EU

3 Feb 2017

It’s time to put ‘take back control’ into action

It’s been a slow path, but the government’s White Paper on Brexit is another step towards giving Parliament a role in the Brexit negotiations. It’s not been without a struggle, though. Because we are still a representative democracy (despite the injection of public votes on some of the big issues), it’s understandable that the immediate post-referendum focus would be on Parliament. But Britain’s […]
24 Jan 2017

Taking back control: Why voters need a say on Brexit plans

This article was first published on Politics.co.uk Last week we got a clearer idea of Theresa May's approach to leaving the EU. She set out a 12-point plan which included leaving the single market, remaining partially in the customs union, and withdrawing from the European Court of Justice. It was a good speech. But where are the public on all this? June 23rd was not a total binary of winners and […]
18 Jan 2017

The public need a say on where power will lie after Brexit

So Theresa May has fleshed out her plans for Britain leaving the EU and becoming an independent self-governing nation. With more detail emerging about the economic plan, it’s time to look at the democratic implications. Serious thinking about democracy can all too often get left behind and the public shut out of these debates, as we’ve seen with English devolution. How our democracy actually […]
7 Nov 2016

1,000 new Peers? No thanks

“If the Lords was obstructive we would just have to create 1,000 peers.” So said Jacob Rees-Mogg MP on Thursday , following the High Court’s ruling that MPs will have a vote on the triggering of Article 50 – the process for withdrawing from the EU. It’s a terrifying thought. But it’s an attitude that we’ve heard too often over the years – that is, If the House of Lords does too much scrutiny, the […]
5 Jul 2016

5 things this EU vote has taught us about referendums

Whichever way you feel about the result, most people are glad the EU referendum campaign is over. To put it diplomatically, it wasn’t the highest quality debate in the world. Particularly for those on the losing side, referendums can seem like the worst way to do democracy – an instrument that leaves as many dissatisfied as satisfied with the result. But referendums aren’t good or bad in […]
30 Jun 2016

We can do referendums better in the UK. Here's how.

This article was first published by Times Red Box Last week’s referendum raised some serious questions about the nature of the democracy we have – and the type we want to create. Unlike other countries, in the UK we do referendums on an ad hoc basis, often to resolve (or try to resolve) internal party rifts. Nowhere was that more clearly seen than with the EU vote. But given the current post- […]
24 Jun 2016

The referendum can't be the end of the road for public engagement

Referendums are the ultimate public poll – giving all registered voters a direct say over a major decision of national importance. And yesterday 33 million voters took part in the EU referendum, the highest turnout in any UK-wide election since 1992 at 72%. This was a monumental decision that will have ramifications for decades to come. Referendums can be advisory, but in all recent UK examples […]
22 Jun 2016

One day left to get clued up about your #EUref vote

The below is an open letter to voters for the last day before the referendum by a number of organisations who have been pushing for a better referendum debate. Voting requires confidence and a decent, informed debate. For the past few months, our organisations have been pushing tools to help create that debate. Today is your last chance to get clued up before you vote tomorrow. Sadly, polling […]
3 Jun 2016

Let’s close the EU referendum generation gap

If you feel let down by the state of the EU referendum debate you’re not on your own. But it turns out there’s one group who are being especially locked out of the conversation: young people. There’s a stark generation gap in the EU referendum debate – and it’s not getting better. New BMG Research polling we’ve released today shows younger people are totally disengaged from the debate - just 47% […]
27 Feb 2016

So...what would a reformed EU actually look like?

This weekend the Greens held their Spring Conference in Harrogate – and the EU referendum was, perhaps understandably, at the top of the agenda. Greens often talk about the need for democratic reform of the EU (assuming Britain votes to stay in). But what would it actually look like in practice? I went to the launch debate of the #GreenerIN campaign on Saturday. While the ERS are neutral on […]