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Category Archives: Democracy & Citizenship

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 […]

The challenge of transition

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Today, I’m speaking at a “UK in a changing Europe” event on transition. You’ll find a nice report there, but here’s a taster of some of my comments: Transition serves a number of functions. Firstly, it provides a legal underpinning to EU-UK relationship until a new legal document can be brought in to operationalise the new, long-term […]

So, just how f*cked are we?

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It’s turning into a bit of a tradition. I go to a UACES conference, talk with a range of European Studies colleagues, then write a long post, usually with a sweary title. This year it’s Bath, and whereas London in 2016 I was angry (twice) and in Krakow in 2017 I was despairing, this time I’m going to be […]

Giving up on Article 50?

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So today sees the publication of the first tranche of ‘no-deal’ preparedness notices from the British government. I’m writing ahead of this, so maybe this’ll be out of date within a few hours, but let’s see what we can piece together so far. The basic issue for the government is that it’s now caught on the horns […]

Getting to an end-state

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Let’s suppose my university likes talking about the future. They might do fancy powerpoint presentations, with artists’ impressions of shiny buildings and other infrastructure, together with charts showing How It’s All Going To Be Great. Looks wonderful, I might think. But how do we get there, I might also think. And then it might turn […]

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 […]

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