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.

Read the rest

46% of Scots want to separate from the UK; 43% want to remain

An Lord Ashcroft Poll for Holyrood found that the largest group of Scots with a preference favour independence from the UK: 46% leave vs 43% remain; after removing undecided voters, the figures are 52%-48%. Read the rest

A modest proposal to solve no-deal Brexit: insure all losses with the pensions of Brexit supporters

David Hayward's proposal to "solve no-deal Brexit" is pretty delicious: Her Majesty's Government need only insure all UK businesses and individuals against No Deal Brexit losses, and pay for it by issuing special "Great British Brexit Bonds" that No Deal supporters can voluntarily sink their entire pensions into. Read the rest

"Mass brawl" erupts on British liner after "patriotic party" ends in clown encounter

Buffet area sealed off as booze cruise ends in, wait, what?

Boris Johnson to be new UK Prime Minister

Boris Johnson is to lead the UK Conservative Party after winning 66.4% of votes cast by members in its election. As head of the largest party in Parliament, he will become Prime Minister.

- Boris Johnson has won the Tory leadership election with 66.4% of the vote - He will travel to Buckingham Palace on Wednesday (July 24) and ask permission from the Queen to form a government. - More resignations from the current government are expected

Johnson defeated current Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt in the final round of voting. Theresa May quit the post after failing to convince Parliament to pass the Brexit deal her government negotiated with the European Union.

Johnson has until October 31 to figure out a better deal, but has signaled his happiness with there being no deal at all, allowing the UK to "crash out" of the EU irrespective of the economic or political fallout. Read the rest

Stephen Fry explains the vast superiority of UK healthcare to America's omnishambles, which Brexiteers hope to import

After Brexit, Tory leaders are hoping to strike a bilateral trade agreement with the USA that will begin the dismantling of the NHS, starting with a ban on price-controls for pharma and open doors for America's wasteful, cruel, useless health-care insurance mega-corporations. In this video, national treasure Stephen Fry explains how the UK and US systems compare, and how American media lies about the state of the NHS to credulous, mouth-breathing Fox News zombies. If you want to keep the NHS out of any UK-US trade deal, sign the petition here. Learn more about Brexit here. Read the rest

Cutbacks caused Brexit: austerity correlates with UKIP membership

Not much detail, as the paper that makes the claim is only available at present to American Economic Association members; but in Did Austerity Cause Brexit? University of Warwick economist Thiemo Fetzer asserts that he found a "significant association between the exposure of an individual or area to the UK government’s austerity-induced welfare reforms begun in 2010, and the following: the subsequent rise in support for the UK Independence Party, an important correlate of Leave support in the 2016 UK referendum on European Union membership; broader individual-level measures of political dissatisfaction; and direct measures of support for Leave. Leveraging data from all UK electoral contests since 2000, along with detailed, individual-level panel data, the findings suggest that the EU referendum could have resulted in a Remain victory had it not been for austerity." (Image: Peter Damian, CC-BY-SA) (via Marginal Revolution) Read the rest

How Boris Johnson's "model bus hobby" non sequitur manipulated the public discourse and his search results

Boris Johnson is a racist, sexist, homophobic lying buffoon who has been repeatedly caught out using lies to sway public opinion, and that's why he's likely to lead the UK Conservative party and become the country's Prime Minister. Read the rest

"PM for a day": dissident Tories plan to bring down the government the day after Boris Johnson becomes Prime Minister

Boris Johnson -- a racist, sexist, homophobic lying buffoon who has been repeatedly caught out using lies to sway public opinion -- is now, incredibly, tipped to become the leader of the Conservative Party and thus the Prime Minister of the UK (this is because outgoing PM Theresa May totally bungled Brexit, and the UK's form of parliamentary democracy lets the ruling party fill the PM's seat with a vote of party members, and the British Tories have become the swivel-eyed racist loony party, and Boris is the perfect nominee for King of the Racist Swivel-Eyed Loons). Read the rest

The UK government gave away cheap money for property purchase deposits, which the wealthy abused, driving up property prices and leaving UK taxpayers exposed

In 2013, the UK coalition government of David Cameron's Tories and the Libdems' Nick Clegg launched a "Help to Buy" scheme that gave incredibly cheap, taxpayer subsidised loans to first-time homebuyers, who got their money interest free for five years and thereafter had to repay it at 1.75% interest. Read the rest

Boris Johnson tops first vote in UK Conservative Party election; winner will be prime minister too

With Theresa May stepping down as Conservative Party leader, her position—and with it the job of Prime Minister—will go to one of many candidates standing to replace her. In the first round of voting today, presumptive favorite Boris Johnson won the most votes and three others were knocked out. Seven proceed to the second vote next week.

Mark Harper, Andrea Leadsom and Esther McVey - have been knocked out, in the secret ballot held in the House of Commons. Mr Johnson received 114 votes, Jeremy Hunt was second with 43, and Michael Gove third with 37 votes.

The BBC graphic above shows how things shook out. Gove was badly hurt by last week's media exposé on the candidates' youthful drug habits due to the extent of his hypocrisy: as education secretary, he imposed a lifetime ban for teachers caught using drugs. Leadsom underperformed compared to opinion polling of party rank and file; she may have popularity issues among her peers in Parliament. Boris is not as inevitable as the first round suggests, as he received only 36% of the total, another candidate might surge as others drop out, and his propensity for gaffes and bigoted remarks offers latitude for a "June surprise". But he is surely the runaway favorite to lead his party—and Britain—into Brexit. Read the rest

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