Foreign Office Hesitates Over Hong Kong National Security Law Pushback

Dominic Raab told the House of Commons this morning that “we are waiting for [China’s national security legislation] to be published so we can see the details and assess it.” Sources close to the Foreign Office tell Guido that as soon as there is confirmation of the wording of the law, the UK will be ready to “push back hard” against Beijing if it breaks the Joint Declaration. Later Raab released a statement saying:

“Despite the urging of the international community, Beijing has chosen not to step back from imposing this legislation. China has ignored its international obligations regarding Hong Kong. This is a grave step, which is deeply troubling.

We urgently need to see the full legislation, and will use that to determine whether there has been a breach of the Joint Declaration and what further action the UK will take.”

The Foreign Office is privately bullish about standing up to its responsibilities, yet publicly it is running on China’s timetable. While the UK waits for Beijing to publish the law they have passed, Hong Kongers already understand its gravity. Pro-democracy literature is already being torn down to avoid punishment. The UK should not wait until it is convenient for China in order to act and save the freedoms of people it has an international obligation to protect…

UPDATE: Analysis of the freshly published legislation is revealing that under the law, jury trial will be rendered inapplicable for national security related cases, and anyone seeking to overthrow or disrupt the system of one-party rule in China or Carrie Lam’s regime in Hong Kong faces a maximum punishment of life imprisonment.

Pro-democracy protests by implication appear to have been made illegal. Raab has a statement in the Commons tomorrow…

mdi-timer 30 June 2020 @ 16:32 30 Jun 2020 @ 16:32 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
DfID Hypocrisy of SNP and Blair

Yesterday the usual suspects could be found railing against the news of a merger of the Department for International Development and the Foreign Office. Ian Blackford in particular treated us to one of his typical never-ending faux-pompous outrage performances in the Commons, saying

“In a time when we should be standing with the world’s poorest, acting as a beacon of hope, the Prime Minister is playing politics… This is shameful and is not in our name Mr Speaker”

If Blackford had done his reading, however, he would know the Whitehall shakeup is being done explicitly in the name of the SNP. The party’s 2013 Guide to an Independent Scotland” details the party’s proposed Government structure post-independence, in which:

The Cabinet Secretary for International Relations will have responsibility for relations with the rest of the UK and Ireland, the EU, and the wider international community, and will be supported by a Minister for International Development.”

“Scotland’s international development programme will be delivered as part of an integrated approach to international relations.”

Precisely the structure and goals Boris wants to see from the new merged FCO-DfID department…

Blair also kicked back against the move, saying via his institute he is “utterly dismayed by the decision to abolish DFID. We created DFID in 1997 to play a strong, important role in projecting British soft power. It has done so to general global acclaim.” Again, his own words come back to haunt him. In his 2010 autobiography, Blair wrote that after creating DfID:

“It was not popular with the Foreign Office, who thereby lost control of the largest slice of their budget, and some of their objections gained my sympathy over time… it resembled an NGO inside government and this caused significant problems”

The changes will not end the 0.7% GDP target, and are designed to enhance UK aid abroad. Opposition for opposition’s sake is obvious and soon creates a boy-who-cried-wolf situation…

mdi-timer 17 June 2020 @ 11:30 17 Jun 2020 @ 11:30 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Foreign Office Chief Threatens Clive of India Statue

Foreign Office chief Sir Steven McDonald has privately told civil servants that the grand century old Clive of India statue – currently standing between the Foreign Office and the Treasury – “may have to go” in light of the Black Lives Matter pressure building over the last fortnight. Robert Clive secured 200 years of British-Indian rule, in addition to footing the blame for the Bengal Famine that killed ten million Indians…

Confusingly, however, civil service social justice warrior Sir Simon also confirmed ‘offensive’ statues and paintings housed inside the gilded FCO won’t receive the same destructive treatment, and will be staying put. There’s more than a whiff of virtue signalling in his controversial plans…

The confession came last Monday during a Zoom call with civil servants at BEIS, who themselves have been getting into the ‘progressive’ swing of things; with emails to employees being signed off with Black Lives Matter graphics.

BEIS is yet to catch up with the Department for Education, however, who recently gave employees a Black Lives Matter ‘educational playlist’ that included the track “f*ck tha police”…

mdi-timer 15 June 2020 @ 14:00 15 Jun 2020 @ 14:00 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
‘People’s Government’ Hiring Butler

Boris is doing his best to sell his administration as a ‘People’s Government’, though it seems the Foreign Office is intent on undermining this; advertising for a £30,000-a-year ‘Government Butler’ role.

The role involves serving wine and food to parties of 10-350 people, and looking after the department’s £3 million inventory of wine cellars and silverware. No wonder the civil service are railing against Cummings’s desire for reform…

UPDATE: After our story was published this morning the advert was removed this afternoon. Who will look after the wine?

mdi-timer 26 February 2020 @ 10:10 26 Feb 2020 @ 10:10 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Foreign Office Official Calls For Overthrow of Capitalism

Speaking at the ‘Green Alliance‘ think tank’s ‘Countdown to COP’ event yesterday, U.K. Foreign Office Climate Representative Nick Bridge called for “economic and financial transformation”, claiming that climate change is the result of our capitalist economic system. This is despite the ecological disaster zones of non-free market countries…

After the event, also addressed by Michael Gove and Nicola Sturgeon, where he made the eyebrow raising comments, Bridge claimed:

“We need to recognise that climate change is the result of an economic system. Solving it involves shifting the whole economic system.”

The Prime Minister’s spokesman said he had not seen the comments, confirming that overthrowing capitalism “is certainly not” Government policy.

Dom’s much trailed upheaval of the civil service could not come soon enough…

 

mdi-timer 12 February 2020 @ 13:50 12 Feb 2020 @ 13:50 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
FCO “Crisis No Deal Response”: Go On Holiday

Yesterday’s story about the penny dropping at the FCO that Brexit was really going to happen on October 31 triggered the FCO press office into claiming that they had, of course, been training people on trade policy since 2016.  Unfortunately for the junior press office spinner trying to sell the line that this was just an expansion, Guido’s FCO sources suggest otherwise…

It’s all getting a bit hairy over at the FCO, departments are now being told that more and more staff will have to be deployed – unexpectedly – for Brexit related duties. Many unhappy senior staff are having to decide what they will have to stop doing to compensate for redeployed staff and resources…

Simon McDonald, the FCO’s Permanent-Under-Secretary, has written to staff telling them; “Preparing for a no deal response will become the FCO’s main effort… our EU exit work has to intensify across the FCO.” He goes on to tell them that the FCO Crisis Centre will be coordinating the effort – which tells you all need to know about the FCO’s attitude towards Brexit. Peter Jones, the FCO’s Chief Operating Officer, is coordinating the change in priorities with directors. As if it should not have been the priority since June 2016…

McDonald concludes “Preparing for October is the professional challenge of our lives” before going on to finish his missive “I hope, like me, you manage to take some leave over the summer in preparation for a busy autumn.” No sense of urgency even though a no deal Brexit has belatedly “become the FCO’s main effort”…

mdi-timer 16 August 2019 @ 15:08 16 Aug 2019 @ 15:08 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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