It’s 100 Days Since the EU referendum; As a Legal Challenge Secures a Victory, It’s Clear the Tories Don’t Know What They’re Doing

2.10.16

'We are citizens of Europe': a banner on the March for Europe in London on September 3, 2016 (Photo: Andy Worthington). Yesterday it was 100 days since a slim majority of the British people who could be bothered to vote in the EU referendum decided that they wanted us to leave the EU after 43 years’ membership, a generally ill-considered decision that I wrote about at length at the time — see my articles UK Votes to Leave the EU: A Triumph of Racism and Massively Counter-Productive Political Vandalism, Life in the UK After the EU Referendum: Waking Up Repeatedly at a Funeral That Never Ends, Not Giving Up: Photos from the March for Europe in London, Saturday July 2, 2016 and As the Leaderless UK Begins Sinking, MPs, Media and British Citizens Don’t Seem to Care.

As the Tories’ annual conference gets underway, Brexit hangs over it like a black cloud, however much our unelected Prime Minister Theresa May wishes that were not the case. The beneficiary of the collapse of David Cameron’s government after the referendum — and the discrediting of the Tories’ main cheerleaders for the Leave campaign, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove — May has done very little since coming to power, beyond expressing a largely unpopular desire to fill the nation with grammar schools.

On Brexit, as a generally unenthusiastic member of the Remain camp, she has tried to wash her hands of the referendum’s toxicity, appointing three stooges to preside over our departure from the EU — Boris Johnson brought back, embarrassingly, as foreign secretary, plus David Davis, allegedly in charge of negotiating our departure from the EU, and the crook Liam Fox, who resigned because of inappropriate behavior in 2011, when he was the defence secretary, after breaking the ministerial code by repeating allowing his friend Adam Werrity, a lobbyist, into meetings with military figures, diplomats and defence contractors. For more on the failures of Boris Johnson, David Davis and, particularly, Liam Fox, see this withering criticism by the Tories’ former business minister Anna Soubry.

Theresa May is now pledging to trigger Article 50, which formally announces our departure from the EU, next March. However, as the Observer states today, explaining why no progress is possible before next year, “several cases are currently before the courts arguing that the government does not have the power to invoke article 50 without parliament’s approval. The issue is likely to move swiftly to the supreme court, which will be under pressure to deliver a final judgment by Christmas.”

Legal challenges began in the wake of the EU referendum, beginning with a letter to the Prime Minister in early July, signed by 1,054 lawyers, who, after pointing that the outcome of the referendum was merely advisory, added, “The European Referendum Act does not make it legally binding. We believe that in order to trigger Article 50, there must first be primary legislation. It is of the utmost importance that the legislative process is informed by an objective understanding as to the benefits, costs and risks of triggering Article 50.”

Also relevant, following the referendum result, was the position taken by Geoffrey Robertson QC, who made clear where MPs’ responsibility lies. He pointed out that “‘[s]overeignty’ — a much misunderstood word in the campaign — resides in Britain with the ‘Queen in parliament’, that is with MPs alone who can make or break laws and peers who can block them. Before Brexit can be triggered, parliament must repeal the 1972 European Communities Act by which it voted to take us into the European Union — and MPs have every right, and indeed a duty if they think it best for Britain, to vote to stay.”

In my articles immediately after the referendum, I also made reference to an article by law professor and former Foreign Office advisor Philip Allott, who stated that the Brexit decision may be “unlawful,” and discussed another article explaining how solicitors from a number of law firms were “taking pre-emptive legal action against the government, following the EU referendum result, to try to ensure article 50 is not triggered without an act of parliament.”

A hearing, presided over by high court judge Mr. Justice Cranston, took place on July 19 (see legal Cheek’s commentary here), and the case is proceeding later this month. Last week it was back in the news again, as highlighted in the Guardian in an article by Owen Bowcott entitled, “UK government must disclose legal arguments on article 50 procedure.”

As the Guardian described it, Mr. Justice Cranston has obliged the government “to reveal secret legal arguments for refusing to let parliament decide when and how the UK should withdraw from the European Union,” whereby he has “swept aside restrictions on publishing official documents before the hearing on 13 October.”

In those documents, available here, lawyers for the government argue, as the Guardian put it, that “it is ‘constitutionally impermissible’ for parliament to be given the authority rather than the prime minister and dismiss any notion that the devolved nations – Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales – will have any say in the process.”

After adding that the decision to trigger Article 50 “is a matter of high, if not the highest policy,” they explain that it is “a polycentric decision based upon a multitude of domestic and foreign policy and political concerns for which the expertise of ministers and their officials are particularly well-suited and the courts ill-suited.”

The government’s submission also claims that “[t]he lawfulness of the use of [royal] prerogative is not impacted by the devolution legislation. The conduct of foreign affairs is a reserved matter such that the devolved legislatures do not have competence over it.”

The government had previously “refused to allow its legal opponents to reveal,” before the case is heard, “its explanation of why it ought to be able to use royal prerogative powers to trigger article 50,” but in an order issued by Cranston last Tuesday, September 27, he told both parties, “Against the background of the principle of open justice, it is difficult to see a justification for restricting publication of documents which are generally available under [court] rules.”

As the Guardian proceeded to explain, “Cranston’s decision has also allowed the People’s Challenge, a crowdfunded group, to publish its full claim without any sections of it being redacted or withheld,” which argues that “only parliament can lawfully ‘decide’ to leave the EU for the purposes of article 50 [of the treaty]; and that the [government] may only ‘notify’ such a decision to the European council under article 50 once [it] has been properly authorised to do so by an act of parliament”.

After the outlines of both sides’ arguments were released, John Halford of Bindmans, which represents the People’s Challenge, said that the court’s order “allows a floodlight to be shone on the government’s secret reasons for believing it alone can bring about Brexit without any meaningful parliamentary scrutiny.”

He added, “Those who were unsettled by the government’s insistence on its defence being kept secret will now be surprised by the contents, including submissions that Brexit has nothing constitutionally to do with the Scottish and Northern Ireland devolved governments, that parliament ‘clearly understood’ it was surrendering any role it might have in Brexit by passing the EU Referendum Act, that it has no control over making and withdrawal from treaties and that individuals can have fundamental rights conferred by acts of parliament stripped away if and when the executive withdraws from the treaties on which they are based. These arguments will be tested in court next month, but now they can be debated by the public too.”

FT also covered the story in an article entitled, “Lawyers gear up to sue government over Brexit process,” which highlighted the lead claimant, Gina Miller, represented by the law firm Mishcon de Reya, who is “[t]he co-founder of an investment management company,” and “has been a vocal campaigner against hidden fees in the industry.” Other claimants include a Spanish hairdresser and expatriates living in France.

The FT also noted that the case “is being watched by constitutional experts aware that, unusually, the UK has a wholly uncodified constitution built up over many centuries, which compounds the complexities of triggering Article 50.”

Speaking to the newspaper from “her elegant Chelsea offices,” Gina Miller “said she had received online abuse for heading the challenge but was undaunted.” As she put it, “Someone sent me quite a nasty email saying, this is just frustrating Brexit by the back door. If anyone knows anything about me, I don’t do anything by the back door … I’m full on, straight up … and if I see something that I think is an injustice I will speak up about it. Our case is very, very simple … it’s about the process. How do we create legal certainty? Unfortunately, Article 50 is not well written, there is no process in it and everyone says it raises more questions than it answers. If we start the process illegally what will that do to the process?”

She added that the legal challenge is about “process not politics.”

After the referendum, Miller, whose father is a former attorney-general of Guyana, said that, reflecting on the result, “the word that kept resounding in my mind was the idea of sovereignty.” She told the FT of her belief that if Article 50 is not triggered with the proper care, “it unleashes a huge amount of legal uncertainty which could go on for years and could, in the worst-case scenario, mean that we forfeit our right to negotiate because they will say: you haven’t triggered it properly”.

She also warned against “a legal landscape where royal prerogative can overrule parliament and take away or diminish rights.”

Miller’s case will be joined by three others on October 13, against a government team led by Jeremy Wright QC, the Attorney General. One, as the FT explained, “has been brought by Spanish hairdresser Deir Dos Santos, who is represented by law firm Edwin Coe,” and Bindmans’ crowdfunded case is “on behalf of Grahame Pigney, a British citizen living in France whose fellow claimants include Paul Cartwright, 50, who is a Gibraltarian national, Christopher Formaggia, 49, who lives in Wales, and Tahmid Chowdhury, 21, a London student.”

The FT’s article continued:

Mr Pigney, 62, is semi-retired and has lived in a wine-growing region near Carcassonne in France for 19 years. When he moved there he says he appreciated at first hand the “openness and ease” of free movement that EU citizens enjoy, as he lived in France but commuted to work in London during the week.

He was one of the long-term expats who was unable to vote in the referendum on June 23 but says the result came as an “enormous shock”.

He said his court case is not about overturning the result but he believes the enforced removal of citizenship rights — of the EU — from the 65m people who live in the UK is unprecedented in a modern democracy and must involve a proper parliamentary process.

“It is for parliament to decide when, how and under what circumstances [citizenship rights] are taken away,” he said.

The FT also noted that, last week, the House of Lords Constitution Committee “concluded it would be ‘constitutionally inappropriate’ for the government to trigger Article 50 without consulting parliament,” but added that “many lawyers believe the legal challenge is unlikely to succeed because courts are reluctant to intervene in the exercise of power in foreign affairs, including treaties.”

The lawyers, the newspaper continued, “point to a doomed 1971 legal case against the government brought by Raymond Blackburn, who argued that Britain’s entry to the European Common Market would be unlawful because it involved surrender of the sovereignty of the Queen in parliament. In that case, Lord Denning, the lead judge, concluded, ‘The treaty-making power of this country rests not in the courts but in the crown; that is, Her Majesty acting upon the advice of her ministers.’”

I can only hope the lawyers are wrong, because nothing emanating from the government assures me that ministers have a clue how to secure our departure from the EU without it causing profound damage to our economy and our relationships with other countries in Europe.

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer, film-maker and singer-songwriter (the lead singer and main songwriter for the London-based band The Four Fathers, whose debut album ‘Love and War’ and EP ‘Fighting Injustice’ are available here to download or on CD via Bandcamp). He is the co-founder of the Close Guantánamo campaign (and the Countdown to Close Guantánamo initiative, launched in January 2016), the co-director of We Stand With Shaker, which called for the release from Guantánamo of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison (finally freed on October 30, 2015), and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by the University of Chicago Press in the US, and available from Amazon, including a Kindle edition — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. He is also the co-director (with Polly Nash) of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (available on DVD here — or here for the US).

To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to Andy’s RSS feed — and he can also be found on Facebook (and here), Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Also see the six-part definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, and The Complete Guantánamo Files, an ongoing, 70-part, million-word series drawing on files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011. Also see the definitive Guantánamo habeas list, the full military commissions list, and the chronological list of all Andy’s articles.

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20 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    As Theresa May pledges to trigger Article 50, the official trigger for our departure from the EU, next March, I look at the ongoing legal challenges; in particular, a number of cases that will be heard on October 13, from various citizens and ex-pats, whose lawyers are determined to make sure that Article 50 cannot be triggered by an unelected Prime Minister without the support of Parliament. This is a position that I wholeheartedly agree with for three important reasons: 1) the referendum result was advisory, not legally binding; 2) three-quarters of MPs support remaining in the EU; and 3) leaving the EU will be disastrous for our economy.

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Powerful commentary by Ian Dunt of Politics.co.uk, who explains that Theresa May’s speech to the Tory conference today made it “clear that in a decision between border control and membership of the single market, [she] was going to pick border control.” He added, “Continued membership of the single market is a soft Brexit and leaving the single market is a hard Brexit. We are going to have a hard Brexit. And worse – it’ll be a chaotic hard Brexit.”

    A key passage:

    “In years to come, this will be seen as one of the most disastrous speeches ever made by a prime minister. Not only did she propose a goal which will devastate the British economy, she also gave away her own meagre leverage in securing it” – on the Andrew Marr Show, where, “bafflingly,” as Dunt put it, she “gave a date upon which to start negotiations. She announced it, in an offhand way, while speaking on the Andrew Marr programme this morning. She did so so flippantly that one wonders whether she even realised it gave her leverage.”

    And this is the end of his article, with a call for those who retain any sanity to fight this lunacy every step of the way:

    Afterwards, she asked Europe for preliminary talks. This is how Donald Tusk responded: “Once Art. 50’s triggered, EU27 will engage to safeguard its interests.” It was a clear no, followed by a robust statement of self-interest. It is a preview of the type of treatment she can expect once she goes to Brussels. When the talks begin, she will discover that Europe does not even need to debate trade with us. The vague wording of Article 50 means it’s up to them. They can make it all about administrative divorce proceedings if they like. They now have all the cards.

    The lunatics at the Tory conference applauded all of this. They cheered the Union, even as May announced the greatest strain she could possibly impose on it. They cheered when a speaker mentioned Gibraltar, even though it was now at risk like never before. They cheered dreams of British economic greatness, which are now in jeopardy precisely because of the policy they were jubilant about

    May appears strong but she has wrapped herself in her own straitjacket. Everything now is in the hands of Europe.

    If there is any hope it is with those who are still prepared to speak the things which are in front of their eyes. People who are still prepared to say that losing tariff-free access to our biggest market is not wise, that putting investment at threat is to handicap our own prospects. People who will point out that a two year timetable to unravel four decades of law and create a substantial trade deal is not realistic. People who believe that by having open borders and an open society, Britain is stronger and more beautiful and more successful. People who believe that sabotaging Ireland and pushing away Scotland is not how one keeps the Union together. People who recognise that a 52% vote on a vague question is not a mandate for the most radical possible interpretation of a referendum result.

    The next few years will see uncertainty and British isolationism start to cause demonstrable harm to the economy. Those who recognise the insanity of our current path must keep making that point and avoid the deterministic piety of those who demand we ‘get over it’. It’s by making the case for reason, liberalism and internationalism that we can best influence the debate when the repercussions of our current foolishness become impossible for even the Brexiters to ignore.

    See: http://www.politics.co.uk/blogs/2016/10/02/may-speech-makes-it-clear-we-re-leaving-the-single-market

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Good on Dominic Grieve, the Tories’ former attorney general, who, like a number of Tory backbenchers, “want[s] the government to pursue a soft Brexit and think there should be a vote prior to article 50,” as the Guardian described it. Grieve “told the Guardian that he believed strongly that parliament ought to have such a role. He admitted that MPs could not disregard the ‘advisory’ vote but said: ‘The danger of such an approach is if you undermine the convention in this way you set a very bad precedent. Government is embarking on a difficult and extensive exercise and to do it without the support of parliament is a mistaken approach.'”
    See: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/oct/02/may-on-collision-course-with-backbenchers-seeking-soft-brexit

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    This is also useful – on the role played by the “three blind mice,” Boris Johnson, David Davis and Liam Fox. Nick Herbert, who led the Conservative remain campaign during the referendum, has said it is “essential to accept the result but warned against a ‘naive ideal of a new Britannia’ making ministers overconfident that they will secure a good result for the UK.” In an article for the Guardian, ‘Hard Brexit ideologues threaten the UK’s economic future’, he wrote: “Conservatives must beware Brexit fundamentalism, or giving themselves up to a romanticised 1950s vision of Britain, a country of imperialist chauvinism.”
    See: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/oct/02/hard-brexit-eu-trade-deal

  5. damo says...

    Rule britania…..britania rules the waves….lol i wish spitting image was still being shown so it could show thease foul stupid tories for the loo,crazys and extreamists they realy are . If art 50 is triggered this country will just become a very small tradeing outpost on the edge of europe bussiness will dump this country ….its allready happening europeans are not buying british cars in protest ..the tories and ukip think its going to be like an enid blyton novel jam for tea lol lol

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    I like that, Damo: “a very small trading outpost on the edge of Europe.” I think the reality of that description set against the rhetoric of the Leave campaigners shows the extent of their delusions – more ridiculous than almost everything I have heard emanating from politicians’ mouths in most of my life! We are in La-La-Land, our own version of Donald Trump’s America, but hopefully he won’t get elected whereas we have already handed over control to the crazies who got us into this almost unimaginable mess in the first place. What are we to do?

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    David Knopfler wrote:

    I like the big blue and white poster in the pic. I don’t know whether it’s legally correct but it catches my feeling. I don’t like losing my European passport and citizenship because of the xenophobia and need for a sense of “national identity” of others. The fact they were comprehensively lied to doesn’t help.

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    It’s all so pointless, David. The sovereignty argument is bogus, as most political and economic decisions have always been in Parliament’s hands and not in Brussels or Strasbourg. In addition, leaving can only damage our economy – probably to quite a savage extent – and the drive to close our borders at all costs won’t work, because desperate people will find a way in anyway, and, when it does work, it will only end up excluding the untold numbers of immigrants who are actually needed to do jobs here. Theresa May needs to accept that MPs need to vote on this, and MPs need to summon up the courage to do what is right, and to explain that the referendum result, which is not legally binding, cannot lead to our departure from the EU because that would be suicidal for our economy.

  9. Andy Worthington says...

    David Knopfler wrote:

    Andy I think those MPs in constituencies that voted remain and who personally also believe it’s in the national interest to remain will find it difficult to vote leave. It’s going to be a numbers game

  10. Andy Worthington says...

    But Theresa May is adamant that MPs won’t be given a vote, David. That’s why my hope is that the legal challenge doesn’t get booted out of court. I subscribe to the view of Geoffrey Robertson QC: “‘Sovereignty’ — a much misunderstood word in the campaign — resides in Britain with the ‘Queen in parliament’, that is with MPs alone who can make or break laws and peers who can block them. Before Brexit can be triggered, parliament must repeal the 1972 European Communities Act by which it voted to take us into the European Union — and MPs have every right, and indeed a duty if they think it best for Britain, to vote to stay.”
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jun/27/stop-brexit-mp-vote-referendum-members-parliament-act-europe

  11. Andy Worthington says...

    But even if MPs do get to vote, it’s going to be a numbers game as you say, David. Three-quarters of MPs want to stay in the EU, but how many of them are in constituencies that voted to leave?

  12. Andy Worthington says...

    Important – Gideon Rachman, chief foreign affairs columnist for the FT, also explains how Theresa May has given away whatever bargaining chips she may have had: “By announcing that she will start the formal negotiations for Britain to leave the EU by March 2017, the prime minister has walked into a trap. She has given away what little leverage Britain has in the negotiations — without receiving any of the assurances that she needs to achieve a successful outcome.”

    Rahman added:

    In the British case, the political goal is to restore parliamentary sovereignty and to regain control of immigration. On the EU side, the goal will be to make sure that Brexit does not lead to the unravelling of a European project that has been built up over 60 years. That will mean making sure that the UK pays a clear and heavy price for leaving the EU. As a result, both sides will accept some economic damage rather than sacrifice their political goals.

    The difficulty for the UK is that the economic damage the EU will sustain is likely to be smaller and more manageable than that borne by the British side. The fact is that the EU represents a far larger market for Britain than Britain represents for the rest of Europe. Britain sends 44 per cent of its exports to the EU, while the UK takes only about 16 per cent of EU exports.

    The negotiation process itself is also likely to be stacked against the UK. While the British will need a quick deal to minimise uncertainty for investors, the EU can afford to spin things out. Even if this is not a deliberate strategy on the European side, the realities of trying to secure a common position among 27 nations — and then secure ratification in all 27 countries, plus regional legislatures and the European Parliament — will be long and laborious.

    Some in Britain speak blithely of relying on the rules of the World Trade Organisation after Britain has left the EU. They ignore the fact that Britain is a member of the WTO under the auspices of the EU. Creating an entirely separate British WTO membership requires another set of complex negotiations.

    That is a much bigger problem for Britain than the EU, since the longer the process is dragged out, the longer Britain is likely to be suspended in a legal limbo that will discourage long-term investment. For that reason it was absolutely vital that Mrs May should get some clarity on what happens after two years of negotiations — if and when the EU and the UK have failed to reach a definitive new deal. The obvious solution would have been for Britain to remain inside the EU’s single market, but outside the EU until such time as a new deal was struck. By failing to get that assurance, the British government has severely weakened its position — even before negotiations start.

    And a key passage here, in conclusion:

    So why has Mrs May been so reckless? The short answer is politics. If the prime minister had delayed triggering Article 50 any longer she might have faced a revolt from Conservative MPs, who would have feared that she was backsliding on Brexit. By making her announcement just before the Tory party conference, she has also guaranteed herself some favourable headlines and applause in the conference hall. She may have bought herself another couple of years in 10 Downing Street. But she has also significantly increased the chances that Brexit will cause severe damage to the British economy.

    See: https://www.ft.com/content/7b78f276-8940-11e6-8cb7-e7ada1d123b1

  13. damo says...

    Andy wot is wronge with people…….that there not demonstrateing outside parliment …..lol ….the bag lady..has said were gonna have a hard brexit …..slash…..chop…….cutting the uk off completely destroying this country…watching the tories who voted brexit.. screameing …. shreiking…. shouting…. gibbering…. gurning.. eyerolling… headbobbing… wildly hand flayeling…. bouncing up and down… dribbling… foaming at the mouth… barking…. lol..andy i could go on but in rapture lie a hard brexit is the second comeing….good god andy ….one couldnt make it up…lol

  14. damo says...

    I would not want to be a torie or ukip in 18 mounths time or less when the uk population reolises theve been sold a pup and after the bag ladys hard brexit god forbid the economy is tanking

  15. Andy Worthington says...

    What a brilliant description of the Tories and/or Brexit voters, Damo. The horror now is that we’re divided like never before. Even putting aside for a moment how the Parliamentary Labour Party has demonstrated that in no uncertain terms through its disgraceful and spectacularly unsuccessful coup, in general the fault line that runs through the country – Brexit on one side, and those who want to stay in the EU one the other – is so huge and so inclusive on both sides that it’s impossible to unite anyone around anything.
    The 48% need to come together, but too many of those 16.1 million people have a begrudging notion that somehow the 17.4 million Leave voters “won”, when in fact the referendum isn’t legally binding, and Parliament should vote on it. There should be a major movement calling for that vote, accompanied by serious pressure from voters on their MPs, given that many of those who voted Leave have changed their minds or have accepted that they didn’t rally know what they were doing. But what do we get instead? Nothing.
    Just a few sums: Turnout was 33.5m, that’s 72.2% of the registered electorate, up from 66.1% in the last General Election – 30.7m voters. So there were 2.8m new voters, plus 14.6m people who, we can presume, voted in last year’s General Election – UKIP’s 3.9m voters, two-thirds of the Tories’ 11.3m voters, a third of Labour’s 9.3m.

  16. Andy Worthington says...

    I hope you’re right, Damo, but history shows us that the far right can often triumph in times of great adversity by lying about the reasons for people’s woes. I was glad to see Farage resign, because he was the only successful populist leader UKIP had, and hopefully their entire project will now unravel, having secured its sole aim – for us to leave the EU. That said, I fear that our inevitably collapsing economy will be capitalised on by the right-wing and not the left, as left-wing thought is not currently proving itself capable of securing an outright majority in our broken system.

  17. damo says...

    Watching the news last night its clear tereasa may and the tories are not fit to run a bath let alone a country the pound is tanking in the currency markets they are being warned by everyone dont leave…..dont do it…..theyve lost control of there minds

  18. Andy Worthington says...

    But Theresa is the new Messiah, Damo. A convert to Brexit, she’s wowing the Tory conference: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/oct/05/birmingham-witnessing-tory-reformation-conservative-conference-brexit
    Unbelievable. Never trust English people given the opportunity to f*ck everything up on the – obviously false – basis that we’re better than everyone else.
    Have you noticed how we’re wash with Chinese at the moment, by the way? I’m half-expecting an official announcement that we’ve stealthily been incorporated into the People’s Republic of China. Leave the EU, get taken over by China – and all those Gulf countries that also own eye-wateringly large amounts of “our Great Britain.”

  19. Thomas says...

    If the economy messes up, that’ll let the Tories ban going on strike, axe most worker’s rights , blame immigrants and make the lives of the unemployed and the disabled even worse.

  20. Andy Worthington says...

    I’m hoping that before that happens people might wake up in sufficient numbers and work out who’s to blame, Thomas, but I recognise that thinking like that might make me a foolish optimist.

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo, co-director, We Stand With Shaker. Also, singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers) and photographer (The State of London).
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