This book is about what steps should be taken to ensure that the United Kingdom does not fragment. It examines the state of play concerning the devolution of powers in the UK and considers the impact which the Brexit process could have on devolution in the future. It contributes to the debate about what a post-Brexit UK should look like and whether now, at long last, the nation needs a comprehensive written Constitution. After looking at the present situation concerning the protection of human rights in the UK, and by drawing lessons from the experiences of four other common law countries in operating written Constitutions – the USA, Canada, Australia and Ireland, it concludes that the UK should not seek to acquire a single written Constitution and that a much more useful advance would be to turn the nation into a federation. Far from endangering the Union, which is already fragile, a formalised federal structure could strengthen the bonds between the four constituent parts of the UK and encourage all of its people to strive towards upholding a value-based set of national goals articulated in legislation. The book argues that a Constitutional Reform Act should be enacted to create the federation, while retaining the country’s name as ‘the United Kingdom’. The same Act should make related reforms such as reconstructing the House of Lords, adopting a UK Bill of Rights and creating a fairer method for deciding how funds should be allocated by central government to the three devolved regions.
This book is a series of 'remarks' and 'sketches', which together form a mosaic to show how the use of the referendum followed a strict, almost Hegelian pattern of the 'unfolding of freedom' throughout the ages. It outlines how referendums have been used in Britain and abroad, presenting some of the arguments for and against this institution. The book commences with an outline of the world history of the referendum from the French Revolution to the present day, and then discusses the British experience up to 2010. The book examines the referendum on European Economic Community membership in 1975, considering the alternative vote referendum in 2011 and the referendum on Scottish independence in 2014. Next, the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum in 2016, especially the campaign leading up to it, is discussed. After the analysis of the Brexit referendum, the book touches on the Maltese referendum on divorce in 2011. It summarises some of the trends and tendencies in the use of the referendum internationally, highlighting that Britain is not a unique case in holding referendums. The book shows that, notwithstanding the general assumptions about referendums, these are not usually associated with demagogues and populism, but the referendum has tended to be used as a constitutional safeguard. However, in Britain, a country without a formal written constitution, these safeguards were not in place. For the referendum to work, for this institution to be a constitutional safeguard, it must be a people's shield and not the government's sword.
migration and trade policies, Europeans have increasingly
opted for a closing-inwards of the nation state, calling into question the viability of the
European project itself. The Brexit referendum, in June 2016, provided a clear example of
Politics on the periphery has taken a similarly illiberal turn, with more violent
consequences. In the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte boasts of carrying out extrajudicial
killings and threatens to kill corrupt state officials, and he has launched a bloody war on
drugs, for which he has been
-affected groups ( HPG, 2018 ). The privileging
of behaviourism over more conceptual approaches to understanding ( Anderson, 2007 ) is reflected in the growing influence of ‘behavioural
economics’ ( Alcock, 2016 ). Before its sobering
escape into the wild, as evinced in the Trump election and Brexit referendum ( Cadwalladr, 2017 ), behavioural economics had been
popularised as ‘nudge politics’. Despite raising democratic concerns in targeting
the sub-conscious, it has found favour among many Western governments. 5
Behavioural economics operationalises
In 1989, in the American journal The National Interest, Francis Fukuyama's conclusion was about the triumph of Western democratic liberal capitalism over communism. The forces of liberal capitalism that he saw as representing the end of history have unleashed a powerful wave of anger directed at the winning elites. This book is written with two purposes in mind. The first is to try to make some sense of what appears to be a world that is falling apart around us. The second is to try to advance an argument about where we go from here. One of the arguments of the book is that the Brexit and Trump results are a consequence of a series of failures. The book explores debates about methodology and political theory, and about the importance of context and thus of narratives. It discusses points from this debate between the behaviouralists and those in political theory. The book discusses the electoral results of Trump and of Brexit, offering an interpretation of what these results mean in the context of a post-fact world of identity politics. It argues for the importance of political responsibility and of how by recasting and re-emphasising the politics of responsibility becomes possible to address the current failures of our political leaders and political systems. The book suggests three elements to politics: the relationship between knowledge and power, with a particular emphasis on the role of interpretation; political responsibility or the politics of responsibility; and the significance of narratives or meaning (hermeneutics).
Social democracy's often diffuse societal, intellectual and cultural influences have exceeded and outlasted Labour's direct electoral success. This book focuses questions relating to the popular values, mindsets and sense of citizenship needed to further social democracy on that deeper enterprise of this book. It reflects on the 'big picture' of social democracy and progressivism, both historical and contemporary. Part I takes the historical bird's eye view, exploring social democratic and liberal dilemmas that both pervaded the twentieth century and remain very much alive today. It suggests that scholars and political analysts tend to under-play the extent to which progressivism and the voters have managed to operate in constructive harmony. Tracing new and social liberalism's, distinctive offer of a fusion between social interdependence and individualism, the volume assesses the failure of this British liberalism to become the over-arching driver of politics. The Scottish secession from the United Kingdom in the aftermath of the Brexit referendum is also discussed. Part II takes stock of the critical scrutiny, discussing 'Western' democracies alongside the dominance and the extensive body of thought from David Marquand on citizenship, and especially Marquand's civic republican vision. Part III seeks to apply Marquand's search for the 'principled society', discusses social and psychological concept of 'neighbourliness', and examines the public good less as a fixed entity. Finally, the significance of Christopher Addison and his notions on the democratic socialism and liberal progressive traditions, and pluralism are discussed.
Brexit tears up the Good Friday Agreement. The DUP were against the Good Friday Agreement and this is their revenge. … They want to destroy the Good Friday Agreement and have waited twenty-one years and this is their opportunity to do that. If Brexit goes ahead in the way envisaged by the DUP and the Brexiteers, then you have effectively binned the Good Friday Agreement.
Máirtín Ó Muilleoir MLA, Sinn Féin
Northern Ireland from the Republic of Ireland after Brexit, when the former left the EU and the latter remained a member state? Given the prominence that it assumed in the negotiations, it is a little surprising that the Irish border and disruption to the still fragile peace process did not feature to a greater extent earlier than it did. This Irish blind spot in the political psyche of the British government lies at the centre of its problematic Brexit negotiation. The United Kingdom was leaving the EU but was essentially being driven by an English dynamic while
Epilogue: Brexit – do or die?
When I first started planning this book and for most of the time I spent writing it, I envisaged the Breaking peace title as a question. Having come to the end of writing, my punctuation has changed and it has moved from being a question to a statement. Brexit is breaking peace in Northern Ireland and this is already happening – irrespective of where the Brexit train finally stops in the years ahead. The final denouement will certainly be a crucial moment for the UK, its European neighbours and
The 1980s were the heyday of the Thatcher counter-revolution, with mass deindustrialisation destroying Britain's manufacturing base. It was a period of significant setbacks for left politics, most notably the crushing of the miners' strike, Tony Benn's defeat in the Labour deputy leadership contest, and the abolition of the left-controlled Greater London Council. The surcharging and disqualification of councillors who resisted central government rate-capping, Labour's loss of the 1983 and 1987 general elections and the notorious 1983 Bermondsey by-election were also a part of the events during this period. This book resists the view that Labour's political and economic thought was moribund during the 1980s. It shows that Labour embraced new views on the role of the state and state intervention in the economy. The idea of a national investment bank, continental social democracy, and the 'Brexit' referendum of 2016 are discussed. Nostalgia was built into the New Labour's psyche, making it seem adrift from a changing society. Neil Kinnock replaced Michael Foot as leader in 1983 after Labour's defeat in that year's general election, and formed a party that brought changes that coincided with those made by Mikhail Gorbachev. Two major struggles between the Militant-led, Labour-run Liverpool City Council and Margaret Thatcher's Conservative Government damaged the reputation of the Labour Party, harmed its fortunes in the 1987 general election. The Race Today Collective was the most influential group of black radicals in the UK, 'the centre, in England, of black liberation'.