Brian Lee Crowley

Keeping up with the Joneses in the UK

If you thought that Britain was an ageing doddery has-been barely managing the gentility of its decline, think again. In a stunning proof that how countries manage themselves matters, Britain is on a tear. How this happened is full of lessons for the rest of us. At least that’s what I argued in my Globe column for Economy Lab on February 19th. Britain is leading the western indsutrialised countries in growth, and is set to overtake Germany as the EU’s largest economy by around 2030. That’s if they don’t bugger it up, to use a good old British expression. To learn how Britain did it, and the challenges that still lie before it, check out the column!

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Why 50% plus 1 shouldn’t be enough to break up European countries either

Regular readers of this site and blog will know that I am a ferocious opponent of the idea that Canada should be vulnerable to being broken up by a vote of 50% plus one of a province’s residents in a referendum on independence, and in this the Supreme Court of Canada and I are of one mind. But Canada is not the only place in the world where local nationalist movements are trying to use the referendum weapon to dismember venerable democratice nation-states such as the UK and Spain. Writing for CapX in the UK, I make the argument for Europeans as to why they too should learn the lessons Canada has learned from a half century wrestling with the separatist nationalist movement in Quebec, including the rules that should govern any referendum, what the threshold of success should be and what should follow a Yes vote.

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Why we need Clarity Act Mark II before next referendum

In my latest column for the Ottawa Citizen and other Postmedia papers I call for Ottawa to supplement the Clarity Act with another law that fills in the gaps left by that original landmark legislation. Mark I gives legislative form to the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Secession Reference, but only with regard to the Court’s rules about the standard Quebec must reach to trigger an obligation on the ROC to sit down and negotiate. The SCC went on to say a lot about what would have to happen wrt the negotiations themselves for them to be regarded as constitutional and respectful of the rule of law. Once the April 7th Quebec election is out of the way, if the PQ has their majority Ottawa should table Mark II, laying out what its negotiating mandate would be in any eventual negotiations (e.g. protection of minority rights, which means dismembering Quebec), and well as how Ottawa should respond if Quebec flouts the SCC rules on things like a clear question. Stern but bracing stuff!

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Brian Lee Crowley