The Occult Defence Agency Budgeting Simulator: a text adventure that pits monster-slaying against austerity

In the Occult Defence Agency Budgeting Simulator, you are placed in charge of the budget for an organisation whose mission is "defending the United Kingdom from paranormal threats. Vampire covens, stray werewolves, pixie swarms, cultists with funny robes and impractical daggers, unlicensed hauntings, and more obscure matters" -- but you are British, and that means your boss is a government minister who insists that you make headline-grabbing "swingeing cuts" every year. Read the rest

To save Brexit deal, Theresa May dropped an assault rifle ban

On November 28, Conservative MPs removed references to assault rifles from the Offensive Weapons Bill in order to win support for Theresa May's Brexit bill from the European Research Group -- the hardline, pro-Brexit wing of her party -- who are also pro-assault-rifle. The vote was supported by every sitting Conservative MP. Read the rest

Labour report on executive pay proposes giving customers a vote on compensation, ending share-based compensation for execs

Ten years of austerity in the UK have produced a definitive answer to the question: does austerity drive economic growth? (Spoiler: No) Read the rest

UN poverty envoy calls UK poverty a "political choice" that inflicted "great misery"

Philip Alston, the UN rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, has followed up his scorching condemnation of US poverty with an even more damning report on poverty in the UK, which he calls a "political choice" brought on by a decade of austerity at the hands of the Conservative Party. Read the rest

Britain's "nasty party" condemns its MPs' nastiness

As the Brexit deadline draws nearer and the UK Conservative Party continues to fracture over the catastrophic failure to achieve any kind of deal with the EU, Tory Members of Parliament have begun to shower abuse on Prime Minister Theresa May, warning her that she faces a fate similar to Jo Cox, the Labour MP who was assassinated by a racist Brexit supporter before the referendum, and warning May to "bring her own noose" to Cabinet meetings. Read the rest

All levels of UK government have been paralysed by Brexit

The British government has been immobilised by Brexit preparations: hundreds of millions of pounds paid by insurers to the government to rebuild from flooding are sitting idle in savings accounts because no one can spare the time to spend them; ministers won't schedule out-of-London meetings because being away during a key vote would endanger the whisper-thin Tory majority; UK workforce productivity has fallen off a cliff while workers struggle to make preparations for the uncertain future; the government is incapable of legislating because the whole calendar is filled with Brexit bills; junior ministers are barely showing up for work because they don't believe they'll have careers after Brexit; the NHS's overriding priority is Brexit preparation -- everything, from top to bottom, is crumbling. Read the rest

App for UK Conservative Party conference exposes all attendees' private info

The UK Conservative Party's annual conference is about to kick off in Birmingham, and the Tories have distributed an app ahead of time to all attendees: senior ministers, government officials, members of the press, party members, and others. Read the rest

UK Tories created a secret anti-Corbyn Twitter army, which promptly attacked Theresa May

Messages leaked to Buzzfeed reveal the bizarre story of the "Tory First Battalion," a secret Twitter group formed to capitalise on the smear that the Labour party was anti-Semitic by coordinating and amplifying anti-Corbyn messages. Read the rest

Britain is a money-launderer's paradise, Part LXII

Paul Manafort's money-laundering conviction makes a convenient peg to hang Buzzfeed's investigation into shell companies in the UK off of; and what their excellent reporting reveals is a playground for money-launderers who operate in the most brazen way, using a complex system of shell companies all over the world, but using the UK as the the lynchpin for their schemes. Read the rest

UK visitors wait 2.5 hours to get through immigration at Heathrow

Official UK government statistics reveal that on 30 days in July the Border Force agency at Heathrow failed to meet its target of processing visitors within 45 minutes; on July 5, visitors had to wait 2.5 hours. Read the rest

Toronto councillor praises gerrymandering plan to silence "left-leaning" voices in the city

Robbo Mills writes, "Speaking at a press conference at the Provincial Parliament in Queen’s Park on Monday, Toronto Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti said Premier Doug Ford’s plan to gut Toronto City Council is a good move because it would silence 'left-leaning' voices on council. Read the rest

The worse your town was hit by austerity, the more likely you were to vote for Brexit

After the Brexit vote, a lot of people pointed out that the areas that voted most heavily in favour of separating from the EU were also the areas that relied most heavily on EU subsidies, and wondered why British voters would decide to slit their own throats. Read the rest

Trumpian Ontario premier Doug Ford will gut Toronto's city council to punish his Tory rivals

Doug Ford, AKA Laughable Bumblefuck II, won the Ontario provincial elections with a cowardly, trumpian campaign that kicked off with a bitter leadership race within his own party, whose top spot was up for grabs because the previous leader was accused of getting young party activists drunk and then having sex with them. Read the rest

Watchdog: UK spies engaged in illegal surveillance from 2001-2012

The UK Investigatory Powers Tribunal has ruled that GCHQ (the UK's domestic surveillance apparatus) illegally engaged in mass surveillance for more than a decade (starting after 9/11), during which time the foreign secretaries who were supposed to be overseeing their activities "delegated powers without oversight," allowing the spies to police their own activities. (Images: Defense Images, CC-BY-SA; Cryteria, CC-BY) Read the rest

UK government defends the use of under 16s as covert operatives

A spokeswoman for UK Prime Minister Theresa May has gone to the House of Lords to defend the government's practice of recruiting "child spies," some of them under the age of 15, to gather intelligence "against terrorists, gangs and drug dealers." Read the rest

Major airlines won't fly kidnapped children anymore, but Trump is still welcome in the UK

United Airlines and American Airlines have signalled the end of their participation in Trump's practice of kidnapping children to scare away potential asylum seekers, (AA: "We have no desire to be associated with separating families, or worse, to profit from it"; UA: "Our company’s shared purpose is to connect people and unite the world. This policy and its impact on thousands of children is in deep conflict with that mission and we want no part of it") -- but Theresa May's Tory government has failed to rescind its invitation for Trump to stage a state visit to the UK, despite the "deeply disturbing" images of kidnapped, distraught children. Read the rest

UK security minister proposes "Digital IDs" to enforce online civility

Ben Wallach is Theresa May's security minister; he has proposed that the UK follow China's example and require that any place providing internet access use bank-account verification to affirmatively identify all the people who use the internet so they can be punished for bullying. Read the rest

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