Category Archives: Conservatives

Revealed: rightwing groups plot to ditch EU safety standards on food and drugs

‘Ideal’ UK-US trade deal would see banned products sold in post-Brexit Britain, says accidentally released memo

An unprecedented drive to lobby ministers to ditch strict EU safety standards in order to secure a US trade deal is being drawn up by a transatlantic group of conservative thinktanks, it has emerged.

Organisers of the self-styled “shadow trade talks”, which are set to include 10 leading rightwing and libertarian groups from the UK and the US, are preparing to push their “ideal free trade agreement” that would allow the import of US meats, drugs and chemicals banned in Britain.

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Source: gad

The language we use in public and on social media has repercussions. The first step must greater civility | James Graham

The language we use in public and on social media has repercussions. The first step must greater civility

When the general atmosphere is bad, language must suffer,” George Orwell said in 1946. As then, so now – but worse. I know, everyone’s always saying things are worse. Let’s not hark back to an age that never existed. But it is time to recognise the conversation crisis in public and civic life.

I don’t quite believe, like some, that the Enlightenment values of tolerance and civilised debate are being reversed; but they are certainly under threat. This age of unreason we’re living through is defined not only by “had enough of experts”, but with normally reasonable people – you and I – behaving wilfully unreasonably to one another. And by the fact civility itself is now regarded as an obstacle to change, where once it was its best hope.

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Source: gad

Boris Johnson urges remainers to recognise benefits of leaving EU

Foreign secretary says Britons should still work overseas and go on ‘cheapo flights to stag dos’

UK citizens after Brexit should have the freedom to retire to Spain, work overseas, go on “cheapo flights to stag dos” and fall in love with foreigners just as easily as now, Boris Johnson has said, in a speech urging remainers to see the benefits of leaving the EU.

Johnson, whose speech at the Policy Exchange thinktank in London was billed as the foreign secretary’s vision for a “liberal Brexit”, said he wanted to extend a hand to remain voters who he accepted were feeling a sense of loss.

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Source: gad

Boris Johnson warns thwarting Brexit vote would be disastrous

Speech telling remainers that vote to leave must not be betrayed branded ‘hypocritical’

Boris Johnson will warn that the 17.4 million people who voted to leave the EU face a disastrous and irreversible betrayal if attempts to overturn the referendum vote succeed.

The foreign secretary will say “we cannot and will not let it happen” in a major speech on Wednesday marking the start of a series of interventions by cabinet ministers laying out the government’s “road to Brexit”.

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Source: gad

What a swell Tory party it was. Just a shame that real life gatecrashed it | Marina Hyde

The Brexit news is grim, and May’s ex-adviser is flirting with antisemitic tropes. But no mere calamity could spoil the Black and White ball

At the Tories’ Black and White ball on Wednesday night, a donor’s £55,000 won them the chance to spend a day with Theresa May. Don’t even make the obvious joke about what the second prize was. The third prize was Ebola. I’m pleased the Tories felt confident enough to auction off the political equivalent of a private dance so soon after the Presidents Club furore, especially given the almost total overlap of the guest lists for the two events. Then again, why wouldn’t they? A series of polls this week found the Tories still pretty much at the same level as Labour.

Given its lack of any other discernible purpose, it’s  possible that this government has been specifically designed as an experiment into how radioactively useless an administration can be and still poll equal to Labour. As a piece of electoral performance art, Theresa May’s Conservatives rank alongside Grace Mugabe’s suggestion last year that her husband could contest an election even “as a corpse”.

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Source: gad

After decades in the making, Rees-Mogg's time may be coming

The hard Brexit, socially illiberal Tory has had a month of almost continuous public appearances

If Jacob Rees-Mogg’s time is coming, then he has spent a long time in preparation. A month of almost continuous public appearances for the 48-year-old hard Brexit, socially illiberal Tory, which have seen him involved in a fracas in Bristol, take on David Davis head-to-head in the Commons and even photobomb a petition drop at No 10, are merely his latest manoeuvres after four decades in the public eye.

In 1981, at the age of 12, he turned up at the annual meeting of industrial giant GEC, where his father was on the board. The youngster made a speech complaining about the amount being paid out in dividends, and was the only one present to oppose. “I’m always the only person voting against these things,” he acknowledged wryly to the Financial Times afterwards (£).

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Source: gad

Tory rebels launch bid to keep UK in customs union with EU

Anna Soubry and Ken Clarke seek cross-party support in clear challenge to May’s authority

Two leading Conservative MPs have launched a bid to make Theresa May keep the UK in a customs union with the European Union, as the prime minister faces cabinet and party splits over the issue.

Anna Soubry, a former business minister, and Ken Clarke, the former chancellor, said they would try to get cross-party support for keeping the UK’s current customs arrangements with the EU, in a clear challenge to May’s authority.

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Source: gad

Theresa May, I fear that both of us will have to get used to disappointment | Marina Hyde

The prime minister has a somewhat rosy view of Britain’s future after Brexit. Her government seems to operate on fact-free messianism

I don’t want to spend all my time arguing about Europe,” said the Plymouth MP Johnny Mercer today. “That’s not why I joined the Conservative party.” Really? This is like downloading a movie called Reservoir Dogging and feeling like the dialogue wasn’t as crackling as everyone said it was. Still, have you been mis-sold Conservative party membership? Are you shocked – shocked! – to find that arguing about Europe is going on in here? Do you read Playboy for the interviews? If so, there’s a job going at the David Cameron Institute for Settling Issues for a Generation.

Another week, another masterclass from the self-styled natural party of government. The prime minister’s trip to China saw her forced to claim “I am not a quitter”, before being humiliatingly congratulated in a Chinese state newspaper editorial for not bringing up human rights with the regime. (Bit disappointed they didn’t headline it “May, you live in interesting times”, but I am available for advice next time they send a subeditor to the labour camps.)

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Source: gad

The Guardian view on Capita’s woes: another warning of a system in crisis | Editorial

The current outsourcing pattern is commercially unsustainable. It is time for a wider rebalancing of public and private provision of essential services

When the chief executive of a business declares its operations to be “far too complex”, investors are naturally alarmed and customers concerned. In the case of Capita, the ultimate customer is the taxpayer, since the group specialises in services outsourced from Whitehall, devolved administrations, local government, the NHS and other public sector bodies. Wednesday’s profit warning by Jonathan Lewis, Capita’s CEO, is all the more alarming since it comes so soon after the collapse of Carillion, whose over-complex business also relied heavily on public sector contracts. But Capita is not, yet, the new Carillion. Its share price has tanked, but it is still able to raise money. Mr Lewis is airing dirty financial laundry now because, being new to the job, he can signal change and blame troubles on the old management.

So business as usual? Not quite. Given the scale of public sector vulnerability, the Carillion case takes business as usual off the menu. This is a political matter more than a commercial one. Businesses operate under the conditions that are set for them by governments and, where outsourcing is concerned, the market only exists by virtue of public procurement. That brings special responsibilities and unique consequences for failure. Most voters do not dwell on ownership structures behind public services – until they go wrong. There is higher awareness of the private sector’s role in the NHS, providing buildings as well as clerical and clinical tasks. That is because the health service is a symbol of universal care bought with general taxation. Fear of its cannibalisation for profit animates great political passions.

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Source: gad

Pro-Brexit Tories accuse party colleagues of deliberate leak

Iain Duncan Smith and Nigel Evans among the MPs making claims as Tory infighting grows

A leaked analysis that concluded Britain would be worse off after Brexit whatever deal was struck with Brussels has fuelled Tory party infighting.

Prominent leave supporters including the former party leader Iain Duncan Smith and former deputy speaker Nigel Evans accused pro-EU members of the government of deliberately leaking the assessment.

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Source: gad