Socialist Worker

The Troublemaker—Tories are stockpiling fear and confusion in their Brexit crisis

Issue No. 2615

Dominc Raab

Dominc Raab (Pic: Number 10/Flickr)


Brexit fever is gripping the corridors of Westminster—the latest symptom is potential shortages of essential supplies.

From food to blood and medicine, ministers are arguing for stockpiling goods.

Apparently the Tories are planning for three Brexit scenarios, according to the Sunday Times newspaper. “In the second scenario, not even the worst, the port of Dover will collapse on day one,” a source told the newspaper.

So much for a measured approach. Why Dover would collapse was apparently not explained.

Vague stories about more border checks after Brexit were circulated as evidence.

“The supermarkets in Cornwall and Scotland will run out of food within a couple of days,” said the Sunday Times’s source. “At the end of week two we would be running out of petrol as well.”

Last week Brexit secretary Dominic Raab told the parliamentary committee that, “It would be wrong to describe it as the government doing stockpiling”.

The implication is the government expects bosses to do this.

“There simply isn’t any spare slack in the supply chain to do this,” said one boss in response.

James Ball of The Guardian newspaper joined the bosses’ frenzied chorus. “Anyone knowing the very basics of food production… would know just how difficult it would be for industry to stockpile food,” he wrote.

But this isn’t a debate about just-in-time production.

Ports will not shut down after a “no-deal” Brexit. Bosses still want access to British markets—their Joint Customs Consultative Committee (JCCC) has proposed measures to limit the impact of increased border checks on trade.

The food will make it here—the real debate is over who foots the bill for Brexit. That extends to the importation of food, medicine or anything else. Neither the Tories nor business want to pay more.


Is there a serial art thief in parliament?

More than 220 works of art have gone missing from the parliamentary collection.

A huge haul of paintings, etchings and prints are unaccounted for. Authorities at the House blame database errors, but don’t know whether they have been stolen.

There are some 9,000 works of art in the parliamentary collection—which started to be assembled in 1841.

The works recorded as “missing” include a wartime oil painting by William John MacLeod titled Burning of the Debating Chamber from Star Chamber Court

There are more than 6,000 paintings and prints, hundreds of busts, statues, tapestries and mosaics.

The total value of the collection is thought to be well over £10 million.

More than 80 percent are on show on the Westminster estate, with the rest supposedly in storage.

But according to the information disclosed by Parliamentary authorities 224 works are recorded as “missing”


Having to spend £900 more than we have

Hard-up families are spending more than they earn for the first time since the days of Margaret Thatcher, official figures show today.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the average household spent or invested £900 more than they received in income last year.

The last time household outgoings outstripped incomes for a whole year was in 1988.

Phil Andrew of the debt charity StepChange said it was not a case of families “living beyond their means”.

“The reality is that too many households, here in Britain, in 2018, simply cannot make ends meet, however hard they try,” he said.

“Not having enough money to make ends meet is not the same thing as living beyond your means—which implies you have a choice, when too many people do not.”

The ONS said households took out nearly £80 billion in loans last year, the highest in a decade.


A gated community

A millionaire landowner has told a group of residents they must pay him up to £5,000 to access their own driveways.

Rolls Royce-driving millionaire Ian Jones—who owns Rhos-on-Sea Golf Club in Llandudno, north Wales—purchased the track behind a row of cottages in Penrhynside last April.

He then sent letters to all 14 households asking them for £350 each.

One householder, who did not want to be named, said, “This is a very upsetting situation for all of us.

“We are concerned about emergency services not being able to get to us.”


Millionaire offers no pay

An aristocrat said to be worth £125 million has upset actors by asking them to work for free at a £20 per head event at his glorious stately home.

The 11th Duke of Rutland David Manners has advertised for “volunteer performers” to come to Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire to entertain paying visitors dressed as royalty and witches.

Thespians must have “experience of acting or characterisation skills” and “flexible and able to work different hours each week”, an online advert says.

Crucially it appears the actors will not get a wage even though people watching them will pay up to £20 each to see them perform.

  • Child poverty rose last year as the incomes of Britain’s poorest 30 percent of families fell, a study shows.

The Resolution Foundation says the lowest paid are now between £50 and £150 a year worse off. It said benefit cuts that hit low income families, including tax credits, have driven a 3 percent increase in child poverty.

  • Police firearms operations rose 19 percent in the last year.

Forces in England and Wales carried out 18,746 armed operations in 2017/18.

Officers opened fire 12 times. The number of authorised

firearms officers in England and Wales had increased to 6,459, a rise of 181 jobs.


The Things They Say

‘You Betcha!’

News UK CEO Rebekah Brooks in 2016 promising success for the Sun newspaper’s online gambling website Sun Bets

‘Withdraw your funds now’

Message to punters on Sun Bets after it folded last month

‘Shameful treatment of a white, working class woman Cllr... stop your bullying.’

Labour MP Neil Coyle complains about democratic votes in the Labour Party

‘Why does Seacroft Tesco have no pies left?’

Coyle attempting to bully and body shame Labour MP Richard Burgon, whose constituency the shop is in

‘My wife is Japanese’

Tory foreign minister Jeremy Hunt displays a sound grasp of the facts on an official trip to China

‘My wife is Chinese, sorry’

Hunt’s grip on reality looks less strong and stable

‘It cost me everything’

US comedian Roseanne Barr on how racist tweets ruined her career. She claims she is not racist, but tweets in support of jailed Nazi Tommy Robinson


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