short thread

Local Elections

1. Professor John Curtice has written of London becoming a one Party state, whilst the rest of the Country continues to diverge from the capital's political affiliations.
2. This is supported by the latest YouGov survey which shows the following Local Election seats gains/losses:

Conservatives gains are +90 to +122 (average +69 seats)

Labour losses are -88 to -35 (average -59 seats)

Lib Dems losses average -13 seats.

Green gains + 2 seats.
3. Which again supports my thoughts from earlier in the week: the media fixation on wallpapergate is a distraction. The real story isn't whether Boris can survive, it's Starmer's leadership position which is precarious.
4. It's all looked a bit desperate.

"For God's sake get the public's attention away from the end of lockdown & the tumbling number of Covid cases."

"We need them to feel miserable again".

"Wall to wall wallpaper is what we'll run with".
5. Meanwhile no-one seems to know what Labour actually stand for these days. No emerging policies, just confusion & something to do with not liking billionaires. Even good old "24 hrs to save the NHS" wasn't going to work this time.
6. Feebly, the Tony Blair Institute recommended an extended lockdown to try & inflate the misery stakes. Well it's all they could muster in the last minute panic to try & help Starmer.
7. Meanwhile we look on perplexed at the meltdown of the MSM & political parties, so out of touch they're in free fall, yet still convinced if they just keep pushing their agenda, victory is around the next corner.
*apologies, the Tory figures should read an average of +90 seats and the margin of seat gains: +69 to +122*.

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More from @BarristersHorse

3 May
short thread:

No political compass

1. The EU placed all their chips on a 2nd referendum. They messed about belittling Mrs May, refusing to budge an inch to get a deal over the line. It was there had they made concessions on the backstop.

"The withdrawal agreement is closed".
2. We all know how it ended. A new PM & a new mandate for a more distant relationship with the EU.

You'd think they'd learn, but here we are again with the same scenario. The EU are hankering after SPS alignment & now Arlene Foster has stood down from the DUP leadership.
3. She will be replaced with someone whom isn't so tentative over the NI Protocol & its current implications on trade.

There comes a point when it's just not worth the hassle in trying to make progress & the best action is to cut our losses.
Read 4 tweets
30 Apr

The it factor

1. Politics & law. Being good at one doesn't automatically make someone good at the other.

When we had 'forensic fortnight' & the press in raptures over Starmer becoming the LP leader, I had misgivings.
2. The devil might be in the detail, but the public soon switch off when the minutia of procedural improprieties are used as gotchas.

Nit picking isn't an attractive attribute & to get away with it in the political forum, it has to be presented with flair & moderation
3. I recall the frustration over the lack of popular support for William Hague. Week after week calling out Tony Blair, deftly pointing out the BS... to a mostly deaf audience.
Read 12 tweets
29 Apr


1. I really didn't expect the EU to proceed with litigation against AstraZeneca (AZ). Many lawyers have given their views on the legal merits of litigation & even staunch Europhiles concluded the threats were at best weak, more realistically, pretty hopeless.
2. The contract is governed by Belgian (national) jurisdiction. An interim remedy is sought, with a full hearing towards the end of May.
3. It's a bizarre situation. The anti-vax narrative & jittery response to the AZ vaccine has cut through, with some EU member states limiting the vaccine availability to certain age cohorts.
Read 17 tweets
3 Apr

Vaccine Passports

1. The next divisive matter on the government's agenda is Vaccine Passports.
2. As I stated yesterday, I support them for international travel in & out of the UK. There's no point having draconian lockdowns if we're just going to allow all & sundry to bring infections into the country. Keeping out resistant mutations is a concern for a while.
3. We don't really know how effective vaccines are at this point. Only as we exit lockdown & resume a normal life will we know and even then it may take until Autumn before cases become a problem.
Read 16 tweets
1 Apr


1. I think the EU & its member states are in a blind panic. Monsieur Barnier has stated the EU needs to work with the UK, not against, in efforts to secure vaccines for the whole of Europe.
2. That is as near as a 🏳️ we're likely to receive from the EU, who don't want to lose face.

The quicker the UK is in fulfilling its own vaccine demands, the quicker any surplus can be distributed to other countries.
3. The EU has a twofold difficulty:
a) It has a shortage of vaccines & thanks to jealousy, anti-vax narrative & panicking over supplies, it has fed into an already skeptical European population's concerns.
Read 14 tweets
26 Mar
1. The extract below is from the Council of the EU, Legal Opinion on the lawfulness of the Recovery Fund.

Importantly it confirms that Article 122(1) TFEU has a narrow construction in terms of the field it may be used, which MUST be economic in nature.
2. The EU is trying to rely on Article 122 to justify threats to blockade vaccine exports & possibly seize vaccines & intellectual property.

This would be beyond the scope of Article 122 (because the actions aren't Economic Policy) & thus open to legal challenge by UK Govt.
3. I realise the above may sound like a load of jargon, but it's a very important finding.

The EU will be acting unlawfully if it attempts to use Article 122(1) or 122(2) as neither provision can be used for the purpose VDL proposes.
Read 4 tweets

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