Fear sets in that Boris Johnson’s Brexit government is ill equipped to handle a pandemic | World

However, this reliance on (and success of) his Brexit persona, as opposed to his previous incarnation as the liberal-conservative Mayor of London, means that combative, confrontational style of politics is a must in the DNA of any government he leads.

Observers fear that taking this flavor of politics from the campaign trail to government might make central government too thinly stretched and chaotic for handling the dovetailed crises of a pandemic and Brexit.

CNN reached out to Downing Street but a spokesperson declined to comment on the record.

Constant source of controversy

There is an immediate concern that the government’s single-mindedness on Brexit has in itself hampered its handling of the pandemic. “This government doesn’t want to be seen to need the EU in any sense, which, in my view, resulted in its choice not to participate in joint procurement schemes at the start of the pandemic,” says Menon. Earlier

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Boris Johnson’s Brexit government is ill equipped to handle a pandemic, some fear

It’s been another week of difficult headlines for Boris Johnson. Once again, serious questions are being asked of Britain’s Prime Minister and his administration’s approach to handling the Covid-19 pandemic and, more broadly, the style of government.



Boris Johnson wearing a suit and tie: LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 05: Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks to a member of staff as he visits the headquarters of Octopus Energy on October 05, 2020 in London, England. The prime minister and Chancellor of Exchequer Rishi Sunak visited the British "tech unicorn" - a startup company valued at more than USD$1 billion - to promote the company's plan to create 1,000 new technology jobs across sites in London, Brighton, Warwick and Leicester, and a new tech hub in Manchester. (Photo by Leon Neal - WPA Pool /Getty Images)


© Leon Neal/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images
LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 05: Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks to a member of staff as he visits the headquarters of Octopus Energy on October 05, 2020 in London, England. The prime minister and Chancellor of Exchequer Rishi Sunak visited the British “tech unicorn” – a startup company valued at more than USD$1 billion – to promote the company’s plan to create 1,000 new technology jobs across sites in London, Brighton, Warwick and Leicester, and a new tech hub in Manchester. (Photo by Leon Neal – WPA Pool /Getty Images)

Things kicked off with Johnson being criticized for sending mixed messages in a BBC interview on Sunday,

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The Johnson government should fear Trump, not Biden

The growing sense that the US presidency is slipping from the grasp of Donald Trump will be greeted with quiet relief in most of the government offices of western Europe. But not, perhaps, in London.

The Johnson government is desperate to demonstrate the benefits of leaving the EU — and Mr Trump has always been vociferously pro-Brexit. He has also promised the UK a great trade deal. By contrast, Democratic candidate Joe Biden, who has Irish roots, has warned there will be no trade deal with the US if the UK violates the Good Friday peace agreement in Ireland — a comment that was greeted with shock and anger by the Conservative right.

But any quiet longing for a second Trump term in Downing Street, or in the Tory party, rests on a profound misunderstanding both of British interests and of the likely nature of another Trump administration.

Talk to

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Johnson’s Law-Breaking Brexit Plan Faces Defeat, Ministers Fear

(Bloomberg) — Boris Johnson is braced for defeat in Parliament over his controversial plan to re-write the Brexit withdrawal agreement, a blow that could throw negotiations with the European Union into chaos at a critical time.



a statue of Boris Johnson in a suit standing in front of a building


© Bloomberg
Boris Johnson

The draft legislation has been attacked by all five of Johnson’s living predecessors as U.K. prime minister because it breaches international law by reneging on parts of the Brexit deal he signed with the European Union. Two senior legal officials have already quit the government in protest.

Johnson eventually bowed to pressure from rebels in his own party and gave Parliament a veto on whether to use the most controversial powers in the legislation.

The Internal Market Bill is expected to clear the House of Commons on Tuesday — but it will then move to the House of Lords, where Johnson’s Conservative Party doesn’t have a majority. Ministers expect

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Turks fear new law to muzzle social media giants



a person standing in front of a store: Photograph: Sedat Suna/EPA


© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Sedat Suna/EPA

When a team of 20 police officers demanded to search journalist Oktay Candemir’s flat earlier this month, he feared the worst: members of the Turkish media who are critical of the government are often arrested on spurious terrorism charges, and he has been in trouble several times before.

Instead, one of the officers pulled out a phone to remind Candemir of a jokey tweet he had sent a few days earlier, mocking a spate of new television shows about Ottoman sultans. “I was arrested under article 130, for insulting the memory of a dead person. They told me I was defaming the Ottoman sultans.”

After a night at the local police station in Van, Candemir was released on bail. He could now face two years in prison.

Candemir’s story is a particularly bizarre example of the capricious and heavy-handed ways Turkish law

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Book Review of ‘Risk – The Science and Politics of Fear’ By Dan Gardner

According to Gardner, our misjudgments originally stem from the fact that our brains have evolved to deal, very effectively, with the sort of immediate risks that we have historically encountered as a species, say as hunter-gatherers in the African savannah. But it is this same evolution that makes our brains singularly ill-adapted to the complexities of the modern 21st Century urban jungle and causes us to make egregious mistakes.

At the heart of Gardner’s explanation lies the idea that we have two different internal systems to react to events: roughly summarised as ‘head’ and ‘gut’. ‘Head’, a rational, reflective, but also slow-acting system, is often overridden by ‘gut’, a more intuitive, fast-acting system, which bases its recommendations on factors such as precedent and recency. For example, in the case of stressful situations, ‘head’ barely gets a say, and if so, then often too late.

Historically, ‘gut’ has served us very … Read More

Social Engineering, Monsters, Hackers and the Culture and Politics of Technology, Secrets, and Fear

With the advent of the film WarGames, to the recent prosecution and suicide of information freedom activist and coder, Aaron Swartz, hackers and hacking have become part of our language, imagination, and cultural landscape. With their beginnings in the 1950s to the present, our collective conception of the hacker has gone from hero to antihero; from political prankster to rebellious teenager, to criminal master-mind out to undermine the social fabric.

Embedded within the archetype of this trickster figure are also our unconscious fears and ambiguous connections to technology. Because of the direct link with technology, hacking and hacker culture is especially illustrative of our relationship to fear of technology, and its power and control. This is so because technology is not only about the physicality of machines; it is also about our relationship to them.

If we look at the language of computers themselves, it is apparent that the idea … Read More