I was Boris Johnson’s boss: he is utterly unfit to be prime minister

If the Johnson family had stuck to showbusiness like the Osmonds, Marx Brothers or von Trapp family, the world would be a better place. Yet the Tories, in their terror, have elevated a cavorting charlatan to the steps of Downing Street, and they should expect to pay a full forfeit when voters get the message. If the price of Johnson proves to be Corbyn, blame will rest with the Conservative party, which is about to foist a tasteless joke upon the British people – who will not find it funny for long.

Max Hastings in The Guardian

Boris Johnson’s long list of broken promises to voters

Johnson has promised not to delay Brexit if he becomes prime minister. However, analysis of his record reveals a long list of previous broken pledges.
— Read on www.businessinsider.com/boris-johnson-broken-promises-london-mayor-conservative-party-leadership-contest-2019-6

Should I Respect Your Beliefs?

via Should I Respect Your Beliefs? | Courtney Heard

There is not a religion on earth I respect and there’s one simple reason: I value the truth. Centering your life and your core values around something for which there is no evidence is dangerous. Once you accept one idea on faith, you’ve set your standard of evidence extremely low. You can then be led to believe other ideas for which there exists no empirical, demonstrable evidence. As such, these beliefs make it easy to inspire murder, child abuse, science and medicine denial, wars, genocides, discrimination and the stripping of human rights. Stubborn belief in that which cannot be proven is the very last thing that deserves respect.

I reserve my respect for that which does deserve it. That which upholds the value of human life; that which values individual rights. I save my respect for people, for this planet, and all the creatures on it, including you, but I will not give it to your unfounded beliefs. The very fact that you feel the need to demand respect for your beliefs from strangers on the internet is perhaps a sign they are not worthy of respect at all.

Lord Heseltine unveiled as European Movement President

We know what purpose we have today.

Our purpose remains crystal clear.

We stand for a stable, peaceful Europe.

We stand for a union of Parliamentary democracies.

We stand for a continent of shared resources thus empowered to play a full and equal role in the modern world.

We stand for those who believe that there are obligations inspired by our relative prosperity.

Source

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Another Dead-end Brexit Exchange with my MP

My MP is Bob Stewart in Beckenham. He is a rabid Brexiter and “willovthepeepul” supporter. We have had several email exchanges since the 2016 referendum and they usually end in the same way: he either does not respond to my latest email, or as in this case, offers a patently ludicrous comment.

Dear Bob,

I have just watched this talk by the journalist, Carole Cadwalladr:

https://www.ted.com/talks/carole_cadwalladr_facebook_s_role_in_brexit_and_the_threat_to_democracy

She presents further evidence that the results of the referendum have been impacted by illegal behaviour and by influences and money from outside the UK.

I ask you, how can you continue to support the country leaving the E.U. when it is increasingly clear that the majority was achieved by illegal means?

Regards,

Roger

I received this response:

Dear Roger,

I am afraid that I distrust this journalist greatly and view most of what she says with great care.  As I understand it the courts have looked at both sides of the BREXIT campaign and determined that nothing illegal took place (my emphasis).  The Electoral Commission seems to have that view too.   I prefer a court/electoral commission version of events than that of a journalist whose judgement has proved so faulty very often in the past.

Sorry to disappoint you but perhaps you might look at some of the past reports written by this lady.

With best wishes,

Bob Stewart

Bob has made no attempt to refute the evidence, but offers ad hominem attacks and cries of “fake news”. So I responded with some links to various items of news:

Dear Bob,

I beg to differ that the Electoral Commission has found no evidence of illegal behaviour:

“UK court rules against electoral watchdog in Brexit spending row”

“Brexit: Vote Leave broke electoral law, says Electoral Commission“

Other reports underline the illegitimacy of the results:

“The referendum was advisory and, as such, did not fall within the scope of legislation that might, in other circumstances, void an election by virtue of lawbreaking.”

“The investigation also found Vote Leave was unable to provide evidence the people who received the messages had given their consent, a key requirement of UK electronic marketing law.”

“It is “very likely” that the UK voted for Brexit because of illegal overspending by the Vote Leave campaign, according to an Oxford professor’s evidence to the High Court.”

“Pro-Brexit campaign group Leave.EU and the Arron Banks firm Eldon Insurance have been fined £60,000 each for illegal marketing messages.”

The Vote Leave director admits that Brexit wouldn’t have won without the £350 million for the NHS lies.

https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/opendemocracyuk/revealed-arron-banks-brexit-campaign-had-more-meetings-w/

Your response does not disappoint. I expected no more. Instead of offering evidence to refute the claims made in the Cadwalladr video and elsewhere, you simply offer the Trumpian fake news defence.

The referendum was called not because it was in the national interest, but because David Cameron was attempting to appease the eurosceptics in the Tory Party and the loss of votes to UKIP. Theresa May became PM because she was apparently considered the least-worst option by 199 Conservative MPs. She has continued to favour protecting her party over the national interest.

I would be fascinated to read any arguments you may wish to offer to dissuade me of that view.

Regards,

Roger

And Bob’s final sally:

Roger,

I don’t want to get into a ping pong match but will simply say my belief.  If illegal stuff had actually been done do you not think someone like Gina  Miller for instance would have taken an organisation or persons to court for it?  That has not happened as far as I can see!

Bob

No “illegal stuff? Do fine by the Electoral Commission and ICO fines not count? Again no evidence-based arguments and no attempt to deny that the referendum and May’s currently behaviour is all about looking after the Tory Party and not about the best interests of the contry.

Bob Stewart appears on the Tory whips alleged sleaze list. Whether that has influenced his voting behaviour, I cannot say.

Facebook’s role in Brexit — and the threat to democracy

Mark Zuckerberg: what a c***!

Revealed: Trump-linked US Christian ‘fundamentalists’ pour millions of ‘dark money’ into Europe, boosting the far right

MEPs call for action as openDemocracy analysis reveals ‘shocking’ flows of cash crossing the Atlantic to push ultra-conservative agendas.

US Christian right ‘fundamentalists’ linked to the Trump administration and Steve Bannon are among a dozen American groups that have poured at least $50 million of ‘dark money’ into Europe over the last decade, openDemocracy can reveal today.

Between them, these groups have backed ‘armies’ of ultra-conservative lawyers and political activists, as well as ‘family values’ campaigns against LGBT rights, sex education and abortion – and a number appear to have increasing links with Europe’s far right.

Source: Revealed: Trump-linked US Christian ‘fundamentalists’ pour millions of ‘dark money’ into Europe, boosting the far right

To quote Stephen Fry, “Religion: shit it”.

 

The humbling of Britain

The “enemies of the people” are not those opposing Brexit, but the reckless politicians who have brought us to this act of self-harm.

Last but not least, a sizeable number of MPs should be included in this hall of shame. At least two-thirds voted Remain in 2016. Most privately consider Brexit an act of folly. Some have since shown great courage in fighting for their convictions, but too many have chosen to take the path of least resistance, to put their careers and party before the interests of the country, to follow and not to lead.

Source: The humbling of Britain

Brexit: Donald Tusk says EU must not ‘betray’ Remain voters

He (Guy Verhofstadt) compared Mr Farage to Earl Haig, the First World War British Expeditionary Force commander who was lampooned in the comedy Blackadder Goes Forth as having a callous disregard for the men he sent into battle.

“I thought he was marching somewhere in Britain,” Mr Verhofstadt said to laughter. “You remind me more and more of Field Marshal Haig in Blackadder. He was sitting in the First World War in London, while you are sitting in Strasbourg, when his own people are marching in the wind and cold.”

Source: Brexit: Donald Tusk says EU must not ‘betray’ Remain voters

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May’s party-first policy could come back to haunt her

As trust evaporates in Whitehall, Lord Kerr of Kinlochard, the former head of the Foreign Office, insists officials are not trying to undermine the government. “They do what their political masters tell them but morale is low because most people fear that what they are doing is going to be hostile to the economic wellbeing of the country. The prime minister looks as if trying to hold the party together is her primary concern.”

Lord Kerslake, the former head of the civil service, says officials are increasingly torn. “The civil service have a loyalty to the government of the day but they are also servants of the crown and the country. Normally there isn’t a conflict because you expect the government to act on behalf of the country but in the situation we are now in, where the interests of the Conservative Party are not necessarily the same as the interests of the country and the consequences are so grave, I do feel that their responsibility to crown and country needs to play in.”

Yesterday, Sir Nicholas Soames tweeted a photograph of the Parliament Square statue of his grandfather Winston Churchill, with the words “What on earth should we do in the national interest?” It is the only question that matters but Mrs May seems more interested in the unity of the Tory Party and her own political survival than the fate of the country.

Source: May’s party-first policy could come back to haunt her

This underlines what has been pretty obvious for some time.