Sure, move fast and break things. But if those things are of interest to other countries, which many are given we trade, then its either the rule of law or law of the jungle in which the biggest / fastest etc win. The latter might sound fun until we're on the wrong side of it.
And have a go at international lawyers or thinktankers or whoever you want. But ultimately since Brexit no UK government has shown an interest in listening to the many people who really understand international trade or law, in the UK or elsewhere. Perhaps listen more, yell less?
Theories of change as well, the UK government has gone for the small revolutionary cadre approach to Brexit, where only the ideologically pure need apply, as opposed to the building of a broad team which is more normally considered best practice (but maybe wrongly).
And to think I spent December 2019 and January 2020 thinking a really smart UK government would with fresh 80 seat majority go back to Brussels and get a better deal, but drunk on its own hubris and unwilling to listen to the unapproved, it never happened. Glad they didn't.
Final one on UK and international law. A wise colleague said to me 10 years ago that having studied how UK business trade compared to others, they were more risk averse and therefore it was in our interest to push for stable international rules. Do government still think of this?
I hate to break the news, but those who know international relations are well aware there are limits to good faith and treaties, long moved on to considering power politics, and find adolescent fantasies of conquest whether armed or technological completely tedious.
And if your entire basis for a major change in the country is that if I'm in charge we'll beat the world then it suffers from an obvious single point of failure of what happens when you're not and something you think an idiot is. Not exactly resilient.

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More from @DavidHenigUK

14 Oct
Don't think I've yet seen a fully accurate media report on the Commission's Northern Ireland proposals yesterday.

Leading us to various hypothetical debates today. What if the EU had offered what they haven't offered earlier? And so it goes...
Oh sheez, not the only offender, but can we make some better attempt to understand negotiations and the EU? Everything is theoretically negotiable if you have the capital. The EU doesn't suddenly offer gold, and didn't yesterday. For the oldies, RTFM.
It might be hard to believe in the UK, but numerous countries are currently negotiating with the EU on all manner of trade subjects. Few involve threats, most are going slow, all involve both sides tweaking negotiating positions regularly, most will deliver something.
Read 4 tweets
14 Oct
In briefing-world Brexit Northern Ireland is on the verge of collapse due to the imposition of the European Court of Justice, and the EU has just put forward remarkable proposals to sweep away nearly all checks under the protocol.

Fine. Except neither of these things is true.
Great Britain to Northern Ireland goods movements are largely continuing, though there's no doubt with greater costs and paperwork for which business has suggested fixes. Unionist anger at a protocol they opposed is real, though also inflamed by the UK government.
The EU has responded with limited proposals to meet the problems identified by Northern Ireland business, while claiming unconvincingly that these will sweep away enormous amounts of checks, and that Member States are strongly resisting any flexibility.
Read 9 tweets
13 Oct
As predicted, helpful but not revolutionary. I mean that's basically trade policy.
Similarly a half step forward on involvement of NI in discussions, but only that.
I think the EU medicines proposal for Northern Ireland does break new ground, but with conditions to match.
Read 14 tweets
13 Oct
Important to be clear that the UK risks de-skilling as a result of our policy choices - that those formerly working in higher productivity export sectors will end up working in lower skilled lower productivity domestic areas. We chose trade barriers.
Government's definition of free trade = lower tariffs is appropriate only to around 1980. For the last 40 years free trade has been more about movement of people and regulatory alignment, on both of which we are now comparatively protectionist.
Read 5 tweets
12 Oct
As promised, worth taking some time over a remarkable speech, one that demonstrates the UK government seeing the world quite differently to the common understanding of others.…
First, possibly uniquely in the world the UK has no interest in influencing its neighbour's choices, covering 50% of our trade. Even the US and China want to influence EU regulations, recognising their importance, but not the UK.
I doubt there are too many trade specialists in the world who think customs practicalities are more important than trade regulations, though energy suppliers will certainly be important. But yes, lobbying Portugal will apparently be more important than the EU. Its a view.
Read 10 tweets
12 Oct
Treaties, apparently not important. We're back to the Internal Market Act debacle.
So how would the UK react to this argument made by Spain over Gibraltar, or China over Hong Kong? Not to mention that this government said the opposite two years ago. Rewriting history with do much counter evidence...
I mean sure, it used to be called a backstop and changed to be called a protocol. Come up with a different name, but the facts it covers haven't changed in five years.
Read 5 tweets

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