Archive for: May 2013

Cameron ‘losing control of his party over Europe’

Lord Howe, a former foreign secretary and chancellor has said that the Prime Minister is losing control over his party because of the situation in Europe. Mr Cameron has vowed to hold a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU. This will take place before the end of 2017.

Speaking to the Observer, Lord Howe accused Tory leadership as ‘running scared’ of its backbenchers, through offering to renegotiate Britain’s relationship with Brussels. Mr Cameron also warned that if the proposed referendum resulted in the UK’s departure from the EU, the country’s globally influencing consequences would be ‘dire’.

The Prime Minister’s position on attempting to return powers has not changed. However, this warning from Lord Howe follows press reports of somebody close to Mr Cameron calling Tories pushing for the referendum ‘mad, swivel-eyed loons’. Downing Street denied that anyone had made these remarks.

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In the Observer, Lord Howe claimed that the Prime Minister had ‘opened a Pandora’s Box politically and seems to be losing control of his party in the process.’ These controversial comments were made in reaction to Cameron’s plan to renegotiate the UK-EU relationship. “The ratchet-effect of Euroscepticism has now gone so far that the Conservative leadership is in effect running scared of its own backbenchers, let alone UKIP, having allowed deep anti-Europeanism to infect the very soul of the party,” wrote Lord Howe. He also stated: “The Conservative Party’s long, nervous breakdown over Europe continues and what is essentially a Tory problem is now, once again, becoming a national problem. Serious mistakes have been made, but the situation is not irretrievable.”

In a different BBC Radio 5 live piece, Howe warned of the possible consequences of the referendum. He called the probable effects ‘grave’.

Despite these warnings of the former foreign secretary and deputy prime minister, under Thatcher, the Conservatives last week published a draft parliamentary bill to legislate for a referendum to be held by the end of 2017.

 

Immigration problem a deal breaker for the EU–UK relations

The UK has one of the highest living standards in the world and as a result many would like to benefit from the many advantages this brings.  The public healthcare and welfare are just some of the benefits immigrants look for and when taking into consideration the fact that the welfare in the UK is substantially higher the medium income in their home countries we start to understand why UK politicians are starting to worry.

2004 exodus

In 2004 the EU faced its largest expansion, adding 8 new members. At that time UK specialists estimated that around 30000-50000 emigrants would be tempted to relocate but the figures couldn’t have been more wrong. Almost a decade has passed and over a million immigrants now call the UK their home. Due to the size of this phenomenon the already frail labour market has been put under even more pressure and leaving countless British citizens to blame immigrants for them not finding jobs and to a certain extent they might even be right.

2014 exodus part II

In January 2014 the restrictions on freedom of movement  will be lifted for Romania and Bulgaria, the two black sheep of the EU herd, allowing their citizens to move freely anywhere within the EU. This is bad news for the UK as it already faces problems with immigrants, 2014 could potentially bring a whole new wave of immigrants much like in 2004.

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How to stop this phenomenon

Unfortunately for the UK as long as it will remain an EU member there will be little it can do to stop this process. However, the UK’s third largest party, UKIP, has had enough with all these immigrants and all the problems they cause and they want to remove the UK from the Eurozone. The party is discontented with UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s attitude towards this problem. They claim he is being too soft and that he has no clear solutions. UKIP plans to keep immigrants out by implementing a VISA system which would allow them to control who comes into UK.

There are many voices within the UK which claim that politicians have already lost control over this matter and if some steps toward solving this problem will not be taken serious consequences awaits the country and its citizens. However, as to each story, there are two versions. For example not all immigrants come to the UK to steal or beg, most of them come here to work, to offer their children better living conditions, better opportunities but the media has stigmatized them all as beggars and thieves.

Green Deal – not so green after all

In the past couple of years the technology used for building houses has evolved exponentially allowing us to focus on insulating our homes on order to cut bills and be green. In the UK, the government has taken the task to insulate old flats in order to make them thermally and financially more efficient. They have accomplished this by implementing the Green Deal scheme with which countless building have been insulated. However recent studies have brought to light new information according to which the technology used to keep the hot air inside during winter time will also keep it during summer when all you want to throw it out.

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How could the masterminds behind Green Deal miss this detail?

Apparently, according to Prof Chris Goodier, of Loughborough University’s department of civil and building engineering this detail has been overlooked due to the high pressure to insulate the buildings as soon as possible. For me it sounds like “you can’t see the forest for the trees”. For the majority of us this looks incomprehensible how such an important aspect has been overlooked but then again we shouldn’t dwell on the past. We should concentrate on the now and try to figure what can be done in order to remediate the problem at hand.

Potential consequences

Taking into account that Britain is set to be the victim of several heat waves this summer and in the near future this problem poses great risk especially for elderly people who already suffer from one or more conditions. Estimates say that the death toll cause by extreme heat could rise from 2000 a year to 5000. The buildings most prone to overheating are the one located in dense populated areas such as large cities. The government is taking the necessary steps to solve the problem but progress is slow and summer is just around the corner.

We have to acknowledge that the British government set out the Green Deal scheme with the best intentions but they made some mistakes along the way. I have no doubts that a reasonable solution will be found while at the same time be in line with the country’s aim of lowering the carbon footprint.