Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Why Laura K's Kasual Reference To The KKK Kan't Stand

Theresa May is no stranger to race scandals. As Home Secretary she engineered the "Hostile Environment" policy that resulted in the wrongful detention and deportation of lawful immigrants (the Windrush scandal) and has since insisted it remain government policy.

So it was no real surprise that 'Theresa The Appeaser' would invite a bunch of white male 'hard Brexiteers' for Sunday lunch at Chequers. 

But it was surprising to learn that a mysterious "couple" of "insiders" now refer to said Brexiteers as the "Grand Wizards" - a title favoured by the Klu Klux Klan, the banned hate organisation that recently reared its hooded head outside a mosque in Belfast.

What was shocking, however, is how we learned this, and the lack of any disclosure as to whether senior KKKConservatives are referring to themselves as leaders of a hate organisation - or what activity has led other "insiders" to use this specific title in relation to them.

Laura Kuenssberg, the BBC's Political Editor, clearly had the inside story on the latest internal machinations of Theresa May's lunch guests and introduced the news of another meeting by stating that "The 'Grand Wizards' (the new name for the Chequer's (sic) daytrippers apparently) also had another meeting this morning, were (sic) they discussed again whether they could get on board to back the PM's deal...". 

Wait, what?

An hour later, Laura claimed to have checked her Tweets and had a bit of rethink. Not much of one, though, because she made the situation worse by stating: "...for the avoidance of doubt, couple of insiders told me using the nickname informally, no intended connection to anything else".

This demonstrates that the "couple of insiders" and Laura herself knew of the outrageous nature of the reference to the KKK generally as well as how it might be taken in this context. Yet there was no sense that she understood that this was itself newsworthy (as subsequent events are proving) - indeed what other journalists might well have considered a 'scoop'. 

Were the "couple of insiders" who informed Laura K of "using the nickname informally" in fact any of the Brexiteers themselves?

It's worth noting that Sarah Vilethe wife of Chequers attendee Michael Gove had tweeted on Saturday the word "lynched" in reference to the People's Vote March and hubby has previously likened himself to the Grand Wizard... stating in a speech in Oxford on 7 September 2016 that: 
“I feel rather like the grand wizard of the KKK giving an address to the AGM of Black Lives Matter.” 
(thereby neatly taking the opportunity to poke fun at the latter organisation and what it stands for - two dog-whistles to far right, white supremacists in one!).

Sarah Vile Vine has since also Tweeted "In fairness, not clear that THEY have given themselves that name." [My underlining of the weasel words, her capitals].

In other words, it remains entirely possible that one or more of the hard Brexiteers have indeed given themselves that name - and we need to know whether that is the case.

To be able to guard against the spread of hate and racism we need to know whether the KKKConservatives - and the Prime Minister herself - are making the KKK welcome. And, indeed, if this is something the BBKC itself is happy to condone - or at least ignore - rather than stamp out.

Our votes - and the BBKC's licence fee - depend on it.

Monday, 25 March 2019

29 March: Just Another Day

There's some confusion over whether the 29 March might still be "Brexit Day", but that is not legally possible. 

Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union governs how member states may leave - by giving two years' notice. The UK gave notice, but couldn't agree a deal in that time, so asked for an extension. The European Council decision on 22 March approving that request is a legal instrument that immediately extended the leaving date under Article 50(3) to either 12 April or 22 May 2019 (on certain conditions which the UK agreed). But even those deadlines could change - or disappear altogether.

If the UK's House of Commons does not approve the current draft of the withdrawal agreement during the week commencing 25 March 2019, the UK will leave the EU on 12 April 2019 unless before then: 
  • The European Council, in agreement with the UK, unanimously decides on another extension to the Article 50 period; or 
  • The UK revokes the Article 50 notice; or 
  • A withdrawal agreement is concluded with a different commencement date. 
If the House of Commons approves the withdrawal agreement in the week commencing 25 March 2019, the UK will leave the EU on 22 May 2019. Certain other conditions apply, but these are the new dates. 

The Brexit saga is far from over.

Thursday, 14 March 2019

UK Government Must Revoke Article 50 Notice By 11pm On 29 March

The UK Parliament has recently rejected both the UK's proposed withdrawal agreement with the EU and any potential 'no deal' scenario (which some refer to as 'trading on WTO terms'). Today, the government is asking Parliament to vote on whether it wishes the government to seek an 'extension' of the expiry date of the UK's "Article 50 notice" to withdraw from the EU, from 29 March to 30 June, which would require the unanimous consent of all other EU member states. This is both illogical and unnecessary.

The European Court of Justice has already ruled, however, that the UK can freely withdraw its Article 50 notice at any time before midnight UK time (11pm in Brussels) on 29 March, without needing any consent from the EU member states, and without preventing it from giving another notice at a later date.

An extension of the current Article 50 notice period is also pointless, since the EU will not negotiate the current 'deal' any further and Parliament will not allow a no deal situation. Relying on an extension to Article 50, which the EU has to agree to, is also surrendering the UK's sovereignty and control over the terms of any departure to the EU. Revoking Article 50 is soley within the UK's control and allows it to determine the timing of any second notice it might wish to give in due course.

Therefore, the only way for the government to deliver on Parliament’s “instructions” (a term that Theresa May likes to uses to refer to the non-binding EU referendum, so must accept when referring to ‘non-binding’ Parliamentary votes) in rejecting her 'deal' and ‘no deal’ is to revoke the Article 50 notice.

The Prime Minister complains that Parliament only states what it does not want, rather than what it wants. Yet she repeatedly presents Parliament with the same choice between her 'deal' and 'no deal' when it has rejected both, and now wants an extension to do that again. She cannot have it both ways. There must be no extension and the Article 50 notice must be withdrawn. 

Another government can always try to muster support for Brexit at a later date, as the ECJ has said is permissible.

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