So it looks like we will soon be one of only a handful of countries that are NOT inside a trading bloc

A couple of empty wildernesses
A couple of pariah states
And us

There's a reason these things exist, and we will soon discover it...
Because when it becomes obvious how hard and expensive it is to be outside a bloc - and believe me, Leavers, it WILL become obvious - we'll certainly have to try to join one again.

But which one?

Well, let's look at that map again. Notice something?
Every trade bloc is made up of neighbours. There are no non-contiguous blocs. None

We aren't going to join the African Union. NAFTA isn't going to open the books to an island 3600 miles away.

We are at the edge of a continent, with only one bloc next to us.

The EU
And sure, you can say "we don't mind the trade, but why do we need the political union too?"

Because that's what's available. Nothing else.

We can sit in the middle of the Atlantic waiting for a more comfortable life-boat to come along, or we can get in the one that exists.
And for all its "discomforts" (which do not damage your life one bit), the EU is the only trade bloc big or powerful enough to get equal terms from the USA and China.

And we share a land-border with it. It's right next door. And it wants us to be part of it.

We must be crazy.

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More from @RussInCheshire

15 Oct
Here comes another #TheWeekInTory, and I'm afraid it's quite lengthy.

The positive we can take from this is that if you start now, you can probably get through the 2 bottles of gin you'll definitely need before the end.

Uncork and begin...
1. Boris Johnson announced a new 3 Tier lockdown system, with the lowest Tier being “medium”, like at McDonalds

2. As part of the announcement, the Chief Medical Officer reassuringly said the plan wouldn’t work

3. The govt said “in all cases, we are following the science”
4. It was revealed the SAGE science committee told the govt to lockdown weeks ago, but that bit of science wasn’t followed very far

5. SAGE went on to say the govt’s “world-beating” £12bn Test and Trace system was having only “a marginal impact on transmission rates”
Read 36 tweets
14 Oct
You didn't ask for this, but I'm doing it anyway, so tough: a bit of a defence of Laura Kuenssberg.

If you come to this with your mind made up, you're unlikely to be persuaded. But I hope you'll at least give this some consideration...
I think Kuenssberg suffers from a problem many others do, but is high profile, so gets a lot of shit.

Lobby Correspondents like her used to be seen as fair, cos the politicians broadly played by the rules: briefings were mostly honest, policies were mostly delivered.

But ...
Globally, the populist right is flagrantly ignoring those rules. That's their deliberate approach.

But the BBC still has a duty to follow the rules - report what they're told as if its fact. And populists exploit this.

Her hands are tied by UK broadcast media convention.
Read 21 tweets
11 Oct
Here's why this is bollocks, and why it matters. A thread

First: bollocks.

26 elections is 106 years, and why have few people heard of a 100 year old prediction model?

So I looked it up...

Helmut Norpoth is 77. His model has only predicted 6 elections, and got 2 wrong...
The reality is: like most models (nothing wrong in this) it was tested until it matched previous records. So of the 26 Daubney claims, 20 weren't predictions at all. They were standards the model was designed to match....
So what about the 6 it predicted?

Well, at least 2 were certain outcomes months before polling day. Obama, for example.

And 2, it got wrong.

So the "predictions" were basically a 50-50 chance on a 2 horse race. Absolutely anybody tossing a coin is as accurate.
Read 7 tweets
8 Oct
26 days until the US elections.

Plenty of reasons to be hopeful, but plenty of reasons to NOT BE COMPLACENT

First: if you have a vote, VOTE. It's the most important election in a century, and only a huge defeat will ensure a clean handover

Second: some hope ...
Swing states / chance of Biden win

Arizona 67%☑
Colorado 93%✅
Florida 70%✅
Georgia 47%❌
Iowa 43%❌
Maine 89%✅
Michigan 91%✅
Minnesota 90%✅
Nevada 86%✅
N Hampshire 82%✅
N Mexico 96%✅
N Carolina 60%☑
Ohio 52%☑
Pennsylania 85%✅
Virginia 98%✅
Wisconsin 74%✅
...
16 key battleground states Biden is favourite in 14. Huge favourite in 11.

How many of those does Biden have to win?

They all contribute a different number of votes towards the Electoral College, so it's not straightforward. But if he wins any 7, he's won the election.
Read 6 tweets
8 Oct
The thing I regret most about #TheWeekInTory is the actual events.

But just behind that is the fact I called it #TheWeekInTory, when in reality I am having to do one every 2 days.

Anyway, grab a pint of Laudanum, hide any sharp objects, and dive in…
1. A few days ago Boris Johnson excitingly announced 40 new hospitals he’d excitingly announced only last year; and then he arbitrarily upped it to 48 hospitals, cos whatever

2. To show how serious he is, he allocated a budget that will pay for slightly fewer than 2 hospitals
3. I don’t want to put doubt in your mind, but he’s promised us a garden bridge, and airport on a floating island in the Thames, and a bridge to Ireland...

4. Anyway, he then promised to turn Britain into “a new Jerusalem”, one of the most violent and divided places on earth
Read 28 tweets
5 Oct
I was gonna do another #TheWeekInTory but, try as I might, I could not find a thing they’d done wrong since Friday.

No corruption. No ineptitude. No lies. No hypocrisy. Just a solid 96 hours of honest, decent and reliable governance.

Only kidding: it’s an absolute shit-show...
1. A report found the “Eat Out To Help Out” scheme cost £500m and didn’t do a single thing to improve the economy of the UK’s hospitality sector

2. However, it did help to double the number of infections, although they forgot how to count, so didn't notice
3. As infections spiked, the govt briefly woke up and introduced local lockdowns

4. But predictably, the local councils responsible for implementing the new plans were given literally (not making this up) 5 minutes warning and no additional resources whatsoever
Read 31 tweets

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