Some underreported constitutional news to start this week. Parliament recently repealed the Fixed Term Parliaments Act 2011, reviving the sovereign prerogative to dissolve and summon Parliament at its discretion.
Some underreported constitutional news to start this week. Parliament recently repealed the Fixed Term Parliaments Act 2011, reviving the sovereign prerogative to dissolve and summon Parliament at its discretion. These powers are explicitly placed beyond the reach of judicial review.
Of all the problems to be solved, parliamentary mandates were not one of them
Readers will recall that the Fixed Term Parliament Act was one of the main reasons for the 2019 constitutional crisis. Opposition politicians refused to vote for new elections three times, forcing the government to negotiate a disadvantageous withdrawal agreement with the EU before agreeing to dissolve Parliament. The outcome of that deal included the Northern Ireland Protocol, which continues to blight British democracy.
This matters for the UK as a whole. Northern Ireland’s usefulness to Britain tends to increase in times of war. This is the case during the current Ukrainian conflict. The N-LAW and Starstreak missiles, so useful to the Ukrainian side, are manufactured in Belfast by the former Shorts missile division, now owned by French Thales. These made the UK the favorite country in Ukrainian polls.
Keep international LAWS safe
Yet, as we saw this week, Northern Ireland was unable to benefit from the VAT cuts on heating and other bills announced in the Chancellor’s spring statement. As long as Ulster remains in Brussels’ orbit, it will have no say in decisions that affect huge swathes of its economy. As former DUP Deputy Director Nigel Dodds writes in Briefings this week, what good is decentralized governance when the most important decisions are made in Brussels?
Finally, Ukrainian forces continue to resist Russian attacks, counter-attacking in the West. Rather, there are signs that Russia has given up on its attempt to occupy the west of the country and is instead choosing to secure its gains in the south and east. There is also grim news of atrocities committed by his forces, including the deliberate execution of civilians alongside blind victims of artillery barrages.
The British economy is always poised to outperform, by Robert Lee
Heightened inflationary pressures and trade frictions resulting from the war in Ukraine will hit an already sluggish global recovery. The recovery in the UK will also slow, but growth is still expected to outpace that of the US and EU in coming years. Before the war, the British recovery had greater momentum. The UK’s tighter fiscal/monetary policy may bring inflation under control by 2023, while supply-side initiatives to stimulate growth have been intensified. A leading role in the West’s response to the war in Ukraine brings much clarity to the concept of global Britain.
“US fiscal policy is also less supportive of monetary policy than in the UK. The US budget deficit is expected to remain around the 5% level until 2030, while the UK is aiming for a deficit closer to 1% of GDP by 2025. Money growth and inflation rates in the EU during the pandemic are similar to those in the UK, but the ECB will not start raising rates until the end of the year. The ECB still has an asset [quantitative easing] program. As in the United States, no fiscal tightening measures are on the table.
Protocol Must Go, by Nigel Dodds
Lord Dodds, former deputy leader of the DUP, writes that there can be no question of trade unionism getting back to working under a political agreement which has been so flagrantly violated and whose guarantees and safeguards have been so deliberately set aside. The Protocol’s assault on the fundamental principles of democracy is so breathtaking that it is hardly believable in a modern 21st century society. Vast swathes of laws are now being drafted by a foreign institution in their interests, with no final say or vote by anyone elected by the people of Northern Ireland, whether in Stormont or Westminster.
“What good is an Assembly if it cannot legislate vast areas of its own economy, but must accept laws made by others?
There can be no question of trade unionism once again functioning within the framework of a political settlement which has been so flagrantly violated and whose guarantees and safeguards have been so deliberately set aside.
Are UK exports falling due to Brexit?
Titles can be misleading.
Readers may have seen a recent remark by Chancellor Rishi Sunak ‘admitting’ Brexit was behind a recent decline in UK exports. Remainer supporters were quick to seize on the comment, with the Financial Times saying ‘his comments were a rare acknowledgment from the Chancellor that his own policy choice in 2016 was contributing to Britain’s economic woes’.
The key problem with this narrative is that UK exports to the EU have held up better than those to the rest of the world. Choosing Brexit as the cause of this change is counter-intuitive, when one would expect EU exports to fall further. Indeed, they did so briefly in January 2021 after the trade and cooperation agreement was signed, before bouncing back to normal levels.
There are broader issues with the data relied upon. It is certainly true that, by some measures, UK exports have not recovered from the Covid-related shocks as quickly as those of the comparators. However, on a measure of export value, the UK’s performance was in line with the rest of the world.
The data also shows significant volatility, with some of the post-Brexit lows aligning better with further lockdowns than with Brexit-related events. It’s hard to explain why this should differ from continental data, but it reinforces that linking the changes to Brexit is harder than some commentators would like to believe.
Russia’s Useful Idiots
EU cheerleaders say Putin is more afraid of France and Germany than Britain
Former New Labor spin doctor Alistair Campbell recently expressed the creative, if bewildering, view that Britain will eventually help Putin, and that the Russian dictator really fears France and Germany. The sentiment is laughable – the idea that Russia is ok with the UK sending anti-tank weapons, armed vehicles and heavy artillery to Ukraine as a form of covert bilateral cooperation with Moscow goes wrong. looks like a paranoid conspiracy.
Yet Campbell is only one extreme manifestation of a larger phenomenon. Pro-European voices in the UK are often unsure how to respond to UK successes. As with the vaccine supply, their responses mix pro-EU encouragement (“the EU does a great job if you squint hard enough”), arguments that Britain could have done the same in the EU (although it’s unlikely she would have chosen to, as with vaccines) and outright denial of what the UK has actually achieved.
If Putin is so afraid of the EU, why does he see Ukraine joining the bloc as a potential negotiating point? Why Ukrainians The politicians and the people so publicly pro-British? Although the EU has a mutual defense clause, it is clear that Putin sees it as powerless while major players like France and Germany have always been more interested in compromising Russian interests than defending Russia’s interests. freedom and democracy on the eastern border of the EU.
These nations themselves have been consistently more pro-Russian than the UK, even recently. Just this week, the German foreign ministry had to defend itself against accusations that it was pushing Ukraine to back out of peace talks too much. And while France’s military intelligence chief steps down for failing to predict Russia’s attack, who can forget that it was President Macron himself who claimed to have obtained assurances from Putin that he would not would not attack Ukraine.
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How you can help
Much about Britain’s relationship with Europe remains to be determined. Our MPs listen to their constituents. Keep sending them links to our stories, especially on topics relevant to your constituency – for example, in rural areas, stories about the threat to UK agriculture. You can also make an appointment to speak with them at their next surgery. Let them know what you want Britain after Brexit to look like.
As Boris Johnson said in his post-election speech, now is also the time for unity and reconciliation. Keep reading our articles and share links to our great content to help others understand how leaving the EU benefits the UK economy and our own democratic governance. Our aim is to educate our critics to think differently and more positively about the long-term impact of Brexit.
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A Cambridge PhD student
Dr Graham Gudgin
Economist, Center for Business Research, Judge Business School University of Cambridge
Professor Robert Tombs
Emeritus Professor of French History, University of Cambridge