Almost time to batten down the hatches for the weekend. No better company than Netherlands Bach Society: glorious talent; extraordinary generosity. Here, a few recommendations from their recent cantata releases:

No 2:
No 3:
And I cannot believe this grand old chestnut slipped past me...

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More from @mdouganlpool

30 Jun
Busy day for Protocol on IRL/NI. Already said earlier today what needs to be said about Belfast High Court ruling (though reaction of Brexitists could still fill an entire psychiatric conference...). Now, some brief comments on this afternoon’s Commission announcement, voila:
1) obviously very good news to see certain temporary measures on foodstuffs (I won’t need to smuggle my ham sandwich over on the ferry this weekend...); as well as other more lasting adjustments (eg on trade in medicines, need for extra car insurance docs, status of guidedogs...)
2) but on core issue, of UK’s legal duty to enforce basic EU customs rules on GB trade into NI, this really is only a temporary fix: doesn’t resolve need for UK to start doing its job properly; whether that’s by agreeing to regulatory alignment or just enforcing the agreed rules
Read 7 tweets
12 Jun
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.
Read 4 tweets
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

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