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Category Archives: Democracy & Citizenship

Conciliation and trust in the post-Meaningful Vote period

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Change sneaks up on you. Certainly I was surprised that my reading of Theresa May’s statement following her heavy defeat on the Meaningful Vote on Tuesday was out-of-step with many others. While they spoke and wrote about how her reaching across the aisle was going to lead to splits in the Tories because many would […]

Process and outcome in Brexit

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Another week, another surprising turn of events in the world of Brexit. The pace of life these days is so high that things that might have occupied political life for weeks by themselves have been compressed into days, or even hours. A leadership confidence motion flashes by, new constitutional principles are created from nowhere, alliances […]

I feel strongly about Brexit

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This wasn’t the post I was going to write this morning, but frankly after listening to Theresa May grind her way through another less-than-revealing interview, I want to consider one neglected aspect of the current debate on Brexit. The content of the Withdrawal Agreement. As May didn’t-really answer John Humphrys’ less-than-incisive questions, I was struck […]

How’s this all going to end?

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It’s obviously alma mater time for me, as I find myself giving a talk today at LSE on Brexit, just a few days after being back in Bruges. As is usual, I will be blaming any shortcomings on my education. The LSE talk aims to consider how Brexit plays out and I thought it’s useful to share […]

Three messages from the Withdrawal Agreement

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Yesterday’s publication of the provisional final text of the Withdrawal Agreement (and associated Political Declaration) marks a crucial point in the process of Brexit, opening the door to an approval and ratification process and the first major step in establishing a new basis for UK-EU relations. Weighing in at nearly 600 pages of text, it’s […]

Selling the Withdrawal Agreement

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In one of those “politics as cock-up not conspiracy” moments, this week saw the (aggressive) leaking of a document purporting to be the government’s plans for selling the Withdrawal Agreement. I say aggressive, since the leaker pushed it out to several media outlets at once, so really wanted it out there, spelling mistakes and all. The government […]

Getting ahead of ourselves

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It’s a mark of the quality of the public Brexit debate that the title of this post could refer to pretty much any aspect of the negotiations to date: the mixture of ignorance, indifference and confusion has produced more than its fair share of mistimings and incorrect sequencings. But today I’d like indulge in my […]

The pros and cons of a longer transition

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So, no breakthrough, but also no collapse. Not the most ringing endorsement for yesterday’s European Council discussion on Article 50, but given the possible alternatives, certainly not the worst it could have been. Still the focus remains on the backstop for Ireland. Usefully, we might remember that this backstop has become an issue for two, […]

Brussels, not Birmingham

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I’ll be frank with you: I’ve never done a full party conference. Some fringe activities, yes, but not the whole shebang. Indeed, the nearest I’ve got is the pile of DVDs of an early 2000s UKIP conference, back when I worked more on euroscepticism (and when UKIP sold DVDs of their conference). This is all […]

The framing of a second referendum

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Away from Salzburg and its repeat performance of ‘how we don’t really understand each other‘, the question that I’m getting asked a lot is whether there can be a second referendum. This is an interesting one, because it’s often asked of me by people who’d like to see the end of Brexit and a return […]

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