Blog posts

  • courtesy Claude Truong-Ngoc via Wikimedia Commons

    The EU doesn’t need to make things difficult

    As the European Union prepares for Brexit negotiations, and the realities of Brexit become clearer to the UK, many seem to have realised that negotiations are not going to be the walkover promised by the Leave campaign. Brexit supporters are already trying to pin the blame on European leaders, with the Telegraph claiming that EU […]

  • courtesy Garry Knight via Flickr

    Marching for Europe

    The many thousands of people who joined the Marches for Europe across several British cities this weekend were not just “sore losers”. There were also “regretful winners”, and a large number of people from both camps who are worried about where we go now. Above all, the demonstrations were a further illustration of the fact […]

  • Theresa May

    Government failure? Blame the EU

    So, the government is contemplating a ‘hard’ Brexit, taking us outside the single market, introducing a tariff barrier and regulatory obstacles to our main export market. The economic cost of this would be enormous. But it is being contemplated in order to curb immigration. The problem is, most migrants in Britain come from outside the […]

  • courtesy Herry Lawford via Flickr

    Do pro-European Tories have any courage?

    The cabinet away day in Chequers has perhaps shed a little light on what kind of Brexit deal the government intends to seek. Faced with the unpalatable choice between aiming for full access to the single market (at the price of accepting its rules, including free movement) or leaving it entirely (at the cost of […]

  • courtesy SumOfUs via Flickr

    TTIP: All bets are off

    There’s a flurry of media activity over the proposed US-EU trade deal, TTIP. It was triggered by the German vice-chancellor, who said that the process had all but failed because the EU and the US couldn’t agree. Both the US government and the European Commission were quick to point out that negotiations continued, though the […]

  • Ventotene

    The BBC reported last night on the summit meeting of the leaders of France, Germany and Italy on the island of Ventotene – but without explaining the significance of the venue! It is yet another example of the British media not fully reporting European affairs. Why is Ventotene symbolic? Because it is where, in 1941, […]

  • courtesy Andrew Bossi via Wikimedia Commons

    “Market access”: don’t leave home without it?

    I’ve recently noticed a subtle tactic that effectively allows pro-Brexit politicians to dodge inconvenient truths about their views. The basic Brexit dilemma is one that I’ve discussed several times on this blog. In a nutshell, it’s this. Those who voted Leave were promised both continued membership of the EU single market (which is vital to […]

  • courtesy Home Office via Flickr

    Chickens coming home to roost

    The Leave campaign offered two contradictory visions for Brexit. Some argued that we could remain in the EU’s vital single market, despite leaving the EU. Others argued that we should cut links entirely, focusing on the rest of the world. The reason they were divided is that both scenarios are problematic. Staying fully in the single […]

  • Photo courtesy of European Parliament

    UK MEPs are staying for now

    I’ve had a number of enquiries asking what happens to British MEPs in the wake of the referendum result. Britain’s timetable for departure has not yet been settled (more on this here), but it is not likely to happen for quite some time. In the meantime, the UK remains a member of the EU, and UK citizens […]

  • Courtesy Rama on Flickr

    Things are far from settled

    On the face of it, it’s clear. The referendum decided that Britain should leave the EU. And yet, despite this, there have been rallies across the country opposing Brexit, several million people signing a petition to Parliament urging it to vote against triggering Article 50, and the devolved Scottish government hinting it could block the process. So why is this?

  • Photo via Number 10

    What next?

    The key reason why the government doesn’t want to trigger divorce negotiations with the EU is that Britain still has to decide on what alternative relationship to seek. There was no consensus on the Leave side on this. Indeed, contradictory visions were offered. Some advocated seeking to keep full access to the European market which, […]

  • courtesy Policy Exchange via Flickr

    Why did they win?

    In a general climate of suspicion towards politics, the establishment, and globalisation, Leave campaigners managed to portray themselves as anti-establishment insurgents, despite being led by ultra-establishment figures. They they ran a ruthlessly efficient campaign, strong on the dark arts of manipulating media, manufacturing myths and rebutting anything — however authoritative — that didn’t support their […]

  • Boris Johnson

    Long list of Leave lies

    We send £350m a week to Brussels We can’t stop Turkey joining We can’t stop a European army We are still liable to pay eurozone bailouts The UK rebate can be changed against our will Our VAT exemptions will be ended Cameron’s deal was not legally binding EU law is adopted by unelected bureaucrats We […]

  • EU and UK flags

    Comment on UK referendum result

    I am deeply saddened at the result, which will reverse forty years of outward-looking, progressive collaboration with our neighbouring countries in the European Union we have built together. This is a dark day for Britain, and one whose painful impact will be felt across the country and abroad. It has been a difficult fight, and […]

  • Leeds Makkah mosque

    A letter from Imam Qari Asim

    A Leeds imam, Qari Asim MBE, has written an open letter to Muslim communities and asked me to share it here. On Thursday 23 June, Britain will make a once in a life-time decision: should we remain within the European Union, or come out of it. As British Muslims we must play our role in this […]