Sean Jones QC Profile picture
Jul 20 11 tweets 2 min read
I have just listened to Keir Starmer on @campbellclaret and @RoryStewartUK's podcast and have been reflecting further on his Brexit position. /1
There are two things which stand out for me. The first is that like all Conservative politicians, he invokes the need to heal the divisions Brexit has caused but wants to do so by leaning into the Hard Brexit project. /2
I know all the "he has to to get elected" arguments, so I beg you, on pain of blocking, don't make me run through all that again. What I want to do instead is take him at face value. He says he means it, I pay him the respect of assuming that he does. /3
How does backing a hard Brexit heal the division? There is literally nothing on offer to those who backed Remain. This is just as doomed a strategy for him as it has been Johnson because it is not materially different. /4
It was hoped that "Remainers" would lose heart and find a way to see Brexit as a success. But they conspicuously haven't. Scepticism is stronger. Starmer says he'll make it work because it has to work for his kids and ours. But that's just "believe harder" with a red rosette /5
Reconciliation can't work without compromise and no amount of demanding that people commit unhesitatingly to the very thing they've determinedly opposed will result in unity. /6
If anything it's worse for Starmer than it is for the Tories. The de-regulationists don't care if we're divided or not. For them the Brexit opportunities are the de-regulation they wanted from the outset and which the very harms Brexit has caused are now being used to justify /7
But Starmer doesn't want to de-regulate, which means Brexit offers him nothing other than a chance to share the blame when it continues to hold us back. /8
The second thing is his line about "not looking back". That is a weak argument for a couple of reasons. First to insist you cannot undo a mistake is not wisdom, it's stupid. It's like taking a wrong turn on the way home and deciding to make living somewhere else work. /9
Second, Brexit is the very epitome of looking back. It is shot through with confected nostalgia for a Britain that never existed. It is about ignoring economic and geopolitical realities in favour of misty, exceptionalist histories. /10
If he really believes you can't go back, why embrace a project which is pure nostaligia opium-eating? /end

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More from @seanjonesqc

Jul 21
Last night's Starmer #Brexit thread threw up hundreds of variations of the same theme:
1. Starmer is really a Rejoiner
2. He has a cunning plan
3. Cleave to Hard Brexit to get elected
4. Mend fences with the EU
5. Switch to Rejoin-friendly strategies once he has a grip on power.
This is supposedly a politically clever strategy. I don't think it is. I'm going to say why in this thread so that I don't have to set it out endlessly in individual responses. /2
Before I go any further though, I'm sure to be challenged to say what I think he should do. So let me get that out of the way. /3
Read 34 tweets
Jul 11
Part of the problem communicating how bad things are at the criminal bar is that the truth sounds crazy. Talking to @Joanna__Hardy she tells me that if the fee for a first appearance in the Mags was increased by 100% it would still only be £100. /1
It costs me more than that to have a guy come to my house, stare at my boiler and say “it’ll cost yer”. I don’t begrudge him his callout fee because I know he has hard-won expertise and I’m a buffoon. But think about the expertise barristers have /2
If you get a criminal tenancy you likely have been consistently amongst the best of your cohort at every stage of your education. You will have developed Olympian devotion to deferred gratification and built up sleep-denying debt. /3
Read 8 tweets
Jun 27
The British love to boast about “British Justice”. I grew up hearing that our courts were the best in the world and our criminal courts were a source of particular pride. At some point governments decided that as long as you kept boasting, reality need not keep up. /1
If you have not read @barristersecret’s latest book, may I recommend it? Right now people are being convicted or escaping conviction at hearings where advocates may have had only minutes with the case file. /2
There are delays so severe that witnesses and victims simply lose the will to stay involved. There are cases where a just outcome depends on lawyers working hard at times for nothing at all. /3
Read 8 tweets
Jun 18
#BArCouncil I've managed to oversleep through the one bit of the meeting that most of you would be interested in (thanks COVID). I joined as MFQC said that his remarks quoted in the Times had made it clear to the PM that bullying lawyers for political purposes is unacceptable.
Baroness Blackstone: BSB will hold round table meetings with Chambers later in the years to identify best practices with a view to promoting them. She is standing down. She appreciates vital role of #barcouncil and pressures on Bar including PM's attacks.
MFQC Thanks Baroness B and wishes her all the best for her glorious next project.
Read 53 tweets
Jun 15
I've been interviewed on TV or radio a couple of times now about legal issues. I've been asked with a reasonable frequency but have usually referred the request on because I'm being asked to comment about something outside my area of speciality /1
As I have explained elsewhere, the danger of straying into other specialisms is that you really don't know what you don't know. The concomitant risk is that double authority conferred by title and the fact that you are being broadcast reassures people that you are right /2
Even within my specialist area I have made a poor interviewee because I am incredibly anxious to get it right. I had the great @CliveMyrieBBC ask me to confirm that "equal pay law" was about pay discrimination on grounds of sex or race etc. /3
Read 8 tweets
Jun 11
It’s somehow amazing that the shortest route to getting yourself a regular gig on TV appears to be engaging in a performative lack of empathy.
In the 1970s, no-one was “woke”. My father’s preferred term was ‘do-gooder’. He hated “do-gooders”. As a kid I struggled with the idea that people wanting to do good was a bad thing. Still less could I understand why they made him so furious …
The theme which eventually emerged was that he could not believe anyone was capable of empathy or selflessness. He thought it was all an attempt to look good. He’d have seized the term ‘virtue-signalling’…
Read 6 tweets

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