VICEhttps://www.vice.com/en_ukRSS feed for https://www.vice.comenWed, 19 Dec 2018 14:44:44 +0000<![CDATA[How Good Are Social Media Apps for Buying Drugs?]]>https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/gy7nxx/how-good-are-social-media-apps-for-buying-drugsWed, 19 Dec 2018 14:44:44 +0000If you've bought drugs in the last 20 years, you’ll probably be familiar with trying to conduct phone calls entirely in euphemisms. First, you might ask, "Are you with Charlie?" which leads to a series of misunderstandings, forcing you to blurt out, "Can I just get a gram of coke, mate?" Then your dealer calls you a fucking dickhead and relegates you to the bottom of the delivery queue.

Those phone calls are becoming a thing of the past, because now everyone is buying drugs over Snapchat and WhatsApp – it's less awkward, and everyone thinks they are more secure than talking on the phone. But as a new study into the use of social media and private messaging apps has found, they aren't as secretive as people think they are.

The study #Drugsforsale: An exploration of the use of social media and encrypted messaging apps to supply and access drugs found mobile apps are "fast becoming a viable option" for buying recreational drugs because they provide a "quick, convenient method for connecting buyer and seller".

Have you used drugs and have something to say about it? Click here to take part anonymously in the Global Drug Survey

Apps are basically the middle ground between trawling dark web markets and finding a dealer on the street, without many of the downsides. Buying drugs on the dark web means converting your money into Bitcoin and trying desperately to complete a transaction before the crypto market falls off a cliff and your money becomes worthless. And, let’s face it, who’s buying drugs from random street dealers in 2018? Convenience and the speed with which deals could be arranged were the biggest perceived benefits of apps, according to the study.

For example, Zach, 22, told researchers: "It just seemed like a simple, modern way to buy things. I’d gotten pretty sick of the darknet because I never really got it, so had to always have a friend on hand to help me out. With apps it’s super simple; in no time I’ve managed to connect with strangers who I would’ve never been able to access before. Plenty of dealers in this area exist solely on Snapchat, so without it I would’ve kept relying on people approaching me in the street or randomly bumping into people in clubs."

More than three-quarters of those interviewed said they’d used Snapchat to buy drugs. Instagram was the next most popular, with around one in five saying they’d used the 'gram to arrange deals. WhatsApp, Kik and Wickr were all also frequently cited, with Tinder and Grindr also among the apps used to buy and sell drugs. The general rule is that social media provides the platform for connecting buyers and sellers, then deals take place using encrypted communication services.

Dr Leah Moyle, a criminology lecturer at the University of London and one of the authors of the study, says things got really interesting when buyers were asked why they used apps to find drugs. Because essentially, in just a few years, we’ve gone from widespread paranoia that dealers' phones are being tapped, to complacency over posting and viewing pictures of coke and pills on social media.

Mark, 23, told the researchers: "I realised rather rapidly that Snapchat was totally secure, as was WhatsApp. Law enforcement agencies cannot [access] any data transmitted over these apps." Moyle says Mark’s view was common among the 358 drug buyers they interviewed from around the world. "People felt there were security features associated with these apps that could protect them. On the whole, the people who used apps seemed to think they were fairly secure and the likelihood they would be picked up by law enforcement would be low."

The truth is, apps don’t offer anything like the security that many buyers seem to think they do. Because security features on offer, such as end-to-end encryption and the time-limited nature of messages, often come with important caveats.

For example, the researchers said unopened Snapchat "snaps" are held on servers and can be handed over based on a search warrant. Instagram shares user content and information with parent company Facebook and third-party advertisers. Similarly, WhatsApp allows information to be shared within Facebook. Wickr, even though it has message self-destruct capacity, has no screen capture prevention methods in place. Kik logs the IP addresses of users – as so do dating apps including Grindr and Tinder. And while Facebook Messenger offers end-to-end encryption, this is not the default setting – plus, as Facebook admitted today, the company has given various tech firms access to private messages in the past.

The researchers compiled a table which lists the security flaws and benefits of every app used to buy drugs. If that sounds relevant to your interests, you can find it in the report.

Then there’s the fact that buying drugs using apps frequently still involves meeting sellers face-to-face. Previous research has suggested that part of the appeal for users of dark web drug markets lies in not having to meet a dealer. But the study found app buyers are more nervous about having drugs delivered to their house. While some people use apps to contact dealers they already know, many interviewees said they had gone to meet a stranger to collect drugs bought via an app. Less than a quarter of respondents felt meeting an unknown dealer might be dangerous.

Perceptions about security weren’t the only reasons for sourcing drugs via social media. Buyers also said apps allowed them to assess the quality of drugs before deals took place. Lucy, 19, told the researchers: "The first time I bought Xanax it was through Snapchat because I could watch the dealer opening sealed packets on his story before he sold them, and I therefore felt safe consuming them… I would never buy anything I hadn’t tried before from some guy on a street corner or anything at all really, unless I was desperate."

In some cases, users looked at factors such as the number of Instagram comments and likes for reassurance about the quality of drugs on offer – reasoning that these functioned much like Amazon reviews. Danny, 23, told the researchers that the information available on apps was "far less than the dark web, [but] far more than the streets".

Moyle says: "For me, that was one of the most interesting aspects of the project. The fact that being able to see that product beforehand, whether it’s through a video or a snap being sent by a dealer, seemed to give buyers a certain level of confidence about that substance." Moyle says the idea that quality can be ascertained via an Insta story or a snap is concerning: "There’s no way you could make that assessment about a substance purely by looking."

Apps are also changing the way dealers do business. Moyle says social media apps create opportunities to find new clients, then the deals are conducted using private messaging: "Quite often the buyer and seller would connect over a social media platform then the dealer would request the logistics of the deal to be done through WhatsApp."

The days of handing out business cards or Rizla packets emblazoned with phone numbers are disappearing: the 21st century dealer is essentially a social media manager with an extensive mailing list of clients. "People told us about dealer spam: getting multiple messages when deals were available, when new products were coming in," says Moyle. "There’s more scope for aggressive marketing tactics." Indeed, mass text message mail outs (via burner phones) have been used by street heroin and crack dealers for years.

Buyers said apps provide access to a far greater range of substances than used to be available by tapping up friends of friends. Tim, 23, told the researchers that access to a wider variety of drugs was "the best feature of apps", adding that "it's very rare to find a dealer out and about who carries psychedelics in this country [the UK]". Jess, 23, from Coventry in central England, said: "I couldn’t get hold of oxy or codeine in any other way because I didn’t know anyone selling them, so the first time I had both I bought them through apps."

That’s potentially concerning, particularly if combined with inexperienced users and misplaced assumptions about quality. Moyle says: "The worry for us is there’s a lot more exposure to substances that young people potentially wouldn’t be exposed to if they were utilising social supply."

If there’s one thing the study makes crystal clear, it’s that pretty much every app with a social aspect can be used to buy drugs. Why wouldn’t they be? Buying pills on Instagram sounds a lot more convenient than trying to find a dealer in a club. And you might get more choice. But there are no guarantees when it comes to quality – and you might not the only one watching your dealer’s latest story.

@mark_wilding

]]>
gy7nxxMark WildingMax DalyDrugsDrug tradeencryptionSocial MediaPrivate Messages
<![CDATA[The Workers Who Built Boaty McBoatface Are Fighting for Their Jobby McJobs]]>https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/3k9y7w/the-workers-who-built-boaty-mcboatface-are-fighting-for-their-jobby-mcjobsWed, 19 Dec 2018 12:28:18 +0000Remember Boaty McBoatface? That cultural moment when the entire country could barely stifle its collective mirth at the most #epicbanter of all time? Namely: trolling a public vote to name a £220 million research vessel destined for the Antarctic by voting for "Boaty McBoatface"? Looking back, that might have been the real last gasp of culture when the public sphere wasn’t yet dominated by onrushing civilisational collapse. Before Trump and Brexit, we just called boats silly names, or something.

Boaty McBoatface ended up being called the RRS David Attenborough, the fifth choice name in the public vote. And in an even less banterous turn of events, the workers who built Boaty McBoatface are now fighting for their jobs.

Cammell Laird, the Merseyside shipbuilder that won the Boatface contract, was planning on celebrating Christmas this year by attempting to make 40 percent of its workforce (about 300 workers) redundant.

The shipyard bosses claimed that it was a choice forced on them out of economic necessity. There was a lull in work planned at the yard in the new year, and bosses said this made redundancies inevitable. Maybe they forgot that they made almost £6 million in profit in 2017 alone.

The workers and their unions (Unite and GMB) decided that they weren’t going to go quietly, so the Boatface-builders went on strike. A mass walk out on the 23rd of November was the start of a programme of rolling action. Every day, different job roles were out picketing on the gates. One day it was labourers, the next it was fitters and welders, and so on. Despite 80 percent of the workforce being at work (and getting paid) at any one time, the strike was crippling the yard. Ross Quinn, Unite’s regional officer who represents the strikers, estimated that productivity was below 20 percent.

The strike was so effective that the Cammell Laird bosses took to the press to moan that they’d haemorrhaged £1.5 million in the first week of action. But they weren’t backing down – if anything, the bosses were upping the ante. On day three of the strike they decided to officially issue "at risk" notices to some of the striking workers, telling them individually that their job was in the firing line. That didn’t do much to calm the situation, and nor did John Syvret, CEO of Cammell Laird, saying that even more job losses were imminent as a result of the strike.

The three weeks of strike action were initially intended to end on the 14th of December, but the refusal of the yard bosses to consider Unite's alternative plans for getting over the gap in work without redundancies led to the union announcing a further month of action over Christmas and the new year – with strikes scheduled to continue until the 18th of January, 2019.

At this, the bosses cracked, and agreed to suspend the redundancies for at least four weeks if the workers would go back to work. Now, everyone will have a job over Christmas.

But the fight isn’t over. This strike was just the first round. Other shipyards around the UK have seen a decades-long deterioration in working conditions – to the point that now, in many shipyards, only 25 percent of the workforce is directly employed. Everyone else is an agency worker or on a zero hours contract. Quinn fears that this could happen at Cammell Laird: "Our real concern is that if 50 percent of the manual workforce are laid off, they will be replaced with insecure workers, and the impact of that on the local economy, which is already struggling – it's horrible to think about. We're trying to defend the jobs while we've got them rather than complain about the situation when it's too late."

The Merseyside community is aware of the impact redundancies could have on an already struggling community; 34 percent of children in Birkenhead are in poverty. Deindustrialised areas often suffer huge social consequences when core industries contract. The effects of those job losses are felt by the community for decades after. The fight for these jobs doesn’t just matter for the workers involved.

That’s why groups like Fans Supporting Foodbanks, an initiative set up by Liverpool and Everton fans, have been on the picket line. For the workers facing redundancy, the threat of a future reliant on the already-notorious universal credit is haunting them. Fans Supporting Foodbanks have said they are worried that they will end up collecting food for Cammell Laird workers if these redundancies go ahead. At the Everton/Liverpool derby, fans in both ends displayed banners supporting the strike.

For Quinn, this struggle has a wider significance: "100 years ago, in the same place, workers were held in pens. Then the bosses came and told them if there was work that day or not. We're heading back towards those conditions."

And yet, if the striking workers manage to defend their jobs and conditions, they could yet create a historic moment of their own. Preventing what Quinn claims is a return to Victorian hardship, from the wreckage of late-capitalist dominance comes the era of Strikey McStrikeFace

VICE contacted Cammell Laird for comment but received no response.

@CallumCant1

]]>
3k9y7wCallum CantSimon Childsstay classyboaty mcboatface
<![CDATA[Caroline Lucas and Gloria De Piero Debate a Second Referendum]]>https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/43983b/caroline-lucas-and-gloria-de-piero-debate-a-second-referendumWed, 19 Dec 2018 11:59:38 +0000In 2016, most young British progressives took the view that remaining in the European Union was their best option. The EU certainly had its downsides, but what united much of the left (aside from Lexiteers – how's that one going?) was that a Brexit led by the likes of Boris Johnson would be a total shit-show. And they were right. However, while still united in the belief that Jacob Rees Mogg is a bellend, the left has become increasingly split when it comes to what's next for Brexit.

This is undoubtedly complex territory: there's a progressive case for holding another referendum, and there's a progressive case for not. Proponents of a "People's Vote" hope the country might come to a different conclusion now there's more evidence and the Leave campaign's lies have been disproven; others feel – despite their initial opposition – that a disenfranchised corner of the electorate has spoken, and with little change in opinion polls MPs have a responsibility to earn their trust.

It can often feel these nuances are being ignored: Conservative MPs are storming off live TV; Tory MP David Davies rudely took his phone out midway through a Brexit debate on SkyNews in a misogynistic display of how little he actually cares. Anything that does get said is drowned out by Mr STOP BREXIT, racist chanting and a lot of other disingenuous noise. So what I thought might be helpful was getting two progressive politicians to have a sensible, adult conversation about whether the country needs another vote. One free from yelling, sexism and Tony Blair.

Gloria De Piero is Labour MP for Ashfield, a Nottinghamshire seat in which 70 percent of people voted to leave the EU. With a parliamentary majority of just 441, it’s not hard to see why she’s vehemently opposed to attempts to stop Brexit. Meanwhile, Caroline Lucas, the UK's only Green MP, represents both a party and constituency (Brighton Pavilion) that very much wants to hold a new referendum with an option to remain – as she also does personally.

With our two MPs taking a seat in Gloria's Portcullis House office, I ask them a single question: Do you think the country should vote again on leaving Europe?

1545220728532-ChrisBethell-2

CL: I do agree with you on two things. Firstly, going around lecturing people that they got it wrong is arrogant and stupid. And secondly, I think if the People’s Vote campaign has a chance of being successful it has to change massively. I am lobbying and fighting to try and make that happen. To have Tony Blair, last week, with a People’s Vote backdrop? It’s almost like they’re trying to sabotage the campaign! We need young voices, voices from places like your constituency. People who want a final say because Parliament is gridlocked, and who realise Labour can’t – as Brussels has made clear – negotiate something better.

GDP: I’ve thought a lot about what I’d have done if my constituency had still voted 70 percent leave, but the country had instead voted to remain. I wouldn’t have demanded another vote. I would have used it as an opportunity to find out why.

CL: Believe me, I didn’t wake up the next day thinking, 'Right, let’s ask everyone again.' I have thought long and hard about why people voted to leave. That is what has led me to this point. I think the leave vote was massively important in what it said about our broken political system... it speaks volumes about the kind of country live in. But we’re 100 days from when we’re due to leave. If the Brexits on the table are going to make people’s lives worse, then there’s good reason to give people a final say on the deal.

GDP: But they’ll ask how will it get more people to university? How will it improve wages? How will it find them sure jobs? They’ll say we’ve been in the EU a really long time, and it’s not changed anything. I have a lot of respect for you and for your arguments – but I think the way to bring this country together is to get a majority on board for a permanent customs union, and to have close trading links with the EU. But also to respect the vote, and recognise that a lot of the Brexit vote, just like in my constituency, was optimistic. They thought Britain can be better than this.

CL: I agree with you. Britain can, and must, be better than this. I think that the country is horribly divided. But I think they, and we, are going to be much more divided in a couple of years' time if Brexit happens and then all of the promises which were made are shown to have been falsehoods, with people in worse-off states than before. I believe there is a better chance of bringing the country back together through the opportunity of giving people a final say on the deal. I think your imaginings of what a Labour government could renegotiate are not grounded in reality. Everything you’ve said is premised on there being a Labour government. Right now, that’s not what we have. But a People’s Vote? We can.

@MikeSegalov / @CBethell_photo

]]>
43983bMichael SegalovJamie CliftonChris BethellpoliticsLABOURBrexitgreen partyCaroline Lucasgloria de piero
<![CDATA[Inside the Rise of DIY Dentistry ]]>https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/zmd548/inside-the-rise-of-diy-dentistryWed, 19 Dec 2018 11:02:04 +0000Winchester isn't the sort of place that usually comes up in conversations about poverty. The Hampshire cathedral city has long been a byword for genteel affluence and desirability, routinely topping lists of the UK's "best places to live" – testament to the harmony of its reassuringly half-bucolic mismatch of buzzing high street, sleepy arterial roads and solid, unflashy suburban sprawl.

But a scratch at the surface reveals a different picture. Ten minutes walk from the station is Trinity House, a local homelessness centre that works with around 600 of the county's most vulnerable people – though there are others from around the UK who also seek sanctuary here.

I'm here because this is where Dentaid's mobile unit is set to be stationed for the next few hours, on what's quickly becoming a bracingly cold winter's afternoon. Since 1996, the Salisbury-based dental charity have worked to provide oral health education and treatment, at first in the developing world, though since 2015 their efforts have increasingly focused on addressing domestic needs, by taking their mobile van wherever the problem is greatest or the urgings of local authorities are loudest.

It's a mission that's grown in intensity over the last decade, as changes to how NHS dentists are paid have thrown some of the most needy into what is effectively permanent exclusion from treatment. It used to be that dentists were paid by the job. If a patient needed complex work, you’d be paid for every unit done. But 2006 saw a controversial new contract introduced, where a set amount of Units of Dental Activity (UDAs) were allocated. Every basic procedure now earns one UDA, with fillings and extractions earning three and a course of more complex treatment gleaning 12.

So far, so streamlined. However, the UDA covers an entire course of treatment, no matter how complex. It's irrelevant if the dentist performs one filling or 20; payment will still be the same: three UDAs. To risk seeing "poor quality mouths" could mean a full day of work for the equivalent of an hour's labour on a simple extraction. Simply put, the needy became financially untenable. It's partly what's led to a spike in DIY dentistry – the almost Dickensian process in which people are taking oral health into their own hands, sometimes with disastrous consequences.

1545217103891-Trinity
The Dentaid staff at work.

John Fegan is a builder from west London. His own DIY experiences span a number of years and instances, several of which have passed straight into family folklore. There have been occasional chipped teeth that have required immediate intervention, usually dealt with by a small drill, fixed with a grinding attachment to "file the sharp edges down", he tells me during our correspondence.

Fillings that have fallen out have been replaced, glued back into position with an epoxy resin. But his most infamous episode occurred when the gold cap on a rear molar came loose one night, which a half-asleep John promptly swallowed.

"I suppose most people would put that down to experience and go for a new one, but I didn’t see it that way, and decided that as nature took its course I’d retrieve the swallowed treasure," he explains. "This involved the use of a kitchen sieve and quite a period of waiting. Without going into the finer details, the gold cap was eventually retrieved, sterilised and stuck back in place using more epoxy glue, and is still there today."

Though it's easy to laugh about now, John is moved to a caveat, telling me that he's "quite sane, it just seemed a lot easier than the cost and wait to see a dentist". He's by no means the only one who feels the same; several others I speak with offer the same analysis – that the very idea of going to the dentist is equivalent to a luxury, not a right to be expected under the umbrella of universal healthcare. Of course, there are more lurid horror stories. Of teeth half-ripped off and grisly infections from botched self-inflicted procedures.

It's not that the existence of the DIY kits is sinister, in and of itself. They're a parasitic symptom, rather than the root cause of a deepening health inequality across the UK. One that doesn’t necessarily run across the fault lines of the north/south divide, or pour most of its misery into a single at-risk group. Though, when it comes to dentistry, you’re marginally better off in Scotland or Northern Ireland, where examinations are at least free, even if the cost of treatment itself remains the same.

It's simple: the poorer you are, the less likely you are to access treatment. And as austerity entrenches, there are growing numbers who fall into that camp. As the NHS contracts have changed and prices risen, fewer people feel the costs outweigh the benefits; £20 for a check-up can be a little, or a lot – and dental health can quickly fall in priority when it's a choice between a filling or keeping the heating on for another month. So why not do it yourself, the logic dictates? One young woman I speak with in London has used DIY kits for the best part of five years, whenever the need arises. "I don't have a spare £50, full stop. Let alone for my teeth," she tells me with a hollow laugh.

As the afternoon light starts to dim, I get chatting to Simon, a wiry middle-aged man from just outside of Liverpool. He lives rough, though doesn't like the term rough sleeper. Simon takes his tent around the country, stopping along wherever feels comfortable or right. North in the summer months, winter in the south, with Trinity House providing some welcome temporary respite as the nighttime temperature begins to fall.

It's decent for now, he tells me, as "when you sleep outside, you have to sleep in your clothes as you never know what sort of madness is going to happen. It's nice to let your skin breath a bit." Simon's here because he broke his dentures eating an apple, over two years ago. He couldn't get them fixed before, he tells me, because they're posh ones he paid "quite a bit of money for". His peripatetic lifestyle meant that NHS treatment was out of the question, both in expense and in the administrative rigmarole involved. £600 was the quoted figure, just to replace the bottom set.

It's his first time at Dentaid, though it's a name he’s come across before. "It broke right where the implant receiver is, which meant you couldn't just glue it or take care of it yourself. I was in Tamworth, though I got them done in Aberdeen originally," he says. Though Simon’s first impulse would have been to DIY, it wasn’t feasible, in this instance. It was luck and circumstance that brought him here today, while he’s completely upfront in outlining how "self-medication" is his usual way of dealing with the pain.

For the fortunate, dentistry means cosmetic flourishes and the occasional necessary evil. For many, it has come to mean a nightmare of exclusion and sometimes self-inflicted pain. Though charities like Dentaid do an admirable and impressive job in fighting against the tide, their increasing indispensability is a damning reflection on a crumbling system. As with food banks, they speak of a basic kindness, while laying bare some of the most damning failures and avoidable cruelties of our state.

@Ffranciscodgf

]]>
zmd548Francisco GarciaJamie CliftonHealthFeaturesteethDIY dentistry
<![CDATA[All the News You Need to Read This Morning]]>https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/qv95wx/all-the-news-you-need-to-read-this-morningWed, 19 Dec 2018 09:53:00 +0000 The news is part overwhelming and part boring, so here's a quick list of all the stuff we thought was significant today.

Ministers are being warned of a rise in suicides in the case of a chaotic no-deal Brexit

The UK risks sleepwalking into becoming a "cashless" society

Facebook gave various tech firms access to users' private messages

Laughing gas laws not working, says ex-chief crown prosecutor

The gender gap will take 202 years to close, a new report says

Universal credit could be "disastrous" for disabled people, MPs warn in new report

Violence against journalists reaches an all-time high, a press freedom group reports

Emergency pods could be a useful tool to help people sleeping rough

Kylie Minogue will play Glastonbury's legend slot next year

'It's a Wonderful Life' is voted Britain's favourite Christmas film

New York's ban on nunchucks is ruled unconstitutional

This post is updated daily.

]]>
qv95wxVICE StaffJamie CliftonNews
<![CDATA[How to Start Working Out When You Have Anxiety]]>https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/nep5kz/how-to-start-working-out-when-you-have-anxietyWed, 19 Dec 2018 09:30:00 +0000This article originally appeared on Tonic.

My heart starts racing before I hit the weights, before I warm up—hell, even before I even walk into my new gym. I feel the pins and needles in my armpits that make me glad I switched to my boyfriend’s deodorant. I’m not working out yet: I’m just thinking about working out. As someone who has strong-armed anxiety for the better part of her time on earth, I know the drill. But I don’t like it, and new gyms seem to be rife with triggers for me. (Yes, it’s ironic that I’m a personal trainer.)

I spend a lot of time in the gym because, amid the SSRIs, benzos, genetic testing, individual therapy, and group therapy, I firmly believe that exercise is the best thing I do for my mental health. Most people have at least a fuzzy idea that exercise is good for mental health, but that discussion often starts and ends with depression (which, yes, I deal with, too). And while exercise can be helpful for dealing with depression, the effects of regular movement on anxiety are starting to get some of the attention they deserve, too. By one study’s estimates, regular exercise may reduce symptoms of anxiety by as much as 20 percent.

So far, it seems that exercise’s impact on anxiety is linked to an exposure effect (think: holding a spider if you’re scared of spiders). The physical symptoms of anxiety and the body’s reactions to exercise are pretty similar—i.e., the heart-pounding pit stains—as one study of people with heightened sensitivity to anxiety found. In cases of anxiety, the emotional response tends to be fear. But in that study, after establishing a regular exercise routine, people became less sensitive to day-to-day anxiety. Exercise may teach people to associate their racing hearts and sweaty pits with safety, not danger, the researchers concluded.

It’s why, even if—and when—I feel anxiety walking into a new gym, I do it anyway. I say, “Oh, yep, there it is” and move on. I know that even if my pits are sweaty, I’m okay, and that the hour ahead will be one of the best in my day. And it pretty much always is. If that's the point you're trying to reach, this guide might help. Let's start with the big questions.

Why does going to the gym make some people feel anxious?

At some point, pretty much everyone has experienced some degree of social anxiety, which is intimately linked with performance anxiety, says L. Kevin Chapman, a Kentucky psychologist and a member of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. “Social anxiety is technically a marked fear of social or performance situations in which negative evaluation may occur. This negative evaluation can occur in any social situation, but the gym is a perfect platform for people to potentially look at and judge you and your performance.”

Chapman explains that the potential for negative evaluation is heightened when you do anything new or that you haven’t mastered, or simply when you’re around new people or in a new setting. After all, even if I feel confident walking into my regular gym, working out in a new one—where I don’t know the layout or have to thoroughly examine a machine to figure out how to adjust it to my 5’2” frame—I feel ridiculous. “Are people watching me?” I think. “Please don’t let anyone come up to me trying to help.”

So why are we all so wound up? Partly because it works: “Human beings are wired to scan for friend or foe, and then make a decision on what to do or where to go based on that,” says Stephen Graef, a sports psychologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. This evolutionary behavior allowed us to form tribes of trustworthy pals, keep our distance from enemies, and generally be safe.



When you go to the gym, Graef says, one of two things happen: Either everyone looks at you—or no one looks at you. “Both can be perceived as threatening to someone going into a new environment. It’s like everyone is already part of this gym tribe you don’t belong to,” he says. “Like walking into a cool party—and you don’t have a plus-one.”

Social and performance anxiety aside, the gym makes us feel uncomfortable in other ways, too—for one, you're keenly aware of your body, everyone else’s bodies, and how they rank, Chapman says. That’s not because we're insecure or screwed up—again, it’s just how the human mind works. At some point, it probably served an evolutionary role, Chapman adds. Upward social comparisons—the ones that make us feel like shit—spur us to grow, improve, learn new skills. Downward ones—which make us feel super-superior—encourage us to rest on our laurels.

Our minds, in other words, might be set up to compare us to people who are “better” than us so that we'll aspire to be like them. While constantly trying to improve is mostly a good thing, after a certain point upward social comparisons start to make us get down on ourselves—which is counterproductive to making a positive change.

How does anxiety affect my motivation to work out?

In short, anxiety is really effective at at encouraging people to avoid the gym. “The hallmark feature of anxiety is avoidance,” Chapman says. “The problem with avoidance is that it does provide some relief. And although it’s temporary relief, it perpetuates the feeling of, ‘as long as I avoid the gym, I’m safe.’”

Here’s a scenario: I’m on my way to the gym and I feel super-anxious—like, about-to-throw-up anxious. I decide, “not today.” I go home and turn on The Office, and I feel a lot better. Feel-good hormones are flowing. I’ve just grooved the thought pattern, “gym bad, home good.” That will affect me the next time I attempt to go to the gym. “Each case of avoidance will increase anxiousness during the next attempt,” Chapman says.

But even if you manage to “push through it,” gym anxiety can still negatively affect you. When you’re thinking about everyone looking at you or the shit-show that’s you getting stuck under a squat bar, of course your workout is going to suck: You’re not going to be on top of your form, you’ll likely lose count of your reps, and you’ll flood your body with stress hormones, Chapman explains.

While a certain level of what sports psychologists call "psychological arousal" is needed for athletes to zone in, excess arousal inhibits performance. Could pro athletes compete if they spent the whole game worried about the trash talk from the guy in the second row? Nope. And you can’t, either.

How do I overcome my new gym anxiety?

The only way through it is through it, Chapman says, stressing the importance of exposure therapy. Just as exercise teaches you to not freak out when your heart starts racing, walking through the gym’s door even when you’re feeling anxious teaches you that you’ll survive what’s on the other side, he says.

Over time, and with enough exposure, the anxiety will lessen. Exactly how long that takes varies per person and situation, but taking steps to make your experience more positive and less of an unknown can help speed the process. That could start by selecting the right gym for you—one that has a customer base and culture that makes you safer and less like an outsider, Chapman says. This is part of what recently made me change gyms: My therapist and I decided that I needed a better environment. My new gym is a safe space—it says so right on the door—and it makes my anxiety around finding everything and adjusting certain machines a lot lighter.

When considering potential gyms, visit in person and get a tour, ideally at whatever time you imagine yourself regularly going. Purchasing a day or week pass can help you feel things out. Despite the anxiety that it will cause, trialing multiple gyms can make you find the best fit and be the best solution in the long term. After you commit to a gym, working with a trainer can potentially also relieve anxiety. A trainer can show you how to use certain machines and help you master unfamiliar moves, Graef says. That said, for some people, meeting a trainer can be incredibly anxiety-inducing. So it’s important to think through what’s going to be the most comfortable for you.

If you decide to work out solo, know exactly what you're going to do during your workout before you walk in the gym. For example, with my online trainees, all of them have a workout plan to follow, but I never want them going over the plan for the first time in the gym. I assign them a series of exercise demo videos, read all of the move descriptions, and review the most technical moves via Skype before hitting the weights. That way, when they walk into the gym, they know exactly what they are going to do, how they're going to do it, and what equipment and weights they'll need. They don’t have to try to figure out exercise form or anything else with an audience.

Similarly, I’d encourage you to write down, screenshot, or print out your workout and practice any new moves at home—even if it means deadlifting sans-weights—before heading to the gym when you know you’ll be anxious or uneasy. Think through your gym’s layout, and how you might be able to carve out a little section just for you. While hoarding gym equipment isn’t cool, placing a mat in an empty corner of the gym and then performing all of your exercises there—taking weights back and forth as any polite exerciser does—can help you feel cocooned.

When working with trainees who have never been in a gym setting before, I also find it helps to walk them through wiping down benches, wrangling weight clips, and where it’s appropriate to do on-the-floor exercises. If you have similar concerns when it comes to basic gym etiquette, talk to any of your gym-loving friends and ask them to walk you through the protocol. When you take a tours, ask if you need to bring your own towel or lock. Get all of your questions about gym-ing answered before your first workout. “People who are prone to anxiety tend to feel uncertainty as threatening,” Chapman says. “Any knowledge that you can gain in advance will decrease anxiety.”

Finally, there are a lot of other little things you can do to feel more at ease—from blocking out the world with headphones, to bringing a buddy, to choosing an outfit that makes you feel comfortable in your skin. But what I've found to be most helpful is the simple reminder that people are probably paying a lot less attention to you than you worry they are. Realizing that anxiety is just part of the human experience and—despite our worries—people aren’t noticing us, can be incredibly helpful at normalizing and de-escalating anxiety, Chapman says. As he jokes with his patients, “You aren’t as important as you think you are.” It's why, when my heart starts racing before a workout, I say “OK, there it is.” And then I move on. If anything, I wonder if I can count it as part of my warmup.

]]>
nep5kzK. Aleisha FettersMike Darlingmuscleworking outgymmental healthStressanxietyFitnessexercisebody imageself esteemWeight LossPhys Ed
<![CDATA[Did a Guy in China Really Get a Lung Infection Huffing Sweaty Socks?]]>https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/3k9ywk/did-a-guy-in-china-really-get-a-lung-infection-from-huffing-sweaty-socksWed, 19 Dec 2018 09:26:51 +0000This article originally appeared on VICE Canada.

A 37-year-old man from Zhangzhou, China, was recently admitted to hospital with chest pains and a cough, and was subsequently diagnosed with a severe pulmonary fungal infection. Otherwise known as “fungal pneumonia”, this potentially life-threatening lung condition is typically caused by the inhalation of spores and "opportunistic fungi," which in this case, doctors believe had been contracted after inhaling the spores of a fungus that usually grows in used footwear. It's thought that his proclivity for sniffing his dirty socks every day after work could have been the cause, according to media reports by ScienceAlert, the Daily Mail, and the New Straits Times.

So first of all, yes this is gross, but it's also unconfirmed. Because during the course of his medical examination the patient did admit he had a thing for smelling his sweaty socks, and doctors reportedly suspect that this dirty habit could have been responsible for the spread of the infection. But it's not entirely clear whether the link between Peng’s penchant for snock-sniffing and his illness was a correlation or a causation—and there doesn't seem to be any definitive conclusion one way or the other.

To find out we asked a professional—and they told us that while it might not happen easily, it’s “definitely possible.”

“That a guy in China who smelt his own smelly socks every day after work was found to have a lung infection actually doesn’t surprise me,” said Domenic Roscioli, a podiatrist with the Royal District Nursing Service in Australia. “I’ve seen it all.”

Dom points out that systemic fungal infections found in the lungs are usually caused by inhalation, and inhaling something like a foot fungus could most certainly be a cause .

“Just imagine sweaty feet, with a fungal infection, sitting inside a piece of material all day,” he said. “Imagine the amounts of bacteria that sock would soak up. And then he inhales that? Who knows how deeply and how long for. But it’s definitely not good for you.”

He also stresses that this fungal foot infection was what really caused problems for Peng, though—and that sniffing your sweaty socks alone wouldn’t necessarily carry any serious risks.

“I definitely think he had an infection on his foot, that was transferred onto his socks, that he was then inhaling,” he said. “I don’t think that just sniffing your smelly socks would create an infection in your lungs.”

But still, just don't.

Follow Gavin on Twitter or Instagram

This article originally appeared on VICE AU.

]]>
3k9ywkGavin ButlerJulian MorgansFetishchinaSocksAustralia Todaylung infection
<![CDATA[How the US Weed Edibles Scene Compares to Canada's ]]>https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/gy7nbm/how-the-us-weed-edibles-scene-compares-to-canadasWed, 19 Dec 2018 09:25:17 +0000 In this second installation of VICE Canada and MERRY JANE’s cross-border weed trend series via Sticky, we look at the state of edibles in North America’s legal weed zones.

This article originally appeared on VICE Canada.

The Canadian government has promised to legalize the sale of weed edibles no later than October 17, 2019—a year after recreational cannabis became legal. However, according to recent reports by Marijuana Business Daily and the Globe and Mail, the feds could release draft regulations concerning edibles in the next few weeks.

Once they are legal, edibles are expected to take up a huge chunk of the rec weed market. A Deloitte report from June found that six out of 10 consumers are expected to choose edible cannabis products. And big brands are already pouring money in the space. Constellation Brands, home of Corona beer, has invested $5 billion in licensed producer Canopy, while Molson Coors Canada is partnering with Quebec LP Hydropothecary Corporation to develop cannabis drinks.

What’s legal now in Canada?
Currently, it’s illegal to sell edibles, aside from cannabis oil. Sales of brownies, cookies, gummies and so on are all banned. However, you are allowed to make edibles at home, if you’re so inclined. You can also make extracts as long as you don’t use certain solvents.

What’s available illegally?
There is a thriving black market for weed edibles, and it goes beyond just baked goods. You can get anything from infused honey to tea and coffee to sodas. These products are available on online dispensaries and at underground pop-up markets, several of which exist in Toronto. There are also pop-up dining experiences—dinners where patrons can enjoy several courses of higher end, cannabis-infused meals—something that could prove to be a tourism draw once edibles are legal.

What can we expect from the regulations?
Based on the rollout for recreational weed, we can expect the government to proceed on edibles with caution. There are a lot of unknowns, but the federal task force on legalization, which submitted a thorough list of recommendations to the government in 2016, gives us some insight into how edibles might be regulated.

Unsurprisingly, many of the task force’s concerns centred on keeping edibles away from kids. As such, they recommended:

-banning products that are appealing to children i.e. candy
-prohibiting packaging that’s appealing to children. The rules around flower/oils are already very strict, requiring plain, opaque packaging and large health warnings—we can expect edibles packaging to continue that trend. Packaging will also likely to child-proof.
-limits on both THC per serving (e.g. 10 mg per brownie) with a cap on the total amount of THC per container
-strict testing requirements for potency and clear labelling on the amount of THC/CBD in the products
-a ban on “mixed products” such as alcoholic products mixed with THC

Facilities producing edibles will likely have to meet the standards set for existing LPs and meet food safety requirements.

Myth busting will remain key
The process of destigmatizing weed has been slow and steady, and there is still a lot of misinformation floating out around there, even from sources that should be trustworthy. As one example, earlier this year an emergency room doctor wrongly tweeted that weed edibles can kill children. VICE fact checked her, and she later deleted her tweets. Regulated edibles are new territory for Canada, so it will be important to remain vigilant in separating hysteria from reality.

Booming US market for edibles?
While Canada’s adult-use edibles market remains suspended in year-long limbo, several US states will have already sold hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of chewable, drinkable, slurpable cannabis.

In 2014, Colorado and Washington became the first two states to let anyone 21 years or older buy cannabis-infused edibles. Since then, eight additional states plus D.C. came online, all serving up THC-laden foodstuffs with slightly varying degrees of regulation. And best believe folks are gobbling it up.

According to the cannabis data firm BDS Analytics, edibles are the industry’s fastest growing segment alongside concentrates. Gummies have long led the pack in sales, but chocolate, tincture and pill sales recently spiked along the west coast. California, the nation’s largest weed market, saw 108 percent growth in edibles sales this year, jumping from $18 million in January to $37.5 million by August (USD).

Another data firm, the Brightfield Group, projects cannabis edibles will rake in $2.3 billion USD by the end of 2018. By 2020, America’s edibles may net $5.3 billion USD, putting the infused foodie sector on par with the K-pop and zombie industries. Or Richard Branson’s net worth.

Spoiled for choice
First, what’s available on America’s marijuana menus? US consumers can now snag a wide variety of foodstuffs loaded with cannabis extracts. There are weed chewing gums, pumpkin pies, pizza pies, beers, margaritas, and sports and energy drinks. There’s even weed beef jerky.

Although cannabis-infused candies, chocolates, wines and teas go back hundreds—if not thousands—of years, today’s edibles are arguably better, stronger—and some can kick in much faster, too. Novel products, like flavorless weed powders or liquid drops, are designed to infuse any dish imaginable, freeing dope diners from the sugary, fatty limitations of confection- or cookie-only options.

Medical marijuana patients in Arizona will be especially spoiled, as the Grand Canyon State will soon host the nation’s first cannabis take-out restaurant. Nevada could be next if its legislature greenlights social consumption spots like cannabis clubs or weedy eateries early next year.

Won’t someone think about the children?
Generally, edibles on the recreational markets are limited, by state laws, to 10 mg of THC per serving with a maximum of ten servings per package, or 100 mg THC altogether. The serving is equivalent to smoking a joint or a large bowl stuffed with weed. Medical edibles can go higher, but usually no higher than 20 to 30 mg THC per serving.

What made these limits happen? A combination of lightweights, novices, bad info, and highly publicized sensationalism.

Shortly after Colorado launched recreational weed sales, emergency rooms observed a sharp rise in the number of children and teens being admitted for overdosing on pot candies. Granted, none of these kids died. But with the figures quadrupling between 2005 to 2014, alarms sounded.

To be fair, it wasn’t just kids. Within the first year of legalization, authorities attributed two adult deaths to cannabis edibles. One death involved a 19-year-old African exchange student jumping (or tripping, depending on the account) from a hotel balcony after eating an entire 65 mg weed cookie. Another involved a suicidal Denver-area man shooting his wife because, as his attorneys argued, he ate too many weed candies at once.

The media didn’t help matters, either. In June 2014, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Maureen Dowd penned an op-ed at the New York Times recounting her hellish experience with Colorado’ edibles: she chased down several bites of a THC-infused chocolate bar with a bottle of wine, flipped out, then blamed the state’s lack of regulations on her lack of foresight.

How to keep a sky from falling
Andrew Livingston is the director of economics and research at Vicente-Sederberg, an international pot law firm based in Denver. Livingston helped shape Colorado’s rules for edibles prior to and after legalization, and he told VICE by phone that regulators tried their best to prevent debacles like Dowd’s. He largely attributed these horror stories to Colorado’s transition from a medical to a recreational market.

When Colorado “went rec,” many former medical marijuana dispensaries converted to recreational licenses. At the time, medical cannabis—including edibles—weren’t as tightly regulated as recreational products are. Converted pot shops could hock their old medical edibles on the adult-use market so long as those edibles contained no more than 100 mg THC per package. Single “servings” were ill-defined at the time, and many medical products were incredibly potent relative to their tiny, bite-sized packages. Imagine trying to split a miniature peanut butter cup into ten equal parts.

“Medical products were designed for medical patients, who have a much greater need for high-THC products,” Livingston said. “But regulators, business owners, and activists realized there needed to be potency limits” for the general public, as tourists and casual users would have much lower tolerances to THC than medical cannabis patients.

Where did the 10 mg cap come from? According to a 2013 report from the Amendment 64 Task Force, the limit was determined by compiling several scientific studies, anecdotal reports, and consultations from medical doctors.

At 10 mg, the average adult will fully feel the positive effects of THC (giggles, munchies) with minimal adverse effects (paranoia, dizziness). The upper limit for this range is 20 mg, but that can be too much for some people, especially rookies. The lower limit is 5 mg, but too little THC carries an additional caution Livingston called “stacking.” Stacking is when someone eats an edible but doesn’t feel anything right away, so they eat more edibles to compensate for the lack of high. Often, these nibblers will underestimate how much THC they’ve ingested and end up tripping balls like Maureen Dowd did in 2014.

The regulatory slap-down didn’t end with just dosing for edibles.

Edible shapes and designs that could appeal to children, like gummy bears, were banned in 2015. Infused foods would also require an edible diamond stamp labeled with bold letters spelling out “THC.” Package labels warned users that the edible products were not for children as well. Some companies implemented child-proof mechanisms that are so tricky to unlock they’re nearly adult-proof as well. By mid-2016, the new regulations went into full effect. So far, they appear to be working.

Other states such as Washington and Oregon soon followed Colorado’s lead. In fact, Oregon took it a step further and capped edible servings at 5 mg THC. This year, Washington state almost banned cannabis gummies altogether but scrapped the ban at the last minute.

What does the future hold for US edibles?
Worrying over edibles aside, business is booming, and technological advancements are soaring at supersonic speeds.

For one, cannabis edibles are rarely made with butter, once the key ingredient in infused foods. Bud butter may work wonders in the home kitchen, but it usually creates edibles with inconsistent dosing. One half of a brownie may hold more THC than the other half, which is no good in an industry beholden to stringent lab testing requirements and state regulations.

To craft edibles with homogenous dosing across every batch, the industry switched from butter to hydrocarbon or carbon dioxide extracts. In the concentrates market, these extracts are known as “wax” or “shatter” hashes which can reach up to 90 percent THC by weight. Because the extracts are relatively pure, they can be reliably dosed into single servings.

Furthermore, a new generation of edibles are water-soluble. Earlier versions of infused drinks like sodas, coffees and teas were made with heat-activated kief or hashish, which led to cloudy mixtures and gunky buildups. Newer recipes employ emulsified cannabis powders (THC bonded with starch) or sonication (THC broken up into microscopic particles with sound waves) to dissolve the weed in water, something unheard of just a few years ago.

Water-soluble THC confers a few major benefits over edibles made with oils. Emulsified THC is absorbed through the body’s carbohydrate channels, which are present in the mouth’s mucous lining. Because starch molecules carry the THC, the weed absorbs directly into the bloodstream and bypasses the digestive system. Drinks, drops, sublingual films and powders designed this way will get someone high within five to ten minutes, leagues faster than traditional edibles. Quicker onsets mean less chance of stacking doses and overdoing it.

We may also see edibles marketed for their flavonoid content. Flavonoids are another class of chemicals in cannabis that may be responsible for the different kinds of highs consumers experience.

Regardless, given the rapidly expanding size of the market coupled with the blitzkrieg progress of legalization, it’s safe to say edibles are here to stay. Bon appétit, stoners.

Follow Manisha Krishnan and Randy Robinson on Twitter.

This article originally appeared on VICE CA.

]]>
gy7nbmManisha KrishnanRandy RobinsonChris BiltonJosh VisserWeedediblesMerry JaneStickycanada vs usa
<![CDATA[God Sesh Us Everyone: The 19th of December ]]>https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/3k9e89/god-sesh-us-everyone-the-19th-of-decemberWed, 19 Dec 2018 09:15:00 +0000It's December, which means it's Christmas soon, which means for the next few weeks Britain's streets are going to be teeming with adult men and women wearing novelty jumpers and trying to not throw up on themselves. To celebrate this special time of year, we're running a photographic advent calendar with our friend, photographer Orlando Gili, called "God Sesh Us Everyone".

1545153792904-cal-19

Today's Christmas Fact: It is illegal to eat mince pies on Christmas Day in England, thanks to a 17th century law passed by Oliver Cromwell – a puritan who didn’t like the idea of gluttony on a religious day – which has never been rescinded.

orlandogili.com

]]>
3k9e89Orlando GiliJamie CliftonchristmasPhotoGod Sesh Us Everyone
<![CDATA[Peter Mandelson Calls for a 'People's Vote' While Telling Potential Clients Brexit Can't Be Stopped]]>https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/wj3kvb/peter-mandelson-calls-for-a-peoples-vote-while-telling-potential-clients-brexit-cant-be-stoppedWed, 19 Dec 2018 09:00:00 +0000Peter Mandelson, one of the founder-directors of the main campaigns to stop Brexit, also runs a company offering international corporations advice about how to deal with the approaching inevitability of Brexit.

Lord Mandelson – nicknamed the Prince of Darkness during the Blair years for his ability to spin media coverage – is a director of the anti-Brexit "Open Britain", one of the organisations behind the “People's Vote” campaign.

Open Britain was the officially recognised remain campaign during the EU referendum, under its older name "Britain Stronger in Europe/The In Campaign". After losing the referendum, it was renamed Open Britain, and joined the People’s Vote drive for a second referendum. Mandelson also appears on the "People’s Vote" website as a "Leading supporter of the People’s Vote campaign". The People’s Vote campaign is run from Open Britain’s offices in Millbank Tower in Westminster.

Mandelson was floating a possible second referendum in early 2017. In February, he wrote in the Independent, "When a deal is reached the country is entitled, either directly or through parliament, to pass judgement on what’s on offer… The whole of the country is entitled to make up their minds" on the terms of Brexit. Also in February of 2017, he told the Big Issue, “If the public wants to change its mind then it’s up to Parliament to reflect that. Parliament might want to do that through its own vote, or it might do so by calling a second referendum. It’s entirely speculative at this stage to predict anything, but the job of Parliament is to reflect and express the public will." This July, Lord Mandelson put it in more strident terms, writing in the Independent that, "It’s time for the public to stand up against the Brextremists and demand a People’s Vote."

All of which appears to be rather a contrast to what Mandelson wrote in the business magazine Australian Financial Review last September: "I worked hard to avoid Brexit. If it could be stopped I would help stop it, but the people have spoken and that has to be respected."

He was writing in his capacity as chairman of his "Strategic Advice Consultancy", Global Counsel, before a visit to Australia to meet their clients in Sydney and Melbourne. He added: "Regardless, all the signs are that it [Brexit] is going to happen whatever I might think and however badly the exit negotiations are going now. Which means Australia has a chance to help us make a success of it."

Mandelson has been at the helm of Global Counsel since 2010. Global Counsel say they help "companies anticipate and adapt" to "policy change". In effect, then, Global Counsel will be charging clients for advice on how to deal with Brexit, not least because, as its website says: "Global Counsel has been helping clients prepare for a possible Brexit over the past two years. Our team of former Whitehall and Brussels policymakers and sectoral specialists, based at our offices in Brussels and London, enable us to help clients navigate the politics, policy and commercial implications of Brexit."

London law firm Herbert Smith Freehills and US management consultants the Boston Consulting Group have become "Brexit Partners" with Global Counsel, to offer advice to their big business clients on how to deal with trade and other business issues as the UK leaves the EU.

According to the law firm, "Since the UK voted to leave the European Union, we have been working with Global Counsel to provide our European clients with a holistic perspective on Brexit" and "its impact on their activities".

It may seem curious that, at the same time Mandelson is taking to the barricades for a People's Vote, he’s advising businesses on how to navigate Brexit, with his company charging them for the advice. VICE reached out to Mandelson and Global Counsel to ask for their comments on this – in particular, we wanted to know if Mandelson’s position on the board of Open Britain was sustainable, given his apparent stance that Brexit is inevitable – but none was forthcoming.

Meanwhile, Global Counsel’s report on the possibility of "Hard Brexit" says companies could see a big risk to their profits through new tariffs. To try preserving profits, Global Counsel advises that firms could, for example, "increase sales prices" or try "reducing quality" of goods so they are cheaper to make.

Global Counsel downplays any chance of stopping Brexit, and seems to suggest that elements of a hard Brexit are inevitable. As a compromise, it proposes that freedom of movement and protections for things like workers' rights could be sacrificed as long as market access is maintained: "Popular support for some form of hard Brexit and the political imperative not to imperil prosperity mean that a carefully crafted compromise will be called for in balancing the minimum elements of hard Brexit (e.g. controlling immigration and elective alignment with EU rules) with the greatest possible degree of reciprocal market access."

VICE asked the People's Vote campaign and Open Britain if Mandelson’s position on the board of Open Britain was sustainable, given that he gives advice that Brexit is inevitable. They made no response.

VICE hopes to hear from Mandelson and Open Britain. As it stands, it seems that Mandelson’s position on the board of Open Britain and his advocacy of a second referendum are contradicted by his public statements to prospective business clients.

Who Are Open Britain?

While Open Britain are a major force behind the "People’s Vote" campaign, they do not list their directors or leadership on their website. But by law, they must list their directors on the Companies House Website. According to Companies House, their current directors are:

Lord Mandelson

Joe Carberry – A former “New Labour” adviser who is now head of PR for Deliveroo.

Will Straw – Son of former Labour Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.

Roland Rudd – Founder of City PR firm Finsbury. Brother of Work & Pensions secretary Amber Rudd.

Daniel Gieve – Chief of Staff of corporate PR firm Finsbury, Gieve is the son of a former deputy governor of the Bank of England.

Sir Mike Rake – Former Chairman of telecoms firm BT and former European Chairman of accountants KPMG.

Richard Reed – Founder of Innocent Drinks, which he later sold to Coca Cola. Donated to both the Lib Dems and Chuka Umunna.

James McGrory – Formerly Nick Clegg’s chief spin doctor from 2013-5, during the Tory-Lib Dem coalition.

Trevor Phillips – Former chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

June Sarpong – Broadcaster.

@SolHughesWriter

]]>
wj3kvbSolomon HughesSimon ChildspoliticsBrexitPeter MandelsonPeople's Vote