From Heath to Wilson to Thatcher to Cameron: continuity in EU-UK relations


My friend and colleague, Dr. Michael J. Geary, and I, are in The National Interest today with a even-further revised piece on the history of relations between the United Kingdom and the European Union (pictured above are former prime ministers Edward Heath and Margaret Thatcher).United Kingdom Flag IconEuropean_Union

In particular, we continue to argue that British participation in the EU — including UK prime minister David Cameron’s latest speech demanding a renegotiation of the UK’s position in the EU and a straightforward in/out referendum by 2017 — must be viewed within the long context of the tumultuous 40-year history of UK-EU relations:

But even as the Eurozone accepts that deeper union is necessary to make the single currency workable, it’s unclear that in the reality of today’s “multi-speed Europe,” Cameron would need to renegotiate anything in order to retain the fiscal prerogative at home—just 22 days ago, the “fiscal compact” took effect through much of the rest of the EU, despite Cameron’s refusal to ratify it.

That’s why Europe should view Cameron’s speech not only in the narrow context of right-wing domestic politics or fiscal sovereignty, but within the wider scope of Britain’s troubled relationship with European integration. Ideally, Britain wants a European-wide free-trade area without the supranational institutional apparatus, something it proposed during the 1950s. Yet unless the euro implodes, that’s not the future of the EU.

Photo credit to Paul Grover.

First Past the Post: January 28


East and South Asia

Would China block Korean re-unification?

Democracy in Pakistan.

A month in, support for Japan’s new government is on the rise, actually, at 66.7%.

North America

Kathleen Wynne was elected the leader of the Ontario Liberal Party on Saturday night, making her the next Ontario premier and the first LGBT premier in Canadian history.

A joint interview between U.S. president Barack Obama and outgoing U.S. secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Latin America / Caribbean

A nightclub fire that has killed nearly 230 people merits the attention of Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff.

An attack on the Dominican Republic’s opposition party headquarters.

Another batty U.S. plot on Cuba, this time originating from the foreign aid sector.

The latest on the Colombian government talks with FARC.

Honduras is officially the most violent country in Latin America.  [Spanish]


The French troops in Mali are pushing toward Timbuktu.

The local wing of al-Qaeda in Somalia, al-Shabab, has its Twitter account deactivated.

Kenyan prime minister Raila Odinga is leading the March 4 presidential race with 46%, followed closely by deputy prime minister Uhuru Kenyatta with 40%.  Another deputy prime minister, Musalia Mudavadi, lags far behind with just 5%.


Former social democratic prime minister Miloš Zeman won the Czech presidency in the first-ever direct election on Saturday.

Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi heaps praise on former fascist leader Benito Mussolini less than a month before Italian elections.

More than 1 in 50 Portuguese have emigrated since 2011.

Wolfgang Münchau asks, ‘What is the point of the European Union?’

A pro-gay marriage rally gathered in Paris over the weekend.

What did Greek opposition leader Alexis Tsipras get out of his trip to the United States? (Read my piece on his appearance at the Brookings Institution in Washington here).

Middle East

After years in a coma, there are signs of brain activity for former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon.

So now we have a state of emergency in three Egyptian cities.

Fear and loathing in Las Vegas


Hello from Las Vegas (and, well, from the Grand Canyon).

Posting will be light Monday, in all likelihood, given that I’ll be coming back from Nevada for 10 hours on Monday, and won’t get back to Washington until late.Washington_DC_Icon

I’m eager to share some thoughts on the ongoing Israeli government-building process, the Jordanian election ‘results,’ and the upcoming Italian and Kenyan elections, so stay tuned this week!

With the greater part of a week left in January, Suffragio‘s traffic has already had its best month since I founded my blog eleven months ago.

So, as usual, thanks to all of my readers — known and unknown — for your support, and most importantly for your constructive criticism.  I’m, as always, looking for advice on how to make my blog smarter, sharper and stronger.

The key to Vegas, by the way, is Tacos El Gordo, a Tijuana-based chain. Seriously, and just north of the Wynn on the Strip.