The EU referendum campaign revealed the need for a fairer debate on immigration

By Bethany Peters

‘Record strain on the NHS leads to £2.45bn black hole’: This was the headline of the Daily Express on 20 May 2016 as the country was preparing to take to the polls to vote in the EU referendum. One could easily presume this to be a current headline in reference to the lack of government funding for the NHS, but the ‘strain’ was actually pertaining to the pressure that immigration was putting on the health service. A new report from the Centre for the Study of Media, Communication and Power, based at the Policy Institute at King’s, has analysed UK media coverage of last year’s Brexit campaign and found that migrant-blaming was rife in the run-up to the vote. After the result, hate crimes in London were said to have increased by 20%, and sadly, Home Office statistics have shown that a spike in hate crimes occurred across the rest of England and Wales too. As we head to the polls less than 12 months later, perhaps this time around the public should be questioning the way in which immigration is portrayed by the media. Continue reading

London’s trade in services must be prioritised in Brexit negotiations

By Tony Halmos

Now that Article 50 has been triggered, both sides in the Brexit talks have laid out their starting positions – and a general election has been called to give the government a mandate for delivering Brexit – it is time to take stock of what London needs most and make sure that all its efforts are steered in a united way to achieve this. Continue reading

High-quality research must play a role in EU foreign and security policy post-Brexit

By Maria Giulia Amadio Viceré and Erin Montague

Recent developments in EU politics have put the spotlight on what has for a long time been the ugly duckling of the EU integration process, namely foreign and security policy. But these developments have unfolded under the shadow of Brexit. On 25 March, as they marked the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, European leaders signed a declaration calling for, among other things, a Union ‘committed to strengthening its common security and defence’, and one ready to ‘assist in creating a more competitive and integrated defence industry’. Yet at the same time as this call for greater unity, collaboration and integration was being made, Theresa May was preparing to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, formally marking the beginning of the end of the UK’s 43 years as a member of the EU. Continue reading

Sausages, evidence and policymaking: The role of universities in a post-truth world

By Professor Jonathan Grant

From Tony Blair’s declaration that ‘What counts is what works’ in 1997, to David Cameron’s vow to ‘put evidence at the heart of what we do’ in 2015, political commitments to use research in policymaking have been the norm in recent decades. Even the Ministry of Justice under Michael Gove, whose belief in expertise was, to say the least, subject to some scrutiny last year, promised to ‘put evidence at the heart of what we do’. Continue reading

Weeding out the bugs in cannabis legalisation policies

As the new President-Elect was making his victory speech on 9 November last year, some liberals were rejoicing, rather than despairing, about what had just taken place at the ballot box. What they saw, sprouting among the rubble of the swing-state firewall that was meant to deliver the election for Hillary Clinton, were some very literal green shoots of progress, as four states – Massachusetts, Nevada, Maine and California – voted to legalise cannabis for recreational use. Continue reading