Author Archives: Pawel Swidlicki

The Independent View: Clegg can’t just take on Farage – he also needs to spell out his own vision for EU reform

Like all political obsessives up and down the country I’ve stocked up on popcorn ahead of Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage’s upcoming duels over Europe in anticipation of some captivating political theatre. However, from my more sober perspective as a political analyst, such a binary, ‘all-or-nothing’ debate over Europe is fundamentally flawed as it does not speak to where the majority of the British public are at. Polls have consistently shown that when respondents are offered options beyond staying in on the current terms or leaving altogether, the option of staying in a reformed/slimmed down EU proves the most popular across the political spectrum.

People hold different views about how they would like to see the European Union develop. Which of these statements comes closest to your view?

Graph

Posted in The Independent View | Tagged and | 25 Comments

Liberal Democrats risk civil liberties blind spot on EU crime and policing laws

There are few issues that galvanise Liberal Democrat members like civil liberties. Since going into coalition, party members have upheld this tradition by campaigning on a range of issues, most notably the so-called snooper’s charter and secret courts. However, the party has also traditionally been strongly committed to European co-operation – what happens when these clash?

The immediate context is the choice facing the coalition on whether to definitely opt into around 130 EU criminal and justice laws, including the European Arrest Warrant, by 2014. This is part of a wider debate whether it …

Posted in Europe / International and The Independent View | Tagged | 6 Comments

Independent View: how should Lib Dems respond to Cameron’s Europe speech?

cameron-europeThe Westminster village might still be in post-holiday slumber mode, but a significant political event is due to take place only in a couple of weeks – David Cameron’s long awaited, ‘tantric’ speech on Europe. While the exact details remain unclear, Cameron could well argue that the UK’s terms of EU membership require revision, and that this should include the repatriation of some powers, after which the new package will be put to a referendum. So how should the Liberal Democrats respond?

Posted in Europe / International, News and The Independent View | Tagged , and | 50 Comments

The Independent View: Could Europe be an unlikely area of consensus for the revamped Coalition 2.0?

Following the bad blood within the coalition over the collapse of Lords reform and the constituency boundary review, there has been much speculation that the two parties will enact a policy ‘reset’ after conference season, with Oliver Letwin and Danny Alexander already reportedly working out the details. Most people looking for potential fresh common ground between Tories and Lib Dems would hardly place ‘Europe’ at the top of their list. However, while the parties are unlikely to ever see eye to eye on the EU, given political will, there are a number of areas of potential agreement.

Posted in Europe / International, News and Op-eds | Tagged , , , and | 21 Comments

The Independent View: How should Liberal Democrats respond to the views of their voters on Europe

In the polarised and often exaggeratedUKdebate on the EU, the Lib Dems have often been caricaturised by much of the press and Tory MPs as being unreservedly in favour of greater EU integration or even an ‘EU super state’. The truth is of course far more nuanced.

That’s why a new YouGov/Cambridge cross-country poll out today is so interesting. It shows that a majority of UK voters (53%) support either no further EU integration or a looser arrangement. Only 14% said they wanted more integration. These attitudes span the political divide, with 50% of Lib Dem voters saying they …

Posted in Europe / International, Op-eds and The Independent View | 15 Comments
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