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Category Archives: Democracy & Citizenship

It’s coming home to roost

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At times this week it’s been hard to tell whether the flapping sound one can hear is that of England trying to avoid the build-up of excessive expectations, or of hard Brexiters fanning the flames of their ire.* Since Friday’s Chequers meeting, numerous individuals have been working themselves up into states of apoplexy about things […]

The Conservative mode of making Brexit decisions

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Perhaps the most infuriating questions to ask a young child is “what you do what to be, when you grow up?” Well, I found it infuriating, at least. The question supposed that you knew what the options might – did I even know that ‘social media pundit’* was a thing back then? – and that […]

Conspiring to cock up?

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Perhaps the least remarked aspect of this week’s Parliamentary shenanigans has been the distraction from the loss of another week of time to reach an Article 50 deal. Important as a meaningful vote in Parliament is, it does not intrinsically produce an increased chance of a deal being reached. Indeed, the confirmation of a push-back […]

The heuristic gap

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Following the Common’s debates on and around the Withdrawal Bill alongside my Twitter feed has been instructive at a number of levels, not least the volume of comment that can be generated around a man standing up. But one of the more striking moments was the comments surrounding the continuing lack of knowledge that many in […]

Negotiations in low-trust environments

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This week I found myself in one of the leafier parts of the stock-broker belt, giving an after-lunch talk on the Brexit process. As we pushed the meat-and-two-veg around the plates of the clubhouse, I listened to tales of how the Germans were trying to do what they didn’t manage in the world wars, and […]

Stasis and progress

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Somewhere in Whitehall, there’s a small office. In it, a bright young thing is working hard on Brexit. As the afternoon sun bounces down to the tiny window that provides the only fresh air, a spark flares up in the bright young thing’s mind. They dash down the corridor to their line manager, bursting through […]

Who can and will crash the Brexit bus?

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As we enter a period of heightened debate about customs arrangements, it’s useful to consider who holds what power in the Article 50 process. As rational choice bods like to tell us, the more people who hold vetoes, the harder it is to please them all and more chance there is of non-agreement. However, in […]

Extending Transition

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I’m being a bit of a dog with a bone on this one, mainly because no one else seems terribly interested in it. As I’ve discussed before (here and here), the transition phase of withdrawal from the EU has been taken as a given. All parties were happy to sign up to the March text, it’s all […]

Spring: the season of fig-leaves

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So, for all the worrying, it looks like tomorrow’s Art.50 European Council will be a procession. The draft Withdrawal Agreement is 75% green, transition agreements are all in place and the events in Salisbury have reminded everyone that there are good external reasons to get on with each other. Of course, it’s not nearly that simple. The Irish dimension […]

Dull, but important

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Yesterday I was speaking at an event in Portsmouth. The subject was Brexit, naturally, but with a mix of activists and academics. One theme that came up was a view from a former UKIP councillor to the effect that’ things could be worked out’ on the future relationship. We did pick this up after the […]

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