Simon Usherwood Profile picture
Jul 17, 2018 12 tweets 5 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
So the @ElectoralCommUK rpt on Vote Leave/BeLeave coordination in #EUref is now available:…

Some thoughts:

Rpt finds coordination did take place, resulted in substantial overspend by VL, and even more by BeLeave

Also worth reading full rpt for discussion of VL's non-compliance w @ElectoralCommUK investigation… (p29 onwards)

@ElectoralCommUK Notwithstanding any challenge to this that VL might launch, Q is whether this matters to legitimacy of #EUref outcome?

@ElectoralCommUK First, rpt is v.specifically focused on coordination, so makes no pronouncements on effect of overspend

@ElectoralCommUK At same time, purpose of spending limits is precisely to level the playing field, as money buys campaigning activity (in this case, online)

@ElectoralCommUK That means no attempt to quantify scale of effect of overspend, which is functionally impossible

(which bit of money? what activity? who saw it? how did this affect their vote? etc)

@ElectoralCommUK This rpt does not deal with issues likely, by themselves, to call into question the conduct of #euref

@ElectoralCommUK That doesn't preclude the gvt or Parliament deciding to open an investigation or inquiry on the matter, taking into account the other elements of uncertainty that have been flagged up around #EUref

@ElectoralCommUK At the same time, hard to see gvt wanting to reopen matters on the evidence produced so far, given both uncertain effects of infringements and huge politics of it all

@ElectoralCommUK Maybe final point to take away is that @ElectoralCommUK remains rather limited in its powers to investigate and apply penalties.

Looking at my timeline, opinion is divided on whether that's good or bad

@ElectoralCommUK In sum, certainly another tool for Remainers to use, but not a game-changer


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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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