Simon Usherwood Profile picture
Jul 2, 2018 17 tweets 2 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
A quick couple of thoughts on the 'darkest before the dawn' view of Brexit:

The next couple of weeks really do matter for Brexit, not least because several other, earlier crunch points resulting in stasis

EU broadly accepted that last week's #EUCO wouldn't produce much, largely because of the promise of next week's White Paper (WP)

HMG has ramped up expectations on this WP, both domestically and externally. Hence diplomatic push straight, esp w IE

A result of this is that domestic grps are also ramping up pressure, to push this way and that

- Gove doing the ripping-up thing
- JRM doing the 'I'd hate to have to depose you' thing

Thus there is both a need and an expectation that the famous 'tough choices' are coming, and coming soon

That means winners and losers, and no one is yet ready to be a loser on this, esp w May looking so weak/biddable

The optimistic view on all this is that of the opening tweet: very tough discussions, but opening up a line that can be held and worked with by EU to get to a deal

Best case, that means a viable model in WP, then rapid work w COM to embed that in Art.50 negotiations to get much of a deal by Oct

However, that looks optimistic

Firstly, Chequers/WP might get to a position, but that doesn't embed it very well w/in CON, esp if ERG go beyond words and start more meaningful boat-rocking

They might do that because they think there's still plenty of time until next March to direct things, so courses can be changed during summer/autumn

Secondly, if WP doesn't produce a viable plan, then hard for COM to help lock it in. That's eminently possibly given views around Cab table

(working assumption here is that COM wants a deal, and will do best to work with what it's given, w/in limits of mandate)

Thirdly, May might not feel there's urgency to getting a big advance in WP, and it's easier/better to play out some more time, so that when crunch does come, less time is left to have counter-activity

This would fit previous approach, May's structural position and the vagueness in today's trailing of a 'third way' approach on customs

To summarise: it's darkest before the dawn, but it's also very dark as you go deeper into the unexplored cave system (a line that will doubtless resonate through the ages)


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More from @Usherwood

Oct 9, 2018
While I kick my heels for a meeting, let's think about Brexit and inevitability:

Let's start off by noting that I'm not a big one for inevitability, in any political situation

It's a throwing up of the hands and submitting to forces beyond our control: 'there's nothing to be done'

Personally, I think there's always something to be done

Read 18 tweets
Oct 8, 2018
So, what to make of today?

Over the weekend, lots of +ve optics and warm words, to get mvt from the conference-season slump

But lots of reining in during the day

Partly, it's sensible expectation mgt: one might have had the impression that suddenly everything was hunky-dory and the work of a moment

Read 13 tweets
Oct 5, 2018
Possibly more for me than for you, let's try to pull this week together a bit:

Let's start with the EU side

Having largely kept heads down during conference season, yesterday's Tusk/Varadkar presser demonstrated that EU is keeping the pressure on

The tension seems to be between COM/EUCO and IE, as @pmdfoster explained well yesterday: IE making conciliatory noises, central EU bodies pushing EU integrity line

Read 17 tweets
Oct 4, 2018
Let's just work through this one, given the attention it's getting
By taking the CON rebels' terminology, Tusk is making a point

But what point?
As we know from the infamous Barnier Steps, the EU offer is conditioned on UK red lines as much as anything

Read 8 tweets
Oct 4, 2018
Interesting to see how it's just as UK debate sits down for a bit on Brexit, to recover from conference season, negotiations w EU step up
If past fortnight has been about domestic management, then coming fortnight will be about UK working w EU to find ways to get mvt on WA/PD
Because of that hiatus after Salzburg, there's now v.little time left to achieve mvt in time for Oct #EUCO, hence the rush now
Read 11 tweets
Oct 3, 2018
So, the CON party conference and Brexit:

Back in Sept, there was much talk about this being a crunch point in the UK debate, as May would come under fire for Chequers and there would be scope for changes/realignments/whatever

Certainly that first bit has happened, with numerous op-eds over the weekend and assorted fringe events (inc. yesterday's Johnson speech)

Read 15 tweets

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