Category Archives: European politics

Brexit, the four directions: part 4

Front page of Telegraph 15th November 2017 - The Brexit MutineersThere are four ways the UK can go from here with regard to Brexit, and all of them are bad. We could go hard Brexit, or no deal – that’s catastrophic. We can accept the deal the EU is still prepared to offer us, soft Brexit, which may be only mildly disastrous but which won’t make anyone, Leaver or Remainer, happy: or the third direction, another EU referendum – which will inevitably stir up trouble, potentially very violent trouble, and there is no guarantee that a second referendum would arrive at the desired result; and time is running out.

The fourth, entirely constitutional option, is for the House of Commons to stop Brexit by a majority of MPs voting to revoke the UK’s invocation of Article 50 and remain in the EU.
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15/11/2017 · 12:50 pm

Brexit, the four directions: part 3

Pro-eu protester holding up BREGRET signThere are four ways the UK can go from here with regard to Brexit, and all of them are bad. Read the first and second directions: hard Brexit, or no deal, soft Brexit, or the EU’s deal.

There is no good way to do Brexit: there is only a choice between catastrophe and different flavours of disaster.

Third: Another EU referendum

The consistent argument of MPs and others against stopping Brexit – even now when it’s clear that hard Brexit is catastrophic and soft Brexit is not going to benefit the UK in any measurable way – is that a majority who voted in the EU referendum, voted to Leave the EU, so they have no choice: the UK government must obey the will of the people and the UK must Brexit.

But what if the UK ran the EU referendum again?
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Filed under Brexit, Epetitions, EU referendum, European politics, Politics

Brexit on BBC extra Question Time

Stop BrexitI was tweeting away on Brexit using the #bbcqt hashtag as usual on Thursday nights, when Will Harris, a freelance journalist making radio at @BBC5live, tweeted me asking for a DM. So I did… and not long after midnight, I was on BBC Radio Five live, giving whoever’s up after midnight five minutes of my views on Brexit. (If you want to listen to me, for the next 28 days you can find me on BBC iPlayer, Question Time Extra Time on Radio 5 Live, the 19/10/2017 show, 2 hours 26 minutes in.)

What I’d been asked to respond to was a question on the Dimbleby programme itself: is no deal better than a bad deal?
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Filed under Brexit, EU referendum, European politics

Big Issue gives Coburn UKIP-time

David CoburnDavid Coburn claims in an interview with the Big Issue that he was against the EU from 1st January 1973 onward, for a rather odd reason:

“I was politicised young, while I was a pupil at Glasgow High School. I collected old coins, bought and sold silver shillings to dealers, I was busy and happy. Then we joined the European Union, decimalisation was introduced, and overnight my coin business was destroyed. That set me not only against the government, but also the EU.”

David Coburn was born in 1958. If his birthday is between March and August, he would probably have started primary school in August 1963, and gone on to high school (secondary school) in August 1970, when he was 12. (If his birthday is between September and February, he would probably have started at high school in August 1969.)

But the day that the UK and Ireland decimalised our currencies was 15th February 1971, when David Coburn could not have been older than 13. The transition period for the pre-decimal currency ended on 31st August 1971.

We’ll overlook David Coburn’s confusion of the EU (established 1993) with the European Economic Community. He’s also confused the year the UK decimalised the currency (announced in 1966, when he was 8: finally completed in 1971, when he was 13) when the year the UK joined the EEC (1973, when he was 15).

Instead let’s consider his claims to have been running an antique coin business when a schoolboy.
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Filed under European politics, Politics

The #indyref campaign begins today

In less than four months, we’ll go to the polls to vote Yes or No to the question:

“Should Scotland be an independent country?”

And today, the campaign period for the referendum officially begins.

Scotland's FutureBut as I pointed out a few weeks ago (and Simon Jenkins pointed out yesterday) the SNP are not offering independence: they want major decisions for Scotland’s governance to be made at Westminster/in London. (It’s all in the White Paper: haven’t you read it?)
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Filed under Economics, Elections, European politics, Indyref White Paper, Scottish Politics

David is Coburning

David Coburn UKIP MEP This morning, the newly-elected Londoner who’s the Scottish UKIP MEP, announced that he was kicking off what he calls the UKIP Scotland Naw campaign with a big idea.

He intends to demand that all Scottish Armed Forces members serving outside Scotland must get a postal vote.


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Filed under Elections, European politics, Scottish Politics

Should the Euro Elections be declared invalid?

EuroElections mapHave you heard of form UC1?

You’re not alone if you haven’t – the Electoral Commission makes no mention of it on its About My Vote website except as an “additional form”. UC1 is a form that EU citizens from outside the UK / the Republic of Ireland, have to fill in if they want to be able to vote in EU elections in the UK. It’s brand new – it seems to have been decided that this additional bureaucratic stumbling block was necessary sometime last year.

EU citizens who register to vote in the UK can’t vote in parliamentary elections, but they can vote for local councils and in EU elections if they’ve opted to vote in the UK rather than in their home country. It’s unlawful to register in two locations and vote twice, but it’s unlawful for anyone to do that, and UK citizens don’t have to fill in a separate form saying “I haven’t registered twice and I won’t vote twice” in order to be allowed to vote.
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Filed under Elections, European politics