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froomkin and froomkin on fixing the senate March 9, 2021

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Highly recommended by Legal Theory Blog.

g7 summit to focus on the fight against inequalities August 22, 2019

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The background brief states that:

France’s Presidency overarching theme is the “fight against inequalities” which has been reflected in all G7 work streams: inequality of income and opportunities, gender inequalities, digital inequalities, inequalities related to environmental degradation, security and development issues.

A number of non-G7 “Partners” will participate, including African countries (a part of the program is to focus on relations between the G7 and Africa).

But when two of the core G7 countries are led by people who think colonialism was good or that a powerful country should just be able to buy territory it fancies anything could happen.

international economic crime September 9, 2018

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I was just in Cambridge for Barry Rider’s 36th International Symposium on Economic Crime which focused on unexplained wealth. At a time of uncertainty about the future of post WWII institutions and co-operation it was interesting – reassuring even – to see transnational co-operation at work.

policy: slogans or complexity? February 27, 2017

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Nobody knew it could be so complicated. Actually, anyone who thought about it for more than 30 seconds knew it was very complicated.

a reflection on lawyer-legislator ethics February 11, 2017

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The Florida House of Representatives features on its website quite prominently a Public Guide to Florida House of Representatives Rules Changes with a subtitle of “Ushering a New Level of Transparency and Accountability Revolutionizing State Government. Most of the document relates to lobbying- for example legislators should not fly on private planes owned by lobbyists or corporations that employ lobbyists (and Rule 15.3 of the House Rules specifies that the ban applies even were the representative to pay for the flight). But perhaps there are some other issues they might concentrate on.
Rule 15.2 of the House Rules states:

The Integrity of the House. A member shall respect and comply with the law and shall perform at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and independence of the House and of the Legislature. Each member shall perform at all times in a manner that promotes a professional environment in the House, which shall be free from unlawful employment discrimination.

I am not sure how promoting legislation that could be seen as conducive to a Representative’s personal financial interests as a personal injury lawyer, especially legislation that is drafted so ambiguously as to open up a wealth of litigation possibilities, can possibly be seen as promoting public confidence in the integrity of the House. But perhaps that’s just me.

a prime minister of pretences? October 30, 2016

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The final paragraph of this piece by Nick Cohen raises some quite fundamental questions about transparency in government:

Now she is a prime minister of pretences, running a government where feelings matter more than fact. She pretends that we should leave the EU, even though she knows we should remain a member of the single market. She offers us the illusion that we are taking back control, even as we lose our freedom to act. She cuts deals in secret, in the hope that the public will never realise that her land of make-believe is an expensive place to live.

Meanwhile, other news stories suggest that Mark Carney may choose to step down after much public criticism. Whether or not the stepping down would really be for personal reasons, there’s a deep irony here: a person who seems to have tried, in good faith, to carry out his statutory mandate is threatened for not going along with the fantasies the people in power choose to tell the public.

brexit – into uncharted territory June 24, 2016

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The BBC says that 52% of UK voters voted to leave the EU and 48% voted to remain. Winners take all – or rather lose all and impose significant losses on everyone else. The pound fell to the lowest rate against the dollar since 1985. Keith Vaz said the result was terrible. Nigel Farage said it was a victory for real people, ordinary people, decent people (I suppose the 48% who voted for remain are not real, ordinary, or decent). But all those people who believed they were taking back control are about to discover that it was all an illusion and they are even worse off than they were before. If Scotland becomes independent and joins the EU I wonder if I could get a Scottish passport (my mother was born in Edinburgh)?

why brexit matters June 21, 2016

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This is what I spent a chunk of today writing. It is here.

london as an independent city state? June 21, 2016

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More amazing possible implications of a Brexit vote.

brexit worries June 17, 2016

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I think this piece by John Harris is exactly right, and at the same time what he imagines is so, so wrong:

at the centre of where we find ourselves there is an undeniable irony, which may yet turn cold and cruel. If the revolt succeeds and Brexit wins, the party in power is likely to take a political turn that will lead us even further away from what the moment demands, while Labour will likely tumble further into division and introspection.

The EU has some problems, sure. It’s an elite, intellectual project and always was, despite years of attempting to reach out to citizens across the EU. At the same time the EU institutions have a sense of social solidarity that the UK EU-haters lack. And this story of the development of the Brexit idea by Matthew d’Ancona links it to ideas of flexible labour markets, freedom from red tape and British economic creativity that needs to be freed from EU shackles. Not a surprise. But, as Harris argues, these flexible markets free from regulation are not the sort of markets to give any hope at all to the people who seem likely to vote for Brexit.