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Category Archives: Politics & Public Policy

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 […]

What to look for in Article 50

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Seeing as we’re nearly at the second phase of Brexit – the negotiations for departure – it’s an opportune moment to tell you that I’ve started podcasting again, with a guide to the Article 50 timeline. Quite apart from the underlining that ‘two years’ isn’t really two years – maybe one and a bit years, once you take […]

Hubris on the road to Brexit

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I was going to write about hubris and nemesis, but to be in keeping with the spirit of the age in these parts, let’s work on a more local formulation the same ideas. Pride comes before a fall. Looking around Westminster, there’s plenty of pride. Pride from a government that has a commanding lead in […]

Issue discovery and Brexit: How will we know what all the points of impact might be?

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Speaking at another Brexit-themed talk in Antwerp this week, I found myself once again noting the matter of issue discovery. Despite being over 8 months after the referendum, which itself was confirmed as happening in May 2015, and with years of debate beforehand, we still find ourselves in a position where new elements keep on being discovered. […]

What about the abyss?

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I’ve been looking back at my posts from last summer, when things Brexit-y were in much more obvious flux. this was triggered by last week’s post on the looming Article 50 notification, which reminded me that I’d sketched out some options. Briefly re-stated, these suggested that the UK would aim for either close or distant relations with […]

A bridge to nowhere?

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About a decade ago in the US, there was a minor scandal about a ‘bridge to nowhere’: substantial federal funds had been appropriated to build a bridge to replace a little-used ferry to an Alaskan island, mainly – it appeared – to serve the pork-barrel politics of Washington. Theresa May might find herself reflecting on […]

How to read the Brexit White Paper

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Today’s White Paper on “The United Kingdom’s exit from and new partnership with the European Union” fulfils a government commitment to provide Parliament with its considered opinion about how to manage the process of Brexit. Quite aside from the timing issue – coming as it does a day after the second reading of the EU(NOW) Bill - the White […]

We’re on our (Brexit) way!

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Eppur si muove. A scant 7 months after the referendum, last night Parliament passed the second reading of the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill* by a clear 498 votes to 114. Job done, Parliament no obstacle, what could go wrong? As usual – in accordance with Usherwood’s law - plenty can go wrong, no matter who one is. To […]

Brexit is still happening, just not the way May hoped

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The British Supreme Court ruling of January 24 was a mixed result for the Prime Minister Theresa May’s government (PDF). On the one hand, they saw their earlier defeat in the High Court defeat confirmed, committing them to passing legislation through parliament before they can start the formal process of leaving the European Union under Article 50. On the […]

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