The EU Will Reopen the Withdrawal Agreement

The EU and its apologists insist that it will not ‘reopen’ the WA. There are weak legal and political grounds for such a stance, whereas three strong political incentives exist within the EU to reach an agreement – and soon. But Britain’s new prime minister must convince the EU that he is determined to leave on October 31 if it continues to refuse satisfactory renegotiation. A commonly heard view recently is that, no matter who emerges as the next prime minister of the United Kingdom — on current form almost certainly Boris Johnson — the European Union will continue to…

The EU Is a Doomed Empire

European tensions are growing. There is Brexit, a directionless and over-extended Germany, an ambitious but weak France, and a growing regional divide. But the main danger to the European project is democracy. What is the European Union? The closest concept I can come up with is that of a liberal empire. An empire is a hierarchically structured block of states held together by a gradient of power from a centre to a periphery. At the centre of the EU is Germany, trying more or less successfully to hide inside a “Core Europe” (Kerneuropa) formed together with France. Germany doesn’t want to…

Prorogation: The Historical Case for Constitutional Innovation

Should the prorogation of parliament be a possible course of action for a government? Is it an outrage against democracy and the constitution?  Rory Stewart threatens direct action, and Matt Hancock declares that such a thing “goes against everything those men who fought their way up those [D-Day] beaches died for.”  A leading constitutional historian looks here at the facts behind the hysteria. What, exactly, can a government do by exercising the royal prerogative? Like many great constitutional issues, this one exists in a grey area, grey for historical reasons. It is partly a consequence of old and seldom resolved disagreements about…

Cherry-Picking Freedom

The AFP raids on the ABC and a News Corp journalist are alarming, but the discussion needs to go beyond press freedom. We must examine how we can better protect the fundamental freedoms of all Australians. These raids have generated a tremendous response, and after being live-tweeted by an ABC journalist, were picked up in international media. A meeting to discuss the implication of the raids has been held between ABC Chair Ita Buttrose and Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Many politicians and pundits have called for greater protection for freedom of the press. It is great to see journalists unifying to fight for…

Germany Slides towards Instability

At first blush the results in Germany for the EU elections looked like nothing of significance had happened. The media trumpeted the regression of the right. Alternative for Germany’s (AfD) 11% after polling as high as 18% in 2018 made it look like Angela Merkel had weathered the storm against her chancellorship from the right. But, in doing so, she opened herself up to attack from the Left. The combined results for the ruling coalition in Germany was only 45% with the Social Democrats (SPD) under-performing even their recent bad polling data, garnering just 15.8% of the vote. It was…

“We Need a Revival of Spirit, a New Unconquerable Resolve”

On 5 June 2019, in a speech in Portsmouth, HM the Queen led the British commemoration of D-Day. She recalled the "hundreds of thousands of young soldiers, sailors and airmen left these shores in the cause of freedom. In a broadcast to the nation at that time, my Father, King George VI, said: “…what is demanded from us all is something more than courage and endurance; we need a revival of spirit, a new unconquerable resolve...” That is exactly what those brave men brought to the battle, as the fate of the world depended on their success." "Many of them…

“Voices of Business”: Whose Voices, whose Businesses?

Caroline Fairbairn, director-general of the CBI, recently attempted to dictate policy to the future government in the name of British business. If we were to believe the so-called voices of business, the world would be flat and the UK about to fall off the edge on Brexit day. This recent manifestation of “Project Fear” Mark III, a blatant attempt to stop Brexit by organisations and businesses which have openly declared their opposition to it, is a shocking, anti-democratic act. Some simple facts should be noted when weighing the narrow self-interest on which these interventions are based. Only 8% of UK…

In the Marginals, It’s the Leavers Who Are in Revolt

The Remainers’ revolt is one of the most influential concepts in the number-crunching world of British politics. Some Conservative MPs fear that moving towards a hard Brexit could lose them key constituencies in the south of England. Labour is under pressure from its members to back a second referendum, lest they face a Remain backlash at the ballot box. But if we look at key marginals, we find that it is not the Remainers who are the real threat to two main parties. It’s the Leavers. The headline figures of the local elections seemed to imply the potency of this…

China as a Superpower: Erico Tavares Interviews Toshi Yoshihara

Dr. Toshi Yoshihara is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining CSBA, he held the John A. van Beuren Chair of Asia-Pacific Studies and was an affiliate member of the China Maritime Studies Institute at the Naval War College, where he taught strategy for ten years. He is the co-author of Red Star over the Pacific: China’s Rise and the Challenge to U.S. Maritime Strategy, Indian Naval Strategy in the Twenty-first Century andChinese Naval Strategy in the 21st Century: The Turn to Mahan. He is also co-editor of Strategy in the Second…

Herron Murder Highlights Real Homeless Problem

As the details emerge about the background of Courtney Herron’s alleged killer, we need to take a serious look at the problem of homelessness and mental illness. Our approach to these problems has not been working. Henry Hammond, a 27-year-old homeless man, appears to have had untreated mental illness and issues with substance abuse, including the drugs heroin, LSD and ice. According to witnesses, he had a long history of bizarre behaviour. He was failed by a system that did not assertively address these issues because of misguided priorities. The real cause of homelessness — and of the tragic events in Royal Park —…

A New Prime Minister Must End the Treasury’s Anti-Brexit Propaganda Campaign

The UK Conservative party has now begun a search for a new leader, and thus a new British Prime Minister. Who may ultimately land this job is far from clear, but one thing is very clear: any new PM serious about delivering a genuine Brexit must end the anti-Brexit campaign that the UK Treasury has been waging since 2016 – and repudiate the analyses the Treasury has produced to date. The UK Conservative party has now begun a search for a new leader, and thus a new British Prime Minister. Who may ultimately land this job is far from clear,…

No, School Choice Does Not Cause ‘Segregation’

The mental gymnastics displayed by some people in order to blame school choice for Australia’s education woes never cease to amaze. A recent OECD report on school choice and equity indicated Australia has one of the most ‘segregated’ school systems in the OECD. This just means schools tend to have less diversity of student socioeconomic background — not that they are practising apartheid. And if we look at education equity in terms of what actually matters — the effect student socioeconomic background has on achievement — then Australia’s equity is actually slightly better than the OECD average. So finger-wagging at selective and…

Vassalage or Power? Thoughts for Would-Be Prime Ministers

Tory leadership contenders (some of whom one is hard put even to identify) can spout as much nonsense as they like about renegotiating Theresa May’s ‘deal’ with the EU. But absolutely nothing has changed since she announced her departure and pulled publication of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill. It is still Groundhog May, as our soon-to-be retired Prime Minister pronounces the same old lines from Brussels about trying her best to deliver Brexit and Jean-Claude Juncker makes it plain – yet again – that the Withdrawal Agreement she signed (which, as Eurocrats helpfully explained in a revealing BBC4 documentary, turns us…

Brexit and the US-UK Defence Relationship

This is the transcript of Lecture at the Heritage Foundation, “Brexit and the US-UK Defense Relationship” given by Professor Gwythian Prins on 1 May 2019. A summary is on the Briefings for Brexit blog page.  Ted, colleagues at Heritage, distinguished ladies and gentlemen. I am honoured and grateful for the hospitality of your platform this afternoon so that I can share with you some insights into the least well discussed and yet in many ways the most dangerous aspect of the strategies by which Mrs May and her close advisers have failed to execute the instruction that I and 17.4 million fellow…

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