Friday, January 12, 2018

Citizenship test might be available in Cornish and not Scots Gaelic or Welsh -- but why?

The government revealed they might allow individuals to sit the UK’s citizenship test in Cornish. This was announced in response to a question by Baroness Smith of Basildon, a Labour Peer and Shadow Leader of the House of Lords. The move is all the more surprising because it appears the government’s decision to consider a test in Cornish came after Smith’s question — suggesting this was not a change being planned previously.

In 2014, the Tory-led coalition government granted protected minority status for the Cornish. Its effect is that the government and public bodies are required to consider the equality of the Cornish in decision-making alongside previously recognised protected groups: the Scots, Welsh and Irish. Few commentators believed this announcement carried much significance beyond its symbolism at the time.

The exception was me. An immigration law expert, I recognised that this change granting the Cornish protected equal treatment with the Scots, Welsh and Irish would mandate significant changes to the Life in the UK citizenship test which carries virtually no mention of Cornish history or culture. It does require test applicants to know the patron saints, flags, national foods and more for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. No revisions have yet been made to the test since its current third edition was published in 2013 — the year prior to this change.

Replying to Smith’s parliamentary question, Baroness Williams of Trafford said Theresa May’s government “will consider whether it would be appropriate to make the test available in Cornish as part of the protected minority status”. Williams is Minister of State for the Home Office and a Tory Peer.

The government’s response is hugely surprising. Since the test was first launched, it could be taken in English, Scots Gaelic or Welsh. My research was the first to reveal that the test was sat only once in Scots Gaelic and never in Welsh. The coalition government ended all non-English citizenship tests since October 2013 — which did not raise objections in Parliament by either Plaid Cymru or SNP.

Why is the government considering launching the UK citizenship test in Cornish — when it only recently stopped producing it in Scots Gaelic or Welsh?

The only explanation appears to be that the government does not fully grasp the implications for granting the Cornish protected minority status. This does not in fact require producing the test in Cornish since it is not produced in Scots Gaelic or Welsh — and so the Cornish would not lack equality with the Scots or Welsh. But what it does mandate is information about the Cornish flag, patron saint, history and more are included in the citizenship test or the government risks continuing to breach their protected minority status. Not even Cornish pasties get a mention. This must change.

I would not be surprised if the government was not challenged on this point shortly. After several years of inaction, time is running out and they may be forced to make a change if an appeal is made.

Otherwise, the government is at risk of creating an unnecessary anomaly launching tests in the smallest British language while ending it for more popular alternatives. The Scottish and Welsh nationalists didn’t protest when the change to English-only citizenship tests was introduced. I expect this will change should the test be in Cornish but their regional languages.

In short, this is yet another problem of the government’s own making. It need not have changed how tests are produced, declared a new protected status or make what appears to be an error in responding to Smith’s parliamentary question. But they have and such shambolic handling of nationality rules shows their lack of attention to detail on citizenship and immigration issues more generally symbolising a lack of seriousness about one of the public’s biggest concerns.

Friday, January 05, 2018

PRESS RELEASE: Citizenship test might be available in Cornish but not Scots Gaelic or Welsh, says government


Citizenship test might be available in Cornish but not Scots Gaelic or Welsh, says government

For immediate release – Friday, 5 January 2018

-With picture-

*TV and radio broadcast facilities available*

The government revealed they might allow individuals to sit the UK’s citizenship test in Cornish. This was announced in response to a question by Baroness Smith of Basildon, a Labour Peer and Shadow Leader of the House of Lords.

In 2014, the Tory-led coalition government granted protected minority status for the Cornish. An immigration law expert, Professor Thom Brooks at Durham University, said at the time this change required significant revisions to the Life in the UK citizenship test because the Cornish were to have equal treatment with other protected groups like Scots, Welsh and Irish. Yet no changes have been made to the citizenship test since its current third edition was published in 2013.

Replying to Smith’s parliamentary question, Baroness Williams of Trafford said Theresa May’s government “will consider whether it would be appropriate to make the test available in Cornish as part of the protected minority status”. Williams is Minister of State for the Home Office and a Tory Peer.

The government’s response has caught many by surprise. Professor Brooks said: “It’s remarkable to discover the government is considering the production of citizenship tests in Cornish not long after they stopped making tests in Scots Gaelic or Welsh. Either they don’t understand what their granting Cornish protected status requires or they risk creating an unnecessary anomaly launching tests in the smallest British language while ending it for more popular alternatives.”

Originally launched in 2005, the Life in the UK citizenship test was available in English, Scots Gaelic and Welsh until October 2013. It is now only produced in English. There were no objections raised in Parliament to this change by Plaid Cymru or the SNP. According to research by Brooks, only one non-English test was sat in Scots Gaelic and none in Welsh.

Brooks said: “Protected status is not about putting the test into more languages, but adding more balance. Cornish culture and history are virtually absent from the test – not even Cornish pasties are mentioned. If they are to have the equality afforded to them, the test must change to reflect this move. Government has dragged its feet for too long and their response is shambolic”.

ENDS

Contact me at this address 

 

My submission to the Boundary Commission - Sedgefield

I'm going public with my individual response to the Boundary Commission consultation regarding proposed changes to the Sedgefield constituency submitted in a private capacity:

I submit two objections to the current proposals under consideration:

First, there appears no clear rationale for changing the name of the constituency from "Sedgefield" to "Billingham and Sedgefield". The Labour Party's official response was correct to argue that name changes should only be made when necessary.

Secondly, there appears no clear rationale for adding Billingham to the constituency. Under the current proposals, "Billingham and Sedgefield" will have more people (78,205) than any of the surrounding constituencies - see Hartlepool 77,215; Redcar and Cleveland 72,951; Middlesbrough and Eston 76,979; Stockton and Yarm 75,818; Darlington 74,929; City of Durham and Easington 77,002 and Bishop Auckland 71,135.

Retaining Billingham creates an extended boot-shaped area that looks - and feels - gerrymandered. Removing it would decrease voter size of constituency, but would keep Sedgefield above minimum. Either "Stockton and Yarm" (first preference) or "Middlesbrough and Eston" (second preference) would make a better fit.

Wynyard Village is on a peninsula part of Hartlepool which at least looks artificial. It would work better to put this within Sedgefield -- and for Sedgefield to keep the Trimdons north of Fishburn. This would unify Wynyard and Wynyard Village in the same constituency without dividing them (and dividing the community) as the current proposals support. Plus, Fishburn and the Trimdons (Grange, Colliery, Village) have historic ties with Sedgefield. Not only are they together now in the constituency, but major home construction in the area brings these areas together providing a form of communal coherence that these proposals disrupt. This should be avoided.

Adding some local villages that have strong communal ties while separating off Billingham (not in the constituency now anyway) would leave "Sedgefield" a geographically wide constituency, but provide greater communal coherence, produce a less radical redrawing of a well known constituency map avoiding artificial gerrymandered-looking boundaries and it could avoid separating the Wynyards or dividing the Trimdons.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Hegel's Political Philosophy book reviewed in NDPR

I'm thrilled to see this very positive review of my latest book on Hegel's political philosophy -- read it HERE.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Brexit update

My thoughts on the Brexit latest:

Theresa May will be putting on a brave face today before a Liaison Committee of MPs. Her only “success” is that talks have moved onto new areas like trade, but without clarifying areas around the Irish border or divorce bill beyond government “intentions” that some in the EU, like Ireland, are still seeking confirmation about. This effectively opens a battle on multiple fronts where the PM hasn’t been winning the argument and rather conceding point by point to the EU’s demands.
 

It’s difficult to believe that nearly a year after triggering Article 50, May’s senior Cabinet members have only discussed what they want from Brexit for the first time this week. Any other negotiator would have been clear not only on red lines, but the end goal – but not this British government as it marches swiftly to March 2019 with little more in mind than having its cake but without having to pay the EU membership fee to eat it. If May thinks now has been a difficult time, I predict it will get much, much worse quickly as the next EU leaders’ summit is not until March and this would leave one year to both hammer out a final deal and get the EU to agree – if they will agree – to a deal (originally timetabled to take minimum 8 months). Time really is running out. Don’t rule out a panic in Whitehall this spring.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

160 of 195 countries not too shabby

I rarely post updates on Academia.edu. I suppose that I should do so more often. Today, I received a lovely little message for a Tuesday morning -- only 35 more countries to go!

Monday, November 20, 2017

PRESS RELEASE: Chancellor under pressure to make immigration system “self-sustainable” in Brexit budget

For immediate release – Monday, 20 November 2017
-With picture-
*TV and radio broadcast facilities available*


Phillip Hammond is under new pressure to make Britain’s immigration system self-funded from its application fees and use additional surpluses for Brexit preparations. Immigration-related income raises over £2bn each year. The Home Office’s annual report of accounts for 2016-17 showed that at least £106m was spent on a consolidated fund on non-immigration matters.

The Home Office’s annual surplus earned from from border, immigration and citizenship services in 2014-15 was over £468m. This was large enough to cover an overall deficit of £266m leaving an overall surplus of more than £200m.

Immigration expert Professor Thom Brooks, Dean of Durham Law School, has called on Hammond to make a new pledge in Wednesday’s budget: “Border security and immigration are top concerns for the public. Brexit will impose new costs on the immigration system whatever the final deal as changes are made with Britain leaving the European Union. All revenue earned by the immigration system should be kept for the immigration system making it self-sustainable at a critical time.”

Professor Brooks says: “migrants are not a cash cow to be milked funding other government projects when we know there is much work to be done preparing for Brexit and new border security infrastructure, but also improving integration through new additional provision for English language support.”

Brooks is concerned that if no fundamental change is made in the budget then the government will be forced to look for new funding streams that may fall on general taxpayers. “The funding is already there in the system,” says Brooks, “The question is whether there is enough political will to act now before it is too late.”

ENDS

For interviews, please contact Durham University Marketing and Communications Office on +44 (0)191 334 6075; media.relations@durham.ac.uk

*TV and radio broadcast facilities available*

You can book the Globelynx fixed camera and circuit direct by logging into www.globelynx.com. The IFB number is +44 (0)191 384 2019.

If you have not booked a Globelynx feed before please call +44 (0)20 7963 7060 for assistance.
A broadcast quality ISDN radio line is also available at Durham University and bookings can be arranged via the Media Relations Team on the contact details above. The ISDN number is +44 (0)191 386 2749.

END OF MEDIA RELEASE

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Thom Brooks - statement on EU Withdrawal Bill in Parliament

"It’s increasingly likely that any vote in Parliament will come in the final days – maybe final hours – before the March 2019 exit.

Instead of taking back control, Theresa May’s government is playing its own version of ‘deal or no deal’ giving MPs little choice over what Britain’s deal might be for a generation and little time to see any details to know what they are getting us all into.

The main issue a virtual civil war between different factions in the Tory Party rather than working with public in public interest, as if the public’s intentions for Brexit are clear or obvious from almost one year ago with no reason to work with the public instead of refusing to hear their aims, aspirations for the future and more.

I’ve never seen such breath-taking irresponsibility about a matter of such significance in my lifetime."

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Is eating meat ethical? -- new article by Thom Brooks

 
Eating meat can be ethical, but only when it does not violate rights. This requires that the ways in which meat is produced and prepared for human consumption satisfies certain standards. While many current practices may fall short of this standard, this does not justify the position that eating meat cannot be ethical under any circumstances and there should be no principled objection to its possibility.

Published today in Volume 16, Issue 47 Autumn 2017 , pp. 9-13 issue of Think published by Cambridge University Press

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Universities minister urged to withdraw letter threatening academic freedom


Last week a letter sent to universities by a junior government whip was greeted by alarm by many academics for threatening academic freedom. The letter from Tory MP Chris Heaton-Harris was addressed to vice-chancellors and only exposed when the head of the University of Worcester made a copy public.

Universities were asked to produce lists of what teaching in European affairs relating to Brexit took place, the names of individual staff members teaching on EU matters and for links to lecture recordings. Heaton-Harris sent the request using House of Commons letterhead and only a few weeks before his colleague universities minister Jo Johnson MP later called for more free speech on campuses.

Heaton-Harris’s letter was variously described as ‘McCarthyite’ and ‘sinister’ and called ‘dog whistle politics at its worst’ by Professor Thom Brooks, the Dean of Durham Law School. Heaton-Harris supported Brexit. It was later rebuked by 10 Downing Street.

Today, Professor Brooks will submit a petition to the universities minister calling on him to write to all vice-chancellors contacted by Heaton-Harris and confirm in writing that none are required to release the information requested. The petition reads: ‘In so doing, he would reaffirm his government’s commitment to academic freedom, debate and the high quality of teaching standards at our country’s higher education institutions’. Over two thousand academics and supporters have signed the petition on Change.org.

Brooks says, ‘While neither the Prime Minister nor her minister appear to support Heaton-Harris’s request, both have not made clear to universities they can disregard the letter if they wish. We have the highest standards set for teaching quality and these should not be cast aside in pursuit of a political agenda’.

ENDS

Thursday, October 26, 2017

SIGN & SHARE -- Stand up for Universities teaching freely on Brexit (petition)

I've just launched THIS PETITION:

People being free to share thoughts and ideas on issues within society is one of the beauties of democracy. This week we learned that Conservative MP Chris Heaton-Harris wrote to university vice-chancellors requesting information about teaching on European affairs relating to Brexit, the name of individual staff teaching this subject, all materials used and links to classroom discussions.

As a professor of law and government & Dean of my law school at Durham, I am appalled at to see this, and know it could intimidate academics - making them feel like the government is monitoring them. No vice-chancellor should be forced to act on this request and that's why I'm calling on the universities minister Jo Johnson to make this clear through a statements.

Only a few vice chancellors have gone public. And thanks to them, this has been exposed. The letter has caused some parts of the press to call of information on "anti-Brexit" bias
Heaton-Harris is a junior government whip and it is claimed that he was researching for a book. He should not be using his political position, or the House of Commons letterhead in this way.

A clear statement from the universities minister, Jo Johnson, is required to bring this unfortunate matter to an end.

We, the undersigned, call on Jo Johnson, to contact every university vice-chancellor receiving the letter from Chris Heaton-Harris MP in writing to confirm that no university is required to release the information Heaton-Harris requested.

In so doing, he would reaffirm his government's commitment to academic freedom, debate, and the high quality of teaching standards at our country's higher education institutions. We are global leaders that should be championed not enemies to be silenced.
 
This petition will be delivered to:
  • Jo Johnson, Universities Minister

YOU CAN SIGN THE PETITION HERE

Friday, October 20, 2017

CFP: Race and Public Policy


Public Affairs Quarterly will publish a special issue devoted to the topic "Race and Public Policy."

Possible topics include, but are not limited to: affirmative action, racial profiling, the Black Lives Matter movement, hate speech, hate crimes, reparations for slavery and other historical injustices, implicit bias, race and health, race and medicine, race and technology, race and the criminal justice system, race and the environment, race and education, race and sports, race and ethnicity, race and immigration, race and identity, and race and inequality.

Submissions on any philosophical topic concerning race and public policy will be considered.   Submissions should be in Microsoft Word format and should be double-spaced and prepared for blind review. The journal prefers manuscripts of 6,000-9,000 words in length but articles outside these limits may still be considered.  Articles intended for consideration for inclusion in this issue should be submitted by December 31, 2018 via the journal’s online submission process at http://ojs.press.illinois.edu/index.php/paq/. The deadline is far out (December 2018), so that people who are not currently working on a relevant topic still have time to produce a submission.

Questions about potential submissions should be directed to the Editor, David Boonin, at david.boonin@colorado.edu.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Join me - and come work at Durham University's Law School!

Durham Law School is one of the UK's best law schools at England's third oldest university. We're at all-time highs in every category from 3rd g.p.a. in REF, 40th in QS World Rankings, 93% satisfaction in the National Student Survey and more.

Our graduates are in Parliament, in Government, two sit on the UK Supreme Court (the best outside Oxbridge) and leaders in UK firms and chambers. We're hiring NINE advertised positions linked below across wide areas of law. We even have a snazzy video.



Associate Professor in Public Law and Human Rights (Grade 9)
Durham Law School

Durham University

Associate Professor in Commercial and Corporate Law (Grade 9)
Durham Law School
Durham University

Assistant Professor in Legal Theory (Grade 8)
Durham Law School
Durham University

Assistant Professor in Chinese Law
Durham Law School
Durham University

Assistant Professor in Criminal Law
Durham Law School
Durham University

Assistant Professor in Commercial and Corporate Law
Durham Law School
Durham University

Assistant Professor in Public Law and Human Rights
Durham Law School
Durham University

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Thom Brooks statement on government's latest Brexit plans


* Over a year since Britain's shock vote for Brexit and the very latest thinking from government is we should effectively keep inside the EU's Customs Union for tariff free trade with the EU, but without being a EU member or following its rules. If this wishful thinking is the best Theresa May can do, her leadership is neither strong, stable or smart.
* While David Davis argues that the EU should agree these terms to avoid unnecessary and avoidable tariffs and restrictions at borders, he is quick to forget that it was the UK that unnecessarily and avoidably decided to leave.
* If Britain really does want to leave the EU club, then it should accept costs will rise as a non-member and restrictions will become more burdensome. If this seems unnecessary and a step backward, then all the more reason to fundamentally rethink why leave the EU when there is much more the Brexiteers want to keep than lose.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Durham graduate Lady Justice Black to join UK Supreme Court


Lady Justice Black has been appointed to the UK Supreme Court from October. She becomes only the second woman to serve on the UK’s top bench.
 
A Durham Law School graduate, Black was a student at Durham’s Trevelyan College and regularly returns to her alma mater to meet with students interested in pursuing legal careers. She is the second Durham Law graduate on the Supreme Court joining fellow alumni Lord Hughes, who was a student at Van Mildert College, Durham.
 
Professor Thom Brooks, the Dean of Durham Law School, said: “We’re delighted to see Lady Justice Black’s well deserved appointment – and we are proud to see a second graduate of our Law School join the UK Supreme Court in our 50th anniversary year. She has served as a distinguished and highly regarded judge. It is an outstanding accomplishment to become the Supreme Court’s second woman on the top bench and we’re proud of what she has achieved.”

PRESS RELEASE: Migration Watch report wrong to count foreign students as migrants, expert says


 
For immediate release – Friday, 21 July 2017

-With picture-

*TV and radio broadcast facilities available*

The government has come under increasing pressure to remove foreign students from its net migration target. The International Passenger Survey used by the Home Office found a net migration average of 75,000 non-EU students annually over the last five years. The issue concerns sectors like higher education that fear if these students remain included in the government’s net migration target, then they could be cut because of its commitment to reducing net migration by more than half to under 100,000.

In a new report, Migration Watch urges the government to stand firm claiming that too many students were being granted settlement after their studies. Instead of temporary visitors receiving an education and then returning to home countries, over 20,000 each year have been permitted to stay after their studies raising the concern that a student visa can be a ticket to long-term residency.

Professor Thom Brooks, Dean of Durham Law School and a former international student, said the report’s conclusions lack support: ‘Students granted a right to stay in Britain after their education are no longer students. Like me, they will have to receive a new non-student right to settle such as a work visa. A student’s status is fixed and temporary – they should be exempt from government cuts on migration’.

Brooks argues that any concerns about settlement are a separate issue. ‘Those individuals staying are former students. Migration Watch might be for reducing the number of people who come to live in Britain, but their focus should be on those pathways to permanent residency – not students who contribute to our economy and society that must acquire a different non-student status to stay. In other words, their concern isn’t with students, but non-students and their conclusions are not supported by the evidence they provide’.

ENDS

 

MEDIA INFORMATION

 

NB – Please note that Professor Brooks is a member of the Labour Party.

 

Interviews 

Professor Thom Brooks, Dean of Durham Law School & Professor of Law and Government, Durham University, is available for comment on Friday, 21 July 2017 on:  thom.brooks@durham.ac.uk

Alternatively please contact Durham University Marketing and Communications Office on +44 (0)191 334 6075; media.relations@durham.ac.uk

*TV and radio broadcast facilities available*

Durham University’s academic experts are available for interview via down-the-line broadcast quality TV facilities from our Durham City campus, via broadcast provider Globelynx.

To request and check the availability of interviewees please contact the Durham University Communications Office on +44 (0)191 334 6075 or email media.relations@durham.ac.uk.

You can book the Globelynx fixed camera and circuit direct by logging into www.globelynx.com. The IFB number is +44 (0)191 384 2019.

If you have not booked a Globelynx feed before please call +44 (0)20 7963 7060 for assistance.

A broadcast quality ISDN radio line is also available at Durham University and bookings can be arranged via the Media Relations Team on the contact details above. The ISDN number is +44 (0)191 386 2749.

A landline number is available in our Media Suite which houses the television and radio facilities - +44 (0)191 334 6472.

Photographs

A high resolution headshot of Professor Thom Brooks is available on request from Durham University Marketing and Communications Office on +44 (0)191 334 6075; media.relations@durham.ac.uk.

Further reading

Migration Watch UK, ‘How many students have been granted settlement in recent years?’, https://www.migrationwatchuk.org/briefing-paper/417

Professor Thom Brooks, Durham University Law School website https://www.dur.ac.uk/law/staff/?id=11140

About Durham University

-          A world top 100 university with a global reputation and performance in research and education

-          A member of the Russell Group of leading research-intensive UK universities

-          Research at Durham shapes local, national and international agendas, and directly informs the teaching of our students

END OF MEDIA RELEASE

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Monday, June 19, 2017

May should put Brexit talks on hold and bring Labour on board for advice

My latest for LabourList HERE!

Government should launch hate crime register, expert says

For immediate release – Monday, 19 June 2017
*TV and radio broadcast facilities available*

The recent terrorist incident at Finsbury Park Mosque should lead government to launch a new hate crime register, according to a leading expert at Durham University.

Professor Thom Brooks, Dean of Durham Law School, says: ‘The rise in extremist violence must be met with a new approach. The government can start by taking a tougher line on hate crime by launching a new register similar what is used for sex offenders to ban offenders from working with children or other vulnerable people’.

The Crown Prosecution Service states that hate crimes are criminal offences motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person’s real or perceived disability, ethnicity, gender identity, nationality, race, religion or sexual orientation. Any one can report what she or he perceives to be a hate crime to the police, but there is a higher bar to pass for successful prosecution of an offence as a hate crime conviction.

Professor Brooks argues that anyone convicted of a hate crime should be placed on a hate crime register for ‘at least a considerable time, providing opportunities for reform and rehabilitation’. He says: ‘Hate crimes are different from other kinds of harms. They target what someone is and not who they are making these crimes even more dangerous’.

Brooks does not believe a hate crime register will end such attacks, but says it should be part of a wider strategy. ‘We must begin by acknowledging a difference between being convicted for a crime and for a hate crime. A register will help send a signal of the seriousness government has in preventing hate crimes and the greater consequences in limiting employment opportunities. Doing nothing is not an option’.

ENDS

MEDIA INFORMATION

NB – Please note that Professor Brooks is a member of the Labour Party.

Interviews 

Professor Thom Brooks, Dean of Durham Law School & Professor of Law and Government, Durham University, is available for comment on Monday & Tuesday, 19 & 20 June 2017 on:  email

*TV and radio broadcast facilities available*

Durham University’s academic experts are available for interview via down-the-line broadcast quality TV facilities from our Durham City campus, via broadcast provider Globelynx.

You can book the Globelynx fixed camera and circuit direct by logging into www.globelynx.com. The IFB number is +44 (0)191 384 2019.

If you have not booked a Globelynx feed before please call +44 (0)20 7963 7060 for assistance.

A broadcast quality ISDN radio line is also available at Durham University and bookings can be arranged via the Media Relations Team on the contact details above. The ISDN number is +44 (0)191 386 2749.

A landline number is available in our Media Suite which houses the television and radio facilities - +44 (0)191 334 6472.

Photographs

A high resolution headshot of Professor Thom Brooks is available on request from Durham University Marketing and Communications Office on +44 (0)191 334 6075

Further reading

Crown Prosecution Service, ‘Leaflet on Hate Crime Support’, https://www.cps.gov.uk/publications/docs/hate_crime_leaflet_support.pdf  


Professor Thom Brooks, Durham University Law School website https://www.dur.ac.uk/law/staff/?id=11140

About Durham University

-          A world top 100 university with a global reputation and performance in research and education

-          A member of the Russell Group of leading research-intensive UK universities

-          Research at Durham shapes local, national and international agendas, and directly informs the teaching of our students

END OF MEDIA RELEASE

 

Brexit talks start today - and the UK is not in a good position

Some talking points for tv/radio producers (I'm available - get in touch):

·         Britain’s Brexit talks could not begin from a worse position.

·         The Government asked voters for a big sign of support to enhance its hand in negotiations – which flopped as a slim majority was wiped out and still an open question about how long the current minority government can limp along.

·         As of Friday, the Government failed to provide even an outline sketch of its position paper for the EU ahead of negotiations – which is standard protocol. This strongly suggests two things: first, the Government is still uncertain about its aims and objectives for Brexit on the eve of talks and, second, the Government is failing to do much at all to win trust and confidence from the EU.

·         If Theresa May’s Government continues to be so vacuous, uncertain and perhaps insincere about the direction and seriousness of these talks, a positive outcome is almost impossible to foresee – and such consequences are avoidable, but the clock is ticking.

·         After a campaign of promising “strong and stable leadership” during the election, we’re seeing nothing of the kind now with Brexit talks. A real gap between the government’s rhetoric and reality.

http://thombrooks.info

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

My advice for the Prime Minister post-election. Not that she'll listen to it...

May must reassemble the Brexit team in a grand, all-party coalition, writes  -- in today's The Times

Turns out I did have a letter published once in The Times

I've dedicated many pages to the letters sent to, but never published in, The Times. It turns out one slipped through. In 2011 -

Sir, However compelling arguments may be in favour of an elected House of Lords, now is not the time. The public has little interest in such constitutional matters, as was evident in the recent AV referendum. Moreover, it is perhaps the actions of MPs, not peers, that have dented public confidence. Reform should centre on the House of Commons first: calls for reform of “the other place” is a convenient distraction from the central problem and no cure.
Dr Thom Brooks
Reader in Political and Legal Philosophy, Newcastle University