This morning it all still seems so bizarre

A Conservative government is risking a full-blown constitutional crisis and destroying its international reputation over...

...increasing the role of public sector in subsidising otherwise uncompetitive private sector businesses

'Conservative' in that last tweet to be said in exactly the same way Neil Kinnock said 'Labour' in his famous speech on Militant
Missing in all this - as conspicuous as a missing witness statement - is the failure of UK government to explain why it wants to depart from EU State aid rules

What exactly is the UK's alternative vision of State aid?

And why does it require this big departure?

This is the gap
UK currently appears to have no firm plan yet for what to do with State aid post Brexit:…

So there seems to be no concrete UK proposal in place to explain triggering this crisis *now*

So why trigger this crisis at this point?

Something does not add up
If this was really about State aid, govt could have already published its policy on post-Brexit State aid and got it endorsed by parliament

UK then could say to EU: look, this is our State aid policy but it does not fit with A10 of the Irish Protocol, what can we do about it?
UK and EU (and esp Ireland) could then have a grown-up and sensible (I know, ho ho) discussion about reconciling different approaches to State aid, based on concrete proposals

But UK is picking this fight even before it knows its State aid policy

And picking the fight *now*
There is a mismatch between (a) the high-level drama (expressly breaking rule of law, undermining our future credibility as negotiating partner) and (b) the particular policy issue at stake

(a) is not explicable in terms of (b)

State aid seems to be a pretext for something else

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More from @davidallengreen

12 Sep
"Ha ha, you thought Article 50 would never be triggered" come the occasional taunt

Looks around at the increasing political, policy, legal and economic chaos

'And this is why,' is my response

'No sane government would have inflicted this on itself'
My view, which has been consistent since the referendum, is that Brexit should have been done by a single overall treaty between UK and EU

Dealing with both exit and relationship issues

The Article 50 process was never fit for purpose as a means of departure for a member state
I am not a Remainer and I have never had any objection to Brexit in principle

I want UK's future to be as having close Association Agreement with EU - and I think this will suit UK and EU in medium to longer term

But the rush to to exit via A50 without thought was not rational
Read 7 tweets
10 Sep
This statement is so carefully written, and fun to read just as carefully.
Let's go through the statement, as it is really so delightful
The 'Government has today published...'

Note: not the Treasury Solicitor, not the Attorney General's Office, not the Lord Chancellor

The 'Government'

And, indeed, oddly it was the Cabinet Office that published the 'statement'
Read 13 tweets
9 Sep
Remarkable drafting on show here

In effect: 'notwithstanding' the provisions are in breach of the law
Clause 45(2)(a) says, in effect, this provision will have legal effect, regardless of it being unlawful

There is a certain beauty and deft elegance to the drafting of this most extraordinary and illiberal clause

They are really going to try this
In summary:

'This shall have legal effect notwithstanding it being held not to have legal effect'

Such brilliance makes you wonder why it has never been tried before
Read 4 tweets
8 Sep
French fishermen are no doubt looking forward to breaching international law in "specific" ways
Spain is no doubt looking forward to breaching international law regarding Gibraltar in "specific" ways
Argentina is no doubt looking forward to breaching international law regarding the Falkland Islands in "specific" ways
Read 6 tweets
8 Sep
This is significant, so very significant
The head of the government legal service is also, historically, the Treasury Solicitor

A grand title and position, as worthy as the Attorney General and Lord Chancellor

The late great @HenryBrooke1 wrote a detailed post on the role here…
Read 13 tweets
7 Sep
The suggestion that a sovereign state cannot be sovereign when it is party to a treaty is inherently absurd, as the modern notion of a sovereign state is that it is a state capable of entering into a treaty
The modern nation state, at least in the west, derives in part from the treaty of Westphalia:…

To say that being party to a treaty negates being a sovereign state is to, well, be ignorant of four hundred years of history, law and diplomacy
Even the EU, which can in certain circumstances also be a party to certain international agreements, can only do so because of the prior terms of the two treaties of EU between the 27 sovereign member states

Being able to freely enter into treaties is what sovereign states *do*
Read 5 tweets

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