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Helping the BogPo to celebrate its 600th edition is Mr Ed Sheeran, the ginger oligarch. Well why not, he’s everywhere else!
“Why are we choosing now in a surly fashion to abrogate all our treaties with friendly neighbours, to cosy up to the most dangerously incompetent and out-of-control, protectionist administration in US history?”
Coming or going
As the PM this morning chucked the paper dart of Article 50 into the eye of our new French teacher, Monsieur Barnier, the dimly illuminated Empire-loyalist, neo-Thatcherite Tory MPs whose support for this lunacy persuaded me years ago that whatever the many flaws of the EU I would never vote to leave it, bellowed their delight like the cattle they are.
So bovine are they that they haven’t even noticed that Mr Putin is dancing a jig: they have played straight into the hands of the Disruptors, imagining that the European bureaucracy they’re bringing crashing down for the benefit of the Russian Federation is somehow worse than what will follow it.
It never occurred to these preposterously entitled, Cicero-quoting oafs and their malcontent Morlocks, the fish-porters of Sunderland, that we were not ‘giving our sovereignty away’: we were extending it over our neighbours. Now we shall have no further say in how they carry on their trade in the world, nor in what we can sell to a market of 450 million buyers we have simply handed over to our competitors. We shall just have to chance it, while these made-for-TV caricatures practise their silly walks up and down the white cliffs, waving their little flags and braying at foreigners.
Writing in The Guardian, Jonathan Freedland argues today that Theresa May’s speech to Parliament setting out her ambition for a negotiated departure from the EU contains virtually all the elements that would have made it worthwhile not leaving in the first place:
“The free trade, the close cooperation on security, the collective stance for liberal and democratic values, the soft, almost invisible, border between the Republic of Ireland and the north – these are the things she wanted. Yet the unavoidable truth is that this is what Britain already had and could have kept on having – but which it has chosen to discard.”
Exactly. I have asked many times, what was possibly to be gained by replacing one complicated set of trade rules and regulations that we’ve spent over 40 years cementing into place, with ad hoc speculative arrangements under the WTO where we have to start over again with unknown and possibly untrustworthy or hostile actors who are never going to add value with investment in our underperforming regions, research, higher education and industry sectors as the EU has done, in a more dangerous world that has already changed out of all recognition since the campaign began?
How is that even a sane policy?
Why are we choosing now in a surly fashion to abrogate all our treaties with friendly neighbours, to cosy up to the most dangerously incompetent and out-of-control, protectionist administration in US history? Why are we apparently prepared to put up with a situation wherein the number of EU nurses registering to work in the NHS has already fallen by 90% a month, while we’re scrapping educational supports – bursaries – for British trainee nurses? What do the Brexit mob think is going to happen to their precious NHS? It doesn’t run on money, it runs on people.
The illogicality of the Brexit position could not have been more clearly spelled out than by that egregious weasel, Bernard Jenkin MP, who told Newsnight on Monday that everything would be fine: we would be welcomed to go on trading in Europe because ‘our cars are the same as theirs’. (Yes, Bernard, the Yanks have just sold our GM Vauxhall plants to the French. Watch that space, you smarmy fuckhead.)
Where has this microcephalic Tory cipher been all these years?
My first client as ‘Head of PR’ for a gritty provincial advertising agency in 1985 was a company that made replacement exhaust pipes for cars. Every new model of car has a different floor-pan and hence, a different conformation of exhaust. There are thousands. Thanks to gaining EU ‘type approvals’ Harmo was able to sell its products to motorists driving VW and Fiat and Skoda and Citroen and Morris and Renault and Volvo cars made in France and Germany, in Britain and Spain, in Sweden and Italy and – eventually – the Czech Republic.
All Jenkin and his disconnected ilk would make of that list is ‘Immigrants’. Trade is something we do with the Empire, not with foreigners.
Had we not joined the EEC in 1973 and accepted a regime of ‘type approvals’, none of this would have been possible. What will happen, not tomorrow but in ten or fifteen years’ time, is very likely that standards in all product categories will drift apart again and markets will be lost. What interest would a French or German exhaust-pipe manufacturer have in giving away market share to the British?
It’s not a case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater: we’re letting the water run all over the floor, bringing down the kitchen ceiling and smashing up the bath to get it through the door. And all for some anachronistic principle of British Exceptionalism.
Exceptionally stupid, if you ask me.
Waking up screaming
In the final days leading up to the triggering of Article 50 I felt numb with despair.
Not one media outlet in Britain had noticed something I had. The ‘Westminster terror outrage’ was, yes, appalling, sickening – an inexplicable tragedy for the victims and their families – but probably rated a one on the seismograph of terror outrages, the salient point for the journo-political conspiracy being its location outside the Houses of Parliament, pricking for a moment the cosy security of the ‘Westminster bubble’.
What it did do was fill in the news agenda for almost the entire week before the 29th and Mrs May’s suicide letter to President Tusk, conveniently obscuring an uncomfortable truth that emerged for just an instant during the tedious five-hour marathon of a US Congressional Intelligence Committee hearing the previous Monday; the proceedings of which I partly followed on YouTube.
I did not know who to tell. To be more precise, having no access to the appropriate social media in this day and age, no Bookface or Whatsagram or whatever is the current ‘platform’ of choice for news editors, I could not think of a way to alert anyone, even if they would listen. Why had nobody noticed? Were editors deliberately turning a blind eye, or had there been simply too much going on with the new White House administration, its disasters and chaos, its incompetence and spectacular crony capitalism, its nepotistic appointments and barefaced kleptomania for one more minor detail to reach the surface of the swamp?
I managed to write about it three times on The Guardian website, but who reads those Comments apart from other trolls? It was difficult to find an opportunity as Comments are disallowed beneath so many stories involving ‘haram‘ issues – anything to do with Muslims, immigration, Theresa May – and US politics. Comment threads, too, are shut off arbitrarily: a story might appear overnight and Comments be closed by the morning, regardless of whether it has 50 or 1500 contributions. At other times your Comment might be rejected with a curt note to say the thread is closed, when it doesn’t say anywhere that it is.
I wrote then to my MEP, who has an active noticeboard campaigning with her colleagues in the Assembly – first to Remain, which was brave as the majority of Welsh constituents had obviously decided they’d had enough of freeloading on huge subsidies from Brussels and preferred to slit their own throats; and later to try to obtain the best deal possible for Wales from our new dictatorship in Westminster.
There was no reply, obviously, so I wrote next to my long-suffering MP, a pro-Remain Lib-Dem. But by then it was too late, only two working days to go and realistically no way to stop the process.
One morning during all this, very early in the still-darkness, I woke up screaming. Has that ever happened to you? Something about the sleep routine means you are almost never aware of becoming unconscious: your cognitive process shuts down milliseconds before lights-out. But on rare occasions you wake up at the exact moment when you are falling asleep, in a state of paralysis, with a terrifying impression of some existential crisis about to overwhelm you: a huge wave crashing through the window, the blast of a nuclear explosion – or, in this instance, an assassin come to kill me for writing this stuff.
It was the cat.
What had so exercised me was the point in the proceedings apparently unnoticed by the world when the FBI Director, James Comey, giving testimony, agreed with the Ranking Member, Congressman Adam Schiff, that the Russians had almost certainly interfered with the ‘Brexit’ process, as they had done with the US general election in November. He gave no details, alluded to no evidence – yet he would of course not have said it if there were none.
Mr Comey had just confirmed that the agency is – or was, it appears the White House is doing whatever it can to divert or shut down such enquiries – looking into the role Russia played, both in the hacking of servers used in the Democrats’ campaign and in the possible abuse of process that may have involved extensive undeclared ‘foreign agent’ connections involving people close to Mr Trump, maybe the President himself. Connections a number of transition-team members and Trump appointees have been caught out lying about.
Naturally he was unable to reveal the evidence on which the enquiry is proceeding. It’s obviously a serious matter as a number of Russian diplomats and bankers have died of ‘natural causes’, such as falling off a roof, since Mr Trump took office; including the UN Ambassador, whose post mortem results were immediately labelled Classified. And so we have only that brief, tantalising answer to the question put by Mr Schiff: did Mr Comey believe the Russians also interfered with ‘Brexit’?
Yes, he did.
So are we likely to find out more?
Well, possibly no. The chairman of the Intel committee, Congressman Devin Nunes is behaving so strangely that no-one understands what is going on, but it seems he is unilaterally refusing to hold any further hearings; which, according to the New Yorker, he has claimed have already been held in private at his home, although no other members of the committee, whether Democrat or Republican, were informed.
Why? What is going on? Everyone agrees, Mr Nunes – who refuses to recuse himself from an inquiry in which he obviously has a conflict of interest – has been ‘persuaded’ to prevent at any cost the former Acting Attorney General, Sally Hughes, from testifying about what she knows about General Flynn and how he came to be sacked as National Security Advisor. Mr Flynn has now let it be known, he is turning States evidence against the Trump clique.
Mr Manafort, Trump’s disowned former campaign manager too is reportedly considering his options as his activities on behalf of foreign governments and the apparent use of money-laundering in order to provide him with undeclared payments amounting to many millions of dollars are seemingly incriminating him to a fatal degree.
You must therefore understand that if a ranking Congressman can be got at in this way, the Russia thing, which points to some treason on the part of the President’s ‘closest advisors’, to put it circumspectly, is a very big deal indeed. Minor details like interference with a British referendum that could ultimately wreck the EU aren’t going to exercise anyone much in Washington.
And I have been a bit obsessive lately over the work of renegade individuals – mostly ultra-wealthy men or groups supported with laundered Russian money – whom I call ‘Disruptors’.
These are non-political party affiliated actors seeking to disrupt the normal workings of our democratic institutions in a variety of opportunistic ways: whether to gain influence over elected representatives, to defeat what they perceive as attempts to curtail their business activities, to establish a global theocracy or to assert the dominance of the ‘white race’; all of which themes have emerged from my lazily superficial researches.
You see, it’s not only the Russians. I’ve become acutely sensitive to the slightest signs of conspiratorial behaviour involving individuals, organizations, governments and countries on my low-wattage radar.
Thus it was that, meandering for a little peace and quiet through the pages of this month’s issue of The Oldie, a bedside vade mecum for intelligent upper middle-class readers of my generation and beyond, I came across just the briefest mention of something that made my right eyebrow rise sharply in a Bondian rictus of disbelief.
About halfway through an otherwise gentle stroll in the park by regular contributor Stephen Glover, criticising the curious decision to appoint the former Chancellor and sitting MP, George Osborne to the editorship of the London Evening Standard, a post for which he has no other qualification but celebrity*, I read the following (you will know of course that the Standard is 70% owned by a recently downgraded billionaire Russian exile, Mr Alexander Lebedev and his playboy son Evgeny, 37, who is the managing director):
“Rather bizarrely, when Boris Johnson and Michael Gove were plotting Brexit at Johnson Towers in Islington a little over a year ago, the young Russian was in attendance at dinner.”
Literally intrigued, I read on. Nothing; the author was in haste to come on to Ms Liz Hurley, as any of our generation might be, another invited guest; and speculate as to why she had failed to attend, so that no further illumination was forthcoming.
All we have are those two introductory words: ‘Rather bizarrely’. What does Mr Glover mean? What is ‘bizarre’ about an influential young Russian oligarch privately dining with two senior British politicians?
I have no evidence that Mr Lebedev is a Disruptor, he seems too caught up in his busy social life, including being friends with former Prime Minister, David Cameron – the varnished buffoon who bet the house, literally, on Britons voting in favour of the European Project, and lost.
Mr Cameron has had some fairly ‘disruptive’ friends in the past, indeed he seems to invite them, especially from the Murdoch camp. (Mrs May seems more enamoured of Mr Dacre of the Mail.) And now here is Mr Cameron’s friend and fellow Remainer, Mr Osborne, receiving some sort of – is it a reward? from the Lebedevs – at least one of whom was party to a private conversation between the two leading plotters against Mr Cameron to, effectively, bring down the European Union.
And we all know who is pushing that envelope, or whatever the expression is.
If you’ll pardon me saying so, something smells not quite right.
31 March: It’s reported this morning that Mr Osborne is absent from his desk at the Standard on only his second day in the job as he has had to pop across to Paris to deliver a lucrative speech about something or other. Clearly neither Mr Lebedev nor the BlackRock corporation is paying Mr Osborne enough between them to keep the wolf from the door, or his feet to the floor. It seems clear already that his appointment is simply going to put more work onto his underpaid minions.
“If you have a system that prioritises emergency cases over merely urgent ones, it must inevitably lead to a situation where the urgent case becomes an emergency, and you still can’t manage it.”
The massacre of the innocents
At what point does organisational failure become more like institutionalised murder?
From the BBC report:
“Kayden Bancroft was 20 months old when he died at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital (RMCH), following repeated delays to urgent surgery. Whistleblowers allege the trust’s focus was on “ballooning” waiting lists rather than emergency care.
“The hospital admitted that failings occasionally occurred.”
Which execrable moral imbecile from the Central Manchester University Hospitals Trust’s PR department made that callous comment, calculated to reassure Kayden’s family that everything possible was done to save children’s lives, occasionally?
The kid was admitted after an accident. He’d suffered a hiatus hernia – basically his stomach had penetrated his diaphragm. A simple operation would have fixed it. Instead, he was deliberately left to die in a general ward for a week while no intensive care bed could be found owing to “other emergencies”. The injury temporarily stopped his heart. He died from anoxia – brain death due to lack of oxygen. It took two days.
They couldn’t even keep him alive on a ward.
But oh, yes, sorry, we do occasionally murder small children, admitted the Manchester Fred Karno’s army, because we’re a bunch of incompetent, uncaring cucks with clipboards, who couldn’t run ten yards let alone manage a place where 20-month-old children aren’t supposed to die from easily remediable causes. In fact we’re thinking of turning ourselves into a suburban-estate convenience store on Monday, we might possibly be able to manage that if we can get the staff and work out how to pay them.
“Senior surgeons at the hospital told the BBC that they had repeatedly tried to warn trust management about problems, including a shortage of emergency operating theatres and intensive care beds at the hospital.
“But the trust told the BBC: “We believe that there are sufficient theatres in our children’s hospital to cope with the demand for emergency cases; however, on occasions some children (they have names, you fucking cowards) do have to wait for urgent surgery while emergency surgery takes place.”
Note that: “We believe”. Actually, ladies and gentlemen, first-degree murderers, it’s your job to KNOW, not to fucking “believe”. Life on the medical frontline isn’t a matter of “belief”. Systems management isn’t a matter of “belief”. Reliance on “belief” in systems management is or should always be a sacking offence: professional misconduct. You should fucking KNOW. And where it leads to such easily avoidable loss of life of a small child, for Christ’s sake, a SMALL CHILD with a remediable condition, it should be a POLICE matter.
You see, if you have a system that prioritises emergency cases over merely urgent ones, it must inevitably lead to a situation where the urgent case becomes an emergency, and you still can’t manage it.
Would you like me to say that again? Just in case the logic escapes you?
So if there weren’t sufficient theatres and beds in a children’s hospital in a large city to treat an injured little boy, in obvious opposition to their “belief” in their flawed system, why didn’t they just fly him to Great Ormond Street, or anywhere – Bristol, Poland – where he might have got the urgent treatment their own experts said he needed?
Because they “believed” their own lies.
So a bright little kiddy with all his life ahead of him has to wait a week to become an “occasional” statistic because the Central Manchester University Hospitals Trust is a bunch of bungling, murdering incompetents, amateurs and delusionary liars, believers in their disastrously theoretical system, who could not be “trusted” to look after a public toilet, let alone something as complicated as a hospital; as simple as an injured child.
And you imagine in the wake of Article 50 that with a quarter of EU-citizen doctors and nurses already leaving the country because the Lizard Woman is using them as pawns in her little game with Europe, more little Kaydens aren’t going to be murdered by our dysfunctional, rotting health service, its doctors who are terrified of speaking up against the little Hitlers with clipboards, incapable of managing their own departments, of taking charge in an emergency where the clipboards have so clearly failed?
Last week we heard from the Health Secretary, Mr Hunt, when he turned up at a memorial service for another toddler, William Mead, 2, from Cornwall, who died of septicaemia – an increasingly common condition – after a desperate call to the 111 service was dealt with by someone with no proper training or medical knowledge.
The Health Secretary said he, the NHS and the Government had “let down” William Mead, who died in December 2014.
“Speaking at the private service in Truro Cathedral, Mr Hunt said: “I as Health Secretary, the Government and the NHS let down William.”
“Mr Hunt said he also accepted he had failed William’s parents Paul and Melissa, who had organised the service to thank to the local community for their support following the tragedy. “I’ve come here to say sorry,” Mr Hunt told the congregation.” – The Telegraph, 26 March.
Well, that was big of him. It’s the first sign that the Government is starting to understand that they’re not only failing children, and the elderly, parents and communities – but also the NHS itself. It’s the first sign of how very unhappy Mr Hunt is in his impossible, lousy job. Government ministers are not supposed to show humanity, to crack under pressure and start apologising for the deficiencies of their departments; the consequences of their inaction. They’re supposed to say things like; “But we’re spending ten billion pounds between now and the next election, so there’s no problem, whatever the experts are telling you.”
And today we learn that waiting times for surgical procedures will have to be extended beyond the current target of 18 weeks.
Not enough beds. Not enough resources.
Not enough compassion in Lizard-land.
Not enough competence in the Trusts.
Not good enough.
On top of a measure to reverse ALL environmental legislation passed during President Obama’s eight years in office, including the US signature on the now futile Paris Accord – we’re already way past that – Orange Satan just signed away your right to any remaining privacy you might have enjoyed on any of the major internet platforms. Gone. Finished.
Not just the privacy of your personal communications; not just for security purposes, but all your data, for commercial and any other purposes one might think of. Blackmail, possibly? Bank fraud?
Now, that doesn’t mean They’re reading this, muh li’l bogl, practically no-one is, which is fine by me, I’ll accept posthumous recognition. And the betting on Capitol Hill is that it won’t pass the Senate. Nevertheless.
What Mr Trump is happy for Google and Amazon and Apple and Verizon and all the other ‘knowligarchs’ of the internet world to do is to use their records, not just of the content but of, literally I am told, every keystroke, every mouse-click – they can even see when you’re only hovering over a button with your mouse or your trackpad, what you’re only considering looking at – and every search term you enter, in my case however confusing, to find out more about you than you know yourself, more than your mom knows, and to pass those assessments on to anyone who will pay them money for it – or attempt to influence your voting habits.
I suppose encryption will be made illegal, too, opening you up to financial fraud on a colossal scale (the Russians deserve some reward) and bringing down the banking system again.
To advertisers, sponsors, e-tail portals – local government authorities, insurance companies – the security services; not what you bought online, or voted for, who you contacted – but what you even thought about looking at or voting for or contacting…. Information I should have thought was mostly pretty useless, but maybe not.
What kind of business would even consider keeping all this stuff which you or I would throw away? It’s trashcan investigation; going through virtual dumpsters to check your ready-meal wrappers, your supermarket receipts, notes of phone numbers – to sniff your worn shoes for traces of cocaine, traceable dogshit – whatever. They’re even collecting your face, your fingerprint! (You think fingerprint recognition is so you can be secure?)
I think 600 Posts might be just about enough to last my lifetime. The option of disconnecting from this heap of shitty spyware I seem to have allowed into my home at great expense is beginning to look real and sensible. Why? Am I a spy, a fifth columnist, a hacker, a demonstrator, a criminal – a terrorist?
No, none of those things. I am a human being – not a number, a free man – and I expect to have control over my own life without being coerced and manipulated and pried-into and assumed to be this or that, by the kind of prurient garbage-suckers who infest this subterranean sewer; the intrusively authoritarian and exploitative, self-appointed Disruptors of our rapidly disintegrating liberal democracy, the fucking Stasi of post-consumer-capitalist corporations and their databases.
Yes, I occasionally write about myself on The Boglington Post; revealing only a version of me that I feel in control of. This is different.
You see, what this is about is not public safety. Don’t fucking use the word ‘innocent’ to me, no-one is innocent, no-one, of crimes yet to be defined as such.
It’s about reinforcing the legal rights of corporations over those of the ordinary citizen.
Which is why, for example, the Conservative ‘Freedom caucus’ of the Republican party in Congress is threatening ‘the nuclear option’ (they probably mean it literally) if Judge Neil Gorsuch is not confirmed as Trump’s appointment to the Supreme Court bench.*
US news sources find that the man even the liberal media have been saying is not such a bad pick, a reasonable-sounding if a tad conservative guy, has never, not once, in a case involving a legal argument between a registered company and an individual citizen, ruled against the corporate interest – even in one notorious case when he was the standout ruling in a circuitappeals court where the complainant, an employee of a major distribution company, had been dismissed for disobeying a company order which, if he had obeyed it, would have cost him his own life.
The judge ruled for that big company against the little guy – who’s been blacklisted and out of work ever since. (US ‘justice’ takes a while, it was seven years.)
To establish the pattern I am trying to expose by this example, they also find that Judge Gorsuch – who has presumably never personally been ordered by his employer to stay with his broken-down trailer rig in minus 30 degrees an hour after the repair truck has failed to make it through and he’s out of gas – has been financially sponsored, perfectly legally, throughout his career by one Philip Anschutz.
Mr Anschutz’s personal worth is estimated by Forbes magazine at $18.5 billion. He owns a 300 thousand-acre ranch in Wyoming, and two five-star resorts. “Over five decades (from, they write, a position of near-bankruptcy when he took over a small bidness from his dad) Phil Anschutz has built fortunes in oil, railroads, telecom, real estate and entertainment.”
You imagine Judge Gorsuch, the protégé of such a man, would ever rule against the corporate interest? Thus, he is the darling of the Conservative caucus in the Republican party, a 29-strong group composed entirely of late-middle-aged rich men with hearts of purest flint.
If he has a saving grace, it is that Anschutz owns a private windfarm – the largest in America – and endowed a modern art museum from his own collection. He’s a billion-dollar philanthropist, a throwback to the Rockefellers, the Mellons, the Carnegies and the Rothschilds; the endlessly renewable generation of gentlemen and ladies who rammed their stakes into your ground, turned your commons into cash, set their goons on you when you asked for your share, took you for every penny you had and brilliantly invented a form of plastic money called credit to lend your money back to you at 29.9% interest when you couldn’t afford to buy their stuff working for them on minimum wage.
And when their banks bundled up your debts and sold them to one another for 70% commissions and went bust, you bailed them out to the tune of $13 trillion.
*Justice Gorsuch was indeed confirmed, following a change to the rules. His first ruling within a week has been to use his casting vote to overturn an appeal against a man’s death sentence.
Get it into your head, America. To ‘drain the Swamp’ you have voted instead for a great, black, stinking cesspit of murderers, liars, rapists, environmental criminals, traitors and conmen.
To quote the indefatigable Wikipedia: “Plutocracy or plutarchy, is a form of oligarchy and defines a society ruled or controlled by the small minority of the wealthiest citizens.”
These are the people to whom in the past 30 years the internet and its capacity for seemingly infinite storage has granted the capability to rule your world by any possible means, to monitor and manipulate through ‘data capitalism’ every aspect of your life from your political allegiance to your purchasing habits to your medical records, discovering what you do in bed, or in the bathroom; what you have in your fridge; where (and if) you work – who you know, where you are, where you’ve been, what your penis looks like – because you were dumb enough to show them – even to the bit where you hover over the Off button and say to yourself, this is not my world, not the world I want to leave to my grandchildren – if they survive Mr Trump’s forthcoming environmental apocalypse.
Is this President the most evil man on earth?
Or just clickbait?