Britons disappointed by post-Brexit passports not actually being blue

Britons were told that leaving the European Union would allow them to go back to using traditional "blue" passports instead of the supposedly EU-mandated brown ones. One of the stranger lies of Brexit (the EU "harmonized" passport designs but Britain could have had blue ones if it wanted) it's now falling in on itself, because the new passports are actually black. It turns out the traditional "blue" passports were always black, but as Marshall McLuhan said the English remember nothing. Now everyone's angry again.

The Home Office, which issues the passports, claims it is "close to, if not exactly" Pantone 5395C, listed as "Dark Navy" by the color company.

Isn't black cooler than blue anyway? They're TACTICAL passports. Read the rest

Google users in UK will soon lose EU data protection: Report

Post-Brexit, Google plans to move UK user accounts out of the control of European Union privacy regulators, and will place them under U.S. jurisdiction instead, where privacy protections are weaker, reports Joseph Menn at Reuters. Read the rest

After Brexit, Britain may finally lose its Marbles — specifically the ones they stole from Greece

In the early 1800s, agents working for Thomas Bruce of Scotland, the 7th Earl of Elgin, conveniently “removed” about half of the remaining marble statues from the Parthenon, as well as a few other Greek sculptures, and brought them back to Britain in the name of art history cultural preservation colonialism. Bruce claimed to have permission from the Ottoman Empire to borrow these artifacts, but others have insisted that this is total bullshit. This has — understandably! — resulted in some strained tensions between the British Empire and the modern Greek government (post-Ottoman Empire) that’s gone on for about two centuries.

Now that Britain has left the European Union, Greece has renewed their effort to reclaim the Elgin/Parthenon Marbles. From The Times:

A draft negotiating mandate circulated among European governments in Brussels today hardened EU demands in key traditional trade areas, particularly fishing, but also included the unexpected “return and restitution” line.

“The parties should address issues relating to the return or restitution of unlawfully removed cultural objects to their country of origin,” said a newly drafted text that will be signed off by EU governments next week.

The Greek government has said that Brexit will shift the political balance within the EU to force Britain to return the fifth century BC marbles.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the British government is thus far refusing to cooperate. They seem to be under the impression that the marbles were legally acquired. I suppose this makes sense, on the grounds that the British government makes the laws by which the country abides, and thus, according to their own laws, they have acted in accordance with the law (that they made) in their decision to steal cultural artifacts from half the god damn world in the name of Imperialism. Read the rest

Brexit means the UK will shelve the EU Copyright Directive (for now)

Last year, the EU adopted the incredibly controversial Copyright Directive (it passed by only five votes, and afterwards 10 MEPs said they'd got confused and pushed the wrong buttons!): now, EU member states have to create rules that require online platforms to filter all user-generated content and block it if it matches a secret, unaccountable blacklist of supposedly copyrighted works; and to allow news sites to veto or charge for links to their articles. Read the rest

British chancellor shows off commemorative Brexit 50p coin

The Precious.

The BBC reports that the coins had to be melted down and reminted after Brexit was delayed.

The coins bear the inscription "Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations" and the date of 31 January. Mr [Sajid] Javid had first ordered production of the coins in advance of the UK's original 31 October departure date. But the Brexit delay meant about a million coins had to be melted down and the metal put aside until a new exit date was confirmed.

Read the rest

London cops announce citywide facial recognition cameras

In 2018, London's Metropolitan Police Force announced trials of a facial recognition system that could be married to the city's legendarily invasive CCTV thicket; the tests failed 98% of the time and led to arrests of people who opted out by covering their faces. Read the rest

UK Elections: Boris Johnson's Conservative Party to win Britain’s election

Exit polls show a clear win for UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party, report Reuters and other media outlets at this hour. Read the rest

US pharma and biotech lobbyists' documents reveal their plan to gouge Britons in any post-Brexit trade-deal

Both Phrma (the lobby for the global pharmaceutical industry) and Biotechnology Innovation Organization (biotech lobbyists) provided letters to a US-UK government meeting to discuss post-Brexit trade terms, in which both organisations called for substantially higher British prices for essential medicines after Brexit. Read the rest

Norway gifts Britain amusingly sparse Christmas tree

Every year, Norway sends Britain an enormous Christmas tree in thanks for kicking out the Nazis, but this year they sent a hilariously sparse, shabby one.

"Britain's most famous Christmas tree" has been branded a turkey over its "sparse" foliage and "anaemic" appearance. ... The British Ambassador to Norway, Richard Wood said: "This is what 90-year-old, 25m trees in the wild look like.

"It is important to consider the symbolism of the tree rather than simply how many branches it has."

Symbolism indeed. Norway isn't even in the EU but it's leading the way for next year's Brexit-themed go fuck yourself gestures from the continent.

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Supercut of British voters insulting Boris Johnson on the campaign trail

Presenting: Boris Johnson Gets Out of London and Talks to People Who Are Not Rich Remainers: The Essential Collection. Read the rest

Massive spike in young people registering to vote in the UK

The announcement of a UK General Election on Dec 12 -- the third in less than five years! -- was attended by predictable rises in the numbers of people registering to vote, but as official statistics show, the end of October saw a massive spike in voter registration among under 45s, led by under-25s and 25-34 year olds. Read the rest

Ticks that spread infectious brain disease reach Britain

Ticks that spread encephalitis have been found in Britain, say researchers. Encephalitis can cause confused thinking, seizures, and problems with senses or movement, but is only rarely serious.

Public Health England (PHE) says it has confirmed cases of tick-borne encephalitis virus in ticks from two parts of England - Thetford Forest and an area on the Hampshire-Dorset border.

PHE says the risk to people is still "very low".

It is monitoring the situation to check how common the infected ticks may be.

Is this a Brexit story? This explains everything. Read the rest

New Brexit deal announced. It's Theresa May's one but with a border in the Irish sea

After days of crunch negotiations with the European Union, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson finally announced his Brexit deal. It solves the problem of the Irish backstop—the need to avoid a hard border between northern Ireland (which is part of the U.K.) and the Irish republic—by leaving Northern Ireland in the EU in all but name. Northern Ireland's ultra-conservative Democratic Unionist Party, upon whose votes the deal depends, already say they will be voting against this deal, and Britain's hardcore brexiteers hate it too. The pressure's on: the October 31 deadline threatens to trigger a no-deal Brexit which most experts say would be economically disastrous, but appears to be the Conservative right's barely-hidden agenda.

Most of the deal is the same as the one agreed by Theresa May last year - the main change is the Northern Ireland proposals. What's changed?

Northern Ireland will be aligned to the EU single market.

The controversial "backstop" - that critics feared could have kept the UK in a customs union with the EU indefinitely - has been removed.

Northern Ireland will instead remain a part of the UK's customs territory, so it will be included in any future trade deals struck by the government after Brexit.

But Northern Ireland will also remain an entry point into the EU's customs zone. The UK will apply tariffs to products entering Northern Ireland as long as they are not destined for onward transportation across the border.

Read the rest

UK Supreme Court rules parliament shutdown unlawful

In a unanimous 11-0 decision, the UK's Supreme Court today ruled that Prime Minister Boris Johnson's supension of parliament was unlawful. Parliament is therefore still in session as Brexit looms and BoJo has to deal with it.

Mr Johnson suspended - or prorogued - Parliament for five weeks earlier this month, but the court said it was wrong to stop MPs carrying out duties in the run-up to Brexit on 31 October. Commons Speaker John Bercow confirmed MPs would now return on Wednesday. Supreme Court president Lady Hale said "the effect on the fundamentals of democracy was extreme."

A raft of MPs have now called for the prime minister to resign - Downing Street said it was "currently processing the verdict".

Breakout star today is Lady Hale, the court's chief justice, and her House Baenre spider brooch.

Read the rest

Deepfake: Boris Johnson sings "Saddy Waddy"

Shardcore (previously), "I made a video for Saddy Waddy by The Private Sector using a new deepfake lipsync method to get Boris Johnson to sing the words." [Ed: Warning, strobe effects] Read the rest

Brexit: No-deal opponents defeat government, Boris Johnson loses in Westminster

Boris Johnson defied on Brexit by Parliament, UK PM loses key no-deal vote

Defaced banknotes depict the four horsemen of the British political apocalypse

Wefail offers this charming collection of four banknotes, each featuring one of the four "horsemen of the apocalypse", at least when it comes to the demise and presumed annihilation of Britain's political stability. $50 a set.

Four Wefail banknotes depicting the four horsemen: May, Rees-Mogg, Bojo and Thatcher.

Early in 2019 I was asked to take part in a collection of defaced banknotes for the Cash is King 2 book and accompanying exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery, August 2019. This involved some rework on my banknotes, changing colour saturation and fine tuning different scales, these 2nd edition prints are the result of those changes.

A3 giclée print measuring 297mm × 420mm printed with Claria dye based ink on textured 210gsm Hahnemühle Albrecht Durer paper, this print will not fade or oxidise. A limited run of 250 prints signed and numbered (photos show various #s but the numbers will be incremental as they sell). Will be signed on the back too.

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