Category Archives: Article 50

The Good Friday agreement is under attack. Can we really risk ditching it? | Ian Jack

How quickly Brexiteers seem to have forgotten the past. No one wants to see troops on the streets of Northern Ireland again

Many years ago, and mainly because of the way it looked, I bought a book called Handbook of the Ulster Question, which was published by the Stationery Office, Dublin, in 1923. It has a green cardboard binding and a front cover decorated in the Celtic revival style, which the Irish Free State also adopted for its postage stamps.

An empty wallet inside the back cover once contained maps. “Lacks maps,” says a pencilled note on the front endpaper next to its price (30p), though the text pages still have a few that fold out, including one of Ireland’s then extensive railway system, which has a dotted line crossing it in 19 places. The dotted line represents the border created by the partition of Ireland in 1921. Suddenly, we are in modern territory. The map shows how “the customs land frontier of the Six-County Area [of Ulster]” will interfere “with the normal traffic of the country” to poor effect.

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Source: gad

Is it possible to reverse Brexit? | Anand Menon

Even if all the hurdles to a second referendum and a remain vote were overcome, a huge number of problems would arise

It’s all kicking off. A poll carried out by ICM for the Guardian showed that, excluding those with no opinion, voters support the idea of a second referendum by a 16-point margin.

Simultaneously, there are signs that the parliamentary battle over Brexit is about to become more joined up. The main groups opposed to Brexit have agreed to pull together under the banner of the grassroots coordinating group (GCG) in an attempt to ensure a popular vote on the outcome of the Brexit process.

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Source: gad

Japan thinks Brexit is an 'act of self-harm', says UK's former ambassador

Sir David Warren says it is time for plain speaking on the impact of Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union

Japan sees Brexit as an act of economic and political self-harm that will reduce the United Kingdom’s influence on the world stage, says a former British ambassador to Tokyo.

Sir David Warren, who served in the post from 2008 to 2012, argued it was time for plain speaking on the impact of Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union. He regarded the potential effect on UK-Japan relations as “grave”.

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Source: gad

We thought Boris Johnson would tell us his Brexit plans. He said ‘Go whistle’ | Gina Miller

The foreign secretary’s much-anticipated speech was short on detail, but it made it clear we’re heading for a harsh future

For all the hype, the long-awaited Brexit speech that Boris Johnson delivered today amounted to no more than, in his words, another inverted pyramid of piffle. What we, the people, were hoping for – yearning for, in fact, and certainly had every right to expect – was his Valentine’s Day message to be the moment he finally came clean about Brexit. We’ve had the snake-oil salesman’s patter. What the country urgently needs are the mechanics: we want to know precisely how this Brexit flat pack you have talked us into buying at great cost is actually going to be assembled.

For a start, he needed to address the worst-case scenario: what would happen if we botched this thing’s construction. He needed to spell out that no deal in the talks with the EU would mean no transitional period – and that would mean, certainly in the short term, a run on the pound, businesses exiting and the likelihood of unemployment rising sharply.

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Source: gad

Never mind Brexit, or even Europe. The future is Eurasian | Bruno Macaes

In this new age, the notion that Europeans are special – that a wall separates them from Asia – is quickly being exposed as a pious fiction

Europe is disappearing. Not because – as you often hear – we are returning to a world of small nations, proud and sovereign, but because Europe is being replaced by a much vaster and more interesting geographic unit: Eurasia, the combination of the two continents of Europe and Asia, stretching from Lisbon to Shanghai or Jakarta. The rise of Asia forces us to place the continents on the same level, no longer separated by different levels of historical development. New connecting infrastructure, trade and the permeability of borders are drawing the whole of Eurasia together.

The important question today is not what Europe will look like in the future, but what Eurasia will become. What balance will the western peninsula of the supercontinent – the European Union – be able to establish with Russia, China and India? What dangerous game of influence will these four main actors be playing in the crowded space created by the end of the cold war and the rise of Asian economic power? Influence now flows in both directions, no longer only from west to east. In this new Eurasian age, the notion that Europeans are special – that a wall separates them from Asia – is quickly being exposed as a pious fiction.

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Source: gad

Voters should be able to change their minds on referendums, says Speaker

John Bercow says people on the losing side do not have to accept their case is lost for ever

John Bercow, the Commons Speaker, has warned democracy is under threat and said those on the wrong side of a referendum result do not have to accept their case has been lost forever, in remarks welcomed by campaigners for people’s right to change their mind on Brexit.

The Speaker is duty-bound to remain neutral on political issues, but his comments appeared to make a thinly veiled reference to the EU referendum, defending the right for people to argue for a second vote.

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Source: gad

UK government’s Brexit impact assessment ‘shameful’ says Sturgeon

Scottish first minister also says Jeremy Corbyn appears ‘only slightly less in favour of a hard Brexit than the Tories’

Nicola Sturgeon has described as “shameful” Westminster’s failure to consider the impact of Brexit on the economy, as her own government prepares to publish a “clear-eyed, hard-headed” analysis of potential outcomes of leaving the EU.

Interviewed on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday morning, Scotland’s first minister said that, although she had seen “some redacted material” from the UK government’s Brexit impact assessments, “I think everyone has concluded that what we were told previously by David Davis were in-depth impact studies are no such thing”.

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Source: gad

Brexit: May urged to stay in single market by 20 British MEPs

Cross-party group says leaving EU single market would leave UK poorer and merit voters being allowed to rethink Brexit

Theresa May is being urged to change course and seek full membership of the European single market and customs union by 20 British MEPs, including three Tories and the majority of Labour politicians based in Brussels.

In a letter that lays down a challenge for the prime minister but also the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, the group claims the case for staying in the internal market has become stronger since the referendum.

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Source: gad

We can stop Brexit. But we’ll need some help from across the Channel | Timothy Garton Ash

Nothing is impossible in modern politics. But if so many Europeans really want Britain to stay in the EU, they need to find their voices now

This is the year to stop Brexit. There will not be another chance. If by the end of this year the British parliament has approved a transition agreement with the 27 other members of the EU, including the framework for a future trading relationship, Britain will exit.

This will constitute the most gratuitous and consequential act of national self-harm in Britain’s postwar history. It will also do significant long-term damage to the larger project of bringing the countries of Europe together to defend our shared values and way of life in a world increasingly shaped by China, climate change and job-threatening automation. Stopping Brexit is mainly a task for Brits, but it is also, in smaller part, a challenge for fellow Europeans who recognise this truth.

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Source: gad