I went for a test this morning. It was a shambles, hardly inspiring confidence. The kids in fluorescent Serco vests wearing ill-fitting masks meant well, were trying their best, but it all felt distinctly amateurish.
I was surprised by the lack of PPE worn by Serco staff. So in mitigation the rule was to keep car windows closed at all times. Meaning we couldn’t communicate! Shouting through windows or calling their mobiles. Meanwhile we’re all steaming up as we sneeze & cough. 😳
Tests are self-administered, ok, we can do that. But how to match the test to the person? QI codes only given via email, not text, so no codes for my kids. Had to complete in pen - but we had no pens, & they couldn’t give us any. Staff seemed clueless.
When applying for a test I could only add up to three members of my household; meaning one of us couldn’t be tested - we had to reapply and come back later. And only one car per group, meaning they’re all stuck in a confined space with me as I cough and splutter. 🤧
To be fair, the elements are in place. I developed symptoms overnight, booked a test at 3am through the app, was tested by 8am. Results due tomorrow. But implementation was hardly confidence-inspiring. By now, this should be a well-oiled machine.

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More from @ottocrat

29 Oct
Short thread on @IanDunt’s interesting (and very good) line of argument on @OhGodWhatNowPod talking about the incremental approach to #RejoinEU: 1/
I have been a vocal and passionate opponent of a soft Brexit, BRINO, Norway, EEA/EFTA solution as I see it as unsustainable, democratically outrageous, rule-taker not rule-maker, worst of all worlds. It is all those things, but 2/
that works in both directions. If we go from full EU membership to BRINO then that’s highly unsatisfactory and unsustainable and will only lead to pressure to pull away further. But if we go there from a skinny deal/no deal Jacobin hard Brexit, the momentum is reversed. 3/
Read 7 tweets
10 Sep
Think for a second. Imagine you’re the EU’s leadership. If one partner gets away with unilaterally rewriting a treaty, all the EU’s treaties are rendered worthless. The EU *has* to take a stand.
The scorn and bad faith shown by Johnson over years, decades, earn him zero right to goodwill or favours from Brussels. But even if the EU wanted to help him out, it couldn’t afford to. The price would be far too high. ‘Pacta sunt servanda’ is all that makes the EU work.
Fortunately, the EU is an economic superpower (which it is because of the international rule of law). That means it has teeth. It will use them if it has to, in defence of its most precious, most essential ideal: pacta sunt servanda.
Read 7 tweets
7 Jun
OK I've got room in me for one more thread tonight before I sit down with a glass of wine and my crochet. A few months ago I posted this thread where I described the steps taken for the EU to conclude agreements with non-EU countries. 1/
I'd like to expand a bit on the 'mandate' part of the process. This is where the Member States give their instructions to the Commission to negotiate an agreement on their behalf. It has the force of law - they adopt 'negotiating directives'. 2/
Whenever I go into a negotiating session, the one thing I always make sure I have with me is the mandate. It tells me what I must include, and tells me how much wiggle room I have. It's the blueprint for any agreement. 3/
Read 20 tweets
7 Jun
From Andrew Rawnsley’s Observer column. Look: everyone in the UK seems to think we are still in Brexit crisis mode, where the European Council would regularly step in to unblock things. We are not. Brexit has happened. This is now a trade negotiation with a non-EU country. >
> As such it has a completely different dynamic, one very familiar to the EU, we do this all the time. The UK has not remotely begun to digest the facts of life in this new reality. Whining about “sovereign equals” cuts no ice in the EU & sounds needy & desperate back home. >
> An EU-UK agreement is a big enough deal for it to reach member states’ leaders desks, for sure - but it is still an EU deal with a non-EU country. If you want to understand the politics of that, look at what happened with TTIP. >
Read 6 tweets

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