Author: Anthony Robinson

Anthony was a sales engineer, now retired and living in North Yorkshire after a long career representing several European manufacturers in the UK. Seeing first hand how continental companies work and how they strive to become world-class businesses makes him fear for Britain's post-Brexit future. He is interested in politics, although not as an active party member, and enjoys reading, gardening and DIY.

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Teetering on the brink

Anthony Robinson

Yesterday marked 100 days to the end of the transition period and the beginning of an omni-crisis for the government. Coronavirus is once again on the rise, threatening a second peak over the winter, with 6,208 new cases reported, virtually the same as at the height of the pandemic in May. At the same time, […]

The disastrous reign of King Dom, the “dart throwing chimp”

Anthony Robinson

Those who voted for Johnson in the belief that inside the clown was a serious-minded politician trying to get out, are slowly being disappointed as his government staggers through a parade of fumbling incoherence, from one disaster to the next. The near constant succession of missteps, U-turns and policy mistakes are not even punctuated by […]

Johnson’s mysterious Russian links continue to dog him

Anthony Robinson

The prime minister seems unable to shake off his mysterious connections to Russians and their money. The BBC is now reporting an $8m transaction between a Russian politician and the husband of Lubov Chernukhin, who is famous for donating £1.7m to the Tory party and paying handsomely for the privilege of playing tennis with David […]

Wakefield’s MP seems confused by the Brexit bells and whistles

Anthony Robinson

The new Tory MP for Wakefield may well be an ardent supporter of Brexit, but his understanding of it varies between shaky and non-existent. His article in the Yorkshire Post only demonstrates his own shortcomings. Imran Ahmad-Khan says he has spent many years in distant, sometimes dangerous, places and thinks Britain had ceased to be […]

Biden fires warning shot across Johnson’s law-breaking plan

Anthony Robinson

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden last night tweeted a clear warning to Boris Johnson that he will not allow the Good Friday Agreement to become a “casualty of Brexit”.  The former vice president, whose Irish roots are in Ballina Co Mayo, has strongly supported the peace process and was quick to condemn any move that […]

Johnson never intended to stick to the withdrawal agreement

Anthony Robinson
Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets with President of the European Parliament David Sassoli for a meeting at Downing Street.

In what may be regarded as the ultimate in bad faith, last October – as the UK and EU teams were engaged in intensive final negotiations in Brussels – Johnson is alleged to have taken legal advice about repudiating the withdrawal agreement even before the text was completed. He was never committed to keeping the […]

Circling the wagons in Downing Street

Anthony Robinson

The furore about the UK proposing to break international law has every potential to grow into a full-blown constitutional crisis. If the UK internal market bill, which will override Johnson’s EU withdrawal agreement, passes the Commons this week it may well be blocked by peers, setting the two chambers against each other. However, the extraordinary […]

Brexit stage set for showdown, as EU vice president reads Gove the riot act

Anthony Robinson
Vice President Šefčovič

Following hard on the heels of the government’s announcement on Tuesday that it intends to break international law by allowing the UK internal market bill (UKIM) to supersede parts of the withdrawal agreement, EU Vice President Marcoš Šefčovič flew to London earlier today. In a meeting with Michael Gove, he read him the diplomatic equivalent […]

Johnson now heading for his own Suez moment

Anthony Robinson
Boris Johnson in Downing Street

In 1956, prime minister Anthony Eden conspired with France and Israel to invade Egypt and recover control of the Suez Canal, which had been seized by president Nasser. It was an act of monumental hubris and Britain was eventually forced to withdraw under pressure from the USA and Russia. It was a seminal moment and […]

Johnson is trashing Britain’s international reputation

Anthony Robinson

The Telegraph claimed in a banner headline this morning that the prime minister is to tell the EU that the Withdrawal Agreement (WA) he renegotiated and signed last year “never made sense”.  A senior government source is quoted as saying some of the consequences “were not foreseen” at the time. Simon Nixon, chief leader writer […]

Johnson’s approval rating among Tory party members nosedives

Anthony Robinson

The regular monthly survey of party members carried out by the website Conservative Home shows Boris Johnson’s satisfaction rating slumping into the bottom third of his own cabinet. The prime minister is not so much first among equals as nineteenth out of twenty-six. In a cabinet stuffed with mediocrities and incompetents he doesn’t even make […]

Logistics bodies starting to put up “distress flares”

Anthony Robinson

Freight industry trade bodies have written a joint letter to cabinet office minister Michael Gove calling for an “urgent roundtable meeting” to express growing concern about the state of nation’s preparedness to deliver a “functional operating border” for traders next year. In a Tweet, the FT’s Peter Foster characterises it as the industry sending up […]

Why is Johnson so uniquely awful at PMQs?

Anthony Robinson

By consensus, even among right-wing commentators, the prime minister was systematically dismantled by Keir Starmer at yesterday’s prime minister’s questions (PMQs). It was his worst performance in a series where he has consistently struggled against the new Labour leader and former barrister. John Crace, in an excoriating piece for The Guardian, says many Conservative MPs […]

A glimpse down the Brexit rabbit hole

Anthony Robinson

As part of the check, change, go campaign to alert citizens and businesses about the huge adjustments coming down the track in just four months’ time, the Cabinet Office proudly tweeted last week about being “committed to growing the customs sector” as part of the preparations. We are committed to growing the customs sector for […]

Boxed in Johnson given two weeks to save EU talks

Anthony Robinson

The future relationship talks are “reaching the end of the road” and a moment of truth is looming for the prime minister. The Times claims Johnson has been told that he has just two weeks to save the future relationship talks, with the EU refusing to “move forward” until Britain sets out its state aid […]

UK business survey: more than 80% unprepared for no-deal Brexit

Anthony Robinson

Just how well placed are UK businesses for Brexit on 1 January 2021? A Brexit readiness survey conducted among supply chain managers and published today has revealed a disturbing picture, with just 18 percent of UK businesses said to be prepared for a no-deal Brexit. The survey, with work carried out in July for Descartes […]

“Doomsday dossier” is Cummings’ last roll of the dice

Anthony Robinson

The Sun’s ‘exclusive’ yesterday on the “Doomsday Dossier” is suspiciously similar to the leaking of Operation Yellowhammer details last August by another Murdoch-owned newspaper, the Sunday Times, but with added coronavirus issues. I assume it was done for the same purpose: as a signal to try and convince the EU that the government is serious […]

Johnson is heading for the elephant trap he has dug himself

Anthony Robinson

Sir Ivan Rogers was our ambassador to the EU (known as UKREP) until Theresa May forced him out in January 2017 for having the temerity to suggest she should have a clear plan ready before triggering Article 50. Since then he has made a series of incisive speeches, all of which have proved remarkably prescient. […]

Is Boris Johnson losing the plot?

Anthony Robinson

On a visit to Northern Ireland yesterday where he met Irish prime minister Micheál Martin, Boris Johnson made the extraordinary claim that there will be no border down the Irish Sea, saying if there is one it will be “over my dead body”.  This is widely reported in the local media (here and here) and […]

Brexit backing billionaire plans to open new car plant – in France

Anthony Robinson

Sir Jim Ratcliffe, founder of the chemical company Ineos and Britain’s richest man, plans to open a car plant in France to build the successor to the 4×4 Land Rover Defender which was discontinued in 2016. Ratcliffe, who was a supporter of Brexit, reportedly moved to Monaco in 2019 in order to avoid paying £4bn […]

Labour warns of “jobs bonfire”

Anthony Robinson

Labour’s shadow business and consumer minister has slammed the government for costing small businesses millions of pounds in wasted preparations after they were given just 24 hours’ notice to scrap a planned reopening. Lucy Powell set out yesterday how bowling alleys, casinos and beauty salons across the country had all spent time and money preparing to […]

Brexiters want Johnson’s oven-ready deal sent back to the kitchen

Anthony Robinson

Iain Duncan Smith is the latest Conservative Eurosceptic MP calling for the Withdrawal Agreement, negotiated at the last minute by Boris Johnson and his adviser David Frost, to be scrapped, thus giving a new twist to the old adage about doing something in haste and repenting at leisure. In his case, having voted in favour […]

The government is in danger of being overwhelmed by Brexit

Anthony Robinson

As we enter the final stretch with just five months to go before the transition period ends, and with a second wave of coronavirus already threatening Europe, there are growing signs that serious Brexit problems are beginning to overwhelm the government. The workload is increasing as the time available to complete it is decreasing and […]

Will planning rules derail the Brexit express?

Anthony Robinson

Rachel Reeves, the shadow cabinet secretary, visited the MOJO site close to junction 10A of the M20 at Ashford in Kent recently with the BBC also reporting that construction “began earlier this month” on a “giant lorry park” for Brexit-related customs purposes without local people being consulted. The MP for Leeds West has now written to Michael Gove asking […]

EU banking watchdog tells British banks: Check, Change and Come – to Europe

Anthony Robinson

As the British government launches its advertising campaign to help businesses and individuals prepare for the end of the transition period, with the inevitable three-word slogan “Check – Change – Go”, the European Banking Authority (EBA) had a message of its own to Britain’s financial institutions. In a lengthy and uncompromising statement published yesterday on its […]

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