This article appears in the January 8, 2021 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
Boris Johnson: From Brexit
To the ‘Great Green Reset’
[Print version of this article]
Mike Robinson is the Economics Editor of UK Column, an independent multimedia news website, and the host of a video news program streamed live at 1 p.m. (UK time) every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and available on demand soon afterwards.
Jan. 3—The Brexit vote in 2016 was one part of a reaction against the economic and social decay across the western world over the previous several decades, blamed by many, correctly, on the loss of sovereignty under the “globalisation” mantra. The election of Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines, Donald Trump in the U.S., the Yellow Vest demonstrations in France, and other similar “nationalist” actions were part of this phenomenon. There was great hope inspired by this declaration of independence by the British people, and some signs of efforts to restore the commitment to scientific and technological progress which in many cases had been undermined by the dictates from unelected bureaucrats in Brussels.
Unfortunately, that hope has been sabotaged over the years since, and particularly in the past weeks. This sabotage, described below, must, like the original Brexit vote itself, not be misunderstood as a purely British phenomenon, but rather as part of a global counter move by the financial oligarchy and the “military industrial complex,” as reflected in the four-year multiple coup attempts against Donald Trump, led by both British and American intelligence operatives.
Asked in 2019 about his decision to hold a referendum on Britain’s membership in the European Union, former British Prime Minister David Cameron said that “Every party was under pressure on this issue.... Every single political party in Britain fought an election between 2005 and 2015 with a pledge to hold a referendum: the Labour party did, the Liberal Democrats did, the Greens did, UKIP (UK Independence Party) of course did, we did.”
Pressure to leave the European Union (EU) had been building in Britain for years. The main anti-EU political party, UKIP, had been building support, and by the time of the 2014 elections to the European Parliament, had built enough support that they “stormed to victory.”
This was the first time in modern history that neither the Conservatives nor Labour had won a British national election. It sent shock waves through the British establishment.
The main driver for anti-EU sentiment amongst the British public was uncontrolled immigration and the effect of that on the UK economy. The EU had added eight new countries to the bloc in 2004, expanding eastwards, which caused a wave of immigration that put a huge strain on public services.
In England and Wales, the share of foreign-born residents had grown to 13.4% by 2011, roughly double the levels of 1991. In the run-up to the 2016 referendum, migrants were encouraged by Britain’s economy, which was growing at twice the pace of the euro zone.
But the concern over immigration was only the straw which broke the camel’s back. The 2007/8 global financial crash and concern over the new global trade agreements such as the Trans Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, being negotiated in secret and with massive implications for national sovereignty, had provided huge motivations to activist groups.
By the time the 2015 General Election came around, David Cameron, suffering under pressure from a re-invigorated anti-EU faction in his own party, put a commitment to hold an “in/out” referendum on Britain’s EU membership into the Conservative party manifesto.
Cameron was re-elected. His bluff was called, and he committed to a referendum: a simple “in/out” referendum. In a panic, he began a tour of all the other member states of the EU in an attempt to obtain a negotiated “reset” of “the balance in our relationship with the EU.” His grand tour resulted in a white paper published under the title, “The Best of Both Worlds.” The “white paper” was much more: a legally binding agreement which would define Britain’s “future relationship” with the EU.
“We have secured a new settlement to give the United Kingdom special status in the European Union,” Cameron wrote in the foreword. “As this White Paper sets out, we will be permanently out of ever closer union, ensuring we can never be part of a European super-state.
“Our special status gives us the best of both worlds. We will be in the parts of Europe that work for us—influencing the decisions that affect us.… But we will be out of the parts of Europe that do not work for us. So as well as being out of ever closer union, we will never join the euro and never be part of Eurozone bailouts or the passport-free no borders area.”
This deal became the basis of Cameron’s subsequent campaign to remain within the EU. He lost.
The momentum built by the anti-EU campaigns, and by now there were several, was unstoppable, despite allegations of election tampering involving the postal vote.
Having lost the referendum, Cameron stepped down as Prime Minister, to be replaced by Theresa May.
May had kept largely silent on her position during the referendum campaigns. She was widely recognised as a closet “remainer,” so it came as no surprise that over the course of the following two years, the negotiations with the EU began to look very much like David Cameron’s “Best of Both Worlds” deal.
Again, the pressure within the Conservative Party reached fever pitch, and May was ousted in favour of Boris Johnson, who became Prime Minister on 24 July 2019.
A Very Special Adviser
Boris pledged that “Brexit means Brexit.” He put Brexit supporters into key roles, sacked Theresa May’s negotiation team, and brought a highly controversial figure in as a special adviser: Dominic Cummings.
Cummings had been a key figure in the Brexit referendum, having founded the “Vote Leave” campaign, which Boris Johnson had affiliated himself to during the referendum campaign. No stranger to government, having served previously as a special advisor to Michael Gove in his previous role as Education Secretary, Cummings was very much seen by the British establishment and the media as a disruptor; a populist in the Trump mould. In fact, many parallels can be drawn between the media’s treatment of Cummings and Donald Trump.
Cummings came with two claimed policy goals: to see Britain become a leading scientific and technological power in the world, and to see the complete restructuring of the British Civil Service, which he correctly identified as the main hurdle to his primary goal. What Cummings had rightly identified, was the transformed role of the Civil Service since the reforms of Tony Blair, twenty years previously.
Traditionally, the Cabinet, made up of the Prime Minister plus the ministerial heads of government departments, was the primary decision maker on issues of national policy. The Cabinet made decisions collectively, with collective responsibility. As a result, there was a relatively high degree of collaboration and also shared responsibility when anything went wrong.
Blair reduced the role of the Cabinet, instead preferring a more “presidential” style of government. Policy became primarily a Cabinet Office—a Civil Service—responsibility. The result was a process of centralisation of power which continues to this day, through successive “regimes” of apparently different political hue. It was this which Cummings was so keen to reform, because he saw it as the major block to innovation on a national level.
In the face of massive media opposition, Cummings wrote a post on his personal blog, in early January 2020, headlined “ ‘Two hands are a lot’—we’re hiring data scientists, project managers, policy experts, assorted weirdos….”
“There are many brilliant people in the civil service and politics. Over the past five months the No.10 [Downing Street, the Prime Minister’s office and residence] political team has been lucky to work with some fantastic officials. But there are also some profound problems at the core of how the British state makes decisions,” he wrote.
The answer, he said, is “to hire an unusual set of people with different skills and backgrounds to work in Downing Street with the best officials, some as spads [Special Advisers] and perhaps some as officials. If you are already an official and you read this blog and think you fit one of these categories, get in touch.”
To quote the list on his blog, he called for:
• Data scientists and software developers
• Policy experts
• Project managers
• Communication experts
• Junior researchers, one of whom will also be my personal assistant
• Weirdos and misfits with odd skills.
It was this final category that the media focused in on; anything to discredit.
Boris Johnson’s motivation for bringing Cummings into the heart of government is unclear. It may only have been to appease those within his own party still determined to press for full separation from the European Union. What is clear is that Cummings’ vision for a future Britain was a far cry from that of others.
Most significant of the “others,” perhaps, was the Bank of England and its governor Mark Carney. Carney stepped down from that role in March, two months following Cummings’ blog post and just in time to avoid the Coronavirus disaster. In the final six months on the job he had become ever more outspoken about the direction he wanted the Bank to take in its economic policy:
“At the core of the system,” Carney was quoted as saying, “these questions are being asked. If you’re on the right side or the wrong side, and if you’re on the wrong side, what are you going to do about it?” The questions he was referring to? Green finance.
He went on: “Companies that don’t adapt, including companies in the financial system, will go bankrupt without question.”
His policy was clear: any company unable to adapt to the green economy would not only struggle, but would have credit cut off from them, and that would apply equally to any bank which offered credit to any such company. “There will be industries,” he said, “sectors and firms that do very well during this process, because they will be part of the solution. But there will also be ones that lag behind, and they will be punished.”
Following Carney’s retirement as governor, Andrew Bailey, his successor, took up the reigns with gusto. For his part, Carney went on to become United Nations special envoy for climate action and finance, and equally worryingly, finance advisor for the UK presidency of the COP26 United Nations Climate Change conference.
A New Deal?
As 2020 progressed, and under the constant barrage of negative media coverage, Cummings seems to have been busy. The first clue that something interesting was going on came in a speech by Michael Gove, his previous employer and now Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (a ceremonial title for a Cabinet minister without portfolio), given to the Ditchley Foundation on 27 June.
The title of the speech, “The privilege of public service,” gave nothing away. The content, however, apparently signalled the most significant shift in economic policy in decades, and he cited Franklin Roosevelt as his major influence.
Two days later came another political explosion of nuclear proportions: the removal of Mark Sedwill as de facto king of England, apparently signalling a major policy shift. Sedwill had been all-powerful under Theresa May’s regime. He held three key government positions: Head of the Civil Service, Cabinet Office Secretary, and National Security Adviser. Never before had all three roles been held by one man. Of these, the Cabinet Office role was most important; this is where most power has been concentrated since the Tony Blair reforms, as mentioned above. For Sedwill to be removed at all, from a role traditionally considered a “job for life,” was notable.
The day following Sedwill’s ouster, Boris Johnson announced “Build Build Build: a New Deal for Britain,” which he presented as Britain’s response to the historic destruction of its economy following the Coronavirus lockdown. “It sounds positively Rooseveltian,” Johnson said. “It sounds like a New Deal. All I can say is that if so, then that is how it is meant to sound, and to be, because that is what the times demand.”
Build Back Better
The language seemed clear. The slogan: “Build Build Build”; science led; a New Deal. The optimism of the message in the face of the Coronavirus crisis was supposed to be clear. But there was a subtext for anyone paying attention, because the slogan did not end with “Build Build Build.”
“To that end we will build, build, build,” Johnson had said. But then, in the next breath: “Build back better, build back greener, build back faster and to do that at the pace that this moment requires.” Over the following days and weeks, Boris Johnson gave further speeches and made further statements. “Build Back Better” became the slogan on the backdrop, and “Build, Build, Build” quietly disappeared.
Build Back Better was not a phrase invented by Boris or his speechwriters, and certainly not by Dominic Cummings. The phrase first made an appearance on 22 April in a United Nations press release issued to mark “International Mother Earth Day,” entitled “Climate Change and COVID-19: UN urges nations to ‘recover better.’ ” It was soon taken up by Klaus Schwab as the slogan for his “Great Reset,” so heavily promoted by the World Economic Forum, based on the “big lie” of carbon-generated anthropogenic global warming. So, in fact, rather than taking a Rooseveltian approach, Boris had outed himself as getting solidly behind the City of London/Bank of England-driven globalist green finance bubble.
At the beginning of November, three months after Gove’s Ditchley speech and once again in front of his newly adopted “Build Back Better” slogan, Boris Johnson announced a plan to get behind factories building wind turbines during his keynote speech to the Conservative party conference.
“We will not only build fixed arrays in the sea,” he said, “we will build windmills that float on the sea—enough to deliver one gigawatt of energy by 2030, 15 times as much as the rest of the world put together. As Saudi Arabia is to oil, the UK is to wind—a place of almost limitless resource, but in the case of wind without the carbon emissions, without the damage to the environment.”
Around a month later, more detail. Boris announced that his green recovery would be built around ten key areas:
“Offshore wind: Producing enough offshore wind to power every home, quadrupling how much we produce to 40 GW by 2030, supporting up to 60,000 jobs.
“Hydrogen: Working with industry aiming to generate 5 GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030 for industry, transport, power and homes, and aiming to develop the first town heated entirely by hydrogen by the end of the decade.
“Nuclear: Advancing nuclear as a clean energy source, across large scale nuclear and developing the next generation of small and advanced reactors, which could support 10,000 jobs.
“Electric vehicles: Backing our world-leading car manufacturing bases including in the West Midlands, North East and North Wales to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles, and transforming our national infrastructure to better support electric vehicles.
“Public transport, cycling and walking: Making cycling and walking more attractive ways to travel and investing in zero-emission public transport of the future.
“Jet Zero and greener maritime: Supporting difficult-to-decarbonise industries to become greener through research projects for zero-emission planes and ships.
“Homes and public buildings: Making our homes, schools and hospitals greener, warmer and more energy efficient, whilst creating 50,000 jobs by 2030, and a target to install 600,000 heat pumps every year by 2028.
“Carbon capture: Becoming a world-leader in technology to capture and store harmful emissions away from the atmosphere, with a target to remove 10 MT of carbon dioxide by 2030, equivalent to all emissions of the industrial Humber [a large tidal estuary on the east coast of Northern England] today.
“Nature: Protecting and restoring our natural environment, planting 30,000 hectares of trees every year, whilst creating and retaining thousands of jobs.
“Innovation and finance: Developing the cutting-edge technologies needed to reach these new energy ambitions and make the City of London the global centre of green finance.”
While there are some positives to take out of this list, such as nuclear power, the more destructive items are clear. For example, “Nature.” Michael Gove, in a previous role as Environment Secretary, had laid out a plan to replace EU farm subsidies in the post-Brexit era with funding for farmers to turn productive farmland back to the wild: “public goods” such as wildflower meadow, public footpaths and woodland. This plan has now been formalised in an Agriculture Bill which is making its way through Parliament.
For a couple of years now, the environmental press has been highlighting the likelihood of a requirement to replace gas-fired domestic heating systems (the most common form of domestic heating in the UK) with municipal heat networks and electric heating. The announcement to install heat pumps seems to fit this to a tee.
Pressure has been building on the car industry to stop production of petrol and diesel vehicles, to be replaced with electric. This has now been formally announced, with petrol and diesel car sales mandated to end by 2030 in the UK.
But it is the last of the ten which is central to everything Boris Johnson is doing: green finance. Just a couple of weeks ago, Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced his plan to launch the UK’s first green government bonds. At the same time, echoing Mark Carney, he announced a requirement for all companies to make climate risk disclosures.
All of this seemed too much for Dominic Cummings. Already under pressure for breaking Coronavirus lockdown rules, tensions within the Number 10 hierarchy seem to have reached boiling point, and within a few days of Sunak’s announcement, Cummings had resigned, removing his personal effects from Number 10 Downing Street as soon as he could.
Boris’s Great Reset
There can be no doubt that Brexit represented a reaction within the British population to globalisation. The pressure on the government had been building for years and came to a head in 2016. It can be no coincidence that the USA saw the same kind of reaction expressed in the election of Donald Trump.
What has followed is four years of reaction to the reaction, initially fronted by Theresa May, and when she failed, by Boris Johnson. Boris brought Dominic Cummings on board to give the impression of pursuing a harder Brexit than Theresa May had been aiming for. But as the details of the newly released 1,246 page “future relationship” with the EU begin to be understood, including a new institutional framework beginning January 1, a civil service bureaucracy and quite possibly a partnership assembly comprising members of the European parliament and the UK parliament, it is increasingly clear that there is no prospect of genuine sovereign independence for the UK. Boris’s intention all along has apparently been to betray the will of the people, not only with Brexit itself, but with his capitulation to global financial interests centred in the City of London, his Great Reset.
This should come as no surprise, perhaps. He is his father’s son, and his father believes the world has a “Population Problem.”