The irony of the last five years is that Theresa May’s empty slogan is the one thing that was actually true and which the British government has never managed to accept: Brexit means Brexit
Neither May nor Johnson ever accepted that Brexit came with consequences: specifically, consequences the UK would itself choose as a direct result of its policies, and which it would then have to live with.
The Northern Ireland debate has been stuck in the same unsquarable circle for five years: that if you deliberately erect a regulatory and customs border with another trading entity, it must actually go somewhere.
It really is that simple. Either UK and Ireland would be in the same system, or there’d be a border. That border would either be on the island or in the sea. May chose to keep whole UK in customs union and erect a sea border for regulation. Johnson made that sea border harder.
The UK never had to get into this position. It chose to destabilise the fragile equilibrium in Northern Ireland so it could end the migration rights of eastern Europeans.
May was motivated by xenophobia, Johnson by nationalism. Neither gave a damn about Irish peace.
None of this is new. All of us are tired. But until the UK finally accepts the reality of what it agreed, it will never, ever end.
Here’s my explainer from 2018, if you’re interested…
And here.

They can’t say they weren’t warned. They were.…

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More from @jonlis1

13 Sep
A guy just ditched me on a first date by sneaking out of a Tesco where we were buying drinks and then immediately blocking me. How’s your night going?
Don’t say I never give you life hacks for a) having an extremely cheap date or b) being an extreme bellend
What with my earlier Hotmail malfunction it’s proving to be quite the Monday
Read 4 tweets
13 Sep
The people who quit GB News because it’s too populist are as much a mystery as the people who quit the Conservative Party because it’s too conservative
What do these people think they’re signing up for? Why do they always insist against the obvious reality? Why is it so hard for an insider to understand something nakedly transparent to everyone else?
It’s a serious question, by the way. You used to see it when people quit UKIP because it was too xenophobic or now when people resign as advisers to the Tories because they aren’t taking race or LGBT rights seriously enough. What evidence did they ever have to the contrary?
Read 4 tweets
5 Aug
Seriously: what more must Boris Johnson do to show Red Wall voters that he despises them?
It’s a serious point because it cuts to everything Johnson is. These moments are not slip-ups. They’re fresh gambits in the permanent game of satisfying Johnson’s adrenaline narcissism.
Johnson’s shtick is not to do a good job, change people’s lives or effect substantive policy. It is to make fools of the people who support him - to push them, fail them, humiliate them and still retain their support. This is the heart of the con. And he’s still pulling it off.
Read 5 tweets
30 Jun
If it’s #PMQs it must be Johnson claiming credit for Hancock’s resignation and boasting about Europe’s fastest vaccine rate even though we currently have the highest levels of Covid
Starmer raises the case of a leukaemia patient whose family were unable to visit because of Covid rules. Johnson sounds bored and talks about the Westminster bubble. Starmer sounds genuinely appalled and calls for Johnson to withdraw the remark. Shameful, shameless.
Johnson refuses to withdraw the remark and instead tells the naked lie that we wouldn’t have been able to manage our own vaccine rollout inside the European Medicines Agency
Read 6 tweets
18 Jun
I feared the ‘Blue Wall’ was wishful thinking, that there would be too many loyal Tories in the south and the anti-Tory vote would always split too much to make a difference. But this was not a slender win. It was a landslide. Change is possible if you actually vote for it.
This is the Tories’ key danger. They’re replicating Labour’s key error, taking their traditional vote for granted and complacently assuming that a radical change in emphasis can win new supporters while also magically keeping the old ones. Sometimes the magic runs out.
The other point here is that Labour was utterly, utterly destroyed. The party is playing by the old rules and will be defeated by them. If Labour wants to take power ever again it needs to work with other parties, hold noses, make agreements.
Read 5 tweets
11 May
‘My government will protect the health of the nation,’ trolls the Queen
The government will address the nation’s finances after the pandemic, apparently. Presume that means a massive amount of austerity while blaming Labour.
‘The government will strengthen and renew democracy, ensure the fairness of elections, protect free speech’. This is not worthy of a democratic nation. It is industrial-level gaslighting to seize power.
Read 5 tweets

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