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Category Archives: Current Affairs

Is Jeremy Corbyn an asset or a liability for the EU referendum?

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This is another one of those weeks that hasn’t shaped up too well for Jeremy Corbyn: between Syria and tomorrow’s Oldham by-election, the seemingly perpetual cavalcade of tricky situations and own-goals just carries on for the Labour leader. Regardless of how the Syria vote today turns out or how much of a battering the party takes tomorrow, Corbyn […]

Must…con-cen-trate…!

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Modern politics is made of moments. Brief moments. The ever-decreasing attention spans of journalists are matched those of the public, in part encouraged by politicians who want to shift the limelight on to something else. I note this without any great judgment, since I’m probably as bad as anyone else, but at the very least […]

The paranoid turn in the referendum campaign

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Not infrequently, I’m taken by the notion that the easiest way to understand the renegotiation and referendum is by thinking about how different actors can best use it to their long term advantage. The substance of the issues isn’t really the point, but rather the opportunity offered to improve one’s position, both absolutely and relatively. […]

The curious path of Vote Leave

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For most people observing – including myself – the existence of two major groupings on the Leave side of the referendum wasn’t really an issue. Arron Banks’ Leave.EU hasn’t looked nearly as serious a proposition as Vote Leave, either in terms of ideological breadth or of general respectability (however you’d like to define that). Vote Leave has […]

Can the UK still play a two-level game in the EU?

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One of the staples of academic understanding of the EU is the notion of the two-level game. The idea – first articulated by Robert Putnam – is simply that there are situations where you can only understand an actor’s intentions and actions in one game/interaction if you also accept that these intentions and actions are shaped by their […]

(Not) Getting to Norway?

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Nordic countries generally have a good rep. Whether it’s their pop music or their high level of social and political development, they tend to get looked up at. But just as there’s a Ylvis for every ABBA, so too is there a David Cameron for every Francis Fukuyama. Cameron doesn’t want a ‘Norwegian option’ for the UK, by which he […]

Mr Cameron goes to Brussels (and finds he doesn’t understand anything) UPDATED

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A (sadly) consistent theme of British policy towards the EU has been widespread ignorance. I recall being told in my undergraduate EU law module a story of the first British judge, Alexander Mackenzie Stuart, setting off in 1973 to Luxembourg with the firm intention of trying to establish the supremacy of EC law, apparently unaware […]

Practice makes perfect

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So here we are, phase two of Dave’s renegotiation-and-referendum gambit. The preliminaries have been dealt with and now we have the groups likely to form the official campaigns launched. I’ve talked elsewhere about the group formation and the issues associated with that, and that’s certainly been much of the focus of attention so far in the media. […]

A bit of problem for #SayNoEUTour?

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About a month ago, and to some fanfare, Nigel Farage launched a ‘Say no the EU tour‘. The press coverage (e.g. BBC) called it the UKIP referendum campaign, the website talks about why to the leave the EU and Farage himself said that he would be campaigning from now until the vote takes place next year. All […]

Intensity and direction tensions in the EU referendum campaigns

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As we move into party conference season, so we also enter the world of the official campaigns for the EU referendum. Both Remain and Leave sides now have their contenders for official status in the throws of activation. This notwithstanding the continuing lack of clarity about what’s being renegotiated or by when: the calculation has clearly been that to wait for […]

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