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Category Archives: Democracy & Citizenship

A short guide to sabotaging the European Union

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As we await decisions on extensions and general elections, I thought we might step back and consider the question of how the UK might behave during its remaining time as a member state. In the run-up to the new extension, there was much talk from Leave MPs and activists in Westminster about trying to sabotage […]

Brexit as a process

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So here we are. Again. It’s autumn, there’s a potential text of a deal on the table, the DUP are holding out, Tory rebels are considering their position, all while the clock ticks. Maybe we all liked it so much last year that’s why we’re doing it all over. Less flippantly, what is striking is […]

This is not the European Council you’re looking for

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So next Thursday is the crunch day for the Brexit negotiations, apparently. To listen to much of the media and many government ministers, Boris Johnson will roll up to Brussels to bang heads together and get a deal over the line. Unless, of course, he decides not to go at all. To say that the […]

Why the backstop isn’t a “bridge to nowhere”

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So now we get the proposal. Yesterday’s release of the letter to the Commission and the explanatory notes was long awaiting, albeit without much holding of breath. Number 10’s approach has long been this: to raise the fears of a no-deal outcome, then to rush in with a last-minute offer (a ‘fair and reasonable’ one, […]

Making sense of it all

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Yesterday, the European Parliament had one of its regular discussions about Brexit, following the meeting between Boris Johnson and Jean-Claude Juncker in Luxembourg. As before, the Parliament passed a resolution to the effect that a deal was desirable, a no-deal was very bad, and citizens’ rights must be protected in every case. Rather than discuss […]

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 […]

Deeds, not words: getting ready for the next stage of Brexit

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The torpor of summer is crawling across Europe: the siren call of that holiday you’ve promised yourself all year grows ever louder, even as your workplace empties. So what better time of year to be kicking off what prove to be a decisive stage in the Brexit process? Next Tuesday, we’ll find out who has […]

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 […]

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