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  • European Spring: Why Our Economies and Politics are in a Mess – and How to Put Them Right

    Britain and the rest of Europe are in a mess. Our economies are failing to deliver higher living standards for most people – and many have lost faith in politicians’ ability to deliver a brighter future, with support for parties like UKIP soaring. Are stagnation, decline and disillusionment inevitable?

  • Aftershock: Reshaping the World Economy After the Crisis — out now

    The financial crisis brought the world to the brink of economic breakdown. But now bankers’ bonuses are back, house prices are rising again and politicians promise recovery – all this while unemployment remains high, debts mount, frictions with China grow and the planet overheats.
    Is this really sustainable – or do we need to change course?

    Aftershock
  • Immigrants: Your Country Needs Them

    Immigration divides our globalising world like no other issue. We are being swamped by bogus asylum-seekers and infiltrated by terrorists, our jobs stolen, our benefit system abused, our way of life destroyed – or so we are told. Why are ever-rising numbers of people from poor countries arriving in Europe, North America and Australasia? Can we keep them out? Should we even be trying?

    Immigrants: Your Country Needs Them

Our open societies are under attack from the likes of Donald Trump, Nigel Farage and Viktor Orban, who want to pull up the drawbridge, stamp on difference and try to turn the clock to an idealised past. That’s why I’ve founded Open Political Economy Network (OPEN), a campaigning international think-tank, to defend and advance open liberal societies. We believe in being open to the world, open to everyone in society and open to the future and all its possibilities for progress.  We’ve already done groundbreaking work on why welcoming refugees is a humanitarian investment that yields economic dividends, how to get refugees into work quickly and how to open up Europe’s digital single market. We regularly publish insight on immigration, trade, Brexit and much else.

Check out OPEN’s website. Join us. Follow OPEN on Twitter at @open2progress, join our Facebook group, and watch our fundraising video on Indiegogo’s Generosity.com at https://igg.me/at/SndP2xCxg1k  All the money raised will help to pay for a campaigns, social media and events organiser to publicise this study and OPEN’s future work. Thanks!

Posted 20 May 2016 in Blog, Immigration, OPEN, Refugees

Listen to the podcast of LSE European Institute event with Sara Hobolt, John Rentoul and me. My initial remarks start after 26:30 minutes

Posted 23 Nov 2017 in Blog, Brexit, LSE

My latest column for Project Syndicate.

Posted 22 Nov 2017 in Blog, Europe, Germany, Project Syndicate

Read my piece for Open Democracy

Posted 28 Oct 2017 in Blog, Immigration, Open Democracy

My latest column for Brussels Times

Posted 21 Oct 2017 in Blog, Brussels Times, Catalonia, Europe, separatism

Here and here.

Posted 17 Oct 2017 in Blog, Brexit

My latest for Foreign Policy

Posted 27 Sep 2017 in Blog, Brexit, Foreign Policy

My take on Theresa May’s Florence speech and the new round of negotiations that started today for CapX

Posted 25 Sep 2017 in Blog, Brexit, CapX

At the University of Amsterdam’s Room for Discussion on 21 September

Posted 21 Sep 2017 in Blog, euro, Greece

Read my piece for Refugees Deeply and check out my report for the Tent Foundation and OPEN.

Posted 20 Sep 2017 in Blog, OPEN, Refugees, Refugees Deeply

that would involve staying in the single market and customs union for a few years after Brexit. My latest for CapX

Posted 05 Sep 2017 in Blog, Brexit, CapX

The Brexit negotiations are at an impasse, notably over money. Some hotheads are suggesting that the UK should try to force the EU to back down by threatening a chaotic no-deal Brexit. But while a credible plan B would indeed strengthen the UK’s negotiating hand, a no-deal Brexit is no such thing. My latest for CapX

Posted 05 Sep 2017 in Blog, Brexit, CapX

I was interviewed by Project Syndicate for their podcast series

Posted 04 Sep 2017 in Blog, Brexit, Project Syndicate

My wrap-up piece for Project Syndicate

Posted 01 Aug 2017 in Blog, euro, Europe, Project Syndicate

President Macron’s election has created new hope that the eurozone can be fixed. But the optimism is exaggerated, and things might even end up worse off. My column for Brussels Times set out how to actually fix the eurozone.

Posted 12 Jul 2017 in Blog, Brussels Times, euro

My column for CapX

Posted 12 Jul 2017 in Blog, Brexit, CapX, Europe, Japan, Trade

My letter to the FT

Posted 12 Jul 2017 in Blog, euro, Germany

I was interviewed about immigration, refugees and Portugal’s economic situation by Rádio Renascença at the Estoril Conference. Also watch the video clip

Posted 03 Jul 2017 in Blog, Portugal, Radio Renascenca

My latest column for Foreign Policy

Posted 13 Jun 2017 in Blog, Brexit, Foreign Policy

I posted the following thread on Twitter earlier.

While some voted Labour cos they wanted Corbyn to win, many did so cos they thought he couldn’t. Doubt he cd win election except by accident

2. Clearly, some in UK r hard left. Many r fed up with austerity. Corbyn mobilised students & some who feel left behind. But..

3. Many also voted Labour cos moderate Labour MPs reassured them Corbyn couldn’t win. Others wanted to deny Theresa May a landslide…

4. In Kensington & elsewhere, rich Remainers who r hardly socialist felt safe to reject May’s hard Brexit. Cosmopolitans rejected nativism.

5. & many other reasons. Many voters would behave differently if they expected Corbyn as PM rather than May (or her successor). Ends

Apart from insults and trolling, the main response was “what is your evidence for this?”. It’s my analysis, and like any analysis it may be partly or wholly wrong, but let me amplify a bit and add some evidence to substantiate it.

It’s clear that very few people expected Labour to win the election – only 12% did, according to a Survation poll just before the election – and Labour indeed didn’t win. That was the frame in which people decided to vote Labour: while some genuinely wanted Corbyn to be PM, those who didn’t want him as PM still felt safe to vote Labour for all sorts of reasons, local (eg they liked their moderate Labour MP), tactical (eg they wanted to deny the Conservatives a big majority), protest (eg they opposed May’s Brexit at any costs) or otherwise. Anyone who thinks that Kensington, one of the wealthiest constituencies in the country, has suddenly gone socialist is certifiable.

Many Labour MPs and canvassers reported negative feelings towards Corbyn on the doorstep and explicitly tried to reassure voters that it was safe to vote for them because Corbyn couldn’t win. Some went as far as writing to their constituents to that effect. See, for instance, this reporting piece in the Guardian (which backed a vote for Labour).

Many people were put off by the choice between a hard-Brexit Conservative Party and a hard-left Labour Party, while the Lib Dems are still discredited by their time in coalition. YouGov’s focus-group findings are particularly telling:

Participants believed that both of the two main parties have entrenched political stances that are further to the right and left than in previous years, and there are perceived to be few options in the middle for those who see themselves as politically centrist. For these participants, the choice for whom to vote is unclear, as they feel ideologically separated from both Labour and the Conservatives. Related to this, many participants were considering tactical voting. Some had a stronger sense of the party they did not want to be in power than the one that they did. Related to a need for more choice, there was both a strong appetite and expectation for a new centrist party to emerge after the election, with France’s En Marche party an example of how this could be successfully achieved.

 

While Corbyn clearly appealed to some voters who might otherwise not have voted Labour, notably students, there is ample evidence that he was net negative for Labour. YouGov, whose model predicted seemingly unlikely results such as Labour winning Canterbury, found that only 34% of voters thought Corbyn was competent and 31% strong (although 49% found him honest and 46% likeable). Survation – whose final poll had the Conservatives on 42% and Labour on 40%, almost the same as the actual result – found only 81% of those intending to vote Labour thought Corbyn would make the best PM.

Now, of course, nobody can know for sure how a future election might pan out. But a coalition of convenience around Corbyn on the basis that he couldn’t win is unlikely to translate into an actual parliamentary majority in an election where voters think he could win. Indeed, so squeezed is the vote for the smaller parties that even if Corbyn could somehow hang on to that disparate coalition of convenience, the only way he can get a majority is by winning votes off the Tories. Good luck with that.

UPDATE on 12/6

A new poll for Survation after the election puts Labour ahead of the Conservatives by 45% to 39%. Does this contradict my thesis? No. What people say in a poll immediately after an election when nothing is at stake tells you very little about how they will vote in a future election when there is a lot at stake for them. For instance, in June 1979, just after Margaret Thatcher won the election, polls put Labour ahead. The test of my thesis is the next election.

Posted 10 Jun 2017 in Blog, Britain, Politics

My latest column for CapX

Posted 06 Jun 2017 in Blog, CapX, Globalisation