Archive for July, 2016

Idealism versus pragmatism in politics and policymaking: Labour, Brexit, and evidence-based policymaking

Idealism versus pragmatism in politics and policymaking: Labour, Brexit, and evidence-based policymaking

Paul Cairney aims to highlight some important links between three current concerns: Labour’s leadership contest, the Brexit vote built on emotion over facts, and the insufficient use of evidence in policy. In each case, there is a notional competition between ‘idealism’ and ‘pragmatism’ (as defined in common use, not philosophy); the often-unrealistic pursuit of a long term ideal versus the focus on solving more immediate problems often by compromising ideals and getting your hands dirty. We know what this looks like in party politics, including the compromises that politicians make to win elections and the consequences for their image, but do we know how to make the same compromises when we appeal for a more deliberative referendum or more evidence-informed policymaking?

Could a ‘reverse Greenland’ arrangement keep Scotland and Northern Ireland in the EU?

Could a ‘reverse Greenland’ arrangement keep Scotland and Northern Ireland in the EU?

While no member state has ever left the European Union, Greenland opted to leave the EEC in 1985. Ulrik Pram Gad assesses what lessons the case of Greenland might have for the UK following its decision to leave the EU. He suggests that while the two situations are radically different, Greenland could serve as inspiration for a model in which Scotland, Northern Ireland and Gibraltar could retain membership of the EU while England and Wales pursue their own arrangements.

Can Scotland avoid Brexit? It depends on politics, not law

Can Scotland avoid Brexit? It depends on politics, not law

The UK has voted to leave the European Union (EU), but 62% of Scottish voters, including a majority in every local authority area, backed Remain. This has triggered a debate about what power Scotland has to prevent itself being pulled out of the EU against the wishes of its government, parliament and voters. Akash Paun discusses the options.