Thank you for visiting my personal website, which provides an overview of my published work, current research projects, teaching, and a compilation of my episodic blogging for various politics-minded outlets.
You can also find and follow my work on Google Scholar, Research Gate, and Academia.edu
I made a flying visit to Denver to present a paper on Can a Soft Brexit Last? The Politics and Political Economy of Limiting Differentiation with the EU at the biennial EUSA conference.
Some comments of mine on the newly-launched Brexit Party were included in a couple of articles published in the Daily Express here and here
I published an e-note for the US think tank the Foreign Policy Research Institute on The European legacy of The Brexit Referendum: A Positive Impact on the EU
As co-director of the Aston Centre for Europe I co-organized an event with the European Parliament Research Service at the European parliament Library in Brussels. The event brought together Aston academics, EPRS analysts, and practitioners to discuss The future EU-UK partnership. Full programme available here
To mark a tumultuous week in the House of Commons, I wrote a blog explaining the Brexit impasse and why this required a delay for The Conversation (published 14 March 2019)
Pleasure to be appointed to the scientific committee of CesUE, Centro studi, formazione, communicazione e progettazione sull’Unione Europea e la global governance, affiliated with the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa.
I blogged about a subject close to my heart: the future of the UK's relationship with the European University Institute for The Conversation This was reposted on Yahoo News
I contributed to Dublin City University's Brexit Institute blog by penning a piece on "Is Global Britain a Viable Role for the UK after Brexit?"
I was quoted in a Daily Express article on the no confidence vote in the House of Commons held on 16 January.
It was an honour to participate in a public seminar on the theme of Global Britain, organized by the Foreign Policy Centre, at the House of Commons on 15 January.
I published a piece with The Conversation on Theresa May's Brexit Waiting Game
Key take home message is that none of this waiting has occurred by accident. The UK government, facilitated by Labour’s lack of enthusiasm for the topic, chose to make Brexit more a question of “when” than of “how” – a strategy whose limitations are becoming increasingly obvious." This blog got over 7000 words and was republished by Yahoo and the Business Standard.
i published a piece with The Conversation on the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement
Key take home message is that "There are no factual surprises left with the Brexit process. What will determine the fate of the withdrawal deal is whether it can be presented successfully as politically preferable to any alternatives."
Also re-published by the Business Standard
Delighted to be invited to join The UK in a Changing Europe's Brexit Policy Panel - a monthly survey of academic experts assessing where we have got to in the Brexit process, and where we are headed.
I've been appointed to the evaluation panel for this year's Marie Slodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships Programme.
I am quoted in this piece on European populism in the context of Jean-Claude Juncker's State of the Union speech
A new co-authored article out in this month's issue of Orbis (published by the Foreign Policy Research Institute, where I am a non-resident Senior Fellow) written with David McCourt (UC Davis). It's called'Living Up to a New Role in the World: The Challenges of "Global Britain"' and is available as an Open Access publication here
In Bath at UACES annual conference to present on the sustainability of a soft Brexit using insights from comparative federalism. Part of a great panel organized by Benjamin Leruth (University of Canberra) under the aegis of the UACES research network on Differentiated Integration in the EU after Brexit.
Delighted to have been selected as a member of the Peer Review College for the UK Research and Innovation Future Leaders Fellowship scheme, a major UK initiative.
Pleasure to be in Hamburg for the ECPR genereal conference, where I presented and served as discussant on a panel co-organized with Prof. Eva Heidbreder on Referendums in comparative perspective.
It was also fun to chat with prospective authors interested in submitting manuscripts to ECPR press as part of our meet the editors initiative
I contributed some reflections on what France wants to discuss at the G7 meeting in Canada as part of a piece published in The Conversation
I have a piece out in The Political Quarterly on why Brexit is so different from UK attempts to obtain special status as a member state https://rdcu.be/Uj6K
ABSTRACTBritish political debate since the EU referendum has hinged on what type of Brexit to pursue: hard or soft. Yet, unlike in instances of treaty rejection, the EU made no counter offer to avoid a breakdown in relations that would follow the hardest of exits. This remarkable unity in not discounting the possibility of a hard Brexit demonstrates that UK withdrawal is very distinct from previous wrangles over EU reform. Drawing on the work of Kissinger, this article argues Brexit is a revolutionary act that denies the legitimacy of the EU order. Hence this process does not conform to other episodes of differentiation. When Westminster sought opt‐outs, it did not reject the core principles of integration. By not seeking to oppose a hard Brexit, Brussels has forced the UK government to find a new legitimising principle to govern EU–UK relations, transferring the burden of adjustment to London.
I took part in a roundtable discussion on Franco-German views on Brexit, which was hosted by Policy Network in cooperation with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.
A nice review in International Affairs of the Brexit and Beyond book, edited by Ben Martill and Uta Staiger and to which I contributed a chapter, penned by the doyen of British constitutional studies Vernon Bogdanor
I wrote a piece for The Conversation parsing the details of the transition period agreed by the UK and EU for a 21-month period after Brexit. http://theconversation.com/brexit-transition-deal-conceding-on-the-possible-in-hope-of-the-hypothetical-93673I
My Palgrave Pivot book on the UK Brexit referendum was cited in the leader comment of the Scotsman on 3 March when discussing Theresa May's Mansion House Speech
I have an article out in French Politics: Post-democracy and institutionalized austerity
in France: budgetary politics during François Hollande’s presidency It's an open access text so the full piece is available to download for free.
This paper applies the concept of post-democracy coined by Crouch to
shed light on the emerging political dynamics of macroeconomic policy coordina-
tion in the Eurozone as they applied to France during Hollande’s presidency. Firstly,
the paper explains the nature of EMU reform, characterized here as post-democratic
by institutional design, before analysing its impact on France’s budgetary politics.
Finally, the French case involving Hollande’s balancing act between supranational
rules and domestic spending preferences is used as a way to reflect on the stability
of this post-democratic arrangement for rescuing the Euro. The 2017 presidential
election pitting Macron against Le Pen showed that post-democracy by design is
sustainable only if the supply side of politics remains supportive of EMU—a
condition undermined by the institutionalization of austerity, at least in France.
Post-democracy; EMU reform; French fiscal policy; Europeanization; Budgetary politics; Hollande
New co-authored article, with Emily St. Denny (Stirling University), in Journal of Contemporary European Research
Remain or Leave? Reflections on the pedagogical and informative value of a Massive Open Online Course on the 2016 UK referendum on EU membership
While the British electorate was asked to vote on a simple-sounding question during the UK referendum on EU membership in June 2016, the issues at play were extremely complex. In order to help potential voters make sense of the debate, the authors ran a free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on the referendum in the weeks leading up to the vote. The core of the MOOC featured all the common characteristics of this type of course: weekly video lectures, quizzes, question and answer sessions, forums and personal journals which participants could use to share and deliberate. This article reflects on the design and delivery of this course to assess its usefulness in an academic setting, especially when treating politically sensitive questions. In particular, we consider issues of format, participation, and interaction and also examine student outcomes as measured by a survey of users who completed the course. What this shows is that the ability of MOOCs to deliver on their initial promise as a revolutionary pedagogical tool for communicating knowledge remains somewhat limited. Nevertheless, the level of student satisfaction obtained and the desire expressed in discussion forums for more expert analysis outside conventional channels suggests there is probably a high demand for EU-related MOOCs.
I presented some work in progress at Agder University in Norway as part of a UACES-funded workshop on differentiated integration in a post-Brexit world. Learn more about this network's ongoing activities here
A great privilege to have been awarded Senior Fellow status by the Higher Education Academy. Thisis in recognition of my ability to provide evidence of a sustained record of effectiveness in relation to teaching and learning, incorporating for example, the organisation, leadership and/or management of specific aspects of teaching and learning provision.
Delighted to be appointed Associate Editor at ECPR Press, the publishing house founded by the European Consortium for Political Research, which is now an imprint of Rowman & Littlefield.
I blogged for The Conversation on Why Florence is the Perfect Setting for Theresa May's Brexit Speech (it was a tongue-in-cheek piece).
I blogged for The Conversation about how legitimacy is the overlooked factor in the Brexit negotiations
Opening lines:Brexit is the most divisive issue in UK politics for generations. But one thing all commentators agree on is that the ongoing talks over exiting the EU are a test of bargaining power. Yet power is a function of legitimacy, as Henry Kissinger observed in A World Restored, his masterly survey of 19th century European diplomacy. The settlement that shaped European politics for the rest of the century emerged from an agreement over the legitimacy of major states’ interests, not a bargaining free-for-all determined by power politics.
I presented a co-authored paper at the Brexit in a Changing Geopolitical Context symposium June 29-30 at Liverpool John Moores University.
I was part of a team from the Aston Centre for Europe (John Gaffney, Andrew Glencross, Simon Green, and Ed Turner, chaired by Nat Copsey) that gave a two-hour briefing to an invited audience followed by a Q&A on the political situations in France and in Germany (after the French elections and before the German elections) on 23 June at the Foreign and Commonwealth office in London.
A hot take on the election of France's new president and what it means for Brexit http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/europpblog/2017/05/09/what-macrons-victory-means-for-brexit/
Scott Thompson of Ontario radio station CHML hosted me for a discussion of the French presidential election results https://omny.fm/shows/scott-thompson-show/what-do-voter-turnouts-tell-us-about-the-french-el
I participated in a Breakfast Business event at Birmingham City University entitled "Europe or the Open Sea - Reality or Delusion", where I spoke about the challenges of becoming "Global Britain".
A nice review of my Brexit book in Foreign Affairs by Andrew Moravcsik
"this is an insightful account of the referendum and its paradoxical consequences"
My commentary on the trigering of Article 50 appeared in Brazilian newspaper Epoca
Book Review: my book, Why the UK Voted for Brexit, reviewed in the LSE Review of Books
Here's the punchline: Despite the pace of events, Why the UK Voted for Brexit is still a very timely book, although it is precisely the chapter dealing with our present ‘unfinished business’ that feels most likely to obsolesce ahead of its time. Its detailed and historically sensitive discussion of the referendum process will nevertheless remain an important document for those seeking to understand this momentous event, while its theoretical foray opens up comparative analyses with broader global phenomena driven by ‘Rousseau’s revenge’.
Blogged: Article 50 and the 60th Anniversary of the Treaty of Rome. My first contribution to the Aston Centre for Europe blog
I have an article out in the latest issue of the Political Studies Association's Political Insight magazine. Read The Contradictory Political Philosophy of Brexit
Book launch and Brexit talk
at Aston University along with my colleague from Law, Dr Ryan Murphy. Event details here
New book published
My Palgrave Pivot (an essay-length monograph) is now out as an e-book. It's called Why the UK Voted for Brexit: David Cameron's Great Miscalculation
There's 50% off for UK customers
I'll be presenting at the UACES Sudent Forum on 18 November in London. The theme of the panel is MOOCs: Digital Engagement and Public Participation.
I'm part of a consortium that was awarded an Erasmus+ grant, which will begin from December 2016. The project is called AwarEU - European Awareness ,ifinanced within the Call Social Inclusion through Education, Training and Youth of the Key Action 3 Initiatives for Policy Innovation of Erasmus Plus.
The partnership led by CesUE (Italy)
Partner institutions are: Nova Universidad de Lisboa and Ministério dos Negócios Estrangeiros – Centro de Informação e Documentação Jacques Delors (Portugal);
University CEU San Pablo in Madrid (Spain);
Jacques Delors Institute in Paris (France);
University of Stirling (Scotland – UK).
Aston University (UK)
More details here
Along with Dr Emily St Denny (Public Policy Institute for Wales, University of Cardiff) i've written a paper about the Brexit MOOC I ran prior to the UK referendum on 23 June. This is being presented at a workshop on Media and New Technologies in the Brexit Referendum at Warwick University on 19 October. More details and a copy of the paper available here
While the British electorate was asked to vote on a simple-sounding question during the UK referendum on EU membership in June 2016, the issues at play were extremely complex. The debate spanned policy dilemmas, such as how to manage the economy or migration, as well as more abstract questions concerning sovereignty and national identity. In order to help those interested make sense of the manifold issues at play, politics staff from the University of Stirling ran a free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on the topic of the EU referendum in the weeks leading up to the vote. The core of the MOOC, which ran between May 17th and June 22nd, featured all the common characteristics of this type of course: weekly video lectures, quizzes, and question and answer sessions, as well as forums and personal journals which participants could use to share and reflect. In the process of organising and running the course, interesting questions were raised concerning the effectiveness of MOOCs as a pedagogical and communicative tool for counteracting the EU knowledge deficit. To date, little research has been done on the potential for this course format to improve the public’s understanding of, and engagement with, politics and policy issues. Consequently, this paper proposes some initial reflections on the opportunities and challenges presented by this MOOC for fostering broad public engagement with politics in the EU. In doing so it considers issues of format, attendance and attrition, participation and power dynamics.
I've been co-opted on to the UACES Comittee. UACES is the academic association for Contemporary European Studies. It is a membership organisation for academics, students and practitioners who are interested in all aspects of Europe and the European Union. Learn more about their great work here
My article on 'The European Council and the legitimacy paradox of new intergovernmentalism' published in Journal of European Integration 38 (5): 497-509.
Abstract: This paper examines the actions of the European Council during the Eurozone crisis through the lens of political constitutionalism. This analysis examines the role of political inputs in shaping the EU constitutional developments, whether supranational or intergovernmental, to demonstrate the ‘legitimacy paradox’ of new intergovernmentalism. That is, the European Council claimed the electoral legitimacy to rescue the euro, but in doing so opened up new avenues for contesting EU legitimacy, notably in relation to national budgetary decision-making. For unlike with supranational constitutional agency, the European Council has the means to politicise its actions. However, the strategy taken during the sovereign debt crisis is shown to be one of depoliticisation to prevent the domestic contestation of EMU reform. At the same time, paradoxically, the politics of macroeconomic policy has become Europeanised with the active participation of EU supranational actors. Since EMU reform is dependent on supranational enforcement of EMU rules, the new intergovernmentalism faces political contestation that previous, supranational EU constitutional development did not.
It's part of a special issue, edited by Sergio Fabbrini and Uwe Puetter, on Integration without supranationalisation: the central role of the European Council in post-Lisbon EU politics
'The Great Miscalculation: David Cameron's renegotiation and the Eu referendum campaign', my first reflection piece on UK after Brexit published as part of EU Referendum Analysis 2016: Media, Voters, and the Campaign edited by Daniel Jackson, Einar Thorsen, and Dominic Wring. Full publication available free here
Two of my articles on EU referendum available for free on WIlet's referendum-themed collection http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/subject/code/000101/homepage/collection_on_articles_on_the_eu.htm
As part of my ESRC-funded MOOC I organized a townhall-style event at the University of Stirling featuring David Coburn MEP (UKIP), Vonnie Sandlan (NUS Scotland), and Ron Granieri (University of Pennsylvania). Details here
My Government and Opposition article on the 2005 French referendum on the EU Constitutional Treaty has been included in Cambridge University Press' Guide to the UK's EU membership referendum. Available free here
With my Stirling colleague Prof. Paul Cairney I've blogged about how to make up one's mind about voting in the EU referendumWe often hear that citizens don’t have enough information to help them make a decision about the EU referendum. Yet, there is too much information. Most people don’t have the time or inclination to wade through all the campaign claims and evaluate them. Read more
Blogged: The information deficit affecting the UK referendum on EU MembershipSwamped by facts, voters are still going into the EU referendum with an information deficit
I'm quoted on the UK referendum's impact on EU migrants in the Slovak daily Dennik
I have been awarded a grant from the ESRC's UK in a Changing Europe Commissioning Fund to run a MOOC on the UK's referendum on EU membership.
Enrolment is now open!
My evidence cited in House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee Report on Implications of the referendum on EU membership for the UK's role in the world
Read my evidence here
My latest blog for The Conversation is a Fact Check of the British government's leaflet explaining why it is best to stay in the EU
Presentation of my paper "Post-Democracy and the Politics of Budgetary Discretion in the Eurozone" at the Edinburgh Centre for Constitutional Law
I have blogged for OpenDemocracy on Who Speaks for Europe? The UK Referendum as a Pan-European Affair
The Brexit debate greatly effects Europe yet commentary from EU figures and European heads of state has been surprisingly muted. Why is this so? Read more
There's an interesting commentary on this piece in the Dublin Review of Books blog on the theme of Europe as a case of Us and Them
My e-note for the Foreign Policy Research Institute published: The Quiet Frenchman: Why Francois Hollande is Staying Silent on Brexit
29 January 2016
My article British euroscepticism and British exceptionalism. The forty-year « Neverendum » on the relationship with Europe now out in the latest issue of the Egmont Institute's journal Studia Diplomatica
Full paper available here
Research for this article was funded by a Research Incentive Grant from the Carnegie Trust
Learn more about my Carnegie grant here
13 January 2016
I've blogged for The Conversation about why David Cameron is trying to make his own luck, for a change, by considering a summer 2016 referendum on EU membership. Full piece here
5 January 2016
My blog on why the UK's relationship with the EU is too complex to be settled by an in/out referendum was the second-most-viewed article on the LSE British Politics and Policy site for 2015
My International Relations article on "From 'Doing History' to Thinking Historically: Historical Consciousness across History and International Relations" available on early view
Although most attempts to foster interdisciplinary dialogue are located outside mainstream international relations (IR), this article seeks to problematize how the two dominant paradigms of IR theory, realism and liberalism, think historically. The argument proceeds by examining how the disciplines consider what historical knowledge is useful for, that is, how they think historically or are historically conscious. This constitutes a shift away from the dominant dialogue over how to ‘do history’ in IR. Historical consciousness is defined as the understanding of the temporality of historical experience or how past, present and future are thought to be connected. The analysis is set up to explore the extent to which both disciplines share a similar historical consciousness beyond merely treating history as instructive. To do so the article first examines the canon of European historiography to identify three genres of historical consciousness: history as teacher, history as narrative, history as representation. This survey of pre-positivist historiography serves to show the complexity of historical reflection within that discipline, something against which variance within IR theory can also be compared. Disciplinary comparison reveals that three genres of historical consciousness are present in liberalism and realism: lessons of history, revenge of history, and among progressive realists a speculative escape from history genre. Whereas the former spans both ‘isms’ in IR, realism is shown to have a more complex understanding of temporality, thereby providing another conceptual starting point for distinguishing between these two ‘traditions’. Moreover, these differences between genres of historical consciousness used within realism capture the split between realists that lies not in the origin of anarchy itself but in how realists think historically. What emerges, therefore, by comparing how disciplines think historically rather than ‘do’ history, is the equally purposive or even political use of the historical knowledge they produce.
New blog on Why Brexit would make Scotland more dependent on Westminster, published by ESRC-funded European Futures It is based on written evidence submitted to the Scottish Parliament's inquiry into EU reform and the EU referendum. Full version available online
My article, "Going it Alone? The Choice of Political Union in British Politics", published in The Political Quarterly.
This article explores the inter-related debates over Britain's relationship with the EU and that over the future of the UK. It argues that euroscepticism and Scottish independence are based on exceptionalist identities that now revolve around economic policy. Elite euroscepticism cleaves to a neoliberal vision of minimalist regulation, while advocates of Scottish independence claim Westminster's austerity policies make the British Union incompatible with social democracy. However, this presentation of the choice facing British voters ignores the serious contradictions that overhauling the current order entails. Both forms of exceptionalism fail to recognize the significant limitations of self-government outside and within the EU. If Conservatives can contain their neoliberal flirtation with EU withdrawal they are very well placed to prosper electorally. The dilemma of which union(s) to choose might thus constitute the prelude to the entrenchment of the economic and political order that gave rise to such contestation in the first place.
My International Affairs article included in House of Commons Library Reading List on the UK and EU.
My work cited in House of Commons Library Briefing Report on the 1974-75 EEC Renegotiation and Referendum. Report available here
Two of my FPRI essays included in Best of FPRI's Essays on America and the West, available as a free e-book. Other contributions include works by John Lewis Gaddis, Walter McDougall, and Jeremy Black.
I argue in CityAm that David Cameron is not mismanaging the EU referendum because
This all assumes that renegotiation should be a smooth, trouble-free process. But David Cameron’s referendum pledge made him a hostage to fortune. Eurosceptic Tories have clamoured for a referendum since the 1992 Maastricht Treaty, on the basis of fundamental opposition to what the EU stands for. They reject the constraints on parliamentary sovereignty that are necessary in order to establish common rules for free movement of goods, people, capital, and services. But EU leaders are not going to compromise on these founding principles just to forestall a Brexit. Hence there will never be a deal on the table that could satisfy those Conservatives who have fought long and hard for the opportunity to persuade Britons to leave the EU. Dissent on the government benches and even within the Cabinet is therefore to be expected. Cameron’s gamble is whether this inherently messy business will prove a small price to pay for putting the issue to bed once and for all.
My blog for The Conversation on Lessons for David Cameron from the 1975 EEC Referendum 5 June 2015
Reposted on British Influence
My blog for The Conversation on How to Reform the EU? Win over Francois Hollande and Angela Merkel 27 May 2015
Reposted on British Influence
My new E-note for US Think Tank FPRI on 2015 UK General Election. 'A Tale of Two Exceptionalisms: The Future of the UK and its EU Membership'
Also reposted at the LSE EUROPP blog, Democratic Audit, ISN the International Relations and Security Network, and and Policy Review EU
My other work for FPRI available here
Flyer for my talk on "The Politics of Simple Solutions: The Flawed Logic of a Referendum on EU Membership" at the London Academy of Diplomacy, 28 April 2015.
Slides for my talk available here
Cited in Bloomberg Article discussing parallels between 1975 EEC referendum and today's EU referendum debate: “It will be a lot tighter than in 1975, it will really be touch and go,” said Andrew Glencross, a politics lecturer at the University of Stirling. “There’s a much more fragmented elite sphere and there’s a querulous media environment, which means that getting a message across about a successful renegotiation is going to be much, much harder.” Article available here
Appointed to the Political Studies Association Chair's Commission on Adding Depth I'm delighted to join this team which is focusing on the strategic future of the PSA and how it can best promote the study of politics in a changing world. More information here
Political Insight 2015 article "Looking Back to Look Forward: 40 Years of Referendum Debate in Britain"
Latest article: Why a British referendum on EU memberhsip will not solve the Europe question, International Affairs, March 2015 Available here
Blog piece on Why Britain's Relationship with Europe is too Complex to be Settled by a Referendum LSE Europp available here Also published online with Euractiv and Policy Review
A Spanish translation available here
Presentation at Vesalius College Brussels 19 February 2015
I will be giving a guest lecture on some of my latest research on the referendum debate on EU membership in the UK. Details available here
Awarded Carnegie Trust Research Incentive Grant
In December 2014 I was awarded a Carnegie Research Incentive Grant (the only successful applicant from the University of Stirling) on the topic of the “European Neverendum: Lessons for 2015 from the 1975 EEC Referendum”. This means I'll be working and publishing on this topic in the year ahead.
Cited in Foreign and Commonwealth Office Review of the Balance of Competences, EU Enlargement Report
I submitted written evidence to the FCO and had the privilege of being interviewed in person in June at their magnificent headquarters a stone's throw from 10 Downing Street. The full report is available here
Latest article published: Democratic Inputs versus Output-Oriented Governance: The ECB’s Evolving Role and the New Architecture of Legitimacy in the EU Journal of International Organizations Studies 5 (2): 23-36.
This article examines the relationship between European integration and democratic gover-nance during the eurozone sovereign debt crisis. It does so by analyzing the evolving policies of the European Central Bank (ECB) against the backdrop of tension between input and output legitimacy in economic and monetary union. This tension makes the ECB’s actions a test case for understanding the functioning of supranational output legitimacy in a time of economic crisis. The evidence shows that the ECB stayed focused on outputs andpursued a strategic policy to prompt governments to create new treaties providing bailouts in return for conditionality. Hence this new legal-political architecture is also analyzed but in the context of how input legitimacy is institutionalized at a time of a “constraining dissensus.” What this shows is that political constraints did not prevent the emergence of a new architecture of legitimacy, although this remains beholden to a national model of input legitimacy. The result is a disconnect between de facto Europeanization of fiscal decision making and de jure national implementation measures. Consequently, the relationship between integration and democratic governance is more complex than ever with input legitimacy likely to play a disruptive role in the future. In particular, the national debt brakes introduced via the Fiscal Compact mean that the tension between output and input legitimacy may well play out at the national level as well as EU-wide. Read full article here
Forthcoming publication: ‘Why a British Referendum on EU Membership Will Not Solve the Europe Question’, International Affairs (March 2015)
This article scrutinizes the merits of holding a referendum over UK membership of the EU. It queries the assumption that direct democracy can somehow resolve the longstanding Europe question in British politics. To do this, the analysis traces the existence of an exceptionalist approach to the EU within Britain, now associated with re-negotiating UK membership in the shadow of a referendum. The article argues that the prospects for a radical reconfiguration of the UK’s treaty obligations are slim, thereby increasing the risk of a vote to withdraw. Yet withdrawal would be the opposite of a simple solution to the Europe question. Political and economic interests dictate lengthy politicking over a highly complex post-Brexit settlement revisiting free movement of goods, services, capital, and people. Such negotiations undermine any mooted cathartic benefits of a popular vote, while Eurosceptics will remain dissatisfied in the event of a yes, a result likely to further destabilize the Conservative Party. Consequently, the simplicity and decisiveness that a referendum – particularly one that spurns the EU – promises is merely a mirage as relations with the EU necessarily form part of an enduring British political conversation.
I'll be at the Central European University in Budapest to present a paper entitled 'The European Council: Constitutional Agency in a Moment of Crisis?' Details on the workshop here
I am speaking about Small States in the Process of European Integration at a round-table event on "Portugal in the Contemporary World" at the University of Stirling. Details here