Michael Keating's blog

The EU referendum debate looks very different depending on where it's viewed from, says Michael Keating, and its repercussions may herald change across the UK and beyond. 
 
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The scale of the changes negotiated by David Cameron may be relatively modest, says Michael Keating, but they have far-reaching results regardless of the outcome of the referendum. 
 
The outcome of the marathon European Council can be interpreted in a narrow or a broad way. 
 
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David Cameron’s proposed areas for renegotiation have implications for the Scottish Government, a situation that will increase once the Scotland Bill is passed.

The distinct Scottish interest in the European renegotiation and referendum can be seen under two headings. The first concerns matters reserved under the devolution settlement to the UK Government but where Scottish interests and preferences may be distinct. The second concerns devolved matters that also have a European dimension. This produces a potentially long list of questions.

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Twenty five years ago, the historian Eric Hobsbawm announced the end of nations and nationalism. Like the Owl of Minerva, they appeared in view only as they flew into the twilight. In 2015, however, nationalism looks very much alive, with restive movements even in established states like the United Kingdom, Belgium and Spain. This might seem at odds with the movement to European unity but in practice the two are linked.
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David Cameron may well find that his proposals are not enough for Eurosceptic Tories while at the same time being too much for his EU partners and many voters inclined to remain, says Michael Keating.  
 
David Cameron’s four demands outlined in the letter to the European Council will not satisfy his own Eurosceptics and may be too much for his EU partners to accept. It is not at all clear how some elements would work. 
 
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In the light of the Catalan results both Madrid and Barcelona have some options, says Michael Keating, but the current political climate is unlikely to see an immediate breakthrough.

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Since the independence referendum a year ago, unionists have been trying to find a way to define what it is and a core and purpose of 'Britishness'. If they continue in this vein, says Michael Keating, they run the risk of destroying the very thing they are trying to save. 
 
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David Cameron may well find that his proposals are not enough for Eurosceptic Tories while at the same time being too much for his EU partners and many voters inclined to remain, says Michael Keating.     David Cameron’s four demands outlined in the letter to the European Council will not satisfy hi... Read more
Post type: Blog entry
In the light of the Catalan results both Madrid and Barcelona have some options, says Michael Keating, but the current political climate is unlikely to see an immediate breakthrough. The September elections in Catalonia were called in order to try and resolve the independence issue. Unable to stage... Read more
Post type: Blog entry
Since the independence referendum a year ago, unionists have been trying to find a way to define what it is and a core and purpose of 'Britishness'. If they continue in this vein, says Michael Keating, they run the risk of destroying the very thing they are trying to save.    In the wake of the near... Read more
Post type: Blog entry
Some time in the next two years, Scots will face another referendum, on whether the United Kingdom should remain in the European Union. This issue has become deeply entangled with the question of Scotland’s place in the United Kingdom. Last year’s referendum was about independence-in-Europe and sinc... Read more
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The introduction of English Votes for English Laws (EVEL) faces a problem, says Michael Keating, in that only a minority of English voters will ever have supported the laws in question.    The government has now come up with its answer to the West Lothian Question, that Scottish MPs can vote on Engl... Read more
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The new government has thrown open the European questions but, asks Michael Keating, what - if any - answers might prove satisfactory? Now that the Conservatives have a majority government, we will have a referendum on membership of the European Union. This is scheduled to happen before the end of 2... Read more
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It is a peculiar feature of devolution in the United Kingdom that each nation is treated differently, with its own settlement geared to local political demands.   Foreign observers look with puzzlement, seeing it as British pragmatism taken to extremes.   Yet, whether by chance or design, devolution... Read more
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The Public Administration Committee’s new report on the referendum focuses on two issues: the role of the civil service in helping to produce the Scottish Government’s independence white paper; and the action of Treasury Permanent Secretary Nicholas MacPherson in making public his advice that a curr... Read more
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Michael Keating discusses how English votes for English Laws has come to occupy a huge place in the debate about further devolution. English votes for English Laws has come to occupy a huge place in the debate about further devolution. For many Conservatives, it is a matter of elementary justice tha... Read more
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The draft legislation published in response to the report of the Smith Commission makes much of the concept of 'no detriment' - that the actions of one government should not harm another. However, explains CCC Director Michael Keating, that is considerably easier said than done.  Both the Smith Comm... Read more
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Latest blogs

  • 17th January 2019

    Richard Parry assesses a memorable day in UK parliamentary history as the Commons splits 432-202 on 15 January 2019 against the Government's recommended Brexit route. It was the most dramatic night at Westminster since the Labour government’s defeat on a confidence motion in 1979.

  • 17th January 2019

    What is the Irish government’s Brexit wish-list? The suggestion that Irish unity, as opposed to safeguarding political and economic stability, is the foremost concern of the Irish government is to misunderstand and misrepresent the motivations of this key Brexit stakeholder, writes Mary C. Murphy (University College Cork).

  • 17th January 2019

    Brexit is in trouble but not because of the Irish backstop, argues the CCC's Michael Keating.

  • 16th January 2019

    Fellows of the Centre on Constitutional Change respond to the rejection of the Withdrawal Agreement by the House of Commons and the impending no-confidence vote in the government.

  • 11th January 2019

    Richard Parry assesses the unfolding drama at Westminster around no-deal scenarios. The deal ‘would be an uncomfortable outcome for the EU: providing quota-fee, tariff-free access to the EU market without any accompanying financial obligations; without any access to UK fishing waters in the absence of further agreement; and without any commitments to align with the majority of so-called level playing field arrangements’. For Tory leavers, what’s not to like in this negotiating triumph for Theresa May?

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