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Category Archives: Politics & Public Policy

The EU referendum: Second-order or just second rate?

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The return from whatever Easter break there might have been marks the opening of the last long phase of the EU referendum: There’s a clear stretch now through to late June, which will split into two parts. The first will be until early May and the local elections, the second through to the vote itself, […]

Achieving lift-off in the referendum

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  There’s not much that’s clear so far in the referendum, but one thing that looks pretty certain is that the campaign has yet to catch the public’s interest fully. Indeed, it might not be pushing things too far to say that most people don’t really care. The reasons for this are many and various. […]

What’s the state of the EU referendum campaign?

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The other night I was very happy to talk as part of UCL’s European Institute event on ‘Brexit Divisions‘. Of course, I might have been even happier if the two individuals from the main campaign groups in the referendum hadn’t decided at all-too-literally the last minute to duck out, but actually I doubt it, since […]

The second referendum

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Is it really only a week since the European Council?* Since then we have had so much debate, about the settlement, about whether it’s legally binding, about Boris, about who’s a Remain-ian and who’s a Leaver, some more about Boris. Dave’s all pumped up and we’re all good to go. And yet I find myself thinking […]

Final mile or country mile? Getting ready for the European Council

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Just a brief post this morning, since we stand on the verge of the European Council that will sort out everything for the UK. Possibly. Or possibly not. As always, the capacity of the EU to make life even harder than it already it for itself should never be underestimated: despite no-one having a good reason to […]

The quiet before the storm

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Thanks to the foresight that all academics are blessed with, I find myself almost half the world away from the UK this week, just as everyone seems to be having a brief pause before next week’s European Council. I might pretend that my Canadian and American colleagues here on the West Coast are pestering me […]

Red herrings on buttered bread: the dinner of winners?

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And so we come to the crunch.  A text for the UK’s renegotiation finally exists and in just a couple of weeks we might have an agreement and a timetable for a referendum. And so far, David Cameron looks like he’s doing alright. This ‘alrightness’ comes at several different layers, each of which is worth unpicking a […]

You find rabbits in warrens, not in hats

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Despite the best protestations of senior ministers, there is a definite sense that the British government is working very hard to get a deal signed off at next month’s European Council. David Cameron’s rescheduling of a trip to Scandinavia to meet Jean Claude Juncker instead is just the latest marker of this. Part of the reason for this acceleration […]

How likely is a deal at the February European Council?

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Everyone’s favourite parlour-game – “when’s the referendum going to be?” – continues unabated, with no-one claiming the prize a mere nine months into the discussion. The combination of a British prime minister unwilling to set out very specific demands from his renegotiation, a Foreign Office apparently unwilling to commit anything to paper, plus the rest of […]

Who can you trust on the EU?

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One of the recurring themes of my posts over the years has been the need for an informed and thoughtful public debate in the UK about its place in the world. Without such a debate, it is very hard to see how the UK can ever really move out of its impasse with the EU. […]

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