Sunday 25th of October 2020

hard brexit...

hard brexit...

Jeremy Hunt has been photographed holding a briefing note that says a “hard Brexit means people fleeing UK”.


The health secretary was on his way to a cabinet meeting in Downing Street when he was pictured with the folded note, written in large type, which appeared to be preparation for health questions in the House of Commons.

In response to an opening question from the Liberal Democrat Alistair Carmichael, it reads: “The 150,000 EU nationals working in our health and care services do a brilliant job and we want them to continue doing it. I am in regular talks with cabinet colleagues to inform both domestic workforce plans and the government negotiations with the EU.”

Further down, it adds: “Hard Brexit means people fleeing UK. 26 June PM made clear that we intend to protect the rights of EU nationals in the UK and UK nationals in the EU … the Lib Dem approach means ignoring what people voted for.”

Hunt did not give that answer when he later appeared in the House of Commons, reading out only the first paragraph in response to Carmichael. 

An aide to Hunt insisted the warning about hard Brexit was intended to be a suggestion for a possible supplementary question from the opposition, followed by his possible reply.

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Cartoon at top by Giles (“a Bentley-driving socialist”). Grandmother was famous at the Daily Express... Not as nasty on the "little people" as some of Australian right wing cartoonists at the Daily Telegraph, he nonetheless showed a variety of ordinary Brits' life in resonance with the hypocrite British upper crust. 


defeat in victory...



At Westminster she has been reduced to cobbling together a deal with reactionary politicians from Northern Ireland to secure a fragile House of Commons majority, jettisoning many of the policies in the Conservative manifesto and apeing the anti-austerity policies of the Labour opposition. “Defeat in victory,” notes Nicholas Macpherson, formerly the top official in the Treasury.

Meanwhile cabinet ministers exploit the vacuum by publicly dictating terms to Mrs May on the future direction of policy on Brexit and the economy. The briefings and the jostling for succession become more audacious as the days pass. Mrs May’s election offer of “strong and stable” leadership is now a staple of the gallows humour that has enveloped Conservative MPs.

A Conservative minister laments: “There is no plan, no strategy, no direction.” The question being asked in Britain and Europe is simple: how long can Mrs May last and can she deliver Brexit?

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"Sweet Europa's mantle blew unclasp'd,

From off her shoulder backward borne :

From one hand droop'd a crocus : one hand grasp'd

The mild bull's golden horn."




France has stepped up its seduction of banks and other financial institutions considering a move out of London due to Brexit, as the government unveiled a raft of proposals aimed at making Paris more appealing.

A document presented by the French prime minister, Édouard Philippe, on Friday listed reforms he said could turn Paris into “Europe’s leading financial centre after Brexit” amid fierce competition from Dublin, Frankfurt and Luxembourg.

The proposals including the abolition of the highest bracket of a payroll tax levied on each salaried employee and the cancellation of plans to increase France’s 0.3% tax on financial transactions.

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Bull? John Bull = England...


media junking juncker's brexit...

But what was taken out of context and made to sound like an ominous warning, or even distorted into a threat, actually came after the Brussels boss said it was the EU which will be suffering Brexit remorse.

Juncker, the president of the European Commission, unsurprisingly and unashamedly heaped praise on Brussels in his ‘State of the Union’ address in Strasbourg on Wednesday.

He called for greater unity, the rejection of nationalism, and deeper ties from EU budgetary powers to institutions and foreign policy.

And he talked about Brexit.

The European Parliament gathered for the speech, eagerly awaiting news on the divorce between Britain and Brussels, which Juncker touched on briefly.

Nevertheless, what little did come was seized upon.

The BBC was quick to pounce on the part where the President said the EU – and the UK – would regret the split.

Significantly, the corporation chose to use only half of his sentence, turning a prediction of remorse into a menacing threat.

“Brexit: UK will 'soon regret' leaving EU argues Juncker,” the online headline read.


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hitlerette in heengland...


In the opinion piece titled 'Theresa May takes her darkest, most desperate turn yet,' the [Vanity Fair] magazine's British editor, Henry Porter, addresses the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, also referred to as the Repeal Bill, which passed its second reading in the House of Commons on Monday. 

Although May called the passage a "historic decision to back the will of the British people" referring to the Brexit vote, others have taken issue with the so-called 'Henry VIII' powers in the bill, which give ministers the authority to amend laws without the usual parliamentary scrutiny.

In short, the Henry VIII powers would allow ministers to copy EU law into the UK's post-Brexit domestic statute book while avoiding any pushback or parliamentary red tape.

Porter is among those who believe the bill grants May and her fellow Conservatives too much power – so much so that he has likened the prime minister to Hitler.

"These powers are named after Henry VIII, England’s most authoritarian monarch, but they in fact bear a greater resemblance to Hitler’s Enabling Act of 1933, which allowed the Fuhrer to bypass the Reichstag and govern by proclamation," Porter wrote in his editorial.

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torture of a lame duck...

Still, at least the EU has now agreed to start internal discussions on how it will approach the second phase of talks on trade with the UK. This offer has all the bonhomie and promise of a captor telling his victim that while the torture bit is not yet over, they can start the desperate bargaining phase in parallel.

The problem, we keep hearing, is that we have a lame duck negotiating for us. Who do lame ducks negotiate with? Acas-trained foxes? Farmers-of-few-words bearing down on them with a ligature and a sack?

As she repeatedly stated, May called the snap election because “other parties” were trying to frustrate the Brexit process, and because a bigger majority would give her a “stronger hand” in negotiations with the EU. Anyhow … here we are now. Don’t sprain your eyeballs rolling them, but the greatest enemy to the Brexit process is the wingnuts in her own party, while No 10 briefings are suggesting her weakness is our ace in the hole.

According to the Times, government sources told them the prime minister had made a series of weekend phone calls in which she “stuck it” to EU leaders about the reality of her political predicament. Please don’t question this use of the term “stuck it”. If you’ve ever watched one of those wildlife documentaries where a zebra “sticks it” to a lion pack, you’ll know what a powerful line of attack that can be.

Even so, given the reliance on poker analogies that has sustained the government for over a year now, one has to ask: in what poker games do you see people using begging and weakness as a strategy? That’s right: games in which some stupid deadbeat has just lost the money for his kids’ food and is imploring the guys to go easy on him or his wife will sling him out.

What an adorable irony it is that the Brexiteers went into the referendum effectively casting the UK as 007 at the peak of his game. We are now literally begging Le Chiffre for our car keys back, while he cries bloody tears of laughter over our predicament. Yes, the Casino Royale villain’s lachrymal tic was the worst poker tell in the history of the game – until the UK premiered “Please help me: I am being propped up by the DUP and am holding a 2-7 off suit.”

Even after the Conservative party conference and that astonishingly brutal spectacle in the Coughosseum, it seems May’s torments are going to become only more exquisite. Not only is time causing her negotiating position to decay faster than most radioactive isotopes, but she is condemned to do it all with the least helpful noises-off possible.


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trumping the stupidest thing...


Michael Bloomberg, an American billionaire and former mayor of New York City, has lashed out at Brexit, saying he cannot understand "why a country that was doing so well wanted to ruin it." Netizens were quick to react to his words with numerous comments on social media.

"I did say that I thought it [Brexit] was the stupidest single thing any country has ever done but then we Trumped it," Bloomberg said, referring to the election of Donald Trump as US president.

During the US presidential campaign, he considered standing as a third-party candidate but ruled it out, arguing that his participation in the race would diminish the Democratic vote and boost Trump’s chances of winning.

The 75-year-old media mogul made the remarks two weeks ago at a technology conference in Boston, but they were reported only on Tuesday by The Guardian.

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Brexit is viewed in Europe as a necessary cleansing... Many Brits living in Europe are horrified that the process ever happened, but it is unavoidable as 99 per cent of Europeans see the Brits as trying to use the benefits of Europe without sharing any of the cost. Everyone reading this site since its inception would know that I have been vocal about Europe having to throw out the Brits because they were double dealing, doing the US bidding to damage Europe. Now the Brits have to pay the rent for having been "European" while booting themselves out.  Then Trump came along... Meanwhile the Brits still spy on Europe on behalf of the Yanks... Ugly.


of blair and brexit melange...


A column in which Parris declared, inter alia- that Brexit- which he opposes, was worse than Suez and what he euphemistically described as the ‘adventure’ in Iraq. ‘Eden lied about Suez and his government concealed its purpose, but he believed in that purpose and believed it to be in the national interest’ Parris wrote, ‘Blair dissimulated about Iraq and his government used dark arts to clear its path. But he believed in the adventure and believed it to be in the national interest. Brexit is worse. The means are the same as with Suez and Iraq but half of the cabinet and most of the parliamentary party don’t agree with the ends’.

Where does one begin?

The idea that implementing Brexit — for all the legitimate concerns people might have with it- is worse than lying the country into a military conflict which killed 1m is not just ridiculous. It is also obscene.


Iraq was a war of choice which had no public endorsement. Brexit was approved by a referendum- and the government is merely implementing- or trying to implement the democratic decision taken by voters on 23rd June 2016.

It doesn’t matter if Theresa May and her Ministers believe in Brexit or think it a bad idea: their job is to carry it out. Iraq was totally different. There was no question of the war being in Britain’s ‘national interest’. Saddam Hussein may have been a dictator but he posed no threat to the UK, or to UK citizens; on the contrary his secular Baathist government was a regional bulwark against al-Qaeda, against whom we were told we were fighting a ‘war on terror’.

The Iraq War was a deceitful neocon enterprise, based on false claims about the country possessing WMDs- and a UK government that was genuinely concerned with the ‘national interest’ would have forcefully opposed it. It’s worth bearing in mind the findings of the Chilcot report which said that there was no ‘imminent threat’ from Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Moreover, Tony Blair was specifically warned by the Joint Intelligence Committee that invading Iraq would greatly increase the terror threat to the west.

Yet still he went ahead.

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and not a single russian in sight...

Find Christopher Wylie.” That instruction – 13 months ago – came from the very first ex-Cambridge Analytica employee I met. He was unequivocal. Wylie would have answers to the two questions that were troubling me most. He could tell me about Facebook. And he would know about Canada.

What Christopher Wylie knows about Facebook, the world now knows. Facebook certainly knows – its market value is down $100bn. But the Canadian connection remains more elusive. What it is. Why it matters. And why it triggered my search for Wylie.

We heard from him at a session of the digital, culture, media and sport (DCMS) select committee that the BBC parliamentary correspondent Mark D’Arcy described as “by a distance, the most astounding thing I’ve seen in parliament”. Perhaps not because of Wylie’s arresting appearance – though there was that too, his pink hair offset with a suit for the occasion – but because of what he said: a four-hour account of his involvement with Cambridge Analytica that he backed up with documents, a selection of which the committee published two days later.

It was a moment that marked a significant milestone in our coverage of this story. Because back on 13 May 2017 we received a letter from Squire Patton Boggs, lawyers for Cambridge Analytica, that set out their intention to issue a “pre-action protocol for defamation” – though its immediate concern was regarding an “article that is proposed to be published this weekend”.

Seven fraught hours later, we published an article headlined “Follow the data” . It was centred on one particular document. A document that linked Cambridge Analytica to a small, seemingly inconsequential firm based above an optician’s shop in Victoria, Canada. A document that was among the stash of those released by the DCMS committee on Thursday.

The firm – AggregateIQ – didn’t appear inconsequential. In the words of Vote Leave’s campaign manager, Dominic Cummings, it played a crucial role in the Brexit campaign. For more than a year, a quote from Cummings – “we couldn’t have done it without them” – was emblazoned across AIQ’s website. Words that disappeared from the website a week ago, removed after we submitted our questions to the firm.

The first major article I wrote about Cambridge Analytica last February outlined a relationship between Nigel Farage’s Leave.EU campaign and Cambridge Analytica and the relationships with Robert Mercer, the firm’s main investor, and its shareholder and vice-president Steve Bannon. It kicked off an investigation by the Electoral Commission and the Information Commissioner’s Office. Then, a few days later, a reader from Canada got in touch. Did I know that the telephone number and address listed on Cambridge Analytica’s website as its Canadian office – SCL Canada – belonged to Zackary Massingham? Did I know that he was the chief executive of a company called AggregateIQ? A firm that had worked for Vote Leave? I didn’t.

Because Vote Leave was the official campaign. It was of a different order of importance to Farage’s Leave.EU. Vote Leave had been recognised by the Electoral Commission. It had been entrusted with taxpayers’ money. It was headed by Boris Johnson and Michael Gove – now both ministers in Theresa May’s government. And who are now seeing the scandal currently engulfing Cambridge Analytica arriving at theur doorstep.

Last week we published the account of another whistleblower, Shahmir Sanni, and how he believed that Vote Leave senior officials took advantage of him and his friend, Darren Grimes, to ramp up their own spending. Vote Leave gave their campaign, BeLeave, £625,000 – but in November the Electoral Commission opened an investigation into it. The donation was legal only if BeLeave really was an independent organisation, operating separately. And Sanni had startling new evidence: he said it wasn’t. Sanni – the treasurer – wasn’t even allowed to get his train tickets refunded. Instead, the money was paid directly to AggregateIQ – the company that a year earlier I had found listed on Cambridge Analytica’s website as SCL Canada.

The documents published last week finally make the legal connection between AggregateIQ and Cambridge Analytica public. The committee has published an intellectual property agreement between AIQ and SCL Elections – Cambridge Analytica’s parent company. There’s also a service agreement between the two firms that set out revenue-sharing clauses and payment details, an internal Cambridge Analytica staff list that names Massingham, and emails about work the two firms did together for John Bolton, the newly appointed national security adviser to Donald Trump. On 21 August 2014, Alex Tayler, the acting managing director for Cambridge Analytica, wrote to Jeff Silvester, co-founder of AggregateIQ, and said: “Personality Cluster information for the target voter segments for all 3 states (modelled for all voters of interest, not just Kogan sample/seeders).”


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the hard labour of brexiting...

Just ahead of the Cabinet meeting a group of Brexiteer Tory MPs sent a 30-page letter to Downing Street where they argue that a new customs partnership plan is  “undeliverable”  and “would require a degree of regulatory alignment that would make the execution of an independent trade policy a practical impossibility."


The prime minister has also been warned that if the Cabinet accepts a customs partnership with Brussels Tory MPs might withdraw support for government-proposed bills resulting in a legislative paralysis and putting Theresa May’s political future in doubt.

Brexit talks between the UK and European Commission officials are slated to resume later this week in Brussels

READ MORE: EU's Barnier Says Brexit is a Lose-Lose Situation

Brussels insists the whole withdrawal agreement, including citizens’ rights, the financial settlement, transition period, and Northern Ireland border needs to be agreed upon by the October meeting of the European Council in order to provide enough time for the deal to be scrutinized and approved by the European Parliament.


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going down the drain under the strain...


My editor at The American Conservative writes to ask: what is going on over there in the UK? It’s a good question. Since the Brexit referendum in 2016, my country has been going through what might be termed “a period of self-reflection.” A less generous description would be: “nervous breakdown.”

The newspapers are filled with increasingly frenzied pieces from writers on both the Left and the Right wondering what the rest of the world thinks of our small island. Are we “global Britain,” cocksure and cavalier? Or “little Britain,” timid and tame? Is everyone laughing at us? Or concerned that we have lost the plot? Have we lost the plot? Does anyone care? Do we even care?

Passing news events are now imagined to be grand tests of our country’s character. Take the awful story of Alfie Evans, a 23-month-old British boy with brain damage. Doctors and judges said he would never recover, so instead his life support should be switched off. His parents disagreed. They wanted to take him to Rome to be treated in a Vatican hospital. The Italians even granted Alfie Italian citizenship to expedite the process.

Would the young boy die on the terms of the British state or on those of his parents? In the end, it was the former. The complex, sad story made headlines in the United States and across Europe. Britain was portrayed as the cruel man leaving Europe: Protestant utilitarianism turning its back on Catholic compassion. Brits reacted to the international condemnation with wounded pride, a common national trait, and a grudging acceptance that maybe we have gone mad.  So—have we become a callous, cold country? Was it British to let Alfie die against his parents’ wishes? Or is the British way to let the law decide? We don’t really know.

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During the 2017 snap election in Britain, the Conservative Party, headed by Theresa May, pioneered the slogan “strong and stable leadership.” Since then, the UK Cabinet has been rocked by a series of high-profile resignations, including over pornography and immigration scandals and a clumsy reshuffle in-between.


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soft brexit turmoil...

LONDON — Prime Minister Theresa May’s government was thrown into turmoil late Sunday with the surprise resignation of David Davis, her “Brexit minister” in charge of negotiating Britain’s exit from the European Union. 

The midnight resignation came as a shock to British politics, exposing May to challenge by Conservative Party members outraged over what they see as her plan to secure a “soft Brexit” that keeps Britain tied to many rules and regulations of the European Union after it leaves the bloc next year.

Hard-line Brexit backers who argue that May should have a clean, decisive break from Brussels, spent the weekend complaining that her recently revealed proposals were a timid capitulation, a “Brexit in name only,” that ignored “the will of the people” who voted 52 to 48 percent in June 2016 to leave the European bloc.


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harder brexit...

British Prime Minister Theresa May has appointed Jeremy Hunt as foreign minister after predecessor Boris Johnson resigned in protest at the Government's plans for a close trading relationship with the European Union.

"The Queen has been pleased to approve the appointment of the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP as Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs," Ms May's office said in a statement. 

Mr Johnson, a vocal supporter of Britain leaving the European Union, informed Ms May of his resignation just a day after Brexit minister David Davis quit.

"This afternoon, the Prime Minister accepted the resignation of Boris Johnson as foreign secretary," a Downing Street spokesman said.

"His replacement will be announced shortly.

Ms May told the House of Commons that both Mr Davis and Mr Johnson had made important contributions to Britain, but did not agree with her about "the best way" of delivering Brexit.


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hardest brexit

It's the early morning hours of March 30, 2019, and the disaster is only slowly beginning to unfold. British radio stations report on the first traffic jams at the ferry docks of Dover and Folkstone. Flights from Heathrow, Gatwick and other airports to Continent have been canceled. All of them. It's Saturday, so the stock markets are relatively quiet. At least for now. 

Two days later, though, the pound takes a nosedive, bringing the share prices of British companies down with it. Alarmed by news reports that just get more disturbing as they pour in, the British begin emptying the supermarket shelves. Gas stations start to run out of gasoline. Remote areas such as Cornwall or Scotland declare states of emergency.


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vox unpopulis...

Our politicians have spent the last couple of decades opining the loss of trust in politicians, urging people to vote, to take part in the democratic process, to have their say, we are listening, your voice matters.

And they did, bless them. In the largest plebiscite, ever, the voters placed their trust in politicians, ticked the ballot box to leave the EU and a year later they did it again by voting for parties that all promised to deliver Brexit (apart from the loon fringe).

Nearly three years on, Westminster and its civil servants disgust me and the electorate.  They were elected by us, the people. We told them what to do. The overwhelming majority of people just want them to get on with it and deliver Brexit, even the BBC cannot find people to dissent from that view in their vox pops.


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your phun is funny on huawei...


Gavin Williamson has been sacked as defence secretary following an inquiry into a leak from a top-level National Security Council meeting.

Downing Street said the PM had "lost confidence in his ability to serve" and Penny Mordaunt will take on the role.

The inquiry followed reports over a plan to allow Huawei limited access to help build the UK's new 5G network.

Mr Williamson, who has been defence secretary since 2017, "strenuously" denies leaking the information. 

In a meeting with Mr Williamson on Wednesday evening, Theresa May told him she had information that provided "compelling evidence" that he was responsible for the unauthorised disclosure.

In a letter confirming his dismissal, she said: "No other, credible version of events to explain this leak has been identified."

Responding in a letter to the PM, Mr Williamson said he was "confident" that a "thorough and formal inquiry" would have "vindicated" his position.

"I appreciate you offering me the option to resign, but to resign would have been to accept that I, my civil servants, my military advisers or my staff were responsible: this was not the case," he said.

The inquiry into the National Security Council leak began after the Daily Telegraph reported on the Huawei decision and subsequent warnings within cabinet about possible risks to national security over a deal with Huawei.

BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg said sources close to the former defence secretary had told her Mr Williamson did meet the Daily Telegraph's deputy political editor, Steven Swinford, but, she pointed out "that absolutely does not prove" he leaked the story to him.

Security correspondent Frank Gardner said the BBC had been told "more than one concerning issue" had been uncovered regarding Mr Williamson during the leak inquiry and not just the Huawei conversation.


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Most likely this leak came from the PM's office. Add two and two... Jim Hacker would be proud. 


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the corny exhange milkshakes...

In a recent spate of “food-linked” incidents, right-wing figures, such as Tommy Robinson and UKIP candidate Carl Benjamin, have been pelted with milkshakes and other beverages by protesters during the European elections campaign.

A McDonald’s restaurant near the Edinburgh venue where Nigel Farage was campaigning put the sale of their milkshakes on hold after police asked them to do so over concerns protesters might throw them at the Brexit Party leader.

Friday saw a sign appear in the window of the McDonald’s on New Market Road, just under 200 metres from the Corn Exchange — the venue for the rally — saying: 
“We will not be selling milkshakes or ice-creams tonight. This is due to a police request given recent events.”


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a kick up the arse...

Examples of usage[edit]perfidious Albion
  • The term often refers to the English reneging on the Treaty of Limerick of 1691, which ended the war between the predominantly Roman Catholic Jacobite forces and the English forces loyal to William of Orange, giving favourable terms to the Irish Catholics, including the freedoms to worship, to own property and to carry arms, but those terms were soon repudiated by the Penal Laws of 1695[5][6]
  • In Portugal, the term was widely used after the 1890 British Ultimatum, after Cecil Rhodes' opposition to the Pink Map.[7]
  • Bastiat uses the term sarcastically in his satirical letter "The Candlemakers' Petition", first published in 1845[8]
  • It is used by Ian Smith in his memoirs (The Great Betrayal, 1997) to describe his opposition on the British handling of Rhodesian independence[9]
  • In his book I'm Not the Only One (2004), British politician George Galloway expressed the opinion that Kuwait is "clearly a part of the greater Iraqi whole, stolen from the motherland by perfidious Albion".[10]
  • In 2012, Fabian Picardo, the Chief Minister of Gibraltar, used the phrase to describe the UK government's position on the UN Decolonisation Committee: "Perfidious Albion, for this reason ... The position of the United Kingdom is as usual so nuanced that it's difficult to see where they are on the spectrum, but look that's what Britain's like and we all love being British"[11]
  • The father of Israeli novelist Amos Oz wrote pamphlets for the Irgun that attacked "perfidious Albion" during the British rule in Palestine[12]
  • The Italian term "perfida Albione" (perfidious Albion)[13] was used in the propaganda of Fascist Italy to criticise the global dominion of the British Empire. Fascist propaganda depicted the British as ruthless colonialists, who exploited foreign lands and peoples to feed extravagant lifestyle habits like eating "five meals a day".[14] The term was used frequently in Italian politics after the Second Italo-Abyssinian War, because despite having gained large colonial territories for itself, Britain approved of trade sanctions in the wake of Italian aggression against Ethiopia. The sanctions were depicted as an attempt to deny Italy its "rightful" colonial dominions, while at the same time, Britain was trying to extend its own influence and authority.[15] The same term was used after World War I related to the so-called mutilated victory[16]
  • The term was used in reference to a possible United Kingdom withdrawal from the European Union in the run up to the referendum on the issue in 2016. An article in the French newspaper Le Parisien claimed that a poll showing that only 54% of French people supported UK membership of the EU (compared to 55% of British people) showed that "the British will always be seen as the Perfidious Albion".[17] In contrast, the editor of the Financial Times, Lionel Barber, has written that "Too many people in the UK are under the illusion that most European countries cannot wait to see the back of perfidious Albion."[18] Eventually, the United Kingdom voted to leave the EU.[19]
  • In arguing for a "hard" Brexit, and the EU rejecting a possible extension requested by the UK of the deadline to leave the EU, the Brexit-supporting British MP Mark Francois addressed the European Council in April 2019: "If you now try to hold on to us against our will, you will be facing Perfidious Albion on speed. It would therefore be much better for all our sakes if we were to pursue our separate destinies, in a spirit of mutual respect."[20]


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the international policy of the "perfide albion"...


the shortest honeymoon in parliamentary history...


artificial fat little britain as boris will perform a miracle in the brexit desert...


good riddance to european smelly cheese and overvalued champagne! welcome mactrump...


"it is I, leclerc!"... "man of a thousand faces, every one the same!"...


 and many more...


enact brexit, with a kick up the arse: the city of london corporation and its banks have done much damage to the world..


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the good or bad luck of the irish?...

Brexit has accelerated the possibility of a referendum on Irish unity, which may be the best solution to mitigate the effects of Britain leaving the EU, a new paper on Brussels’ potential role in achieving reunification says.

The inevitability of referendums on both sides of the Irish border means “planning and preparation needs to commence and the EU will be a central part of that,” said Queen’s University Belfast Prof. Colin Harvey at the launch of the paper in the European Parliament on Wednesday, the Irish Times reported.

Speaking with his co-author, barrister Mark Bassett, Harvey said that meetings with representatives from EU member states had shown a broad understanding of the argument that Irish unity might be the best way to deal with the ill-effects of Brexit on the island of Ireland. The alternative, he said, was the “forced removal of Northern Ireland” from the EU “against its will.


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The relatively warm words from the taoiseach came just days after he said finding an agreement would be “very difficult”, suggesting Johnson would have to move on the issue of customs and how Northern Ireland consented to the Brexit plans.

Downing Street declined to comment on whether Johnson had shifted, but any concessions to the EU could prove problematic for the prime minister as he seeks the support of Eurosceptic hardliners and the Democratic Unionist party (DUP) in getting his deal through parliament.

European officials were also reluctant to publicly comment on the significance of the talks in Wirral, with one diplomat saying the two sides would have to work nights to reach a successful outcome. “Twenty-three days for a deal,” the diplomat said. “Ambitious. And that doesn’t take into account implementing it in the UK.”

There were also suggestions that both sides were keen to cast the talks in a positive light to avoid being held responsible for their failure.



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vernacularly losing the plot...


From Paul Chadwick




In social media during election campaigns, political players operate as individuals, as parties, through proxies (overt and covert), and as precision advertisers armed with unknown quantities of highly specific personal data about voters. The past always teaches something, but on the whole, broadcasting regulation as we have known it seems to have very little to contribute to a widely shared and pressing problem: how to create a framework that ensures that both free and fair elections and freedom of expression thrive in our strange new communications environment.

As usual, the vernacular from Paul Chadwick ends up on a vacuous and ambiguous "free and fair elections and freedom of expression” which is commendable to the point of having to chunder in a dark alley like a dog. 

If my memory is not failing me, Paul Chadwick was for a while in charge of a — how to describe it? — a powerful (Nazi?) propaganda unit at the ABC (Australia) making sure that journalistic balance meant that porkies had as much airing as the truth. At this level, 97 per cent of scientific consensus had to be balanced 50/50 with ignoramuses with a loud voice on the subject of global warming. Paul Chadwick tactics sent a few investigative reporters round the twist… ending up turning the ABC very right of centre as many reporter dared not to cross the middle line — not least going slightly to the left...

But fear not, "free and fair elections and freedom of expression” always give the results that have nothing to do with what is the best for a country’s future, as “freedom of expression” is not a euphemism for the "freedom to tell the truth”.  Freedom of expression is loved by rabid shock jocks and politicians of the right, as long as they have the more powerful means to shout louder than a cold caffe latte intelligentsia swamped by Nazi trolls on twitter or on Facebook — while shock jocks use the media, especially the Murdoch run media with brilliant manipulations of all the platforms. Meanwhile, Soros plays the anti-Brexit music… He has a few bucks riding on the result...

The UK has enjoyed a weird special status in Europe. From a UK point of view, it would be best to stay in the EU and grab as much special status as possible. But this “special” privilege is likely to end… For the Europeans, the UK is a pain in the arse, mostly due to the UK other lover, the USA, for which the UK did (and is still doing) some dirty work in Europe… 
The EU should limit its membership to 27 countries. The UK makes it 28 — a terrible number for management of a group. Thus the UK has to Brexit… It will survive alright and Europe will be better. Go away. All good for everybody.

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escape from europe...

Earlier, the head of the British Conservative party, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, secured a convincing victory for his party in the 12 December snap general election. His party made a strong emphasis on finalising the UK's long-overdue exit from the European Union.

A cartoon, drawn and published by Italian artist Mario Improta in the wake of Johnson's party victory in general election in the UK, sparked controversy over its use of Nazi symbolism to deliver the message that London will complete Brexit and be satisfied with the result.

In the image, Improta shows a joyful Johnson holding the UK flag and running away from what looks like - judging by the distinctive arc above the entrance - the notorious Auschwitz concentration camp run by the Nazis in World War II. The problem is that, instead of the infamous caption above the entrance "Arbeit macht frei" ("Work sets you free"), Improta wrote "European Union", suggesting that with Johnson's victory, the UK will soon be able to escape the EU.



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the russians did not do whatever...

During the final Prime Minister’s Questions at the UK parliament before the summer recess, the leader of the opposition Keir Starmer questioned the UK PM about the Russia report. 

During the final Prime Minister’s Questions at the UK parliament before the summer recess, the leader of the opposition Keir Starmer questioned the UK PM about the Russia report.

Boris Johnson said that the Labour leader, who was a Remainer, was simply “seizing” on the Russia report to try and give the impression that Russian interference was somehow responsible for Brexit.”

"The people of this country didn’t vote to leave the EU because of pressure from Russia or Russian interference. They voted to take back control…” Johnson said.

Starmer accused Boris Johnson, who received the report ten months ago, of doing nothing, while the threat to UK national security was “immediate and urgent”.

In return, the PM said that Starmer of “sitting on his hands and doing nothing” during the Salisbury inquiry.

“Labour Party parroted the line of the Kremlin, while the people of this country were poisoned at the orders of Vladimir Putin.”

The PM added that the UK was adding new legislation to protect UK’s “new critical infrastructure” and “intellectual property.” Starmer responded that Labour will support the new legislation.

British parliamentarians took to social media to comment on the spat between the party leaders.


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hard swiss-cheesestixt...

Swiss voters will decide on Sunday whether to abandon their free movement of people agreement with the EU.
Supporters say the move will allow Switzerland to control its borders and select only the immigrants it wants. 
Opponents argue it will plunge a healthy economy into recession, and deprive hundreds of thousands of Swiss citizens of their freedom to live and work across Europe.
The justice minister says that would create a situation "worse than Brexit".

Why does non-EU member Switzerland need to bother with free movement?


Switzerland decided long ago not to join the EU, but it does want access to Europe's free-trade area, and it wants to co-operate with Brussels in areas like transport, the environment, and research and education. 
The price for this is to sign up to the EU's major policy "pillars" including free movement, and Schengen open borders. 
The EU has consistently told the Swiss there will be no cherry-picking: leaving free movement would mean leaving those lucrative trade arrangements too.

Why now?
The proposal comes from the right-wing Swiss People's Party (SVP), and is a successor to a referendum held in 2014 (also from the People's Party) to introduce quotas on immigrants from the EU. 
That passed by a whisker (50.33% said yes, 49.67% said no), obliging the Swiss government to find a deal Brussels would accept. In the end a compromise was agreed: Swiss employers had to prioritise workers permanently resident in Switzerland, in job sectors where unemployment is already high. 
The SVP dismissed the deal as so weak as to be virtually meaningless, and are now back with a second demand to get out of free movement altogether.

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