As Theresa May’s forlorn government totters towards its imminent demise, it appears to be using some desperate measures to discredit its opposition. I refer to the news, which needs to be widely disseminated, that through the Foreign Office over £2 million of taxpayers’ money has been funneled into a shady outfit called the ‘Integrity Initiative,’ an offshoot of the equally opaque so-called “Institute for Statecraft.” The full background to these outfits can be found on Craig Murray’s website and on the Sputnik website. Basically, the money was meant to be used to fund anti-Russian activities on the internet, to counter Russia’s trolls spreading disinformation in the UK. But some of the dosh was probably used to attack Labour and Jeremy Corbyn in particular (hence, for obvious reasons, it’s not been a big news story in the mainstream media). Following a parliamentary urgent question from Labour, the government in the form of FCO minister Alan Duncan brushed aside the suggestion that taxpayers’ money was used and went further to suggest that this was just another example of how Russia is manipulating the narrative. This is the perfect get-out, especially in the tangled domain of Twitter accounts, fake Facebook pages and all the rest. The default position is to portray the Russians as an omnipotent and omniscient devil except today, unlike in Medieval times when it was thought a room without corners might keep the devil out, we should now take to our Faraday cages for protection. Another solution is simply to ignore Twitter and Facebook altogether, on the assumption that it’s all total shite.
Further to my blog the other day that perhaps a second Brexit referendum should be held, with the only question being ‘do we expel Northern Ireland from the U.K?’ I have come to the tentative conclusion that in this befuddled world England should stand alone. Yes, this could be a fateful experiment, but that is what Brexit is: an experiment – which no-one else has tried before. Benefits could immediately follow, as we immediately slip down the global GDP rankings following the break-up of the U.K. Our loss of ‘major state’ influence, putting us more on a par with Canada or Norway perhaps, would reduce our need to maintain a nuclear ‘deterrent.’ Hence our seat on the U.N. Security Council could be vacated. There’s big savings to be made there. Money too could be saved by the ending of the Barnett formula, which siphons more money out of the Treasury to Scotland and Wales to give those nations a higher per capita spend on public services than is accorded to the deprived regions of England. Those savings could be spent by fully devolved English regional assemblies, along with the savings from E.U. contributions (all of which should accrue to deprived regions). This might begin the task of repairing England after ten years of needless austerity. Without the distractions of Scotland and Wales, it is possible English policy makers might seriously address regional disparities in England: something would have to be done to counter-balance the huge distortion of the London/south east economy. And we could be freed from post-imperial dreaming of the ‘British Empire,’ a dream which has given succour to car boot loads of romantic fantasies ever since our ex-colonies stopped feeding our industry. The benefits of that might be untold.
Yes, if we are to have Brexit, then it should be the real deal, all the way!