What I've Learned: A Changing Europe

Anand Menon in his office

[This article is from the Autumn/Winter 2019 issue of InTouch, your alumni magazine]

Anand Menon is Professor of European Politics & Foreign Affairs at King’s College London and Director of The UK in a Changing Europe. The organisation is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, and supported by King’s, to disseminate high-quality independent research into the relationship between the UK and the European Union.

Anand speaks to InTouch about the challenges the UK faces as the Brexit deadline moves closer. This interview took place on 25 July, the day Boris Johnson became the UK’s 25th Prime Minister.

Anand Menon

Anand Menon

A question of opinion

If you talk to someone in my hometown in West Yorkshire, their views on immigration might be very different to those of someone in London. But rather than look at differences, the really interesting things to look for are similarities. For instance, you can draw a dotted line between Brexit and Trump, but also Narendra Modi, India’s Prime Minister. There are real similarities in how these three campaigns were run, and the messages they used.

Deal or no deal

We can’t leave the EU by 31 October with a deal, as there simply isn’t the time to put the necessary legislation through parliament. If we’ve left by the time this issue has come out, we have almost certainly left with no deal. In this case, the challenges for the UK are huge.

Looking forward

It would be naïve to think there won’t be significant disruption, and, in the short term, we will probably see some shortages, travel will become harder and it’s likely that the pound will fall. In the medium term, our economy will suffer, as decreasing trade with our nearest and largest trading partner is bad for our economy. We will find ways of adjusting, but it will take some time. It’s not clear whether Boris Johnson wants to take us out with no deal, and InTouch readers can make fun of me if I’m wrong, but the gamble is, if there’s disruption, who will people blame – the EU or the government? It might be that, by the time this issue is out, we are having a general election.

In the spotlight

Doing media spots is part and parcel of the job, but I enjoy it. I get to take part in shows with all sorts of interesting people. The standout moment for me, partly because I was so nervous, was doing Question Time. It’s not for the faint-hearted, as even the most seasoned participants are nervous. To be invited is a real triumph for the organisation – something we can be proud of.

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