This really is remarkable. A credit rating agency, Moody's, citing "weakening" of British democracy as factor in yesterday's UK downgrade…

And what does UK government intend to do about this? Well, Tories floated idea of abolishing Electoral Commission...
You'd think having written a book called 'Democracy for Sale' all about how British democracy has been degraded and undermined, I'd be inured to this sort of thing. But I'm still shocked to see a rating's agency say this and barely anyone bat an eyelid.
Like how do you dismiss this. "There is nothing wrong with British democracy. Of course those pinkos at, eh, Moody's would say this"?
The cost of British government borrowing is increasing, in part, because the Executive is grabbing power and weakening institutions (per @redhistorian). Think about that for a moment.
And before anyone points it out, borrowing is *really* cheap at the moment for pretty much any sovereign state. But that's also *really* not the point.

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More from @PeterKGeoghegan

24 Sep
Remember Lubov Chernukhin, top Tory donor whose husband was secretly given $8m by a Kremlin-friendly oligarch before Brexit ref in 2016? Well, turns out Electoral Commission has had concerns about her and other Tory Russian donors for a while (thread)…
In internal emails, UK elections watchdog alerted staff to 'interesting donations' from Lubov Chernukhin, flagged Chernukhin in discussions around 'foreign interference' in Britain and queried other Tory donations from Russian-linked businesses. Ultimately, no action was taken
As well as Chernukhin, the Electoral Commission was concerned about a £10k donation from a company owned by ex-Tory MP James Wharton, who worked for Tory donor Alexander Temerko (and was recently made Lord Wharton by Boris Johnson) and donations from Temerko's firm Aquind
Read 7 tweets
21 Sep
Sitting down to watch @BBCPanorama 's documentary about how Russian money has flooded into British public life, and the City has facilitated industrial level money laundering. Should be interesting.... 😬
Remarkable line in this Panorama. When journalists went to UK government with their findings, government declined to comment but on Friday, a few days before broadcast, announced new plans for company rules to combat fraud....
Some gold right of replies in this doc too. 'Arab Bank said very few of the accounts involved were linked to known terrorists at the time'. That's grand so 😬
Read 4 tweets
17 Sep
Shanker Singham’s consultancy spent $20,000 on Washington lobbyists pushing for a US-UK free trade deal.

MPs raise concerns about conflicts of interest w/Singham is in line for slice of £200m govt contract.

Latest @openDemocracy scoop w/ @marcusleroux…
Int'l trade secretary Liz Truss appointed Singham to a key UK government commission on trade and agriculture - while he was continuing to work for undisclosed private clients.

"These relationships should be known and not hidden" says @AngusMacNeilSNP
Transparency docs show that Competere - Singham's private firm - paid $20k to Transnational Strategy Group, a Washington DC-based lobbying firm who helped broker a series of meetings in Washington for Singham and former Northern Irish first minister David Trimble.
Read 8 tweets
15 Sep
A *very* curious tale. March 16, Boris Johnson told Britons to avoid ‘non-essential contact’. Three days later PM met Evgeny Lebedev's holding company-but No 10 says meeting was 'personal' so refuses to release any details.

New from @RussellScott1 and me…
72 hours after warning British public to cease all unnecessary contact Johnson meets Lebedev Holdings at the PM's private residence. So that's a company, must be a business/political meeting and fully declared as such? Nope, No 10 says it's 'personal' so all details private
So PM had a 'social/personal' meeting with a holding company (as you do) but after telling everyone to cut social contact. There is an alternative explanation: it was a business meeting. Then why not disclosed? A few months later Johnson nominated his old friend Lebedev to Lords
Read 4 tweets
5 Sep
Grimly fascinating to watch how stars of 90s - from Brown to Matt Le Tissier - are demonstrating in real time how conspiracy theories are taking hold across what I reckon is a really sizeable chunk of Britain.
It's easy to just completely dismiss Ian Brown's ravings but that totally misses the point. These aren't aberrations they are very public manifestations of a radicalisation process that is talking place in houses right across the land, especially driven by Facebook groups
To those tweets giving out at me for assuming that Ian Brown is not reading heterodox scientific papers on Covid and drawing conclusions.... 😬😬😬
Read 4 tweets
21 Aug
A few months before his arrest Steve Bannon boasted to me that he talked to Europe’s populist leaders “on a fairly regular basis” and was “still working behind the scenes driving stuff.”

Extract on @openDemocracy from my new book (thread)…
My book draws on fantastic work of @5050oD @ClaireProvost @nandi_naira tracking rise of populists and backlash against women's and minority rights. If you don't follow, you should!

They've shown how US ultra-conservatives poured millions into Europe…
They revealed that a Trump-linked ‘Super PAC’ was working behind the scenes to drive Europe’s voters to the far right ahead of last year's Euro elections… And investigated the ultra-conservative World Congress of Families…
Read 5 tweets

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