Extremist Threat Rishi Sunak

The Plot Thickens… Rishi Cancels Himself

The Plot Thickens.

In our last blog – Are You an Extremist Threat? – we showed you a few responses to Rishi Sunak’s speech to the right-wing think tank Policy Exchange UK.

But Now The Plot Thickens…

When PM gives a speech it’s normal for a transcript to be posted on the UKGov website. Perfectly reasonable thing to do as it builds up an archive for future reference. Mr Sunak’s Threats to UK Security speech has now been added to that archive. Except, except….

The Plot Thickens. Sunak speech transcript. Scottish Independence Podcasts

it can’t be a transcript exactly as it was delivered AND have had political content redacted from it. It can be one or the other but not both. All rather reminiscent of 1984 and how many fingers are being held up…. But at least their system flags the redaction instances up for us. So can we find out what was redacted?

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What was redacted?

I found out about this redacted archive version from a Twitter thread by Edwin Hayward. If you go to the YouTube video you can get a direct transcript and follow along with Mr Sunak, in effect that provides an unredacted transcript of the speech. So let’s have a look.

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Original Unredacted Extract:

The Plot Thickens. Unredacted Transcript Sunak Security Speech

Official Redacted Extract:

The Plot Thickens. Official redacted Transcript Sunak Security Speech

And so on, and so on… the Plot Thickens Again

There was more than the reference to Scottish Nationalism that has disappeared from the official version. They have also redacted various comments he made about Labour Party and Labour policies.

They also changed the image accompanying the speech. On the website he is shown as if giving the speech out side No10. I’ve had a look on the UKGov/speeches and they do use that stock photo of Sunak outside No10 for his speeches.

But in fact he gave this speech to an audience at Policy Exchange UK which is a right-wing think tank and one with which Sunak has previous connections. His initial remarks in the speech – where he thanks Baron Dean Godson for the introduction – are also redacted. What he said was:

Well, Dean, thank you for that warm welcome and your superb leadership of  Policy Exchange. As you said, as a proud alumnus, I’m truly delighted to be back.

And I notice that they also often embed at the video of him giving the speech. There is no video embedded with this one. It does rather look like and attempt to formally distance himself from Policy Exchange. Even though he was delighted to be back.

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Are we surprised at all this?

Well yes, I am surprised actually. I’m surprised that an official archive has omissions / redactions from a speech

  • when that speech has been widely reported and which is available in video format online.
  • when the PM was challenged on the redacted remarks about Scottish Nationalism and doubled down on what he had said.
  • on the other hand at least the people running the website use a system which indicates where reactions have been made.

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Is all this important?

Remember that what Sunak did was to conflate what are very real terrorist threats to UK with the campaign for Scottish Independence.

On this week’s BBC Question Time from Aberdeen the panel included Alex Salmond. So just to remind you about the wider implications of Sunak’s conflation of terrorism with Scottish Nationalism, here’s Alex’ take on it: