Ideas on Europe

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Author Archives: PoliticsatSurrey

A bridge to nowhere?

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About a decade ago in the US, there was a minor scandal about a ‘bridge to nowhere’: substantial federal funds had been appropriated to build a bridge to replace a little-used ferry to an Alaskan island, mainly – it appeared – to serve the pork-barrel politics of Washington. Theresa May might find herself reflecting on […]

How to read the Brexit White Paper

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Today’s White Paper on “The United Kingdom’s exit from and new partnership with the European Union” fulfils a government commitment to provide Parliament with its considered opinion about how to manage the process of Brexit. Quite aside from the timing issue – coming as it does a day after the second reading of the EU(NOW) Bill – the White […]

We’re on our (Brexit) way!

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Eppur si muove. A scant 7 months after the referendum, last night Parliament passed the second reading of the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill* by a clear 498 votes to 114. Job done, Parliament no obstacle, what could go wrong? As usual – in accordance with Usherwood’s law – plenty can go wrong, no matter who one is. To […]

Brexit is still happening, just not the way May hoped

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The British Supreme Court ruling of January 24 was a mixed result for the Prime Minister Theresa May’s government (PDF). On the one hand, they saw their earlier defeat in the High Court defeat confirmed, committing them to passing legislation through parliament before they can start the formal process of leaving the European Union under Article 50. On the […]

The substance of Brexit

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A new year, but the same old problems. Not only do we not know what Brexit will look like, we’re not even sure of the dimensions of what it could look like. This is a real issue – both academically and politically – because any post-membership relationship will have to find positions for those involved […]

Article 50: The Motion Picture

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So last night was the Politics Department Christmas meal. Suffice to say that I’m the only one in so far, possibly because I had my first Article 50-themed dream – Lord Pannick was doing donuts a la Boris, while David Davis was giving evidence to a Parliamentary Committee – and felt that sleep was no longer […]

Labour’s Brexit impasse

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Yesterday’s Labour motion on Brexit marked an important step for the party. For the first time it had managed to push the government on the strategy for the Article 50 negotiations, leaving the government little option but to engage in some Parliamentary wrangling to try and deflect the on-coming threat of backseat rebellion. Keir Starmer looked to […]

The third face of Brexit

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As the nights have drawn in and the mercury has dropped, thoughts – in my neck of the woods at least – have turned to that important festivity of the six month-iversary of the referendum. Even though we’re little over five months on, we’re starting to see the wave of events asking us to reflect […]

Making an unamendable A50 bill – UPDATED

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This is, of course, the big news from the past week. The whole Farage/Trump/ambassador thing is little more than a febrile combination of unwillingness to follow protocol, mutual back-scratching and intentional destablising, while the Autumn Statement simply underlines that no-one in government really knows what Brexit means. But the resumption of legal contests – now in the Supreme […]

How to win at Brexit

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These days, my bedtime reading consists of books on the EU referendum: The Brexit Club, Bad Boys of Brexit, Unleashing Demons and (currently) All Out War. All have provided another level of understanding to what happened over the past year or two, confirming some suspicions and challenging some assumptions. Most strikingly so far has been the strategising that took place. […]

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