Ideas on Europe

Informed analysis, comment and debate

Category Archives: Current Affairs

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 […]

How did we get stuck with Brexit?

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Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has been criticised for rejecting a House of Lords amendment for Britain to remain a member of the EEA (European Economic Area) after Brexit. Instead, Mr Corbyn said Labour would push for a ‘new Single Market’ deal with the EU, giving Britain full access but without accepting all the rules, such as […]

Mr Macron goes to Germany

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After being busy getting elected in May 2017, Emmanuel Macron used the traditionel French ‘Bridges of May‘ in 2018 to take a trip to Aachen in order to accept the so-called ‘Charlemagne Prize’ that the city bestows each year on a prominent individual ‘for work done in the service of European unification’. Some might argue […]

May and Corbyn both say we can have cake and eat it

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Both the Prime Minister, Theresa May​, and the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn​, are offering the people the same thing. Cake. They both think that it’s possible for us to have a cake and eat it. That’s their answer to Brexit, and it just shows how little they understand about cake… or how the EU functions. […]

Tell me what you want, what you really, really want

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A fundament of negotiation – and indeed of politics – is the notion of interaction. They are necessarily relational constructs: us and them, me fighting the system, let’s work it out together. If politics can be about an agent’s interaction with a set of societal values rather than any one individual or group, the negotiation […]

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 […]

The government still can’t agree what Brexit means

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The Tory government is still entirely split on what type of Brexit Britain should have. And if the government can’t now agree on what Brexit means, how on earth could the electorate have known what Brexit meant on 23 June 2016? This weekend the Tory-supporting Telegraph reported that: ‘At least a dozen members of Theresa […]

Should the EU referendum be annulled?

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It’s reported that police are investigating evidence that the chief executive of a key organisation that campaigned for Brexit allegedly committed criminal offences during the 2016 referendum. This comes after the Electoral Commission fined Leave.EU the maximum £70,000 for multiple breaches of electoral rules. The organisation is backed by Nigel Farage and funded by Arron […]

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 […]

A new vote on Brexit means more democracy, not less

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Nobody gave ‘informed consent’ for Brexit. That’s because, in the 2016 referendum, the electorate was not sufficiently informed. There was no blueprint, plan, proposal or manifesto for Brexit. And there still isn’t. The Tory Cabinet is entirely split on what type of Brexit Britain should have. And if the government can’t now agree on what […]

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