The most basic mistake of the UK gov't in these negotiations has been a total failure to take the lead in any draft proposals. Look at No Deal contingency arrangements. EU published theirs six days ago. The UK clutched its pearls and claimed unfairness. WHERE IS OUR PROPOSAL? 1/4
Been like this since Day 1, when Davis turned up without so much as notes scribbled on a beer mat, beat his chest that the UK would never accept EU timetable, then signed up to it the next morning, for lack of any alternative proposal. A behaviour replicated at every stage. 2/4
This, of course, is not a coincidence. If the gov't put pen to paper with concrete proposals, it would outline its own vision, opening itself to criticism from all factions of this cobbled Brexit alliance. Much easier to let the EU do the heavy lifting, then bitch about it. 3/4
If you can't define a thing, all you can do is let others guess and keep responding "no, it's definitely not that".

This is why the EU talk of "a very narrow path to a deal". They've had to carve it by elimination of what the UK won't accept, rather than what it wants. 4/4

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More from @sturdyAlex

11 Dec
THREAD. Just finished Friday zoom with my Brussels group. Much to report.

First, a framing point: The summit went all day and all night. All was agreed: budget, environmental goals, Covid19 response. Brexit was discussed for ten minutes. All agreed the mandate is unchanged. 1/
Everyone at the Commission is quite confused. The current offer to the UK is a deal in which IF we align, we get full access. IF, in future, we diverge they limit access or put up (some) tariffs. The UK choosing to go to NO access and FULL tariffs NOW, is incomprehensible. 2/
This has led people to split into two camps: There is one school of thought, that Johnson really is utterly clueless. His behaviour at the UVDL dinner last night (a car crash, apparently), has fed that impression. This makes people not want to do business with this government. 3/
Read 11 tweets
4 Dec
As a treat, I thought we'd order out from @JustEatUK. Two hours later, thirty quid poorer, I have no food and have been on hold to them for 40 mins. The restaurant cannot help as they don't even have a way to contact the driver. But they tell me this happens A LOT. What a racket.
This could very easily turn into a "Falling Down" scenario.
This is tragic, but kinda funny. Just eat are in the last twenty minutes getting round to replying to complaints from the 14th of November!

They "appreciate your patience" and apparently they're "here to help if you still need a hand with your order". From three weeks ago. 🤣
Read 5 tweets
9 Nov
As emotionally illiterate as @IainDale is on Trump, he is also revealing. He directly compares progressives having won, failing to reach out to Trump voters, to Remainers having lost, failing to reach out to Brexiters. So, win or lose, it is up to progressives to show grace.
And I say 'emotionally illiterate', because he simply fails to understand - or even recognise - the *emotional impact* of having Trump in charge of the US for many women, many PoC, migrants, LGBT people etc. The sense of peril many felt versus the sense of relief they feel now.
Well, I'm sorry if we can't all instantly be as gracious as this. Give us a few days.
Read 4 tweets
5 Nov
There’s a widely held belief that, if these voting cases get to the Supreme Court, all the people Trump appointed will come good and just give him the decisions he needs to win the election. I think that’s quite a bad take, for two reasons: 1/4
First, the common strand between the people Trump appointed is that they oppose Supreme Court interference in state laws. Every decision they’re looking to reverse hinges on this “originalist” constitutional view that SCoTUS should stay out of state legislation. 2/4
Second, Trump has very little to offer them and very little to threaten them with. He’s appointed them. They’re there for life. In some cases, they have decades of a judicial career ahead of them. They will not trash their reputation to do Trump any favours. 3/4
Read 4 tweets
14 Oct
Momofuku Ando invented pot noodles, aged 61.
J.R.R. Tolkien published the first volume of Lord of The Rings, aged 61.
James Parkinson identified Parkinson’s disease, aged 62.
Read 24 tweets
19 Sep
Ponder this Times exclusive:…

Once you're over the HOW-DARE-HE hump of "many people live on 1/20th of that" - a perfectly legitimate reaction, to be clear - a more interesting question emerges: Who would brief this story to the Times? 1/3
Seems too detailed to be fabricated; more likely it comes from a source genuinely close to the PM. It's definitely not succession planning. That ground is covered by the honourable discharge narrative "his health has not recovered" stories. This shows him in an awful light. 2/3
It's also not a "dead cat". Much of the media corps is already focused on his poor performance (full of 'insider' briefing). This story adds fuel to that fire rather than distracts from it. It's intended to wound him, to tip him over as he teeters.

Someone is on manoeuvres. 3/3
Read 4 tweets

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