Ideas on Europe

Informed analysis, comment and debate

Category Archives: Democracy & Citizenship

Brexit makes us look stupid

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Across Europe, across the world, they’re getting mightily fed up and cheesed-off with Britain. Nobody knows what we want. Almost three years after the referendum, nobody has a clue what Brexit really means. They used to look up to Britain. They used to regard us as a stabilising influence. We provided balance, maturity, rationality. No […]

Brexit: A valid comment on BBC Question Time

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On BBC Question Time, a member of the audience in Winchester made a particularly pertinent point: The 52%-48% referendum result wouldn’t even be sufficient to change the constitution of your local golf club. (Article continues after 30-second video) And it’s true. In most democratic clubs and institutions, a result of 52% to 48% wouldn’t be enough […]

Ruling out no-deal

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The other day I tried to set out in a Twitter thread why ruling out a no-deal was difficult. The nub of the argument was that while the UK constitutional settlement allows Parliament to rule on whatever it likes, that would not and could not change the EU rules that apply. Thus, while a law could be […]

The EU referendum was flawed

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The EU referendum of 2016 was flawed and undemocratic. Here’s a summary of some of the reasons why: If the UK was run on the same democratic principles as the EU, then the UK could not leave the European Union without the unanimous consent of all its four members: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. […]

Conciliation and trust in the post-Meaningful Vote period

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Change sneaks up on you. Certainly I was surprised that my reading of Theresa May’s statement following her heavy defeat on the Meaningful Vote on Tuesday was out-of-step with many others. While they spoke and wrote about how her reaching across the aisle was going to lead to splits in the Tories because many would […]

2019 in Political Science (2) – Secrecy in Europe and Academic Trajectories

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I have promised to blog more frequently this year and to share how life and work as a political scientist looks like from my end. For this week’s post, I use the occasion of Vigjilenca Abazi‘s announcement that her monograph “Secrecy and Oversight in the EU” is soon to be published with Oxford University Press (Buy it! Read […]

Process and outcome in Brexit

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Another week, another surprising turn of events in the world of Brexit. The pace of life these days is so high that things that might have occupied political life for weeks by themselves have been compressed into days, or even hours. A leadership confidence motion flashes by, new constitutional principles are created from nowhere, alliances […]

The choice is the deal, no deal or no Brexit

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It’s been confirmed by both the Prime Minister, Theresa May, and the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, that the choice now is either ‘the deal’, ‘no deal ‘or ‘no Brexit’. ‘The deal’ negotiated between the EU and Theresa May is the best Brexit deal available, according to both sides. In any event, the […]

The Deal -v- No Deal -v- No Brexit

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This article may partially self-destruct soon, when it is likely that Parliament will decisively vote down Theresa May’s Brexit deal, known as ‘the withdrawal agreement.’ But then what? Currently, according to Prime Minister, Theresa May, and EU Council President, Donald Tusk, the choice is the deal, no deal, or no Brexit. But who will end […]

I feel strongly about Brexit

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This wasn’t the post I was going to write this morning, but frankly after listening to Theresa May grind her way through another less-than-revealing interview, I want to consider one neglected aspect of the current debate on Brexit. The content of the Withdrawal Agreement. As May didn’t-really answer John Humphrys’ less-than-incisive questions, I was struck […]

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