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Category Archives: Current Affairs

What would it take for a decision on Brexit to be made?

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Part of me is surprised that it took until now for me to get overtaken by events. A monastery, recently Yesterday morning I was recording a podcast outside the monastery where the Treaty of Lisbon was signed in 2007, but by the time I could get to sufficiently useful wifi, Parliament had moved on enough […]

Another Brexit autumn

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The fitful progress of Brexit produces natural rhythms of activity. The summer lull, followed by the autumn rush/panic. Hard to believe that less than a year ago we were having the Salzburg summit and wondering whether any text of a Withdrawal Agreement could be produced at all. Simple times. And now we get to look […]

A deadline is not a policy

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There’s much to consider from Boris Johnson’s first half-day in office, but let’s focus on a central question: what is his Brexit policy? At one level, this is perfectly clear: the UK must leave the EU on 31 October, “no ifs, no buts”, ideally with a deal, but without one if necessary. But this is […]

Why von der Leyen isn’t the person to watch for Brexit policy (yet)

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Yesterday saw the first public statements from Ursula von der Leyen since her nomination as Commission President. She swept around Brussels, meeting and greeting various groups in the European Parliament, generally trying to help them accept a deal that appeared – mainly because it actually did – to pull the rug from the Spitzenkandidaten model. If most of the […]

The illogic of the EU trying to keep the UK from leaving

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Foolishly, I always took Groundhog Day to be a work of fiction, rather than an instruction manual. Every morning we wake up to the same debates between the same people, who still haven’t listened to (or, more accurately, haven’t heard) those who point out obstacles in the path: we just have to become better, through force of […]

New faces, old problems

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So today we find out who will be the final two candidates to become the new leader of the Conservative party. It’s also the day that we find out whether the EU has made any progress on selecting individuals to fill the top jobs at the Commission, the European Parliament and the European Council. Both […]

Three lessons for Brexit for the Huawei affair

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Yesterday’s sacking of Gavin Williamson, following an investigation into the leaking of a decision of the National Security Council on the use of Huawei components in the UK’s 5G network, was a big shock, both for its speed and its timing (don’t forget to vote today BTW). There’s nothing to be gained at this stage in […]

Boycotts, opportunity costs and the European elections

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One of the drivers – apart from the need to be seen to getting on with it – for Theresa May to submit the UK’s notification to withdraw from the EU on 29 March 2017 was to ensure that the UK had left before the next European elections, due 23 May 2019. Fast-forward a bit […]

Collapsing the ambiguities

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xitIn a moment when so much is changing so fast, it’s hard to know where to begin in trying to make sense of it all. From the upheaval of Parliamentary procedure to the sudden reaching-across-the-aisle by Theresa May, even that which was unthinkable seems to be both thinkable and actually happening. With that in mind, […]

The Millwallisation of May’s Brexit strategy

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For younger readers, Millwall FC garnered much public interest in the 1980s for their forthright style of football and their supporters, whose chant of “nobody likes us, but we don’t care” resounded around stadiums (and punch-ups). Yes, things have moved on, but still the label has hung around. Theresa May hasn’t yet got into any fist-fights, […]

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