Author Archives: Scott Stables

Opinion: Will the EU miss us if we leave?

clegg merkelIt was central to David Cameron’s EU bargaining position: the assumption that ultimately the EU would do everything it could to avoid our exit. It would yield to every request placed upon it because, after all, the UK is important. It is a bargaining position that has been fatally undermined by Angela Merkel as she suggested that the UK has reached a “point of no-return”, and that if the UK maintains its pressure on allowing curbs on EU migration she would be prepared to see the UK leave. In other words, the principles of the EU are more important than one individual member.

This rationale, although likely to frustrate sentiments of British Exceptionalism displayed by some, is not wholly surprising. Rewriting fundamental aspects of any political settlement does not come easy, perhaps precisely because relenting on one aspect of an institution undermines the ability to stand up to other requests for substantial renegotiation.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 36 Comments

Opinion: Confused Britain

Map of the European UnionEU citizens should have the right to live and work in the UK:
36% Yes, 46% No.

British citizens should have the right to live and work in the EU:
52% Yes, 26% No.

These results from ComRes were presented by the Guardian Data Editor Alberto Nardelli, alongside the title “Confused Britain“. However, in many ways it summarises an increasingly predominate view on the European Union. It seems vast swathes of the public are happy to have their cake and eat it when it comes to the EU.

It is a choice that has been presented to people by many Eurosceptics. Conservatives are increasingly discussing the notion of quota systems on EU migration, even though Angela Merkel has stated that such an impingement on free movement would be non-negotiable. Ukip have often stated that trade between the UK and the EU would be made easier, not harder, through removal from the free market area. Presented with such options, it has become popular thinking to believe that the UK can have a pick ‘n’ mix agreement with the European Union.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 61 Comments

Opinion: The proposed televised debate format does not help pluralism

So, there will be televised debates prior to the 2015 General Election. The question that beckons is what form they should take. ITV, Channel 4 and the BBC are all set to host the party leaders, each with a different composition. Channel 4 have invited Ed Miliband and David Cameron, the BBC have added Nick Clegg to the mix and the trio becomes four as Nigel Farage will attend the ITV debate.

The big controversy, of course, is ITV’s decision to invite UKIP to their debate, given they have only one MP. Personally, I absolutely support the move. As Liberal Democrats we support a pluralistic approach to politics that welcome many democratic voices. Furthermore, UKIP have been able to ride on a wave of press hype that been allowed to ferment exactly because they have been the outriders of traditional political debate.  By inviting them into the fold in televised debates we are able to call UKIP out on the flaws in their policy platform. We can paint ourselves as the antithesis of UKIP’s insular and nationalist philosophy and appeal to those voters that oppose this view. Ultimately, the inclusion of UKIP offers an opportunity to bring the party to account.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 10 Comments
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