, 26 tweets, 9 min read Read on Twitter
What #ParliamentShutDown is about.
A thread on strategy and tactics.

Premises: Cummings is the decision maker, a rare beast who understands at least the most fundamental rules of strategy. His final aim is to consolidate power.

#Brexit is a tool, not the aim.
In a confrontation with multiple players, only a fool thinks it's possible to plot a precise route to victory. Smarter people know that the best way to increase the chances of success is to maximise one's own options and reduce the options available to the opposition.
#ParliamentShutDown does this in multiple ways.
1st: it forces honest democrats to fight back, engaging in a battle chosen by Cummings. This is bad, but not baiting is even worse! It already is a tactical cost we can't avoid paying.
2nd: all legislation that is unfinished when the #ParliamentShutDown happens will die. When parliament sits again, the process re-starts from zero. Means that parliament might manage to force just one response before the interruption. Only one initiative = less options!
3rd: during the pause, MPs can't interrogate the Government about its actions. That is: no scrutiny and no countermeasures will be possible at the crucial #Brexit negotiation stage with the #EU. This is bad!
Importantly, all these tactical advantages are obtained while the cost, in terms of loss of viable options, is minimal. So, what are the key choices that Cummings will eventually need to make? What are his most important options?
The main one is controlling when and on what terms to fight a General Election. They will call it, but they will wait as long as possible and call it when:
Either they feel completely in control of the "[whoever] against the people" narrative.
Or they are forced to.
Controlling the timing of the GE is the biggest tactical asset they have, so it's imperative for them to avoid being forced into a GE at a time chosen by the opposition. Cfr. the rumours about calling a GE while letting #NoDeal happen. They act as a deliberate warning...
2nd option they (might?) really need to retain is the possibility of an electoral pact with the #BrexitParty. To this aim, #ParliamentShutDown erodes the #BrexitParty base, making it more likely they (the BP) will accept a pact, in order to get some MPs elected.
Main risk: being forced into a GE at the wrong time. Who has the power to make this happen? The DUP can, anytime. But having given their consent to #ParliamentShutDown, it's now harder for them: they have less opportunities and higher costs: how could they justify it, now?
Let's now look at the other side. #ParliamentShutDown is so blatantly undemocratic that *anyone* who understands how this democracy is supposed to work has to oppose it. Not opposing it means losing the support of all the voters who understand what's a stake.
However, pairing it with the planned recess, means that the government retains enough "deniability". To those who don't know much about how institutions work, it can look as a minor sleight of hand, not a major outrage.
This is perhaps the most important things to note:
The opposition is forced to react, otherwise it would lose the support of its core base. But by reacting, it can be seen as *over-reacting* by the majority of voters who don't pay enough attention.
Cummings knows that he can't predict how many people will see how fundamentally undemocratic his overarching project is, nor how strong the popular and institutional reaction will be.
So #ParliamentShutDown is deployed, because it has a veneer of deniability.
It forces all honest actors into action (removes all other options!) but, because of deniability, it can (and will) make these actors appear to be the unreasonable and uncompromising side (in the eyes of the fairly uninterested general public).
What's more, it allows to mine social media in order to clearly identify 3 groups of people, with minimal effort.
Group1: those who fight back against this government of wannabe fascists. When campaigning, they will know not to spend a single penny on anyone in this group.
Group2: those who applauded the move. For campaign purposes, they will know they will have to ensure that, to these people, the government looks more #Brexiteer than the #BrexitParty (#ParliamentShutDown helps a great deal, for this).
Group3 (the relative majority): the don't know, don't understand, don't care enough crowd. These are the ppl who can be made to vote for either side, depending on who they perceive as the mainstream option. Thanks to the current move, Cummings will know exactly who they are.
Thanks to #ParliamentShutDown, simply mining the Twitter API (let alone Facebook) will make it super-easy to identify and target this group. All you need to do is find those who didn't react to it - simple! Then you can send 2 kinds of messages to them:
1st kind: anything that can be used to show that those who oppose the #ParliamentShutDown are ideologically motivated and have much too strong feelings about it.
2nd: anything that gives the impression that ordinary people dislike those who oppose the #ParliamentShutDown.
That's all: doing this effectively is almost enough to win a GE - the other requirement is to not lose too many votes on the right. But they can already target group2, so that's relatively easy.
Consequence: what needs to be done, right now (!), is a massive, coordinated PR campaign to pre-empt the efficacy of messages of the 1st kind.
Why the #ParliamentShutDown is fundamentally undemocratic needs to be explained and repeated as much as possible.
At the same time, the protest movement need to be seen as made up of ordinary ppl, not extreme left, not elite/snobs, but normal types who got scared/concerned.
Some civil disobedience might grab the right attention, but it's a thin line: just a touch too much will backfire.
Most importantly, it needs to be shown (and be) an undeniably mass-movement. It's the only way to make it work. If every single person in the country will personally know one or more people participating in the protests, then messages of kind 1&2 simply cannot work.
Right now, numbers, ubiquity and continuity is all that matters. In this context, civil disobedience can help (keeping the risk in mind) to ensure people notice that protests are ubiquitous and relentless - this is the *only* reason to deploy it!
This is all, folks. Now it's time for me to leave and go to #DowningStreet to protest and #StopTheCoup.
You should go and demonstrate as well - get on your feet!
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