A ‘Sunday Brexit Hand Grenade’ – I’m a bit tired of using ‘bombshell’ – was ‘exploded’ yesterday. The Times reported that they had obtained “a Government document” detailing the preparedness or not of our country for Brexit on October 31st.
This whole episode is as much about Remain propaganda, the willing helpers and collaborators in the Remain MSM and their attempts to stop Brexit as about what is or will be happening.
One point which went totally by the wayside is that Mr Barclay has signed the ‘commencement order’ which will repeal the European Communities Act 1972 (here). As far as our Remainers are concerned, that is irrelevant, because ‘that’ leaked document is far more important.
I’ll reconstruct the story of this “leak” as far as I can, according to MSM reports. It starts with some ‘civil servant’ allegedly leaving ‘a document’ in a pub:
“Thanks to a boozy civil servant leaving a stash of Brexit papers in a Westminster pub, The Mail on Sunday can reveal the full extent of Mr Johnson’s rigid new regime. An eight-page document entitled ‘Core Brexit Brief’ and prepared specifically for Mr Johnson by Whitehall spin doctors and policy advisers was found abandoned in The Feathers public house, in the heart of Westminster. A shocked bystander in the watering hole popular with civil servants said: ‘A group of them were drinking heavily all of Monday evening and they just left the documents on a table at the end of the night.’ (link)
This ‘document’ was left last Monday – and this is the timeline of the DM’s report: ‘PUBLISHED 22:54, 17 August 2019 | UPDATED: 08:11, 18 August 2019’.
One would hope that the DM editors had scores of reporters trying to verify the provenience of this document during the week.
Then, the readers of RemainCentral were greeted yesterday morning with this headline: “No-deal Brexit preparations: the leaked Operation Yellowhammer document – August 18 2019, 12:01am, The Sunday Times” (link, paywalled)
That report gives a summary of what the leaked government paper is allegedly about, in the case of no deal Brexit.
To stoke the expected fury even further, The Times published more articles on the “leaked” paper, for example this one, headlined: “Operation Chaos: Whitehall’s secret no‑deal Brexit preparations leaked – The Sunday Times obtains the government’s classified ‘Yellowhammer’ report in full. August 18 2019, 12:01am, The Sunday Times” (link, paywalled).
Look at the timelines! Suspicious as I am, I wonder if that ‘stash’ of papers was offered both to the DM and RemainCentral, with the DM publishing first.
Now let’s look at a quote from that Times article:
“Britain faces shortages of fuel, food and medicine, a three-month meltdown at its ports, a hard border with Ireland and rising costs in social care in the event of a no-deal Brexit, according to an unprecedented leak of government documents that lay bare the gaps in contingency planning.The documents, which set out the most likely aftershocks of a no-deal Brexit rather than worst-case scenarios, have emerged as the UK looks increasingly likely to crash out of the EU without a deal. Compiled this month by the Cabinet Office under the codename Operation Yellowhammer, the dossier offers a rare glimpse into the covert planning being carried out by the government to avert a catastrophic collapse in the nation’s infrastructure.” (link, paywalled)
If this ever so secret document was compiled ‘this month’, isn’t it odd that scenario above and the code-name ‘Yellowhammer’ seemed rather familiar to me? (No, I’m not in receipt of secret documents!)
Any researcher or reporter worth their salt would have looked up the code name .. so did I … and what did I find? Look at the dates:
“The existence of the operation leaked on 6 September 2018, when a press photographer captured a snapshot of a document revealing some “no-deal” plans and the HM Treasury codename for them. […] No further details were revealed. The National Audit Office subsequently made public some documents about the operation.The operation code name “Yellowhammer”, which relates to a small songbird, was chosen at random. On 2 February 2019, The Times received leaked documents with this code name, about Department for Transport command and control structure plans” (link)
Oh dear. This codename was known about since September last year and parts of it had already been leaked to the Times at the beginning of this year.
We peasants were informed about all those scare scenarios at that time. That’s how I recognised the name. Moreover, this gives the lie to the following paragraph in RemainCentral’s article:
“The file, marked “official-sensitive” — requiring security clearance on a “need to know” basis — is remarkable because it gives the most comprehensive assessment of the UK’s readiness for a no-deal Brexit. It states that the public and businesses remain largely unprepared for no deal and that growing “EU exit fatigue” has hampered contingency planning which has stalled since the UK’s original departure date in March. A senior Whitehall source said: “This is not Project Fear — this is the most realistic assessment of what the public face with no deal. These are likely, basic, reasonable scenarios — not the worst case.” (link, paywalled)
It’s no surprise then that yesterday Nigel Farage on his Sunday LBC Radio show said:
“Now, what do I make of all this? I don’t think this is really a Government document at all, I think it’s a civil service document, I call it an Olly Robbins special. There is no way the civil service have been neutral through this whole process, they are doing their utmost to stop Brexit.”(link)
or that, as reported in The Express,
“Sir John Redwood has instantly dismissed no deal Brexit warnings branding the leaked Yellowhammer dossier as “Project Fear on steroids” (link).
Read the inimitable Sir John Redwood’s terse comment in his Diary yesterday: “Project Fear reappears in old leaks recycled”.
Indeed – so who recycled this warmed-up second and third helping of Project Fear, and why now?
After the publication of that ‘leak’ here’s the first reaction from the government, published at 12.30pm yesterday in the DT:
“A Government source said: “It has been deliberately leaked by a former minister in an attempt to influence discussions with EU leaders. Those obstructing preparation are no longer in Government, £2 billion of extra funding already made available and Whitehall has been stood up to actually do the work through the daily ministerial meetings.” (paywalled link)
Later, at 9pm the DT published this government comment which not only points the finger at the possible culprit but also indicates why this alleged leak happened now:
“Boris Johnson accused a group of Remain-supporting ex-ministers led by Philip Hammond of attempting to undermine his bid to negotiate a new Brexit deal from the EU. The Prime Minister’s team accused the group of “deliberately leaking” details of Government no deal planning ahead of crucial talks this week with Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel. The war of words escalated as Mr Hammond denied he or his allies had leaked the “Operation Yellowhammer” document and accused Mr Johnson of having “no negotiating strategy and no serious plan for a no-deal”. […] However, Mr Johnson’s team said the plans – warning of medicine and food shortages and the risk of riots – were drawn up by Theresa May’s government and the leak was purposefully timed to frustrate Mr Johnson’s efforts to secure a new deal to exit on Oct 31.” (paywalled link)
Of course Mr Hammond denies the leak – he would, wouldn’t he, and anyway, it wasn’t him who left a ‘stash of papers’ in a pub, was it! That’s called ‘plausible deniability’ in government parlance.
Meanwhile, the Tory hardcore Remainers are not giving up. According to the DT (paywalled link):
“As many as 40 Tory MPs are now backing a bid led by ex-Cabinet ministers Philip Hammond and David Gauke to stop Britain leaving the European Union without a deal on Oct 31. […] Last week 21 Tory MPs including former Cabinet ministers Mr Hammond, Mr Gauke, David Lidington, Greg Clark and Rory Stewart broke cover to make clear they are fighting a no deal exit. In a letter to Mr Johnson they said they were “alarmed” by Mr Johnson’s negotiating red lines “which on the face of it appear to eliminate the chance of reaching agreement with the EU”. Sources close to the group said that the number of Conservative MPs backing their position was now significantly higher, with many of the additional supporters reluctant to be named in public.” (paywalled link)
Thank you, ‘sources’! Of course some of those ‘rebels’ don’t want their names made public – after all, they still hope to keep their seats should there be a No-deal-Brexit GE.
I conclude, with a certain degree of Schadenfreude, that the hardcore Remainers in Westminster and their willing helpers and collaborators in the MSM have been left with a huge amount of egg on their faces.
Their desperate attempts of stopping Johnson from getting us Out on Halloween has backfired deliciously. Their deviousness is there for all to see, as I’ve explained above.
Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean we can now relax, to the contrary! Remember the saying about cornered rats – and
Photo by hermox