Michael Dougan Profile picture
Professor of European Law, University of Liverpool Joint Editor, Common Market Law Review Second Violin / Viola, Liverpool Mozart Orchestra All views personal.
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May 12 4 tweets 1 min read
"Braverman said the EU was undermining the Good Friday agreement by creating a trade barrier in the Irish Sea".


- proposed that trade barrier
- won general election with his "great Brexit deal"
- signed it under international law
- passed it through Parliament "Braverman has advised that [overriding Protocol] would be legal because [EU approach] was disproportionate and unreasonable"

Clueless liar.

EU asks UK to respect its own *clear & unambiguous* treaty rules. UK's initial bad faith, or later regrets, can't make something "legal".
May 10 4 tweets 1 min read
DUP demanded but were denied formal veto over application of Protocol. Their tantrums are designed to destroy a system they cannot dictate over. If Truss acquiesces, for sake of her own vain ambition, I hope EU & US teach UK a hard lesson in respect for law, peace, trust, honour. Will Truss have credible alternative to avoid hard border across Ireland, to replace Protocol she supported then destroys? Of course not. Tories hope EU & IRL will just sacrifice own territorial integrity for sake of Brexit. Painfully wrong. Johnson Regime risks disaster upon NI.
May 7 5 tweets 1 min read
It's beyond frustrating that the DUP seem determined to inflict a state of perpetual manufactured crisis upon NI. The Protocol is the fruit of their own machinations: they defied NI's will on Brexit & cynically plotted with English nationalists against NI's own interests. Yet... ... it's also frustrating to hear so many outside voices hype up talk of border polls & Irish reunification. Lots well-meaning; some seeing NI as a proxy to "punish" England for its Brexit madness; others using NI to stoke fears about "UK under threat" to help bolster Johnson...
Apr 24 5 tweets 1 min read
Mind you, today = also a good reminder: there is no idiot greater than the self-declared thorough-bred "socialist", so consumed with hostility towards anyone not quite so pure in leftist spirit, they'd rather see Le Pen in power than Macron. Or Johnson before Starmer. Jesus wept. Some interesting responses to this one. And in reply, a few added observations from me.

1) if you think anyone who doesn't agree with your own version of "left", or who didn't support Corbyn, must therefore be a "centrist" or "right wing", you're only proving my point. Merci.
Mar 12 7 tweets 2 min read
One must admire, albeit with held-nose, the capacity of hard rightists to contort every situation to their own worldview - no matter how jumbled, contradictory or divorced from reality. Here are a few things I "learned" today: 1) it's quite easy to morph from Putin-the-Strongman worshipper into Putin-the-Victim apologist. Trying to convert to anti-Putinism is trickier: wot, you mean... allying with, rather than bashing, all those lefties and liberals that actually make up "the West"?!?!
Feb 2 4 tweets 1 min read
We usually assume that these never-ending scandals must be a "bad thing" for the neo-Tories. Certainly, they seem not to understand / care about the depths of contempt their behaviour inspires across a large part of the population. But things aren't necessarily so clear cut... First & less important: a bloated narcissist on the monstrous scale occupied by Johnson must be simply thrilled that the UK's entire national life, attention and debate is dominated by stories about him. He's not in power for us or for the country. Just to hear his own name.
Jan 31 14 tweets 3 min read
Easy, today of all days, to let other important developments slip by without critical attention they deserve. But let’s not underestimate serious threats contained in Johnson’s “Brexit Freedoms Bill”. A short thread, starting with his usual lies, then highlighting 2 key threats: 1) we can take it for granted that this announcement is shrouded in the same deceptions and distortions as every other initiative from Johnson’s Regime. E.g. we’re told many EU rules carried over into UK law upon withdrawal are completely lacking in any democratic legitimacy...
Dec 14, 2021 7 tweets 2 min read
Why do I regard the Johnson Government as a direct and serious threat to UK democracy, hope that the opposition parties will find sufficient common ground to work together, and use that joint momentum to reconstitute UK democracy on a much more solid footing? In a nutshell: This regime used systematic dishonesty to win a general election. With a minority of votes cast, they win a huge parliamentary majority. Which confers vast power. Constrained primarily by "gentlemen's rules". That are next-to-useless against those without any moral scruples...
Nov 5, 2021 22 tweets 4 min read
Let’s assume Johnson Regime is now actively preparing to invoke Art 16 of Protocol on IRL/NI, by adopting “safeguard measures” likely leading to unilateral disregard of agreed rules on GB-NI trade. What comes next? Short(ish, er OK, not very) thread with few thoughts: 1) Set against criteria for invoking Art 16, UK case will inevitably look weak. To start: we don’t know what “life under Protocol” really looks like, because UK has never properly applied it. A party that has consistently refused to comply with legal obligations under Protocol...
Nov 1, 2021 7 tweets 2 min read
Greetings from Belfast. Where I've just been reading David Frost's latest attempts to embitter community relations in NI, and destabilise the GFA, in cynical pursuit of Johnson Regime's broader English nationalist vendetta against the EU. Short thread with some comments: 1) Frost continues to rewrite history with grotesque abandon. Having claimed for months poor HMG was bullied into Protocol by evil EU, aided by treacherous MPs & their "Surrender Act", now blame clock has gone back further: it was all May's fault for signing Dec 2017 Joint Report
Oct 14, 2021 4 tweets 1 min read
It's frustrating, that so much analysis flying around of Commission proposals on NI Protocol is dented by selective memory and / or damaging pretence of false balance (for fear of usual Brexitist attacks on "biased experts"). I suffer from neither. So let's be crystal clear: Start from the premiss that there is no backstory here, that all claims are equal and everything is possible: yeah, maybe the Commission offer doesn't sound so generous. Why didn't they offer all this years ago? Why don't they go a bit further to meet UK demands?
Oct 13, 2021 5 tweets 1 min read
While we wait to see the EU's proposals for reforming the detailed operation of the Protocol on Ireland / Northern Ireland (then find out the reaction of the Johnson Regime), here is a quick reminder of what the basic position of each party currently is: 1) EU says: we spent years hammering out a workable framework to the terrible mess your Brexit created for IRL and NI. No-one claims it is perfect; it is built on compromises by all sides. Now - let's find workable solutions to real life problems having an adverse impact on NI.
Oct 5, 2021 5 tweets 1 min read
Wondering why Johnson Regime is so determined to insult & antagonise EU, disrupt UK relations with Member States? Swopping partnership & cooperation of EU membership for other extreme, of petty belligerence, wasn't inherent in UK withdrawal. It's a deliberate policy choice. Why? Now clear to all, save the most swivel-eyed Leave fanatics, that Brexit - particularly in the extreme incarnation pushed by Johnson & Co - has no particular upsides and a great many very considerable downsides. So if Brexit is to be fabricated into a "success", it can only be...
Oct 3, 2021 7 tweets 2 min read
As usual, when Johnson speaks, he lies... but also manages, despite his carefully managed stage persona, to reveal some hidden truths. A good, and very telling, example from today's prime ministerial musings: One hand: Johnson claims current problems are part of "necessary" post-Brexit transition. Rubbish. Johnson's Leave cabal chose & designed this Hard Brexit & its inevitable problems. It could've been very different if they had made less extreme choices. None of it was "necessary".
Jul 27, 2021 17 tweets 3 min read
Back to work = time to scrutinise the UK’s proposals (published 21 July 2021) for rewriting the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland. Here is a short(ish) thread with some thoughts: 1) Let’s start with the UK’s diagnosis of the problems created by the Protocol. According to HMG, this terrible deal was inflicted upon poor Prime Minister Johnson as he valiantly battled on all fronts against domestic traitors and foreign adversaries.
Jul 9, 2021 4 tweets 1 min read
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:
Jun 30, 2021 7 tweets 2 min read
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...)
Jun 12, 2021 4 tweets 1 min read
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...
Jun 9, 2021 7 tweets 2 min read
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
Jun 7, 2021 4 tweets 1 min read
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.
May 18, 2021 5 tweets 1 min read
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"