Trump wants UK National Health Service included in trade negotiations

Donald Trump’s visit to the UK was always going to be controversial. He has strongly supported Brexit, something that is dividing the UK. But Trump has upped the ante – he says that when US-UK trade takes start after Brexit (if it ever happens) he wants the UK National Health Service to be opened up to US companies.

Fortune: There’s One Subject in the U.K. That’s as Toxic as Brexit. Trump Just Waded Into It

Once, advocates of the U.K.’s departure from the European Union argued that Brexit would mean more government funding for the country’s National Health Service, or NHS.

Now, President Donald Trump has confirmed the opposite: in trade talks between the U.S. and U.K., which will take place once Brexit has gone into effect, the U.S. wants the U.K. to open up the cherished British public health system to American companies.

“I think everything with a trade deal is on the table… NHS and anything else, a lot more than that,” Trump said at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday, on the second day of his state visit.

The president was responding to a question about whether he agreed with the U.S ambassador to the U.K., Woody Johnson, who said Sunday that he assumed the NHS “would be on the table” in the imminent trade talks, as the negotiations would account for the entire British economy. And his response has already elicited fury among leading politicians from across the British political spectrum.

The public nature of the NHS, which has been free to use for seven decades, is practically seen as sacred in the U.K., and attempts to change that status are politically toxic. A degree of privatization has been taking place in recent years, but NHS bosses want to reverse the process by squeezing out local for-profit contractors such as Virgin Care and Care U.K.

Further opening up the NHS to American contractors would therefore be an explosive political development. The U.S. ambassador’s comment prompted British Health Secretary Matt Hancock—one of the contenders for May’s job, as she is about to step down—to defend the health service in unequivocal terms.

However it’s hard to see much progress being made on US-UK trade talks at this stage. Brexit looks to be far from resolved, and the Prime Minister who Trump is meeting with, Theresa May, is soon stepping down. The NHS is likely to now feature in the contest for leadership of the Conservative party and the country.

RNZ: Trump praises ‘extraordinary’ US-UK alliance on state visit

US President Donald Trump has said the US and UK have the “greatest alliance the world has ever known”.

That’s what you would expect when the current leaders of the US and UK are the greatest the world has ever known.

The US president met Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage at the US ambassador’s residence, Winfield House. Mr Farage tweeted that it was a “good meeting” and Mr Trump “really believes in Brexit”.

Mr Trump also said he turned down a meeting with Jeremy Corbyn, who addressed protesters in Westminster. Mr Trump said Mr Corbyn was a “negative force”. “I really don’t like critics as much as I like and respect people who get things done,” he said.

Mrs May said the scope of trade talks had to be agreed by both countries.

Asked if the NHS would be included in post-Brexit trade talks, Mr Trump said “everything is on the table”.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock was among several Conservative leadership candidates hoping to replace Theresa May who said they would not allow the NHS to become part of any trade talks. “Not on my watch,” he tweeted.

Perhaps the US will play a Trump card – impose tariffs on the UK unless they hand their health system over to US companies.

Brexit Party contesting local UK and EU elections

Missy reports from London about the quick success of Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party in the UK.

The UK is on election footing at the moment for (first) local elections and (second) EU elections in May.

Many Conservatives have openly switched to Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party (it is what it says on the tin), and today it was reported that 40% of Conservative Councillors will support the Brexit Party, this comes as many Conservative grassroots activists have said that they will not campaign for the Conservatives until the UK has left the EU.

The Brexit Party launched just over a week ago and is already leading in the polls for the EU elections, and as the EU Parliament is decided on proportional representation there is a fear amongst Remainers in the UK, and in the EU, that they may gain the majority of the UK seats.

Wikipedia: The Brexit Party

The Brexit Party is a pro-Brexit Eurosceptic political party in the United Kingdom, formed in 2019. The party has fourteen Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), all of whom were originally elected as UK Independence Party (UKIP) candidates. The party is led by one of these MEPs, former UKIP leader Nigel Farage, who announced he would stand as a candidate for the party in any future European Parliament elections, in the event the UK had not left the European Union.

The Brexit Party website headlines:

Change Politics For Good

Democracy is under threat, join us to start the fightback.

We Are The 17.4 Million

Britain Can Do better Than This

Their pinned tweet on launching

Recent tweets:

Guardian:  Nigel and Annunziata’s Brexit show basks in the sun, but winter is coming

On Saturday Nigel Farage made a triumphant return to Nottingham, where, five years ago, when leader of UKIP, he was hit with an egg by a protester. Much has changed since, and now Farage is leader of the Brexit party, which was holding a rally at the city’s Albert Hall.

Beforehand Farage went on a walkabout in the town centre with a small band of activists carrying placards with the defiant legend “Fighting back”. Against whom? I asked one. “The government,” came the reply. Other answers included “the establishment”, “the political class” and “all of ‘em”.

There were, however, plenty of genuine supporters queueing outside the Albert Hall in the glorious afternoon sunshine.

Farage duly announced that the Brexit party would be “intolerant of all forms of intolerance”. And on stage he called for a greater “civility” in British politics, before going on to denounce local Nottinghamshire MP Anna Soubry as “dishonest” and “undemocratic”.

“Nelson, Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher, Ian Botham and Nigel Farage, they’re the people who put the Great into Britain,” said Gary Wilkinson, a retired railway worker.

But no one could upstage Farage, the professionally reluctant politician, driven by the burden of history and his unsleeping conscience to again take up the fight, in the words of the Brexit party slogan, to “Change Politics For Good”. He gave a declamatory speech, full of sweat, denunciation and sideswipes at the likes of EU Commission chief, Jean-Claude Juncker and Lord Adonis.

The Brexit Party may well change politics in the UK and potentially in the EU, but it’s too soon to know if it will be for good or not. But it doesn’t look good for Theresa May and the Conservatives, who have been split over Brexit. Missy points out:

Today it is reported that May has been told to resign before the end of June or face the party rules being changed to allow for another vote of no confidence in her as leader, this is not only due to her handling of Brexit, but also down to the amount of support that the Conservatives are losing as a result of their failure on Brexit.

Politics has been in a mess in the UK for years now, and it doesn’t look like improving any time soon.

Nigel Farage’s ‘populist revolt’ not very popular hear

Nigel Farage is in New Zealand. He claims a populist revolt is going to “sweep the entire western world”. Going by the response to his visit there is not much sweeping going on here.

An Entertaining Evening With Nigel Farage | AUCKLAND

Newstalk ZB: Nigel Farage arrives in country, says populist revolt is here to stay

Nigel Farage will be telling New Zealanders tonight that the rise of populist movements won’t be going anywhere fast.

The former British politician, who founded the UKIP group that pushed for the Brexit referendum, is in the country tonight as part of a tour of Australia and New Zealand.

Farage says his speech tonight will cover Brexit, Donald Trump, global politics, and – a global revolution.

He told Larry Williams that since 2016 there’s been a populist revolt throughout the Western World.

“Everyone thinks it was a very short term outpouring of anger, they are in for a big shock, because my view is, you haven’t seen nothing yet. This movement is going to sweep the entire western world.”

In the United Kingdom politics and politicians may not have been less popular. UKIP has improved in polls recently, up to 5-7%, but that is comparable to Greens and NZ First here, hard populist revolt levels of support.

Farage’s visit has prompted inevitable protests.

More garble from Gharaman. The anti-populist revolt is unlikely to get very popular with that sort of confused messaging.

Newstalk ZB:  Protests greet attendees at Nigel Farage show

About 50 protestors jeered and booed at attendees, who had to walk a walk a gauntlet of opposition at the only entrance.

Some of those going inside smiled and waved at the protestors, while others kept their heads down, as people yelled “shame” at them.

Green MP Golriz Ghahraman, who attended the protests, says they’re standing with the communities who are under attack by Nigel Farage.

“It’s really important that we stand here and say: we are against race hate, we are against religious division, and we stand with minorities.”

Ghahraman’s ‘we’ don’t stand with the minority that was interested in what Farage had to say.

What was Farage here to talk about? It’s not easy to find much out about it. I have managed to find his website:

This looks as spicy as a wet Weetbix to me.

LANDMARK AUSTRALIA & NZ TOUR

ABOUT NIGEL FARAGE

Nigel Farage is co-founder and long-serving leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP). He was the face of BREXIT – the successful campaign to take the UK out of the European Union in the 2016 Referendum, positioning the referendum as the start of a global populist wave against the political establishment.

Farage has been a Member of the European Parliament for South East England since 1999 and co-chairs the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy Group. He has been noted for his sometimes controversial speeches in the European Parliament and his strong criticism of the euro currency.

Farage has been described as ‘the most important British politician of the last decade” and one of the most influential. Farage has become the great “disruptor” of British and European politics and is widely consulted for his views on the changing nature of western politics.

Sounds like a promotional self description rather than an unbiased assessment.

Ticket prices (for Sydney’s Thursday ‘show’, I presume Auckland was similar)”

  • General Admission $89
  • VIP Meet/Greet $295
  • Backstage Pass $495
  • Private Dinner $995

This is similar to the tickets for the Molyneux and Southern shows (their Auckland one was cancelled).

Farage’s Auckland show was at the Auckland Pullman Hotel. The maximum capacity there is 900 in the Princes Ballroom Theater. It’s hard to imagine a huge number of people being interested.

I doubt he will have much success exciting a populist revolt here in New Zealand. Brexit is of interest to some, but most here will have little interest and probably little idea about Farage’s crusades.

These speaking tours seem to be more about making some money than being realistic revolution rousers.

 

Ghahraman fettering free speech, links Farage to UK MP death

Green MP Golriz Ghahraman has raised free speech eyebrows even higher after linking Nigel Farage to the murder of a UK MP in trying the fetter his free speech.

(fetter v. restrain with chains or manacles, typically around the ankles)

This follows her selective application of free speech to people she agrees with versus those she doesn’t.

But she was challenged on this:

Let’s see appeal for Nigel Farage’s right to speak when he comes to NZ I won’t hold my breath

Her response:

Picking those she things ‘free speech’ and who’s tongues should be chained is controversial enough, but linking Farage to Cox’s death is just about jumping the shark territory.

Gharaman has become a bit of a loose cannon on Twitter, which doesn’t reflect well on the Green Party.


A comment from Missy (from the UK):

She shows her complete ignorance with that tweet.

She obviously believes the left’s spin on Farage, his Brexit campaign was not that much more dishonest than that of the Remain side, and since the referendum hate from the pro EU has risen more than the other way. As for hate crimes rising exponentially, they haven’t, many of the so-called hate crimes have since been proven to be either made up, or not so much hate crimes but normal criminal activity but because the victim was a migrant they were reported as hate crimes.

This is dishonest and misleading from Golriz.

I am not really a fan of Farage’s as such, but he is fair and he gives everyone a chance to air their views whether they agree with him or not – in fact on his show he regularly gets annoyed that no-one who disagrees with him calls in and constantly asks for those that disagree to call in. He is a believer in free speech.

This woman just keeps making stuff up to suit herself.

 

Nation: Nigel Farage interview

Nigel Farage has been controversial in the UK, especially in relation to Brexit.

He will visit New Zealand in September: Nigel Farage coming to Auckland

Nigel Farage, the politician who led the successful Brexit campaign in the UK, is coming to Auckland in September as part of an Australasian tour.

The former leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) will be on his An Entertaining Evening With Nigel Faragespeaking tour. Ticket prices start at $49 for students, while general admission is $89, then it’s $295 for a meet/greet ticket, and $495 for a backstage pass.

A promotional email from Australian celebrity management organisation Markson Sparks described Farage as the “world’s most charismatic politician”, who “changed the world of politics as we know it”.

An odd item from Newshub yesterday: Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage forced to deny he dyed his hair to emulate Trump

Newshub Nation today:

This is the civility argument, at least to some degree. The Left can call him a monster but that’s not what many people will see. And that then means those people are then attracted to him.

Trump, Mercer, online data, mass manipulation

This is a long investigative article but it sheds some light on what has been happening with the use of data based mass manipulation in relation to the Brexit vote and in the US. The names of Robert Mercer, Stephen Bannon, Nigel Farage and Donald Trump are intertwined.

Robert Mercer: the big data billionaire waging war on mainstream media

With links to Donald Trump, Steve Bannon and Nigel Farage, the rightwing US computer scientist is at the heart of a multimillion-dollar propaganda network

Just over a week ago, Donald Trump gathered members of the world’s press before him and told them they were liars. “The press, honestly, is out of control,” he said. “The public doesn’t believe you any more.” CNN was described as “very fake news… story after story is bad”. The BBC was “another beauty”.

That night I did two things. First, I typed “Trump” in the search box of Twitter. My feed was reporting that he was crazy, a lunatic, a raving madman. But that wasn’t how it was playing out elsewhere. The results produced a stream of “Go Donald!!!!”, and “You show ’em!!!” There were star-spangled banner emojis and thumbs-up emojis and clips of Trump laying into the “FAKE news MSM liars!”

Trump had spoken, and his audience had heard him. Then I did what I’ve been doing for two and a half months now. I Googled “mainstream media is…” And there it was. Google’s autocomplete suggestions: “mainstream media is… dead, dying, fake news, fake, finished”. Is it dead, I wonder? Has FAKE news won? Are we now the FAKE news? Is the mainstream media – we, us, I – dying?

I did the same search and get the same result:

mainstreammediais

That is effective international manipulation of Google search rankings.

I click Google’s first suggested link. It leads to a website called CNSnews.com and an article: “The Mainstream media are dead.” They’re dead, I learn, because they – we, I – “cannot be trusted”.

My first two hits are James O’Keefe (part of the same right wing media network) related, the third is CNS News.

How had it, an obscure site I’d never heard of, dominated Google’s search algorithm on the topic? In the “About us” tab, I learn CNSnews is owned by the Media Research Center, which a click later I learn is “America’s media watchdog”, an organisation that claims an “unwavering commitment to neutralising leftwing bias in the news, media and popular culture”.

Another couple of clicks and I discover that it receives a large bulk of its funding – more than $10m in the past decade – from a single source, the hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer. If you follow US politics you may recognise the name. Robert Mercer is the money behind Donald Trump. But then, I will come to learn, Robert Mercer is the money behind an awful lot of things. He was Trump’s single biggest donor. Mercer started backing Ted Cruz, but when he fell out of the presidential race he threw his money – $13.5m of it – behind the Trump campaign.

The article goes on to detail how Mercer has been involved in funding and assisting right wing interests to gather and use online data, and how they are manipulating Google and Facebook to promote their interests.

Nigel Farage was assisted free of charge in the Brexit campaign.

And they swung from initially supporting Ted Cruz’s campaign to get in behind Donald Trump.And the rest of that campaign is history.

But since then it’s easy to recognise what Trump says on Twitter and in media conferences as carefully littered with key words to provoke emotional responses.

A large number of Americans have been attracted to this, and more than a few Kiwis as well.

Even if you support Trump, and want to continue to support him, you should understand how this is being done – because someone else who you disagree with, perhaps strongly, may place the same game.

It’s good to see that his sort of investigative journalism is not dead, despite how some are trying to brainwash the world.

UKIP update and European Parliament punch up

A UK report from Missy:


UKIP Update

Since the referendum UKIP have been pretty quiet, especially as the the political classes have been watching Labour tear themselves apart, and the rise of Theresa May. So, in all the other dramas over the summer UKIP have pretty much been ignored, but they are front and centre today.

First a bit of background to today’s drama.

After the referendum Nigel Farage stood down as leader of UKIP, so as with Labour and the Conservatives they ran a leadership election.

Diane James was elected as UKIP leader in September, (don’t worry I hadn’t heard of her either), yesterday she resigned as leader of UKIP, lasting 18 days.

After the resignation of Diane James, Stephen Woolfe announced he would stand for the leadership (he did after Nigel Farage’s resignation as well). Stephen Woolfe is a MEP (Member of the European Parliament).

Today UKIP MEP’s had a party meeting in Strasbourg (where the EU Parliament is meeting this week), reports say there was an altercation between Woolfe and another UKIP MEP, in which the other MEP allegedly punched Woolfe. As a result of the punch Woolfe ended up being hospitalised unconcious, initially though to have bleeding on the brain.

Woolfe has been cleared of a blood clot after a brain scan, and has woken up, reportedly feeling much better, despite some numbness down the left side of his face. He remains in hospital for further tests, but it seems he has escaped the serious brain injury first thought.

This extraordinary altercation came about reportedly due to a disagreement between Woolfe and the other MEP over Woolfe’s admiration of Theresa May, and saying he was enthused by her speech to the Conservative Conference. Allegedly Woolfe also stated he had briefly flirted with the idea of joining the Conservatives.


NZ Herald: British Ukip party members’ punch-up leaves one in hospital

Ukip leadership favourite Steven Woolfe is recovering in hospital after collapsing following an alleged punch-up with a fellow Member of the European Parliament.

Woolfe was embroiled in an “altercation” with another Ukip politician – said to be Mike Hookem – at a “clear the air” meeting this morning.

Sources claimed the row was over Woolfe’s admission that he had considered defecting to the Tories after being “enthused” by Theresa May’s new direction.

After being told he was a “joke” during the meeting, Woolfe apparently took off his jacket and challenged Hookem to “settle this outside”.

A party source said: “Words were said, and suddenly the pair had taken their jackets off and went outside to have a fight.

“Woolfe fell over at one stage during the fight and banged his head on some bars. It is thought he was only punched once. He then suffered a fit.”

Despite walking away from the fight, Woolfe then collapsed and had a fit around two hours later – at around 11.20am UK time (11.20pm NZ time) – and was rushed to hospital.

At one point his injuries were thought to be life-threatening, but in a statement issued from his hospital bed this afternoon, Woolfe said: “The CT scan has shown that there is no blood clot in the brain.

Farage barrage

For those interested what I really thought while hiding my despair yesterday

cmhrkaewiaasbpw

Many will share Vytenis Andriukaitis’s reaction. Farage was at his worst the extraordinary session in the European Parliament.

A blog post from Andriukaitis:


Thoughts from #WeAreSeat123

Yesterday, with my fellow EU Commissioners, I attended the extraordinary session in the European Parliament. Some photos – particularly that of my right hand – and videos have spread on social media. You will have seen me grimacing and trying to hide my despair while Nigel Farage spoke.

I have enjoyed reading the many comments and can confirm that I do indeed appreciate British humour. But as tweets were exchanged, I felt it was important to share some more serious thoughts on how I felt yesterday in the Parliament.

I was and still am fully with all the British people. I am with all those who voted against financial speculation uncovered in the ‘Panama papers’ and with those who voted against unemployment and decreasing standards of living. However, sadly, many votes will have been influenced by the lies spread by some representatives of the Leave campaign.

I am also with those who voted to remain in the EU, who want to create a better future for their families, and who believe that it is possible together, united in diversity, to fight against corporate greed and fraud perpetrated by financial transnational capitalism.

Toxic untruths spread by Mr Farage and others, such as claims that money Britain contributes to the EU budget would be used for investments in healthcare, have now been revealed as lies.

In my heart, two symbols of this referendum remain – both of them are very different. One is the assassination of Labour MP Jo Cox and the other is of Jonathan Hill.

Jo Cox was killed because of people instigating hate, chauvinism and phobias. These are brutal forces infecting our democracies, destroying sentiment of security and values that we hold so dearly in Europe.

Lord Hill was decisive and stepped down. This is an example of moral self-determination, taking responsibility and embracing the consequences. This is in stark contrast to the actions of some others who personify political hypocrisy.

Britain is changing. Young people in Scotland, Northern Ireland or London want to see a different future.

The EU is changing as well. For me its future lies in social justice and security. This is the way forward. And only together, with the EU Member States, with the European Parliament, and with a decisive European Council – avoiding the cacophony and constant bashing of Brussels – can we achieve this together.

Peters talks up a Southern Zimmer Revolution

A comment on revolution from ‘wikiriwhis business’  at Kiwiblog:

Nigel Farage on “wholesale, violent revolution” in Europe

When people have hope, they protest.

When people lose hope, they riot.

Closer to home:

Time to revolt, Peters says

Southerners should draw on their Scottish heritage and ”start a political revolt” against an economic system that hurts the local economy, New Zealand First leader Winston Peters told an audience in Dunedin last night.

”When are you going to start the revolt?” he asked the more than 50 people who attended the speech, at Age Concern Otago.

He blamed free market economics adhered to by ”dumb people in Wellington” for job cuts at numerous Government-owned entities in the South.

Talking to an Age Concern audience. About starting a political revolt. I wonder how many potential revolutionaries were in that audience.

Peters was obviously trying to tap in to a current concern in Dunedin, but I doubt whether a Southern Zimmer Revolution is likely.