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Category Archives: Politics & Public Policy

Hunkering down for the General Election

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Of all the decisions of the Coalition, the agreement on a fixed-term Parliament has perhaps been one of the most consequential, even as it is one of the least remarked upon, certainly outside of academic circles. In previous Parliaments, we would have had a general election already – probably in 2014, but maybe already in […]

Selling UKIP, selling euroscepticism

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Away from the continuing convolutions of David Cameron over immigration policy, there is the more mundane world of day-to-day euroscepticism in the UK. This often passes unremarked,for it is low-level stuff: a conversation here, an online comment there, an allusion somewhere else. Nothing much when taken as individual actions, but a substantial thing when pulled together. This […]

Two speeches on Europe, half an idea

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“The Pope’s totally with me on this one” It’s that time of year when people apparently decide they need to talk about ‘Europe’: this week we’ve seen two good examples of why this might not be such a good idea. The first, made by former British agriculture minister, Owen Paterson, to the eurosceptic lobby Business for […]

Does UKIP have the brains, bodies and legs to prosper?

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As appears to be usual in these matters, as soon as I am away from my blogging, there’s a whole cavalcade of eurosceptic-ness that appears. Thus I’ve missed out on explaining the joys of the additional UK contribution to the EU’s budget - short version: it’s complicated, but not that complicated - and much of the run-up to today’s […]

Are crises good or bad for the EU?

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This week I’m in Oslo, to attend a small part of the celebrations of Norway’s bicentennial for its constitution, with a conference on democratic constitutionalism in the EU run by ARENA. Despite finding myself in a room with lots of constitutional lawyers, the experience the first day has been very positive and given much food for thought. The […]

The national interest and what’s in the interest of the nation: Confusion in the European system

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A leitmotif of the the British debate on the EU is that ‘we’ don’t always/often/ever (delete as applicable) get what we want. Thus, we’re told about all the times the UK gets outvoted, or the structural impossibility of UK MEPs blocking anything in the Parliament. What is interesting is the conceptualisation that underpins this view. In it, […]

Stock-taking on Britain and the EU

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As we enter the last 200 days of this current Parliament, it’s perhaps useful to spend a moment thinking about where the UK finds itself in relation to the EU. But this is a very reductive reading of the situation. Let’s start by considering UKIP, seeming standard-bearer that it is of the anti-EU movement. Carswell’s […]

Stability and instability in the EU

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While we wait to find out whether UKIP can secure their first elected MP today, I’d like to take a bit of a bigger view. This comes on the back of a couple of events in the past week that I attended on the future of the EU, one as speaker and one as audience member. A common theme […]

Don’t be a victim: The Tory response to UKIP

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For a party that got so badly mugged at the weekend, the Tories looked surprisingly chipper this week. Partly this was due to Ed Miliband’s stumbles last week leaving space for David Cameron to make a strong speech yesterday that opened the campaign for the general election. Partly it was due to a decision to not let the party […]

UKIP’s Indian summer?

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It’s conference session again and so a useful time to gauge where parties are at with their positions on the EU. Labour’s leadership largely avoided the issue, mainly because of the continuing pressure from various factions to press for a referendum on membership. Given Miliband’s anticipation (justified or not) that he will be in Number 10 in […]

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