Radio: I Discuss Boris Johnson’s Alarming Election Victory – and Guantánamo – with Chris Cook on Gorilla Radio

21.12.19

Boris Johnson promising to ‘Get Brexit Done’ and Donald Trump and Guantánamo.

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On Thursday, I was delighted to be interviewed by Chris Cook, in Victoria, Canada, about the parlous state of British politics, and the ongoing and outrageous injustice of Guantánamo, on his weekly show, Gorilla Radio, which is “dedicated to social justice, the environment, community, and providing a forum for people and issues not covered in the corporate media.”

The show is here (and here as an MP3), and I’m also pleased to be able to embed it below. My interview is in the first half of the one-hour show:

Here’s how Chris introduced the show on his website, accurately capturing the madness of the UK right now:

Last week, Britain followed America’s lead in electing an ultra-conservative, faux populist based on the single premise of, if not making Britain Great again, at least carrying through with the years-old promise to take the country out of the European Union. The great mystery to those looking from outside the country is why?

Why, following the divisive and ill-defined scheme dreamt up by the David Cameron Tories of yore, did the people of that green and pleasant land, rather than punishing the authors, and bungling executors of the disastrous Brexit debacle, decide instead to reward them with massive electoral success? And for Britons, the greater question now is, what’s going to happen next?

I’m honoured that Chris has had me on his show numerous times over the last ten years — almost always to discuss Guantánamo, but occasionally to discuss other topics — and it was a pleasure on Thursday to be able to provide some analysis of the disaster area that is Britain today, following last week’s General Election.

Chris and I spoke about how Boris Johnson’s “landslide” victory was, in fact, achieved with only a slight increase of Tory voters from 2017, when Theresa May actually lost her majority, although, typically, after an election that was fought against a backdrop of horrendous bias against Jeremy Corbyn (particularly via an entirely made-up anti-semitism scandal) and open support for Johnson, that isn’t the narrative the British people are now being presented with, as Johnson prepares to ‘Get Brexit Done.’

Following on from my election post-mortem article, Boris Johnson’s Election Victory: A Truly Depressing Day for Britain, But Now He ‘Owns’ the Toxic Brexit Nightmare, Chris and I spoke about my belief that Johnson won by relentlessly repeating his promise to ‘Get Brexit Done’, to secure the support of all those who voted to leave the EU and have become increasingly frustrated that their insane obsession hasn’t been fulfilled, as well as others who supported remaining in the EU, but think the “will of the people” should be obeyed.

Primarily, however, Chris and I spoke about the reasons to be fearful of Johnson’s majority, as it endorses his drive for a hard Brexit — either via no deal with the EU at all, or a bad one, which is clearly intended to make the UK into a vassal state of the US. This will enable a small number of people — including Johnson and his chums — to make a fortune while profoundly betraying the entire population of the UK, and, as Chris and I discussed, it is also part of a dangerous alliance of anti-democratic and far-right opportunists, involving Johnson, his chief advisor Dominic Cummings, dangerously unsavoury individuals like Steve Bannon and organisations like Cambridge Analytica, and its current mutations, which are deeply involved in the ongoing online manipulation of millions of individuals assessed to be susceptible to right-wing and far-right messages. For a particular focus on Boris Johnson, check out these two recent Byline Times articles.

We also spoke about the depressing increase in racism and xenophobia that has been taking place since the election last week, as white British racists are empowered by Johnson’s victory, and dangerously influential racist individuals like Tommy Robinson and Katie Hopkins are now joining the Conservative Party, with the white supremacist thugs of Britain First also urging its supporters to become Tory Party members.

Chris and I also spoke about the crucial divide in the UK between the old and the young, which constitutes a civil war, although not one that has yet spilled into violence in the streets. Nevertheless, it is clear that almost all young people want to stay in the EU, and voted Labour last week, while almost all old people voted Tory and want to leave the EU, and it is impossible to see how these fundamental differences can be reconciled in any way.

20 minutes in, Chris and I also discussed Guantánamo, which gave me an opportunity to provide a brief analysis of who is still held and why, and also to follow up on my most recent article, Horribly Repressive: The Truth About Donald Trump’s Guantánamo, in which I followed up on a recent ABC News article about medical neglect and culturally inappropriate behaviour by medical personnel at the prison, a shocking story that emerged primarily via reports by Shelby Sullivan-Bennis, the attorney for a number of the 40 men still held.

I hope you have time to listen to the show, and that you’ll share it if you like it, and I’m also delighted that, at the end of our interview, rounding off our discussions about Boris Johnson and Brexit, Chris played I Want My Country Back (From The People Who Wanted Their Country Back), the anti-Brexit anthem by my band The Four Fathers.

* * * * *

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 music is available via Bandcamp). He is the co-founder of the Close Guantánamo campaign (and see the latest photo campaign here) and the successful We Stand With Shaker campaign of 2014-15, and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (click on the following for Amazon in 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, or you can watch it online here, via the production company Spectacle, for £2.55), and for his photo project ‘The State of London’ he publishes a photo a day from seven years of bike rides around the 120 postcodes of the capital.

In 2017, Andy became very involved in housing issues. He is the narrator of a new documentary film, ‘Concrete Soldiers UK’, about the destruction of council estates, and the inspiring resistance of residents, he wrote a song ‘Grenfell’, in the aftermath of the entirely preventable fire in June 2017 that killed over 70 people, and he also set up ‘No Social Cleansing in Lewisham’ as a focal point for resistance to estate destruction and the loss of community space in his home borough in south east London. For two months, from August to October 2018, he was part of the occupation of the Old Tidemill Wildlife Garden in Deptford, to prevent its destruction — and that of 16 structurally sound council flats next door — by Lewisham Council and Peabody. Although the garden was violently evicted by bailiffs on October 29, 2018, and the trees were cut down on February 27, 2019, the resistance continues.

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, The Complete Guantánamo Files, the definitive Guantánamo habeas list, the full military commissions list, and the chronological list of all Andy’s articles.

Please also consider joining the Close Guantánamo campaign, and, if you appreciate Andy’s work, feel free to make a donation.

8 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    Here’s my latest article, featuring a link to, and description of my most recent radio interview – about Boris Johnson’s lamentable victory in the UK’s recent General Election, and also about the ongoing injustice of Guantanamo – with Chris Cook on his Gorilla Radio show in Victoria, Canada.

    Chris has been interviewing me on and off for ten years, mostly about Guantanamo, but occasionally about other topics, and I was delighted to have the opportunity to talk about the dangerous state of British politics in the wake of Johnson’s victory, as he tries to take the UK out of the EU as brutally as possible, to enable a small number of financial opportunists to make a fortune by turning the UK into a vassal state of the US.

    We also spoke about media bias, the rise of racism and xenophobia in the UK, and the manipulation of voters through social media by far-right alliances involving both British and American players, and, on Guantanamo, I got to run through the current state of affairs at the prison, as well as discussing my most recent article about medical neglect and culturally inappropriate behavior by medical personnel.

    I’m also pleased to note that Chris played my band The Four Fathers’ anti-Brexit anthem, ‘I Want My Country Back (From The People Who Wanted Their Country Back)’: https://thefourfathers.bandcamp.com/track/i-want-my-country-back-from-the-people-who-wanted-their-country-back

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Kevin Hester wrote:

    Excellent discussion on the unraveling of the not very United Kingdom, or that’s how I see it anyway.
    In my Irish Republican circles we believe this appalling result brings Irish reunification a step closer. I believe Scottish Nationalists think the same thing.
    Excellent interview backed up with comprehensive corroborating data in the blog post.
    WTF would we be without alt-media like this.

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks for the supportive words, Kevin. Very much appreciated.

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    And just to add, Kevin, I’m with you about Irish reunification and Scottish independence. Who’d have thought that the party of the Union would end up doing so much, entirely unprovoked, to destroy it? But then, as a dissenting Englishman, I’m bewildered by how many politicians, business people and my fellow citizens are so massively enthusiastic about something that can only inflict hugely severe damage on the economy.

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    Kevin Hester wrote:

    It proves two things.
    1) How intellectually bankrupt the British corporate press are and
    2) How critically important the alternative media are in these dystopian times.
    I look forward to riding out the perfect storm of the re-rise of fascism and climate break down with you

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    Well said, Kevin. And it will be interesting to find out how many clear-eyed people are also aware of that perfect storm that’s coming.

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    Kevin Hester wrote:

    Our role is to use this medium purposely and shine light where there is darkness.

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    That, genuinely, is one of the best endorsements of social media I’ve heard for a long time, Kevin.

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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 and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
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