Why Common Market 2.0 Beats The Backstop

Co-written with George Freeman Brexit has locked our politics in a devastating state of paralysis. Public trust is falling, the government is gridlocked and the nation is divided. This can’t go on. The Prime Minister has found herself tied up in knots as all her ill-advised red lines, and EU Referendum promises, prevent her from delivering a deal that can get through Parliament. Continue reading

Division has paralysed our politics - it's time for compromise

House Magazine There’s no doubt that Britain is a great country with so much going for it; economically, democratically, and culturally. But we are more divided than we have been at any time since the Second World War; young versus old, city versus town, graduate versus non-graduate. Continue reading

Second Referendum Supporters Must Be Upfront With The Public

House Magazine No single party has been responsible for the steady erosion of trust in politics that we have seen over recent decades. From New Labour’s invasion of Iraq on a false prospectus to the Lib Dems’ tuition fees deception to the litany of Tory broken promises on everything from industrial strategy to immigration targets, the trust gap was already dangerously deep and wide well before June 2016. Continue reading

How The Murky World Of Campaign Finance Must Change

LabourList Our democracy is crumbling. The EU referendum exposed many of Britain’s flaws, but perhaps none more so than our creaking system of campaign finance. Drip by drip we have learnt about the extent to which our democratic system has been flooded with ‘dodgy’ money and dirty data. First Cambridge Analytica, the disgraced big data company using harvested Facebook data to sell elections to the highest bidder – a scandal that saw Facebook receive the maximum fine of £500,000. Then there was Leave.EU – the unofficial Brexit campaign bankrolled by the insurance tycoon Arron Banks – which was recently found guilty of “multiple breaches of electoral law“, fined £70,000 and referred to the Metropolitan Police for suspected criminal offences. In July 2018, Vote Leave – the official Brexit campaign – was fined £61,000 for co-ordinating with BeLeave, which was in turn fined £20,000. Continue reading

A 'Whole Nation' Party

Fabians British politics is in an unhealthy state of polarisation and paralysis. Small but vocal tribal groups sit at either end of the new political spectrum. At one end are the passionate, pro-EU, open border, globalist ultra-remainers. At the other end the hard Brexiteers, anti-European, closed border, nationalist, die-hard leavers. Neither seem too willing to compromise to break the Brexit impasse, and neither seem particularly determined to help reunite our deeply divided country. Continue reading

Parliament is stuck in a state of limbo. Only Norway Plus can dig us out of this crisis

House Magazine Theresa May limped through her no confidence vote, but her dog’s dinner of a Brexit deal is still dead in the water. May’s decision to defer the Meaningful Vote was not only the most anti-democratic act by a British Prime Minister in living memory, it was also utterly self-defeating. Had May held the vote she would also have gained leverage in negotiations with the EU – proof that they need to budge. But perhaps most importantly she would have moved the debate along. She would have learnt much about the will of the House, and what deal she can do with Brussels. But with May’s head still buried in the sand, and with Labour reluctant to table a No Confidence motion, we remain stuck in a state of limbo. Continue reading

Remember The Golden Days Of Our EU Affair? A Norway Deal Could Return Us There

The Times On Tuesday evening one of us will vote against Theresa May’s deal. The other will vote in favour. One of us will vote for Jeremy Corbyn’s amendment — and for any motion of no confidence in the government. The other will vote against. One of us is Welsh through and through — the representative of the Port Talbot steel-making community and proud scion of a tribe of passionate Labour politicians and trade unionists. The other is as English as hot buttered toast, the representative of Grantham in Lincolnshire, where Margaret Thatcher was born and raised, and a Tory moderniser with a career in business behind him. Continue reading

Theresa May’s Dog's Dinner Of A Brexit Deal Looks Almost Certain To Fall

The Mirror Theresa May’s dog's dinner of a Brexit deal looks almost certain to fall on Tuesday, not least because MPs know that it hands far too much power to the EU after 29 March. With no appetite for an economy-shattering No Deal, her own cabinet ministers must now persuade her to pivot to the only other feasible Brexit option; Norway Plus. Let’s be clear. The Norway option is a strong compromise. Continue reading

Norway Is The Only Way To Avoid The Cliff

New European Let’s be clear: Theresa May’s Brexit deal is a thumping victory for the EU, whichever way you slice it. On March 29, 2019 our country will effectively become a vassal state for the 21 months of the transition period – complying with all EU rules but without any seat at the table. The EU will have us over a barrel as we scramble to turn the vague, open-ended Political Declaration into a legally-binding, long-term future relationship, while the cliff edge of December 2020 looms ever-larger. Continue reading

Russia-West Relations In The Age Of Fragmentation

The world is arguably more fragmented and polarised than it has been at any time since the end of the Cold War. The wave of optimism and internationalism that swept all before it in the 1990s has given way to a rising tide of nationalism. The seemingly unstoppable forward march of liberal democracy has been halted in its tracks and forced to retreat, leaving a vacuum that has been filled by the forces of tribalism, nativism and authoritarianism. Putinist Russia is at the vanguard of the zero-sum game mind-set that has come to define this age of fragmentation that has driven the rise of Trump, Orban, Le Pen, Salvini, Bolsonaro, the Brextremists, and a plethora of nationalist parties such as the AfD and the Sweden Democrats. Disdain for multilateralism and international organisations is the red thread that runs through and between every one of these individuals and the movements that they lead. To them, compromise, moderation and pragmatism are dirty words. Continue reading