The Brexit thread

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Re: The Brexit thread

Postby RocketMan » Sun Aug 11, 2019 11:10 am

Scottish independence looking likelier and likelier...

Then it's on to the re-unification of Ireland...

And then, there is WALES, and I didn't even know Welsh nationalism is a thing until a couple of weeks ago... \<]

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/20 ... dum-brexit

Is Scotland finally set to bid farewell to the union?

“If you’re at the receiving end to being likened to vermin, you’re not impressed,” Rae Jardine, a local Scottish Nationalist party member, said with restraint.

Jardine was speaking last week just after an opinion poll showed the first lead for an independent Scotland for more than two years, and shortly before shadow chancellor John McDonnell triggered a row by saying his party would allow a second independence referendum north of the border if Labour was in government.

Next weekend, thousands of people are expected to join a pro-independence march in Aberdeen. The city voted 58.6% to 41.4% against independence in 2014 but some say it is now shifting behind Yes in the face of a no-deal Brexit – opposed by a majority north of the border – and an instinctive antipathy to Johnson. The prime minister, seen by many as dismissive of Scottish views, was recently described by Ian Blackford, leader of the SNP in the Scottish parliament, as a “recruiting tool” for the independence cause.

Indeed, these twin factors, Johnson and a hard Brexit, could be a tipping point which threatens the very survival of the United Kingdom.


I noticed Gordon Brown (yeccchhh) warning in a column about "toxic nationalism" while getting that article...
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Re: The Brexit thread

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Aug 26, 2019 10:32 am

How US climate deniers are working with far-right racists to hijack Brexit for Big Oil
by Nafeez Ahmed

New evidence reveals how a tightly concentrated global network of politicians and corporations with close ties to the Trump administration is working on behalf of powerful US fossil fuel interests in Britain and Europe.

Several candidates who were in the running to become the next British Prime Minister — Boris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt, Dominic Raab, Michael Gove, Andrea Leadsom, and Steve Baker — are part of this pro-Trump network.

The evidence comes thanks to a network map produced by independent investigative media outlet DeSmog UK, exposing for the first time the astonishing array of connections between President Donald Trump, right-wing lobbies in the US, and far-right parties in the UK and Europe.

Published after a leaked recording showed US secretary of state Mike Pompeo threatening to interfere in British democracy to block opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, the map unveils the extent to which US corporate lobbies with a direct line to senior Trump officials are backing both mainstream British politicians and European far-right extremists.

An alliance to fracture Western Europe

The map released by DeSmog UK exposes how UK Conservative politicians competing for leadership of the party — and of the country — are embedded in a Trumpist lobbying network with funding from US oil and gas companies.

The connections go through a nexus of hardline pro-Brexit lobbying groups campaigning for the break-up of the EU, concentrated around a single, unremarkable-looking road in London, Tufton Street. The Tufton Street network not only works closely with well-known British politicians, it also has extensive ties to far-right parties in Europe with roots in neo-Nazism, from the Sweden Democrats to the Brothers of Italy. Tufton Street groups have received $5.6 million from anonymous US donors since 2008.

The network map uncovers how this nexus of British groups around Tufton Street is being used, through funding and personnel, by the Atlas Network, a neoconservative non-profit based in Washington DC. Funded by the Kochs, Exxon and other fossil fuel giants, Atlas’ main London partner is the Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA), which has lobbied key UK government ministers including several competing to become the next prime minister.

The Atlas Network has direct connections with top Trump administration officials and supports over 450 organizations around the world to promote its vision of the ‘free-market’ — a euphemism for eliminating government regulations, rolling back environment laws, and slashing public spending in the interests of the wealthiest.

Atlas Network think tanks are funded by some of the biggest US fossil fuel producers and funders of climate science denial — such as the Koch brothers (through the Koch Foundation and Donors Trust), ExxonMobil and MasterCard.

The map thus reveals the lines of influence by which US fossil fuel interests are using British lobbying groups based around Tufton Street to interfere in British politics.

Among the map’s implications is that the UK’s hardline Brexit lobby is far from truly ‘nationalist’ — but is actually operating as a front for Trump’s ‘America First’ lobbying efforts to break into European markets.

Mat Hope, editor of DeSmog UK, explained the map’s findings:

‘The map shows how connected this network of people are that portray themselves as neutral experts, but who are actually campaigners for a very specific cause. It shows how a US style politics of funding highly ideological groups to spread a message that suits politicians with a particular radical free-market agenda is now infiltrating the UK.’

The result, he said, is that Brexit has been hijacked by ‘major US funders of climate science denial including the Koch Brothers, and think tanks with strong ties to Donald Trump’, whom he accused of ‘influencing UK politics at the highest level.’

DeSmog UK’s network map encompasses a sprawling, complicated web of over 2,000 connections between politicians, think tanks, lobby groups, business leaders, corporations and other entities across the US, UK and Europe. Derived by painstakingly poring over public record data, the map took four years to produce. Much of the data, which portrays a highly complex interlocking network of interests, is pulled from the DeSmog Climate Disinformation Research Database — a detailed online repository exposing anti-climate lobbyists.

‘The DeSmog map provides a glimpse of the diffuse nature of political power in the 21st Century,’ said Dr Phil Parvin, an associate professor in politics and chair of the Ethics in Public Life Research Group at Loughborough University. Although he pointed out that lobbying in itself is not necessarily a bad thing, the problem is that in a world where money and power aren’t constrained by national borders: ‘It’s not always clear where the influence is coming from, or who’s funding it... Global developments like the rise of Big Data and the massive concentration of wealth among an ever smaller number of high net worth individuals create real challenges for democracies around the world: wealth and political influence are closely connected,’ he told me. ‘At the very least, we need more clarity from our politicians about the interests they represent, and who is backing them.’

The Atlas Network — an arm of US soft power

The revelation that senior UK Conservative Party politicians are part of a hardline Brexit lobbying network dominated by Atlas raises urgent questions about the extent to which powerful Trump lobbies are attempting to influence British politics to accelerate a break-up of the EU.

According to Intercept journalist Lee Fang, Atlas has long ‘operated as a quiet extension of US foreign policy, with Atlas-associated think tanks receiving quiet funding from the State Department and the National Endowment for Democracy [NED], a critical arm of American soft power.’

The NED has been criticized for using State Department funding to facilitate ‘regime change’ in countries antithetical to American interests — an approach that Atlas may be using to manipulate Britain’s Brexit course in the interests of its wealthy donors.

Fang’s investigation revealed that the Atlas Network has systematically penetrated the top layer of the Trump administration through a wide range of political appointments of Atlas connections, including Sebastian Gorka, Trump’s former top counterterrorism advisor (who lost his job after his membership in a Nazi-linked group in Hungary was exposed — his wife Katharine has served as an advisor to Trump’s homeland security department and has been picked for the role of White House press secretary for US Customs and Border Protection); Vice-President Mike Pence; Education Secretary Betsy DeVos; and Judy Shelton, an Atlas Network senior fellow who advised the Trump campaign and transition team before being appointed chair of the NED — the White House now wants to appoint her to the Federal Reserve.

In the US, the Atlas Network affiliates include a host of think tanks dabbling in climate science denial like the Cato Institute, Heritage Foundation, Heartland Institute and Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Its most prominent British members are part of the Tufton Street network, including its global partner, the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) — situated around the corner from Tufton Street on Lord North Street. Further Atlas/IEA partners around Tufton Street include Taxpayers’ Alliance, Centre for Policy Studies, Adam Smith Institute, and Civitas, among many others.

Fossil fuels and climate denial

David and Charles Koch, the owners behind Koch Industries — America’s largest private fossil fuel company — are major Atlas Network donors. They are notorious for funding climate science denial to the tune of more than one hundred million dollars over two decades, and have massive influence over the Trump administration through relationships with key federal staffers. ExxonMobil, one of the top funders of climate science denial, has financed Atlas-affiliates like the climate denying Heartland Institute and donated to the ‘American Friends of IEA’, a US-based fundraising vehicle for the IEA, Atlas’ chief London partner.

The map suggests that the Trump-connected Atlas Network is directly implicated in secretive US lobbying efforts to subvert British democracy. Atlas’ chief London partner, the IEA, was outed last year as having offered to broker access to senior British politicians for American donors trying to influence Brexit. The IEA denied the allegations, but the alleged scam appears to have been part of a wider strategy.

The IEA is closely connected to the notorious climate denial propaganda unit, the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), situated on 55 Tufton Street. Three IEA trustees — Nigel Vinson, Neil Record, and Michael Hintze — are GWPF funders. Both the GWPF and IEA were among a total of nine Tufton Street-based organizations accused in court documents of breaking election laws in a coordinated push for a hard Brexit that would torpedo Britain’s climate targets and leave ‘gaping holes’ in environmental regulation.

By illustrating for the first time how embedded these Tufton Street networks are within Washington’s Atlas Network, the new map indicates that these hard-Brexit British lobbies acted in concert with powerful fossil fuel interests with significant leverage inside the Trump administration.

Tufton Street — a far-right lobbying nexus

DeSmog UK’s map illustrates how Conservative Party candidates competing to become Britain’s next prime minister are deeply embedded in the Atlas Network through its Tufton Street partners.

Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson (Trump’s favourite for prime minister) helped Tory MEP Daniel Hannan found the Tufton Street outfit Initiative for Free Trade (IFT), whose staffers have been hosted by Atlas-affiliated groups, from the American Enterprise Institute to the Heritage Foundation.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid is being advised by Tufton Street veteran Matthew Elliott — whose wife is a member of Americans for Tax Reform, the Koch-funded lobbying vehicle.

Jeremy Hunt has been hosted by the Tufton group, New Culture Forum, where Elliott is on the board. After Trump quoted white supremacist Katie Hopkins’ tweet attacking the Muslim Mayor of London, Hunt said he agreed with Trump’s overall sentiment ‘150 percent’.

Other candidates who have worked with the Atlas Network’s main London partner, the IEA, include former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab, described as ‘the IEA’s man in government’; environment secretary Michael Gove and former Brexit minister Steve Baker who were both linked to an IEA lobbying scandal to allow US donors to influence British policy advice; and former environment secretary Andrea Leadsom, a longstanding member of the IEA’s Free Enterprise Group.

The same nexus works intimately with far-right movements in Europe.

Tufton veteran Tory MEP Daniel Hannan — who has himself been hosted by Atlas affiliates — cofounded the Conservative Party’s EU network of political parties, the Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe (ACRE).

ACRE has cultivated contact with Spain’s anti-Muslim Vox party; Matteo Salvini’s anti-migrant League, part of Italy’s populist government; and Brothers of Italy, a fringe anti-migrant party with fascist roots. For years, Hannan has worked alongside fellow ACRE member, Morten Messerschmidt, a Danish People’s Party MEP who promoted ideas reminiscent of the ‘great replacement’ theory — the racist notion that white populations are being replaced by predominantly Muslim migrants. ACRE’s newest members include the Sweden Democrats, another party with neo-Nazi roots, some of whose officials are former Nazis.

By far one of the most disturbing Tufton Street connections goes through Nigel Farage, founder and former head of the racist-harbouring UKIP party, and Vice Chair of Leave Means Leave, a hardline Brexit group, which is based on the next street along.

During Farage’s leadership of UKIP, at one point the party mysteriously removed its ban on racists becoming members. Farage also met secretly with two anti-Semitic officials from the notorious neo-Nazi British National Party (BNP): one of whom had authored a pamphlet blaming a Jewish conspiracy for orchestrating ‘the mass immigration of non-Europeans into every White country on earth.’

Farage later negotiated UKIP’s alliance with an European Parliamentary grouping comprised largely of white-supremacist and pro-Nazi parties. This year, he formed the Brexit Party, which won the largest number of British votes in the European elections in May. Apart from cavorting with racists, Farage has a long sordid history of climate science denialism, as do numerous politicians from his new party.

Given his embeddedness in the Atlas-dominated Tufton network, Farage’s private meeting with Donald Trump during his recent London visit speaks volumes.

‘We need effective regulation, although it’s difficult to know how that might be designed,’ professor Parvin told me on the unknown impact of foreign lobbying.

Farage exemplifies how this European nexus of climate science denialism and white supremacism is being weaponized by US fossil fuel giants with leverage over Trump’s government, to co-opt the Brexit agenda for their own ends. This would seem to offer little to European citizens, and even less to Europe’s minorities — but a great deal to US corporations.

Nafeez Ahmed is an award-winning investigative journalist and the author of The Return of the Reich: Mapping the Global Resurgence of Far Right Power, Tell Mama UK and INSURGE Intelligence, 2016
https://mondediplo.com/outsidein/brexit-climate-deniers
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Re: The Brexit thread

Postby RocketMan » Wed Aug 28, 2019 10:23 am

The Queen has consented to the prorogation of Parliament on the advice of Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Great Britain is in a constitutional and possibly Royal crisis.
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Re: The Brexit thread

Postby Spiro C. Thiery » Wed Aug 28, 2019 2:01 pm

RocketMan wrote:The Queen has consented to the prorogation of Parliament on the advice of Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Great Britain is in a constitutional and possibly Royal crisis.


Won't dispute the crisis part, but the Queen has never denied consent, which is technically possible via royal prerogative, as prorogation is a routine occurrence. The length has been seen as long but parliament is in recess for about half of that time anyway. Based on this parliament's history, it's not as the difference between two and five weeks is going to be the difference in their ability or will to legislate an alternative. This is just more salty melodrama in the wounds of those who'll suffer the brunt of no deal, should it come to pass.
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Re: The Brexit thread

Postby RocketMan » Wed Aug 28, 2019 3:41 pm

I dunno man. Sometimes small-seeming gestures have far-reaching consequences. It was of course a done deal that the Queen would routinely wave the prorogation through, I don't dispute that. But still, could Johnson be just that one extra bit too unbearable even for the average fence sitter?

Surely, at least Scottish independence is looking likelier by the day?

Spiro C. Thiery » Wed Aug 28, 2019 9:01 pm wrote:
RocketMan wrote:The Queen has consented to the prorogation of Parliament on the advice of Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Great Britain is in a constitutional and possibly Royal crisis.


Won't dispute the crisis part, but the Queen has never denied consent, which is technically possible via royal prerogative, as prorogation is a routine occurrence. The length has been seen as long but parliament is in recess for about half of that time anyway. Based on this parliament's history, it's not as the difference between two and five weeks is going to be the difference in their ability or will to legislate an alternative. This is just more salty melodrama in the wounds of those who'll suffer the brunt of no deal, should it come to pass.
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Re: The Brexit thread

Postby Spiro C. Thiery » Wed Aug 28, 2019 4:14 pm

Time will tell. Funny how in the virtual blink of an eye those advocates for Scottish independence have gone from being nutters to being crazy not to advocate for it.
RocketMan » 30 minutes ago wrote:I dunno man. Sometimes small-seeming gestures have far-reaching consequences. It was of course a done deal that the Queen would routinely wave the prorogation through, I don't dispute that. But still, could Johnson be just that one extra bit too unbearable even for the average fence sitter?

Surely, at least Scottish independence is looking likelier by the day?

Spiro C. Thiery » Wed Aug 28, 2019 9:01 pm wrote:
RocketMan wrote:The Queen has consented to the prorogation of Parliament on the advice of Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Great Britain is in a constitutional and possibly Royal crisis.


Won't dispute the crisis part, but the Queen has never denied consent, which is technically possible via royal prerogative, as prorogation is a routine occurrence. The length has been seen as long but parliament is in recess for about half of that time anyway. Based on this parliament's history, it's not as the difference between two and five weeks is going to be the difference in their ability or will to legislate an alternative. This is just more salty melodrama in the wounds of those who'll suffer the brunt of no deal, should it come to pass.
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Re: The Brexit thread

Postby MacCruiskeen » Sun Sep 01, 2019 11:07 am

Greenland schmeenland. Here's a snapshot of the US's latest acquisition, Brexit Britain:

Image
Airstrip One, Sept. 1st 2019.
There sawe I fyrst the derke ymagynyng
Of felony [...]
The pyckpurse and eke the pale drede,
The smyler, with the knyfe under the cloke.
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Re: The Brexit thread

Postby Iamwhomiam » Sun Sep 01, 2019 11:23 am

Image
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Re: The Brexit thread

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun Sep 01, 2019 11:35 am

stevebell.jpg
stevebell.jpg (264.99 KiB) Viewed 575 times


godwins.jpg
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Julia Davis

TV:
“For Russia, Johnson is a very convenient negotiator, just like Trump. He will inject instability into European politics.”
Host: “And we will wait for them to fall apart.”
“We'll gladly wait until they drive themselves into crisis.”
Host: “We’re so cunning.”
[Audience claps]
[img]https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EAMgk7sUcAAqNed.jpg[[/img]
https://twitter.com/JuliaDavisNews/stat ... 2908322817



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D23ULerHR9g&feature=youtu.be&t=208


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Re: The Brexit thread

Postby Iamwhomiam » Sun Sep 01, 2019 12:52 pm

Spiro C. Thiery » Wed Aug 28, 2019 4:14 pm wrote:Time will tell. Funny how in the virtual blink of an eye those advocates for Scottish independence have gone from being nutters to being crazy not to advocate for it.
RocketMan » 30 minutes ago wrote:I dunno man. Sometimes small-seeming gestures have far-reaching consequences. It was of course a done deal that the Queen would routinely wave the prorogation through, I don't dispute that. But still, could Johnson be just that one extra bit too unbearable even for the average fence sitter?

Surely, at least Scottish independence is looking likelier by the day?

Spiro C. Thiery » Wed Aug 28, 2019 9:01 pm wrote:
RocketMan wrote:The Queen has consented to the prorogation of Parliament on the advice of Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Great Britain is in a constitutional and possibly Royal crisis.


Won't dispute the crisis part, but the Queen has never denied consent, which is technically possible via royal prerogative, as prorogation is a routine occurrence. The length has been seen as long but parliament is in recess for about half of that time anyway. Based on this parliament's history, it's not as the difference between two and five weeks is going to be the difference in their ability or will to legislate an alternative. This is just more salty melodrama in the wounds of those who'll suffer the brunt of no deal, should it come to pass.


If the Queen wants to die a Queen, she had no choice but to agree to the prorogation, imo. Great Britain is indeed in a constitutional and Royal crisis and at a most dangerous time. I agree with Spiro, in that two or five weeks would make no difference as in all the time parliament's had they've only produced - Johnson!

In this climate, good luck in ridding parliament of Him, once it's reassembled. This I completely agree with:
This is just more salty melodrama in the wounds of those who'll suffer the brunt of no deal, should it come to pass.


I also agree with RocketMan, who wrote:
Sometimes small-seeming gestures have far-reaching consequences.

RocketMan also asked:
But still, could Johnson be just that one extra bit too unbearable even for the average fence sitter?

Surely, at least Scottish independence is looking likelier by the day?


Spiro's answer is accurate:
Time will tell.
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Re: The Brexit thread

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Sep 03, 2019 11:06 am

UK PM Boris Johnson loses his majority in the Commons



Sebastian Payne


Philip Lee has just crossed the floor of the Commons to join the Liberal Democrats *while* Boris Johnson is speaking

Statement on his departure from the Tories:
Image
https://twitter.com/SebastianEPayne/sta ... 8971682816
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Re: The Brexit thread

Postby RocketMan » Wed Sep 04, 2019 3:09 am

Boris Johnson has lost his first vote in Parliament, this hasn't happened since William Pitt the Younger in late 1700s I believe.

Today, opposition coalition is set to force Johnson to ask for more time for Brexit while Johnson will attempt to call a snap election.
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Re: The Brexit thread

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:22 am




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Re: The Brexit thread

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Sep 10, 2019 1:10 pm

Who is this Dominic Cummings guy?

Boris Johnson Secretly Asked For A Massive Amount Of User Data To Be Tracked. Dominic Cummings Said It's "TOP PRIORITY".
Leaked documents show the prime minister's chief adviser emailed senior officials instructing them: "We must get this stuff finalised ASAP".

Posted on September 10, 2019, at 6:53 a.m.
Alex Spence

Boris Johnson has secretly ordered the Cabinet Office to turn the government's public internet service into a platform for "targeted and personalised information" to be gathered in the run-up to Brexit, BuzzFeed News has learned.

In a move that has alarmed Whitehall officials, the prime minister has instructed departments to share data they collect about usage of the GOV.UK portal so that it can feed into preparations for leaving the European Union at the end of next month.

Dominic Cummings, the prime minister’s chief adviser, emailed senior officials instructing them to make sure that ministers, department heads and political aides know that the instruction is “TOP PRIORITY”, according to leaked government documents.

In a personal minute on 19 August to members of the cabinet’s EU exit operations (“XO”) committee, which is responsible for no-deal preparations, Johnson said centralised data was also necessary to accelerate his ambitions for a digital revolution in public services. The committee includes chancellor Sajid Javid, home secretary Priti Patel, and the minister responsible for no-deal planning, Michael Gove

“I expect everyone to act immediately to execute the above actions,” Johnson wrote. Any delays were to be reported to his office right away.

Cummings reiterated the urgency of the direction in an email to senior officials on August 28:

To stress: as per the PM note to all Cabinet and ministers yesterday, please ensure that all ministers, Perm Secs, and spads know that this is TOP PRIORITY.
We must get this stuff finalised ASAP and there are many interdependencies resting on this happening.
The PM says a) his office must be informed of anything that will delay the GDS / comms plan by 24 hours and b) CDL will deal with any problems/delays today…
A government spokesperson told BuzzFeed News: “Across the industry, it is normal for organisations to look at how their websites are used to make sure they provide the best possible service.

“Individual government departments currently collect anonymised user data when people use GOV.UK. The Government Digital Service is working on a project to bring this anonymous data together to make sure people can access all the services they need as easily as possible.

“No personal data is collected at any point during the process, and all activity is fully compliant with our legal and ethical obligations.”

However, BuzzFeed News understands that some officials in Whitehall are concerned about such an enormous transfer of data being done at speed, behind closed doors, at a time of national crisis. It is not obvious, one said, how the Cabinet Office having access to all the GOV.UK data from across Whitehall will aid its Brexit preparations.

Privacy campaigners, policy experts and opposition politicians said the move raised a huge number of legal and ethical questions. Pooling the user data from across government would give GDS a detailed picture of people's online interactions with government, the privacy experts said, and this should not be done without the public’s knowledge and rigorous checks to ensure that data rights will be protected.

“Secret orders are not the way to handle these complex policies that have generated huge controversies in the past,” Javier Ruiz Diaz, head of policy at the Open Rights Group, told BuzzFeed News. “We need consultation and public debate to build social consensus for any new gathering of personal data, including the appropriate safeguards.”

“Citizens have a right to know how their data is being used,” said Gavin Freeguard, head of transparency and data at the Institute for Government think tank. “Government should be having the debates and discussion about the appropriate use of data in public, with the public, rather than sending secret notes to cabinet committees.”

Labour said it was suspicious of the urgency and timing of the demand, given that it came as Downing Street was preparing for a political showdown over Brexit and potentially a general election.

Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, told BuzzFeed News: “These leaked memos should set off serious alarm bells. How does profiling citizens help with no deal preparation? Why is government prioritising it when we are just six weeks away from Boris Johnson’s own Brexit deadline, and why the threat to departments that refuse to comply?”

Watson added: “Given Dominic Cummings' focus on data science in the Vote Leave campaign this sudden urgent need for big data collection is extremely concerning. We need immediate clarity about how citizens' data will be protected and assurances that it won’t be misused for party political purposes.”

Cummings, the combative former head of Vote Leave, has a keen understanding of the power of data. The pro-Brexit campaign's success in the 2016 referendum was partly due to its use of digital technology to target messages.

In a personal blog before entering Downing Street, Cummings mused about the potential for data to disrupt and transform public services: “One of the many ways in which Whitehall and Downing Street should be revolutionised is to integrate physicist-dominated data science in decision making,” he wrote in a post in October 2016.

“There really are vast improvements possible in Government that could save hundreds of billions and avoid many disasters. Leaving the EU also requires the destruction of the normal Whitehall/Downing Street system and the development of new methods. A dysfunctional broken system is hardly likely to achieve the most complex UK government project since beating Nazi Germany…”

GOV.UK is the British government’s public internet platform, providing information about and links to services from passports to pensions. Since the start of this month, it has also been the hub for the government’s publicity campaign to prepare voters and businesses for a no-deal Brexit. The government is running advertisements on Facebook and elsewhere urging people to “Get Ready For Brexit”, directing them to GOV.UK for more information.


Cabinet Office

@cabinetofficeuk
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster @MichaelGove has launched the new 'Get Ready For Brexit' campaign. Find out what you need to do to get ready for 31 October at http://www.gov.uk/brexit
Embedded video

1,267
4:01 AM - Sep 1, 2019
Twitter Ads info and privacy

1,572 people are talking about this


At present, usage of GOV.UK is tracked by individual departments, not collected centrally. According to the documents seen by BuzzFeed News, the Cabinet Office's digital unit, the government digital service (GDS), will add an additional layer of tracking that “will enable GDS to have data for the entire journey of a user as they land on GOV.UK from a Google advert or an email link, read content on GOV.UK, click on a link taking them from GOV.UK to a service and then onwards through the service journey to completion”.

In the personal minute, Johnson told members of the XO committee that GDS had been asked to turn the GOV.UK portal into a “platform to allow targeted and personalised information to be gathered, analysed and fed back actively to support key decision making” in the run-up to Brexit.

Departments needed to send data to GDS and “work in partnership so that it can build a single consolidated view of how citizens interact with Government through GOV.UK”, Johnson said. He told ministers they may need to reallocate digital resources and staff to “work on the central analytics platform being developed by GDS as part of the Insights programme to support Brexit preparations for a period of up to 6 months”.

The prime minister added that better data analytics will be crucial to improving digital delivery of public services in the long run:

At the heart of that is our approach to UK digital identity, transitioning to a model driven by ubiquitous digital identity standards. There are decisions ahead on how best accelerate convergence onto these standards, including next steps on Verify. XO has tasked GDS with developing — in cooperation with others — a digital identity accelerated implementation plan and I would ask you all to engage in that work urgently.
Verify is the government’s flagship digital identity scheme. It was meant to be used by 25 million people by 2020, but it failed to meet performance targets and its future is now uncertain. A Public Accounts Committee report concluded in May: “People using Verify have been badly served by an onerous system that is not fit for purpose.”

In the short term, Johnson said, “There are also digital identity factors that relate to preparations for 31st October.” He continued:

There is a desire to develop personalised ‘account creation’ feasability studies pre-31 October which can deliver benefits shortly after. The greater the volume of data structured through personalised ID, the more impact the outcome. Steps that Government can take to increase the volume now whilst continuing to deliver critical services, must be looked at. This includes fully exploiting various current pilots such as use of passport data for identity checking and that new services are meeting an appropriate identity standard that can help not hinder convergence. The accelerated implementation plan can pick this up.
In a separate document seen by BuzzFeed News, departments were told that GDS had been asked to collect data about “key Brexit services” by the end of August 30.

“We have identified a subset of key Brexit services and are already working with those service teams, we are now working to add all other services, including those not related to Brexit,” it said.

Departments were asked to sign a memorandum of understanding setting out the terms of the sharing arrangement and to return it to the Cabinet Office by the end of September 3.

Freeguard, from the Institute for Government, said: “More intelligent and joined up use of data could be a big improvement – for Brexit preparations and elsewhere across government. But doing data in the dark could lead to a loss of public trust and make citizens much more hesitant in allowing their data to be used in future.”
https://www.buzzfeed.com/alexspence/bor ... voter-data


All The Ways Brexit Could Go Now, Explained For People Who Are Confused
We're in the endgame now. Or maybe we're not.

September 5, 2019, at 8:57 a.m.
It’s quite hard to know where people are up to in The Brexit Story, but let’s start here: The prime minister’s brother just walked out of the government.

Image
Leon Neal / Getty Images
Jo Johnson, who had been the MP for Orpington since 2010, tweeted his resignation from his brother's government over what he described as "unresolvable tension". It's yet another brutal blow for the new prime minister.


Alistair Carmichael

@amcarmichaelMP
Seems Jo Johnson has become the first minister to resign to spend less time with his family. Good call.

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5:48 AM - Sep 5, 2019
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Now, with parliament currently going through the process of blocking a no-deal Brexit on October 31, Johnson simply doesn’t have the numbers to call the election he wants – his government got smashed trying to trigger an election late on Wednesday night. Corbyn is pretty much in control in terms of when an election happens because Johnson needs Labour’s votes.

Last night, the House of Lords decided it wouldn’t go through days and nights of delaying the anti-no deal legislation so that’s pretty much guaranteed to pass in the coming days.

The law passes, an election is coming, the government has no majority, please stay calm, make a cuppa, and let’s see how this can shake out.

1. Corbyn agrees to an October 15 election.

Marvel
Johnson is bringing his election motion back on Monday. That’s why the pro-Conservative newspapers are reverting to an all-out PR war, which involves photoshopping Corbyn into various poses as a “chicken”. They’re trying to get him to agree to an election as soon as possible. They’re desperate.


Kate Lyons

@MsKateLyons
Observe the different treatment of yesterday's events in the Sun in England and the Scottish Sun.
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5,464
1:10 AM - Sep 5, 2019

Now, Corbyn may ultimately decide to agree to Johnson’s request for an election on October 15 — that would mean the Rebel Alliance legislation to block no-deal passes but the election happens before the PM is forced to ask the EU for an extension to the Brexit deadline. Corbyn wants to be the prime minister after all, right. Right?!

BUT the October 15 election is what Johnson wants more than anything. It lets him have a very populist-sounding election, which pits him versus the “anti-Brexit parliament”.

If it’s going to happen, Corbyn has to agree by Tuesday — that’s the last date by which an election can be called in October.

2. Corbyn insists on an election after October 19.

Marvel
Labour MPs led by their shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer are trying to convince Corbyn TO NOT give Johnson what he wants before the all-important Brexit extension is secured.

Their public reasoning is that they need to make sure the extension has been agreed before the election is called, so Johnson cannot play fast and loose and change the election date until after Brexit. But their actual reason for a post-extension election is the embarrassment it would cause Johnson.

The prime minister has promised he will not agree to another Brexit extension under any circumstances.

3. Johnson refuses to abide by the law.

BBC One
This is where things get real, like shit-hits-Big-Ben, call your mother.

One option — which as we’ve previously reported has been considered at the very top of Number 10 — is for Boris Johnson simply to ignore the new law that says he must seek an extension to Brexit.

Johnson could tell the Queen not to give the new law royal assent. Or, if it does become law, Johnson could refuse to send the extension request to Brussels.

This batshit mental move would end up in court and could even theoretically risk Johnson being arrested for breaking the law.

Unlikely, yes, but this is Brexit. People are out here living their weirdest lives.

4. Johnson asks a sympathetic European country to veto a Brexit extension.

HBO
Have you recovered from the possibility of the prime minister getting arrested? Well, here’s another one for you.

Johnson might try to convince one of the 27 other European countries in the EU to exercise its veto, stopping any extension to Article 50.

For example, Johnson could call up Hungary’s right-wing populist prime minister Viktor Orban, and says, “Viktor, we need a favour, block it."

There’s absolutely no indication any of the 27 leaders, even the most sympathetic anti-EU leaders, would be up for this, though.

5. Johnson tries to get around the Fixed-term Parliament act.

Channel 4 / HBO
The Fixed-term Parliament Act (FTPA), brought in by then prime minister David Cameron, says that two-thirds of the House of Commons must vote for an election for one to be called. Johnson doesn’t have two-thirds of MPs to call, not even close.

So, Johnson could try to get round this by bringing in a new bill, which would override the FTPA with a simple majority.

The problem is with the Scottish National Party currently supporting Jeremy Corbyn’s position, it doesn’t look like Johnson has a simple majority either. They could change their minds on Monday though. That said, the bill would probably be killed in the Lords.

How about this for an insult to injury: The government’s controversial decision to suspend parliament next week now means there are very few days for them to come up with this type of chicanery. You absolutely love to see it.

6. Johnson calls a confidence vote... in himself.

BBC One
If Johnson has no way of calling an election on his own terms he might take the insane step of calling a vote of no confidence in himself. Then, deliberately trying to lose it.

Corbyn would be in a tricky position as he could hardly vote that he has confidence in Johnson’s government.

If Johnson successfully “lost” the vote — yes, this is getting silly now — it would trigger a process by which opposition parties have 14 days to form a new government or face an election.

7. Johnson resigns.

Marvel
It isn’t beyond the realms of possibility that Johnson, faced with no way of calling an election before having to extend the Brexit deadline, and unwilling to break the law, decides he just cannot break his promise to the British people not to delay Brexit: He resigns as prime minister.

Either another Conservative or an opposition MP would have to try to secure the confidence of the Commons. Remember, there doesn’t have to be an election yet. The Commons, with the current intake of MPs, could go into government-building mode.

But Johnson has wanted to be prime minister his whole life — would he really give up the job after just a few weeks?

8. Corbyn calls the confidence vote.

Dreamworks
Alternatively, Corbyn could try to seize the initiative and — once the legislation blocking no deal has passed — call a vote of no confidence in Johnson. Johnson has lost every single one of his Commons votes so far. He might well lose this one, if Corbyn went for it.

9. Corbyn becomes prime minister before the election.

BBC One
During the 14-day period, Corbyn would first try to form a Labour government. He could be backed by the expelled Conservative rebels (not likely, but still), the Lib Dems and the SNP and get a majority.

Then he would expect to be called in by the Queen and appointed prime minister.

10. A Government of National Unity.

BBC One
If Corbyn can’t form a majority — and trust us, it’s entirely possible even Labour MPs could thwart him — then opposition MPs could try to form a Government of National Unity. It perhaps led by someone like the newly independent MP Ken Clarke.

This seems extremely unlikely — if MPs refuse to put Corbyn in, why would he back someone else?

11. Johnson eventually gets an election in October, or November, and wins.

HBO
It does seem that an election, either on Johnson’s terms in October or on Labour’s terms in November, is inevitable.

It’s possible that Johnson’s election pitch in favour of a no-deal Brexit, while accusing opposition MPs of blocking the “will of the people”, is popular and secures him a Commons majority.

Then ladies and gentleman, newly-elected prime minister Boris Johnson overturns the no-deal legislation, and sets the country on course for a no-deal Brexit.

12. Corbyn wins the election.

i.imgur.com
Alternatively, the Brexit chaos could cost the Tories big time. Faced with the no-deal Brexit cliff, voters may propel Corbyn into Downing Street.

Labour’s Brexit policy is a fucking mess tbh, but prime minister Corbyn would likely try to strike a new deal with the European Union. He may then put that deal to a referendum. Remember referendums? REMEMBER THOSE.

13. There's an election, but it delivers a hung parliament.

BBC One
Arguably the outcome to cause the greatest chill throughout Westminster is that an election is held and there’s no clear winner. There’s another hung parliament.

Johnson would remain as prime minister until another MP can secure the confidence of the Commons. And there’s just no way of knowing what would happen next.

This really is the scenario that would prolong the country’s long Brexit nightmare — and you absolutely should not rule it out.

Of course, all this could be solved if the EU just agreed to take out, or time-limit the Northern Ireland backstop – the insurance policy that ensures an open border on the island of Ireland, which is very important – that’s currently preventing many Tory MPs in Parliament from voting for a deal.

The problem is the EU has ruled out ever doing this. If they blink or cave, which they say they won’t, maybe a new Brexit deal could pass the parliament? Simple!
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Re: The Brexit thread

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed Sep 11, 2019 8:02 am


David Allen Green

The Scottish court has found unanimously that the Prime Minister misled the Queen

In effect, the court has held that Boris Johnson lied to the Queen so as to obtain prorogation

Wow

Just, wow

Not seen a court decision like this in thirty years of constitutional geekery

8
2:44 AM - 11 Sep 2019

Boris Johnson is the first prime minister to have been found by a court to have misled a king or queen.

So that missing witness statement was very significant indeed

Its absence meant that the Scottish judges could infer improper motive.

Very much Sherlock Holmes's curious incident of the dog not barking

My piece on that missing statement https://www.ft.com/content/11983298-d08 ... ded7a7fe3f

https://twitter.com/davidallengreen/sta ... 2500791296


Business owner Gina Miller is challenging the High Court ruling that the recent decision to suspend parliament was legal © AFP

David Allen Green SEPTEMBER 6, 2019
Some legal cases are more interesting for what happens, or does not happen, during the proceedings than for the result. And sometimes it is a piece of evidence, or missing piece of evidence, which can be the most important thing about a case.

On Friday the High Court in London turned down a legal challenge to the planned suspension of parliament for five weeks. A similar challenge in Scotland is still going on. There are likely to be appeals to the UK’s Supreme Court.

Both the legal actions are arguable, and they may ultimately prevail. The Supreme Court could declare that it was unlawful for the government to ask the Queen to prorogue parliament during the run-up to October 31, the date on which the UK is set to leave the EU by automatic operations of law. It is more likely that the justices will sidestep the claim, saying it is “non-justiciable” and a matter for politics not law.

But as with Sherlock Holmes’s dog that did not bark in the night time, there was a strange omission from the evidence put before the court.

The challengers argue that the government had an improper motive in seeking the prorogation. They say that the real intention was a cynical effort to close down parliament, so it could not block a no-deal Brexit, rather than the stated reason that it was merely to facilitate a new Queen’s Speech and the launch of a new parliamentary session.

Usually, there is a straightforward way to rebut, if not refute, such an allegation of bad faith. Those facing such an accusation can, and normally would, submit a witness statement from a senior official or minister setting out the account of how a decision was made, detailing the relevant considerations and the information on which the decision was based. Such evidence, if cogent, defeats such a challenge, unless the evidence can be controverted, or bad faith shown.

But the government did not provide such witness statements in this case. There has been no official explanation. Their absence in this kind of litigation is conspicuous.

There are three possible reasons for this. The first is that a deliberate, prior and tactical decision was made not to put such evidence in. This is possible, though odd. It may be that the government believed that the burden was on the challengers to make their cases, not for the government to say anything.

The second is that the government planned to put in such witness evidence, but something came up to frustrate the process. Perhaps documents could not be found, or unexpected information came to light. Perhaps litigators ran out of time to finalise their draft, or the witnesses, in whose name the statement would be, could not agree on the wording.

All these things are possible, but it must be noted that the government lawyers who handle these kinds of judicial review claims are among the best in the profession.

But there is a third startling possibility. Joanna Cherry, an experienced advocate and the Scottish Nationalist MP behind the case in Edinburgh, has already raised it at a parliamentary select committee, as has former attorney-general Dominic Grieve on the floor of the House of Commons.

Could it be that a witness statement was intended and prepared but that the relevant senior officials refused to sign it? Or that the document contained something the government did not want the court, or the world, to know? Ms Cherry asked Michael Gove, the minister responsible for no-deal planning, about it. He said he had “absolutely no idea”.

Witness statements are formal court documents, and it is a criminal offence to sign one that you know to be incorrect. They are serious documents for serious people, as far apart from the trivial discourse of political sloganeering and promises as one can imagine. Witness statements matter.

The government’s position on prorogation is that the request was made for routine reasons, and not to frustrate parliament. The legal challengers in London say there is evidence that ministers themselves do not quite believe it. But that is the official version.

The government has disclosed some documents which, on their face, show that the prorogation was routine but Ms Cherry and others fear that these do not provide a full account, and that the decision was contained in unofficial communications, such as WhatsApp messages. My own view is that if the government’s disclosed documents were the entire story then a witness statement would not have been a problem.

All this said, if the prorogation was cynical and political, that does not itself mean that it was unlawful: the courts may treat this as a matter for politicians and not judges. And the absence of evidence does not mean that any particular speculation as to the real intentions would be true.

But if the reason for prorogation was not that which was given, then this, regardless of any legal sanction, shows that the current government continues to casually abuse constitutional norms. And that is why our attention must be drawn to the curious incident of the missing witness statement at this time.
https://www.ft.com/content/11983298-d08 ... ded7a7fe3f
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