One last thought from me today (violin is infinitely more enjoyable than Brexit). Johnson & Co's belief that any form of internal trade barrier is incompatible with the existence of sovereignty and territorial integrity must come as a shock to dozens of states around the world...
... after all, every single state with regional divisions of regulatory power (including US, Canada, Australia...) also has internal trade barriers and some framework to manage them. Apparently, only UK sovereignty is threatened by the experience. British exceptionalism: yawn...
But at least the Brexitists' failure to understand internal (let alone external) trade helps explain not only their lunacy over NI & Protocol, but also another important / often overlooked issue: Tory assault on Scottish & Welsh devolution as contained in UK Internal Market Act.
On both NI & devolution, Johnson Regime's approach is cut from same cloth: sovereignty=what England decides & thinks itself entitled to impose on rest. Internal differences do not threaten UK sovereignty. They just defy English nationalism. & Brexitists can't distinguish the two.

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More from @mdouganlpool

9 Jun
A serious question for my UK law colleagues:

By refusing properly to implement the NI Protocol, is HMG acting in breach not only of EU-UK withdrawal agreement as matter of international law; but also of EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 as matter of domestic UK law?

Here's why I wonder:
EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 - as amended by EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020 - makes provision for EU-UK withdrawal agreement, including NI Protocol, to take full effect under domestic law. Protocol provisions thus have direct legal effects in UK, with force of primary legislation
True: Act also creates various delegated ministerial powers relating to Protocol. But I'm not sure those are very relevant to Johnson Government's conduct. And in any event, surely powers should only be for purpose of implementation - not to contravene/frustrate Protocol itself.
Read 7 tweets
7 Jun
Yes, EU-UK relations are poor & in respect of NI have the potential to get even worse. But as usual, populist UK media pretend (at best) this is something that just sort-of-had-to-happen after Brexit or (at worst) = evil plot by wicked EU to punish poor little Britain. In fact...
... deep rupture in EU-UK policy relations = result of deliberate Tory choice to pursue Hard Brexit. & serious deterioration in EU-UK political relations = equally deliberate decision of Johnson Regime, desperate to "justify" costly Brexit by whipping up anti-European xenophobia.
But more than just media propaganda, this is about cementing the hard right Brexit Project by trying to drive a deep wedge between EU & UK: diplomatically by UK acting like some malignant "West Coast Russia"; at home by poisoning minds for a generation. We can't let them succeed.
Read 4 tweets
18 May
Would you like a few quotes to illustrate just how dishonest are the current Brexitist claims that the EU has "weaponised the Irish border" or is "interpreting the Protocol in a totally unreasonable way"?

Voila, from text of OUP book as written between February-May 2020:
"[Under Johnson's revised Protocol] customs and regulatory checks will indeed take place on trade between Northern Ireland and Great Britain - something which we were told no British Prime Minister could ever agree to"
"[Thanks to Johnson's agreement] Northern Ireland is now being used as the guinea pig... and risks being left worse off under the Johnson Protocol than it would have been under the previous backstop proposals from either the Commission or Theresa May"
Read 5 tweets
29 Apr
I get the feeling some people still just don't / won't believe the adverse impact of the UK Internal Market Act 2020 upon devolution in Scotland and Wales. [Norn Iron is a special case, thanks to Johnson's Protocol...]

So I'll spell it out as clearly as I can in 4 wee tweets:
1) For all practical purposes, the ability of Scotland or Wales to do anything that regulates physical goods in a way that deviates from English standards, has been suppressed – regardless of the social or welfare policy that the devolved institutions might seek to pursue.
2) The power of the Scottish/Welsh parliament to regulate other aspects of the market for physical products (advertising, licensing, all sorts of commercial practices) has been significantly curtailed: at best scrutinised, at worst overruled, if interferes with English business.
Read 6 tweets
27 Apr
One point that Brexitists are particularly ignorant/dishonest about, re NI Protocol: they regularly claim it guarantees "unfettered market access" between NI & GB, so EU is acting unreasonably / even in breach of Protocol itself, by trying to enforce checks. Utter rubbish. Why?
1st, the reference to "unfettered market access" relates only to movement of goods from NI to GB (not the other way round). And even then, there is an immediate exception for any export limits imposed by EU law to fulfil international obligations on control of certain goods.
2nd, there is no provision saying "unfettered market access" for movement of goods from GB to NI. That has to take place in accordance with legal duties laid down in Protocol. EU & UK must use "best endeavours" to facilitate such trade - but still in accordance with those rules.
Read 4 tweets
27 Apr
Just finalised talk on implications of UK Internal Market Act 2020 for devolved policymaking by Scotland / Wales in field of public health, e.g. strategies to combat illness & deaths arising from tobacco / alcohol / obesity.

Key points in short thread, for those interested:
1) Imagine Scottish Government & Parliament want to ban marketing of product proven to have adverse health impact on population, e.g. uber-sugary soft drinks or super-salty junk food. Effect of Act? They can only ban marketing of Scottish made products; not those made in England.
2) Or imagine Welsh Government & Senedd want to restrict advertising of / consumer access to unhealthy products (without banning them per se). Effect of Act? Need to check Welsh rules aren't trying to exclude / somehow discriminate against English goods: that's no longer allowed.
Read 6 tweets

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