Brexit and not very united kingdom politics II

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Juubi Karakuchi
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Re: Brexit and not very united kingdom politics II

Post by Juubi Karakuchi »

The gift that keeps on giving.
EU can shut off power supplies if UK tries to seize control of fish stocks, small print of deal reveals
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/p ... 80376.html

Cables under Channel meet 8 per cent of demand - raising threat of higher prices and possible blackouts

Rob Merrick
Deputy Political Editor

The EU has secured the ability to shut off gas and electricity supplies if the UK tries to seize control of disputed fish stocks in future, experts are warning.

The sanction – which would hike prices and possibly trigger blackouts – makes a mockery of the prime minister’s claim to have “taken control” of British waters in his trade agreement, they say.

The little-noticed clause in the vast 1,255-page text allows Brussels to kick the UK out of its electricity and gas markets in June 2026, unless a fresh deal is agreed.

The date set is – deliberately – the same as for the review of fishing rights, when Mr Johnson has insisted the UK will finally grab a large share of stocks, having failed to do that in his agreement.

The Institute for Government said Brussels had been determined to secure a connection “between energy and fish” in the negotiations that finally concluded on Christmas Eve.

“It seems that, in the weeds of the deal, they’ve succeeded,” Maddy Thimont Jack, the IfG’s associate director, told The Independent:

“By including annual negotiations on energy from 2026, it would be very easy to leverage access to the EU’s energy market in the annual talks on fish – also starting in 2026.

“This is just another reason why the UK will likely struggle to take back control of any more of its waters in the years to come.”

Losing power supplies could have a significant impact on the UK, which brings in about 8 per cent of its demand through huge power cables under the Channel.

It has previously been suggested that costs could rise by £2bn and that it would be difficult to find replacement supplies to prevent blackouts at times of peak demand.

An EU source confirmed to The Independent that Brussels would limit or withdraw access to its electricity and gas, unless a new agreement was struck in 2026.

Furthermore, future deals would be subject to “annual negotiations” – increasing its leverage over attempts by London to break free of the deal on fish.

That agreement has been condemned by industry leaders as a “betrayal” of Mr Johnson’s promise to “take back control” of fisheries, with some warning they will be worse off.

The UK conceded to the EU’s demand to give up only 25 per cent of its catch, at the end of a five-and-a-half-year transition – setting the scene for a future bitter dispute.

The pre-2026 gains are puny for many stocks, including for cod (up just 2 per cent), plaice (3 per cent), hake (3 per cent) and sole (4 per cent).

Downing Street is still refusing to accept that it has conceded the EU’s right to inflict wide-ranging sanctions for any breach of the fishing agreement, despite it being clearly stated in the deal.

Tariffs could be imposed in numerous other sectors – including other goods, services, transport, intellectual property and energy – the IfG has pointed out.

But Mr Johnson told MPs: “Under this deal, we have taken back control of our waters, and indeed Scottish fishermen from the get-go will have access to bigger quotas of all the relevant stocks.

And he claimed: “Once the adjustment period comes to an end, there will be no limit – other than the limits that are placed by the needs of science and conservation – on our ability to make use of our marine wealth.”
Insane, hyena-like laughter seems to be the most logical response. We can also safely say, if we couldn't before, that Bojo is an out-and-out liar.
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Re: Brexit and not very united kingdom politics II

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Don't be silly, he didn't lie. He just never bothered to read the agreement and no one who had told him about that provision.
I jest but, he's trying so hard to emulate Trump with every action I wouldn't be surprised if that was the truth.
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Juubi Karakuchi
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Re: Brexit and not very united kingdom politics II

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Lost Soal wrote: 2020-12-30 12:57pm Don't be silly, he didn't lie. He just never bothered to read the agreement and no one who had told him about that provision.
I jest but, he's trying so hard to emulate Trump with every action I wouldn't be surprised if that was the truth.
In spite of everything, I still wouldn't be hugely surprised if it turned out you were right. :lol:

Returning to Scotland, it occurs to me that Scottish independence (of the EU-joining variety) now has a significant factor in its favour. With so many access agreements up for renegotiation in five years (fishing, energy, and possibly others), the EU has a serious whip-hand over British trade. It also seems broadly in favour of Scotland becoming independent and then a member state. One wonders if the EU might use this new-found power to persuade/force Westminster into allowing a legally binding referendum. If so, it would only add to the irony.
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Re: Brexit and not very united kingdom politics II

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Juubi Karakuchi wrote: 2021-01-01 08:41am
Lost Soal wrote: 2020-12-30 12:57pm Don't be silly, he didn't lie. He just never bothered to read the agreement and no one who had told him about that provision.
I jest but, he's trying so hard to emulate Trump with every action I wouldn't be surprised if that was the truth.
In spite of everything, I still wouldn't be hugely surprised if it turned out you were right. :lol:

Returning to Scotland, it occurs to me that Scottish independence (of the EU-joining variety) now has a significant factor in its favour. With so many access agreements up for renegotiation in five years (fishing, energy, and possibly others), the EU has a serious whip-hand over British trade. It also seems broadly in favour of Scotland becoming independent and then a member state. One wonders if the EU might use this new-found power to persuade/force Westminster into allowing a legally binding referendum. If so, it would only add to the irony.
The issue with this is that other member nations with their own trouble regions, think of Spain as a prime example, don't want to set a precedence for places Like Aragon to break away and join the EU.
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Re: Brexit and not very united kingdom politics II

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That's where things could get a little tricky. :mrgreen:

The EU is in the invidious position of having to play fair to both sides as far as regional separatism is concerned. They have to play fair to member states - or at least their governments - who don't want to be broken up, and at the same time find a way to accommodate regional separatists; who want out of their current state, but don't necessarily want out of the EU.

When it comes to Scotland, independence would not actually set a precedent that the Catalans or any other regional separatist movement could use; for the simple reason that the UK is now out of the EU. If national governments want further reassurance, then the most reasonable way would be to insist on a legally binding referendum under UK law. This would reaffirm the principle that these things don't happen without the consent of national governments.

Of course, this is a problem for the SNP, because all Bojo (or any other British PM) has to do is say no. But that in turn is why the EU having so much influence over British trade is important; they can use this to pressure Bojo to allow the referendum. Ideally (from the EU's POV) Bojo would be reneging on the deal (or trying to), and the EU can simply add the referendum to its list of demands.

Things could still get awkward though.
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Re: Brexit and not very united kingdom politics II

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Corbyn was attacked in the street and he's getting more sympathy from Daily Mail readers than the centrists and their ilk.

https://twitter.com/_georgeabby/status/ ... 1508371456

I've said it before I do think I hate centrists more than actual right wingers.
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Re: Brexit and not very united kingdom politics II

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Saw this just now.

Image
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Re: Brexit and not very united kingdom politics II

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Just what the uk needs! More Nukes
The BBC wrote: Integrated review: UK to lift cap on nuclear stockpile
The UK is set to reverse plans to reduce its stockpile of nuclear weapons by the middle of the decade, as part of a foreign policy overhaul.

The overall cap on the number of warheads will now increase to 260, having been due to drop to 180 under previous plans from 2010.

The UK will shift focus towards Indo-Pacific countries, described as the world's "growth engine".

And it pledges the UK will do more on the "systemic challenge" of China.

Outlining the strategy to MPs, Boris Johnson said the UK would have to "relearn the art" of competing against countries with "opposing values".

But he added the UK would remain "unswervingly committed" to the Nato defence alliance and preserving peace and security in Europe.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer accused the Conservatives of overseeing an "era of retreat," with armed forces cuts "every year for the last decade".

The integrated review of foreign and defence policies, which runs to over 100 pages, has taken over a year and sets out UK priorities until 2030.

The UK nuclear stockpile is estimated to comprise 195 warheads, and had been due to fall to 180 by the mid-2020s under a 2010 defence review.

But the latest assessment says this ambition is "no longer possible" given the "evolving security environment" over the last decade.

It adds that the UK will no longer publish figures on the size of its operational stockpile, to maintain "deliberate ambiguity" for adversaries.

However, it pledges the UK will maintain the "minimum destructive power needed to guarantee that the UK's nuclear deterrent remains credible".

The review, which identifies Russia as the "most acute threat" to UK security, also says:

*It is "likely" that a terrorist group will launch a successful chemical, biological or nuclear attack by 2030
*The UK will set up a new counter-terrorism operations centre to improve the response to terror attacks
*The government wants the UK to become a "science and tech superpower" by the end of the decade
*The review also pledged to reverse cuts on foreign aid, from 0.7% of national income down to 0.5%, when "the fiscal situation allows".

The government has previously faced criticism for the cuts, which it said were necessary in the wake of financial challenges posed by the Covid pandemic.

The review argues the UK should refocus its foreign policy towards countries such as India, Japan and Australia in the "Indo-Pacific" region.

It said the region's shipping lanes were vital to maintain UK trade with Asia, whilst the region is also on the "frontline of new security challenges".

Mr Johnson said: "The review describes how we will bolster our alliances, strengthen our capabilities, find new ways of reaching solutions and relearn the art of competing against states with opposing values."

He said the UK had led international condemnation of China's "mass detention" of Uighur people in Xinjiang, and its actions in Hong Kong, adding: "There is no question China will pose a great challenge for an open society such as ours."

In response, Sir Keir said UK policy towards China had been "inconsistent" and the government had "turned a blind eye" to the country's human rights abuses.

He said Labour remained committed to retaining nuclear weapons, but said the document had failed to detail the "strategic purpose" for increasing the warhead stockpile.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said the review demonstrated "just how hollow the brand of Global Britain is".

He also asked the prime minister "who gave his government the democratic right to renege on the UK's obligations under the nuclear proliferation treaty" referring to the government's plans on nuclear weapons.

Speaking to the BBC, Beatrice Fihn - head of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons - described the UK's decision to change its nuclear provision as "outrageous, irresponsible and very dangerous".

She said it went against international law and didn't address the real security threats faced by Britain such as climate change and disinformation.
Graphics and analysis at source.
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Re: Brexit and not very united kingdom politics II

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The Guardian has a possible explanation.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/202 ... e-cold-war
Trident nuclear warhead numbers set to increase for first time since cold war
Defence and foreign policy review expected to signal rise, in move analysts say is diplomatically provocative

Dan Sabbagh Defence and security editor
Fri 12 Mar 2021 19.15 GMT

Downing Street’s integrated review of defence and foreign policy is expected next week to signal a potential increase of the number of Trident nuclear warheads for the first time since the end of the cold war.

Whitehall sources indicated that a cap on total warhead numbers – currently set at 180 – is expected to increase, although the exact figure is not yet known, in a move that analysts said was diplomatically provocative.

The UK’s stockpile of nuclear weapons peaked at about 500 in the late 1970s, but had been gradually decreasing ever since as the perceived threat from the Soviet Union and now Russia had been assumed to be decreasing.

The last strategic defence review, in 2015, committed the UK to “reduce the overall nuclear weapon stockpile to no more than 180 warheads” by the mid 2020s – and reducing the numbers of operationally available warheads to 120.

Each warhead is estimated to have an explosive power of 100 kilotons. The atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima at the end of the second world war was about 15 kilotons.

The full reasons for the anticipated move are not yet clear but it comes amid speculation it is designed to help persuade the US to co-fund aspects of a Trident replacement warhead for the the 2030s. Its costs, too, are uncertain.

“If this is confirmed, this would be a highly provocative move,” said David Cullen, the director of the Nuclear Information Service. “The UK has repeatedly pointed to its reducing warhead stockpile as evidence that it is fulfilling its legal duties under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

“If they are tearing up decades of progress in reducing numbers, it will be a slap in the face to the 190 other members of the treaty, and will be regarded as a shocking breach of faith.”

Britain has operated its own nuclear weapons since the 1950s but for the past 60 years, following an agreement between the then prime minister, Harold Macmillan, and the then US president, John F Kennedy, the UK has been heavily dependent on US technology.

Trident missiles are deployed in four submarines, one of which is continuously at sea to make sure it can strike back in the event of an unprovoked nuclear attack. It relies on an existing US W76 warhead, based on a 1970s design, called Holbrook.

However, the W76 is ageing, and the US has proposed developing a more powerful replacement, called the W93. The UK is particularly keen for the US to start work on the W93 and last summer the defence secretary, Ben Wallace, lobbied Congress for the work to go ahead.

British MPs voted to renew Trident in principle in 2016, but the Commons is expected to have to vote on a new warhead at some point. In 2016, the Conservatives almost uniformly backed renewal, the SNP voted against, while Labour was split.

The MoD has said developing the next generation of Dreadnought submarines to carry the new warhead would cost £30bn plus a £10bn contingency. But officials have so far refused to say how much the warhead would cost.

An MoD spokesperson said: “The UK is committed to maintaining its independent nuclear deterrent, which exists to deter the most extreme threats to our national security and way of life.

“Replacing the warhead and building four new Dreadnought class submarines are UK sovereign programmes that will maintain the deterrent into the future. We will not comment on speculation about the integrated review, which will be published on Tuesday.”
In other words, this is an attempt to get the US to pay for Trident renewal; at least in part.
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Re: Brexit and not very united kingdom politics II

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Policing Bill that will increase restrictions on protests:

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/202 ... nd-reading

And the testing of one of the key component surveillance technologies of the Snooper's Charter:

https://www.wired.co.uk/article/interne ... rds-ip-act

Add to this the flexing of increased nuclear muscle. All in the span of a week or so. So yeah, onward we sleepwalk into Fascism Lite.
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Re: Brexit and not very united kingdom politics II

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If so, it's not going without resistance.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/h ... 21502.html
Bristol protest: Riot police break up fresh demonstration on College Green

Significant number of protesters remain in stand-off with police at Deanery Road


Shweta Sharma

Large numbers of riot police moved in to break up a fresh protest in Bristol that converged at College Green on Tuesday night, two days after a “Kill the Bill” demonstration descended into mayhem.

Around 14 demonstrators were arrested from the gathering of about 130 people to protest against the government's new Police and Crime Bill that critics say will stifle protest.

“Specially trained public order officers are beginning to disperse a protest from College Green in Bristol,” police said in a tweet.

The protesters pitched tents and installed a sound system as they chanted "our streets" and "shame on you" at the rally.

The crowd was dispersed from College Green after forces from neighbouring Gloucestershire and Wiltshire assisted the police in their efforts. But a significant number of people gathered on Deanery Road have refused to move, the police said in an update early on Wednesday.

“Officers had engaged with protesters and asked them to disperse, but tents and a sound system were set up so it was abundantly clear they were intent on remaining at the location, in spite of legislation in place to protect public health,” Chief Superintendent Claire Armes said.

One of those arrested on Tuesday was taken into custody for offences connected with the violent disorder in the city on Sunday, the police said.

The National Police Air Service, dog units, horses and a police drone unit were deployed for the operation on Tuesday.

"It's disappointing we needed to take this action on a day we remember those who've lost their lives," the force added, referring to memorials on the anniversary of the first national lockdown.

“The communities of Bristol have made too many sacrifices and worked so hard to defeat this virus, it’s unacceptable for people to insult their efforts in this way.”

The heavy police deployment came two days after a similar protest turned violent and led to chaotic scenes in Bristol that saw 21 police officers injured, vehicles set ablaze and other vandalism.

Meanwhile, police investigating the weekend’s protest have released pictures of 10 people in connection to the violence. Around 3,000 joined the peaceful demonstration on College Green but the situation turned violent when around 500 people later descended on the New Bridewell police station.

Priti Patel condemned the violence, addressing the House of Commons on Monday, describing it as “anarchic and violent” action.
Forbid peaceful protest, and you get unpeaceful protest.

There have been predictable complaints that this is playing into the government's hands; but I sincerely doubt that anyone turning pro-government over this would be inclined to oppose the bill anyway.

One wonders just what the government's plan is; that is, if they have a plan at all. If they really are planning to go fascist, cutting the armed forces and the police seems an odd way to go about it. The police got a funding boost last year, but the government wants a lot more arrests and convictions in return (https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/202 ... ice-chiefs); in effect, a return to quotas, which senior officers warn they cannot fulfil. This may be establishing a narrative to justify funding cuts in the not-too-distant future.
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Re: Brexit and not very united kingdom politics II

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Another big win for the government, they've declared there are no race problems in the UK.

Most race advocacy group disagree but then they would wouldn't they? (joke)
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Re: Brexit and not very united kingdom politics II

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And there's more!
Northern Ireland executive holds emergency meeting over unrest

Chief constable briefs party leaders after political crisis intensified by another night of riots in Belfast

Rory Carroll Ireland correspondent

Thu 8 Apr 2021 11.31 BST

Northern Ireland’s power-sharing executive is holding an emergency meeting in Stormont after another night of riots scarred parts of Belfast and ratcheted up a political crisis.

Simon Byrne, the chief constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, briefed party leaders on the security situation on Thursday before a debate at the assembly, which has been recalled from its Easter break.

There were reports that loyalists are planning fresh protests this weekend, a prospect that will alarm the British and Irish governments.

Arlene Foster, the first minister and Democratic Unionist party (DUP) leader, spoke with Byrne, marking a sharp turnaround from her refusal to meet him earlier this week despite escalating violence.

The DUP has demanded the chief constable’s resignation over policing of republican funerals but Foster did not repeat that demand in a tweet after the meeting. She condemned the violence as unjustified and unjustifiable. “Those responsible must be subject to the full rigour of the law,” she said.


Seven officers were injured on Wednesday night when masked youths in the loyalist Shankill Road area hurled petrol bombs and rocks and sent a burning, empty bus careering down the street. Kevin Scott, a Belfast Telegraph photographer, was assaulted and his camera smashed.

Youths on the adjacent nationalist Springfield Road hurled missiles over a “peace wall” on to the loyalist side, triggering a fusillade in response. Mobs skirmished when one of the gates in the wall was prised open and set alight.

“Calm is needed on BOTH sides of the gates before we are looking at a tragedy. These are scenes we hoped had been confined to history,” the Police Federation tweeted.

At least 55 police officers have been wounded during seven consecutive nights of disturbances, with trouble switching between Belfast, Derry, Newtownabbey and Carrickfergus.

Loyalist anger at policing, a perception of nationalist ascendance and the consequences of Brexit, along with criminal gang activity, have fuelled the riots. It is among the worst rioting since the 2013 flag protests and comes as Northern Ireland prepares to mark the centenary of its foundation dating from the 1921 partition of Ireland.

Unionist parties have been accused of tacitly encouraging unrest by demanding the resignation of the chief constable over the force’s alleged favouritism to Sinn Féin during the policing of republican funerals, notably that of Bobby Storey, which drew an estimated 2,000 people, including Sinn Féin leaders, last June during lockdown restrictions.

Critics have accused the DUP of stoking the controversy to deflect loyalist anger over the party’s role in the creation of a trade border down the Irish Sea. The justice minister, Naomi Long of the Alliance party, said “dishonesty” over Brexit had fuelled resentment.

Youths interviewed during protests in Newtownabbey and the Shankill Road on Thursday cited the sea border, alleged police bias and a sense that Protestants had become second-class citizens as the reasons they were carrying rocks and bottles. In some cases older men appeared to be directing them but it is unclear if major paramilitary groups were involved.

The Irish and British governments expressed grave concern at the attacks on police, the bus driver and the photographer. “The way to resolve differences is through dialogue, not violence or criminality,” Boris Johnson tweeted.

Some in Westminster urged the prime minister to visit Northern Ireland. Louise Haigh, the shadow Northern Ireland secretary, said Johnson needed to step up to protect a “fragile” peace process.

“This moment demands leadership. The prime minister must convene cross-party talks in Northern Ireland, and engage with the joint custodians to the Belfast/Good Friday agreement, the Irish government to find solutions and address tensions.”

Simon Coveney, Ireland’s foreign minister, said political leaders needed to come together to cool tensions.

“This needs to stop before somebody is killed or seriously injured,” he told RTE. “These are scenes we haven’t seen in Northern Ireland for a very long time, they are scenes that many people thought were consigned to history and I think there needs to be a collective effort to try to defuse tension.”
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/202 ... st-belfast

Yes, it's happening. Someone thought they could mess with the Irish border and nothing bad would happen.

It's hard to say how this will go. My inner boring git thinks this will just blow over and the whole wretched mess will just drag on and on. My inner conspiracy theorist thinks this is the Troubles returning, and things could seriously get out of hand.
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Re: Brexit and not very united kingdom politics II

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The passing of Prince Philip has had a curious and amusing side-effect.
Boris Johnson criticised for ‘shabby’ appearance announcing Prince Philip’s death

‘Boris couldn’t even do his hair, today of all days’ said one viewer

Gino Spocchia


Boris Johnson has drawn comment for his “shabby” and “disrespectful” appearance while making a statement on the death of Prince Philip in Downing Street.

Mr Johnson emerged from No 10 shortly after Buckingham Palace broke news of the duke’s death.

His “back of a fag packet, staccato” speech “delivered in a shabby hair-do” was less less than British people “are entitled to expect,” reader Perry Gardner wrote in a letter to The Independent.

“Would it be too much to ask Mr Johnson to arrange to have his hairstyle modified to suit the position he holds in Her Majesty’s government?” asked another reader, Tom Lambe.

“Boris Johnson always looks such a mess,”said one Twitter user. “The state of his hair when giving his statement about Prince Philip was quite disrespectful.”

“Boris couldn’t even do his hair today of all days! The disrespect,” another viewer tweeted following Mr Johnson’s speech. “Prince Philip would not stand for this.”

Others speculated on what the duke would have said about the PM’s appearance.

“I hope Prince Philip was looking down from somewhere on Boris Johnson's earnest words and saying...'why can't he brush his bloody hair',” one wrote.

It is not the first time Mr Johnson has fallen foul of criticism for his appearance, after former Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan branded his hair "messy" and "disrespectful" in June last year.

Mr Johnson apologised but insisted: “I do brush it. I have a brush in my office.”
Jeremy Corbyn fans may recall how he was treated over his appearance.

This is more meaningful than it appears. Bojo's messy look is a deliberately crafted image, meant to make him 'relatable.' As I see it, it's part of a broader public backlash against 90s managerialism and the overly-manicured politics of the Blair era.

I suspected that the joke would wear thin after a while. It seems to be doing so.
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Re: Brexit and not very united kingdom politics II

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I remember Jeremy Corbyn got blasted both for dressing up an down, often by the same journalist creature.
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