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COMMENTS 

Britain has lost a role, and failed to find an empire

Benjamin Martill argues Theresa May's long-awaited Brexit speech must be understood as an aspiration, rather than a roadmap, since its realisation requires the consent of other parties and the removal of important contradictions.
17 January 2017
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Starts: Jan 17, 2017 12:00:00 AM

The aftermath of Berlin: what implications for German politics?

Uta Staiger, Executive Director of the European Institute, comments on the German political and media responses after the Christmas market attacks, in a piece originally published by the New Statesman.
20 December 2016
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Starts: Dec 20, 2016 12:00:00 AM

What will Brexit mean for London's digital entrepreneurs?

Oliver Patel, Research Assistant at the European Institute, offers three reasons why the Brexit vote is worrying for London's tech community.
Oliver Patel (UCL European Institute)
19 December 2016
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Starts: Dec 19, 2016 12:00:00 AM

What Place for the Referendum in the UK?

Publication date: Feb 05, 2013 10:10 AM

Start: Feb 21, 2013 05:00 PM
End: Feb 21, 2013 09:00 PM

21 February 2013

When:
21 February 2013, 5.00pm

Where:
Archaeology G6 LT
31-34 Gordon Square,
London WC1H 0PY

This event is free, no registration required

SPP-Rubin

The referendum is an instrument of popular sovereignty, an institutional expression of the doctrine that political sovereignty derives from the people. In Britain, it has been used on a small range of issues, primarily to secure legitimacy. Some matters, especially those which involve a transfer of sovereignty, are so fundamental that the public may not accept a decision made by parliament alone as legitimate. One difficulty with the referendum is that the question is decided by the politicians, not by the voters. The question the voters wish to answer may not be on the ballot paper. In 2011, survey evidence indicated that the favoured option for most electoral reformers was proportional representation, not the alternative vote. Yet that option was not on the ballot paper. In Scotland, survey evidence indicates that further devolution is the favoured option rather than the status quo or independence. Yet that option is not to be on the ballot paper. On Europe. David Cameron proposes a referendum on renegotiated terms of membership, but survey evidence indicates that people favour an in/out referendum.

Vernon Bogdanor CBE is Professor of Government at the Institute of Contemporary History, King’s College, London. He was formerly for many years Professor of Government at Oxford University. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, Honorary Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Legal Studies, and a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences. He has been an adviser to a number of governments, including those of Albania, Czech Republic, Hungary, Kosovo, Israel, Mauritius and Slovakia.

This event is part of the School of Public Policy Seminar Series