There is a difference between 'regulations' and 'totally arbitrary decisions' but not in the mind of too many of the Brexit crowd in the UK. You might also want to understand the huge detail that goes into a veterinary agreement.
The broader point - again - is that too much of UK and EU political discourse assumes that unionists suddenly learn to love the protocol if there's a veterinary agreement accompanying it. Like we shouldn't take their demands for abolition seriously.…
Just to roll out the tweet again, no veterinary agreement reducing checks solves the political problem of a community thinking checks are unacceptable. Unless you change the second, the discussions on the first seem rather inadequate.
Rolling out the same ill informed report that attempts to change the way the EU and frankly the world carries out their entire food import policy seems as pointless as it was last time they tried (from the FT Brexit brief).
(I spent several hours of meetings today on veterinary matters. The issues, and any facilitations for GB exports, will be hugely complex. Pretending otherwise is comforting but ultimately not particularly helpful).

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More from @DavidHenigUK

12 Jun
Oops. I must confess to being baffled by Johnson picking a fight with the EU and US rather than presiding at his summit over a common front with regard to China. And baffled won't even start to describe what they think of him.
The EU and US get another summit next week. But this was Johnson's one go at being a host. He appears to have completely blown it in failing to listen.
Of course it may all have been focus grouped. That what would really go down well in the Red Wall is inviting the new US President plus EU leaders, and then picking a fight with all of them in the name of sovereignty.
Read 4 tweets
12 Jun
Should we be worried by the EU threats of trade war?

No for the actual short term trade impacts.
Yes for the investment impact.
Yes because the threat of our nearest neighbours with the consent of our self-proclaimed greatest ally shows our government failing.
Basically with regard to the Northern Ireland protocol some members of the UK government have lost contact with reality and urgently need to find it again. A UK government being lectured at our own summit by members of our core alliances?
The US and EU are asking for the UK government to stop their dangerously short sighted rhetoric over Northern Ireland and act as a responsible country. Hopefully beneath the bluster the Prime Minister recognises this - but we can't be too confident.
Read 10 tweets
11 Jun
This isn't quite right from the New Statesman Morning Call. It would have been uniquely the US trade deal that might have caused the UK to change agricultural standards - no other. The US have now removed that excuse for not aligning regulations with the EU. Image
It then comes down to a stubborn refusal of the UK to consider any form of alignment with the EU because we don't like the EU, and because a handful of sympathetic think-tankers have wildly different views on product regulation to the rest of the world.
Northern Ireland isn't just stuck in a game of conflicting identities, but also in the UK government's attempts to deny global regulatory reality. You don't have to align on everything, but to refuse to align on anything at whatever cost is simply dumb.
Read 5 tweets
11 Jun
A showman hosts a summit. Expect a good show.

But the messages have been given. The EU and US intend to resolve some differences to take on China. If the UK keeps its current approach to Northern Ireland it will be not be welcomed by its allies.
This is a very different US administration to that we've seen in many years, prepared to resolve Boeing / Airbus subsidies and other long standing issues with the EU to focus on China. Prepared to consider a trade deal with the UK without food to help resolve Northern Ireland.
If the UK government snubs Biden by now refusing to make its own compromises with the EU over Northern Ireland then it is writing itself out of the US international picture. A problem not a solution. No trade deal, no warm visits. Over to you PM. What comes after the show?
Read 6 tweets
10 Jun
Obviously Johnson was going to be flippant over the Northern Ireland protocol, and it is considered diplomatic to allow summit hosts their moment. The question remains whether Johnson is yet taking the situation seriously. Can't tell right now.
In normal diplomatic terms the US have made their position clear on Northern Ireland. They expect the UK government to be more constructive, and believe we are in the wrong. But Johnson with his poor grasp of diplomacy may ignore it.
The UK government will eventually have to fold on the Northern Ireland protocol. The power politics sees to that. But how, when, and with what damage done are all to be decided.
Read 5 tweets
10 Jun
So the greatest deal ever turned out to be a disaster but the same people who proclaimed triumphant negotiating success seem curiously unwilling to now look again at whether those who claimed success might in some way be responsible.
Meanwhile those of us who twice said that's not a triumph that's a retreat are once again seen to be some sort of enemy within while the people who applauded great triumph and have now changed their minds are the true patriots.
Amnesia and bizarre logical twists in which those responsible were not responsible appear to be side effects of Brexit. It is useful to understand the latest painful logic, not much in understanding what has to happen next.
Read 5 tweets

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