1. Do you remember the Ennio Morricone composed theme tune to the Good the Bad and the Ugly? I ask because it began to rattle through my head as I read today’s Sunday Times.
2. I am the simplest of men, an old hermit whose best days are lost in the mists of time. It is not for me to indicate with my staff the specific qualities of a particular piece. But. But. For your Sunday morning pleasure I thought it might be helpful to highlight a few.
3. In no particular order, I first draw your attention to this most remarkable piece. Perhaps consider it an amuse bouche before we move into meatier fare.

4. As the Great Poet wrote,

‘So many sages, so few sages, so many stages.’

After literally seconds of analysis, I have determined I am far too ignorant to debate the pros and cons of the Great Barrington Declaration, unlike everyone else.
5. But, like everyone else, I have an opinion. And unlike everyone else, my opinion is better than everyone else. It is better due to my virtually unique experience of living on top of a column for many centuries.
6. The logistics of confinement are not straightforward. I required a complex infrastructure of disciples to winch up to me regular supplies of lentils cooked in a little bone broth and flagons of claret.
7. Equally, has anyone asked the ‘vulnerable’ if they’re up for an indeterminate period of confinement while the virus zips through the rest of society? I thought not.
8. Finally, on this magnificent piece, I draw your attention to the opening paragraph which I am absolutely sure was not uncannily intended to precisely echo the views of many Brexit unenthusiasts as we teeter on the edge of no deal.
9. Next on the metaphorical chopping board, comes this piece in the Business section which, without giving anything. away with respect to my Sergio Leone framing, is really VERY GOOD indeed.

10. In a previous realm of existence, I spent many years ploughing my benign furrow across the global financial system. Or, the Great Abacus, as I used to think about it. So I know a thing or two about bead counting. But anyway.
11. To anyone who who knew anything about anything it was as apparent in June 24th as the sun rising over the mountains and bathing my column in a sickly orange light that Brexit was not going to be good for London based investment banking.
12. And so it has proved. Though not perhaps as bad as first thought. But then neither have the banking equivalent of German carmakers appeared. Funny that. The piece is a very good and balanced review of the current status. However...
13. In my role as Twitter Prophet I make this prediction. No good (financial at least) will come from impairing the competitive advantage of the City of London & while there are pro Brexit arguments fans of reality based thinking must also accept the negative consequences.
14. Finally, FINALLY, I have saved the best until last. But first let me make coffee...

< A short intermission commences >
16. Replenished, I can pick up again this lonely thread. Now where was I? Everything is so difficult to remember. Something about a whistle. A newspaper. Or was it a long thread about Felix the Dog’s digestive system (the stories I can tell)?
17. Ah yes, saving the best for last!

This most interesting piece about a piece written by that musketeer of politics Michael Gove. This piece about a piece which conveys the government’s implacable zeal for no deal.

18. I am trembling in my sandals. And I am sure that le tout Europe, German carmakers, A Merkel, E Macron and his permanently raised eyebrows, prosecco farmers, and children worried about the future, are sitting up in bed, exclaiming, ‘Les Brits are vraiment sérieux this time.’
19. Because this isn’t just anyone. IT IS MICHAEL GOVE. That legendary straight talking soothsaying doyen of British politics, one of the founding horsemen of the Brexit apocalypse, and, apparently, not until this very moment converted to Le Full Brexit.
20. Excuse me for one moment.

21. Let me introduce everyone to the First Rule of Hard Brexit Club. You don’t tell everyone you’re in the club. Least of all do you write a piece in the Sunday Times about it. It just looks ridiculous.
22. Rather than the impression of cosmic hardness and indomitable will, one feels a terrible melancholy, the ineffable weariness of years of reading similar pieces, a political and journalistic February without end, and...
23. AND, the terrible spectre of similar pieces yet to be written appearing at the end of your bed on a Sunday morning, ghosts of a bleak future one and all, the ghost of plucky Britain, of sticking to your guns, and finally of a deal, a reverse, dressed in victory’s clothing.
24. Because, my friends, in my exceedingly humble opinion, we are witnessing the not untimely demise of the Frosty Strategy or hard man negotiation which has also brought us such glorious moments of statecraft as the Internal Markets Bill.
25. So be of good cheer, fans of reality based existence, this piece is a very good indication that a deal is coming.

And with that, hear endeth this newspaper review.

/the end

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More from @Sime0nStylites

17 Oct
My theory is that in the medium term electorates will severely punish governments that fail in their core functions.
The reverse is also true.
And ‘severe’ punishment isn’t just being voted out. It is independence movements. It is being out of power for a generation. It is new governance paradigms.
Read 9 tweets
20 Sep
Time for a New Prime Minister

1. Brexit would have been challenge enough but with the pandemic at the same time the government has had to deal with the most severe threats to the UK’s health and economy.
2. We do not need a complicated algorithm to grade the government’s performance too date.

It has failed most of its tests.

During the first wave, the slowness to lock down cost lives and lengthened the period of confinement, causing even worse economic damage.
3. The UK has the fifth largest global death toll and its economy is projected by the OECD to contract by 10.1% this year, greater than the Eurozone as a whole, the US and Japan.
Read 22 tweets
17 Sep
My entirely speculative theory is that the whole sordid mess is explained by the failure of Frost’s negotiating strategy.
The ‘they’ll give in if we stick to our guns’ plan hasn’t worked, and, the NI protocol means no deal is not political cost free.
The master stroke (I suspect a Frost / Cummings plan) is to repudiate parts of the WA to increase negotiating leverage (pay attention to us!) and reduce the cost of no deal.

But unfortunately...
Read 10 tweets
10 Sep
A key question is whether the government agreed the WA in bad faith (ie knew it would renege on parts of it).
If this is the case (and there appears to be some evidence for it), the implications are startling.
If the EU had thought sections of the WA would later be unilaterally disapplied then there would not have been a deal (at that point).
Read 10 tweets
9 Sep
I’m now going to give the five dimensional chess explanation of the current debacle...
It goes something like this.
The government is in a terrible mess.
Read 11 tweets
6 Sep
1. Another Sunday marooned on the desert island of pandemic and Brexit, I reflect once again on the burning question of our time:

Is the government’s appetite for no deal evidence of shambles and incompetence or is it a clever negotiating tactic that reveals a deeper plan?
2. Let’s take shambles and incompetence first.

In this line of argument, the government is so clueless that it might actually think no deal during a global pandemic is a good idea or at least not a really really bad idea.
3. At first blush, the evidence of incompetence seems compelling.

As an unamuse bouche I refer you to describing no deal as an ‘Australian deal’ (shudder).

Even a one thousand tweet thread would not be sufficient but instead perhaps consider the following...
Read 24 tweets

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