Simon Usherwood Profile picture
Prof @SurreyPolitics. All aspects of Brexit and EU-UK relations, plus some learning & teaching. Part of @PROTECTproject2 Also check out @adietofbrussels
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10 Jun 20
We're back into diminishing returns here: UK warnings about walking away become ever less credible with each time they are made and not followed through

Of course, also raises risk of it accidentally happening
Key point here is that if you are trying to change your practice (here, actually walking off when you say you will), then you have to make sure that the other party knows this is meant, otherwise they'll not respond to the signal (here, to move quickly to compromise)
Again, remember the point of threatening to walk away (and it's a poor practice, generally speaking) is to motivate the other party to move positions, so you get to a deal
Read 9 tweets
2 Jun 20
ICYMI England to go ahead with uni cap, including caps on English students going to non-English unis in UK

theguardian.com/education/2020…

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Full technical document here: gov.uk/government/pub…

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Essentially, a 5% cap on over-recruitment to plans, plus additional 5K places for medicinal programmes, plus 5K for STEM-y subjects (but only for HEIs with strong metrics on continuation and post-study employment)

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Read 7 tweets
1 Jun 20
Ahead of this week's Future Relationship negotiations, a quick run-down of the Frost & Barnier letters

PDF: bit.ly/UshGraphic26

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Behind all the rhetoric, there's reason for both optimism and pessimism about the negotiations

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-ve take: little sign of recognising liability/legitimacy of other sides' positions

UK approach of "we want what others have had" clashes with EU's "each relationship is unique"

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Read 5 tweets
20 May 20
So, lots of new Brexit texts flying around this week.

What to make it all?

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Today we had the UK's 'approach' on implementing the Northern Irish Protocol: gov.uk/government/new…

Yesterday came the drafts for EU-UK agreements under the Future Relationship: gov.uk/government/pub…

Also, the new tariff regime: gov.uk/government/new…

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(note the draft texts didn't get a press release, so HMG not going out of their way to get people to notice them, or even find them)

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Read 15 tweets
19 May 20
Let's go around this again, since we're getting a bit carried away

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Draft is a copy of CETA, and its main function is the amendment element at the end: enlargement might require adjustments to FTA

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My OP was about the requirement to tell the UK about future accessions to the UK and 'take account' of UK concerns

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Read 7 tweets
18 May 20
The timeline for reaching an agreement on either an extension or a Future Relationship continues to tighten

PDF: bit.ly/UshGraphic25
Even with the UK's publication of a text, there hasn't been any substantive discussion of extension, let alone a common text

The mismatch of the two timelines doesn't really help on this either, as can't use one to nudge the other
Which leaves open a possibility of discovering an extension is needed, but only after end June, when it's very much more difficult to do

And thus a possibility of an accidental 'non-agreement' outcome
Read 4 tweets
9 May 20
So, #EuropeDay

I don't want to talk so much about the content as the timeline

To make such an offer 5 years after the end of such a vicious and all-consuming war still makes a big impression
And this year we have the handy equivalent time frame: from #GE2015 to now

Yes, a lot has happened in that time, but could you imagine the size of the shift in 1945-50?

Especially if you'd had the period from the start of the Great Recession to that election fighting before?
Time is always slippery, especially now, but the scale of the shifting plates of European history in those early postwar years is easy to dismiss as just numbers on a page

Will you have left behind C19 in 5 years' time?
Read 6 tweets
4 May 20
How does failure to get an agreement by the end of this year compare with the 'no-deal' of Art.50?

tl;dr Neither is pretty, for anyone

PDF: bit.ly/UshGraphic23
Also, thanks to @BEERG for suggesting this one: happy to take requests for future graphics
with a minor tweek, h/t @DPhinnemore
Read 3 tweets
28 Apr 20
A quick reminder of why not having your contingency plan in place is a bad move when negotiating

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politicshome.com/news/article/c…
Negotiation is about trying to get a better outcome through agreement with someone else than you can achieve by yourself

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That has lots of implications, but the one we'll focus on here is the implication of relative gains under agreement and non-agreement conditions

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Read 12 tweets
16 Apr 20
To be clear, this is a nonsense line of argument from No.10

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theguardian.com/world/live/202…
There has been no instance where EU rules have limited or blocked UK action so far in this crisis

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Moreover, any move out of transition on 1/1/21 will mean more barriers and uncertainty to public policy

With or without a deal, UK would have to put in place new policies/processes/institutions that don't exist, and whose creation will distract from corvid work

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Read 10 tweets
14 Mar 20
Let's talk about how you're going to move your teaching online in short order

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I'm guessing you are either already or just about to be doing this, as part of your institution's plans for coronavirus, just like me

First up, stay calm (mainly because it's going to be rather frustrating)

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Everyone's going to have different plans, but let's assume you're being told no more face-to-face teaching

(if you skip the "teach normal class, but students can video in if they like", then feel happy)

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Read 13 tweets
7 Mar 20
Let's talk briefly about what this might mean for the UK's approach to the Future Partnership talks

Tl;dr 😬
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theguardian.com/world/2020/mar…
For those that don't know, @EASA run the processes relating to aviation safety and certification for over 30 European states (EU27 plus EFTA, basically)

You can read them at: easa.europa.eu or this summary from your favourite wiki

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Basic point is that this is a classic example of a technocratic body, doing technical things for many that used to have to be done by each. The vast majority of its work has no implication beyond the sector

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Read 12 tweets
5 Mar 20
Let's consider this as more general point: why not sign up to stuff if you're going to do it anyway?

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Essentially this is about politics

the calculation is that if you keep to standards in practice, 3rd parties will probably be satisfied, but you keep a clearer position of retaining your margin of manoeuvre

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Consider the alternative: signing up.

Then you get 3rd party satisfaction more firmly, but you're now playing by formalised rules. Sure you can leave, but you have to defend being in to domestic audiences

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Read 16 tweets
4 Mar 20
A useful reminder from @UKRI_News that you need to revisit what the gvt is promising right now should there be no agreement by the end of Transition

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@UKRI_News You'll recall that during 2018/9, the gvt made a number of commitments on what it would do should there be a 'no-deal' on Art.50

I'm most familiar with those on research, but others were made too

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@UKRI_News Well, one might imagine that those all just roll over to the new cliff-edge (currently 31/12/2020)

They don't

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Read 7 tweets
29 Feb 20
Have been turning this over all day. It makes sense, but only if you neglect where it leaves you.

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This has two parts: internal and external

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Internally, you might well be able to lay blame at EU's feet, but it doesn't change that you're still in a rubbish situation, and one that you claim not to have wanted.

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Read 10 tweets
27 Feb 20
The full text of the UK's position: assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/upl…

Some quick thoughts:

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This is a more obviously political document than the EU's mandate: there's a lot of posture in here

(NB there's plenty of politics in the EU doc, just dressed up much drier language)

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At the same time, whoever did the drafting left plenty of big spaces for wiggle-room, e.g. on LPF and even on the role of the CJEU

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Read 9 tweets
18 Feb 20
[Blinks]
To be clear:
- I know that's not how chess works
- @CharlieCooper8 knows that too

The issue is the non-publication of a draft text

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This has nothing to do with 'revealing hands' (negotiation is still not like a card game), but with either:

A) the inability of HMG to produce such a document if it wanted, or;

B) the thought it could get kicked out by the EU

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Read 5 tweets
11 Feb 20
Thanks to Julie Smith and Michael Dobbs for hosting a really stimulating discussion with Ameet Gill and me

Big take home: use your voice
Much of our debate this evening was about how social media is changing politics. Both Ameet and I saw both up- and downsides in this, especially when taken in the wider context
However, a lot of it comes down to you using your voice in this new space

It's easy just to let stuff come at you, or to assume that politicians will pander to your desires
Read 6 tweets
10 Feb 20
A quick summary of last week's opening positions on the next phase of Brexit negotiations

tl;dr plenty to disagree on, but also much scope to square circles

PDF: bit.ly/UshGraphic12
@SurreyCbe @SurreyPolitics @UKandEU @anandMenon1 @pmdfoster @AndrewSparrow @jillongovt @ProfTimBale this is based on the COM draft mandate and the PM's ministerial notice: you can click through the flags on the PDF version
@SurreyCbe @SurreyPolitics @UKandEU @anandMenon1 @pmdfoster @AndrewSparrow @jillongovt @ProfTimBale Note that even the green boxes aren't problem-free, as they each contain a number of sticky points

But it's the red boxes that see the most intractable problems: LPF also affects many other areas, while fisheries is a sine qua non for EU
Read 4 tweets
5 Feb 20
On my way to @NclPolitics to talk about impact and about teaching

#DoubleHeader
#EarlyBird
#GladItsNotRaining
Read 3 tweets
3 Feb 20
Only one section with any highlighting:
Only comment on prioritisation in the draft mandate: keeps it pretty open

Nothing on use of extension mechanism
Read 6 tweets