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Category archive for: Brexit

Delusions and meddling: 30 years of Tory Euroscepticism are coming to the fore

Written by Oliver Daddow.

Playing to domestic galleries has always been the default setting for UK politicians when it comes to European policy. In this process, a largely EU-hostile UK press market has played a significant role in both feeding political negativity about the EU and having it reflected back in political discourse. Historically, this has not gone down well with the UK’s European partners. Even notionally pro-European governments have struggled to break the mould. The content of the Brexit negotiations, combined with a febrile election atmosphere, was never going to be conducive to cool, studied diplomacy. Continue reading Delusions and meddling: 30 years of Tory Euroscepticism are coming to the fore

Corbynism might not actually end – even if Labour loses the election

Written by Tim Bale and David Jeffery.

Because the general election looks set to produce an impressive win for the Conservatives, its main interest lies not in the result itself but in the result of that result. The House of Commons will look very different on June 9, and the implications of that could turn out to be very big indeed. That’s especially true for the opposition.

For Labour, heading for what many of its own people fear will be a very big defeat, it’s all about who comes after Jeremy Corbyn. True, he may not step down immediately. But he is unlikely to stay for long after the party’s first post-election conference in September. There, Corbynistas hope to make a change to party rules that would make it much easier to get a left-wing successor into the contest to replace him. The aim is to require just 5% of MPs and MEPs to nominate candidates for leadership, instead of the current 15%. That would significantly shift the balance of power in these contests from parliament to party members. Continue reading Corbynism might not actually end – even if Labour loses the election

Is the country coming together after the Brexit Referendum?

Written by Cees van der Eijk and Jonathan Rose.

The necessity of the country coming together after the Brexit referendum has been expressed repeatedly, including by the Prime Minister. For a democratic society to function it is necessary that the outcome of elections or referenda is respected; not only by those on the ‘winning’ side, but by the losers as well. One of the most important mechanisms by which ‘losers’ consent’ is acquired is by their respect for the ‘rules of the democratic game’, and by deeming these as more important than getting the most desired outcomes from more specific political battles. But for ‘losers’ of elections or referenda to take this position, it is necessary that the process by which political outcomes are obtained is itself perceived to be legitimate and implemented fairly. If that condition is not fulfilled, it becomes difficult for those on the losing side to accept that they were in the minority, to respect the outcome of the referendum, and for the country to get together after the democratic contest has run its course. Continue reading Is the country coming together after the Brexit Referendum?

Snap election a win-win for Theresa May: she’ll crush Labour and make Brexit a little easier

Written by Tim Bale.

So Theresa May, it turns out, is only human. After months of denying she was going to do it, the British prime minister decided to call an early general election – first and foremost because she knows she’s going to win.

Indeed, she’s not just going to win; she’s going to win big. Contrary to common wisdom, bookies don’t necessarily know better than opinion pollsters when it comes to predicting political events, but they know a racing certainty when they see one. Within minutes of the PM’s announcement, one national chain was giving odds of 2/9 on an overall majority for the Conservatives, with Labour out on 14/1. Continue reading Snap election a win-win for Theresa May: she’ll crush Labour and make Brexit a little easier

The Scottish and UK governments should beware the Ides of March

Written by Simon Toubeau and Jo Murkens.

Whispers of betrayal have been circulating since January, when the Prime Minister delivered her strident speech at Lancaster House. But the daggers were finally drawn a fortnight ago- poignantly timed and served with a Shakespearean twist. And, as it came to pass during the fall of Caesar, both camps feel betrayed.

Theresa May- soaring in popularity, victorious in driving the Brexit bill and on the cusp of triggering Article 50- was suddenly betrayed by nationalist grumbling in Scotland. Indyref 2.0. is on the table. The plot lead by the rebellious Tartan faction has grown in fervour with every broken promise. The promise of continued access to the Single Market and of working with the devolved administrations.  Continue reading The Scottish and UK governments should beware the Ides of March

Debating the British Empire’s ‘legacy’ is pointless – this is still an imperial world

Written by Ibtisam Ahmed.

As the march towards Brexit rekindles arguments over British nationalism and the strength and merits of the union between England and Scotland, the mass of conflicted feelings over the British Empire is naturally bubbling to the surface again.

In the UK itself, two main tendencies are in full flow. On the one hand is an unease with nostalgic nationalism and imperialism: notions like the much derided vision of “Empire 2.0” from the trade secretary, Liam Fox, come across as either shocking and distasteful or the natural progression of reclaiming a proud historical heritage. On the other is a more upbeat sort of post-colonialism: March 13 saw celebrations for the 40th Commonwealth Day, and the UK is preparing to host the 2018 Commonwealth heads of government meeting. Continue reading Debating the British Empire’s ‘legacy’ is pointless – this is still an imperial world

Jeremy Corbyn’s first 18 months: a damning report card for the Labour leader

Written by Tom Quinn.

It has been 18 months since Jeremy Corbyn was first elected as leader of the Labour party, promising “a new kind of politics”. In September 2015, he pledged to build on the enthusiasm generated among his supporters during a leadership contest that saw him start as rank outsider before sweeping to victory on a left-wing wave.

The intervening period has not been kind. Corbyn’s tenure has been marked by factional conflict, parliamentary revolts, frontbench resignations and electoral weakness. Hardly anyone now believes Labour can win the next election. Despite the early optimism of his supporters, Corbyn already looks like being one of the most ineffective and unpopular opposition leaders in the post-war era. Continue reading Jeremy Corbyn’s first 18 months: a damning report card for the Labour leader

Brexit causes anguish on Gibraltar

Written by Andrew Canessa.

Gibraltar was the first to declare its vote in June’s EU Referendum, returning a 96% vote in favour of Remain. But rather than set a trend for the night, Gibraltarians watched with nothing short of horror as the UK voted to Leave.

Gibraltar joined the European Economic Area with the UK in 1973 and will leave the EU with it. At a little over six square miles, this small territory is utterly dependent on the flow of goods and people across the border with Spain, not only for its prosperity, but for its survival. So Brexit is causing no small amount of concern among residents of what is colloquially known as the Rock.

We have been collecting the life stories of people on both sides of the border for several years in order to trace how a Spanish speaking population with strong kinship and cultural ties to Spain became so identified with Britain and its culture. Continue reading Brexit causes anguish on Gibraltar

The Commonwealth and Britain: the trouble with ‘Empire 2.0’

Written by Stan Neal.

As Britain prepares to leave the EU, its new international trade secretary is talking up the potential of trade with the 52 nations that make up the old British empire. Some have even dubbed Liam Fox’s meeting with Commonwealth leaders to discuss trade “Empire 2.0”.

There is an irony here. It comes at a time when populist critiques of the economic consequences of globalisation are frequently combined with nostalgia for Britain’s imperial past. But these views neglect the fact that the British Empire was itself a key agent for economic globalisation and the mass movement of migrant workers in the 19th century. Continue reading The Commonwealth and Britain: the trouble with ‘Empire 2.0’