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Category Archives: Current Affairs

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) […]

Brexit à la française

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As that wise old owl of eurosceptic theorising, Dr Richard North, once observed, there are no Brexit experts, for the simple that Brexit hasn’t happened. It’s good to be reminded of this from time to time, if only to reflect on the variety of opinion that’s out there. The past weeks have served up two fine […]

May’s rhetorical Brexit trap

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To say that the past week has been a poor one for Article 50 would be something of an understatement: the fall-out from last Wednesday’s ‘Brexit-supper‘ culminated yesterday with Theresa May holding a press conference in front of Number 10, claiming that some Europeans were deliberately interfering in the General Election. It would be easy […]

The recurring Brexit problem

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It is with more of a whimper than a bang that the first week of campaigning in the 2017 General Election begins. On the one side, a Prime Minister who feels herself to be in such a position of strength that she doesn’t need to explain herself or her plans. On the other, the other […]

What the 2017 General Election means for Brexit: procedure, personnel and policy

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The lovely thing about long walks is that they give you time to think, to join your physical movement with metaphysical wanderings through the things that occupy your life. It’s often a time when you have a bright idea, that makes sense as the sunlight filters through the leaves and warm air of spring fills […]

Moving determinedly towards the door: the UK’s Article 50 notification letter

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Today’s an important one in the Brexit saga. With the submission of formal notification to begin Article 50 negotiations, the UK has crossed an important threshold that cannot be easily crossed, whatever the legalities. It also matters because it represents the final opportunity for the UK to shape the agenda of that process. This cannot […]

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