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Analysis

Commentary

Democracy the winner after nasty campaign

by Brian Reading in London | Mon 27 Jun 2016

Most voters were motivated by self-interest, what is best for individuals, without being able to see what is best for all, which nobody can. That is democracy. My generation voted 40 years ago, in the 1975 referendum, to stay in a customs union. We were denied a say on the Maastricht and Nice treaties which fundamentally changed the EU’s nature. Politics may be chaotic; that will be inevitable if representatives in the UK and in the EU learn better to represent the people. So democracy is the winner.

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Global shock after UK exit vote

by Desmond Lachman in Washington | Mon 27 Jun 2016

The domestic and global consequences of the UK’s decision to leave the EU are likely to prove on a similar scale to Winston Churchill’s mistaken decision to return Britain to the gold standard at the wrong exchange rate in April 1925, or Margaret Thatcher’s fateful approval for Britain to join the exchange rate mechanism in October 1990. The vote is bound to result in considerable economic uncertainty over several years as the UK negotiates a formal exit and works out terms for its complex trade relations with Europe.

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Now’s the time to reduce divisions

by John Redwood in London | Mon 27 Jun 2016

Ministers need to stress that the public voted to leave the EU, not to leave Europe. Most of us want to see more trade, more investment, more collaboration, more academic exchanges, more tourism and more joint cultural activity. We manage this with the US and Canada, for example, without belonging to a Union with them. We will manage it with the rest of the EU. The sooner uncertainties can be reduced, the better. Now is a time for reassurance and for reducing the divisions that the referendum has inevitably created.

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The future: neither paradise nor perdition

by Meghnad Desai in London | Mon 27 Jun 2016

There were many projections before the UK referendum on the possible economic effects of staying in or leaving the European Union. Now that the political decision has been made, we may reopen the question of the effects, with no need for exaggeration or endless doom-mongering. We can ignore the miracles promised by the Brexiteers or the dire predictions of the Remainers. What counts is forecasting the next 27 months or so when the UK will stay part of the EU.

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Cameron quits, Britain and Europe face convulsion

by David Marsh in London | Fri 24 Jun 2016

Britain and the rest of Europe face political, economic and constitutional convulsion after a narrow vote favouring UK withdrawal from the European Union in yesterday’s referendum. Prime Minister David Cameron’s announcement he will step down in the wake of his defeat opens the Conservative party to months of blood-letting while he attempts to ‘steady the ship’ before quitting office in October.

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The die is cast

by Philip Middleton in London | Thu 23 Jun 2016

The referendum has polarised British politics. It will ultimately lead to a significant realignment of the British political scene, in both personalities and parties. It has helped open a Pandora’s box on the Continent. And it raises existential and urgent political issues for European Union institutions and for national governments. In short, the referendum has changed much, and settled nothing. The die is cast; but we are far from the end of the game.

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Search for scapegoats

by Marsha Vande Berg in San Francisco | Wed 22 Jun 2016

The US election campaign now underway has unveiled a battle for America’s soul. Presumptive Republican candidate Donald Trump preys on fears in America’s rank and file about losing ground to globalisation, international trade agreements and immigrants. Trump has exposed a strain of unhappiness in the American body politic, which he suggests addressing by identifying scapegoats. The question is whether he could win the presidency and then lose at his own game of bringing others arrogantly to their knees.

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Britons’ hard lessons on counterfactual thinking

by Shumpei Takemori in Tokyo | Wed 22 Jun 2016

Barney Frank, the former US congressman famed for his role in promoting post-2009 financial regulation as House of Representatives financial services committee chairman, once commented: ‘I envy academic people. They can talk about counterfactuals. There are no counterfactuals in politics!’ Thursday’s referendum will test the validity of the proposition.

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European map will change again

by Reginald Dale in Washington | Wed 22 Jun 2016

It is ironic so many people favour ‘Brexit’ just when Britain has achieved the most advantageous relationship with its European Union partners since European integration began. For the past 60 years, post-imperial Britain has repeatedly sought its proper place in Europe without finding a role in which it is truly comfortable. The ‘special status’ that David Cameron achieved in his much-maligned ‘renegotiations’ comes closer than ever to fulfilling that long-term goal.

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Oversights of the Brexit brigade

by William Keegan in London | Wed 22 Jun 2016

Gordon Brown is widely credited with making a crucial last-minute intervention when it appeared as though the September 2014 Scottish referendum was going to produce a vote to leave the UK. With opinion polls pointing to a neck-and-neck finish, the former UK prime minister has been brought into the fray again – this time to prevent a British exit from the EU. In 'Britain: Leading, Not Leaving', a wide-ranging history of the UK's relations with the rest of the EU, Brown makes a powerful case for Remain.

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