No change. The crunch date is still June - when France needs to have withdrawn her silly demands in return for more money from the other 26. The only issue is keeping both teams disease free. And M Barnier, at 69, is at the age at which he should be staying in more.
There are signs of softening on both sides. I reckon the TV tax will be decriminalised, in effect a £200m fine for past naked bias, but longer term funding will be thrown into the long grass. Many just want the BBC to be smaller, more efficient, cheaper and rid of its unacceptable bias. However, there are signs they still don't get it. Tony Hall is picking up on the 'diversity of thought' challenge, but the real challenge is that the BBC is a big, statist, centralist broadcaster that endogenously supports a big centralist State. Unless this changes, not much else will.
The Priti Patel row isn't about the Home Secretary at all. It's the attempted picking-off of a reformist big beast by the establishment that has captured the state. They will lose this battle, but the war is likely to be put on hold as the government will have genuine need of the command-and-control structures that Whitehall has in place permanently (instead of just temporarily for wars, plagues and pestilence). They're safe until Covid-19 reaches its conclusion.
Frankly, the suggestion that Parliament should be suspended to preserve the lives of MPs and peers is ludicrous. Giving the government emergency powers that MPs return every 28 days to renew, dressed no doubt in full-body suits, masks and visors, is too risible to consider. If carrying on as usual with anticipated absence rates of 20%, as the population is expected to do, is good enough for health workers it's good enough for MPs. Sure, six or seven of them may die (and rather more peers, but they have the choice between their attendance allowance and a risk of infection) but MPs are expendable - they themselves are not valuable, just the party selection made by their constituents. They must face the same risks as the rest of us. So any closure will be an abject betrayal of the nation and should not be considered. The Commons sat through the Blitz - a bloody little Chinese bug is nothing.
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