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Category Archives: Democracy & Citizenship

Why cake is going to stay on the Brexit menu

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The optimistic view of the round of speeches over the past weeks that culminated in Theresa May’s contribution at Mansion House is that the UK is finally confronting the consequences of the EU referendum. With both government ministers and Jeremy Corbyn devoting time to discussing and debating in more detail, this might be the point […]

Nothing has changed

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A good rule of thumb is that when you’re in a hole, you stop digging. Unless, of course, you’re in the tunnelling business. The British government is very much not in that line of work – such things being outsourced – so the rule would seem to apply in spades. And yet is spades that […]

Tightening Le Touquet and the second-order effects of Brexit

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Today’s visit to London by President Macron is important on a number of levels, not least for triggering the long-overdue debate about whether King Harold would have been a Brexiter. If the loaning of the Bayeux Tapestry is something of a sideshow, then it also speaks the overly febrile nature of British political debate that this was […]

Despite Brexit not happening yet

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It’s not often I recommend a bot to follow, but I find that HaveWeLeft is a useful daily reminder: https://twitter.com/HaveWeLeft/status/951008276761726979 In all the talk of Brexit and transitions and new relationships, it’s easy to forget that the UK remains a full member state of the EU and will continue to be so for at least another 14 months. My personal […]

On being open (or closed)

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As we await the verdict of tomorrow’s European Council on the move to Phase 2, it’s perhaps useful to reflect on the decision-making style of Theresa May. Last night provided a vivid illustration of this, with the amendment to the Withdrawal Bill, which provides Parliament with a vote on the final deal. We might discuss on another […]

Brexit silver (dead)lining playbook

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Sometimes one has the impression that everyone involved in European politics is a big fan of Douglas Adams: certainly, as far as Article 50 goes, each new day brings absurdity piled upon absurdity. The last week has made this point better than most, with the sudden rush to agreement on Monday then brutally undercut and […]

A trip down memory lane: Shadowing, ERM and lessons for Brexit

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The upsides of getting older are relatively few and far between, but one of the best is that you get to annoy younger people by dragging up things from the past that they have no memory of. And so it’s been this week: I’ve been musing on the late 1980s and the oddities of monetary […]

Phase II of Article 50: from leaning in to falling out?

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Even if the Article 50 negotiations have yet to move to Phase II (transition arrangements), it is clear that such matters are increasingly on people’s minds. The European Council a fortnight ago did concede that the Commission should start to prepare a draft mandate for Phase II, so that as and when Phase I (tying […]

More negotiation theory in Article 50

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I’ve talked before about how negotiation theory might throw some light on the Article 50 process, but it seems useful to return to the subject, given the continuing difficulties that the sides are encountering: might the literature offer some insights? Today, it’s Zartman who springs to mind. He writes on the conflict management side of negotiation, which […]

Running down the clock as a strategy in Article 50

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As we all wait with baited breath – possibly – for Theresa May’s Florence speech, I’d like to explore one aspect of Article 50 that’s been visible but somewhat under-considered: the time constraint. Having talked with various people in Brussels and London in recent weeks, I’ve been struck by how time is seen both as a help […]

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