Ideas on Europe

Informed analysis, comment and debate

Category Archives: Politics & Public Policy

Sleepwalking towards Brexit?

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Threatening to leave a club is often a balancing act. Push the other members too hard and you may face a brick wall; push too little and the exercise becomes useless. What’s more, to have any degree of success you need ambitious goals and a realistic strategy to achieve them. This is more or less […]

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 […]

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 […]

Sectarian nationalism and the state of Bihar

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In Bihar, the atmosphere could not be tenser for the recent political losses that has been incurred for the ruling party: the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lost the elections by an overwhelming majority in the overpopulated constituency, most of whom are poor. This significant political impairment has been regarded as quite plainly the biggest […]

Britain rejects EU help for food and flood victims

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The British government has turned down millions of pounds of EU funding to help those affected by flooding and lack of food. Hundreds of thousands across the UK are so poor that they are having to rely on charitable food banks to stave off hunger. The EU parliament agreed to provide aid for those suffering […]

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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