Tag Archives: Brexit

01Apr/17

Today Saw The Death Of Britain First, They Will Not Be Missed.

Britain First, once the great white hype of the UK Islamaphobia Industry died an ignoble death today. And to think that just a few years ago they were being lauded as the most dangerous far right group in the UK. And they were dangerous, their ability to manipulate Social media was second to none, their propaganda machine had a reach of millions, at one time they seemed a credible force after the slow demise of the BNP and EDL. But no more.

When a group, even on the back of the latest London terror attack try to march on the propaganda coup it gifthorsed them, and only attract around 150 people, you know that the party is over.

You can even see the desperation as they frantically cram as many flags into people’s hands that they can possibly hold.

Most fitting was that they were given a glimpse into their future by holding the march jointly with the remnants of the once mighty EDL. The same EDL that a few years ago managed to attract 3000 people to a demo in London. Today they could barely muster 30.

EDL lurch in support of Britain First.

Even Tommeh Waxy-Lemon seemed ashamed to be associated with them. And that on the back of his failure to kickstart Pegida UK.  His new BFF, the Trust Fund kid behind another failing far right media group must be wondering how he backed another loser.

It cannot be ignored that for years Goldy and Waxy have derided each other on social media, one decrying the other as a thug and criminal, the other as rip off ‘Zionist’ shopkeepers. The very fact they thought that together they could put aside their differences to attract hundreds to a demo highlights just how desperate they both are to retain some relevance. And they both failed, spectacularly.

The old guard of the far right are being eclipsed. Dowson and Griffin have run away to Hungary, desperately trying to exploit the discredited ‘Templar’ imagery to scam funds from gullible Americans. The National Front, the BNP, the EDL are just twitching corpses, deluding themselves that they still have a significance.

Britain First are well set down the same path to obscurity. They will continue to bleat away on Facebook not realising that they have ruined their own lives as they milk what little money they can from their dwindling followers. Not that they will disappear entirely, we will still see them for years to come, aging badly, screaming their inanities at an audience that has long since moved on.

But we cannot become complacent, replacements are standing in the wings, ready and waiting. Liberty GB are backed by money, but so far are struggling to gain support (it does not help that one of their main guys was convicted of race hate crimes). Ukip are bankrupt, led by incompetents and losing support in droves.

Which brings us to who, we believe, is the next far right threat. Arron Banks and his Ukip 2.0, the Patriotic Alliance. Britain First may have been groundbreaking in their social media manipulation, but Banks’s LeaveUK has taken this to a whole new level. The Patriotic Alliance will be connected, it will have the backing of fake news supremo’s Breitbart UK via Raheem Kassam. It already has the formidable social media machinery of LeaveUK. It is connected to Mercer, the American billionaire Hedge Fund owner believed to have used his business Cambridge Analytics to manipulate the Brexit result. And through Mercer it is also connected to Alt-Right, White Supremacist Bannon, Trumps Chief Strategist.

Just what shape the patriotic Alliance will take is yet to be seen. It will be anti-immigrant. It will be Islamaphobic. It will be fascism in a suit and tie. Britain is about to go through its most traumatic time since WW2. Brexit is already making people poorer and if/when it fails…well, these are fertile grounds for fascism to take root.

¡No Pasarán!

 

Oh and the Trust Fund bellend…

 

11Feb/17

Should We Worry About…Fake News?

“Fake News”…the social media phenomenon of 2017. But what exactly is classed as fake news? How do you spot it? And should we be worried about it?

Fake news websites (also known as hoax news) deliberately publish hoaxes, propaganda, and disinformation purporting to be real news – often using social media pages and accounts to drive web traffic and amplify their effect. The vast majority of these websites are monetized by ads, usually Adsense and other methods (usually by using an accompanying video which is itself monetized on Youtube)

It is important to distinguish between actual fake news sites and  news satire sites,such as the Rochdale Herald, Newsthump etc.

News satire sites, whilst walking a thin line between comedy and fake news, are the polar opposite of a fake news website.

Fake news websites seek to mislead, rather than entertain, readers for financial (not to say that satire sites are not monetized as well), political, or other gain.  Such is the perceived threat from these sites that world leaders have felt the need to pronounce about them.

“German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned Wednesday against the power of fake news on social media to spur the rise of populists, after launching her campaign for a fourth term.”
Read More Here:

In the UK Labour MP Michael Dugher was assigned by the Labour Party Deputy Leader Thomas Watson in November 2016 to investigate the impact of fake news spread through social media.   Watson said they would work with Twitter and Facebook to root out clear-cut circumstances of “downright lies”. in an article for the Independent Watson  suggested methods to respond to fake news. Conservative MP, and Minister for Culture Matthew Hancock, stated the British government would investigate the impact of fake news and its pervasiveness on social media websites.

Pressure from the UK, the EU, the USA and other Governments has led to social media giants, Google, Twitter and Facebook promising to tackle fake news on its platforms. Google first updated its policy saying that the company will try to ban sites that “misrepresent, misstate (sic), or conceal information.” Websites who don’t comply with this rule will get banned from using Google AdSense.  Facebook, has also updated its policy to rule out fake news sites from using Facebook Audience Network. More:

German politicians want to go a step further than this, Thomas Oppermann, who leads the SPD in Germany’s parliament, the Bundestag, Speaking with “Der Spiegel” magazine, Oppermann said that harsh punitive measures were necessary in order to make social networks

Thomas Oppermann SPD (picture-alliance/dpa/A.Jensen)
shoulder their share of the burden. He suggested a fine of 500,000 euros ($522,000) if websites such as Facebook didn’t remove harmful material within one day of being notified of it.
So, Governments and social media sites are making moves to prevent fake news, but just how worried should we be about it? And what effect does it have in the real world? 
Fake news can start of innocently enough, a post on Twitter or Facebook. But occasionally these posts can go viral. The New York Time’s noted this particular incident last November (2016). 

A simple enough post. Man spots buses lined up and jumps to the conclusion that it was Hilary supporters being ferried in to demonstrate against Trump during the election. The post was by a certain Eric Tucker, and this seemingly innocent mistake fuelled a worldwide conspiracy theory — one that Trump gleefully joined in promoting.

The post was quickly picked up by fake news sites.

All of this seems harmless enough, except that even though it was thoroughly debunked, a great many people still believe it to be true. 
This is just example of how fake news can accidentally be created. But what happens when fake news is specifically created for more sinister purposes?  To try to influence an election? Promote extremist views? vilify an entire race/religion? 
People familiar with the hate group Britain First on Facebook will know that it is mostly known for its spread of repackaged viral memes online and spinning stolen news articles for its own advantage. Many people forwarding these memes are unaware of the origins of these posts, and thus misinformation and disinformation are spread abound.  What is concerning is that, most people who read the fabricated stories on Facebook — such as the widely-circulated hoax meme that Pope Francis had endorsed Trump — actually believed them.
And now we come to Mr James Dowson, head Coconut Tapper at Knights Templar International.
Jim Dowson, described by The Times as an “inveterate agitator” and “the invisible man of Britain’s far right”.  Dowson himself advocated Britain’s exit from the EU and has expresses admiration for the Russian President, Vladimir Putin. Dowson has made it his mission, according to messages posted on one of his sites, to
spread devastating anti-Clinton, pro-Trump memes and sound bites into sections of the population too disillusioned with politics to have taken any notice of conventional campaigning,” in the same way that Dowson “made deft use of social media … to promote [his] work and convey an impression of mass following”, according to the New York Times.
Thankfully, it seems that Dowson’s fake new sites have been closed down (but not the mouthpiece of Nick Griffin KTI page). But this is a man who advocates a war against Islam, has links to Russia,  the Syrian regime and neo-Nazi paramilitaries throughout Europe (and further).

Even during the 2015 conservative (read Nazi) forum in Russia,  Dowson stated:

“We have the ability to take a video from today and put it in half of every single household in the United States of America, where these people can for the first time learn the truth, because their own media tell lies, they tell lies about Russia,” Mr. Dowson said then.

“We have to use popular culture to reach into the living rooms of the youth of America, of Britain, France, Germany, and bring them in,” he said. “Then we can get them the message.” Video

 

Dowson and his Knights Templar use of fake even prompted an investigation by Channel 4 News for its Fake News Week series 10/02/2017.

Obviously, it is impossible to tell just how much fake news influenced the US election and helped to put the Tangerine Toddler into the most powerful office in the world. But it is potential links to fake news sites and Putin that are the most concerning.

Some analysts see the hallmarks of Russian interests and far-right agitators in Europe and the United States.  Alina Polyakova, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, a nonpartisan international affairs institute in Washington believes that fake news.

“Messages seep into the mainstream, they may have been extreme or fringe at one point in time, but they have been incredibly influential in shaping people’s views about key geopolitical events in a very specific direction.”

 “Moscow specifically encourages and facilitates the spreading of propaganda through proxies”

 

Even the term Fake News has begun to be abused. Comment after comment on social media news articles from MSM sites states “FAKE NEWS!!!!”; in todays Post Truth world it seems that fake news is believed by many people to be anything they disagree with.

The President of the United States is at it:

That was a fake Tweet Mr President….

Should we be worried about fake news? It is too soon to tell really. What is worrying is the the ability of people with sinister motives, backed by money (and possibly by foreign powers) being able to shape the public conscience.

And never forget…

¡No Pasarán!

 

24Jan/17

Should We Be Worried About…Hard Brexit?

Brexit, it’s everywhere; Brexit means Brexit, Hard Brexit, Soft Brexit, Red White and Blue Brexit. On January 17th Theresa May acknowledged that leaving the EU would involve, as she called it, “trade-offs”, and indicated some of the choices she would make. She will pursue a Hard Brexit  and her Gov’t will be taking the United Kingdom out of the Single Market and the European Courts (remember her history as Home Secretary?).

So Hard Brexit it is (or as it has been re-branded, Clean Brexit).

But should we be worried about a Hard Brexit?

No-one has much of a clue what the UK’s post-Brexit relationship with the EU might look like. For a UK negotiation to be successful, it needs willing and constructive co-operation on both sides.  But, as we have seen from the rhetoric coming out from other EU leaders; Boris Johnson and May seemingly intent on upsetting and insulting the EU, this does not seem likely.  The primary intention of the EU in the negotiation process is unlikely to be benign for the UK, as it will seek to make sure that the UK does not get a better deal outside the EU than as a full member, in order to deter other states from exiting.  The EU will accept the short term negative impact of decreased trade with Britain in exchange for the long term benefit of continuing to exist as the EU.  Another factor that clouds the negotiations are two critical elections, one in France (where the far right Front National are making gains) and in Germany. Both Merkel and Hollande have consistently offered a hardline toward the UK over Brexit. 

But one thing is certain, it will affect Sterling. As everyone who has been following the Brexit debacle knows, immediately upon the announcement of the referendum result last June, Sterling nose-dived.

And has since barely recovered.

And Sterling continued to take hits EVERY TIME May or the Brexiteers hinted at a Hard Brexit.

Opinion is divided amongst economists as to whether Sterling will experience another Flash Crash on the triggering of Article 50. Some believe that the Pound will fall further until it reaches parity with the Dollar, whilst others believe that Sterling is now undervalued and will recover (but not to pre-referendum levels). It should be noted that, after May confirmed the type of Brexit the UK would undertake, Sterling improved (aided mainly by inflation and the weak Dollar).

TIMELINE OF STERLING POST BREXIT

1. June 24: Sterling collapses more than 12 per cent to a 30-year low after Leave win confirmed.

2. August 4: Bank of England launches QE programme to prop up the economy and cuts the interest rate further.

3. October 6: “Flash crash” — pound collapses to $1.14 in the space of a few minutes.

4. November 3: High Court’s Article 50 ruling against government boosts the pound.

5. January 9: Pound fluctuates again as May confirms Hard Brexit.

British citizens have not yet felt the full impact of a devalued currency – unlike British pensioners living in other EU countries like France and Spain that felt it in their pockets the very next day after the referendum. But this is set to change. 

The first inflation statistics after the ref result, from the Office for National Statistics back in September showed the annual inflation rate rising from 0.6% to 1%, its highest for almost two years. The ONS said, at that time, that the cost of living had yet to be much affected by the drop in the value of the pound seen since the EU referendum, but the Bank of England, the International Monetary Fund and City economists believe that inflation will rise above the government’s 2% target in early 2017 and will reach at least 3% by the end of the year.

And experts are expecting more depressing news in January 2017:

“Inflation is expected to have finally reached the Reserve Bank’s 1% to 3% target band when official figures are released on Thursday.” More

The fact that inflation, so far, has not risen to the same levels as the devaluation of Sterling (inflation always follows a currency devaluation) can be attributed to a number of reasons. Businesses always try to keep short-term currency fluctuations away from the consumer, by buying in bulk, at a fixed exchange rate etc. But these measures are running out, hence the expected inflation rise. Other factors involved was the price war between the major supermarkets and the same with petrol station forecourts, but again these are coming to an end (The price of Crude has already increased, and we buy Crude in Dollars and this will, as always conflate the inflation). 

Obviously, any inflation will hit the poorest and most vulnerable the hardest.  And this in a country that has seen the worse fall in living standards in more than a century. 

Typical working households were £345 a year worse off than before the economic crisis, according to the ONS in 2016 – the same as the previous year. Middle-income working-age households saw their incomes grow by just 1% last year. Pensioner households were £656 better off after a 3.1% rise in median incomes, from £21,114 to £21,770. More

Also, more than 2.3 million families are living in fuel poverty in England – the equivalent of 10% of households, according to government statistics. And again this situation will only get worse when the inflation really starts to kick in. And all this comes at a cost to Government finances.

And Brexit is happening at a time when the working poor and people on benefits are having to resort to using Food Banks at record levels.

One of the cruelest ironies with Brexit is that the 2 demographics that voted for it in the highest numbers, the elderly and the poorly educated, are most likely to suffer the most from it.

It is pretty much a certainty that the Pound will take another hit on the triggering of Article 50. The one thing that is certain from any type of Brexit is that inflation will increase, on a Hard Brexit even more so than a Soft. And if we have to resort to World Trade Organisation rules, that will mean tariffs, and again that will conflate an already bad situation for millions in the UK.

The Economy

So far, since the referendum result, the UK economy has defied expectations and remained relatively strong – much to the delight of Brexiteers and the believers of the ‘Project Fear’ rhetoric from the Leave camp.

Indeed, official figures have shown the economy was outstripped only by the US among the large economies last year after growth in the third quarter was upgraded to 0.6%.  Another surprising result was that consumer spending actually increased after the referendum result.

But behind these figures lies a disturbing reality. Even though UK incomes have been stagnant, consumer credit grew at an annual rate of 10.8 per cent in November, according to Bank of England figures, the highest growth rate since 2005. In short, this consumer boom has been built on an unsustainable level of credit. 

Twice before, and both times under Tory governments we have seen this – the Barber Boom of the early 1970s and the Lawson Boom of the late 1980s and BOTH times the economy became overstimulated, creating a bubble which then burst.  And both times led to economic chaos. Although there are signs that this consumer boom is already slowing, sales in December 2016 were actually down from the previous year as the inflation starts to hit people’s pockets. This may prevent a credit bubble burst, but as the UK’s economic growth has been led by spending, it will impact growth further. 

Another reason put forward for the higher than expected growth after the ref has been that the collapse in the value of Sterling has helped exports. This is true, exports have increased…except the Trade Deficit has not reduced, in fact it actually increased. 

The gap between the UK’s imports and exports hit £4.7bn in August, up from £2.2bn in July, the ONS reported in its second monthly trade bulletin since the Brexit vote. The deficit with the EU grew by more than £1bn to £8.4bn. UK manufacturers have reported a rise in both domestic and overseas demand, but imports are now more expensive as sterling depreciates more. The ONS stated there was “only limited evidence so far” that the fall in the pound’s value had led to a “marked increase in UK exports”.

One of the reasons for the poor export increase is due to the fact that the UK’s economy is not diverse enough. The UK does sell more services abroad than are imported – but this is not enough to counter the bigger deficit in the value of the goods sold abroad, compared with the value of the goods imported.

 Jobs

There have already been job losses associated with Brexit. Hewden: The machinery rental business went into administration blaming the Brexit vote for poor trading. Rivington Biscuits, the maker of Pink Panther wafers, has gone into administration, blaming the fall in the value of the pound following the Brexit vote. And more, with more businesses expected to fail over the coming months and years.

By far the two industries most at risk from Brexit are the Financial/Banking industries and the UK Car Manufacturing industries. Indeed, Ford have already threatened that they may have to close plants in the UK. And Nissan, after stating that they will build the Qashqai model at their Sunderland plant even with the ref result have now decided, during the 2017 Davos meeting that they will have to reconsider the plants viability after a Hard Brexit.  The cold irony of this is that both these companies are located in towns (Sunderland, Dagenham, Bridgend) that actually voted to Leave. The car industries face a double whammy from a Hard Brexit, one with the Tariffs on completed vehicles, and another to the supply chain for the parts needed to actually make the cars. The numbers employed in these industries are in the thousands.

The UK financial industries are also set to cause unemployment. During the Davos meeting in January 2017 the UBS Chairman Axel Weber said that about 1,000 of the Swiss bank’s 5,000 employees in London could be affected by Brexit, while HSBC Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver said his bank will relocate staff responsible for generating around a fifth of its UK-based trading revenue to Paris. Germany’s Handelsblatt newspaper also reported that Goldman Sachs is considering halving its London workforce to 3,000 and moving key operations to New York and continental Europe, particularly Frankfurt, where it could move up to 1,000 staff. More.  This will be a massive hit, not only to the thousands employed by the banks, but also to the UK’s Tax receipts, 12% of the total comes from the City.

Three MILLION jobs in Britain depend on trade with the EU, with many economists reckoning that the true figure is actually higher. Obviously not all the the jobs will be lost, trade will continue after Brexit, But more job losses are inevitable, more so on a Hard Brexit.

Brexit And Rights

One of the reasons Theresa May has used for her stance on a Hard Brexit is for the UK to leave the jurisdiction of the EU Courts. For many years the UK tabloids have been filled with lurid stories of foreign criminals being allowed to remain in the UK due to ECHR judgements. Take this screaming headline from the Sun for example:

“Britain has lost more than 200 cases in the European Court of Human Rights, at
a cost of £4.4million to taxpayers. Strasbourg judges have ruled in favour of — and awarded compensation to — murderers, terrorists, paedophiles and rapists.”

But these stories, gleefully leaped upon by the gutter press are the minority, the EU Courts have actually protected UK citizens on many. many occasions. When we leave the EU Courts, no UK citizen will have recourse there. Here are 11 times the ECHR changed the UK for the better.  And most recently, May’s flagship ‘Snoopers Charter’ legislation was deemed illegal due to EU Human Rights legislation.

And it is not only legal rights that have been protected, embedded in EU Legislation are rights that govern employment, health and safety, privacy, the list goes on and on. We risk losing all these protections on a Hard Brexit. Especially as the current UK chancellor of the Exchequer has threatened to turn the UK into a low rights tax haven on a Hard Brexit. 

 

Should we be worried about a Hard Brexit? Damn right we should be worried, the potential (inevitable) economic chaos will only serve to make the majority poorer. Job losses are a given, our Public Services are under threat, our Rights are threatened, our standing in the world threatened, our security threatened. Putin is lurking in the shadows, rubbing his hands in glee at Brexit. President Trump’s rhetoric is becoming more and more isolationist. The EU is hardening its stance toward the UK. Of  course, this is not an exhaustive list of the potential dangers of a Hard Brexit, and no one actually knows what will happen when Article 50 is triggered in March. It is certain that the current Govt have no mandate for a Hard Brexit, no mandate to put the UK at such a great risk.  The referendum was advisory only and if the polls are to be believed, a great many Brexit voters now regret their vote. The referendum was Cameron’s attempt at finally ending the internecine Conservative Party civil war over the EU – it blew up in his face badly.  The Leave campaign was defined by its lies and reliance on people’s emotions rather than the facts, people were sold a lie.

And remember the rise in Hate Crimes after the referendum? Imagine what could happen on a Hard Brexit and everyone suffers for it.


When Brexit does not deliver what so many Brexiteers think it will deliver, who will they turn against next?

 

 

 

 

 

23Jan/17

Resistance – An East End Girls Story

I will try to keep this post short-ish and to the point. It probably the most important post I will ever write so I hope you will indulge me.

I’m 53 years of age, from the East End, grew up with everyone around me still living WWII from living among rubble (yep it was still around in the 60s), to UXBs still being found, to older people talking constantly about the blitz and Moseley. At around 8 years of age I was sitting with my Grandfather watching All Our Yesterdays and he started to cry. He said to me ‘this is where hate leads, it must never happen again and its up to your generation to make sure it never happens again’ I took that seriously, and I often wondered what I would have done had I lived in Germany faced with the rise of the Nazis, and even at that age concluded that I would have been a part of the quiet under the radar resistance. I thought later that was a romantic childhood musing and nothing more.

In the 1970s Idi Amin expelled the Asian people from his country and they came here. People were picketing Heathrow airport with signs telling the Asian refugees to go home, telling them they were not wanted. This was a time when white women who dared to walk along hand in hand with a man of a different culture/colour/religion were openly spat at, called a ‘whore’, told things like ‘your fanny must be fucking rotting’ and all done in front of children. The national front were a rabble running around causing chaos. People thought it funny to leave gollies on the desks of black or mixed race people at work, and if they didn’t laugh they were told they had a chip on their shoulder. Most did not complain and rarely were they stuck up for. Asian people had to endure being called ‘Gungadin’ or ‘wallah’ or other such names overhung from a perception of a Raj and ‘bud bud’ noises were quite normal to hear being thrown toward them. People from Chinese Asia were supposed to laugh at and join in the fun when fully grown adults slanted their own eyes to them and chanted such hilarious quips as ‘I’m a ching chong chinaman, ahhhhhhhhhhhhhshole’

In the late 80s/early 90s after the Berlin wall fell I began to notice news reports of neo nazis from those countries which has once been taken over by the nazis and then taken behind the iron curtain. It seemed that the nazi ideology, defeated in the minds of some, had been merely in some suspended animation. Again, I was taken back to my grandfather’s words and my romantic musings about being a resistance hero. We had Margaret Thatcher who shifted politics to the right. We had the unions stomping everywhere shifting opinion away from the left. I began talking to people about this rise and subtle political shift and was always met either with sniggers, or advice to ‘get a grip, life’s too short, stop living in the past’. I more or less had a decade where I forgot all about this, where thankfully laws began to tackle the kind of abuses people who were not WASP males had to endure. We had TV programmes like Roots, films like Ghandi, the apartheid regime in SA and support growing for Nelson Mandela all together showing the kind of abuses those we had been happy to taunt had had to suffer. Attititudes began to shift. Children were born into a country where they were more likely to call out and tackle racism and openly reject it.

For a while things seemed to be going forward. And then in the noughties UKIP began to grow. Farage took over. At first he was not known, only appearing now and again in small news items. There was no defining period when he was suddenly propelled forward in the media. It seemed like a gradual transition, a drip drip drip, a subtle rise. Jean-Marie Le Penn in France became a ‘thing’ in our media, dismissed as a buffoon. And suddenly, around 6/7 years ago Farage and his message of anti immigration and anti immigrants was everywhere. The country laughed at him as they did Le Penn. But they were not talking to us, they were directing their very simple message to those WASP males who felt their rights to laugh at, abuse and generally lord it over anyone who was not like them had been ripped from them unfairly, this is the ‘common sense’ they speak of. The words ‘political correctness’ began to be used as a weapon, a term which denoted a stripping away of some perceived moral rights to speak and laugh as they wished. While we were laughing at Farage those people were taking him and Le Penn seriously, they were listening. They began to feel emboldened. Again I started to talk to people and try to stop them laughing at UKIP and Farage, even those who would instinctively agree with my liberal stance laughed at me and told me it wasn’t going to happen. When the by election came in Clacton (I know the area well) I was met with ridicule when I said the predictions of 62% for Carswell was right. When he won I was told it was a one off, a cut off Hamlet which didn’t represent the rest of the country. Again my mind went back to my Grandfather’s words. I knew we would Brexit. I heard the mutterings of those people Farage had been seducing and cultivating for several decades rising, those same people who had abused white women in the street, picketed Heathrow, the ‘Enoch was Right’ brigade.

And here we are. I am still being told to ‘get a grip’. I am being told now that it is my fault that the far right across Europe is on the edge of taking over Europe again. It is my fault because I denied those people the right to abuse me, as a woman, my friends and neighbours who are not WASP, I am told now that I am a neo nazi because I am a liberal I am therefore a socialist and Hitler was a national ‘socialist’ and therefore on the liberal left of the political spectrum. I am now the enemy. We are now at a watershed. We sit on the edge. Now is the time my romantic childhood musings of being a part of a resistance against extremism have become a reality. We all have to make a choice now. We all have to decide whether to fight the monster of the far right neo nazis who not only have teeth and a voice, but have legs and agency. The neo nazis are organized, they are united (Farage wasnt joking when he said after his resignation that he was going to spend time in Europe encouraging other countries to leave, what he meant was he is going to unite other neo nazi groups). Now we have Trump. The puppetmaster of the far right. An unstable narcissist who is breathing life into the never defeated but sleeping nazis worldwide. Farage is with him now, in the bossom of right wing US media. The Lord Haw Haw of modern times. I know what I am going to do. All I ask now is that everyone here ask themselves what they are going to do. There are 2 choices. 1. Give in and appease 2. Resist.

Author Anonymous: EDIT: I AM NOT GINA MILLER, I CANNOT AFFORD 24/7 PERSONAL PROTECTION FOR MYSELF AND MY CHILDREN. I AM HAPPY FOR PEOPLE TO SHARE MY WORDS, AS LONG AS MY NAME IS TAKEN OUT AND I CAN REMAIN ANONYMOUS.

Reposted from Remain Visual

03Jan/17

Daily Mail ‘Foreign Aid Cashpoint’ Front Page Fact Checked.

 

 

We woke up this morning to another Daily Fail, anti Foreign Aid headline:

 

OUTRAGE!

 

Where to start with this one? Okay, this is the actual scheme:

“Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) was launched in July 2008 with an immediate objective of consumption smoothening and cushioning the negative effects of slow economic growth, the food crisis and inflation on the poor, particularly women, through the provision of cash transfers of Rs. 1,000/month to eligible families. Its long term objectives include supporting the achievement of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to eradicate extreme and chronic poverty, to empower of women and to achieve universal primary education. The monthly installment was enhanced to Rs. 1200/- per month w.e.f 1st July, 2013 by the present government and has now been fixed at Rs. 1500/-per month w.e.f 1st July, 2014.”

How very dare they?

This project was initiated for poverty alleviation and women empowerment among the socially and economically marginalized sections of Pakistan. Due to the international financial, fuel and food crisis, Pakistan witnessed escalating inflation over the past few years. In addition, Pakistan’s economic problems were exacerbated due to the global war on terror and consecutive natural disasters in 2010 and 2011. This has created a domino effect on Pakistani production sector and population’s ability to sustain. The number of people living below the poverty line is significant and more vulnerable households are at the risk of falling below the poverty line.

Women are specifically adversely affected by chronic poverty as six out of ten of the world’s poorest people are women who must, as the primary family caretakers and producers of food, shoulder the burden of tilling land, grinding grain, carrying water and cooking.

And what does this aid do?

  • It identifies 7.7 million households who are living below poverty cut-off score of 16.17
  • It creates a large and reliable national registry of the socio-economic status of around 27 million households across Pakistan
  • It uses GPS to map the data of the entire country for informed decision making (for example, to respond to natural disasters and other emergencies)
  • It validates the targeting process through third party evaluation

 

BISP beneficiaries to be trained in industrial skills

 

Women and children recieving aid.

  • The cards give the poorest families in Pakistan; people who live on under £1 a day, £10 a month to enable them a very basic standard of living.
  • UK backing for the Pakistan government’s BISP led to cash support for more than 235,000 families across the country in 2012, which could potentially increase to 441,000 families by 2020.
  • DfID insisted that independent reports had praised the use of cash transfer schemes, there was a “zero-tolerance” approach to fraud and a shift to biometric payments would make the BISP more secure.
  • The Department for International Development (DfID) said the programme was helping the poorest families in Pakistan and was an efficient and effective way to make sure they had the support they need.

http://www.bisp.gov.pk/Others/achievementsenglish.jpg

Putting the fact that this scheme, which has been running for over 8 years, is helping the poorest and most vulnerable aside, these are the key points with regard to the UK contributions:

  • The cards give the poorest families £10 a month, and the uk contribution to the scheme is around 5%
  • Cash transfers worldwide equate to 2% of the UK’s overall foreign aid budget. They are used through existing schemes such as this one to reach people in need directly with lower overheads and less risk of fraud.
  • The UN set a target figure of 0.7% of GDP for foreign aid. The UK increased its budget to stay in line with this. Sweden contributes double its GDP annually.
  • Total UK spend over 8 years for the BISP scheme will be £300 million. – no idea where the Mail gets the £1 Billion figure from, seems to only relate to the increase in the Foreign Aid Budget.

But according to the Daily Mail, it is ALL British Taxpayers monies, it just funds scroungers, and Muslims at that, how very dare the scheme try and lift families from absolute poverty? How dare it save lives? And the Pakistani Govt is aware of the fraud allegations and trying methods to combat it.
Still, it was handy hate clickbait for the Mail whose 2017 mission seems to be to try and end all foreign aid. #NeverBuyTheMail

 

31Dec/16

IRBF Alternative New Years Honours

It’s that time of year again when the great, the good, the Community Workers and the Tory Party supporters get honoured. To be honest, we’re not the biggest fans of the Honours System, so we decided to compile our own, alternative version.

And here it is:

Twitter Personality of the Year.
For us it had to be Gary Lineker, who stuck his head above the parapet and Tweeted from the heart his positive, humanitarian views about refugees, and caught a nasty far right backlash for his efforts..

And for actually doing MotD in his boxers.
Migrant of the Year:
Had to be the Mo. Great athelete, a one man tabloid stereotype destroying machine and by all accounts a really decent guy.

Yeah, Mo got a Knighthood, but he is one of a few we would actually call Sir.

Biggest Arsehole in Politics:
A dead tie with this one, Farage and Trump.
Cameron came a close second.

Just needs Putin at the front Human Caterpillar style…
Political bollocks of the year.
Theresa May, Brexit means Brexit Red White and Blue Brexit, I have no clue what I am doing Brexit.

And thanks for the Snoopers Charter.

 

Political Campaigner
Harry Leslie Smith who has never stopped fighting for a better, more equal society even at his advanced age. If you do not know who he is, search his name and read.

Cuntiest political speech of the year.
Farage, no shots fired after the ref result.

One face we would never tire out from punching…

MP of the year:
Following on from the last award.  Jo Cox MP, slain by far right terrorist Tommy Mair for her views on the EU, Refugees RIP.

Best Political Program:
Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, Just watch and see why.

Okay a bit of nepotism, can we have him back please USA?

 

Unsung Heroes:
The Antifa who faced down the fascists in Dover.

Fatmess was later jailed.
Worst Newspaper UK.
The Sun, The Express, The Mail, The Telegraph et al.

So that’s our small list, anyone want to offer up suggestions to be added?

 

31Dec/16

Is this proof that Farage applied for German citizenship and could face five years in gaol?

PROOF: #FARAGE APPLIED FOR GERMAN CITIZENSHIP – AND COULD FACE 5 YRS PRISON FOR IT

.

In August, various news outlets reported a rumour that former UKIP leader Nigel Farage had applied for German citizenship and passport. That allegation was rubbished by ‘sources close to’ Mr Farage:

indy farage.png

In a worldwide exclusive, the SKWAWKBOX can report that not only did Nigel Farage apply for a German passport, but he did so on the day after the EU referendum – and is under police investigation for allegedly providing false information.

Mr Farage was reported to the police by a concerned German citizen with an interest in British politics, who knew of the application and believed it could not have been made legitimately.

German law normally requires 8 years residency – with only minimal absences – in order to qualify for a passport. For those with a German spouse – Mr Farage’s wife is German – the length of residency is reduced to 3 years’ continual residency. Mr Farage has not, according to the complainant, come anywhere near meeting those requirements but, on the application form, used the Hamburg address of a relative of his wife to claim residency.

The fact of the application and of the subsequent allegation and police investigation can be found in these confirmations from Hamburg police to the complainant – the first being the initial confirmation of receipt and case number and the second a response to a request for an update:

strafanzeigestrafanzeige2

The SKWAWKBOX has spoken to the Hamburg police station PK24 and, while unwilling to discuss details of the case, the officer confirmed that the case reference, which is highlighted in the first image above, concerns a live and ongoing case 3 months after the complaint.

The ongoing police case puts beyond doubt the question of whether Nigel Farage made an application for a German passport.

The information from the complainant makes clear that he did so immediately after the EU referendum, which means that while celebrating his ‘win’ to take Britain out of the EU, he was making plans to retain EU citizenship.

The ongoing police investigation also raises an interesting possibility about Farage’s frequent appearances with US President-elect Donald Trump.

According to the German Staatsangehörigkeitsgesetz (Nationality Act), an attempt to obtain German naturalisation under false pretences is a serious offence with serious consequences:

sag

Could Nigel Farage’s eagerness to cosy up to Trump and rumoured attempts to gain US citizenship be driven by a desire to be out of reach of the potential consequences if he were found guilty, given the difficulty of extraditing US citizens to other countries to face trial?

Whatever the truth about Farage’s recent fondness for the US, it’s now beyond question that the then-UKIP leader was campaigning to take Britain out of the EU while intending to retain EU citizenship for himself. Draw your own conclusions about that and what it means for him and whether his supposed disdain for the EU was anything more than ego-driven posturing to support a vanity project.

Reblogged so that people can decide for themselves whether or not this is real. We remain sceptical, although sources have confirmed it as true.

We will let our readers decide.

15Dec/16

Brexit and the Budget – A Bookkeeping Shambles?

Chancellor Phillip Hammond announced government borrowing is predicted to increase by £110 billion over the next 4 years, largely due to the looming repercussions of Brexit. As well as the direct costs leaving the EU brings, a large proportion is predicted due to a drop in migration and reduced productivity. (Source: Office for Budget Responsibility)

The government will need to borrow more money as migration reduces, because despite the current popular anti-immigration sentiment being peddled by many media channels and politicians, migration is good for the economy, for productivity and for employment.

Although the government has now abandoned hope for Osborne’s unachievable plan for zero deficit by 2020, the austerity blueprint remains. Whilst several high profile plans have experienced U-turns or been diluted by the House of Lords, austerity measures will take £30 a week from around 300,000 sick and disabled people in receipt of ESA, in a bid to cut £455 million from the welfare bill. This will take effect from April 2017.

Nobody really knows yet the full effects Brexit will have on our economy. All forecasts predict financial downturns, but it remains to be seen just how deep and long this will be. This was the first Hammond/May budget announcement, and for many it will feel about as helpful to them as the other Hammond/May partnership showing them how a Lamborghini handles round the track. Unfortunately for the average household and the government, forecasts suggest the books are going to get even harder to balance.