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Category Archives: Current Affairs

The great and the good of Brexit

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I’m just back from the UACES conference in Krakow, which was filled – like last year’s – with much talk of Brexit. I came away 12 months ago with a lot to get out of my system (here and here), but this time I am filled more with weariness: 90% of what I wrote 12 months ago still applies. […]

The weak/strong paradox of Brexit

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I’m wrapping up for a summer break, just as more Brexit stuff is about to be released: tant pis. While we wait for that – and it might not come to much - I’d like to revisit a theme that has long floated about the Brexit debate, namely the weak/strong paradox. Simply put, many of those who argue(d) […]

A tentative model of the EU27′s approach to Brexit

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As everyone (semi-)winds down for the August break, and the pace of events slows, it is a useful point to consider Article 50 and Brexit once more. While I have usually looked at this from the British end, this time I’d like to look at it from the EU’s perspective, not only because I’m now […]

The political and reputational costs of ‘no deal’

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Today, UK in a Changing Europe publishes its report on “The Cost of No Deal“, to which I’ve contributed. Here I consider some of the wider ramifications. There is one than one way that the Article 50 process might fail to reach an agreement and it is useful to consider each of these in turn, […]

Why you should read the negotiating manual

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It might not have been immediately obvious, but we are now into the meat of Article 50.  Even with a first cycle of meetings now done, it has taken a press conference from Michel Barnier to make any impression on the British media, and even then only to comparing notes on whistling. All of which prompts some reflection […]

How transferable is the EU referendum and the Brexit experience?

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I’ve spent the day down at Sussex, talking euroscepticism and Brexit with a highly-informed group of colleagues. As our debate ranged over a wide terrain (see my live-ish tweeting here), several questions kept recurring, first and foremost of which was whether the UK was a special case, or a potential model of Eurosceptic activists to follow. As you […]

How to get what you want from Brexit

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About a year ago, I attended a meeting in Cambridge, to discuss the aftermath of the EU referendum. Alongside all the rage and fury of those who felt they had been cheated, one woman asked me specifically about how to mitigate the impact of Brexit on her area of expertise, namely the conservation of rare […]

The Brexit non-issue

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And so the latest disruption to the process of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU draws to a close. Much like the delay in Article 50 notification before it, this General Election has achieved little, except to underline that the British political system still hasn’t got its head around the entire matter. While there will […]

Why don’t pro-Europeans mobilise?

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This Tuesday, while most of us where thinking of other things, I was at the Social Market Foundation, talking about Brexit and euroscepticism. In the course of questions at the end, I was asked whether British pro-Europeans displayed the same range and variety of positions as sceptics, to which I noted mobilisation hadn’t really happened. A […]

How to be awkward in the European Union

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A bit of a quiet week this week: British politicians are launching their manifestos, Macron’s naming his first administration, Trump’s Trump. Rather than get sucking into the usual hot-take approach, I want to step back and think about the notion of awkwardness in the EU. The UK is, famously, the ‘awkward partner’ (in George’s phrase) […]

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