Ideas on Europe

Informed analysis, comment and debate

Category Archives: Democracy & Citizenship

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 […]

Weakened leadership, but undiminished potential

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One year after the disastrous TV debate, where does the Front National stand in spring 2018? One year ago, on 3 May 2017, I watched the final debate between the two remaining candidates for French presidency. It turned out to be the most curious ‘Surreality TV show’ ever on French television. It was almost as […]

Extending Transition

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I’m being a bit of a dog with a bone on this one, mainly because no one else seems terribly interested in it. As I’ve discussed before (here and here), the transition phase of withdrawal from the EU has been taken as a given. All parties were happy to sign up to the March text, it’s all […]

Prime Minister, we already have frictionless EU trade

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  Today in Parliament, Prime Minister Theresa May said: “We are committed to delivering on our commitment to having no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, and that we have as frictionless trade as possible with the European Union.” She added: “There are a number of ways that can be delivered.” The best way […]

‘We can stop Brexit’ – Catherine Bearder, MEP

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At the European Parliament in Brussels I interviewed LibDem MEP, Catherine Bearder, who gave a positive message: We can stop Brexit. “Absolutely it can be stopped,” she said, “and I think that’s the message that I would like to get out.” The LibDem MEP added, “It has to be done democratically.” Ms Bearder said that […]

Why referendums and Parliament are incompatible

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  Last night Theresa May’s Tory (aka UKIP2) government suffered a major defeat in the House of Lords. By a large majority, the Lords agreed to an amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill to give MPs the power to stop the UK from leaving without a deal, or to make Theresa May return to negotiations […]

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