After the historic defeat on the meaningful vote, the political crisis has reached a new peak in the UK. We have asked 10 of our experts to share their views on the current state of Brexit and their best predictions on what could happen next: Dr Uta Staiger (UCL European Institute), Prof. Ronan McCrea (UCL Laws), Dr Tim Beasley-Murray (UCL SSEES), Dr Kirsty Hughes (UCL European Institute Advisory Board), Prof. Albert Bressand (UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources), Prof. Philippe Marliere (UCL SELCS), Dr Thomas Gift (UCL Political Science), Dame Nicola Brewer (UCL Vice-Provost International), Dr. Nick Wright (UCL Political Science) and Dr. Francois Guesnet (UCL Hebrew & Jewish Studies).
Benjamin Martill and Leo von Bülow-Quirk argue in this post for the Darhendorf Forum that there’s still a way to reach agreement on a Brexit deal. However, it’ll require Parliament to work in a whole new way.
Here we go again. On Tuesday the ‘mother of all parliaments’ inflicted the mother of all defeats on the government, rejecting Theresa May’s painstakingly negotiated withdrawal agreement by a huge majority of 230. Not since the 1920s has a sitting government been so roundly defeated in the Commons, and never on the most pressing matter affecting the country. The opposition then tabled a vote of no confidence, largely because to do otherwise would have been too reputationally damaging given the circumstances, not because it expects to win. Theresa May’s success in maintaining her position as prime minister has amplified the looming possibility of a no deal Brexit by 29 March. How did we get here?
Thomas Gift argues that convincing the public about the merits of international students requires appealing to self-interest in addition to pinpointing their intangible benefits on diversity and multiculturalism. Universities should make a stronger case for this, particularly in the context of Brexit.
No sector in the UK has more enthusiastically embraced globalisation than higher education. Top universities have erected campuses in new continents, expanded their share of students from abroad, and touted their instruction of “global citizens”.
Such branding doubtlessly appeals to a new footloose class of international elites. Yet as backlash over globalisation surges amid Brexit, UK universities now face their own discontents. This is especially true when it comes to educating “foreign” students.
Brexit, it is claimed, has widened an intergenerational divide. Baby boomers voted for Brexit, while millennials remained silent. This argument remains although youth turnout in the Brexit referendum was, in fact, relatively close to the UK national average. Focusing on a generational divide suits a simplistic oppositional narrative that has pervaded many Brexit debates, yet as Matthew Donoghue and Mikko Kuisma argue in a recent paper in the Social Europe/FES Brexit Paper series, such a complex issue cannot be reduced to these simple narratives. The future of the UK welfare state in the context of Brexit depends more on wider structural issues related to British political economy, rather than the intergenerational dimensions within it.
The British Prime Minister has called on the EU to help her sell her deal at home. UCL’s Clement Leroy argues that it is not even in the EU’s interest to offer concessions: only a drastic change of the deal itself would convince enough MPs, and this would cost the EU its unity.
As Theresa May sought reassurances from the EU to sell the Brexit deal, EU leaders insisted that the text will not be renegotiated. Jean-Claude Juncker has sent a stronger warning that there is “no room whatsoever” to tweak the agreement. But is there anything that the EU can offer to help the prime minister with getting the deal through parliament?