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The EU wishes to become a nation state

The EU wishes to become a nation state

Here are the aims of the next President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyden. She wants to see “A united states of Europe – run along the lines of the federal states of Switzerland, Germany or the USA.” She wants an EU army: ” “Europe has to build an army,” Wolfgang Clement wrote in this space yesterday. He’s right!” Is she alone? Are these just some aberrant views not shared by other European leaders, who despite this nominated…

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Prorogation, Salisbury and Self-Denying Ordinances

Prorogation, Salisbury and Self-Denying Ordinances

“We’ve gone from a democratic exercise involving over 33 million people to the future direction of the country being decided by c.100k+ people while making the rules up as we go along and in which suspending parliament is being seriously discussed. Well done everyone.” – Philip Cowley, Professor of Politics at Queen Mary University, London A quote that’s as brutal as it is accurate. The UK has been slowly lurching into a constitutional crisis for at least the last six…

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After May: The Way Forward for our Nation

After May: The Way Forward for our Nation

With May’s departure, the below sets out how I hope that events will unfold for the nation, and for the Conservative Party, over the next few months. 1. After a robust but civil contest, a Tory leader is appointed who is both genuinely committed to Brexit and who is willing to forthrightly champion conservative values, rather than speaking the language of the left(1). 2. New PM asks the EU to alter the Withdrawal Agreement to fully remove the backstop and…

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Leave or Remain? A 2019 Spotter’s Guide to MPs

Leave or Remain? A 2019 Spotter’s Guide to MPs

I had a conversation this week in which I referred to MPs as being Remain or Leave supporters, based on their 2016 vote. That person said, very reasonably, “Shouldn’t we be base things on their current positions, not on what they did in 2016?” That’s fair enough. People change their minds. And their are some MPs, such as Ben Bradley who may have voted Remain in 2016 but whose words and voting record since have been strongly pro-Brexit (though I’m…

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‘No car is better than a bad car’

‘No car is better than a bad car’

(Alice and Bob are buying a car. Bob wishes they weren’t buying a car. The reason they need to is because Alice has got a new job, which is further away from home, and for which she needs a car. Bob didn’t want Alice to take the job, as it means she’ll be home later, and the two of them discussed it lengthily and angrily – but in the end they decided that Alice would take it. Alice wants the…

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Where next for Brexit?

Where next for Brexit?

I was proud of our Parliament this week. Despite all the divisions, Parliament – primarily Conservative, DUP and some Labour MPs – came together to reject all the amendments that would delay or block Brexit and, as importantly, vote in favour of a clear way forward. By backing the Brady amendment, it is now clear to the EU that there is a deal, not so different from the one on the table, that the UK would accept. It’s worth saying…

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Predictions for a No-Deal Brexit

Predictions for a No-Deal Brexit

Many people are talking of leaving the EU without a deal as being a disaster. Even setting aside the obviously histrionic claims that it will cause millions of deaths, normally serious commentators – and many Remain supporting friends who I’ve discussed this with – are regularly using terms such as ‘disaster’, ‘catastrophe’, ‘severe economic damage’ and ‘untold harm’. We have of course been here before. Before the vote, we were told that a vote to Leave would, even before we…

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Macron, Brexit and the bankruptcy of so-called ‘centrism’

Macron, Brexit and the bankruptcy of so-called ‘centrism’

I’ve tried not to give a blow by blow account of the Brexit negotiations. But with riots against Macron in their fourth week in France, our negotiations at an impasse and our government (perhaps) on the brink of collapse, it seems appropriate to draw some of these strands together. Macron Why talk of the riots though? Well, for the simply reason that Macron is the darling of the Establishment, that same coalition of multinational business, highly educated metropolitans, academia, big…

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Brexit Possibilities

Brexit Possibilities

It’s often difficulty trying to estimate probabilities, particularly when there are many different potential futures.  Availability bias means we tend to assign a greater weight to the options we’re thinking about, even if they’re actually quite a small sample of the possibility space. Brexit  at the moment lends itself to this, with a large number of options opening up in an increasingly unpredictable landscape. Complicating matters is that there are a lot of different paths to many of the options….

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Why don’t Remain supporters talk about UK citizens in Europe?

Why don’t Remain supporters talk about UK citizens in Europe?

One of the starkest aspects of how divided our society is currently, is in the way language can differ so greatly even on matters where people are in agreement. I follow many active Remain supporters on various social media platforms, most of whom are people I greatly respect, despite disagreeing on whether we should leave the EU. Every week I see dozens of tweets and posts expressing concern about the situation of EU citizens in the UK post-Brexit. I struggle…

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