Ideas on Europe

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Author Archives: PoliticsatSurrey

Fade to meh

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Maybe it’s the coronavirus, maybe it’s the floods, maybe it’s the excitement around the Prime Minister’s engagement/child-to-be, but we seem to have largely given up talking about Brexit any more. Sure, there’s debate if you want it, tucked away in the Westminster/Brussels bubble and deep in the inside sections of the paper, but it’s a […]

Must… concentrate… more…

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36 hours. That’s about how long we actually had a wide-spread debate about what’s actually in the Withdrawal Agreement, back when it was agreed late in 2018. Yes, it’s been thrown around in debate ever since, but it was only for that brief window that the substance got a decent sounding and consideration in the […]

The Brexit Cold War

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Change is coming to Brexit. At the end of next week, the UK will leave the European Union, having now completed the passage of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill through the Lords: EU ratification is a given. But there is another, broader change coming too. The constellation of politicians, commentators and journalists who were brought together […]

Settling in for transition

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Transition remains the Cinderella of Brexit: unnoticed by the ugly sisters of Withdrawal and the New Relationship, but actually rather important. This might have been understandable during the chaos of the past year, when most political efforts were being diverted into securing UK ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement, but it seems much less so now, […]

Brexit: What have we learnt so far?

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Last week’s election appears to be bringing the first phase of Brexit towards a close. The resounding majority won by the Conservatives sets the door wide open for the ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, which in turn will result in the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union on 31 January 2020, some four-and-a-half years […]

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 […]

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