Well, I did say that with the extension to Article 50 the Brexit process would lose some immediacy, and boy oh boy has it done just that.
It feels odd to be reporting on UK politics without mentioning a rebellion, a slagging match, a the government losing a vote by a huge margin or Parliament literally falling apart.
MPs have quite obviously been easing themselves back into the fold since their Easter breaks, and little of note has happened since their return. This isn’t to say that nothing has happened, however…
Widde-combing New Depths
Ann Widdecombe, the Conservative stalwart, has joined Farage’s Brexit Party to stand as an MEP. A former Home Secretary, she retired in 2010 but has decided to come out for one last fight, much like Floyd Mayweather Jr. (except also really, really not).
Proudly right-wing and arguably a bit backward in some of her social views, the appointment has provided ammunition for rival parties. For many of Farage’s supporters, that won’t matter much.
Why Does It Matter?
- She’s a BNIP, or Big Name In Politics, and her leaving the Tories for Farage is a win for him.
- She is also joined by Claire Fox, a prominent left-wing commentator in joining the Brexit party.
- Farage is attracting big names to his project, giving them even more momentum despite their racing to the lead in the polls already.
More Coup de Ass Than Coup de Grâce
The 1922 Committee, the group of executive Conservatives that govern the party, refused to allow a change in the rules yesterday. Senior Brexiteers MPs wanted to issue a binding vote of no confidence in Theresa May for the second time in less than 6 months, but the Committee refused to budge.
They did, however, ask Theresa May to clarify her commitment to stand down she made a few weeks ago – initially she said she’d stand down when her deal was passed, but when it didn’t she went silent on the matter.
Just as I predicted, by the way. *winky emoji*
Why Does It Matter?
- It means there is no leadership contest… for now. May can hold onto power until the entire party wants her to go, and even then may still just decide to keep on truckin’.
- The European Parliamentary elections are already looking like a total disaster for the Tories, and this may prove to be a flashpoint that finally forces her out.
- Or it will change nothing. May is nothing if not resilient.
Playing Huawei From Home
5G, the supposedly revolutionary next stage in mobile network internet distribution, is on the horizon. With it will come the full realisation of “The Internet of Things” – the potential for driverless cars, ‘smart cities’, remote or automated medical assistance and, most importantly, you can download porn up to 4x faster.
Ericsson and Nokia, the two Scandinavian main mobile network giants, are behind the curve on this compared to the Chinese – Huawei, the massive communications company, are supposedly ahead of them in tech and offer cheaper costs to roll out.
However, there are some serious concerns about Huawei’s commercial independence, as intelligence officials have reported that Huawei is at least partially-funded by clandestine networks of the PLA, or the Chinese army. Basically, the Chinese might be using Huawei to spy on us – this allegation has already been made about the use of Huawei mobile devices in Western countries.
Why Does It Matter?
- Because no-one really wants the Chinese government listening in on us (although lest we forget, the Edward Snowden whistleblowing case demonstrated the US does this too, because nothing is ever sacred anymore. Especially your browser history).
- The UK and some European countries believe that managing the threat of Chinese interference is preferable to falling behind the curve and paying more for alternatives.
- However, the Five Eyes network of the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, are urging the UK, the fifth member, to reconsider.
Most worryingly of all, however, is the fact that the concerns about all of this were leaked after a meeting of the National Security Council. In terms of discretion, these meetings are considered to be held in concrete bunker, 200ft under a volcano – nothing should ever escape from them.
Ministers are considering a criminal investigation into how a leak got out, the assumption being that it was a staff-member of an MP vying for the leadership contest by appearing tough on China.
Those found responsible will be in some very, very hot water…
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