Posts Tagged ‘Scotland’

News review – Wednesday 26 June 2019

News review – Wednesday 26 June 2019


BBC News
Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt say they are serious about pushing for a no-deal Brexit if they are unable to negotiate a better withdrawal agreement with Brussels. Yet the EU seems unfazed. Why, when we know EU leaders want to avoid a no-deal Brexit? Part of the reason, at least, is time. It’s summer. European capitals are sweltering under a heatwave with government ministers counting the days until they hit the beach or find some cool mountain air. The day the Brexit extension runs out – 31 October – seems an eternity away in political terms.

Tory heavyweight Boris Johnson, one of the two men vying to capture the leadership of their party and hence become the next prime minister of the United Kingdom, has warned if the European Union opposed his plan to enact Brexit, they would be affecting a return to Napoleon Bonaparte’s failed 19th-century plan to bankrupt Britain. Boris Johnson’s comments, strongly implying Europe refusing to be cooperative over Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union would be a deliberate attempt to undermine and weaken the country, came as he was grilled on his plans for enacting Brexit, something he has promised to do by October 31st at the latest.

Boris Johnson has set out a three-point plan for Brexit as he made clear that “come what may, do or die” the UK will leave the European Union by October 31. Mr Johnson also clashed in two radio interviews over his admission that he snorted cocaine as a teenager and disclosed that he had an unlikely hobby – making toy buses out of old wine crates. Mr Johnson set out three different plans for taking Britain out of the European Union by October 31 during an interview on TalkRadio.

Boris Johnson warned that the country must ‘get ready to come out without an agreement if we must’ as he outlined his Brexit plans today – and categorically ruled out staying in the EU past October 31. Mr Johnson said Halloween was a ‘do or die’ date for the UK quitting the block and fired a broadside at rebellious Tory MPs, warning the party would ‘continue to haemorrhage voters’ if Brexit was not sorted fast.    It came after he was accused of flip-flopping over the date, telling a leadership husting at the weekend Halloween was ’eminently feasible’ but not saying anything more concrete.

BORIS Johnson yesterday staked his Premiership chances on delivering Brexit by October 31 — telling Tory members it will happen “do or die”. In a toughening up of his stance, the Tory leadership frontrunner guaranteed for the first time he would meet the exit date. Boris challenged Mr Hunt to match his October 31 Brexit guarantee, “no ifs, no buts”. He tweeted: “If I become PM, we will leave the EU on 31st October, deal or no deal.” Later he told talkRADIO: “We are getting ready to come out on October 31. Come what may.  Do or die.”

Boris Johnson has pledged to “do or die” and take Britain out of Europe in four months’ time as polling shows that a no-deal Brexit is the first choice of one in four voters. The frontrunner in the Tory leadership race issued an ultimatum to Brussels yesterday to drop its insistence on an Irish backstop, which Brexiteers fear could leave Britain tied to the EU indefinitely. He also said he would not sign off the full £39 billion divorce settlement until a trade deal had been struck.

Boris Johnson has backtracked on his much-ridiculed plan for avoiding punishing tariffs after a no-deal Brexit, admitting he would be unable to do it “unilaterally”. In a difficult interview, the frontrunner for No 10 acknowledged the Bank of England  governor was “right” to criticise his plan to use a trade law known as “Gatt 24” to avoid border duties. “Where Mark [Carney] is right is in saying that implies mutuality – that has to be an agreement on both sides,” Mr Johnson agreed.

INFLUENTIAL arch-Brexiteer Steve Baker, a prominent ally of Tory leadership front runner Boris Johnson, has sent a stern message to EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier – warning him Britain will be leaving the bloc on October 31. And he warned he and his colleagues would never be able to sign Britain up to any agreement which included the much-maligned backstop  arrangements for the Irish border, underlining his belief it would leave the UK tethered to EU rules indefinitely.

BBC News
Tory leadership rivals Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt are at loggerheads over how the UK should leave the EU. Both contenders for prime minister claim they can renegotiate a Brexit deal that the EU says is closed. Mr Johnson said the UK must leave on 31 October “deal or no deal” but Mr Hunt called this a “fake deadline” that could trigger a general election if Parliament rejects a no-deal Brexit.


Jeremy Hunt told MPs yesterday he ‘cannot envisage any situation’ in which Britain joins the US in a war against Iran. Amid rising tensions between Donald Trump and the Tehran regime, the Foreign Secretary said earlier this week that the UK would consider requests for support from the US military ‘on a case-by-case basis’.  However, he insisted yesterday: ‘The US is our closest ally, we talk to them the whole time… I cannot envisage any situation where they request or we agree to any moves to go to war.’

Foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt has said he “cannot envisage” any scenario in which the UK would agree to join the US in waging war against Iran. The Tory leadership hopeful told MPs in the Commons that the Foreign Office is “very concerned about the situation in the Middle East and the risks of an accidental war” as the feud between Washington and Tehran escalates. “The US is our closest ally, we talk to them the whole time, we consider any requests that they say carefully, but I cannot envisage any situation where they request or we agree to any moves to go to war,” Mr Hunt told parliament.


Boris Johnson has been filmed at a private garden party telling Conservative members that the NHS absolutely needs to be reformed, as he fired them up for a general election by asking them to be ready to “wallop Jeremy Corbyn”. The frontrunner to be Conservative leader and prime minister was videoed giving a rabble-rousing stump speech to members in Sutton Coldfield on Saturday, the day after the Guardian revealed that police had been called to his girlfriend’s flat following a late-night altercation.

Conservative Party

Conservative MPs have been placed on a war footing for the first week of the new prime minister’s term in office amid fears that opposition parties and rebel Tories will immediately try to topple their government. Chief Whip Julian Smith has told MPs they are on a three line whip – meaning they must attend and ready to vote with the Government – in the week beginning July 22.

Boris Johnson has been warned that as many as a dozen Conservative MPs will back a vote of no confidence, triggering a general election, to block a no-deal Brexit. The former foreign secretary has promised to take the UK out of the Europe Union on 31 October with or without an agreement on divorce terms. And his rival for the Tory leadershipJeremy Hunt, the current foreign secretary, has not ruled out a potentially damaging no-deal outcome, though he says he is ready to extend Brexit negotiations in the hope of avoiding it.

A former Tory minister has said that nearly a dozen Conservative MPs would be willing to collapse their own government in order to stop potential future prime minister Boris Johnson from taking the UK out of the EU without a deal. The former minister, speaking anonymously to The Guardian, said: “I do think at least 10 would vote to bring down the government if the government was taking us into no deal.”

The Guido Fawkes blog has seen evidence that Conservative Party HQ is in the process of suspending members of the party for backing the Brexit Party in last month’s European elections. One long-standing member who spoke to the blog claims to have received the suspension for merely attending an event which featured Brexit Party speakers. The European elections, which were won by the Brexit Party by a significant margin, saw many traditional party loyalties eroded with the two traditional parties securing less than 23% of the nationwide vote.

Labour Party

Jeremy Corbyn has been accused of more “muddle and confusion” after Labour again failed to agree a shift to fully back a further Brexit referendum. For the second week running, a shadow cabinet meeting broke up without reaching a consensus to end what has been widely criticised as fence-sitting by the Labour leader. One source told The Independent  there was “no change” in referendum policy, while a second described “no movement”.

Jeremy Corbyn faced an angry backlash from his closest allies after kicking his decision on a second referendum down the road. He had been expected to announce that he was backing a fresh public vote in all circumstances – and that Labour would support Remain.  But after a crunch meeting with the unions – including powerful Unite chief Len McCluskey – Mr Corbyn opted to delay for several weeks.  At a fiery shadow cabinet meeting, John McDonnell described Labour’s slow-moving position as “like watching a slow-motion car crash”.

A tense meeting of Labour’s shadow cabinet failed to agree any advance on the party’s position on a second Brexit referendum, despite several senior figures saying they had been led to believe Jeremy Corbyn would soon give full-throated backing for remain. Corbyn is understood to have told shadow cabinet ministers there would be further consultation with the unions and a decision on the next step taken in the coming weeks, to the frustration of several present including the shadow chancellor, John McDonnell.

Evening Standard
Fears that moderate Labour MPs could be “purged” by Jeremy Corbyn supporters rose today with a former minister announcing that he will not be standing for re-election. The party’s HQ sparked major concerns among its MPs last night when it gave them just two weeks to decide whether they want to stand again at the next general election.  It immediately sparked claims that Left-wing local party members would organise trigger ballots to replace moderate MPs within a matter of weeks.


Jeremy Hunt has been accused of trying to boost his Conservative leadership campaign by withdrawing Foreign Office (FCO) support for Nicola Sturgeon’s overseas visits. The foreign secretary has confirmed that he has ordered his department not to provide any official or consular support for Sturgeon’s trips abroad if she uses them to campaign for Scottish independence.

BBC News
Nicola Sturgeon wants to set up a Citizens’ Assembly to discuss the big constitutional questions facing Scotland. Here’s what we know so far about the assembly ahead of the Scottish government giving more details at Holyrood on Wednesday afternoon. The Citizens’ Assembly was first announced by Ms Sturgeon in April – but the plan was largely overshadowed at the time by the first minister also saying she wants another independence referendum within the next two years.

HOLIDAYMAKERS have been warned to prepare for more chaotic delays and “unbelievable queues” as a strike at one of Scotland’s busiest airports tomorrow. Glasgow Airport workers who are part of the Unite union, including airport security officers, airport fire safety, airfield operations officers and engineering technicians, will be striking again. Strikes have been held on Friday 21 June from 8.30am to 2.30pm, Monday 24 June from 6am to 10am.


There’s been plenty of huffing and puffing from anonymous EU officials in response to Boris’s alternative Brexit proposals – despite Jeremy Hunt’s actually being pretty similar. Behind the bluster however, the reality is significantly more sensible and level-headed… Steve Barclay and Michel Barnier have been exchanging a series of letters over the past few weeks. Barclay has been asking Barnier to guarantee citizens’ rights even if the rest of the deal fails to go through.

Illegal migration

A criminal network of Romanian lorry drivers made at least £3million smuggling illegal migrants into Britain, it emerged today. The astonishing figure was released by French police who made 17 arrests while smashing the human trafficking ring. It extended across Europe, and involved the drivers packing their lorries with a cargo of men, women and children.  ‘Migrants were hidden in the storage compartments of vehicles under the guise of being goods being moved by Romanian transport companies,’ said a spokesman for Lille police.

POLICE have smashed a huge multinational smuggling ring shipping hundreds of migrants into the UK hidden on Romanian lorries. At least 300 illegals were shipped into the port of Hull after spending days in appalling conditions concealed in cargo aboard heavy goods vehicles. Palestinian, Iraqi, Iranian and Afghan clients paid £10-13,000 each to gangmasters to sneak them into Britain via France, Belgium and Holland.


Women exposed to air pollution are at risk of earlier menopause, potentially damaging their chances of having children, scientists have said. Two separate studies have found that women who live in polluted neighbourhoods have a higher chance of their ovarian reserve — a measure of their egg supply — being abnormally low, reducing fertility. The scientists behind the research said it suggested that air pollution may speed the ageing of women’s reproductive systems.

As predicted, Theresa May’s lame-duck government has gone ahead and signed the £1 trillion suicide note committing the UK to ‘Net Zero’ decarbonisation by 2050. Do any of the incompetent, virtue-signalling pillocks — both on the Government and Opposition benches — who signed this piece of magical unicorn fairytale tosh have any idea what £1 trillion looks like? Here’s one helpful offering from the Global Warming Policy Foundation:  With that sum of money, it points out, you could pay the salaries of 314,000 NHS nurses for a century.


Doctors have voted overwhelmingly to stop charging foreign patients for NHS care, claiming that doing so is “fundamentally racist”. Up to 500 delegates at the British Medical Association’s annual conference in Belfast backed a motion that said that asking overseas visitors to pay made medical staff “complicit” in racism. “We are doctors not border guards,” Omar Risk said during the debate. “Charging migrants for accessing NHS services is a fundamentally racist endeavour — we are complicit in the oppressive regime.”

DOCTORS have backed a decision to stop billing foreign patients for NHS care — calling it “fundamentally racist”. Up to 500 medics voted overwhelmingly in favour of abandoning fees. Dr Jackie Appleby, proposing the motion, claimed they were a form of “racial profiling” and were not cost-effective. She said: “The cost of health tourism is disputed. It’s peanuts in the grand scheme of things.” Health tourism in the UK costs anything from £200million to £2billion a year.

Doctors have voted to stop billing foreign patients for NHS  care. Medics backing the motion said charging made health staff ‘complicit in racism’ and ‘racial profiling’. Up to 500 delegates voted overwhelmingly in favour of abandoning the fees at the British Medical Association’s annual conference in Belfast. ‘We are doctors not border guards,’ said Dr Omar Risk in Monday’s debate. ‘Charging migrants for accessing NHS services is a fundamentally racist endeavour – we are complicit in the oppressive regime.’

Hundreds of villages have lost their GP surgery amid a deepening crisis across the country, an investigation reveals. Experts said rural and coastal areas were being hit particularly hard by a national shortage of family doctors, forcing elderly and vulnerable patients to travel ever further for care. The figures reveal 1,946 villages which are at least three miles from the nearest GP practice – 162 more than was the case just two years ago.

Hundreds of villages have lost their GP surgeries, according to a national survey. Coastal and rural areas are suffering the most with elderly and vulnerable patients being forced to travel further for appointments. The research showed 1,946 villages are now at least three miles from their closest GP practice – 162 more than two years ago. Some patients were required to travel up to 14 miles in rural areas. GPs say they are stretched too thinly because of a shortage of 5,000 doctors.

IVF treatment increases the risk of going on to develop breast cancer, a new study suggests. Data from more than 626,000 women over 21 years found links indicating that women over 40 who undergo the treatment are 65 per cent more likely to develop the disease. The increased risk across all ages was 10 per cent. In preparation for IVF, women are given drugs to stimulate the ovaries into producing more eggs. This also means increased levels of oestrogen in the body, which scientists believe may explain the cancer link.

WOMEN who have kids using IVF are more likely to develop breast cancer, a study suggests. The drugs used to stimulate their ovaries may increase tumour risk by up to 65 per cent. Experts described the findings as a “wake-up call” and said patients should be told of the peril. Researchers analysed data on 625,712 Danish women, who were tracked for up to 21 years. Some received assisted reproductive treatment, such as  IVF, and others did not. Those in the assisted group were 10 per cent more likely to get breast cancer than the other.


Every child must learn about gay relationships before leaving school and they are better discussed in the classroom than the playground, the education secretary said yesterday. Schools will be “strongly encouraged” to talk about same-sex parents with children and teach them about different types of “loving, healthy relationships”, the Department for Education said. The announcement came as a Labour MP apologised in the Commons for offence caused to the LGBT community by backing protests against gay equality lessons outside a Birmingham school.

Post offices

Britain’s 3,000 most isolated post offices will continue to receive subsidies so they can provide ‘vital’ services to their communities, a minister pledged yesterday. Post office minister Kelly Tolhurst told MPs that the Government will provide extra funding if it is needed to keep the branches open. These post offices, which are all the last shops in their villages, are being kept afloat by a £50million handout from the Government.

The post News review – Wednesday 26 June 2019 appeared first on Independence Daily.

Jeremy Hunt pulls Foreign Office support for Nicola Sturgeon

Tory leadership candidate accused of playing politics with move against first minister

Jeremy Hunt has been accused of trying to boost his Conservative leadership campaign by withdrawing Foreign Office (FCO) support for Nicola Sturgeon’s overseas visits.

The foreign secretary has confirmed that he has ordered his department not to provide any official or consular support for Sturgeon’s trips abroad if she uses them to campaign for Scottish independence.

Continue reading...

News review – Tuesday 24 June 2019

News review – Tuesday 24 June 2019

Tory leadership

ANGRY Tory MPs last night accused a Left-wing hate mob of trying to wreck Boris Johnson’s bid to become prime minister with a campaign of intrusion and harassment. Jacob Rees-Mogg led a string of senior backbenchers in rallying around the former foreign secretary following the political storm about a row with his girlfriend that has threatened to derail his leadership campaign.

Boris Johnson warned Britain to ‘prepare for a No Deal Brexit’ last night in the hope of winning concessions from the EU. But as he revealed his Brexit blueprint, he was warned he faces a mutiny from Tory Remainers which could force him from office within months. In the most detailed explanation of his plans so far, Mr Johnson told the BBC that Theresa May’s Brexit deal was ‘dead’ – but insisted his ‘positive energy’, coupled with the threat of No Deal and the withholding of the £39billion divorce payment could persuade the EU to back down in key areas.

Tory leadership hopeful Jeremy Hunt has been accused of “hypocrisy” after refusing to explain why he believes the time limit on abortions should be reduced. The Foreign Secretary told Good Morning Britain (GMB) it was important for his opponent Boris Johnson to answer questions about what he would do as Prime Minister, but would not expand on why he is in favour of cutting the current 24-week limit for abortions to 12 weeks.

Jeremy Hunt has announced plans for £15 billion of extra defence spending as he took advantage of Boris Johnson’s troubles to forge ahead with policy announcements. The Foreign Secretary has carried out eight broadcast interviews since Saturday, compared with Mr Johnson’s one, and is trying to close the gap on the front-runner by making bold announcements on how he would spend public money if he made it to Number 10.

Jeremy Hunt will promise to increase spending on defence by a quarter during the next five years, as he seeks to woo the grassroots Tories who will select Britain’s next prime minister. The foreign secretary is the underdog in the race to succeed Theresa May, with Boris Johnson the clear favourite, but the defence pledge is the latest of a series of policy announcements aimed at enthusing the Tory grassroots – and highlighting the lack of clear policies in Johnson’s leadership platform.

Jeremy Hunt warned that a government led by Boris Johnson could “collapse immediately” due to a fragile coalition of people supporting his leadership.  The remarks from the foreign secretary came as he accused his rival in the race to succeed Theresa May of cowardice for “pathetically” avoiding questioning and trying to “slink through the back door” of No 10.

Sky News
Jeremy Hunt has pledged to spend an extra £15 billion on defence if he is made prime minister to help combat “new threats to western values”. The Foreign Secretary and Tory leadership hopeful said he would increase funding for the armed forces by 25% over five years to show Britain is “determined to remain a first-rank military power”.

Jeremy Hunt has promised a £15billion boost in defence spending to see off the rising threat from Moscow. The Foreign Secretary said he wants Britain to play a leading global role in deterring Russian aggression. The Tory leadership hopeful vowed that as prime minister, he would increase defence spending from 2 to 2.5 per cent of national income over five years. The former health secretary said the extra money would boost Britain’s naval presence in the face of Russian submarine activity, ‘fire up’ the country’s ability to counter cyber-attacks and provide ‘equipment upgrades’ for troops.

Jeremy Hunt last night pledged to spend an additional £15 billion a year on defence as it emerged that Boris Johnson’s tax plans will cost £9 billion. Mr Hunt vowed to increase defence spending to 2.5 per cent of GDP over the next five years, up from its current level of about 2 per cent, which is the Nato minimum target. There was no detailed explanation of how the commitment would be funded, however.

Plans floated by Boris Johnson to give a tax cut to people on more than £50,000 would cost around £9 billion and mainly benefit the top 10% of earners, according to new analysis. The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), a respected economic think tank, said it was ‘not clear’ that spending so much on tax cuts would be compatible with both ending austerity in public spending and the ‘prudent management of the public finances’.

Conservative Party

Veteran Tory europhile Ken Clarke suggested today he could help hard Left Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn collapse a Conservative government led by Boris Johnson if he tries to force through a No Deal Brexit.   The former chancellor said he would not back any administration which tries to ‘pursue policies which are totally incompatible with everything the Conservative Party has stood for’ since he became an MP in 1970.

Tory veteran Ken Clarke has warned he’d BRING DOWN Boris Johnson with a no confidence vote in his government. The arch-Europhile former Chancellor said he will break ranks and vote to trigger an election if the new PM is heading for a No Deal Brexit . It comes hours after another top Tory, Tobias Ellwood, warned 12 Conservatives could vote no-confidence rather than face No Deal.

Conservatives stepped up warnings on Monday that a Boris Johnson premiership could lead to the collapse of the government if the leadership frontrunner attempts to pursue no deal. One former Tory minister said he believed there were many more Tory MPs who would be prepared to take that step than those who would publicly admit it. “I do think at least 10 would vote to bring down the government if the government was taking us into no deal,” the MP said.

Boris Johnson has been warned that as many as a dozen Conservative MPs will back a vote of no confidence, triggering a general election, to block a no-deal Brexit. The former foreign secretary has promised to take the UK out of the Europe Union on 31 October with or without an agreement on divorce terms. And his rival for the Tory leadershipJeremy Hunt, the current foreign secretary, has not ruled out a potentially damaging no-deal outcome, though he says he is ready to extend Brexit negotiations in the hope of avoiding it.

Morning Star
SHOCK new polling has revealed the depth of Islamophobia in the Conservative Party. More than two-thirds of Tories believe there are areas of Britain “operating under sharia law,” according to a YouGov poll of party members. And almost half believe there are “no-go” areas of Britain where it is unsafe for non-Muslims to visit.

Two-thirds of Conservative Party members believe parts of Britain operate under sharia law, a new poll has shown amid a mounting Islamophobia scandal. A YouGov poll found almost half of Tories believed in the myth of no-go zones where “non-Muslims are not able to enter” and 39 per cent thought Islamist terror attacks “reflected widespread hostility to Britain among the Muslim community”.

Yahoo News
Two thirds of Conservative Party members believe that parts of Britain “operate under Sharia law”, a new poll has shown amid a mounting Islamophobia scandal. A YouGov poll found that almost half of Tories believed in the myth of no-go zones where “non-Muslims are not able to enter” and 39 per cent thought Islamist terror attacks “reflected widespread hostility to Britain among the Muslim community”.

Labour Party

Labour MPs have been given two weeks to decide whether they want to stand for the party at the next general election. In a surprise message to the parliamentary Labour Party yesterday Jennie Formby, the general secretary, announced that the party’s national executive committee (NEC) would begin the process of choosing candidates for the next general election.

Labour MPs have been given a fortnight to decide whether they want to stand again for parliament as the party gears up for an early general election by kicking off what some fear could turn into a wave of deselections. Those MPs who want to continue to represent their constituency in future must first navigate the trigger-ballot process. After a contentious rule-change at last year’s Labour conference, that means commanding the support of two-thirds of local party branches and two-thirds of affiliated trade union branches.

Morning Star
RAILWAY workers under a Labour government will have board-level representation at national level in a unified railway system, shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald said. He told delegates at RMT’s annual congress in Manchester today that a government led by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn would create a single railway company that controls both infrastructure and train services within a single organisation.

A definitive shift in Labour’s Brexit policy has been put on hold after the Unite union dug its heels in against moves to throw the party’s full weight behind a second referendum and a Remain vote. Hopes that a change in position would be agreed on Tuesday at a crunch shadow cabinet meeting were dashed after the union’s intervention in talks with Jeremy Corbyn.

John McDonnell has confirmed Labour plans to delist from the London Stock Exchange any company that “fails” to address the climate change crisis. In a speech to City leaders and hosted by lobbying group UK Finance, the shadow chancellor said that regulation was necessary to “divert investment away from fossil fuels”. This effort required legislation to ensure that companies could be stripped of their London listings if necessary, he added.


Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party is to table a petition calling for an investigation into allegations of impropriety during this month’s Peterborough by-election. The move follows reports of irregularities in the use of postal voting in the contest, which was won by Labour’s Lisa Forbes by a wafer-thin majority of 683 over the Brexit Party. Mr Farage urged an end to the postal voting system in its current form, as party chair Richard Tice said there had been numerous “rumours” including of “vote rigging”.

BBC News
The Brexit Party has called for an investigation into Labour’s narrow victory in the Peterborough by-election. Labour’s Lisa Forbes won the seat on 6 June by 683 votes, ahead of the Brexit Party. Its chairman Richard Tice said there had been numerous “rumours” about the outcome, including “vote-rigging”. Cambridgeshire Police said no offences had been revealed in its inquiry into bribery and postal votes.

The Brexit Party have today announced that they are to legally challenge the result of the Peterborough by-election. It comes after claims of illegal activity, with Cambridgeshire Police having confirmed that they were investigating five allegations. Some of these have now been dismissed. At a press conference this morning, the party highlighted the involvement of Tariq Mahmood who had previously been jailed for postal vote interference.

The Brexit party is to launch a formal legal challenge against the result of this month’s Peterborough by election, where it was narrowly beaten by Labour, claiming that allegations of corruption connected to postal votes need to be investigated. Nigel Farage, the party’s leader, insisted the challenge was about more than the loss to Labour by 683 votes, saying the wider use of postal votes was open to abuse and needed to be investigated

NIGEL FARAGE’S Brexit Party will aim to get their first MP in Westminster as the Conservative Party name a convicted fraudster as their candidate for the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election. Chris Davies – who caused the by-election after being booted out by constituents in a recall petition – will stand for the Conservative Party in the Tory stronghold in a dramatic turn of events.

Brexit leader Nigel Farage has told Breitbart London that he could work with a future Prime Minister Boris Johnson provided he was brave and “Churchillian” in office, but warned that he could be Mr Johnson’s worst enemy if he decided to betray Brexit. In comments made to Breitbart’s James Delingpole, Nigel Farage strongly implied the chances of heir presumptive Boris Johnson would make a good Prime Minister who would deliver both Brexit and conservative policies were pretty low, when he responded to a question on the matter with laughter only.


CHANGE UK has vowed to block a no deal Brexit in a move that could potentially bring the Government to its knees, despite the threat of total annihilation in a subsequent general election. This would see the struggling party, which now has just five MPs, perform a massive U-turn after suggesting in April it would in fact back Theresa May in a confidence vote because its own members did not believe a general election would solve the Brexit crisis.

Huffington Post
The Change UK party of breakaway MPs has vowed to back a no confidence vote in the government if it is necessary to stop a no-deal Brexit despite the threat of almost certain wipeout in a subsequent general election. It marks something of a U-turn for the fledging centrist party, which in April suggested it would back Theresa May in a confidence vote because its MPs did not believe an election would solve the Brexit impasse.


Evening Standard
Boris Johnson has said he would be able to persuade Brussels to resolve the Irish backstop but admitted he would need EU cooperation.  In an interview with the BBC, the Conservative leadership frontrunner said he “did not believe for a moment” the UK would leave without a Brexit deal, although he was willing to do so if required. Mr Johnson said the existing deal negotiated by Theresa May was “dead” and he could agree a new deal with the EU before the October 31 deadline because their was now a “different understanding” of what is needed in the UK and Europe.

Proposed technological solutions to avoid a hard Irish border after Brexit will not succeed in the absence of consent from populations in both the Republic and the North, a former shadow Northern Ireland secretary has warned. A new independent report claims that “alternative arrangements” based on existing technologies could be in place within three years to keep the border open and do away with the need for the controversial backstop.

BBC News
A report on how to avoid checks on the Irish border after Brexit suggests the UK and Ireland could try to form a new single zone for food standards. The radical proposal is part of the Alternative Arrangements report. It is backed by Tory MPs Nicky Morgan and Greg Hands. Food standards are one of the most difficult border issues due to strict EU rules as food products entering from a non-member state must be subject to checks at the point of entry.

Ireland is facing demands from six fellow EU countries to set out detailed plans for how it will manage a no-deal Brexit as fears grow in Brussels that such an exit may be unavoidable, The Telegraph can reveal. In the first clear sign that EU solidarity with Ireland is starting to come under strain, a gang of six states: France, Germany, Belgium, Poland, Denmark and the Netherlands; are insisting that Ireland must set out in operational detail how it will protect EU borders.


Boris Johnson was today warned that he must ‘carry the whole United Kingdom’ if he becomes PM – after a poll suggested the drive for Scottish independence could be fuelled if he gets the top job. MPs insisted Mr Johnson and rival Jeremy Hunt must ‘prove’ their commitment to the union during the campaign.  The warning came after Nicola Sturgeon seized on a new survey to gloat that Mr Johnson will be a ‘disaster’ for the Tories.

NICOLA STURGEON hit out at Tory leadership hopefuls Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson this afternoon, accusing them of failing to explain how they will deliver Brexit – which she claimed has created a “democratic deficit” in Scotland. Scotland’s First Minister Ms Sturgeon launched a blistering attack against Brexit and Whitehall, accusing Theresa May’s Government of leaving constitutional conventions “in shreds”.


Switzerland will ban European Union stock exchanges from trading Swiss shares in retaliation for Brussels freezing its bourses out from the EU market. The European Commission refused to grant Swiss stock exchanges access after its patience ran out during negotiations over a long-delayed partnership treaty. “Equivalence”, the system of regulatory recognition used to govern access for financial services in non-EU countries, will now elapse on July 1.

The European Commission has complained to the UK government over obstacles it says stopped EU citizens entitled to vote from casting a ballot in last month’s European elections. A letter sent to the Cabinet Office claims that voters from other EU states – who are entitled for vote in EU wide polls regardless of where they live in the union – faced “a number of obstacles to participation”.


Up to 8,500 children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities are being left out of the education system, according to a study. The National Education Union analysed government data showing the number of pupils with an education healthcare plan, (which lays out the support their local council is obliged to provide), who do not have a place in school or higher education place.  Justin Cooke, policy manager for the charity Ambitious about Autism, said that schools have reduced support structures and teaching assistant numbers to cut costs and so are increasingly unable to meet the needs of pupils with special needs.

Chris Grayling and other Cabinet Ministers are joining forces to try and block Theresa May’s “outrageous” £27 billion school funding push in a serious blow to Downing Street plans. The Transport Secretary is among a group who have sided with Philip Hammond in the blistering row over the legacy blitz. Sources told The Sun the ‘rebel’ group could even write an official complaint to Cabinet Secretary Mark Sedwill in a staggering move.


Common drugs including antidepressants could increase the risk of dementia by up to 50 per cent, a major study has found. Experts said the findings had “enormous implications” for millions of Britons, with half of middle-aged people taking one of the medications. The class of drugs – which are also prescribed to treat bladder conditions, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy- are called anticholinergic medication.

The post News review – Tuesday 24 June 2019 appeared first on Independence Daily.

The Brexit zealots are on course to break up the union | Dawn Foster

Conservative party members are indifferent to the alienation felt in Northern Ireland and Scotland. A backlash is coming

For three years now, millions of people across Europe have observed the playing out of a peculiarly English psychodrama: it is one that evokes the spirit of the blitz and a world war few are old enough to remember; it rehearses idealised images of a return to a golden age of imperial influence and prestige, all as the Conservative party tears itself apart in its attempts to perform Brexit.

Within Britain, any references to “national character” remain spectacularly English. The Conservatives have done little to thrash out an image of how the UK can expect to define its post-EU identity – other than vague invocations of sunlit uplands – because they cannot yet fathom how to properly exit. But most politicians and members of the public who are heavily invested in Brexit tend to speak of English exceptionalism as the trait that will pull them through.

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Sunday papers – 23 June 2019

Sunday papers – 23 June 2019


Still the country wants to leave the EU without any further delay, reports Westmonster.

Leaving the EU without a deal at the end of October has an 8-point lead over a delay and second referendum, according to the latest Opinium poll.
They find that when given a binary option about what should happen next, 48% of voters think the UK should leave the EU with No Deal on 31st October if Parliament can’t agree a deal, compared to only 40% who want to delay and second referendum.
When it comes to a General Election, the Labour Party are polling in first place with Opinium on 26%, with the Brexit Party second on 23%. The Conservatives are third backed by just 20% of voters.
The poll also has Boris Johnson holding a lead over Jeremy Hunt, with 57% thinking he would be the best to negotiate with the EU compared to 26% who back Hunt on the same question.

Tory leadership

And the leading candidate in the leadership race is being pressed by his own people, reports the Telegraph.

Boris Johnson is facing a public campaign by his own supporters to guarantee to deliver Brexit by October 31 if he becomes prime minister, The Sunday Telegraph can disclose.
In a bid to pile pressure on Mr Johnson and Jeremy Hunt, more than a dozen Conservative MPs have pledged to “stand up for Brexit” in a reprisal of a major grassroots campaign that previously foreshadowed the defeat of Theresa May’s deal with the EU in the Commons.
Iain Duncan Smith, the former Tory leader, and Priti Patel, the ex International Development Secretary, pledge their support in an article for this newspaper.

The Express claims Boris will get it done.

BORIS Johnson will be “ruthless and focused” in getting Brexit delivered by October 31 if he becomes prime minister, senior aides have revealed.
The Sunday Express has been given details of what the powerful European Research Group believe is Mr Johnson’s blueprint to get Britain out of the EU without further delay. And he will sack civil ­servants and ministers who fail to get the job done, senior members of his team have claimed. According to sources, former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith could be appointed deputy prime minister in charge of an expanded Cabinet Office which will take in the Brexit Department.
Ministers and civil service cabinet secretaries in charge of departments will have their summer holidays cancelled and be expected to report to Mr Johnson each week on no-deal preparations.
In the meantime, sources expect Theresa May’s unsuccessful deal to be ditched.

The Independent says the party won’t survive if the new leader, whoever it is, doesn’t take us out.

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt have been warned they risk making the Conservatives unelectable if they take Britain out of the European Union without a deal.
New polling seen by The Independent suggests large swathes of traditional Tory voters have turned away from the party as its membership has become increasingly focused on Brexit, and that more will follow if the new leader opts for a no-deal outcome.

The Sun reports the thoughts of both candidates.

BORIS Johnson has vowed to take Britain out of the EU by Halloween if he becomes Prime Minister – while Jeremy Hunt promised to deliver Brexit before an election.
The Tory heavyweights were grilled onstage in Birmingham as they at the first Conservative Party leadership hustings.
Boris doubled down on his claim that he would be able to waive tariffs on EU goods after a No Deal Brexit – even though the idea has been repeatedly dismissed by officials on both sides of the Channel.
And Jeremy Hunt promised to “deliver Brexit and send Corbyn packing” – before vowing to make the Tories attractive to young people again.

A top Tory has threatened the prospective Prime Minister in the Independent.

A senior Conservative MP has warned Boris Johnson he will not “survive very long” if he pursues a “crash-out” Brexit, because fellow Tories will bring him down.
Dominic Grieve, who supports Britain remaining in the EU, predicted “a large number” of his colleagues would turn on the new prime minister, even joining a vote of no confidence to block a no-deal exit.
“There are a large number of Conservative MPs who will object to that happening and who will do everything possible to prevent it happening. I think the numbers are quite substantial,” the former attorney general said.

And Mr Grieve’s threat is in iNews.

Former attorney general Dominic Grieve has sent a thinly veiled threat to Boris Johnson that MPs would be willing to bring down the government in the event of a no deal Brexit.
Mr Grieve insisted a large number of Tory MPs would mobilise to prevent a no-deal Brexit in the autumn and remove Mr Johnson as prime minister, should he win the Tory leadership contest.

There could be plans afoot to involve the Queen and a no-confidence vote, reports the Times.

Boris Johnson has been warned that he is at high risk of being prime minister for just one day as Tory MPs launched a secret plot to stop the Queen asking him to replace Theresa May.
The Conservative chief whip, Julian Smith, told Johnson campaign chiefs Gavin Williamson and James Wharton on Thursday that there was a high likelihood he would lose a vote of no confidence within 24 hours of taking the job.
Smith revealed that two Tory MPs were on a “high-risk” watch list to defect from the party, destroying its majority in parliament and that a “handful” could jump ship to bring him down.

But Boris is a long way ahead of Hunt, claims the Telegraph.

Boris Johnson is more than 20 points ahead of Jeremy Hunt among grass-roots Conservatives, a new poll suggests.
A ComRes survey for The Sunday Telegraph found that 61 per cent of Tory councillors intended to vote for Mr Johnson in the party’s leadership contest, compared to 39 per cent planning to back the current Foreign Secretary.
The poll also reveals an overwhelming preference for a no-deal exit from the EU if the next Conservative leader fails to secure a better deal with Brussels.


And if the new leader can team up with Nigel, they could decide to go to the country, says the Express.

BORIS JOHNSON could call an early election if he becomes Prime Minister, it has emerged, after a shock poll suggested almost two-thirds of Conservative members would welcome a coalition with the Brexit Party.
Mr Johnson’s allies are gearing up for a general election in late 2019 if he wins the Tory leadership contest. Tories close to the former Foreign Secretary declared an early vote is not his favourite option, but something that may need to happen to end the Brexit chaos. They said the country may be forced to cast an early ballot if Parliament refuses to accept a no deal Brexit. One key figure told The Times: “You will need to get the party in fighting shape as early as possible.

Labour Party

The official opposition is being pushed towards a second referendum, says the Guardian.

Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, has warned MPs and peers that an analysis of the party’s losses in recent local and European elections that was presented to the shadow cabinet last week dangerously underestimated the crisis it will face if it fails to back another Brexit referendum.
In a briefing document circulated to more than 100 Labour MPs and peers yesterday, Watson says sections of the analysis leaked to the media have “skewed” understanding of the party’s plight. He warns that if Labour does not face the actual lessons and become a Remain party, it risks electoral disaster.

The Guardian reports another Labour MP’s call.

The Labour MP Hilary Benn has called on his party to come out “loud and clear” in support of a second referendum, describing Brexit as a “complete and utter mess”.
Speaking during a People’s Vote rally at New Dock Hall in Leeds on Saturday, he said: “We know, to use the technical term, that Brexit is a complete and utter mess. I have never spoken on a People’s Vote platform before, but I too have come to the conclusion that the only way out of this mess is now to give the people a final say.
“So let’s say it clearly, let the party that I joined at 17 years of age say it loud and clear – we want a People’s Vote.”

Sky News also reports the call.

Hilary Benn has urged the Labour Party to come out “loud and clear” in support of a second referendum.
Speaking at the launch of People’s Vote North, Mr Benn described the Brexit campaign as a “fantasy” and said the UK’s withdrawal has been a “complete and utter mess”.
The pro-Remain Labour MP joined celebrities, sports stars and other politicians at a rally at New Dock Hall in Leeds, the first of 15 similar events planned across Britain this summer.

And the Express says Corbyn should ‘burst Johnson’s bubble’.

LABOUR leader Jeremy Corbyn is being called on to “burst” Boris Johnson’s Brexit bubble by an array of angry Remainers.
Hilary Benn has called on the party to come out “loud and clear” in support of a second referendum, describing Brexit as a “complete and utter mess”. Speaking during a People’s Vote rally in Leeds today, he said: “We know, to use the technical term, that Brexit is a complete and utter mess.
“I have never spoken on a People’s Vote platform before, but I too have come to the conclusion that the only way out of this mess is now to give the people a final say.
“So let’s say it clearly, let the party that I joined at 17 years of age say it loud and clear – we want a People’s Vote.”


Breitbart quotes a telling comment from the French president.

French president Emmanuel Macron has indicated he does not care who succeeds Theresa May as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, provided they are as “loyal and respectful” to the European Union as she has been.
“All the way through the negotiations she’s been incredibly loyal and respectful, she never stood in the way, we sometimes disagreed but she never took the discussions or Europe hostage,” President Macron said, in comments reported by The Times.
“I do not know who will come next, and I certainly do not want to interfere but I hope it will be the same sense of respect and seriousness that she had.”

Daniel Hannan MEP writes for the Telegraph.

Look what Brexit is doing to you,” a German MEP told me this week. “You’re in crisis, your system is breaking down, everyone is looking for a way out”. I get this a lot in Brussels. “Brexit is making you poorer.” “Brexit is making you angrier.” “Brexit is making you more xenophobic”.
Sheesh, guys, do I really need to spell this out? Brexit hasn’t happened. The thing that is causing a crisis, making us angrier etc is not Brexit, but its precise opposite – the refusal of our leaders, despite their promises, to deliver Brexit.
I have almost given up trying to explain this in the EU. Pretty much every interview with continental media begins from the assumption that Britain is collapsing, that we’re scrambling for European passports and the leaders of the Leave campaign are ashamed to show their faces.

But I think Carly Read of the Express has misread Hannan’s column.  It reports:

BRUSSELS is blocking post-Brexit trade deals offered to the UK from the US, Australia, China and South America, Tory MEP Daniel Hannan has sensationally revealed.
Mr Hannan said Theresa May’s relentless and blinkered pursuit of a trade deal with the EU has shelved more than half a dozen other offers from huge nations that are quite literally queuing round the block to trade with Britain. He said that because Mrs May’s pursuit of a trade deal with the bloc could then rub-off on the next Tory leader and Prime Minister, it means Britain – and the long list of such nations – could remain in limbo until the no deal-withdrawal agreement stalemate is finally over.

Breitbart claims the bloc is calling for free speech to be curtailed.

The former General-Secretary of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has advocated stripping right-wing “extremists” of their fundamental rights to free speech and free assembly.
Mr Tauber, who serves as an MP for the CDU in the German Bundestag, made his statements following the murder of pro-open borders CDU member Walter Lübcke and the arrest of a suspect thought to be linked to far-right extremism.
Writing for German newspaper Die Welt, Tauber  blamed members of the populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) for the murder of Lübcke, saying, “the political climate of this republic has changed as well.


The media are full of the incident at Boris’ flat.  The Telegraph says:

A neighbour of Boris Johnson whose wife swore at the Conservative leadership candidate in the street and declared that “all Tories suck” has admitted recording a row between the MP and his partner  and leaking the tape to a newspaper.
Tom Penn, 29, a playwright, who lives with Eve Leigh in the same building as Mr Johnson and Carrie Symonds, claimed he had made an anonymous call to police in the early hours on Friday after becoming “frightened and concerned” by shouting and banging coming from his neighbours’ home.

The Telegraph quotes a tweet from the neighbour.

At the height of the Conservative leadership battle, Eve Leigh posted a ‘tweet’ about her small contribution to the debate over who will be the next British prime minister.
“Just gave Boris Johnson the finger,” she wrote, referring to her greeting for the prospective Tory leader staying at his girlfriend’s flat in the same block as Ms Leigh’s apartment in south east London.
Ms Leigh, an American theatre producer, director and writer, has now deleted her Twitter account – probably because her influence over the leadership race became immeasurable this weekend.

The Sun has spoken to Boris’ partner.

BORIS Johnson’s furious partner Carrie Symonds tonight claimed she had been “stitched up” after cops dashed to a late-night row between the couple.
Carrie, 31, has told pals she is too scared to return to her £750,000 flat after being subjected to what she believes to be a hate campaign.
A Boris camp insider said: “As far as Carrie is concerned this is a stitch-up.
“Both she and Boris are convinced that this was  politically-motivated.
“It was a row like lots of couples have at the end of a demanding day but suddenly they found the police on their doorstep.”


If Boris gets to No. 10, the Scots may well leave the UK, reports the Times.

The prospect of Boris Johnson as prime minister is fuelling public support for Scottish independence, according to a poll that suggests the majority of Scots would vote to leave the UK in a referendum if he enters Downing Street.
A Panelbase survey of 1,024 voters, conducted last week, points to a six-point lead for the “yes” campaign if Johnson replaces Theresa May — confirming the worst fears of allies of the Scots Tory leader, Ruth Davidson.


Breast cancer patients may be helped by an inexpensive drug says the Times.

A diabetes drug that costs as little as 1p a tablet can curb the growth of breast cancer by up to 76%, experts have found.
Scientists discovered that metformin, taken by millions of diabetes patients, dramatically alters the make-up of breast cancer stem cells by forcing them to become addicted to glucose.
This creates a treatment “sweet spot”, enabling cancer drugs to target and kill the stem cells.

And the Times calls for more action over opiates.

The government must declare a public health crisis over the rising number of opioid-related deaths, one of the world’s leading experts has warned.
Professor Sir John Strang, head of the addictions department at King’s College London, demanded urgent action to halt the surge in deaths.
In February, an investigation by this newspaper revealed that opioid-related deaths have soared by 41% in a decade to about 2,000 every year.
“This marked increase in avoidable mortality must be recognised as a public health crisis,” Strang writes in The Lancet Psychiatry journal.
Swansea, Norwich, Worthing, Bournemouth and the Isle of Wight were among the places with the highest opioid-related death rates in the country.

And the NHS is looking at defeating the superbug problem, reports the Sun.

HEALTH boffins will today launch a £32 million blitz on killer superbugs.
They launch a massive research project to find new ways of treating infections which are resistant to antibiotics.
Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies will be appointed global expert to tackle the growing threat to humanity.
The rise of the superbug raises the chilling prospect of a world where routine surgery becomes risky and a simple graze could be potentially life-threatening.

The Gulf

Meanwhile, matters in the Gulf are causing concern, says the Telegraph.

Tensions in the Gulf have escalated following Thursday’s downing of a US drone by Iran, with Donald Trump saying Tehran “made a very big mistake” and revealing he was moments away from launching a retaliatory strike.
Iran claims the unmanned aircraft had been on a spying mission and was within its airspace, with Foreign Minister Javad Zarif saying he would take the complaint that the US “encroaches on our territory” to the United Nations.
Both sides insist they are not looking for military conflict, but are simultaneously talking tough on the damage they could inflict – Mr Trump insisting that the US would “obliterate” Iran, and Iran’s armed forces cautioning that a move against them would ignite a regional “powder keg”.

And a Foreign Office minister has been sent to see if he can do anything, says ITV News.

Foreign Office minister Andrew Murrison will call for “urgent de-escalation” of flared tensions between the US and Iran when he holds talks with the Tehran government on Sunday.
The trip was announced after Donald Trump said the US was “cocked and loaded” to retaliate against Iran for downing an American drone.
The strikes were reportedly called off 10 minutes before they were to be carried out on Thursday after Mr Trump was told 150 people could die.

The post Sunday papers – 23 June 2019 appeared first on Independence Daily.

Class and nation: Labour has consistently failed to offer an alternative to conservative notions of Britishness

The Labour Party has at times been a force for radical change, but has failed to formulate a vision of Britain and Britishness, which could challenge conservative notions of nation and patriotism, writes Eric Shaw.

The profound and dislocating impact of Brexit on the party system has been demonstrated in the starkest way by the recent elections for the European parliament. Not only is the issue obviously in itself of the utmost importance but it has operated as the lightning rod of many pent-up resentments and frustrations: over mass migration, growing ethnic diversity, wage stagnation, housing shortages, straightened public services, and over what it seen as an unresponsive political system. This anger and these grievances have been refracted through a new politics of identity, place, and nationhood, as exemplified in the clamour for Britain to free itself from European shackles and to ‘take back control’.

The politics of identity, place, and nationhood has had a long history. Since the time of Disraeli, the Tories have instinctively understood the mobilising potential of national sentiment and patriotic fervour and forged the notion of the ‘Conservative nation.’ Labour, in contrast, has lagged behind. As Gerry Hassan and myself seek to show in The People’s Flag and the Union Jack, the party’s attitude has been one of uncertainty, ambivalence, and unease. Except for a brief interlude in the 1940s, it failed to formulate an alternative vision of Britain and Britishness which could challenge ‘the Conservative nation’.

This failure has recently become politically much more costly. For a variety of reasons – disputes over immigration, multiculturalism, devolution, European integration – issues of national identity have increasingly pervaded mass political discourse. Long simmering they erupted with the Brexit referendum and its aftermath.

The most obvious impact is to accelerate the corrosion of traditional modes of partisan alignment. Class divisions and left-right distinctions are losing their capacity to structure party preferences in favour of an alternative pattern of societal cleavage, one that revolves around the clash between social liberalism and social conservativism. Social liberals tend to be open-minded, tolerant of immigration and ethnic diversity, and internationally oriented; social conservatives have more authoritarian inclinations, are unhappy with multiculturalism and mass migration, and are nationalistic in outlook.

Reinforcing the social liberal/social divide is another, more novel, one: between people (in England) who define themselves as predominantly British and those who see themselves as principally English.

Until recently Britishness and Englishness tended to be interchangeable terms, both in usage and meaning. This is ceasing to be so. British identifiers tend to be social liberals and favour a civic conception of nationhood, whilst English identifiers are more likely to be social conservatives with a more ethnic conception of nationhood. The two categories also exhibit different sociological traits. The former are younger, more highly educated, and professionally employed; the latter are older, less well-educated, and more likely to employed in clerical and manual jobs. What renders this divide of even greater political significance is that it also corresponds with the Remainer (British) and Leaver (English) fracture.

The growing prominence of the politics of national identity is a phenomenon which Labour, has found difficult to assimilate. The only senior Labour leader so far who has grasped its importance was Gordon Brown. Worried by the intensifying strains on national cohesion by anti-immigrant and xenophobic feelings (and by the rise of Scottish nationalism) he called for a bold ‘progressive Britishness’, which could tap into the country’s outward-looking, enlightened, and liberal traditions. This civic form of Britishness, he declared, could unite the country through a shared vision and values in which the Union Jack would become ‘a flag for all Britain – symbolising inclusion, tolerance and unity’. He warned that if Labour failed to rise to the challenge, a wave of right-wing ethnic nationalism would be unleashed.

But Brown’s progressive Britishness was couched in a rather abstract style, offended some within the party who found any references to patriotism as alienating, and evoked little interest or enthusiasm in the public at large. The timing, also, was unfortunate since his Britishness project was soon totally swamped by the 2008 financial crisis.

Concerned by intensifying anti-immigrant sentiment and mounting support for UKIP, Ed Miliband sought to defuse the danger for Labour by unveiling in 2012 ‘One Nation Labour.’ This was designed to affirm the party’s patriotism, burnish its credentials as a party for all whilst appropriating ground which was seen as conventionally Conservative. But many of Labour’s leaders regarded ‘One Nation Labour’ as little more than a useful slogan, a deft political stratagem, and a headline-grabber, signifying little else. Miliband’s more ambitious agenda was thwarted and ‘One Nation Labour’ soon sank without a trace.

Labour’s ambiguous relationship with Britishness lay unresolved. The new Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, came from a strand of the party (the radical left) which treated all forms of patriotism (except in the third world and Ireland) with distaste and disapproval. He soon showed his indifference to the liturgies and trappings of Britishness by his much-publicised refusal to sing ‘God Save the Queen’ at a remembrance ceremony.

But issues of national identity could not be ducked for. In the aftermath of the 2016 referendum, the party’s electorate was deeply divided between social liberal, British-identifying Remainers, and socially conservative and English-identifying Leavers. Alignments within the party were more complex. A solid majority of both the PLP and the membership (including supporters of the pro-Corbyn ginger group, Momentum) are Remainers and proponents of a second referendum whilst a sizeable minority of centre-right MPs strenuously resist both, primarily for electoral reasons. Corbyn himself and his most senior advisers (such as Seumas Milne) occupy a third position: Brexiteers who oppose the EU for ideological reasons as a capitalist club, membership of which would inhibit radical policies. Their dream appears to be ‘socialism in one country.’

In such circumstances, maintaining party unity would be a formidable task for any leader even one with more political acumen than Corbyn. But his inept political judgments are also the result of his (and his inner circle’s) inability to come to terms with the new politics of identity, place, and culture. The prism through which they apprehend political life is a heavily materialistic one. How people think and behave politically is a product of the objective conditions of class struggle, exploitation, and material deprivation. Little interest is shown in the world of subjective experiences and values. Thus, anti-immigrant sentiment is seen solely as the result of economic factors such as unemployment, low wages stagnation, and expenditure cuts. Issues such as the impact of immigration on neighbourhood cohesion and traditions are ignored.

This adherence to an outdated class model helps explain why Corbyn is cut adrift from the popular mood, especially in the Northern working class. Viewing himself as a lifelong workers’ champion he seems unaware that for many of those he claims to represent he appears as the epitome of the ‘liberal metropolitan elite’ at its most patronising, indifferent, and remote.

The emergence of a strident and often intolerant nationalism is having a deeply destabilising effect on the left’s electorate throughout Europe. It is by no means obvious how it can best be combated but the starting point is to recognise the scale of the problem. This the Corbyn leadership has yet to do.


About the Author

Eric Shaw is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Stirling.




All articles posted on this blog give the views of the author(s), and not the position of LSE British Politics and Policy, nor of the London School of Economics and Political Science. Featured image credit: Pixabay (Public Domain).


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