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Category Archives: Democracy & Citizenship

Will 2015 see the end of UKIP?

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It’s almost Easter, so it is also time for the Political Studies Association annual conference, held this year in Manchester. I had the great pleasure of sitting on a roundtable on UKIP with Rick Whitaker, Phil Lynch and Matt Goodwin, where we discussed the party’s support, strategy and organisation: much debate ensued. We’re producing a series of blog posts […]

Scoping the non-EU: Brexit’s paradox

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The IEA finally announced the winner of its Brexit Prize this week. Last June it unveiled a competition for submissions to map out in detail how the UK could leave the EU and pursue a new path. The winner would receive €100,000 (presumably ironically) and a handy rejoinder would be provided to all those who complain that […]

Labour, Europe and the continuing absence of British EU policy

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It’s rewarding to know that Ed Miliband (or at least his minions) read blogs, even if incompletely. Last week, I wrote a piece off the back some press speculation about the Labour leader being about to offer a referendum. In that post, I noted that Miliband was going to be motivated to do this because of the […]

Starting a debate on Europe? Clegg v. Farage

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Despite the usual embarrassment of riches that I could cover, today I’m going to build on some of the thoughts that I discussed some weeks ago, regarding the LibDem’s strategy for the European Parliament elections. During the past weeks, we’ve seen Nick Clegg offer – and Nigel Farage accept – to have a public debate on things European, which will have […]

Britain as the Good European

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A couple of things have caught my eye this week in the world of UK-EU relations, one relatively minor, the other potentially much bigger. However, they are linked by a common strand of thinking about how the UK acts and is perceived. The minor thing was an article at the start of the week by Boris […]

Does UKIP give eurosceptics a bad name?

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To look at Twitter (or the academic conference schedule), the European elections are almost upon us. With them comes the familiar litany of concerns about falling turnout, democratic deficits and all the other tropes. While these have some basis in fact, such debates tend to present a rather distorted view of the world (turnouts are […]

How to sell Europe? #whyiamIN and the coming British debate

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For some time now, the Liberal Democrats (and other pro-EU groups) have been trailing the use of the #whyiamIN hashtag as a hook for a campaign in favour of British membership of the Union. This week saw that step up a level with the launch of a new website (www.amillionjobs.org), with a centrepiece video by Nick Clegg used as […]

Does UKIP need a manifesto?

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At one level, the denunciation by UKIP’s leader, Nigel Farage, of the party’s 2010 General Election manifesto as ‘drivel‘ at the end of last week merely confirms the image of plain-speaking, see-as-they-find types, unafraid to change tack as they develop. Certainly, it’s almost impossible to imagine any other party leader (and not just in the […]

Is the EU going to hell in a handcart?

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Let’s assume that our readership is intelligent enough to know the answer to this question is ‘probably not’, but you’ve been drawn in by the phrasing. Let’s also assume that the question isn’t totally ridiculous, i.e. that the EU has some kind of problem, at the very least at the level of how it is perceived. Certainly, […]

The myth of a static EU

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Yesterday and today see the organisation of a large conference in London, organised by Open Europe and the Fresh Start group of Tory MPs. Entitled a ‘pan-European conference for EU reform‘, it proudly announces that it brings together speakers from across the EU to discuss how to change the Union. The big draw on yesterday’s […]

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