From Cary Mitchell - Best for Britain <[email protected]>
Subject Weekend Wire #5
Date April 8, 2022 3:41 PM
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Dear John,

We’re back again for our weekly look at what’s been going on and what’s coming up. 

This week has brought us important (and, dare we say it, positive) developments in Parliament on some of our legislative campaigns. And Rishi Sunak’s tax troubles have been generating a news agenda all of their own. So sit down, make yourself a cuppa and get ready for the good, the bad and the ugly. 

Let’s start with the positives…

No refuge in the Lords for Govt’s Borders Bill

The Nationality and Borders Bill was back in the House of Lords this week in the latest round of ping pong <[link removed]>. Peers again voted down <[link removed]> some of the Government’s most egregious proposals which would see asylum seekers being taken to another country for processing and would criminalise anyone trying to help them.

Voter IDiocy

The Elections Bill was also amended by Lords to expand the list of types of ID <[link removed]> voters will be able to show at polling stations, avoiding potentially millions of people being unable to vote due to not having correct photo ID. The Government also accepted amendments to make voting easier for visually impaired and disabled people.

While positive, the requirement for any kind of ID to vote is likely to hurt turnout and all to address a problem that barely exists. Lord Woolley, founder and director of Operation Black Vote, explained that there was <[link removed]> "one conviction" for voter fraud "out of 47 million voters” adding that this means you are more likely to be struck by lightning or win the lottery than be a victim of electoral fraud.

And now to the not so positive…

Nuclear fallout

On Thursday, the Government revealed its energy security strategy <[link removed]>.

Despite some commitments to renewable energy and very little on insulation, headlines this week focused on proposals for the expansion of nuclear power in the UK. Nuclear may well take the most money and time to set up, and will do nothing to address those eye-watering energy bills, so I think it’s ok to be a little nervous that the government who brought us test-and-trace and Unboxed: The Festival of Brexit may soon be bringing plutonium to power station near you.

In the meantime, the UK will increase drilling for North Sea oil. Well, at least the food at COP26 was good. 

Spotlight on Sunak

Once again, Rishi Sunak (and his enormous wealth) have made it into our Weekend Wire. We’ll have to give him some sort of award.

At the start of the week, all eyes were on Sunak’s rather lavish donation of £100,000 to his old school, Winchester College, which costs £43,000 a year to attend. Winchester College, a private school, is a charity so will be able to claim tax relief on the donation.

It may not come as a surprise that Sunak is donating to an institution which he described <[link removed]> as putting his ‘life on a different trajectory’. Maybe he meant ‘a different planet’. Sunak’s £100k donation to this already very wealthy institution was reported the same day his tax rise on working people came into effect and after we’ve all been hit with a 54% increase in our energy bills. 

Spotlight on Sunak’s spouse

If you thought what Rishi Sunak does with his obscene wealth is shocking, wait till you hear what his wife has been up to. 

Despite living in the UK, Akshata Murty has been claiming non-dom status <[link removed]>, which allows her to avoid UK tax on the bulk of her earnings. This means that the £11.5 million she makes annually from dividends due to her 0.93% stake in Infosys is not taxed in the UK. So the same week Rishi’s hiking taxes for working people in the UK, we discover his four houses and four cars may well have been paid for by tax dodging. The only way this could be more hypocritical is if they had also been profiting from Russian business <[link removed]> interests.

To cap it all, today we learned that Rishi himself may have been registered as a US resident <[link removed]> and paid taxes to Uncle Sam for at least the first year as Chancellor and presumably also while he was a backbench MP before that. I wonder how all of this sensitive information is getting out at this most damaging time?

Nadine Dorries, the oracle, the pinnacle

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries has had a bit of a week. She’s still planning to sell off Channel 4, despite 43% of the public opposing it <[link removed]>. But Nadine’s strong willed insistence on doing things her way is even more baffling  considering that as recently as November <[link removed]>, she didn’t know how Channel 4 was funded. (spoiler: it funds itself).

This week, she claimed the current public ownership model is preventing Channel 4 from competing <[link removed]> with Netflix and Amazon, forgetting that Channel 4’s own streaming service is more popular than Prime, and Netflix pays to show Channel 4 originals like Derry Girls, Skins and Black Books. At least she’s trying!

More Brexit badness

The House of Commons Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs <[link removed]> found post-Brexit Labour shortages have seriously impacted food and farming industries. Crops going unharvested and rotting in the fields, and healthy pigs being culled - all because the workforce just hasn’t been there in the required numbers.

The UK Trade and Business Commission weighed in <[link removed]> on these findings, with Co-convenor Hilary Benn MP urging the Government to ‘urgently review its byzantine immigration system’. Ouch.

Back in November last year, the Commission actually held an evidence session on labour post-Brexit. If you fancy a little #FlashbackFriday you can watch that here <[link removed]>. 

Asking the tough questions

On Saturday, the bastion of integrity that is GB News will release an exclusive interview with Johnson <[link removed]>, in which he will be thoroughly and robustly questioned by none other than the wily presenters Esther McVey and Philip Davies. 

And yes, that is the very same Esther McVey and Philip Davies who have a side hustle as Conservative MPs. Expect the PM to be grilled on his perfect Sunday and which member of Take That he would pick to be marooned on a desert island with. 

Best for Broadcast

Once again our CEO Naomi Smith has been making a splash.

On Wednesday, she appeared on a live panel for the Independent, offering a critical take-down of bogus ‘Brexit Opportunities’ and the lack of strategic thinking on how to actually turn the fallout of Brexit into something we can work with. Watch the full session here <[link removed]>. 

Naomi also took part in Iain Dale’s Cross Question on LBC, discussing, among other issues, how Brexit is compounding the cost of living crisis. Listen here <[link removed]> to the full show. 

Let them eat memes

To round off what has turned into something of a Sunak Special, here’s something we thought would make you laugh. Enjoy!

Best wishes,

Cary Mitchell

Director of Operations, Best for Britain

P.S. It's really easy to support Best for Britain's campaigns and be first to know what's going on. £5 per month will make you a Best for Britain Citizen of the World. Join now <[link removed]>.


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