UK politics

Enough magical thinking. The silly season must stop here

Britain has only a couple of months left to decide on its future relationship with the EU. Phil Syrpis (University of Bristol) says it is time for both the government and the opposition to level with the public about the choices involved. The coarse sloganeering of the past two years will lead to a destructive Brexit unless politicians get […]

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    A paler shade of grey? It is hard to see how any in-between version of Brexit can prevail

A paler shade of grey? It is hard to see how any in-between version of Brexit can prevail

A simple metaphor captures the dilemmas around Brexit: some want white, others want black. To state the blindingly obvious, the two are mutually exclusive. In this post, Iain Begg (LSE) considers the two logically coherent positions on EU membership. It is hard to see how any in-between solution – any shade of grey – can prevail. 

Leaving the EU means, […]

Playing with fire: Brexit and the decay of the Good Friday Agreement

To Brexit negotiators, Northern Ireland is a complex nuisance. But the crisis has exposed the slow decay of the Good Friday Agreement and the EU multilateralism that was holding this divided society together, writes Duncan Morrow (Ulster University). The bedrock of co-operation between London and Dublin is shattering and the consequences may be lasting.

Putting an end to decades of […]

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    ‘New poll suggests…’: How to tell when public opinion has really changed

‘New poll suggests…’: How to tell when public opinion has really changed

On a daily basis we are being presented with new opinion polls on various social and political issues, but do these really represent public attitudes? Using a statistical method called bootstrapping to estimate sampling variance, Patrick Sturgis and Jouni Kuha explain how such an approach can improve the quality of debate about UK public opinion.

The volume and frequency of […]

The backstop is dividing Northern Ireland. We urgently need new talks

Brexit has become highly politicised in Northern Ireland. A damaging chasm is opening up between the two political blocs, and between the British and Irish governments, on the EU backstop. Mary C Murphy (University College Cork) argues that a compromise formula is possible, but the lack of devolved government means new efforts – and new forums – will be needed to break the stalemate.

In […]

No-deal Brexit: the biggest test yet for UK crisis management?

How should the government prepare for a no-deal Brexit? Until now, DExEU has been reluctant to communicate its activities to the public. John Connolly (University of the West of Scotland) and Andrew Judge (University of Glasgow) explain why co-ordinated planning across government departments, and clear communication with the public, are vital.

The news that the UK and EU are stepping up their preparations […]

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    Sustaining the Rule of Law in the Irish border region will depend on institutional co-operation

Sustaining the Rule of Law in the Irish border region will depend on institutional co-operation

The government’s White Paper is an important step towards avoiding a ‘hard’ border in Ireland. However, sustaining the rule of law in the Irish border region will depend on institutional co-operation, writes Jan van Zyl Smit (Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law).

By proposing a free trade area in goods with the EU, the UK Government White Paper published on Thursday […]

Which voters have changed their minds about Brexit?

So-called swing voters are often portrayed as being dissatisfied and disengaged from politics. Germ Janmaat (University College London) draws from the conclusions of a research paper on changing preferences on Brexit to challenge that view, and shows that voters who changed their mind on Brexit express considerable interest in politics and believe they are better informed than average.

Much research has already been done on the predictors […]

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    Cabinet resignations and the Chequers proposal could destabilise the economy

Cabinet resignations and the Chequers proposal could destabilise the economy

The stability of UK economy is at a critical stage – now that Theresa May’s leadership may be challenged following high-profile Cabinet resignations, and depending on how the EU reacts to the ‘soft’ Brexit approach agreed at Chequers. Michael Ellington and Costas Milas (University of Liverpool) explain how the pound’s exchange rate and volatility go hand in hand with […]

Brexit’s institutional irony: how the EU has successfully outflanked the UK

The EU has been popularly derided as ineffectual, but it has shown remarkable co-ordination and unity in its Brexit negotiations with the UK. Dermot Hodson (Birkbeck College) and John Peterson (University of Edinburgh) explain how Michel Barnier has outflanked the UK, with both the Commission and the Council presenting a united front.

Before British voters went to the polls in June 2016, the institutions […]