A quick thread on the Cummings evidence - and what it tells us about Brexit. 1/10

(This is very much a preliminary view; all thoughts very welcome).
The bit I want to focus on is the bit where he rails against the chaos and incompetence at the heart of Govt and the dangers of group-think. If he had hair, he would have been tearing it out. 2/10
His response was to seek to bring in 'talent' from outside. To create a plan and to operationalise it. To galvanise the state into action. 3/10
But... In the Brexit context that sounds... very discordant.

I get that Cummings' primary goal was to win the referendum.

But, in the years since 2016, with the Vote Leave team close to him, what was he (and the Govt) doing on Brexit? 4/10
At no stage did he (or the Govt) show any understanding of the fact that regulatory divergence = trade disruption; or of the NI border. There has been no attempt to map out a strategy for 'Global Britain'. No attempt to source expertise. 5/10
The coronavirus response has been badly bungled at various junctures, much to Cummings' evident frustration.

But the Brexit process has been badly bungled too. The economic and political hits to the UK just keep coming. 6/10
If anyone needs reminding, this thread from @rdanielkelemen has now reached 568 entries...
It is difficult to reach any conclusion other than that the management of Brexit (the creation of better relationships with the EU and the wider world) has not been a priority. 8/10
Brexit just generates a) problems which they do not have the energy (or inclination?) to try to solve or even to mitigate; and b) opportunities to fly the flag and celebrate sovereignty and independence. 9/10
And neither Cummings, nor Johnson nor Gove - the 'architects' of Vote Leave - seem to object to that, or to want to devote their energies to finding a better outcome. 10/10

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More from @syrpis

30 May
This is a bit different; some thoughts about how we *listen* to people. I'm putting it here because it may, as I'll try to explain, have political resonance. THREAD 1/15
We listen (and read) for lots of different reasons, and in lots of different contexts.

I think that, fundamentally, we can listen in 2 ways, and that those 2 ways are markedly different. 2/
We can listen either from our perspective, with our own frame of reference in place, seeking to work out how what is being said interacts with our own world view. 3/
Read 15 tweets
26 May
What is twitter for if not (yet another) hot take on the Cummings Committee evidence?

I'll try to keep it short. 1/6
It is, on its face, a damning indictment of chaos and dysfunction at the heart of Government, which in March, and again in the autumn, cost many thousands of lives. 2/6
But Cummings is an unreliable narrator, full of contradictions. His errors, lies and missteps are excusable. Others': not so much.

His comments on groupthink, playing by the rules, openness and transparency will rightly raise eyebrows. 3/6
Read 6 tweets
21 May
A BBC journalist used 'deceitful' methods to secure 1995 interview. Wow.

Have the 'outraged' press forgotten about phone hacking?

Has the 'outraged' government forgotten about its relationship with the truth?
Read 6 tweets
16 May
Seeing lots of reaction to proposals for a progressive alliance, and have been struck by one thing.

Members and activists tend to reject it; while 'mere' supporters of opposition parties tend to embrace it. 1/7
Obviously, there are a lot more 'mere' supporters than members and activists.

But, I don't think that there can be any chance that a progressive alliance will happen without the strong support of members and activists.

So, why might the two groups think as they do? 2/7
Members/activists might oppose a progressive alliance because:
a) they are familiar with the party rules (which make it much more difficult);
b) they are likely to think their party can win; 3/7
Read 7 tweets
13 May
The Higher Education (Free Speech) Bill is more than a little incoherent - as @michelledonelan seems intent on demonstrating.

The Bill is here: bills.parliament.uk/Publications/4… 1/8
It aims to secure free speech 'within the law', so... there will be debates about what the limits of the law are (see eg Prevent; IHRA anti-semitism definition etc). 2/8
It aims to stop discrimination based on an individual's 'ideas, beliefs or views' (for academics, 'within their field of expertise'), so... there will be debates about what each of those means. 3/8
Read 8 tweets
11 May
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
Read 8 tweets

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