Boris Johnson’s speech and the EU’s draft negotiating mandate issued on the same day illustrate both how close the parties are and how far apart. We have certainly come a long way since the dark days of 2019 when then Prime Minister May was seeking frictionless trade from the EU, while trying to tell her ... Continue reading
One of the larger benefits those of a liberal economics bent often ascribe to trade deals is that they provide an excuse for stripping away dumb domestic laws. A classic scenario is something like the following. At some point decades ago a government found it convenient to ally itself with either producers in some sector ... Continue reading
Government and Institutions
What's happened? The EU Commission and UK have agreed a new Protocol for Ireland/Northern Ireland and a new Political Declaration in respect of the future relationship. It is expected that the Council will endorse it at the summit this week, and UK Parliament will vote on it on Saturday. The main body of the Withdrawal ... Continue reading
Yesterday, the European Parliament voted in favour of the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, in one of the final stages before it becomes law. There were protests against the Directive across Europe over the weekend, and campaigners were optimistic that these could be effective in view of upcoming European Parliament elections – ... Continue reading
Government and Institutions
Those who voted for Brexit in the 2016 referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU rightly complained about the centralised political structures in Brussels. The slogan was “take back control”. Even for Remain supporters, like me, that was an understandable slogan given the avalanche of regulation that comes from Brussels that affects our daily lives. ... Continue reading
Trade, Development, and Immigration
Olly Robbins assertion, slightly embarrassingly overheard and reported by a journalist - that the government is planning to give MPs a choice between voting for the Withdrawal Agreement or facing a lengthy extension of Article 50 - has caused controversy today.  His other comments, that the backstop was intended to be a ‘bridge’, (something that ... Continue reading
My biggest beef with the European Union has always been the way it stifles consumer-friendly innovation in the interests of incumbent businesses and organisations. Yesterday’s victory for Sir James Dyson at the European General Court lays bare an especially shocking example. Dyson’s case, which has taken five years in the courts, reveals just how corrupt ... Continue reading
Government and Institutions
In a now-famous essay, “What is Seen and What Is Not Seen”, the great economist Frederic Bastiat warned against judging the value of any activity in a vacuum. Bastiat’s “broken window fallacy” brilliantly exposes a common tendency to focus on the visible, tangible benefits of an action – the “seen” – while neglecting the “unseen” penalties and ... Continue reading
Government and Institutions
I’m still sceptical that the UK’s departure from the EU is a gender issue, despite what high-profile critics like Baroness Kennedy may say. Women might be more vulnerable in some respects, if Brexit is done badly, for example, because they are more likely to have caring responsibilities. Nonetheless, it seems odd to make sweeping statements ... Continue reading
Trade, Development, and Immigration
On Monday, the IEA launched a substantial discussion paper making a set of practical proposals (“Plan A+”) to break the current deadlock in the talks between the UK and the EU. Consistent with our intellectual philosophy and educational purpose, it also made the case for shifting Brexit in a more free-market and outward-looking direction. As ... Continue reading