Stray thoughts on British electoral politics and the Jews

element5-digital-T9CXBZLUvic-unsplashMichael Berkowitz reflects on the role of antisemitism and issues concerning Jews in the ongoing election, and on how the history of Jews in Britain might guide the perplexed. 

Britain’s politics has to some extent engaged various Jewish questions even when there was no official Jewish community between 1290 and the mid-seventeenth century. This electoral season has been unusual for the degree to which issues concerning Jews, and antisemitism in particular, have played a significant part in the political discourse.

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How to Navigate the 2019 General Election: Views from UCL

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Brexit, tactical voting, the unity of the United Kingdom… The 12 December election is like no other in many ways. Our colleagues from across UCL offer their thoughts on how to approach the first winter poll since 1923. 

Read below our round-up of comments to prepare yourself for the upcoming vote.

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Opportunity Cost: Why Brexit is not quite the security and defence moment Brussels has been banking on

ben blog sizeBenjamin Martill, Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at the University of Edinburgh, argues that although many in Brussels view Brexit as a golden opportuntity for EU security and defence, and several initiatives have been pushed forward, the reality is more complicated.

French President Emmanuel Macron’s recent claim that NATO was ‘brain-dead’ and that Europe needed to focus on building up its own security and defence capabilities was the latest in a long line of public pronouncements on the future of European defence in recent years.

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Deal or No-Deal, workers’ rights will suffer

michael-browning-WbjdcWUyLRQ-unsplash.jpgBased their IER report on Brexit and Workers’ Rights, Nicola Countouris and Keith Ewing offer a timely assessment on how the new deal reached by the Prime Minister will affect workers’ rights. They assess that this deal, as much as the previous one, will lead to the erosion of British workers’ rights. 

While most MPs, analysts, and commentators are spending endless hours trying to spot the difference between the ‘old deal’ and the ‘new deal’, pinpointing the extent to which Northern Ireland may or may not dislocate itself from the rest of the UK, one thing is once more very clear: Deal or No-Deal, workers’ rights will suffer.

The new deal agreed yesterday does not change our assessment of the old deal concluded by PM May last year: once out of the EU, UK workers’ rights will be subject to a relentless process of stagnation, divergence, and eventual erosion.

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Why the European Council Must not Reject an Article 50 Extension Request

Piet Eeckhout

Professor Piet Eeckhout, Academic Director of the UCL European Institute and Dean of UCL Laws, outlines the legal reasons why the European Council must not refuse an extension of Article 50. He notes that a refusal, in the current context, would amount to expelling the UK against its will, which the judgement in the Wightman case deemed unlawful.

The Brexit saga continues to evolve from day to day, and even hour to hour.  Notwithstanding the so-called Benn Act (the European Union (Withdrawal) (No 2) Act 2019), there is huge uncertainty whether the UK Government will formally request an extension, in case no deal can be reached on the Withdrawal Agreement at the impending European Council meeting.  There is also speculation that, even if an extension is requested, the European Council could refuse it.  In light of the unanimity requirement in Art 50(3), commentators speculate that it would take but a single Member State to oppose an extension for the United Kingdom to crash out of the EU without a “deal”.

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