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Current location: Scotland
Member since: Sun Sep 6, 2009, 11:57 PM
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Reminder: This underinflated balloon was at one point Foreign Secretary

These are not outtakes from The Thick of It:


James Melville @JamesMelville

He was the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom.

If Johnson (somebody please call me out if I ever again refer to him as "Boris" - too cuddly for someone who's an utterly nasty piece of work behind all the buffoonery) makes it to the Tory leadership hustings, there should be plenty more to come.

Twitter reveals that's not a plum in Rees-Mogg's mouth, it's his little stamping foot


Jacob Rees-Mogg

If a long extension leaves us stuck in the EU we should be as difficult as possible. We could veto any increase in the budget, obstruct the putative EU army and block Mr Macron’s integrationist schemes.

At time of writing, the replies were a mix of a few grunts of agreement, overshadowed by the number of people thanking the Mogg for acknowledging and illustrating how much power the UK has within the EU as a democratic body - even in its current diplomatically weakened state - if it chooses to wield it, contrasting with how little it would have if it left. This is aside from the wisdom of antagonizing a body the UK has to hope will be a generous negotiating partner in the aftermath.

A few minor skirmishes broke out in the replies, with some saying that moves within the EU to do away with the veto in favour of qualified majority voting would limit its power. A shame, then, that the UK long lobbied for such a change, and as things stand, it could presumably be blocked with ... a veto.

Maybe Led By Donkeys could sponsor a few billboards to spread the Mogg's words. I think they already did this one:

If only bums on glass was the oddest thing to happen in parliament this week

Theresa May’s Brexit manoeuvres make Extinction Rebellion’s semi-naked protest look like an outbreak of sanity

People pressed their semi-naked bums on the gallery glass in the House of Commons and had to be peeled off by police, and it still wasn’t the stupidest thing that happened in parliament this week.

On Monday, the night that parliament was supposed to “take back control”, protest group Extinction Rebellion got into the gallery, took their kit off and tried to stick a variety of body parts to the glass, turning the House of Commons into some kind of X-rated human zoo.

It seemed weird but by the time Tuesday came around we were all looking back on it as a rare moment of sanity. For one thing, it was just nice to see people who had made a decision. It wasn’t the best decision – they were going to glue their hands to some glass and wriggle their bums around for a bit – but at least something got decided in parliament.

Because what happened next was that MPs, who had just taken control from a government who kept bringing back the same deal over and over again, decided to reject every available option they had created for themselves for the second time in a row.


Facebook Brexit ads secretly run by staff of Lynton Crosby firm

Exclusive: ‘grassroots’ groups that spent up to £1m on targeted Facebook ads share administrator who works for lobbying firm

A series of hugely influential Facebook advertising campaigns that appear to be separate grassroots movements for a no-deal Brexit are secretly overseen by employees of Sir Lynton Crosby’s lobbying company and a former adviser to Boris Johnson, documents seen by the Guardian reveal.

The mysterious groups, which have names such as Mainstream Network and Britain’s Future, appear to be run independently by members of the public and give no hint that they are connected. But in reality they share an administrator who works for Crosby’s CTF Partners and have spent as much as £1m promoting sophisticated targeted adverts aimed at heaping pressure on individual MPs to vote for a hard Brexit.

Repeated questions have been raised about who is backing at least a dozen high-spending groups that have flooded MPs’ inboxes with calls to reject Theresa May’s deal. Until now they were thought to be independent entities.

But according to the documents, almost all the major pro-Brexit Facebook “grassroots” advertising campaigns in the UK share the same page admins or advertisers. These individuals include employees of CTF Partners and the political director of Boris Johnson’s campaigns to be mayor of London, who has worked closely with Crosby in the past.


The story behind the nazi plot to kill an MP, and how it was foiled by HOPE not hate.

Robbie Mullen had only been a mole inside neo-nazi group National Action since April 2017. He had joined the group in 2015, impressed by what he had seen of it in the media, and in the search for friends.

From the very moment he made contact we treated him with kid gloves. We had to establish over long and delicate communications that he actually was who he said he was: unlike many activists in National Action he was completely unknown to us.

National Action had been threatening HOPE not hate from almost from the moment it was founded in 2013, and we knew we were still getting under its skin in 2017.

In March 2017 – three months after it was banned by the Home Secretary, because the group publicly venerated the killer of Jo Cox MP – we exposed National Action’s efforts to regroup and reform under new names but with even more violent intent. NA members were furious with founder Ben Raymond for being so careless and being exposed in this way.

Full story: https://www.hopenothate.org.uk/killer-instinct/

HOPE not hate ✔

A few moments ago a trial finished at the Old Bailey. Now that the trial is over, we’re able to finally tell the full story of how HOPE Not hate smashed the banned terror group National Action and foiled a murder plot.

HOPE not hate

Robbie Mullen saved the lives of two people by providing the information that foiled Jack Renshaw's murder plot. He didn't do it for the thanks but he does deserve our gratitude. Please share your message with Robbie here: https://donate.hopenothate.org.uk/page/s/thank-you-robbie … pic.twitter.com/RJlYXOlQKz

"Fuck knows, I'm past caring, it's like the living dead in here."

Those were the words of a Cabinet minister in the run-up to today's vote on May's deal, as reported on last night's BBC Newsnight by its Political Editor Nicholas Watt (note to hosts: I'll censor the title if you want, but Newsnight didn't.)

William Kedjanyi @KeejayOV2

“Fuck knows, I’m past caring, it’s like the living dead in here.” A Cabinet Minister to @nicholaswatt of #newsnight on tomorrow’s vote. So, you know, good vibes

Watt's full quote:

In Cabinet, I am picking up complete and utter despair. I said to one Cabinet minister, "Why is the PM holding a vote when she’s pretty sure that she’s going to lose?" And using very strong language, this Cabinet minister said to me, "Fuck knows, I'm past caring, it's like the living dead in here."

This Cabinet minister then went on to say, "Theresa May is the sole architect of this mess. It is her inability to engage in the most basic human interactions that brought us here. Cabinet has totally broken down. Ministers say their bit, she gives nothing away. One side thinks X will happen, the other side thinks Y will happen, and the Prime Minister decides on Z."

No idea how the vote will go as the debate continues in the House. The DUP are reportedly out, some Labour MPs are in. We're no doubt screwed anyway:


Jim Cornelius🇪🇺🇬🇧 🇮🇪🔶 @Jim_Cornelius

2015: "Only the Conservatives can deliver strong and stable government"
2016: "It's going to be a Titanic success"
2017: "I'm not going to be calling a snap election"
2018: "Chuck Chequers"
2019: "Fuck knows I'm past caring, it's like the living dead in here."

Get set for Brexit: Indicative Day - the one where the Grand Wizards turn on each other

Draw near, true believers, for these are dark days for the ERG Brexit ultras. The Fellowship of the Ringpieces finds itself divided on their next move, and may yet be bitterly sundered as they ponder the big question: could they honestly have played it worse?

Before we help them answer it, a quick update on which bit of Blunderland we’ve tumbled into now. Late on Monday night, the House of Commons voted to take control of the parliamentary agenda and attempt to break the Brexit deadlock via a series of indicative votes masterminded by former Tory minister Oliver Letwin. A clue, a clue! Our kingdom for a clue! Like all initiatives handled by Oliver Letwin since the 1980s, it promises to go spectacularly wrong in ways we haven’t even thought of yet, but let’s pretend otherwise before the shitstorm gets properly under way on Wednesday.

The Commons took this momentous decision after yet another of its Brexit endurance debates, all of which now resemble the grim Depression-era dance marathons of They Shoot Horses Don’t They? Lowlights included Kate Hoey insisting that no deal is simply “a different type of deal”, in that way that farmers will agree that no rainfall is simply a different type of rainfall. Or, indeed, that farmers will agree that no deal is simply a different type of deal, as they prepared to slaughter the estimated 10 million lambs they would not be able to export to the EU.

Reflecting on the Commons decision to take the prime minister into special measures, the No 10 spokesman said May was not happy with it: “She has said that tying the government’s hands in this way by seeking to commandeer the order paper would have far-reaching implications for the way that the UK is governed and the balance of powers and responsibilities in our democratic institutions.”


Finally: Parliament takes control of Brexit

It was a historic moment. Tonight the constitutional battle over Brexit took a decisive turn. MPs finally took control.

It had been a long time coming. Dominic Grieve first tried to wrestle control from the government in January. Then Hilary Benn tried again the week before last, only to lose by two votes.

Tonight's successful attempt came from Oliver Letwin. It wasn't even that close. It passed by 329 votes to 302. In the process, the government lost three ministers, who resigned to vote against the government: health minister Steve Brine, business minister Richard Harrington and the widely-admired Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt, who only yesterday was sat with Theresa May in Chequers.

In each case, the amendments had used the same mechanism: Standing order 14.1, which gives government the power to control parliamentary business. This was MPs setting their own timetable and deciding what they would debate and how.


Maybe nearly three years too late, but this confirms May's lame duckness.

She and her cabinet haven't been up to the job, in the EU or the UK. May's red lines on freedom of movement and the nonsensical "Brexit means Brexit" and The Will of The People™, along with the government's downright lies about how much research they'd carried out into the impact of the various Brexit options, have stifled proper explorations of the options that face the country, culminating in a deal that in the end only she and a few sycophants support, and even then only with reservations. Now, their plain shiftiness about how they'd run the order paper in the days to come finally overtaxed the majority of MPs' patience.

So some degree of control has finally been wrested back by Parliament. There will follow a series of debates and indicative votes on various options later this week - non-binding, just like the referendum. Whether the government will pay their results any attention, we'll have to wait and see.

Grim days with a gaslighting prime minister

Last night, Theresa May took to her podium at 10 Downing Street to lecture The People™ about what The People™ were thinking and feeling and to blame MPs in Parliament for the fact that she and her two governments have done fuck all to pursue a path to a relatively sane Brexit for over two years ("relatively" is doing a lot of heavy lifting there).

It's been pointed out elsewhere that it's a mystery how May would know what The People™ are thinking since she's too shy to actually meet any but a select few for fleeting periods in tightly regulated out-of-the-way venues. She's never shown any sign of empathy according to those who've ever had dealings with her, so when she talks about "the mood of the country", she's discussing the voices in her own head.

Last night, she chose to prolong her dangerous game by blaming MPs - a number of whom have already been receiving threats over Brexit - for the dire situation we're in and for not compromising by going along with whatever she wants.

Today, Speaker John Bercow was driven to address the House to clarify that MPs generally aren't "traitors" (there are a couple I'd quibble with him about that, but he's taking the high ground when I'm less and less inclined to do so):

BBC Politics

"None of you is a traitor... the sole duty of every member of Parliament is to do what he or she thinks is right"

Commons Speaker John Bercow defends Parliament, after MP accuses Theresa May of "pitching MPs against the public" over #Brexithttp://bbc.in/2JHSaeL

The Leader of the House, the repulsive Angela Leadsom, took to her trotters a few minutes later to express her leadership by telling him that he hadn't "raised the level", whatever that means. He was having none of it:

PointOfOrder @Point_OfOrder

Andrea Leadsom and the Speaker, John Bercow, had their umpteenth public spat in the Commons just a few minutes after. pic.twitter.com/Wri5GiNyB0

May's conduct - doubled down on by Leadsom - has infuriated the very people she needed to persuade to her point of view, the MPs in Parliament on both sides of the House. There's no point in her addressing The People™ if she's going to deny The People™ a voice in this argument, either through a second referendum or another general election, and rely instead on her warped interpretation of a dodgy jumped-up opinion poll from nearly three years ago.

If May's not careful, it won't be a case of her being ousted by a parliamentary coup or choosing to duck out once she's achieved her ambitions, there'll be staff in white coats chasing her round Downing Street with butterfly nets, and not before time.

Nine days from 'Brexit day', does anyone have a clue what's happening?

We're begging for an extension and seeking trade deals with the mighty Liechtenstein. Everything is fine


The people in charge have had three years to make a success of Brexit, and here we are nine days away from Brexit and we don’t even know if we’re nine days away from Brexit yet. Sure, Theresa May is asking for an extension, but only in the same way that you’re free to ask your teacher for an essay extension, when they know full well you’re going to cram that time full of yet more useless procrastination.

By now, the leave camp promised everything would be sorted and we’d have all the trade deals ready to go the second after we leave the EU. Which is why it’s not the most reassuring thing when Liam Fox came out with a massive shit-eating grin to announce that he’s signed a deal with Liechtenstein, a country with a population roughly the size of Liechtenstein. Apologies if that doesn’t help clarify the size of Liechtenstein, but Liechtenstein is literally the go to example of somewhere as tiny as Liechtenstein. See the problem I’m having?

We are out of options and nearly out of time. So how have we spent our supposed last precious few days in the European Union? As is traditional, we’re having ourselves a constitutional crisis.

After seeing the government show up over and over again with the same deal and a good feeling about it this time, the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, decided he’d had enough and invoked a parliamentary convention so old that not even Jacob Rees-Mogg saw it coming from his vantage point of 1837.

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