Tag Archives: Boris Johnson

Writing About Brexit: Sajid Javid resigns

EdinburghEye on Ko-FiThis was first posted on Facebook on 14th February 2020, with support from my Ko-Fi network.

I know that right now, the fact of Sajid Javid’s resignation as Chancellor, his replacement as Chancellor by a junior minister who was elected MP in 2015 & before that worked for Goldman Sachs, and the fact that Budget Day for the UK is 11th March and it’s pretty evident that though Rishi Sunak will be presenting the Budget in the Commons, Dominic Cummings will be the Budget’s main author – all of this is more than a little overwhelming, and rightly so.

However, I’d ask you also to consider this:
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Writing About Brexit: first PMQs after Brexit Day

EdinburghEye on Ko-FiThis was first posted on Facebook on 5th February 2020, with support from my Ko-Fi network.

I am not a fan of PMQs.

The format, which alternates grovelling questions from Tories inviting self-praise from the PM, with questions from Labour and from the SNP, isn’t really conductive to anything except letting the Tory PM self-praise and spout BS.

(I am not arguing that Blair or Brown’s PMQs were any better, but the last time I listened to a Labour PM at PMQs was at least a decade ago.)

I listened today because it’s the first PMQs after Brexit, and Boris Johnson was taking them himself instead of squirrelling off somewhere else and handing the job to one of his minions.
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Writing About Brexit: watch what they do, not what they say

EdinburghEye on Ko-FiThis was first posted on Facebook on 4th February 2020, with support from my Ko-Fi network.

Boris Johnson and his Ministers said a lot of stuff over the weekend about breaking the Withdrawal Agreement.

He may actually mean what he said, but we don’t know if he does, because we can’t trust anything Boris Johnson says.

And at the moment, this is all just words. Lots and lots of wild, distracting, frightening words.
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Writing About Brexit: wild and whirling words

EdinburghEye on Ko-FiThis was first posted on Facebook on 3rd February 2020, with support from my Ko-Fi network.

“There is no need for a free trade agreement to involve accepting EU rules on competition policy, subsidies, social protection, the environment, or anything similar any more than the EU should be obliged to accept UK rules,” says Boris Johnson’s pre-written speech for Monday 3rd February, leaked Saturday.

The negotiations are not due to begin til Sunday 1st March, and the trade deal must have been negotiated, checked, translated, and presented to the European Parliament before the close of the penultimate European Parliament plenary session of 2020, which is Thursday 26th November. The UK can ask for an extension on the 31st December deadline if we do so by 30th June, but Boris Johnson has already said he isn’t going to do that.
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Writing About Brexit: This is not the end

EdinburghEye on Ko-FiThis was first posted on Facebook at 11pm on 31st January month 2020, with support from my Ko-Fi network.

Fuck Brexit.

We’ll be back.

Boris Johnson holding Get Brexit Done teatowelMeantime: Boris Johnson wants you to believe he did “Get Brexit Done” – he’s lying. He’s just landed the UK in a horrible unfixable mess, that’s all.

He won’t want to be reminded to release the Russia report on Russian interference in the 2016 EU referendum – so let’s do it.

Boris Johnson in front of the bus promising £350M a week for the NHSAnd he won’t want to be reminded he promised there’d be £350M a week for the NHS. Make him hear it.

To all EU citizens living in the UK: you are still welcome, and always will be.

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Writing About Brexit: Brexit Day

EdinburghEye on Ko-FiThis was first posted on Facebook on 31st January 2020, with support from my Ko-Fi network.

Boris Johnson says that midnight Brussels time, 11pm in London, when #Brexit begins, represents “a new dawn”.

That would be the new dawn in Singapore – as the “low key celebration” begins in Number 10 Downing Street, the sun rises at 6:55am Singapore Standard Time.
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Labour Leadership election: Stage 1

EdinburghEye on Ko-FiThis was first posted on Facebook on 29th January 2020, with support from my Ko-Fi network.

The next general election for the UK is likely to be in 2024. According to the terms of the Fixed Term Parliament Act, GE2024 would be held Thursday 2nd May (but Johnson says he intends to repeal FTP): according to the Parliamentary Act of 1911, the next general election can be held at the whim of the Prime Minister but no later than Thursday 12th December 2024.

The Leader of the Opposition until the next general election, and of course we hope Prime Minister thereafter, will be one of four people: Continue reading

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Writing About Brexit: Scottish independence now?

EdinburghEye on Ko-FiThis was first posted on Facebook on 22nd January 2020, with support from my Ko-Fi network.

The democratic case for a second Scottish referendum on independence is pretty clear.

In November 2014, 55.5% of those in Scotland who voted – a shade under 47% of the total electorate, given an 84.5% turnout – voted for Scotland to Remain in the UK. This following a campaign by Labour, the Tories, & the LibDems, which pushed very strongly by both direct and indirect campaigning, that if Scotland became independent, Scotland would no longer be a member of the EU.
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Writing About Brexit: we despair

EdinburghEye on Ko-FiThis was first posted on Facebook on 22nd January 2020, with support from my Ko-Fi network.

I haven’t written about Brexit since 3rd January, or even about the Labour leadership election, or Scottish independence, and I meant to do all three.

The day I planned to take as a Kofi day was Thursday 9th January, and as some of you know, instead I took a personal day for something else, and this gave me time to think and thinking was honestly depressing.

I have seen several articles by people who should know better saying hopefully that the amendments that were voted down by Boris Johnson’s bullet-proof majority in the Commons but re-instated in the Lords, where Johnson doesn’t have a majority, will make a difference.
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Writing About Indyref2020 and Brexit

EdinburghEye on Ko-FiThis was first posted on Facebook on 20th December 2019, with support from my Ko-Fi network.

I did not listen to the live debate in the House of Commons today. The Withdrawal Agreement bill passed second reading 358 votes to 234 – a majority substantially larger than the 80-vote government majority.

In part this is because I genuinely didn’t feel I can face it – after all, we already knew how it ends, wiith a majority of 80 Tory MPs. I am going to follow what has happened in other ways (there’s always Hansard) and write it up at some point before we return to the Withdrawal Agreement debate in January.

Yesterday I skipped listening to the indyref2020 debate in the Scottish Parliament to listen to the Queen’s Speech instead. The result in Holyrood was as predictable as today’s debate will be in Westminster: the SNP and the Greens together have a majority for the independence referendum, and they outvoted the Labour, Tory, and LibDem MSPs against it.

There is a good Twitter thread about the debate by Sara Sheridan, a Scottish writer.

All that remains is for Boris Johnson to grant a Section 30 order, or – if things get sufficiently extreme – for Nicola Sturgeon to go ahead without one.

“Sufficiently extreme” is my speculation, and I’m thinking on the lines of major food and drugs shortages following no-deal or very hard Brexit: no-deal Brexit is now unlikely, and hard Brexit isn’t going to happen til 31st December 2020. The Scottsh Parliamentary elections will take place in May 2021, and if SNP and Green again have a majority, there isn’t really a democratic reason to reject a second indyref.

One coherent argument against indyref2 – or against EUref2, which won’t now happen – is that Boris Johnson will simply summon his team of dishonest-social-media-makers and run a hidden campaign urging people not to vote.

To be clear:

In my opinion, regardless of whether a referendum is legislated to be legally binding, it gains moral authority in itself and in international law if turnout is equivalent to or higher than your average general election, and the result shows a very clear majority for independence – and especially if the result shows the majority of the electorate voted for independence. We had that kind of overwhelming result when Scotland voted to re-establish our Parliament with tax-raising powers: and the 2014 referendum got a strikingly-high turnout (much higher than the turnout for the 2016 referendum).

So Boris Johnson’s simplest method of destroying the validity of a Scottish referendum would be running online campaigns under the table convincing people not to vote, and then pointing at the low turn out as a reason not to honour the referendum result.

This might work.

Or it might not.

Because it *doesn’t* work against grassroots campaigns where people know something isn’t so and can say so loud and clear.

You’ve probably never heard of Marky Booth. At least, I never had. He is, self-described, a young student – early 20s – who graduated Edinburgh University with a First in Politics and International Relations and was a research asisstant for the SNP. He was active in the Scottish independence youth movement when at university and mentions going to Young Scots for Independence karaoke nights. While living in Wales he did some research work for Wings Over Scotland and ran a site called independence dot ws which he then handed over to someone else called Michael Wright to run for him. Independence dot ws has a gofundme link asking for donations. Marky Booth was unexpectedly anti-trans and anti “the woke brigade” in the independence movement – I mean unexpectedly for a supposed-21-year-old, since the rejection of LGBT rights and equality is a very, very generational thing.

Archibald Cameron, who blogs as The Mammoth Whale, discovered that none of this was true, and he did it by asking. No one in the Edinburgh SNP branch or elsewhere remembers or is able to find any trace of a research assistant named Marky Booth. No one recognises the photos. No one in the Edinburgh independence youth movements remembers Marky Booth: no one who went to the YSI karaoke nights ever met him. The photos with a background all look American. There is no degree in Politics and International Relations offered at Edinburgh University. His photo of his fiance’s hand with a ring on it is a stock photo and when asked to provide a timestamped photo of himself he said he was ill, said he had checked into hospital, said he’d made a suicide attempt, and then deleted his account.

Some of this could have been done anywhere by anyone. But what’s telling – and particularly Scottish – is that the community Marky Booth claimed to belong to was available for questioning and didn’t know him. This would apply to any well-connected community, of course. (To my fannish friends. think if someone out of nowhere suddenly claimed to be a BNF/SMOF who’d been to all the Worldcons and done lots of work for fandom: if they did, there would be so many fans around who really *had* gone to those Worldcons and knew people who knew people and would be able to say, definitely: Nope, we never heard of you.) But the point is: Scotland is a small country. Edinburgh, as we Edinburghers are fond of complaining to each other, is a remarkably small city. People know people who know people who know people.

Last time – in 2014 – the campaign for and against independence was very much a town-hall meeting, face-to-face argument campaign. It took place online too – Stuart Campbell, of the late Wings Over Scotland account, made a career out of it. But Stuart Campbell, greatly though I dislike him, was upfront and clear about who he was and where he was living.

Marky Booth may be “really” a man in his forties called Michael Wright who lives in Aberdeen. If we ever find out, it will be because of the gofundme account: which was indubitably set up by a Michael Wright. When you ask for money under a false identity, the police may be interested enough to investigate.

I am more hopeful that, when indyref2 happens, we will be able to see off the bots and the fake news than I am that Labour and the media are prepared for Boris Johnson running yet another lying Facebook campaign when he decides to call the next general election. So long as Labour is tearing itself apart over whether it was Corbyn or Brexit that lost them all of those voters, they’re not going to have a campaign strategy to counterattack the lying social media.

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