Navy are preparing to more closely align their futures in a whole host of warfare areas, the U.S. chief of naval operations announced Tuesday. “We will synchronize pioneering capabilities, strengthen operating concepts and focus our collective efforts to deliver combined sea power together (READ MORE).
- The UK’s post-Brexit space dream has turned into a nightmare. Having lost its £1.4bn investment in the EU’s Gallileo statelite project, the government’s first post-Brexit move was to invest $500 million in a bankrupt satellite company, which then failed. In September, it announced the Space-Based Positioning Navigation and Timing Programme as it tries to come up with a way to deliver the secure satellite services the UK has lost. No one is quite sure what comes next though (READ MORE).
- On Monday, September 23, as the Labour Party enjoyed its annual conference in Brighton, the Conservative Party issued a video (source) which claimed Labour is planning a “free-for-all benefits handout” at a cost of £520 billion per year. The Labour party press office confirmed it had no idea where this number came from (source).
- The statement made by The Sun Newspaper – “Since Boris Johnson stepped down as London mayor, crime in Khan’s London has soared at five times the rate of the rest of the country.” is fake news. Recorded crime per person in London has increased by 18% over this period, less than the 31% increase across England overall. These statistics only count crime recorded by police, and it’s estimated that overall crime is actually decreasing (source).
- Conservative MEP David Bannerman accused the supreme court judges of being “100% Remain” last month in a tweet that has had nearly 10,000 likes and retweets (source). He even goes so far as to say one judge, Lord Kerr, wrote Article 50, the legislative mechanism by which the UK is attempting to leave the EU. It was, however, the wrong Lord Kerr. Lord John Kerr wrote Article 50, Lord Brian Kerr sits on the Supreme Court (source).
- A Facebook post claims that – “It’s NOT a SECOND WAVE of C19 coming soon. It’s the NORMAL COLD / FLU SEASON. Same as last year.” This is not true. The symptoms are similar in some cases, but Covid-19 can be clearly identified with a positive test. Recent monitoring also shows low levels of influenza-like illnesses in the UK at the moment (source).
- Thousands of people across Twitter and Facebook shared an article on a hyperpartisan website which misquotes a recent report from the European Commission to declare the “EU Economy ‘Weakest It’s Been In Over A Decade’ And Ready To COLLAPSE, New Data Reveals”. The quote in the headline does not exist in the story and the premise of the article appears to balance on a misreading of a recent report into Business and Consumer Survey Results. No surprise – the author is a former UKIP official and contributor to Tommy Robinson website TR News (source).
On 20th October, the Government issued a press release that stated – “Senior figures from government and industry in the UK and US will meet over the next two days onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth for the annual Atlantic Future Forum” (source).
The press release highlighted that delegates would be discussing a range of areas where the UK and US can increase cooperation.
“From defeating Covid-19 through vaccine and testing developments, to investing in our ability to tackle cyber threats, the senior figures from the two nations’ defence, security and trade establishments will discuss how to face down an uncertain future with confidence.”
Opened by the Prime Minister via video link, the Forum is expected to include contributions from NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, US National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien and Jeremy Fleming of GCHQ.
Then, just a few hours later at 1 am the following morning, Defence News published an article that announces that the US and UK navies have agreed on a deal, prepared an agreement and are ready to sign on the dotted line to merge their tech for warfighting capabilities (source).
At this moment, the government is supposed to be working on a Brexit deal – that includes trade and cyber-security. There’s something fishy about working so collaboratively and so quickly with the USA on such matters, that could wait a few months. Is this a sign that deals are being agreed with the USA, whilst the Brexit deal is being deliberately pushed towards failure?
Thought of the week
Confirmation that the Government’s biggest spending ministry, the Department for Work and Pensions, is recruiting another 24,000 civil servants to cope with an expected huge rise in unemployment claims caused by COVID-19 is now real. Official figures released by the National Audit Office (NAO) reveal that the department is definitely working on estimates by the Office for National Statistics which expect unemployment levels to have tripled to 12% by the end of the year.
Then the banks blew up the global economy in 2008, unemployment rose from 5 per cent to just over 8 per cent. More than half a trillion of taxpayers cash that went to saving the banks, which manifested itself as a decade of austerity – a spiteful class-war ideology that officially failed (source). That road eventually led to populism, Boris Johnson and then, as many economists confirm – to Brexit.
At the height of the 1980s recession, Thatcher’s battle with inflation resulted in the closure of many factories, shipyards and coal pits because imports were cheaper. The result was that unemployment soared to over 12 per cent (source). The result to that was that the UK, once known globally as the “workshop of the world” became a net importer of goods for the first time in its history.
The point being made here is if the banks were allowed by politicians to blow up the markets, which ended with populist leaders being installed (and Brexit becoming reality), and a fight with inflation led to a dramatic change in productivity and the way the country works, what does what’s coming next mean for us all? Because what’s coming next is worse than the 1980s, worse than a populist in power and worse than Brexit – because all three are heading our way in one go.
If the government is expecting unemployment to be 12 per cent by end December (because of Covid), what will it be in June or December next year when the realities of Brexit are better known? Brexit was calculated by various government departments to cost about 5 – 6 per cent of GDP – a loss of around 1.5 million jobs. All this and the national debt will be climbing with a hard-right government that is ideologically opposed to debt or assisting the unemployed. We can reasonably suppose unemployment will reach an all-time record of 13.5 million.
Mass unemployment and social discontent resulting from the 1980s recession were widely seen as major factors in widespread rioting across Britain. In the austerity years, housing and welfare were among those hardest hit. The squeeze was felt in every area of local government and led to Universal Credit, rapidly rising poverty and homelessness.
This time, unemployment will be worse. This time, local authorities are not just under intense local financial pressure (falling commercial rents, rates, rising unemployment, related costs to social services, etc), but austerity is back on the treasury’s agenda. It will return irrespective, probably more so than the last decade. This time, we have a fully divided society, which is more discordant and connected than ever. This time, the entire world is getting ready for the fourth industrial revolution – rapidly accelerated by the pandemic.
It is not possible for this caldron of rapid change to lead to where we are right now. Where do you think this political and economic trajectory will end up?
Could it get any worse…
Shambles and Reality: Brexit keeps dishing up realities that should deeply embarrass the likes of Farage, Johnson, Cummings, Gove and the fanatics of the free-market. This time Tesla and Heinz are among the many household named companies facing a Brexit crisis at year-end due to a shortage of customs agents in the UK. Companies have struggled to find contractors who can process their post-Brexit paperwork, with the economy facing hundreds of millions of extra customs declarations annually. Without a solution, they won’t be able to legally move goods between Britain and the EU from January, even if there’s a free-trade deal. The problem of a shortage of customs agents has been raised regularly by the logistics industry. They say 50,000 extra are needed and the government have not – for an array of reasons recruited them. (READ MORE)
Dr NO Tax Bill: The UK companies behind the James Bond films have minimised tax for decades whilst receiving tens of millions of pounds in subsidy from the UK taxpayer. TaxWatch’s latest report – No Time to Pay Tax? – delves into the accounts of EON Productions Limited and its associated companies (EON). Despite Skyfall and SPECTRE grossing just shy of $2bn at the box office, EON apparently generated small profits and smaller tax bills in most years whilst profits in the hundreds of millions are declared overseas. In recent years, the UK group of companies headed by EON Productions Limited has declared a pre-tax loss, while simultaneously receiving tens of millions of pounds in tax credits via the UK’s creative industry tax relief scheme (READ MORE).
Self Regulation: On the 30th March, the government announced its intention to crack down on false narratives when it comes to Covid-19. “Specialist units across government are working at pace to combat false and misleading narratives about coronavirus, ensuring the public has the right information to protect themselves and save lives” (source). Its website has not put a spotlight on Boris Jonhson’s claim “that no other country had a functioning Covid-19 app” when many countries did. Nor has it said anything about Johnson’s outright lie that Keir Starmer had been “stunned by the success” of the Government’s test and trace system of contacts of people with Covid-19. Both claims are wildly inaccurate with the £12billion track and trace system branded a national disgrace for its outright failure.
Compare and Contrast: As the government throws £7,000 a day at consultants for achieving not much more than failure, NHS Trusts are now having to advertise for volunteers to fill key data management roles (source).
Quotes of the Week
“If we can’t reach a deal with our closest trading partner, how do we expect to secure deals elsewhere?” Jack Peat at the London Economic argues that a no-deal Brexit is not a destination, it is a failure to reach a destination – a destination that should end up with trade deals (source).
“At the Telegraph, I’d often hear Johnson talking about ‘the plebs.’ He couldn’t care less if people he considers inferior to him suffer as a result of the games he’s playing with the EU and now the northern cities.’ Tim Walker, former Telegraph journalist (source).
“Does anyone understand the science behind Liverpool in Tier 3 being forced to close indoor gyms, fitness and dance studios, sports facilities and leisure centres and Greater Manchester in Tier 3 being allowed to keep them open?” ITV’s Robert Peston is as confused as everyone else (source).
“In a move that will infuriate his conservative foes and delight his liberal fans, Pope Francis has backed civil unions for same-sex couples, marking a major shift for the Catholic Church” – First sentence of a Times article that many thought they would never hear in their lifetime. The paper went on to quote the Pope – “What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered. I stood up for that,” the Pope said when asked about homosexuality in an interview included in a new documentary (source).
Recommended Weekend Reading
People Need to Reclaim the Internet: This powerful and incisive article by a former British ambassador exposes exactly how the big tech social media gatekeepers are censoring all manner of information from flowing for political and/or economic reasons. There’s something truly insidious about it all and what we are seeing right now is the first overt use of coordinated power to control public information worldwide (READ MORE).
Daniel Korski: The Intelligence-Linked Mastermind Behind the UK’s Orwellian Healthtech Advisory Board – GCHQ, the USA’s NSA, the Israeli’s Unit 8200, among many others, are the all-seeing eyes of national intelligence agencies who have longed for a way to watch their populations remotely without their citizens knowing whether or not they’re actually being observed. One man has strived to be at the centre of the growing global Panopticon, from his base in the Panopticon’s birthplace — Britain. He has his finger in the pie of the Tory government and has his eye on, amongst other things – the NHS. This is an eye-opening article well worth the long read that it is. Boil the kettle and settle somewhere quiet (READ MORE).
Covid-19: Do many people have pre-existing immunity? It seemed a truth universally acknowledged that the human population had no pre-existing immunity to SARS-CoV-2, but is that actually the case? Peter Doshi writes in the BMJ that the emerging research on immunological responses thinks differently which then leads it on to the question – just how new the pandemic virus really is (READ MORE)
Monetary financing: why the government should not be worrying about the deficit: The London School of Economics writes that government should stop worrying about the current deficit, financing it less by issuing debt though being clear that this is a temporary policy for exceptional circumstances. The article explains how monetary financing works and the policies the government ought to pursue in order to maintain the level of economic activity in the parts of the economy still open. In other words – they did something extraordinary for the banks, why not the economy itself? (READ MORE)
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