Phil Syrpis Profile picture
13 Oct, 14 tweets, 3 min read
Just had the misfortune to see @RobertJenrick's interview on the BBC. 1/12
The rhetoric goes like this: We are at a moment of maximum danger. We have hard choices to make. We will work closely with local leaders. And, wait for it, we have devised a new framework. 2/
This new 3 tier framework (with the country divided into 'medium', 'high' and 'very high') has been getting lots of attention. But, it has not been properly scrutinised. 3/
People (like me) have been asking questions about it since the first plans started to emerge in the media last week. See 4/
Well, now we know some things. The new rules, which emerged last night, are discussed in some detail here... and come before Parliament today.
In short, in tier 1 (medium) it is essentially the current rules. Rule of six, 10pm curfew... the restrictions which have (not) been sending the virus into such a sharp retreat. 6/
In tier 2 (high), the restrictions are essentially what they have been in those areas (Manchester, Newcastle etc) which have been subject to special measures over the last weeks... ie the restrictions which have (not) been sending the virus into such a sharp retreat. 7/
In tier 3 (very high), stricter restrictions still are agreed, via an opaque process of dialogue/blame-shifting between central and local Govt. The level of tier 3 restrictions can be tailored to local needs. 8/
Literally the only changes are that a handful of new places have tier 2 type restrictions, and *only Liverpool* has stricter tier 3 restrictions. 9/
We have (unless I've missed it...) had no information on what might cause movement from tier 1 to tier 2. We know little about the discussions between central and local Govt on movement from tier 2 to tier 3, or on the extent of tier 3 restrictions. What criteria do they use? 10/
There's also confusion about the extent of support to businesses and workers - does the Chancellor's new package of support extend to all those not able to operate 'normally', or only to those whose workplaces have been told to close? 11/
All in all, it is an abject effort.

The crisis/tipping point rhetoric masks the fact that precious little has been done. The measures do not provide clarity.

And, as the CMO himself said yesterday) they are unlikely, in an of themselves, to be effective. 12/12
PS Sorry: I linked to the wrong thread above (at tweet 5). The new restrictions are discussed here by @AdamWagner1
PS 2: This is a useful map. There's a lot of tier 1...

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More from @syrpis

8 Oct
As per usual, moved to tweet out of frustration born of watching the news. This is on the new '3 tier coronavirus restrictions'. The acknowledged urgent need is to provide people with clarity.

That's a good start. It doesn't last. 1/8
One can imagine the delight in Whitehall as the 'traffic light system' was first proposed. Clear and simple. Red, amber, green. Divide the country into 3 zones. Have stricter rules where the case numbers are highest. 2/
The usual suspects in the press were duly alerted. Boris would be bringing - if not good news - then at least some clarity.

But... it appears that the plan has yet to be fully thought through. 3/
Read 9 tweets
6 Oct
I know nothing about off-shore wind, so I was, ahem, blown away by some of the PM's claims.

But I have 3 questions. 1/4
First, are there any geographical reasons why the UK is best placed to harness the power of the wind? If not, why are other countries missing the boat so spectacularly, and will they continue to do so into the 2030s? 2/4
Second, isn't it easier and cheaper and more efficient to have the windfarms onshore, or close to the shore, rather than in the middle of the deepest oceans? Or does the wind there have special qualities which cannot be harnessed closer the shore? 3/4
Read 4 tweets
2 Oct
Might the Brexit talks be about to enter 'the tunnel'? Is high-level political intervention going to enable a deal to be reached? Some thoughts - focused on the UK side. 1/13
My first thought is that a deal *can* be reached. The UK could have one of many relationships with the EU, depending on the UK's preference. The EU will insist on a balance between rights and responsibilities (and there will be a battle over how that balance is struck). 2/
This could be anything from membership of the EEA, to a comprehensive 'trade +' deal, to a more thin free trade agreement. The more the UK wants easy access to the EU market, the more rules it will have to agree to be bound by. 3/
Read 13 tweets
27 Sep
I wrote a blog for @UKandEU on the internal market bill, and the implications for the UK's future relationship with the EU.

Here it is recast as a twitter thread. 1/8
The Govt is signalling that it may legislate contrary to international law. That is unlikely to play well with the EU, or any future international partners. 2/8
The Bill is limited, but the Govt's rhetoric is not. It is insisting on sovereignty (the freedom to make whatever rules it likes) *and* on unfettered trade. 3/8
Read 8 tweets
23 Sep
A thought about the Patrick Vallance 50,000 cases per day projection (not prediction) slide.

Many have pointed to its flaws and to that fact that it may be intended to shake people out of their complacency. 1/3

See eg…
But it may have a different effect.

It may enable the Govt to say that’s its measures (and/or the people’s efforts and sacrifices) have been a success... notwithstanding a large number of cases/deaths. 2/3
The Govt will be able to say that ‘the science’ said that things would be a lot worse than they are...

Raise fears, lower expectations, and claim credit for policy failures which are made to look like wins. 3/3
Read 4 tweets
21 Sep
The whole tone of today's coronavirus news coverage is slightly doing my head in.

What is happening is *eminently predictable*. Very short thread. 1/4
Are we supposed to be surprised that, as social contact increases, the chances are that the virus is going to spread? 2/4
Are we supposed to be surprised that, as schools and universities reopen, it might be necessary to work more from home and have fewer social gatherings? 3/4
Read 4 tweets

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