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Category Archives: Democracy & Citizenship

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 […]

The perils of success for UKIP

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The Christmas period was generally quite quiet in matters European, as most took an opportunity to gather themselves for what will be a busy year of European elections and the selection of new senior EU officials. UKIP was a partial confirmation of this. Just after Christmas, Nigel Farage made an announcement that caught a fair bit of […]

Swings and roundabouts on the EU: Can the Tories ever get anywhere?

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It’s time for the final blog post of the calendar year for me, as I prepare for the Christmas break. My mind naturally turns towards thinking back over the past 12 months and I find myself looking at a situation much like that a year ago. Last Christmas, the talk was of Cameron’s much-trailed speech, which […]

Playing the EU game: complicity or getting your way?

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My blog last week got picked up by British Influence, a pro-EU pressure group, who asked if they could re-post it on their website. Off the back of that, I got drawn into a Twitter exchange with Iron Lad, a self-professed libertarian and UKIP supporter. Suffice to say that we didn’t agree on much, as we slid quickly into the ‘who […]

Ukraine’s Future: Whatever Happened to the New Europe?

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Sunday 1st December 2013. Mass protests in Ukraine. They come just one week before the day when 22 years earlier Ukraine was instrumental in signing the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics into obsolescence; and 20 years – to the day – after the historic Rome meeting of the Conference (now Organisation) for Security and Cooperation in […]

A culture of euroscepticism?

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I’ve had a small flurry of late-autumn events of late, including a talk at the Institute of International and European Affairs in Dublin (podcasted here) and a workshop here at Surrey on Croatia’s membership of the EU, organised by CRonEM. In these events, we have talked as much about current events across the Union as we have about […]

How do eurosceptics position themselves: winning the argument or fighting the system?

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The past week has been something of a trip to the past for me. For many years, watching eurosceptics and anti-EU groups was characterised by endless cries that they were fighting ‘the system’, outcasts who had seen the truth and railed against almost impossible odds. That idea of righteousness that underpins such a worldview is one that I […]

The UKIP class of ’09: Where are they now?

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The removal of Godfrey Bloom’s whip this week, in the wake of his comments to the annual conference, reminds me that the role of MEPs in UKIP has long been an unhappy one. In the party’s earlier days, it was the MEPs who held a lot of the financial and human resources, to the point that they constituted […]

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