My corner of twitter seems to be dominated by the internal Labour party debate between supporters of Corbyn and Starmer. I agree fully with @sturdyAlex that it is not a productive use of anyone's time.

Here though are 2 things Labour party supporters *should* be doing. 1/7
1. They should be striving to understand *why* a large % of voters (in Hartlepool and elsewhere) are still supporting Boris Johnson's government, and *what* might make them change their vote. 2/7
2. They should be thinking not only about vote shares, but also about vote distribution, and how they can *win* elections. If Johnson's vote is at c 35-45%, and is 'sticky', how can he be beaten? 3/7
There will, of course, be disagreements on these questions. But it seems clear that a lot depends on building a narrative not about Labour, but about the Govt, and how it is failing people. (And on that, the various strands of Labour can, hopefully, agree.) 4/7
The rest involves building credibility, and fashioning a message that has sufficiently broad appeal (both to Labour's 'base' and to Tory voters who become disillusioned with Johnson's Govt). 5/7
That is more difficult terrain, and one can expect disagreement. But, at this stage, detail doesn't matter. There just needs to be a coherent narrative about what Labour stands for - (perhaps) equality, community, diversity and internationalism. 6/7
My worry is that the debate is too much about personalities, and too much about specific issues on which there are real differences.

I don't think that the Tories can believe their luck. 7/7

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More from @syrpis

20 Apr
So... the European Super League.

Three thoughts from a football fan:
a) It has been coming;
b) but, the proposal is incoherent; and
c) the Govt's position is... interesting

a) We reap what we sow. Football, at the top level, has long been governed by the relentless search for profit. Links with fans and communities have progressively been weakened. Stories like the @AFCWimbledon story are few and far between. 2/10
The big clubs are owned by millionaires, who want to maximise their profits. They want financial security, and hate risk/jeopardy.

Failing to qualify for the Champions League, or at a different level, relegation from the Premier League, spells financial disaster. 3/10
Read 10 tweets
18 Apr
I keep saying that if the opposition parties are going to make headway against the Tories, they have to work together.

The lobbying scandal provides a good challenge - one which they seem to be failing. Short thread. 1/7
Sleaze, cronyism and corruption are back. It isn't just Greensill - it is also PPE/NHS contracts, housing, the ministerial code etc etc.

It is part of an unprecedented, and very dangerous, attack on the constitution and public institutions. 2/7…
The Govt's defence is two-fold.

First, to have a pliant enquiry, and to feign that this issue is taken *very* seriously.

And, second, to seek to draw all politicians (and, better civil servants too) into the mire, and further reduce trust not in them, but in politics. 3/7
Read 7 tweets
12 Apr
There are a growing number of people, on various sides, saying that remainers are to blame for *this* Brexit, because they refused to back Theresa May's Brexit deal, which would have avoided many of the GB/NI border problems.

One thing in particular perplexes me. 1/3
The curious thing is that I have seen very few people seek to level a similar charge at the Govt.

It is, after all, they who made changes to Theresa May's deal, they who insisted that the UK leave the customs union, and they who agreed the NI Protocol. 2/3
It is they who do not have an answer to the Irish border trilemma. If, as they do, you insist on regulatory autonomy, there has to be a border between the EU and the UK - the only question is where to put it. 3/3
Read 4 tweets
9 Apr
Has anyone written anything about the financing of COVID testing?

I'm just reacting to the news stories about people having to pay for multiple tests if they go on holidays abroad. 1/4
We have had *a lot* of testing done so far - for going to school, for going to workplaces, if symptomatic, etc etc. All of that has been free (at least for those being tested). 2/4
So... my questions:
How does one distinguish between situations in which testing is free and not? Are we moving towards more paying for testing? What would the implications be of making all COVID testing free? 3/4
Read 4 tweets
8 Apr
Next question. What is @BrandonLewis going to say and do today? It strikes me that he has two options. 1/4
First, he could commit to the NI Protocol and explain the work that is ongoing, within the very limited confines of the TCA, to 'de-dramatise' the GB/NI border. Ideally he might even explain the Protocol, and the reasons why it was agreed. 2/4
Or second, he could respond to the real concerns of the Unionist community, and make promises, incompatible with the NI Protocol and the TCA, not to introduce 'unconstitutional' intrusions onto UK sovereignty. 3/4
Read 4 tweets
7 Apr
One more go at the Irish border 'trilemma' (see @rdanielkelemen's Venn diagram) and Brexit.

The implications of the latest developments are very stark. Thread.

While the UK and the EU were in the same regulatory space (single market and customs union) there was no need for significant border checks between the two. 2/
Then along came Brexit. Over the years since 2016, Brexiters' position has hardened. Sovereignty and regulatory freedom were prioritised. And so, solutions which would have 'solved' (or 'de-dramatised') the Irish border issue were rejected. 3/
Read 14 tweets

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