The failure of the left to grasp Brexit

16 Dec

The Labour party was eventually persuaded to back a second referendum. This was a historic mistake which led to defeat in the General Election, says Michael Wilkinson (LSE). Labour should have respected the vote to Leave and offered a platform for change based on a future outside of the European Union. Thursday’s General Election was … Continued

Long read | What is going on with economic expertise?

12 Dec

What is going on with economic expertise? Why is it that it is constantly depicted as simply based on opinion rather than facts, ask Marina Della Giusta, Sylvia Jaworska, Danica Vukadinović-Greetham and Anna De Liddo? In this blog, they present their research which uses network and language analysis to explore the audience and the style of … Continued

Why the Alternative Vote system could have delivered a clearer signal on Brexit

11 Dec

The confusing scramble by Remainers to vote tactically in this General Election has exposed the failings of the First Past the Post (FPTP) system. Tarun Khaitan (Oxford University) explains why the Alternative Vote system could have delivered a clearer signal about Brexit – particularly as it would have discouraged Labour from engaging in strategic ambiguity … Continued

What difference are the Unite to Remain and Brexit Party pacts likely to make?

18 Nov

The Unite to Remain alliance means the Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru and the Greens are trying to pool their votes to ensure a Remain-backing candidate is elected. But the Brexit Party’s decision to stand down their candidates in Tory-held seats makes this tougher. Heinz Brandenburg (University of Strathclyde) concludes that the overall effect of these pacts will be minimal. Now […]

We need to talk about A/B testing: Brexit, attack ads and the election campaign

13 Nov

With the general election a month away, how are the parties targeting voters on Facebook with messages about Brexit? Tristan Hotham (University of Bath) explains how A/B testing is being used to identify the most effective campaign themes. Political parties using Facebook ads have a powerful capacity to hone their messages. Unlike in the past – where expensive and hard-to-organise […]

Remain or Leave, people should be able to vote for the party they want to see win

12 Nov

We should be scrutinising candidates and policies. Instead the talk is of tactical voting and electoral pacts. Brexit has thrown the deficiencies of our voting system into sharp relief, but this must be the last general election fought under first past the post, writes Ian Simpson (Electoral Reform Society). Introducing the single transferable vote would mean voters would feel free […]

Long read: the makings of Brexit and the road ahead

23 Oct

On the cusp of the UK’s exit from the EU, Philip Rycroft (Bennett Institute, University of Cambridge) reflects on his seven years at the centre of the UK government to ask how we reached this point in the country’s history. In a lecture delivered on 3 October 2019 in Cambridge, he examines the underlying causes of Brexit and the political […]

Johnson has defined Brexit. Now it is for the opposition parties to defeat it

21 Oct

Only if the opposition parties accept that Boris Johnson has now defined Brexit can it unite to defeat his deal, writes Phil Syrpis (University of Bristol). Trying to redefine the terms of the deal will exasperate the public and probably end in failure. The path to remain lies in a second referendum or general election. Super Saturday turned out to […]

How little we know: reflections on our ignorance of the EU

24 Sep

Both Leavers and Remainers are almost equally ignorant about the workings of the EU. Dorothy Bishop (University of Oxford) looks at research into how cognitive biases influence people’s opinions of the Union, and questions whether, given how little voters knew, the referendum was valid. As a Remainer, I am baffled as to what Brexiteers want. If you ask them, as […]

Rational high ground or compromise? Liberal strategies for coping with Brexit

20 Sep

How do liberal Remainers negotiate their dismay and shock at the Leave vote? Daphne Fietz (LSE) talked to nine people who voted Remain and analysed the comment section of the Guardian. She discusses how they deployed different liberal values in an effort to either distance themselves from the ‘irrationality’ of Leavers, or seek compromise. While Brexit may be imminent, no […]

The Lib Dems are right – revoking Article 50 is a winning proposition

11 Sep

The Lib Dems are right to have promised to revoke Article 50, writes Phil Syrpis (University of Bristol). Revocation would ‘make it stop’ – an appealing proposition for those weary of Brexit and who want to focus on domestic politics. Labour should follow suit. It now looks as though the UK will be heading towards a pre-Brexit general election. Notwithstanding […]

Young people and Brexit: the implications for the far-right and Scottish independence

9 Sep

Since the EU referendum, the narrative of an inter-generational divide has emerged, with the country’s older pro-Leave generation thought to be at odds with a younger, pro-Remain generation. Rakib Ehsan (Henry Jackson Society) investigated these intra-generational differences and suggests that failure to deliver Brexit may provide a boost for far-right organisations, but that a disruptive no-deal Brexit has the potential […]

Categories, stereotypes, and political identities: the use of Brexiter and Remainer in online comments

6 Sep

Joanne Meredith (University of Wolverhampton) and Emma Richardson (University of Leicester) examine how the terms Brexiter and Remainer were used by online commenters during and after the referendum. They find that the two are seen as political categories in their own right, and the commenters resisted other, well-defined political identities, such as Conservative or Labour supporters. Commentary around Brexit highlighted political and social […]

Labour cannot be a party of Remain if it is serious about radical change

5 Sep

Brexit has energised the centrist political forces that want to remain in the EU, but they have little to show for their efforts. Michael Wilkinson (LSE) argues that Labour should avoid flirting with Remainism if it wants to be the party of radical change and defeat Boris Johnson. The divisions underlying Brexit are deep and complex, and cut across various […]

Brexit behaviourally: which do you think is the bigger figure – £350m a week or £4,300 per household per year?

29 Jul

The Leave campaign’s ‘£350m a week’ figure cut through to voters in the 2016 referendum, while the Treasury’s ‘£4,300 per household per year’ didn’t. Was the relationship between the two figures intuitively self-evident? One is six times bigger than the other. Tessa Buchanan (University College London) looks at some of the behavioural lessons that can be learned from the campaign. Psychologist Daniel […]