1. Exquisite Tweets from @LawDavF

    PreoccupationsCollected by Preoccupations

    When Chilcot report on Iraq released just after referendum I was asked if lessons for brexit 1/

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    LawDavF

    Lawrence Freedman

    Made obvious points about not a war but showed need to think beyond first steps, unintended consequences etc.2/

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    LawDavF

    Lawrence Freedman

    As time has gone on think major lesson may be in divided public opinion/3

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    LawDavF

    Lawrence Freedman

    Blair government invaded Iraq without committed public support. If all had gone well might have been fine 4/

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    LawDavF

    Lawrence Freedman

    But when things went badly in Iraq the govt was left isolated 5/

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    LawDavF

    Lawrence Freedman

    In 2003 too little attention paid to how occupation would go down in Iraq. In 2106 too little to how referendum received in rest of EU. 6/

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    LawDavF

    Lawrence Freedman

    With both claims of worst-case if failed (WMD/super-state) but best case if went ahead (beacon for MidEast/ great trade deals) 7/

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    LawDavF

    Lawrence Freedman

    With both little consideration of what happens if best case could not be realised (insurgency in Iraq/ intransigent EU negotiators). 8/

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    LawDavF

    Lawrence Freedman

    Leave treated the referendum result as Blair treat parl majority in 2003 - as if a victory in a football match and winner take all 9/

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    LawDavF

    Lawrence Freedman

    But in both cases pressing forward with divided country limited options as meaning of what had been decided was worked out in practice. 10/

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    LawDavF

    Lawrence Freedman

    In Iraq reality of occupation soon became apparent and government faced challenges for which it had failed to prepare public opinion. 11/

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    LawDavF

    Lawrence Freedman

    Honouring the referendum meant that brexit had to be properly explored. A50 however was triggered before exploration complete 12/

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    LawDavF

    Lawrence Freedman

    Now – and this should not be a surprise – negotiations rather than deliberate political choice is pushing UK to sub-optimal outcomes. 13/

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    LawDavF

    Lawrence Freedman

    After 2003 government found it hard to have proper stock taking of where things had gone wrong in Iraq 14/

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    LawDavF

    Lawrence Freedman

    As a result there was no serious discussion of what was possible in new conditions so situation allowed to drift 15/

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    LawDavF

    Lawrence Freedman

    Drift impossible with brexit because of deadline 16/

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    LawDavF

    Lawrence Freedman

    So need candid national conversation on where we are, how this might all end up and realistic options (before any new referendum). End

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    LawDavF

    Lawrence Freedman