Doctors and nurses can have an influence on Brexit to help protect the NHS

martin-brosy-758535-unsplashChristina Pagel demonstrates that NHS staff are more trusted than other voices on Brexit at the moment. For her, if nurses and doctors believe that the NHS will get worse after Brexit, they should spread this message—it could change minds.

For someone working in the NHS, it can feel as if all you can do is watch the disaster of Brexit unfold, and that none of it lies within your control.

But recent data from a large YouGov survey carried out on behalf of the People’s Vote Campaign suggests that your voice does matter.

The survey data suggest that people who are concerned about the impact of Brexit on the NHS are more likely to want to vote remain in any future referendum. At the same time, surveys show that doctors and nurses are trusted by the general public far more than any of the other voices currently speaking about Brexit. So the voices of doctors, nurses, and other health professionals do matter.

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Would introducing ID cards prevent a stalemate in a new referendum?  

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Polls show that a so-called People’s Vote might leave the UK split down the middle. UCL’s Tessa Buchanan looks at whether majority support for ID cards could help to break any potential stalemate. Are they the “have-cake-and-eat-it” solution as one think tank suggests? 

People rarely change their minds once they are made up and myth-busting doesn’t work. This was the message that struck home from an event where academics from ‘The UK in a Changing Europe’ revealed the latest polling data on how Brexit is perceived by the UK public.

Guess what. Those who believed in the £350m a week figure in 2016 still largely believe it; the majority still over-estimate how many EU migrants live in the UK; and many still link EU immigration with crime, pressure on the NHS and lower wages. Both Remainers and Leavers credit beliefs that tally with their own versions of the truth, which helps to explain why there has been relatively little change in support for Brexit in the last two years.

So if calls are mounting for a People’s Vote, what would prevent any new referendum being a re-run of 2016?

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How Come Such A Weak Deal?

mayAlbert Weale applies elementary principle of bargaining theory to demonstrate that the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration currently on the table are the best deal possible for the UK government given its own red lines and its starting-point. 

The withdrawal agreement and declaration on a future relationship are regarded by both sides of the Brexit debate as a bad deal for the UK.  For Brexiteers, it leaves the country as a rule-taking ‘vassal state’ on single market rules, requires payments into the EU budget during the transition period, and has no freedom to implement free trade agreements with other countries until the end of the back-stop.  For Remainers it will lead to the UK being worse off than it would be in the EU or in a Norway type arrangement, quite apart from any damage to the UK’s reputation.  The temptation is to put this down to Mrs May’s poor negotiating skills.  However, given her initial red lines, the outcome is quite positive.  The UK is outside the jurisdiction of the ECJ, it has its own immigration policy and has continued customs arrangements, the last of which is far from being an EU plot to keep the UK as a vassal state, but is instead a concession to UK cherry-picking.

Still, it is not good to be a rule-taker, whilst paying into the budget, and with so little protection for UK services.  More importantly, it leaves the UK weak in negotiating the terms of the future arrangements given the vetoes that EU might exercise by way of leverage.  So, how did a UK government get to this position?  Some elementary principles of bargaining theory provide an answer.

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Farewell to the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights? The Withdrawal Act and the Danger of Losing ‘Fundamentals’

human rights blog.jpgIn this post, Eleni Frantziou tell us about the danger of making an exception with the removal of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights in the Withdrawal Act, while the rest of the European “acquis” is translated into British law. Besides the legal implications, this questions what the British society see as “fundamental” and what should be excluded from the day-to-day agenda of Westminster. Brexit could be the opportunity for the UK to draft its own set of rights, but this outright rejection threatens an important democratic safeguard. 

With the Withdrawal Act having finally entered the lawbooks back in June, the focus of the Brexit conversation has, naturally, shifted towards other matters (including issues of perhaps greater urgency, such as the grounding of planes, the availability of medication, and general contingency planning in case of a no-deal Brexit). Rallying to the problems of legislation which was already vastly criticised academically and in the House of Lords before its adoption may now be seen as a lost cause. Nevertheless, at the risk of staying within the ivory tower, in this post, I will try to formulate a critique of one of the Withdrawal Act’s most significant problems: the removal of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

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Is a second referendum on Brexit possible? Seven questions that need to be answered

6993988782_6d34cf935a_o.jpgTwo years on from the Brexit vote, the benefits of a second referendum are being hotly debated. In this post, UCL’s Jess Sargeant, Alan Renwick and Meg Russell identify seven questions that should be considered before parliament decides whether a second Brexit referendum will take place.

Last week a Sky poll suggested that 50% of the public would favour a three-way referendum on the UK’s future relationship with the EU. This follows calls from key figures including Justine GreeningDominic Grieve, and Tony Blair, as well as a campaign launched by The Independent for the public to be allowed a vote on the final deal. Number 10 has categorically rejected these calls, stating that there will be no further referendum on Brexit ‘in any circumstances’. Nonetheless, talk of a second referendum is likely to continue. Whether you are a supporter or an opponent of that proposal, there are some big important questions about the practicalities of such a referendum that need to be explored. This post sets out some of the most crucial questions. In further posts over the coming weeks, we will begin to explore some of the answers.

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