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Can you tell what it is yet?

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As a child, I used to like watching a TV programme where a bearded Australian would talk about some cartoons that he was going to show, hurriedly sketching a character in some dynamic pose. Part of the fun was the way he caught the characters’ essence: distilling them into a single image. Of course, this […]

Nothing is agreed

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I think I’ve discovered a new condition. I’m calling it Maioaviophobia, or a fear of Theresa May getting on a plane. Somehow, it’s taken until now to notice that it’s the flights that seem to produce the most erratic political behaviour from the Prime Minister. Just think back to that walking holiday last Easter, or […]

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 […]

An arrested transition?

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The great thing about the Christmas period is that pretty much everyone goes on leave, so we can all get some distance from work. That’s been true of the Article 50 process as much as anything else: a flurry of activity to book in some final bits under “work done in 2017”, before mince pies, […]

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 […]

Unbelievable! The no-deal option’s lack of credibility

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In my house, “rock’n’roll” has a very specific meaning. When uttered in the context of getting people out of the house it denotes that we have arrived at the actual moment of departure and no more delays will be tolerated: everyone is moving to the door.* Put differently, I have established a credible set of […]

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 […]

The negative-sum game of Brexit

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As we roll around to a new round of Article 50 negotiations, it’s perhaps useful to revisit another key structural dimension of this process. Negotiation theory spends a lot of time trying to educate users into the language of positive-sum games. Those inexperienced in such things typically see negotiations as zero-sum: your loss is my […]

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