Is the United Kingdom a Mini-EU?

gb flagsRonan McCrea, Barrister and Senior Lecturer in Law at UCL, draws parallels between the political structure of the UK and the European Union and argues that, with the growth of independence movements in Scotland and Wales, the UK increasingly resembles a loose collection of sovereign nations.

The United Kingdom is to leave the European Union, partly in order to protect the right to self-government of the UK as a nation state as expressed through the sovereignty of the Westminster Parliament. Interestingly, the reaction to the decision to leave the EU reveals the degree to which through a combination of devolution with increased recourse to referendums, the United Kingdom has drifted into being a kind of voluntary grouping of sovereign nations that bears significant similarities to the European Union. Continue reading

Brexit referendum folly

Stefan Rousseau/Press Association Images. All rights reserved.Jan Zielonka, Professor of European Politics at the University of Oxford, writes that the consequences of the Brexit referendum are bad for both Europe and Britain, regardless of the result. This piece is part of the UCL European Institute’s commissioning partnership with openDemocracy on ‘Brexit Divisions’.

The EU referendum in the United Kingdom was intended as a festival of democracy, but it has proved to be an exercise in political madness. Brits pride themselves on being sensible and pragmatic people, but they embarked on a sentimental journey into the unknown. Rational arguments are being set aside while populists are having a party. The prospect of a referendum with an uncertain result has already caused a great deal of disarray, and those who count the costs of a possible Brexit should realise that major damage to Europe and the United Kingdom has already been done. Continue reading