All Brexit is Local

My latest article for the National Interest, which will also appear in the forthcoming print edition of the magazine, looks at the domestic politics of Britain’s relationship with Europe.

TWENTY-FIVE years ago, Sir Geoffrey Howe resigned as deputy prime minister of the United Kingdom in protest of Margaret Thatcher’s staunch anti-Europeanism. Howe’s departure from the frontbenches came just two days after Thatcher’s denunciation in Parliament of plans for a European single currency (“No! No! No!”), a moment that has since become totemic of what Howe condemned in his resignation speech as the prime minister’s alacrity to undermine her own ministers over European issues. Whereas some in Thatcher’s cabinet—not least of all Howe, a former foreign secretary, and Nigel Lawson, then chancellor of the exchequer—preferred that Britain be an active participant in crafting Economic and Monetary Union, the Iron Lady consistently sought to stymie their progress and appeared bent on using British influence to forestall the emergence of European-level institutions of economic governance. An impasse existed at the top of British politics, one that Howe sought to overcome by precipitating an open debate within the Conservative Party over the country’s future in Europe and the wider world….

Read the full article here.

The plight of the Chagos Islanders shows the dark side of the US-UK special relationship

With President Obama in Britain, I wrote a short piece for the LSE’s USAPP blog about the “dark side” of the special relationship:

Like so many presidents and prime ministers before them, Barack Obama and David Cameron are working hard this week to convince observers that the alliance between their two countries is strong.  Members of the British press corps in particular are predictably waiting on tenterhooks for the words “special” and “relationship” to be uttered in succession. But what exactly is the special relationship?  Why are some officials so keen to trumpet its continued existence?  And are there any aspects of it that ought to be ditched?

Traditionally, the concept of the special relationship evokes the image of untypically high levels of cooperation between two sovereign nations.  In particular, close relations are said to exist between Britain and the United States in terms of defence and military affairs, intelligence sharing, and nuclear technology.  This has been so since at least World War II, we are told…

Click here to read the full piece.