What I think @JohnRentoul has missed out here, is why @AnnelieseDodds is there in the first place, and why I think it doubtful Starmer will move her. (whihc is also why the usual Corbynite suspects hace reacted furiously to the piece.

Dodds has not, as Retoul's predecssor used to say, troubled the scorers in her role. It is a tough job in the best of times. Sunak is an able politician, however much he has messed up on covid. But she has no ideas and is a poor communicator.

Why then is she there?

Dodds was first elected in 2017. She was therefore not an MP when the PLP tried to remove Corbyn.

Most members of the PLP were not prepared to serve under Corbyn after 2017, so the pool he could draw upon was very small.

Dodds is almost certainly not a Corbynite. She was a dull MEP, with fairly bog-standard European social democratic views.

But, like Starmer, and unlie most of the PLP, she was prepared to work under Corbyn.

MPs faced an awful dilemma (one Labour voters also faced but less intensely).

Should the serve under Corbyn, in seeking to remove a government they all agreed was terrible?

But if they did, they'd be collobarating with a leadership that was, amongst other things, responsibe for making the party they belonged to institutionally racist (see the full EHRC report


Dodds made the same choice as Starmer (we know she wasn't a Corbyn true believer because like Starmer she refused to sign the comic "pledge" of loyalty that the likes of the much missed comic relief Burgon was circulating).

Starmer won the leadership in part because he'd been loyal to Corbyn.

The membership who elected him never wanted (and still do not want) to accept that the institution they belonged to had such a serious problem caused by the leader they had chosen.

Unsurprisingly, Starmer then chose as his shadow Chancellor someone also acceptable to the membership who had made the same compromises he had: Dodds.

The other candidates for shadow chancellor (Miliband, Cooper, Reeves, Nandy) all refused to serve under Corbyn (Nandy had initially and then quit in 2016).

What do you think they think of Starmer and Dodds?

None of them would be human if they didn't feel some resentment at how those who made compromises they refused to make are now in leaddership positions.

I don't think Dodds is going anywhere.


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More from @SpinningHugo

20 Feb
The Uber decision raises a nice issue in relation to substance and form, that also arises in other areas (the court muddles this a bit, and fails to cross refer to other areas where this applies).


So, one way of giving "substance over form" is to look to the substance of the legal rights and obligations the parties have created, ignoring the label they have put upon their relationship.

So, if your agreement gives you exclusive possession of a flat for a period of time with payment in exchange, that is a lease. Doesn't matter if it is labelled a "licence".

The legal substance trumps the label the parties choose.

Read 9 tweets
18 Feb
I wonder how long this "the UK is 4 week ahead because of its risky decision to approve vaccines" nonsense will seem credible.

Look at the vaccination rates.


4 weeks ago was 18 Jan. UK was vaccinating 0.4 people per hundred, today it is around 0.6, everyday.

EU member states are around 1/4-1/5 of that rate, with no sign of ramp up.

This "reckless Brits" stuff is not just wrong, it is dangerous.

If you want vaccination to work you have to convince the doubters that it is safe. Which is hard for the Commission, which doesn't have the trust .and loyalty that, say, the NHS does here.

Read 4 tweets
29 Jan
Ok. Having now read the contract through a couple of times, my initial view that the Commission had no good argument remains the same.

A quick run through the contract


The central obligations of AZ are found in 5.1. As Soriot said, it is to use "Best Reasonable Efforts" to manufacture and distribute the doses.

5.4 is clumsily drafted, indeed makes no sense on its face given it is said not to apply to 51., but I'd read it as meaning AZ is to use EU and UK sites in fulfilling its BRE obligation.

Read 22 tweets
29 Jan
In anticipation of the AZ contract publication, a quick walk through of the vaccine contract we do have (which may be different, though I doubt it) and why the Commission's argument is disgraceful defection.


The relevant obligations of the contractor (AZ) are in 1.3 and 1.71.

Those obligations are in three stages.

First two

They must make reasonable best efforts

1. to obtain EU athorisation

2. to manufacture once authorisation granted

Read 11 tweets
27 Jan
In practice, I wonder what the Commission can do?

AZ look to me at least to have a good argument (put at its lowest) that both the terms of its contract, and general commercial practice for this kind of contract (ie how it should be fairly operated) is on their side.

The Commission could sue, but what good would that do? Any judgment would be months away, and they need the vaccine this week.

As in, say, a dispute with a domestic contract with a builder, really it comes down to bargaining power, rather than what the terms of the deal say (and I think they favour AZ).

Read 6 tweets
27 Jan
Look at the definition of "reasonable best efforts" at page 10 of this contract with the EU for vaccine supply (which I assume is the same as the AZ one)


"a reasonable degree of best effort to accomplish a given task, .... contractor's commitments to other purchasers of the Product."

So if, as seems likely, AZ has guaranteed the UK the supply from UK plants, that is covered by its "best efforts" clause in its contract with the EU member states.

Read 4 tweets

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