Posted by: westlancashirerecord | December 2, 2018

Government By Google?

The government is paying to promote Theresa May’s Brexit deal on Google but is facing a battle with opponents of the deal using very similar headlines.

The Cabinet Office says it will reveal how much is being spent to push the government’s message to the top of the rankings when people search “What is the Brexit deal?” . This chart  comes with it.

However, we may not find out until after MPs vote on the deal next month. And the government ad keeps being knocked off the top spot by a campaign group called “Britain’s Future”, which says May’s deal betrays Brexit.

The government page says “If we reject this deal, we will go back to square one”. Theresa May is going all out to sell her deal to the public before MPs – a majority of whom are thought to be against it – vote on 11 December.

The Cabinet Office does publish how much it spends on marketing government policies, for example it spent £44,219 on Facebook’s services in September. But we are unlikely to know how much it has spent on promoting Theresa May’s deal on Google until after MPs have voted on it.

A government spokesperson said “Communicating government policy effectively to the public is a core function of the Civil Service. We have reached a deal that is good for the UK, good for its citizens, and good for business and we will be communicating that to the country. Any costs associated with this will be published in the usual way”.

And we wonder if the “mad, swivel-eyed loons wing of Tory activists” is back? Britain would be trapped “indefinitely” in a customs union with Brussels if MPs back Theresa May’s Brexit deal, according to leaked details of the attorney-general’s legal advice, which the government has suppressed. Senior ministers say the prime minister is refusing to publish the advice because it contains a stark passage that makes clear the UK could end up locked in a “backstop” arrangement with the European Union. In a letter to cabinet ministers last month, the contents of which have been disclosed to The Sunday Times, Geoffrey Cox declared “The protocol would endure indefinitely.” The government’s top law officer ruled that the only way Britain could escape the backstop would be to sign a new trade deal, which could take years.

According to the Telegraph, eight cabinet ministers have held secret talks about “pivoting” to a Norway-style “plan B” if the prime minister’s deal is voted down in the commons. A Cross-Brexit alliance of ministers equivalent to almost a third of the cabinet has held discussions about joining the European Free Trade Association amid concern there is “zero chance” of the prime minister’s deal surviving.

Last week four ministers, Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary, Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, Geoffrey Cox, the Attorney General and Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary were briefed on the plans.

A few years ago they may have been “swivelling” as members of the mad, swivel-eyed loons wing of Tory activists. Perhaps they still are?


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