Tag: Sean Swan

Northern Ireland and the Withdrawal Agreement

Northern Ireland and the Withdrawal Agreement

Boris Johnson’s proposed withdrawal agreement with the EU, which Parliament votes on today, establishes different customs arrangements for Northern Ireland than for Great Britain, to avoid a hard border with the Republic of Ireland. Sean Swan explains how having differential arrangements for Northern Ireland and Great Britain is not novel, and is a reflection of long-existing realities in Northern Ireland’s governance. For them to have democratic legitimacy, though, the Northern Ireland Assembly needs to be reconvened.

Conservative Brexiteers are offering unserious answers to serious questions in Northern Ireland: the consequences for the Union are significant

Conservative Brexiteers are offering unserious answers to serious questions in Northern Ireland: the consequences for the Union are significant

Proposals from backbench Brexiteer MPs as to how to resolve the border question in Northern Ireland fail to address the problem of maintaining a common set of standards with Ireland post-Brexit. Sean Swan argues that, given public opinion in England, a customs border in the Irish Sea, with divergence between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, is a likely outcome.

The limitations of opinion polls – and why this matters for political decision making

The limitations of opinion polls – and why this matters for political decision making

Recent research by Jennings and Wlezien has demonstrated that political polling has remained as accurate as ever in terms of margin of error in the week prior to an election. However, polls are usually publicly judged on whether they call the result correctly. In this, writes Sean Swan, they have been less accurate over recent UK elections. This has particular consequences for how and when political leaders make decisions about discretionary elections, and so it matters that we understand polls and their limitations correctly.

The ultimate test for anti-Brexit MPs: will they resign their seats?

The ultimate test for anti-Brexit MPs: will they resign their seats?

MPs who feel strongly enough about a particular issue – whether Heathrow expansion, the Anglo-Irish Agreement or increasing pre-trial detention – have sometimes resigned their seats and stood again as independents or for another party. Will anti-Brexit MPs adopt this strategy? Sean Swan says it is fraught with risks, but resigning en masse would be the […]

Theresa May replaces David Cameron – but will there be an early General Election?

Theresa May replaces David Cameron – but will there be an early General Election?

Theresa May will today become the Prime Minister, following the decision of Andrea Leadsom to abandon her campaign. Here, Sean Swan looks at the possibility that this change of leadership could bring an early general election, and argues that it is unlikely to benefit the main parties and is thus unlikely to happen.  Similar PostsDesperate times […]

The constitutional settlement of the UK has been thrown into flux – an overarching polity is urgently needed

The constitutional settlement of the UK has been thrown into flux – an overarching polity is urgently needed

The Brexit result has revealed the weaknesses of the liberal outlook and highlighted the endurance of identity politics, a pattern that has been seen across the globe in recent years. But Sean Swan writes that while global issues are important, we need to focus on the local and recognise the UK state is no longer […]

Desperate times and desperate measures: Could the UK force the EU to negotiate before Article 50 is triggered?

Desperate times and desperate measures: Could the UK force the EU to negotiate before Article 50 is triggered?

Many on the British side have suggested initial deals should be hammered out before the Article 50 process begins. However, France and Germany are set against early negotiations and now appear to welcome Brexit as an opportunity to pursue greater EU integration. Sean Swan argues that, with strong and coherent leadership, Britain could potentially use […]

Jean-Claude Juncker is wrong and dangerously out of touch to demand an immediate Brexit

Jean-Claude Juncker is wrong and dangerously out of touch to demand an immediate Brexit

The EU referendum has turned UK politics on its head, with one and possibly two party leaders being sacrificed, a new Prime Minister in the pipeline, Scotland’s leader seeking a second independence referendum, and even the question of Irish reunification back on the agenda. The President of the European Commission, Jean Claude Juncker has suggested […]

Dark Days for the Tories: The implications of the EU referendum for domestic party politics

Dark Days for the Tories: The implications of the EU referendum for domestic party politics

The referendum debate has revealed deep fissures in the Conservative Party. Sean Swan considers the different scenarios that might follow the vote, and writes that – in or out – it does not seem likely that the losing side will simply accept the referendum result as the end of the matter. Similar PostsDesperate times and […]

Scotland will continue to be a psephologist’s delight for the foreseeable future

Scotland will continue to be a psephologist’s delight for the foreseeable future

The Scottish Parliament election is next month, with the SNP looking set to increase their majority in the Holyrood Parliament, with Labour and the Liberal Democrats looking likely to suffer further losses following 2014’s independence referendum. Here, Sean Swan looks over the forthcoming contest, reflecting that Scotland will continue to delight psephologists owing to its […]