POSTS BY Cormac Mac Amhlaigh

The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters

Part of the malaise surrounding our contemporary world is a tendency to view constitutional politics, to borrow Goethe’s metaphor, as architecture rather than music; as fixed and immutable rather than a dynamic phenomenon which requires the ongoing assertion and reassertion of the key values and terms of engagement of our mutual interaction with each other and with authority. Six practical suggestions how to defend our constitutional values.

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Triggering Art. 50 TEU: Interpreting the UK’s ‘own constitutional requirements’

Can the British government initiate the process of leaving the European Union without consulting Parliament? On September 28th the government released its legal position that the only constitutional way to give effect to the Brexit referendum result is through the exercise of the executive power. Some of the government’s arguments appear to be on shaky grounds. The mere fact that the process has been caught up in legal wrangling before it has even begun shows that there is still a long, long road ahead before any sense of stability will return to British (constitutional) politics as well as the relationship between the UK and the EU in whatever form that may eventually take.

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10 (pro-EU) reasons to be cheerful after Brexit

As the dust continues to swirl around the momentous Brexit referendum result a month ago (and doesn’t show any signs of settling anytime soon) I suspect many EU sympathisers will be somewhere in the middle of the various stages of the Kübler-Ross Grief cycle: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. So, somewhat incongruosly, are the ‘leavers’. Whereas there are almost as many emotions being experienced on all sides as there are potential options on what will happen next both in terms of the UK’s future relationship with the EU as well as the future of the EU itself, in this post I want to set out a number of (pro-EU) reasons – some obvious, some optimistic, others wildly speculative – to be cheerful amidst the uncertainty created by the Brexit vote.

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Scotland Can Veto Brexit (sort of …).

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced that she would veto any attempt by a future British government to effect the withdrawal of the UK from the EU following the referendum result. This has raised a flurry of questioning of whether this is actually constitutionally permissible. In this blogpost I will argue why I think it is; that is that the Scottish Parliament does, constitutionally, have the power to use the constitution to attempt to veto an attempt by a British government to take the United Kingdom out of the European Union.

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Greece: a constitutionalist’s two (euro)cents.

Greece is obviously at the forefront of many EU scholars’ minds over the past number of weeks. There has been an avalanche of commentary and analysis on the Greek bailout negotiations both from those with intimate knowledge of the situation and familiarity with Greek politics, the EMU and sovereign debt crises as well speculation from the sidelines from those of us more ignorant of these matters. Therefore as someone whose credibility in the debate (such as it is) is limited to the expertise of the constitutional lawyer with a good familiarity of EU law generally, I have limited my two (euro)cents on the topic to a number of (mostly factual) propositions related to the crisis for what they are worth. Most I think are obvious and (hopefully) few are contentious but I think that they are worth (re)stating in the context of the war of words and recrimination from all sides present in the debate in recent days.

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For a Constitutional Convention for the United Kingdom

If one thing became clear from the referendum, it was the idea that the Westminster Parliamentary system was ‘broken’, so much so that Alex Salmond took to using the ‘Westminster establishment’ as a term of derision in the week before the vote. Yet what we are seeing in the pre-referendum ‘Vow’ as well as Cameron’s post-referendum speech is more of the same; constitutional reform being jealously fought over by the exclusive club of the three main Westminster parties where each party tries to promote or prevent a proposal which will promote or prevent them from getting into power sooner or promote or prevent them from holding onto it for as long as possible. This is precisely what has caused political disengagement and voter disaffection not just in Scotland but right across the United Kingdom.

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