Ideas on Europe

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Author Archives: PoliticsatSurrey

A deadline is not a policy

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There’s much to consider from Boris Johnson’s first half-day in office, but let’s focus on a central question: what is his Brexit policy? At one level, this is perfectly clear: the UK must leave the EU on 31 October, “no ifs, no buts”, ideally with a deal, but without one if necessary. But this is […]

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 […]

Why von der Leyen isn’t the person to watch for Brexit policy (yet)

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Yesterday saw the first public statements from Ursula von der Leyen since her nomination as Commission President. She swept around Brussels, meeting and greeting various groups in the European Parliament, generally trying to help them accept a deal that appeared – mainly because it actually did – to pull the rug from the Spitzenkandidaten model. If most of the […]

Notes from a crisis: the summer edition

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When I teach about negotiation, I sometimes get students to think about negotiators as represented in films. Pretty much invariably, that means a grizzled pro, who doesn’t play by the rules and takes a chance to make a connection where no-one else could. Usually involving some explosions. Boringly, this isn’t how negotiators actually work. Sorry. […]

The illogic of the EU trying to keep the UK from leaving

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Foolishly, I always took Groundhog Day to be a work of fiction, rather than an instruction manual. Every morning we wake up to the same debates between the same people, who still haven’t listened to (or, more accurately, haven’t heard) those who point out obstacles in the path: we just have to become better, through force of […]

New faces, old problems

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So today we find out who will be the final two candidates to become the new leader of the Conservative party. It’s also the day that we find out whether the EU has made any progress on selecting individuals to fill the top jobs at the Commission, the European Parliament and the European Council. Both […]

A business view of Brexit

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I spent most of the day yesterday hanging around* a big bunch of procurement managers: I was very well-behaved and even at the point of speaking to a trio of Chief Procurement Officers I didn’t make a Star Wars droid joke. This was an annual world congress for such individuals and it was very instructive […]

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 […]

Collapsing the ambiguities

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xitIn a moment when so much is changing so fast, it’s hard to know where to begin in trying to make sense of it all. From the upheaval of Parliamentary procedure to the sudden reaching-across-the-aisle by Theresa May, even that which was unthinkable seems to be both thinkable and actually happening. With that in mind, […]

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