Leaked Memo Reveals Tories Have No Clue How to Implement Brexit

15.11.16

The Three Brexiteers: David Davis, Boris Johnson and Liam Fox as seen by Miles Cole for the New Statesman.

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Is anyone really surprised that, in a leaked memo, a consultant from the global financial services company Deloitte, working for the Cabinet Office, has concluded that the Tory government is in disarray when it comes to implementing Brexit?

The consultant highlighted that “no common strategy has emerged” between government departments regarding how to implement Brexit, despite what the Guardian, reporting on the memo, which was leaked to the Times, described as “extended debate among the permanent secretaries who head Whitehall departments.” The Guardian also explained that the various government departments are working on “well over 500 projects, which are beyond the capacity and capability of Government to execute quickly,” adding that the government may need to hire an extra 30,000 civil servants to deal with the additional work.

The consultant added:

One Department estimates that it needs a 40% increase in staff to cope with its Brexit projects … [E]very Department has developed a “bottom up” plan of what the impact of Brexit could be — and its plan to cope with the “worst case”. Although necessary, this falls considerably short of having a “Government plan for Brexit” because it has no prioritisation and no link to the overall negotiation strategy.

The consultant also noted that there is a fundamental split between, on one side, the three Brexit ministers — David Davis, Boris Johnson and Liam Fox, putting their enthusiasm for Brexit above the economy — and on the other the chancellor, Philip Hammond, and business secretary Greg Clark, who appear to be demonstrating an unfashionable desire to protect the economy, and that Theresa May is developing a reputation as a control freak; as the consultant described it, she “is rapidly acquiring the reputation of drawing in decisions and details to settle matters herself — which is unlikely to be sustainable.”

The consultant also mentioned Nissan, noting that, as a result of the deal that the Japanese carmaker has secured, in which, last month, as the Guardian described it, the company “announced that two new car models would be built in Sunderland, safeguarding 7,000 jobs, after receiving ‘support and assurances’ from the government about the UK’s future outside the EU,” “[o]ther major players can be expected to, similar to Nissan, point a gun at the Government’s head.”

As well as concluding that “there will be no clear economic-Brexit strategy any time soon because it is being developed on a case-by-case basis as specific decisions are forced on Government,” the consultant also explained that “the Government’s priority remains its political survival, not the economy” — something I think many of us knew, but will be alarmed to see spelled out so clearly.

No wonder the government responded with what the Daily Telegraph described as an “excoriating attack on Deloitte” in which Theresa May’s spokeswoman described it as “a firm touting for business aided by the media” — a rather desperate claim, it seems to me, considering that it actually appears to be rather difficult to argue with the consultant’s conclusions.

Tim Farron, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, said that the leaked memo showed a “shambles at the heart of government” over the direction of Brexit. He added, “It’s time for the Prime Minister to stop being led astray by her warring cabinet. Otherwise her government is heading for the worst possible outcome: a reckless, destructive Brexit that will do untold damage to British jobs and the economy.”

Brexit criticism by the Institute for Government

In related news, the Belfast Telegraph reported how the Institute for Government, which is publishing a report on Brexit next month, has also just revealed some of its fears and criticisms:

The Institute for Government, which has been talking to key figures inside and outside Whitehall ahead of a report next month, said it had been told that Brexit represented an “existential threat” to the operation of departments whose budgets and staffing have been sharply reduced in recent years.

A “secretive approach” at the top of Theresa May’s administration was causing “significant uncertainty” for Whitehall departments and preventing civil servants from planning far enough ahead. To some outsiders, the process appears “chaotic and dysfunctional”, said the thinktank, which warned the Prime Minister: “Silence is not a strategy”.

Although a Deloitte spokesman conceded that the consultant’s memo “was a note intended primarily for internal audiences,” Joe Owen of the Institute for Government said that, “while he may not recognise all of the accountancy firm’s figures, some of its claims did chime with the thinktank’s findings,” as the Belfast Telegraph described it.

In an article on the IFG’s website, he stated:

Whitehall has most of the technical skills required to deliver Brexit … What Whitehall does not have is the capacity to deliver Brexit on top of everything else to which it is already committed. The work required to deliver Brexit has been described to us as an existential threat to how some departments operate. Managing this whilst continuing to deliver existing priorities with the smallest Civil Service in decades is unsustainable.

He added:

Departments like Defra are in the middle of a transformation programme that was ambitious before Brexit came along – achieving a 25% cut to resource budgets over the next five years must now be considered undeliverable.

There are departments upon which Brexit will have a huge impact. We hope the Autumn Statement will show the commitments the Government intends to keep, and what it will drop, so resources can be focused on the Brexit task.

Owen added, “There is a huge amount of work already underway, in both DExEU and the rest of Whitehall, but the lack of publicly visible direction and secretive approach at the top means much of it is too reactive.” He also stated, “Those leading Brexit in departments know little more than the general public — an Article 50 trigger some time by March 2017 and a two-year negotiating window. There is no understanding of what the process of reaching a negotiating position looks like or even the criteria required to get there, even on specific issues, which make departmental planning of activity and analysis very difficult.”

On business, Owen noted that “Brexit has caused significant uncertainty for businesses and departments, and in the absence of certainty there is a need for confidence and clarity about the process. The current political approach and the absence of a clear overarching plan for exiting the EU means there is neither.”

In conclusion, Owen echoed the Deloitte consultant’s conclusion that “the Government’s priority remains its political survival, not the economy,” noting that, for Theresa May, “with a slim majority and a need to satisfy ‘Remainers’ and ‘Leavers’ in her own party (as well as across the country), the more [she] reveals the more difficult her job of party political management becomes.”

However, he added, “silence is not a strategy. Failure to reveal the Government’s plan to reach a negotiating position is eroding confidence among business and investors, and encouraging unhelpful speculation about what the final destination might be.”

Below, via Sky News, is the full text of the Deloitte consultant’s memo.

Brexit memo, written on November 7 by a consultant from Deloitte working for the Cabinet Office

The Political Domain

The Prime Minister’s over-riding objective has been to keep her party from repeating its history of splitting four times in the past 200 years over global trade – each time being out of power for 15-30 years. The public stance of Government is orientated primarily to its own supporters, with industry in particular being on the radarscreen — yet.

The Government’s appeal to the Supreme Court has to be seen in this light — it is about avoiding any more public debate than necessary because it will expose splits within the predominantly “remain” Conservative MPs and intensify the pressure from predominantly “leave” constituency parties. A General Election is only a last resort for three reasons — boundary changes (that favour the Conservatives) will not be effective until 2019; the Fixed Term Parliaments Act obstructs Prime Ministerial freedom to call an election at will; and it may suit major decision makers to slowly shift away from more difficult aspects of Brexit on the grounds that Parliament has forced them to do so.

The divisions within the Cabinet are between the three Brexiteers on one side and Philip Hammond/Greg Clark on the other side. The Prime Minister is rapidly acquiring the reputation of drawing in decisions and details to settle matters herself — which is unlikely to be sustainable. Overall, it appears best to judge who is winning the debate by assuming that the noisiest individuals have lost the intra-Government debate and are stirring up external supporters.

The Supreme Court appears likely to delay its ruling until early January and, assuming it sustains the High Court, a short enabling bill will then be submitted to Parliament, permitting the Government to invoke Article 50 in March as planned. The Government will probably be able to face down wrecking amendments, but the debate in Parliament will certainly shift expectations of what will be achieved/sellable in Brexit negotiations. Remain supporters can be expected to reserve their fire until winners and losers emerge from negotiation and the political atmosphere allows more sophisticated assessment of choices.

The Government Domain

Individual Departments have been busily developing their projects to implement Brexit, resulting in well over 500 projects, which are beyond the capacity and capability of Government to execute quickly. One Department estimates that it needs a 40% increase in staff to cope with its Brexit projects. In other words, every Department has developed a “bottom up” plan of what the impact of Brexit could be — and its plan to cope with the “worst case”. Although necessary, this falls considerably short of having a “Government plan for Brexit” because it has no prioritisation and no link to the overall negotiation strategy.

However, it may be six months before there is a view on priorities/negotiation strategy as the political situation in the UK and the EU evolves. Despite extended debate among Permanent Secretaries, no common strategy has emerged, in part because the potential scope and negotiating positions have to be curtailed before realistic planning can happen, in part because of the divisions within the Cabinet. It is likely that the senior ranks in the Civil Service will feel compelled to present potential high level plan(s) to avoid further drift.

Departments are struggling to come up to speed on the potential Brexit effects on industry. This is due to starting from a relatively low base of insight and also due to fragmentation – Treasury “owning” financial services, DH-BEIS both covering life sciences, DCMS for telecoms, BEIS most other industries, DIT building parallel capability focused on trade etc.

Capability-building is making slow progress, partly through deliberate control by the Cabinet Office and partly from Treasury’s opening negotiating position that Departments will meet Brexit costs from existing settlements — although no one is treating that position as sustainable. Expectations of increased headcount are in the 10-30,000 range. Initiatives to build capability are getting off the ground — the Diplomatic Academy is providing trade training programmes, Cabinet Office is discussing system-wide capability programmes.

The Autumn Statement on 23rd November is expected to provide some headlines in terms of infrastructure investment, making the UK fit for growth and the inclusive economy. It will not provide resources for the Civil Service to grow its Brexit capacity and capability. In fact, we are more likely to see a further squeeze on Departmental operating costs to compensate for new spending.

The Industry Domain

Government expects lobbying on three levels to continue:

1. Company-specific decisions — the Nissan investment decision is a prime example. These are viewed as major opportunities/threats for Government. Other major players can be expected to, similar to Nissan, point a gun at the Government’s head.

2. Industry insights — the major challenge for industry and Government are “the unknown unknowns” where industry has to educate Government fast on the most important negotiating issues — e.g., they think they know about talent, but know they know little about data.

3. Overall business concerns — the province of CBI and largely dealt with as a PR issue.

Industry has two unpleasant realisations — first, that the Government’s priority remains its political survival, not the economy[;] second, that there will be no clear economic-Brexit strategy any time soon because it is being developed on a case-by-case basis as specific decisions are forced on Government.

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).

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29 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    Here’s my latest article, looking at the leaked memo by a Deloitte consultant working for the British government on Brexit (the plans for leaving the EU), who has portrayed a government in which “no common strategy has emerged,” with fundamental disagreements between ministers, and Theresa May seen as a control freak, and in which “the Government’s priority remains its political survival, not the economy.” May tried to discredit the memo, but similar comments were made by the Institute for Government, “the leading think tank working to make government more effective.” It also, of course, chimes with what so many of us have been aware of since the referendum, the implosion of Cameron’s government, and the rise of Theresa May, whose government appears to be the most dim-witted of my lifetime.

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    And this is very interesting – ‘Supreme court judge hints at legal hitch that could seriously delay Brexit’: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/nov/15/supreme-court-judges-views-on-article-50-legislation-anger-leave-campaigners

  3. Andy Worthington says...

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    The more time goes on, the more I am convinced, as I state in my introduction, that this government “appears to be the most dim-witted of my lifetime.” Is anyone else feeling that way? I know it’s a high bar, but really, this lot are such a shambles. Not just stunningly incompetent, but not even able to present a united front. I don’t mind this Brexit nonsense destroying the Conservative Party (I think it would be appropriate), but what’s unacceptable to me is that they will be allowed to destroy our country …

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    David Knopfler wrote:

    I think we are seeing more clearly than usual how the tail of the conservative party has been wagging the conservative dog (and in turn the country) ever since Margaret Thatcher, the blunt instrument of the far right of the party, the “daughter” of Sir Keith Joseph and Enoch Powell, had her putsch within the party, just as the left was divided by David Owen’s departure from Labour. A good editor would turn that run-on sentence into three but we don’t have editors any more… we have social media. Everything has been hollowed out and here come the wrecking balls.

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, David. Good to hear from you. My only comfort right now is that an acceptable Brexit is an oxymoron, and the Tories can only suffer as a result of their inevitably damaging bodge job in the long run. That said, the damage they are currently causing cannot be wished away, and it isn’t at all reassuring to see the desperate Theresa May now hoping to cosy up to Trump, when (a) he clearly has eyes for Nigel Farage, and (b) he seems to have no interest in the special relationship. If May plays her cards as tragically as I think she might, we will lose our business with Europe and with the US, truly plunging us into some medieval nightmare, at which point, I suppose, our actual owners, the Chinese and various Gulf states, will announce that they’re taking over, and most of us are second-class citizens.

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    Diana Murtaugh Coleman wrote:

    We are feeling your pain in the U.S., Andy.

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    That’s very kind of you, Diana, to be thinking of us at such a difficult time. We are thinking of you too, of course, and trying to wake up fully to the reality of what happened last week, just as we are still trying to fully come to terms with what happened here in June. My advice would be to organize like crazy against Trump and FOR an alternative if you can (no, not the discredited Clinton Dems, of course, but something better), as we, sadly, seem to be too slothful to do so, and are therefore reliant only on judges and MPs to do what, really, we should be doing ourselves.
    These are such difficult times, as the reality that those of us who are conscious have been putting up with since 2009 (which was bad in so many ways, but at least had recognizable contours, and, fundamentally, was not as terrible as the Bush years) has now suddenly been replaced by something that could signal a return to a new version of those savage, right-wing horrors we thought we’d left behind.

  9. damo says...

    my god we need to round up this government and shoot them dead immediately..lol….wot a bunch of worthless imbeciels and chronic inadaquates i watched some government toady bad mouthing that company ……..you know that company that was telling the truth…….funny the tories allways try to destroy anyone who tells the truth about them…….when we leave and everything goes to hell as usual it will be the poorest who will pay again ……..there was a save the children advert on ……for this country ……starving children in this country…..in this country………one of the richest in the world its amazeing……..the tories would rather fuck up the country to please the right wing and cling to power……..than save he country ….andy you couldnt make thease people up…….why is there no protests ….years ago before the toxic poison of social media…people would have got organized and would be marching…now it just slothfull armchair protesters ……ill protest online….bullshit …….people need to be out there in the streets …..for christ sake wot the fuck is wronge with people now…????????

  10. damo says...

    andy how long before someone shoots dead a torie mp or starts popping off yuppies ….how long people are at breaking point …..but there takeing it out on the most vulnerable ….look at the state of this world andy …look at it ……all this chaos and trouble…its being caused by rich white people …..why are we not going after them

  11. Andy Worthington says...

    You ask a blunt question, Damo – “Why is there no protest?” and suggest that “years ago, before the toxic poison of social media, people would have got organized and would be marching.” I think social media is certainly partly to blame, but that’s not the whole answer, is it? Have people become drained of some essential life essence? The right, as we can see from the Brexit vote, and the vote for Trump in the US, are capable of mobilising, but, beyond Corbyn and Sanders, and the current unrest in the US, which will, I’m sure, die down soon, the 16.1 million people who voted to remain in the EU are largely silent.
    It doesn’t help that the Labour Party is refusing to resist Brexit unless it can be shown not to damage the British economy, which would be a constructive way to resist it, and would allow them to then portray the Tories, economically, as suicidally reckless, but something is also missing from the people, and I don’t know how to suggest doing anything about it. Just five years ago, remember, the Occupy movement brought dissent into the open briefly, but that kind of spirit now seems like ancient history, replaced by the urbane young disciples of blinkered, self-absorbed 21st century capitalism spending too much money on clothes and eating in the latest pop-up restaurants.
    The threat to the NHS alone should have us out on the streets, but, as you say, there’s nothing.

  12. Andy Worthington says...

    Rob Kenyon wrote:

    This story was broken weeks ago on BBC by a financial expert, who warned of the red-tape storm to come.
    The EU administrative burden will look like buying a raffle ticket by comparison.

  13. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, that sounds right, Rob – another aspect of the madness of Brexit that is being overlooked, and one that the Tories are supposed to be opposed to. I can only hope that MPs opposed to any departure from the EU that causes lasting damage to our economy are doing their homework.
    Our annual net contribution to the EU is around £8 billion: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-35943216
    In August, the Institute for Fiscal Studies assessed that the UK “could be permanently poorer by 4 per cent of GDP” as a result of Brexit, which would be about £75bn.
    The London School of Economic’s Centre for Economic Performance and the National Institute for Economic and Social Research (NIESR), looking at “the long-term negative impact of Brexit on UK growth,” added that “the cost of losing membership of the single market would far outweigh the economic benefits of the UK no longer paying … into the European Union budget.”
    See: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/brexit-economists-put-cost-of-uk-losing-european-union-single-market-membership-at-75bn-a7181376.html
    In September, the Independent reported that “[t]he damage to Britain’s goods exporters of leaving the European Union without a new free trade deal in place would be at least £4.5bn a year – and in all likelihood many multiples of that” – so that’s half our alleged “savings” just on the lowest estimate of the cost to exporters if we were to “leave the EU without a deal [and] be forced to trade with the rest of the continent under World Trade Organisation rules.”
    See: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/brexit-latest-cost-uk-leaving-eu-without-trade-deal-exports-negotiations-david-davis-a7325326.html

  14. Andy Worthington says...

    And let’s not forget the cost of leaving the EU customs union, “inside which EU countries negotiate trade deals collectively and set common external tariffs,” in the Guardian’s words. Boris Johnson has just let slip that he thinks we are going to leave the customs union, even though David Davis’s advisor Raoul Ruparel has said that the British economy “will be hit by a ‘permanent cost’ of more than £25bn a year if it decides to withdraw from the EU customs union.”
    See: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/nov/15/britain-probably-leaving-eu-customs-union-says-boris-johnson
    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/oct/11/government-adviser-leaving-eu-customs-union-uk-25bn

  15. Andy Worthington says...

    And this was Christopher Booker in the Daily Telegraph in August, under the heading, “Leaving the EU could cost us even more than staying in”:

    Of all the ludicrous claims made by both sides in the EU referendum campaign, none was more bizarre than that blazoned on the side of Vote Leave’s “Boris bus”: that the “£350 million a week” we now give to the EU could be spent instead on the NHS.

    The pretence that we could somehow spend on the NHS all the £17.8 billion a year we give to “EU institutions” was either absurdly ignorant or shamelessly dishonest.

    Indeed, leaving the EU could cost us more than we pay now. For a start, £4.9 billion of that £17.8 billion never leaves Britain, because it represents our EU budget rebate. So the amount we actually hand over is not £17.8 but only £12.9 billion.

    Of this, as the Chancellor Philip Hammond has now confirmed, we shall continue to spend the further £4.5 billion that goes on subsidies to farming and regional funds.

    Equally guaranteed is the £1.5 billion which goes to private bodies such as universities for research.

    We are also bound by UK law to continue spending the £1.2 billion of our aid budget currently administered by the EU. It would not be wise to discontinue spending most of the £2 billion we give to 27 EU agencies, such as that which regulates medicines, because it would be more costly for us to duplicate their work ourselves. And if we are sensible enough to remain in the European Economic Area, giving us continued full access to the EU’s single market, we would be bound to continue contributing the £2 billion a year we give through the EU to assisting the countries of the former Soviet bloc.

    All of which adds up to £11.2 billion, leaving very little over from our current payments. But that is not the end of it. According to one estimate, the EU will be committed by 2027 to spending £300 billion on a whole range of programmes and projects to which the UK has already formally agreed. Our share of this equates to some £5 billion a year, and any attempt by Britain to wriggle out of those commitments could become a highly contentious issue in the forthcoming negotiations. The EU would have much law on its side in arguing that we must meet those obligations.

    And even if some compromise is reached, it seems quite possible that leaving the EU, however much many of us may wish it, could still be more costly to us than remaining. All that is certain is that it will not leave us with many pennies to spare for the NHS.

    See: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/08/20/leaving-the-eu-could-cost-us-even-more-than-staying-in/

  16. Andy Worthington says...

    Ghias Aljundi wrote:

    Tories have claws not clue

  17. Andy Worthington says...

    Nicely put, Ghias.

  18. Andy Worthington says...

    Sara Hussain wrote:

    *smiles*

  19. Andy Worthington says...

    Good to hear from you, Sara. What a mess we’re in …

  20. Andy Worthington says...

    Rob Kenyon wrote:

    I don’t think a lot of us will even live to see Art 50 invoked, or revoked, or whichever it is.
    It will be like ‘Jarndyce Vs Jarndyce in ‘Bleak House’. With the case eating up the estate.

  21. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, Rob, I think Jarndyce v. Jarndyce might be a very appropriate analogy.

  22. Andy Worthington says...

    Here’s Open Britain quoting PricewaterhouseCoopers, stating, via Bloomberg, that Britain “may have to borrow 100 billion pounds more than previously forecast over the next five years as Brexit hits the economy”: https://www.facebook.com/OpenBritain/posts/1355103497863304

  23. Andy Worthington says...

    Rehaan Raja wrote:

    I first saw this on the BBC – apparently the Tories said they do not recognise this document at all and have no idea where it came from. Does anyone have any evidence from a more reputable source on whether the document is fake?

    Mind you, it’s an open secret they have no idea what they’re doing anyways so this document is irrelevant.

  24. Andy Worthington says...

    It’s definitely real, Rehaan, but it was made by a consultant who hadn’t met with Theresa May and her ministers, and so the government tried to discredit it. However, as an assessment, it seems to be spot-on. Deloitte’s response to the government’s slur that it was just “touting for business” was calm and professional: “This was a note intended primarily for internal audiences. It was not commissioned by the Cabinet Office, nor any other government department, and represents a view of the task facing Whitehall. This work was conducted without access to No 10 or input from any other government departments.”
    See: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/nov/15/memo-about-whitehall-brexit-problems-was-for-internal-audience-says-deloitte

  25. Andy Worthington says...

    Neil Goodwin wrote:

    The choice being, either to blame everything on the EU and immigrants and spend at least two generations pulling everything apart.. or try and do some actual useful work towards fixing the real and long term problems facing the UK.. I hope they suffer from major headaches and sleep loss just contemplating the first option.

  26. Andy Worthington says...

    I can’t imagine May and her ministers aren’t freaking out at some level, unless they’re really living in a cloud cuckoo land of their own devising, Neil, but that’s sadly not enough to make them think twice about, as you put it so accurately, “blam[ing] everything on the EU and immigrants and spend[ing] at least two generations pulling everything apart, or try[ing] and do some actual useful work towards fixing the real and long term problems facing the UK.” In pursuit of the former, the latter will only get worse, which, in theory, suits so many of them ideologically, but at some point, surely, a devastated economy with all public services destroyed and greedy incompetent private racketeers running everything is going to backfire on them.

  27. Andy Worthington says...

    From the FT – opening paragraphs of ‘UK faces £100bn Brexit hole in budget’:

    “Philip Hammond will admit to the largest deterioration in British public finances since 2011 in next week’s Autumn Statement when the official forecast will show the UK faces a £100bn bill for Brexit within five years.

    “Slower growth and lower-than-expected investment will hit tax revenues hard, the official forecasts will show, supporting the Treasury’s pre-referendum warnings that the long-term economic costs of Brexit are high.”

    “High” being a euphemism, presumably, for “so high that no one in their right mind would contemplate going ahead and accepting a decision taken by a slim majority of those who could be bothered to vote in a referendum that should never have been called and those outcome was only advisory.”

    Are there any grown-ups in positions of power and authority in this country who will save us?

    See: https://www.ft.com/content/acb33786-ac16-11e6-9cb3-bb8207902122

  28. Andy Worthington says...

    Diana Neslen wrote:

    The Tory party insisted on the referendum to maintain its own unity. Instead it seems that like in the US we are looking at the Samson option.

  29. Andy Worthington says...

    Ah yes, killing yourself to take down your enemy, Diana. Apt indeed (the Samson option being Israel’s name for its nuclear arsenal). Who would have thought, just six months ago, that 25 to 30 percent of voters in the UK and the US would cast their votes in a way that, objectively, it doesn’t take much effort to see as suicidal?

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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.
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