Saturday 26th of September 2020

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

bread and fishes

Boris Johnson, GMOs and Glyphosate: Irresponsible, Negligent and Criminal?


from Colin Todhunter


In his first speech to parliament as British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson said:

Let’s start now to liberate the UK’s extraordinary bioscience sector from anti-genetic modification rules and let’s develop the blight-resistant crops that will feed the world.”

Johnson reads from a well-rehearsed script. The ‘GM will feed the world mantra’ is pure industry spin. There is already enough food being produced to feed the global population yet around 830 million are classed as hungry. 

Feeding the world effectively, sustainably and equitably involves addressing the in-built injustices of the global food system.

The never-ending push to force GM on the public under the guise of saving humanity is a diversion that leaves intact the root causes of world hunger and undernutrition: neoliberal deregulation and privatisation policies, unfair WTO rules, poverty, land rights issues, World Bank/IMF geopolitical lending strategies and the transformation of food secure regions into food deficit ones, etc.

Even in regions where productivity in agriculture lags behind or concerns exist about climate change, numerous high-level reports have recommended that (non-GMO) agroecological practices should be encouraged to enhance biodiversity and deal with food and climate crises.

However, pro-Brexiteer Conservative politicians talk of the essential need for Britain and the world to adopt GM is little more than an attempt to justify a post-Brexit trade deal with Washington that will effectively incorporate the UK into the US’s regulatory food regime. 

The type of ‘liberation’ Johnson really means is the UK adopting unassessed GM crops and food and a gutting of food safety and environmental standards.

It is no secret that various Conservative-led administrations have wanted to break free from the EU regulatory framework on GM for some time. 

Back in 2014, Genewatch exposed collusion between the government and transnational corporations to force GM into Britain above the heads of the public. 

This is despite numerous surveys over the years showing that most of the British public remain sceptical of GM, do not see a need for it or reject the technology outright.

ROSEMARY MASON WRITES TO JONATHAN JONES

It would be reasonable to ask why GMOs are even on the market in the first place given that, in his book ‘Altered Genes, Twisted Truths’ (2015), US lawyer Steven Druker set out in detail how GM could well be based on the greatest scientific fraud of our age. 

This is something environmentalist Dr Rosemary Mason points out in a recent open letter to Dr Jonathan Jones, Head of the Sainsbury Laboratory in the UK, and his colleague, fellow US-based plant scientist Jeffrey Dangl.

In April, Jones received the go-ahead from the British government to carry out field tests on GM potatoes in fields in Suffolk and Cambridge. He was given permission to proceed despite Druker’s findings and Caius Rommens, former GMO potato scientist with Monsanto, raising serious concerns about genetic engineering.

In a new report by Mason, which she has sent with her letter to Jones, Rommens is quoted as saying:

We also assumed that theoretical knowledge was all we needed to succeed, and that a single genetic change would always have one intentional effect only. We were supposed to understand DNA and to make valuable modifications, but the fact of the matter was that we knew as little about DNA as the average American knows about the Sanskrit version of the Bhagavad Gita. We just knew enough to be dangerous, especially when combined with our bias and narrowmindedness.”

If that was the state of knowledge (or lack of it) at Monsanto, then what of glyphosate-based Roundup, the company’s weedicide widely used in conjunction with GM crops? 

We already know from the ‘Monsanto Papers’ that ghost writing, cover-ups and duplicity seemed to be the order of the day as the company sought at all costs to protect its multi-billion-dollar money-spinner from being taken off the market.

If genetically engineered ‘Roundup ready’ crops – are introduced to fields in Britain, the use of glyphosate could accelerate even further. In her various reports over the years, Mason has shown the massive increase in the use of the weedicide in farming and the correlation with a huge spike in various diseases and conditions in the UK.

Mason wants to make it clear to Jones that when plant physiologists like him say that that glyphosate/Roundup only affects plants, fungi and bacteria and doesn’t affect humans, they are wrong.

She says to Jones:

You claimed, together with Monsanto and global pesticide regulators, that Roundup only affects plants, fungi and bacteria because they had the shikimate pathway which is absent in humans and animals. But humans and animals have trillions of bacteria in their gut: the gut microbiome, the collective genome of organisms inhabiting our body.”

Mason states that obesity is associated with low diversity of bacteria in the microbiome and glyphosate destroys most of the beneficial bacteria and leaves the toxic bacteria behind. In effect, she argues, Roundup (and other biocides) are a major cause of gross obesity, neuropsychiatric disorders and other chronic diseases including cancers, which are all on the rise.

Her report refers to numerous studies, including a paper in Nature to argue that obesity is associated with low bacterial richness in the gut (Chatelier, E.L. et al. Richness of human gut microbiome correlates with metabolic markers: Nature, 2013). 

Mason also draws attention to a multi-author study (Wang, Y. et al, The Gut-Microglia Connection: Implications for Central Nervous System Diseases: Frontiers in Immunology, 2018) which postulates the microbiome has relevance for both gastrointestinal and brain disorders, including autism spectrum disorders, Parkinson’s disease and even demyelinating disorders of the central nervous system.

She adds:

Glyphosate disrupts the shikimate pathway within these gut bacteria, without which we cannot survive. Glyphosate is a strong chelator of essential minerals, such as cobalt, zinc, manganese, calcium, molybdenum and sulphate… Two key problems caused by glyphosate residues in our diet are nutritional deficiencies, especially minerals and essential amino-acids, and systemic toxicity.”

Mason refers to Dr Don Huber, an expert on glyphosate and a senior US plant scientist, who explains that Roundup, as a mineral chelator, probably causes cancer.

Some years ago, Huber wrote to the US Secretary of Agriculture about a pathogen new to science that could significantly impact the health of plants, animals and probably human beings. He argued it is widespread, very serious and is in much higher concentrations in Roundup Ready soybeans and corn – suggesting a link with Roundup.

Rosemary Mason’s 20-plus page report is wide raging in scope and refers to various published peer-reviewed papers to support her arguments (it can be read in full on the academia.edu site). 

Aside from the effects of (the widespread prevalence of) glyphosate and other agrochemicals on human health – especially and disturbingly the exposure and impacts on children and child development – she discusses the environmental costs, including pesticide run off into seas and oceans, the ongoing destruction of the Great Barrier Reef, algae blooms and the fungicidal action of Roundup which is destroying the means by which trees communicate and look after each other.

In relation to sanctioning the continued use of glyphosate in Europe, Mason notes that it was totally unacceptable, possibly negligent or even criminal, for the European Union to have allowed a group of plant scientists on the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (PAFF) – whose knowledge of human physiology was so lacking that they did not recognise that glyphosate has effects on humans – to make decisions that affect human health.

PAFF’s role was pivotal in the decision to re-licence the use of glyphosate in the EU in 2017. Although a list of its members is not made public, as a phytopharmaceuticals committee involved in the authorisation of pesticides, Mason presumes plant physiologists were amply represented and held sway.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that in the UK between May 2010 and the end of 2013, the Department of Health had 130 meetings with representatives of the agrochemicals/GM sector.

If Mason’s letter to Jones tells us anything, it is that the British public need to think long and hard about whose interests are really being served when Boris Johnson and others in high office extol the ‘virtues’ of GM agriculture and its associated chemical inputs.

 

Read more:

https://off-guardian.org/2019/08/26/boris-johnson-gmos-and-glyphosate-ir...

they had enough with agent orange...

Vietnam, one of Australia's largest markets for wheat exports, has banned the use of the widely-used herbicide glyphosate. 

Key points:
  • Australian grain growers value Vietnam as a trading partner
  • Glyphosate is one of the world's most widely used and rigorously tested chemicals
  • Australia's grain growing peak body says the safety of glyphosate is well-established

The Vietnam Government's decision to ban glyphosate means all herbicides containing glyphosate will not be imported into the country, according to Vietnam's Plant Protection Department.

Vietnam is Australia's fourth largest grain trading partner overall and any change to the glyphosate restrictions on imports could have an impact on Australian growers.

However Australia's grain growing peak body, GrainGrowers, said the safety of glyphosate was well-established and it was confident the ban would not affect the export of grain to the country.

GrainGrowers chairman Brett Hosking said there had been rumours for some time that Vietnam was looking at banning the chemical.

"They're a really valuable trading partner and so we respect their right to make decisions about how they manage things like glyphosate in their country," Mr Hosking said.

"There is already a standard around the world for residue limits and all grain exported out of Australia is tested and we know very confidently that the grain we export meets those thresholds for residues."

"Glyphosate isn't a product that commonly finds itself in grain residues," Mr Hosking said.

Glyphosate is one of the world's most widely used and rigorously tested chemicals and Mr Hosking said he wasn't aware of any other country where there was a glyphosate ban in place.

 

Read more:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2019-04-12/vietnam-glyphosate-ban/1099...

 

Glyphosate is the most used herbicide or pesticide in the world, with hundreds of millions of pounds being used every year across the globe. While the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer has determined that glyphosate is probably a cancer-causing agent in humans, the chemical remains in widespread use.

Still, several countries around the world have taken steps to limit glyphosate use or ban it altogether. The legal status of glyphosate and Roundup is ever-evolving, so check back frequently for updates to this page.

In This Section

Read more:https://www.weedkillercrisis.com/topics/countries-that-ban-weedkiller-and-glyphosate/

I certainly banned any weedkiller in my uncertified organic garden...

shutting down democracy...

The Queen will be asked by the government to suspend Parliament days after MPs return to work - and a matter of weeks before the Brexit deadline. 

The BBC's political editor, Laura Kuenssberg, says it will make way for Boris Johnson's new administration to hold a Queen's Speech - laying out the government's future plans - on 14 October.

But it means MPs are unlikely to have time to pass any laws that could stop the prime minister taking the UK out of the EU without a deal on 31 October. 

A No 10 source said: "It's time a new government and new PM set out a plan for the country after we leave the EU." 

The idea of shutting down Parliament - known as prorogation - has caused controversy, with critics saying it would stop MPs being able to play their democratic part in the Brexit process. 

Laura Kuenssberg said only a small number of government ministers knew about the plan and it was going to cause a huge row.

 

Read more:

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-49493632

 

 

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enjoy summer for a bit longer...

The prime minister's decision to suspend Parliament has prompted an angry backlash from MPs and opponents of a no-deal Brexit.

It sparked protests across the country, a legal challenge and a petition with more than a million signatures.

The government said the five-week suspension in September and October will still allow time to debate Brexit.

But critics said it was an "undemocratic" attempt to stop MPs from blocking no deal.

Cabinet minister Michael Gove told the BBC the suspension, which was approved by the Queen on Wednesday, was "certainly not" a political move to obstruct opposition to the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

 

Read more:

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-49504526

 

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"a political move to obstruct opposition to the UK leaving the EU without a deal?"

Nah... It was a move to let MPs enjoy summer for a bit longer...

 

destroying democracy with a ballsy move...

ballsy move...

Demonstrations have been taking place across the UK against Boris Johnson's decision to suspend Parliament in the run-up to Brexit.

Thousands of protesters took to the streets in cities including Manchester, Leeds, York and Belfast. 

Parts of central London were brought to a standstill, as people chanted: "Boris Johnson, shame on you."

A small group of counter-protesters, marching in support of the prime minister, also arrived in Westminster.

Mr Johnson's plan to prorogue Parliament prompted an angry backlash from MPs and opponents of a no-deal Brexit when he announced it on Wednesday.

If the prorogation happens as expected, Parliament will be closed for 23 working days. 

Critics view the length and timing of the suspension - coming just weeks before the Brexit deadline on 31 October - as controversial.

 

Read more:

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-49534940

 

 

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boris is a little broken teapot...

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday did not win the approval of enough members of parliament to go ahead with an early election.

298 MPs voted in favour of an early election, while 56 lawmakers voted against it. At least 434 UK lawmakers needed to vote in favour of early election for it to go ahead.

After the vote, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn is the first opposition leader in UK's history to refuse an election and urged Corbyn's colleagues to think about "unsustainable nature" of their position.

Johnson also suggested Jeremy Corbyn consider the election idea once again.

Earlier, the UK House of Commons has adopted a piece of legislation to delay Brexit beyond 31 October in the absence of an agreement with the EU, that has now been submitted to the House of Lords for approval.

Following the decision, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated that there must be an election on 15 October.

Since assuming office, Johnson has been pushing for withdrawal out of the EU by the 31 October deadline even without a deal. Since he lost the parliamentary majority, the prime minister can no longer guarantee that UK lawmakers will ratify any potential deal, should Brussels agree to renegotiate.

 

Read more:

https://sputniknews.com/europe/201909041076724990-uk-lawmakers-reject-pr...

 

The Europeans would be loonies (who knows!) to let the UK go yet with another proposal for shooting itself in the foot. The little English teapot has lots of dark cash statched away somewhere. See:

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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bojo — living in hope...

(28 AUGUST 2019)


Boris Johnson’s letter to the House of Commons

 

 

 

Dear Colleague,


I hope that you had an enjoyable and productive summer recess, with the opportunity for some rest ahead of the return of the House.


I wanted to take this opportunity to update you on the Government’s plans for its business in Parliament.


As you know, for some time parliamentary business has been sparse. The current session has lasted more than 340 days and needs to be brought to a close — in almost 400 years only the 2010-12 session comes close, at 250 days. Bills have been introduced, which, while worthy in their own right, have at times seemed more about filling time in both the Commons and the Lords, while key Brexit legislation has been held back to ensure it could still be considered for carry-over into a second session. This cannot continue.


I therefore intend to bring forward a new bold and ambitious domestic legislative agenda for the renewal of our country after Brexit. There will be a significant Brexit legislative programme to get through but that should be no excuse for a lack of ambition!


We will help the NHS, fight violent crime, invest in infrastructure and science and cut the cost of living.


This morning I spoke to Her Majesty The Queen to request an end of the current parliamentary session in the second sitting week of September, before commencing the second session of this Parliament with a Queen’s speech on Monday 14 October. A central feature of the legislative programme will be the Government’s number one legislative priority, if a new deal is forthcoming at EU council, to introduce a Withdrawal Agreement Bill and move at pace to secure its passage before 31 October.


I fully recognise that the debate on the Queen’s Speech will be an opportunity for Members of Parliament to express their view on this Government’s legislative agenda and its approach to, and the result of, the European Council on 17-18 October. It is right that you should have the chance to do so, in a clear and unambiguous manner.


I also believe it is vitally important that the key votes associated with the Queen’s Speech and any deal with the EU fall at a time when parliamentarians are best placed to judge the Government’s programme. Parliament will have the opportunity to debate the Government’s overall programme, and approach to Brexit, in the run up to EU Council, and then vote on this on 21 and 22 October, once we know the outcome of the Council. Should I succeed in agreeing a deal with the EU, Parliament will then have the opportunity to pass the Bill required for ratification of the deal ahead of 31 October.


Finally, I want to reiterate to colleagues that these weeks leading up to the European Council on 17/18 October are vitally important for the sake of my negotiations with the EU. Member States are watching what Parliament does with great interest and it is only by showing unity and resolve that we stand a chance of securing a new deal that can be passed by Parliament. In the meantime, the Government will take the responsible approach of continuing its preparations for leaving the EU, with or without a deal.


The Leader of the Commons will update the House in the normal fashion with regard to business for the final week. For now, I can confirm that on Monday 9 September both Houses will debate the motions on the first reports relating to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019 (NIEFA). Following these debates we will begin preparation to end the Parliamentary session ahead of a Queen’s Speech.


The Business Managers in both Houses will shortly engage with their opposite numbers, and MPs more widely, on plans for passing a deal should one be forthcoming. Decisions will also need to be taken about carrying over some of the bills currently before the House, and we will look to work constructively with the Opposition on this front. If agreement cannot be reached we will look to reintroduce the bills in the next session, and details on this will be set out in the Queen’s Speech.


As always my door is open to all colleagues should you wish to discuss this or any other matter.


Boris Johnson



https://www.voltairenet.org/article207485.html

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See also: dying on stage like a bad yellow comedian...

a bridge to the other side...

As London Mayor, Boris Johnson developed a knack for promising — and sometimes delivering — infrastructure that critics deemed inefficient and expensive. 

Key points: 
  • Plans to link Britain and Ireland by bridge have been mooted since the 1800s 
  • Boris Johnson has asked the civil service to assess a bridge's costs and risks 
  • Experts say that the bridge has the potential to heal British tensions over Brexit

 

Critics have called them Mr Johnson's "vanity projects": such as the failed Garden Bridge over the Thames, the rollout of hybrid-diesel London double-decker buses that initially malfunctioned (since discontinued), and the world's most expensive cable car running for a kilometre in East London. 

Today, it appears that history may be repeating at a national level — this time with a bridge linking Northern Ireland and Scotland. 

In September, Britain's Channel 4 revealed documents which showed that both Britain's treasury and transport departments were asked to advise on the costs and risks of a possible bridge.

 

Read more:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-10-26/boris-johnson-is-building-bridges...

 

 

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the need to take drugs to face bojo's freak show...

 





Rapid Fire (UK edition): Send in the Clowns; BoJo in Whiteface; a Glimmer of Hope

 

 

From Chris Floyd visiting recent Facebook posts:


 

1. Feigned Incompetence as a Cover for an Agenda of Extremist Evil
(Williamson can hardly fiddle the science when he can't count to two)

In Covid Time, the UK government has become an endless freak show of third-rate goobers and bug-eyed extremists trying to hide their actual, unconscionable strategy – "Do as close to nothing as we can get away with and let the pandemic 'cull the herd'" – behind a series of threadbare obfuscations which they don't even try to pretend are true. You often hear people declaim in outraged wonder, "They simply *can't* be as stupid as they seem, can they?" My response used to be a shrug and a cynical chuckle, "Oh, yes, they can, and they are!" But I don't really believe that anymore. I don't believe their actions in the pandemic are due largely to stupidity or incompetence. I think, by and large, the people in the government today are acting with studied deliberation to advance the morally depraved agenda they have pursued (often openly) throughout their lives: to destroy the very notion of a greater common good and impose the rule of unaccountable elites.

To do so, they act ruthlessly and continually – and above all, with knowing, deliberate deceit – to degrade and undermine any institution or entity that might offer even the slightest opposition or alternative to their extremist ideology. This includes, most emphatically, the idea of government itself, as a vehicle for enhancing and enriching the lives of ordinary citizens. (In this, of course, they are simply copying – like the witless little toadies they are – their masters on the American rightwing.)

Like their masters, they believe – and have said so, over and over, for years and years – that the only legitimate function of government is to promote the profit and power of the privileged few. They will claim that they believe this blinkered, stunted ideology will produce a better result for the common folk in the long run – but this claim is just another example of their strategy of deceit. Dig deep enough into their own writings, and those of the transatlantic "think tanks" funded by oligarchs and corporations from which they draw their inhumane tropes, and you will find, everywhere, an overarching belief in the inherent superiority of a privileged few (based either on money, genetics, race – or all three) along with an often visceral disgust for the rabble and their unimportant "needs," their stupid aspirations for a better life. No one exemplifies this better than the man actually in charge of the operations of the UK government today, the unelected "advisor," Dominic Cummings. His blog is like a festering cesspit from which the night mind of these depraved extremists bubbles up in raw form.

So while it's always tempting to laugh at their clownish ways, their bumbling, their "gaffes," the reality is not funny at all. Exactly like Trump, they have clowned their way into power, spouting obvious and outrageous lies ("£350 million a week!" "Oven-ready Brexit!"), and are using their buffoonery as a shield and distraction to cover their dangerous and destructive policies.

***

2. BoJo the Bouncing Whiteface Clown
'I hear you': Boris Johnson to Black Lives Matter protesters

This is the racist goober who called black people – in print, in national publications, in the 21st century – "piccaninnies," wrote about their "watermelon smiles," and said the problem with Africa is that "we're not in charge anymore." His public racism has always been FAR more crude and open than Donald Trump's dog-whistles. It's absolutely sickening to watch him waddle out to read off a few insincere words – knowing he'll go straight back to his minder and controller, Dom Cummings, a eugenicist who believes openly in the genetic superiority of an elite "2%" who should be groomed to rule society. Given the ugly filth that Johnson is happy to spew in public, God knows what he and Dom say behind closed doors. What an abysmal collection of third-rate, evil-minded, death-dealing hacks.

***

3. A Glimmer of Hope for Tormented Minds
We can no longer ignore the potential of psychedelic drugs to treat depression

This is absolutely vital research, which holds the promise of immense and profound benefits for the human race. It has been put on hold for 50 years, caught up in culture wars, sensationalism and polticization, which meant that reputable scientific institutions were not allowed to follow up on the promising breakthroughs of the 1950s. It's as if research into the proper application of penicillin was simply frozen for half a century after its discovery – think of all needless human suffering that would have entailed. The same thing is true here. I've been following Carhart-Harris's research (and that of others) for some time; it would be unconscionable not to explore the hope it offers for the positive, non-draconian treatment of many intractable and often tormenting mental ailments.

 

 

Read more:

http://www.chris-floyd.com/mobile/articles/rapid-fire-uk-edition-send-in...

 

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See also: a better stylistic intellectual wheel... in of civilisation and CHAOS...

the worst brexit outcome except for the USA, china, etc...

This time, though, it doesn't look like common sense will prevail. Johnson has ruled out another extension of the transition period and both sides will theoretically need to agree on a wide-ranging trade agreement in the next few months. Normally such a process takes years.


Large, complicated, delicate issues are at stake: the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice; future collaboration on foreign and security policies; and what has seemed to be the most controversial question thus far: How much cod may Danish and French fishermen harvest from British waters. London and Brussels should have been on their way to a compromise long ago, but instead, they are further apart than ever. If nothing changes, cross-Channel trade will collapse at the end of the year, and growth will slow. In the UK alone, long-term growth could fall by around 7 percent, according to official estimates. This slump would come on top of the deepest recession since the end of World War II. It would be a "double dip," another hard blow for the economy.


....


The idea of producing a paper of several hundred pages at a dramatically staged EU summit in October is completely unrealistic, especially because the treaty would then need to be translated into all official EU languages and ratified by the European Parliament.


As a result, Gabriel Felbermayr, the president of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, sees only one chance for a halfway tolerable outcome: the EU must rely on a mini-treaty for trade in goods, which could be supplemented in the next few years with further agreements on services and data protection. "Great Britain is the largest European economy after Germany," the economist says. "For this reason, the EU should accommodate the British and grant them concessions, for example on the free movement of workers." Felbermayr adds: "No deal would be the worst outcome for everyone."

 

 

Read more:

https://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/the-uk-steers-toward-a-no-de...

 

 

BUT:

See also: http://www.yourdemocracy.net.au/drupal/node/37366

 

Too many concession to the Poms and the EU loses its pants... The Pound parity to the Euro has to be fixed, in order to minimise the damage...

a fox in the GM boris-henhouse...

 

Claire Fox’s peerage reflects the emergence of an extremist clique as pillars of Johnson's Brexit establishment. Report: Jonathan Matthews

Were you surprised when one of the very first things Boris Johnson did on becoming Prime Minister was to declare his desire to “liberate” the UK “from anti-genetic modification rules”? 

If it left you wondering, “Where did that come from?”, then you should pay careful attention to the wave of revulsion that has just greeted his handing of a peerage to Claire Fox, the sister of Fiona Fox, the director of the Science Media Centre. It could provide an explanation.

Atrocities defended, genocide denied

Fox’s ennoblement “offends me and many others deeply”, tweeted Colin Parry, father of one of the children murdered in the 1993 IRA bombing of Warrington – an atrocity that, as we previously reported, both the Fox sisters actively sought to defend. Warrington North MP Charlotte Nichols said, “Surely the Prime Minister must understand the hurt that giving her a seat in the House or Lords will cause to the families of those who lost their children in this heinous attack?” 

And the sense of outrage extended well beyond Warrington. In The Times, David Aaronovitch complained that making someone who’d stood in solidarity with republican terror part of Britain’s legislature “sticks in the craw. It chokes us.” 

Survivors of the Bosnian war also expressed their anger about the decision to make Fox, who published articles denying the Srebrenica massacre and similar war crimes, a Baroness. And so did London’s deputy mayor, Tom Copley, who tweeted, “With a few honourable exceptions this is the most appalling list of peerages I’ve ever seen. Packed full of cronies, and at least one genocide denier. Claire Fox has never apologised for denying the genocide of Bosnian Muslims.”

So why would Johnson go out of his way to honour someone so toxic? That question becomes even more puzzling when one considers other aspects of Fox’s record – like the ones featured in a series of tweets by the award-winning foreign correspondent and columnist Ian Birrell: “She ran a magazine that libelled ITV journalists by alleging they faked evidence when exposing some of the worst atrocities in Europe since WW2. It also opposed gun controls after the Dunblane massacre … Fox herself has defended Gary Glitter's right to download pornography of abused children. She argues in support of climate deniers…”

Tight-knit, on-message, and installed in Downing Street

The key to this puzzle may lie in the fact that Claire Fox and her sister Fiona, also a genocide denierand even more prominent than Claire in defending terrorism, are not lone mavericks. They are part of an ideological clique so tight-knit and on-message that a number of commentators – and some ex-members – have branded it a ‘cult’ or ‘sect’. And it is a sect that enjoys a remarkable degree of influence. So much so that Fox’s disturbing views cannot be dismissed as isolated fringe beliefs far removed from government and the levers of power.

As Ian Birrell notes: “Munira Mirza, another of her [Fox’s] follow travellers in this sect, is installed in Downing Street as one of the PM's closest aides. Extraordinary that the modern Tory party wants to be associated in any way with pro-terrorism, pro-child abuse, pro-genocide views.”

Part of the network

The sect is sometimes labelled “the RCP network” (or “LM network”), because like Claire and Fiona Fox, Munira Mirza is said to have been a member of the Revolutionary Communist Party prior to its dissolution in the late nineties. And like many of its members she was part of the network that emerged in lock-step out of the RCP and its magazine Living Marxism – later called LM. The extent of Mirza’s commitment is reflected in the 30 or so articles she has contributed to LM’s equally controversial successor, the Spiked website. And just in case anyone was in any doubt, Spiked’s editor openly acknowledges Mirza as a “friend of spiked”.

Spiked is known to have received substantial dark money funding from the Koch brothers. The support of rightwing billionaires for what was once a tiny Trotskyite splinter group becomes less perplexing once one realises that under the guidance of its founder and leader, the sociologist Frank Furedi, the RCP’s ideology evolved into an ultra-libertarianism opposed not just to controls on guns and child pornography but on science and technology, and corporations and capitalism. This is combined with an almost visceral loathing of environmentalists, who are seen as the enemies of progress because they encourage public concern and strict regulation.

Pillars of Johnson's Brexit establishment

These aspects of their ideology have long enabled the Furediites to attract corporate funding, collaborate with corporate front groups and right-wing think tanks, and more recently to align themselves with the Brexit Party – Claire Fox was one of their MEPs – as well as elements within the Conservative Party. And it’s the Furediites’ enthusiasm for a hard Brexit that has helped turn them into pillars of Boris Johnson's Brexit establishment.

The extent of Munira Mirza’s political influence, in particular, is undeniable. Even though it was Brexit that took her into Downing Street, she was first hired by Johnson when he became Mayor of London in 2008. She then worked with him, starting as an advisor and going on to become deputy mayor for education and culture, throughout his 8 years as London Mayor. By 2018 she was even being tipped as a possible London Mayoral candidate herself.

As Andy Beckett notes in a recent Guardian article, Johnson doesn’t underplay Mirza’s influence on him, calling her “extraordinary”, “ruthless”, and one of “the five women who have shaped my life”. And it is not only Johnson’s life that she has helped to shape. Mirza co-authored the Conservatives’ 2019 election manifesto, which, according to Beckett, had “clear echoes of the RCP’s preoccupations and polemical style”.

Since the election she has headed up Johnson’s Downing Street policy unit and is widely thought to be Johnson’s most important adviser after Dominic Cummings. Mirza’s husband – himself notorious for his involvement in organising orgies for the wealthy – also works closely, if somewhat secretively, with Cummings, as one of the “misfits and weirdos” Cummings has sought to recruit.

Shared agendas

It was to Cummings that Johnson’s unexpected proclamation of his intention to “liberate” GMOs – a desire he flagged up in each of his first three speeches after becoming PM – has generally been attributed. That’s understandable given Cummings’ well-known technophilia, his long-standing interest in eugenics, and his obsession with making the UK a leader in tech development. For Cummings this is a key advantage of getting the UK out of EU regulations: “Post-Brexit Britain will be outside this jurisdiction and able to make faster and better decisions about regulating technology like genomics, AI and robotics”.

But Johnson’s other main advisor is probably just as relevant to his espousal of GMOs and to the speed with which his government has set about trying to deregulate gene editing. Just as with Cummings, getting free of EU regulations over radical new technologies has been a key part of the RCP network’s enthusiasm for Brexit. In fact, they have been seeking to position themselves for years as advisors to the British government on how to bury the precautionary principle, beat back environmentalism, and deal with what they see as the public's “irrational” fear of technologies like nuclear energy, human cloning and genetic engineering.

That’s why you can find members of their network like Fiona Fox directing the Science Media Centre since 2001, Tracey Brown directing Sense About Science since 2002, and Bill Durodié describing himself as an “Advisor to the Prime Minister’s Cabinet Office Strategy Unit study The Costs and Benefits of Genetically Modified (GM) Crops”, during the UK government's last public debate on GM crops which culminated in 2003, to which Tracey Brown also contributed in an advisory capacity.

Back in 2003 Durodie, who lambasts the precautionary principle and public input into decision-making about technology, and Brown, who has shown herself perfectly willing to work with the tobacco industry, were able to gain input into the public debate in order to try to muddy its waters. But now with a public consultation on the deregulation of gene editing due to take place this autumn, we have Munira Mirza sitting at Boris Johnson’s right hand, perfectly placed to help set the terms of that consultation.

Undemocratic and underhand

That hardly bodes well, given that Mirza belongs to an elitist “vanguard” that believes citizen involvement in this kind of decision making is positively undesirable, and which has a long history of manipulating debates. Meanwhile, Johnson’s other key advisor, Dominic Cummings, is also notorious for his ruthlessness in manipulating public discussion.

In 1999, as the GM debate raged in the UK, LM’s science correspondent lamented the fact that “so few” were standing up to public concerns over GM, given that “The GM debate is the terrain upon which society's relationship to science and human endeavour is currently being worked out.” Two decades later, the few are still working to bypass the many – hoping to remove all safety checks and labelling through deregulation of gene editing, thus denying farmers and citizens meaningful seed and food choices while simultaneously removing focal points for further pushback against the unchecked power of the corporate and political elite.

 

Read more:

https://gmwatch.org/en/news/latest-news/19504-who-s-pulling-boris-johnso...

 

Note this article has not been checked by Gus for fake news and opinions, especially in regard to former Yugoslavia where a lot of US and European disinformation were used to go to war, eventually creating more damage than there ever was. Read from top.