We Don’t Need This Fascist Groove Thing, special edition: Shameful, deceitful, embarrassing, humiliated, disgraced, cad, bounder – he’s just a liar – Philip’s not pulling any punches.
education fiasco‘Tell me why tell me why
Why d’you have to lie..’


What does an Englishman stand for? Honour, honesty, integrity, not cheating at cricket. Boris Johnson has just shattered all of this.

‘If governments do not respect the law it is little wonder that some individuals come to think they can bypass it too…..In the same way that government and individuals should be bound by law so countries should be bound by treaties. Britain does not renounce treaties. Indeed, to do so would damage our own integrity as well as international relations.’ (1)

This Tory party has lost its moral compass, it is no longer recognisable. The party of Margaret Thatcher lays in ruins.

Whilst many despised Thatcher she had morals; in her memoirs she identified the rule of law as the foundational underpinning of commercial confidence in any society. And in a 1982 interview she said that Britain gave the very idea of the rule of law to Europe. As she put it: ‘The law came from us.’.

‘The law came from us.’


We must hope that there is some backbone left in Conservative MPs, and that they will vote against the United Kingdom internal market bill that Johnson published on Wednesday.

The impact of the bill goes beyond overriding aspects of the EU withdrawal agreement, it establishes a potential precedent, the UK’s claim to a right of unilateral derogation from international treaties.

And, this rebellion could be forthcoming, Conservative backbenchers such as Sir Roger Gale, the MP for North Thanet, said he would not support the move. ‘Put simply, I will not vote to break the law,’ he said.

Tobias Ellwood, the chair of the defence select committee, said he was disturbed by the plans. Asked by the BBC if he might consider voting against the legislation, he said: ‘Let’s see what happens. Lots of concerns were raised in the house, and the government will be conscious of that.’

The former prime minister Sir John Major said breaking international law would come with a price that could never be recovered. ‘For generations, Britain’s word solemnly given has been accepted by friend and foe. Our signature on any treaty or agreement has been sacrosanct. Over the last century, as our military strength has dwindled, our word has retained its power. If we lose our reputation for honouring the promises we make, we will have lost something beyond price that may never be regained.’

‘breaking international law would come with a price that could never be recovered’


Crashing round tearing treaties puts us in-line with ‘rogue’ nations such as Iran. What is different about our actions compared to Hitler tearing up the agreement he made with Chamberlain over Czechoslovakia in 1938. ‘If the lord chancellor, Robert Buckland, and the attorney general, Suella Braverman, approved this bill they should resign.’

This government knows no shame for the Northern Ireland secretary, Brandon Lewis, to stand-up in the Commons and say, ‘Yes, this does break international law’, illustrates just how low we have sunk.

This is a government determined to rule how it wants at any cost, as we saw last year with the proroguing of parliament, democracy means little to them.

Their actions with this new bill have the added attraction of shifting the political conversation from Covid to Brexit. As the polls shift against the Conservatives, and the pandemic worsens, it suits Cummings and Johnson to move to Brexit, where opinion is far more entrenched on both sides.

‘as we saw last year with the proroguing of parliament, democracy means little to them’


Perhaps Johnson thinks he must create a crisis that annoys the European side enough to allow him to emerge from the confusion with a supposedly hard-won deal.

If Johnson wants a deal, and it’s a big IF, he will want to present it to leavers as a triumph snatched from the EU against the odds. Going into talks and simply reaching an agreement will not satisfy the No Deal mob, they would say he had bowed the knee to the foreigners

If this was his tactic, it looks to have misfired, talks appear to be on the point of collapse because of the government’s plans to reneging on key parts of the withdrawal agreement.

The EU are demanding that Johnson drop his plans within three weeks or face financial or trade sanctions, after their lawyers concluded that Britain had already breached the withdrawal agreement by tabling the controversial internal market bill.

In a statement following a meeting with Michael Gove in London, the European commission vice-president Maroš Šefčovič put Johnson on notice that he needs to regain Brussels’ trust. He also raised the prospect of both a collapse in the ongoing trade and security talks and a legal battle with the bloc.

‘lawyers concluded that Britain had already breached the withdrawal agreement’


‘The EU does not accept the argument that the aim of the draft [internal market] bill is to protect the Good Friday (Belfast) agreement. In fact, it is of the view that it does the opposite,’ the European commission said in a statement.

The Germany ambassador to the UK, Andreas Michaelis, tweeted: ‘In more than 30 years as a diplomat I have not experienced such a fast, intentional and profound deterioration of a negotiation. If you believe in partnership between the UK and the EU like I do then don’t accept it.’

Šefčovič had told Gove ‘in no uncertain terms’ that the UK government must ‘withdraw these measures from the draft bill in the shortest time possible and in any case by the end of the month’, the statement added. ‘By putting forward this bill, the UK has seriously damaged trust between the EU and the UK. It is now up to the UK government to re-establish that trust.’

According to an EU legal opinion, leaked to the Guardian, the commission believes Johnson’s government has already breached the terms of the treaty. ‘… by tabling the draft bill and pursuing the policy expressed therein, the UK government is in violation of the good faith obligation under the withdrawal agreement (article 5) because this bill jeopardises the attainment of the objectives of the agreement,’ the commission lawyers write.

The commission has advised the 27 EU capitals that there are grounds for the bloc to take ‘legal remedies’ through the European court of justice before the end of the transition period, potentially leading to significant fines or trade sanctions.

‘there are grounds for the bloc to take ‘legal remedies’ through the European court of justice’


The legal opinion goes on to say that should the legislation be adopted it would be in ‘clear breach of substantive provisions of the protocol’ in waiving any export procedures or formalities on the trade of goods from Northern Ireland to Great Britain and in restricting the application of EU state aid rules in the case of Northern Ireland.

‘Once the bill is adopted (as proposed), the commission may initiate infringement proceedings against the UK for breach of the good faith obligations,’ the EU lawyers write. ‘Even before the bill is adopted, it could be defendable to bring infringement proceedings on the same grounds.’

They add: ‘Given the length of the pre-litigation phase, it is unlikely that the case against the UK can be brought to the court before the end of the year.

However, infringement procedures for facts occurred before the end of the transition period can be brought to the court during four years after the end of the transition.’

The paper says the EU court has the potential to ‘impose a lump sum or penalty payment’ on the UK, or Brussels could use the dispute settlement mechanism under the withdrawal agreement, ‘which may ultimately also result in the imposition of financial sanctions by the arbitration panel’.

‘In case of non-payment or persisting non-compliance, the complaining party is entitled to suspend its obligations arising from the withdrawal agreement (with the significant exception of the provisions relating to citizens) or from the future EU/UK agreement,’ the lawyers write.

The prospect of legal action may present itself before the year is out after it emerged that the government was hoping to rush through the internal market bill this month.

‘I left my baby and it feels so bad
Guess my race is run..’


Unsurprisingly Johnson’s hand puppet, Gove said Downing St would not climb down. ‘I made it perfectly clear to the vice-president of the commission we would not be withdrawing this legislation.’

He went onto say that the UK was ‘absolutely serious about implementing the Northern Ireland protocol’ and looked forward to setting out the justification to critics within his own party, which include the former leaders Michael Howard, Theresa May and John Major, when the bill had its second reading on Monday.

Michael, you can’t purge May and Major from the party, perhaps you should try internment?

The governments comments on the meeting were risible:

  • The Cabinet Office minister said it was ‘a good meeting’ in which the UK ‘stressed the importance of making progress’ in the joint committee talks to ensure the legislation was not needed. His job, he said, was to achieve success.
  • David Frost, Britain’s chief negotiator, said ‘a number of challenging areas remain and the divergences on some are still significant’. He said the UK remained committed to reaching an agreement by the middle of October.


Chaps, the EU have just accused you of breaking international law and are threatening trade sanctions. The ambassador of the most powerful country in the EU say’s there is no partnership left…

If this was a good meeting, I shudder to think what constitutes a bad one!

‘If this was a good meeting, I shudder to think what constitutes a bad one!’


What might have been missed during all the noise surrounding our deceitful behaviour were the comments Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the US House of Representatives, who said, ‘Whatever form it takes, Brexit cannot be allowed to imperil the Good Friday agreement, including the stability brought by the invisible and frictionless border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland. The UK must respect the Northern Ireland protocol as signed with the EU to ensure the free flow of goods across the border. If the UK violates that international treaty and Brexit undermines the Good Friday accord, there will be absolutely no chance of a US-UK trade agreement passing the Congress.’

To be honest, there is the last vestiges of what was left of Empire. We lost that, militarily we aren’t a force anymore, economically we are second rate, our productivity is an embarrassment, and parts of the country are impoverished.

No wonder they sing ‘two world wars and a world cup’, the last 50-years have produced nothing else to shout about.

‘Thought you were clever when you lit the fuse
Tore down the house of commons in your brand new shoes..’


Where did it all go wrong? We bankrupted ourselves defeating Fascism, but, as John Major said, we had reputation, honour, our word meant something.

Now, we don’t even have that.

Apart from the Blair / Brown era we have had Tory governments for C. 30 out of the last 40-years.

Prior to the 80s the main concerns of British political-economic policy were the national rate of growth, the national balance of trade, reducing inequalities within the boundaries of the nation, and strengthening the nation compared with others.

‘Since the 1980s we have not achieved the rates of GDP growth of the 1950s and 1960s. Since the 1980s the balance of trade has stayed systematically worse than in the 1950s or 1960s. In relation to goods it is at the previously unthinkable level of -6% of GDP.’ (2)

‘The levels of efficiency of the our economy are still lower than those of France and Germany, to roughly the same extent as in the 1970s. We manufacture less than Italy and France, and a third of what Germany does. Germany exports much more outside the EU than the UK, its exports to the CANZUK countries (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK) are twice UK levels.

The north is poorer than the regions that used to make up communist East Germany, and the north-east is poorer than the poorest German province.

‘the north-east is poorer than the poorest German province’


In terms of innovation there has been little to brag about, ‘….same tedious list of an operator of airlines and railways, a maker of vacuum cleaners, a pizza chain owner and the designer of Apple phones.’

ARM, which makes the crucial chips used in Apple phones and elsewhere, was sold to the Japanese Softbank in 2016, has its origins in the 1970s.

‘The object of political-economic policy since the 1980s has not been to make a better British national economy. It has been directed at changing the balance of power in the country, to open the economy up to the world, essentially to make the rich richer and more powerful. The Thatcher revolution was fundamentally a rulers’ revolt.’ (2)

‘While inequality of all kinds was driven down by policy in the 1940s, 50s and 60s, it was pushed back up by policy from the 1980s. Similarly, regional disparities, which had been huge before 1939, were reduced after the war. In the post-war years, the state transformed infrastructure, from electricity to the telephone, from gas to housing, to an astonishing degree. Since the 1980s these public assets have been privatised, handed over to a new class of rentier capitalist to sweat and to extract monopolistic rents.’ (2)

‘public assets have been privatised, handed over to a new class of rentier capitalist to sweat and to extract monopolistic rents’


‘We now have the enclave economy of London with its rich professionals, with offshoots elsewhere, and for much of the rest of the country effectively a low-wage, low-productivity economy, where the minimum wage is often a maximum too.’ (2)

Brexiters and Brexit will not reverse these policies, they are not economic nationalists, nor do they care about economic sovereignty or about rebuilding the nation.

‘They are radical Thatcherites, who have to believe that the British economy has been turned into a world-beating one by Thatcher’s policies. They have to deny the painful reality they are handing out contracts not to world-beating British firms but to shipping lines without ships, PPE suppliers without PPE, to crony, not creative, capitalists. But don’t be fooled either by critics’ talk of their incompetence or lack of ideas. They know what they are doing, and are succeeding. Their aim is to further change the economy, even at the expense of growth. Like Margaret Thatcher’s indifference to the waste of unemployment, and the 2010 coalition’s lack of concern about the ways in which austerity caused the economy to stagnate, the Brexit hit will in their view be a price worth paying. It’s the politics, stupid. It always has been.’ (2)

From an economic wasteland that might be bankrupted by Covid, we have slumped to moral bankruptcy, too.

‘From an economic wasteland that might be bankrupted by Covid, we have slumped to moral bankruptcy, too’


The latter was our choice. It was the choice 52% made in the 2016 referendum and endorsed in last years’ general election.

I wrote an article after the latter entitled ‘Turkeys Do Vote For Christmas’  when I considered why so many traditional Labour voters  had voted Tory, essentially they believed Johnson would improve their lot and show that they mattered.

Poor deluded fools, he doesn’t care about you, the only person fattening you up for Christmas will be Marcus Rashford, the Tories won’t help you.

As to those clinging to the days of empire and ‘it was all so much better then,’ I say this.

Your legacy to your grandchildren is to make them worse off that you were.

Thank you!

‘I’m choosing my confessions
Trying to keep an eye on you
Like a hurt lost and blinded fool, fool..’


  1. Margaret Thatcher addressing the Tory women’s conference, 1975
  2. David Edgerton, ‘The Rise and Fall of the British Nation’


Well, who expected Philip’s follow up to be so hard on the heels of ‘Armageddon Time‘? But then who expected that this country would plumb such depths. 

Philip tells me that his initial draft was redolent of the Sex Pistols encounter with Bill Grundy; the toned down version is no less powerful, no less angry and no less sad. OK, you’re not an economic powerhouse, you no longer have an empire, but for Lord’s sake retain some integrity – some decency.

With the threat of economic sanctions, and the certainty of loss of international credibility, if you want to know how important Wednesday’s vote on the Internal Market Bill is, ask Nancy Pelosi: ‘If the UK violates that international treaty and Brexit undermines the Good Friday accord, there will be absolutely no chance of a US-UK trade agreement passing the Congress’.

Lyrically ‘it’s one of the easier weeks, so only 12-points up for grabs’; that’s as maybe, but I’ll let nothing detract from my first full house – my electronic entry is already in flight, and you should be sure to follow suit.

First off the rank ‘they didn’t write many songs but every one hits home’ – 1 pt f
or the Sex Pistols, and one for ‘Liar’; next ‘a writer who had a protest song for every occasion’ 1 pt for The Clash and another for ‘I Fought the Law’.

Thirdly, ‘the single that marked this band out as one of the better ones’ – and how, 1pt for the Jam and one for ‘Eton Rifles’; lastly ‘some of the best indie music of the 90’s this is one of the later songs and more melodic’ – 3 pts for REM and a further three for ‘Losing my Religion’. Enjoy!


Philip Gilbert 2Philip Gilbert is a city-based corporate financier, and former investment banker.

Philip is a great believer in meritocracy, and in the belief that if you want something enough you can make it happen. These beliefs were formed in his formative years, of the late 1970s and 80s

Click on the link to see all Brexit Bulletins:

brexit fc

Leave a Reply