I have commented before on the hypocrisy and double standards which characterise the actions of this Govt. From that perspective, the debate about Scottish independence is going to be... an interesting watch. 1/8

The Govt, once the champion of 'sovereignty' and 'taking back control' now finds itself... defending the Union.

The contortions Ministers are going through are quite something. 2/8
So, for example, we are hearing...

1. That absent a clear majority in the popular vote, the SNP, which received 48% of the vote, lacks the mandate to have a referendum.

Remind me what % of the popular vote David Cameron won in 2015? [Answer: 37%] 3/8
2. That this is not the time for major constitutional change and that the (laser-like) focus has to be on the COVID recovery.

Extension to the Brexit transition period, because of COVID, was much discussed, and decisively rejected by the Govt, in June 2020. 4/8
The Govt was warned that, esp given COVID, more time was needed to prepare for Brexit. It rubbished those suggestions.

If it had taken more time, some of the predictable and predicted economic damage of Brexit might have been avoided. 5/8

3. That we need to work together as 'Team UK'.

So, 'Team UK' (in which only England has a strong say) = good; and 'Team EU' = bad? 6/8
4. Many of the arguments against independence (re the border, the currency, etc) have a whiff of 'project fear' about them. Why shouldn't a self-confident Scotland be able to magic problems away? [There are lessons there for the SNP too...] 7/8
There are, and will be, many more examples.

The Govt cannot be shamed or embarrassed. I just hope that the things it has said about the Brexit are used to interrogate the things it is now saying about Scottish independence. 8/8

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More from @syrpis

10 May
A couple of thoughts on Scottish independence and Brexit, prompted by this thread from @paulwaugh.
Self-determination and sovereignty are powerful concepts, which supporters of Brexit/Scottish independence do rely on.

Yet, they are difficult concepts, given the extent of international interdependence and cooperation (on trade and beyond) 2/
One should think about both the sovereignty gains and losses associated with participation in the relevant 'Union' (UK/EU); and also the future relationship with ex-partners after 'independence'. 3/
Read 11 tweets
9 May
Watching as the Labour party, once again, descends into uncivil war. It cannot coalesce around any policy position or agree on who is best placed to deliver it. 1/6
We've been hearing a lot from ghosts of the past - Mandelson, McCluskey, McDonnell, Pidcock, Flint, Adonis and more. Much of 'the analysis' harks back to either Blair or Corbyn. It makes for grim reading and grim viewing. 2/6
We've been hearing a lot about the need to 'learn lessons' and 'listen to the people' and 'engage with voters' real concerns'. But what if (outlandish thought this) 'the people' disagree, and are sending a range of different messages? 3/6
Read 7 tweets
7 May
The Labour party is not in a good place. On almost every issue there are strong voices within the party calling for a decisive policy/strategy move. Problem is, these voices are calling for moves in diametrically opposite directions. 1/5
If it is to recover, it needs to discover a sense of purpose and narrative. That is a huge task (and I'm not going to go there now).

But. 2/5
There are (to be simplistic) two reasons why Labour is losing. One is that the Labour offer doesn't appeal. The other - much more significant factor - is that the Johnson offer does appeal. 3/5
Read 5 tweets
4 May
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
Read 7 tweets
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

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