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14 Sep, 37 tweets, 7 min read
#TheWeekInTory had to pause for a bit while I dealt with a poorly old mum. So this is actually about 3 weeks, very compressed

I dreaded coming back to this. I mean, honestly, where do you start?

Deep breath…
1. Theresa May couldn’t agree a Withdrawal Agreement (WI) because – in news that will shock the millions who warned about this – it’s impossible due do without accepting EU rules, or harming NI, or breaking up the UK, or crippling the economy, or all of the above
2. Nevertheless, Boris Johnson agreed a WI from the EU

3. Then Tories voted to accelerate the Withdrawal Agreement through parliament, specifically so it wouldn’t have to face scrutiny

4. And Boris Johnson withdrew the whip – sacked – 21 Tories who didn’t support the delay
5. Then he won an election by promising the WI was "oven-ready" and "brilliant"

6. Later, in a massive shock, it was discovered the WI contains all the problems that prevented May from agreeing it

7. So the govt announced it would just break the law and ignore its own treaty
8. Each MP’s Oath of Allegiance includes "I will give my loyalty to the United Kingdom… uphold its democratic values … and observe laws faithfully"

9. All 5 living ex-PM’s oppose this plan

10. Every living ex-Tory leader opposes it (except IDS, but c’mon, it’s IDS)
11. So now the govt which sacked 21 MPs for opposing the WI is threatening to sack any MPs who support the same WI

12. The actual Police Minister said it’s OK to break the law

13. The Lord Chancellor, Britain’s highest law officer, said it’s OK to break the law
14. The Attorney General, responsible for advising the govt on legal matters, said it’s OK to break the law

15. The Lord Chancellor and Attorney General are barristers, and the Bar Council guidelines say you will be struck-off if you "knowingly advise a client to break the law"
16. Same day, Foreign Secretary and irony no-fly-zone Dominic Raab said Iran "must comply with its legal commitments and treaties"

17. Gavin Williamson and Mark Francois were nominated for the MP Of The Year Award

18. This was the last known sighting of Mark Francois
19. Michael Gove said in a July speech "failures of policy and judgement", are generating a "crisis of authority" and "Politicians like me must take responsibility for the effect of their actions"

20. Gavin Williamson is still in his job

21. But the head of Ofqual was sacked
22. And the most senior education civil servant had to stand down

23. In fact, resignations by senior civil servants are up 14% in a year

24. But 44% of new senior appointments are personal friends of Michael Gove, in one of those amazing coincidence things
25. Other amazing coincidences, a sub-thread:

a. Public First, a company led by Govt and Cummings associates, was handed a contract to help Ofqual with the exams fiasco. The contract wasn’t put out to tender
b. Gove appointed ex-girlfriend Simone Finn as adviser to Cabinet Office. Finn immediately paid her own company to "shake up the Cabinet Office"

c. Gove handed a contract (without tender) to PWC, a company that pays him £5000 per hour to give speeches
d. Gove gave £21k to Signal AI, a company associated with Gove and Cummings, to ask Tunisians what they think about Covid

e. Faculty AI, associated with Gove and Cummings, got £400k to analyse tweets by UK citizens. So if I vanish one dark night, tell my family I tolerated them
f. And another contract went to the cousin of Tory MP Tom Tugendhat to "analyse the awarding of govt contracts", which is like a spiral, wrapped inside a Möbius strip, encased in a corkscrew, and tethered to a twat
26. Anyway, back to the fun: Home Secretary and Nurse Ratched cosplayer Priti Patel authorised “more painful” Taser guns, clearly anticipating more determined rioters

27. She then abandoned a deportation flight after it was found every passenger had leave to stay in the UK
28. Matt Hancock said we should get back to work as there is "little evidence" coronavirus is passed on in offices, having seen Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings catch coronavirus in their office

29. Then he voted for himself to continue to work remotely for 11 more weeks
30. Tories told us to lose weight

31. Then they paid us to go and eat out

32. Then they told us face-masks were essential

33. But not in schools

34. Then they were essential in schools

35. Then they told us to keep social distancing
36. Then they held a meeting of 50 PMs in a room with a capacity for 29

37. Then only 8 minutes later, they tweeted that the were updating advice to ban meeting in groups of 30

38. Then they banned you from meeting more than 6 people
39. But you can still go to the pub, 30 of you can attend a wedding or (more likely) a funeral, 30 of you get in a rugby scrum, and you can sit on a packed train carriage with 80 other people

40. Oh, and obviously, grouse-shooting is exempt. After all, what are we: French!?
41. And the new ban didn’t start for a week, and excluded the St Leger horse racing meet, where 3640 people crowded together making money for The Jockey Club; and isn’t it amazing that Matt Hancock is MP for Newmarket, where his major donors The Jockey Club are based?
42. So now the R number (which Boris Johnson was "absolutely committed to keeping below 1") is at 1.7

43. Matt Hancock made a big deal of £60k compensation for families of NHS workers who died fighting Covid. The govt simultaneously stopped all their benefits
44. Hancock then started a scheme to financially support those forced to self-isolate, paying them up to (that’s “up to”) £13 a day

45. In preparation for the forthcoming homelessness epidemic, Tory councils voted to fine people £1000 for being too poor have anywhere to sleep
46. The govt said it was "ramping up to 150k tests a fortnight" 3 months after they claimed they were doing "over 100k tests a week"

47. Matt Hancock said he was changing the law to allow nurses to give flu vaccinations, unaware nurses already give over 93% of flu vaccinations
48. Then he launched a campaign to fight obesity, and immediately closed the agency responsible for delivering it

49. And then he advertised for a person to replace the head of Public Health England. The advert said no experience in health is required. In a pandemic.
50. The govt announced Operation Moonshot!, an exciting-sounding £100bn plan to test 10m people a day using technology that doesn’t exist, delivered by the people behind the PPE crisis, Brexit, Gavin Williamson, and Chris Grayling literally failing his own intelligence test
51. Meanwhile, we ran out of home testing kits

52. Then more shortages led us sending people on 500-mile round trips for a Covid test, in what experts have dubbed “the full Cummings Experience”
53. Six months after the first case in the UK, despite having diligently spent over £1bn on contracts with sweet suppliers and dormant companies with no employees, the UK still is not capable of producing a single piece of hospital-standard PPE
54. Researchers from King’s College London found Tories “employed overt disinformation” with “new levels of impunity” in the 2019 General Election
55. The govt was “formally warned for threatening press freedom” (putting us in the same classification as Russia) by the Council of Europe, which the UK co-founded in 1949 to protect human rights

56. It was then reported Boris Johnson plans to opt out of human rights laws
57. Meanwhile, a cross-party group of MPs is threatening to sue Boris Johnson if he continues to ignore calls for an enquiry into Russian interference in UK politics. People connected to the Putin regime paid £160k to play tennis with Boris Johnson
58. The leader of Scottish Tories tweeted “I would have no hesitation in voting against any legislation which would allow chlorinated chicken or hormone-injected beef. That’s a categorical assurance.”

59. He then voted to allow chlorinated chicken and hormone-injected beef
60. The govt voted not to implement the recommendations of the Grenfell Tower enquiry

61. The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions was quoted as saying “it is not my job to worry about people starving to death in the UK”
62. The govt announced new Covid restrictions with a densely worded 10-page legal document, released at 11.38pm on Sunday night, just 22 minutes before police, hospitals, health officials, local councils, schools and businesses had to implement them
63. The document ends: “no impact assessment has been done”, surprising nobody familiar with Brexit

64. Environment news, and as a liveable world slips relentlessly from our grasp, the UK spent just £2000 – not a typo - tackling environmental damage to the British countryside
65. They spent £46m (2300 times as much) telling us to get ready for a Brexit that didn’t happen

66. And the Tory-appointed head of the Environment Agency endorsed proposals to weaken laws on the cleanliness of rivers, lakes and coastlines
67. Meanwhile the Fisheries Minister posed "catching mackerel" with a rod that had no line in a sea that has no mackerel, and I had to order a fresh barrel of satire

68. Nine months into Boris Johnson’s "levelling up" agenda, the gap between rich and poor pupils has grown 46%
69. And finally, because no list of abject failure is complete without him, Chris Grayling literally resigned from Intelligence

Thank you for coming to my TED talk. Please pick up your complimentary revolver on the way out, and remember to write a will.

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More from @RussInCheshire

21 Sep
#TheWeekInTory returns for the second time in 4 days

The weeks grow shorter, but the days last forever

Anyway: don your athletic support, lower your visor, drink heavily, and start with some comparatively minor corruption...
1. The consultant who advised the govt to look for "alternative arrangements" on the Irish Border is in line for a £200m contract if alternative arrangements go ahead

2. But to facilitate this, the govt has to break international law with the Internal Market Bill (IMB)
3. Nobody can tell us what the "alternative arrangements" are, but the IMB passed through parliament anyway

4. The UK’s highest-ranking law officer in Scotland resigned over the IMB

5. The UK’s special envoy on media freedom, Amal Clooney (yes, that one) quit over IMB
Read 37 tweets
18 Sep
Someone I know (offline) said they didn't understand the whole Brexit / Ireland / Trade thing. Didn't see the first few episodes, couldn't catch up, now lost.

So for those in the same boat, I'm gonna try to explain. This is (necessarily) simplified, but here goes
In 2016 we voted to leave the EU.

But if we do that without a Trade Deal, we risk making a lot of our economy noncompetitive.

Why?

Because if you don't have a Trade Deal, you have to use WTO (World Trade Org) rules. And those include tariffs.

What are tariffs?
Tariffs are a kind of tax: between around 10% and 90% of the value of the thing you trade. So for example, beef that we currently sell to Spain for £10 will now cost £19.

And that means it's cheaper for Spain to buy beef from France. So they will. So our beef farmers suffer.
Read 19 tweets
14 Sep
Off the back of this (which may well be empty gossip), some slightly disjointed thoughts.

In the current govt, Johnson is a shell. No authority, no plan, no decision-making.

The real power is the axis of Gove-Cummings

1/
But Gove must know he can't be next. He's tried and failed twice. He's better (by his estimation) as a power behind the throne. So although he's touted, I personally doubt it.

Cummings won't survive if Johnson goes. A successor won't tolerate him.

2/
Opposite Corbyn, the Tory front bench could pick almost anyone. Opposing Starmer, they need somebody serious.

If it happens fast, I'd bet on Sunak. Currently popular cos he's "Captain Giveaway"

But very soon the bills need to be paid, and his lustre will fade fast.

3/
Read 8 tweets
13 Sep
Well, I just reported @SuellaBraverman and @RobertBuckland to the Bar Standards Board. Advising a client to break the law explicitly breaches published Bar Standards, and brings the profession into disrepute.

The usual punishment is being struck off.
barstandardsboard.org.uk/online-reporti…
In the unlikely event you want to do the same, you'll need their addresses.

Luckily, these are on their websites. Here are links

robertbuckland.co.uk/contact

suellabraverman.co.uk/contact-suella
It would be terrible if several thousand people reported them, and their professional body suspended their right to practice law. If that were to happen, they could no longer hold their offices. Obviously this would be tragic.
Read 5 tweets
12 Sep
Brexit Trade Talks:

UK: We don’t like our deal

EU: Why not?

UK: We only get 95% of what we want

EU: It only gives us 95% too. That's how negotiating goes

UK: We want a new deal that gives us everything we can think of

EU: But you signed a deal

UK: Don't care, we hate you
EU: Bit rude

UK: We elected people to go to your meetings specifically to say we hate you

EU: And how is Nigel?

UK: Not happy?

EU: Why not?

UK: TV has dried up. So we want a new deal, and we want the deal in 3 weeks, or we cancel our existing deal

EU: Wait, what?
UK: You heard. Give us 100% of what we want in 3 weeks, or we break the law and walk away with 0% of what we want

EU: Er… suits us!

UK: Wait, what?

EU: Perfect. Do it. Walk away. Take Nigel with you.

UK: No, hold on, wait: you have to negotiate, so Boris can win
Read 21 tweets
10 Sep
A few points:

1

If Britain, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, sets a precedent for arbitrarily ignoring international treaties, how can the international community enforce them in future? How can we compel Iraq or N Korea to follow the rules?
2

I'm not just talking about trade deals or the EU. Fact is, grown up govts cannot allow this to happen, because it undermines every country's confidence in international law and agreed treaties. On trade, security, nuclear weaponry, everything.
3

If the aim of this is to show how independent we are: what an appalling failure. We've now got 3 weeks to backtrack or the EU can sanction us. The US has said there's no chance of a UK/US deal if we do this. And the international community is aghast.
Read 7 tweets

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