Ideas on Europe

Informed analysis, comment and debate

Category Archives: Democracy & Citizenship

Why a military defeat of the Houthis is not enough for Yemen or Europe

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When talking about Yemen, one of the most common phrases amongst analysts is that “it’s complicated.” True, to a very large extent. Tribal politics, new movements being infiltrated by old power political structures and when looking at the political actors involved, it becomes less clear how the conflict falls under the ‘Sunni-Shia’ divide that seems […]

Wrong answers on BBC Question Time

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One of my biggest frustrations on watching BBC TV’s ‘Question Time’ is that when UKIP representatives make incorrect statements about the EU, there’s usually nobody on the panel or in the audience to correct them. Take last Thursday’s broadcast of Question Time. Among those appearing on the panel was UKIP MEP, Patrick O’Flynn, who made […]

Who can you trust on the EU?

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One of the recurring themes of my posts over the years has been the need for an informed and thoughtful public debate in the UK about its place in the world. Without such a debate, it is very hard to see how the UK can ever really move out of its impasse with the EU. […]

Britain doesn’t need EU help for floods, says PM

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According to Prime Minister, David Cameron, Britain doesn’t need EU funds to help areas devastated by floods because ‘it’s quicker and better’ to use the country’s own money. So it seems that Britain is so flush with cash that it can turn down around £125 million in EU emergency help for areas of the country […]

The poisonous heritage of François Mitterrand

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20 years ago, when television broke the news around midday that François Mitterrand had died aged 79, the collective emotion in France was almost disproportionate. A surprising number of Parisians simply stopped what they were doing, went to their flower shop, bought one red rose and deposited it on the doorsteps of the former president’s […]

Benefit tourism: why ‘fix’ a non-existent problem?

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As reported in today’s Daily Mirror, the Conservative government has admitted that it has no concrete evidence to prove that so-called ‘benefit tourism’ exists. And yet, Prime Minister David Cameron has vowed to ‘crack down’ on benefit tourism to reduce the numbers of EU migrants coming to Britain. Mr Cameron wants EU migrants in Britain […]

Gear-shifting the referendum?

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Christmas is always a tricky time for politicians: on the one hand, everyone’s packed up for a break after a long autumn, but on the other, there’s usually something that needs urgent attention, like a flood. However, on balance this Christmas past has been generally quite quiet on the referendum front, before bursting back on […]

Should rights be submitted to referendum? (You won’t find the answer here)

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Earlier this year, many of us felt proud of Ireland. 62% of Irish people voted to proclaim marriage equality in the national constitution. Ireland, a country of profound Catholic roots, had become the first country to recognise at the constitutional level the right to marriage regardless of sexual orientation. It was very good news for those who believe […]

Jealous of Spain

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Looking south from France in December 2015, how can you not be jealous of Spain? Sure, there’s no need to be envious of the weather, the wine and the beaches. We’ve had more than a fair share of these, too. There is also no reason to minimise the pressing problems of Spanish society, starting with […]

Will old people decide the EU referendum?

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Although they will have to live with the decision for longer than anyone else, young people will have the least say on whether Britain stays in the EU. Ironically, what is arguably the world’s oldest unelected group of legislators – the House of Lords – voted recently to give 16-to-17-year-olds a vote in the EU […]

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