Europe

How IndyRef2 could become BrexitRef2

First published on Progressonline

Nicola Sturgeon believes that preparing the legislation for a second referendum on Scottish independence might be a way of calling Theresa May’s bluff on Brexit and Scotland’s place in the single market. If she tries, the bluff-calling might just be on the other foot.

In her Today programme interview this morning Sturgeon did her best braveheart routine, but the language was noticeably different. She talked about taking ‘control’ and questioned whether the future of the United Kingdom was the constant and status quo that it represented in 2014. Straight out of the Vote Leave script the civic nationalist checked off all the boxes in the English nationalist playbook. Chief Brexiteer Matthew Elliott has since the 23 June poll explained how Vote Leave had to make continuing in the European Union as risking as leaving. It worked. Brexit offers the same possibility for her second referendum – so Sturgeon hopes. (more…)

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Now More Than Ever, Labour and the Country Need a Pro-European Leader

First published on the Huffington Post

Jeremy Corbyn took the opportunity to visit the European Union at the height of the referendum on Labour’s continued membership of the world’s most successful peace project. Not to make a speech, speak truth to power in Brussels – but to holiday. Portugal saw more of Corbyn than whole regions of England did. The Labour leader didn’t visit the north-east once, where the EU is vital to the economy.

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Labour needs a fresh, honest approach on immigration

First published in the ‘i’ newspaper

The people’s decision to leave the European Union has sent an earthquake through the political class. All major parties have been shaken. Brexit has been as hard on the Labour party as it has on the pound, at its lowest level since some point in the early to mid 1980s. The danger for Labour is that how many voters in its heartlands felt on one day in June 2016 defines how they behave and vote for a decade to come.

If Scotland is a guide, moving to a post-referendum politics – where whether you voted ‘Leave’ or ‘Remain’ defines how you vote – will take some time. It will not, as in Scotland, be a resurgent Tory party that will come for our heartlands but their rightwing cousins in the United Kingdom Independence Party. (more…)

The debate: Divided Britain (Sky News 4 July 2016)

Claire Fox (director, Institute for Ideas) and I debated the implications of the EU referendum on Sky News ahead of the #DividedBritain programme.

I called on those who argued for #Brexit to take the greatest role in reassuring those in the UK, originally from elsewhere, that they place in British society is both welcome and secure.

Sky News, 10.30am, 4 July 2016

Sky News Australia talk Brexit

On Tuesday 28 June 2016,  Laura Jayes from Sky News Australia on the fall out from the European Union referendum and the decision to leave Europe.

An unrest being fuelled not quelled

First published on ProgressOnline

It all feels very personal. It is not that I cannot believe it or that I hate my fellow country-folk. But I do worry about what our country is becoming. Leaving the European Union is a body blow to Britain, as we are seeing in the markets. I respect the decision but think it was a very wrong one for everyone.

On the tube this morning a group of friends were talking about Brexit, Boris and Trump in the same worrying breath. A mixed race guy told his friend that he ‘felt like an illegal immigrant in his own country’. The first cross word I have ever had with my grandma was over this divisive referendum and Facebook seems full of families arguing about who took what side. There is an unrest in the air that this decision is fuelling not quelling. (more…)

The jury’s out: can the campaigns persuade the ‘undecideds’?

Fabian summer conference
12.30pm, Saturday 21 May 2016
TUC Congress Centre – 28 Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3LS

  • Brendan Chilton (general secretary, Labour Leave)
  • Rachel Barker (Stronger IN)
  • Richard Angell (director, Progress)
  • Nic Conner (Vote Leave)
  • Chair: Felicity Slater (exec member, Fabian Women’s Network)

My article ahead of the event is published on the Fabian blog. The full agenda is published here.

Queen’s Speech shows MPs make laws of the land, not Brussels

First published on the Times Redbox

The Brexit camp are trying to make the referendum on the United Kingdom’s continued membership of the European Union about control. Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and co promise to bring back control over our laws that parliament apparently doesn’t have. The myth goes that 75 per cent of UK laws originate from the EU. Wrong. (more…)