Letters: Cameron's empty threat to the EU

Share

With Ukip and backbench Tories nipping at his heels, David Cameron has been forced into a referendum on the UK's future relationship with the EU, if the Tories win the next election in 2015. A vote he could do well without.

What we now have, during the worst economic recession in our history, is a destabilising four years of uncertainty that will make overseas companies look twice at the UK as somewhere to invest.

Mr Cameron is seeking to repatriate powers on issues such as social and employment laws, policing and crime, but to renegotiate on these issues and hold a referendum by his pledged deadline of the end of 2017 is impossible, as he well knows. The chance of any meaningful renegotiation being agreed by the other 27 member states is even less.

As a Brussels regular it is clear to me that the French and Germans and most other member states have no desire to reopen treaties which have been years in the making, to allow for British demands.

Mr Cameron is taking a dangerous gamble, believing that by holding a gun to the head of Brussels bureaucrats and national governments he can get what he wants under threat of the UK leaving. But for many in the EU the loss of Britain would not be a negative, but a benefit, the loss of an obstructive lodger who brings more trouble than she is worth.

Alex Orr

Edinburgh

During the last 35 years I have been a director of over 15 companies, many trading all over the world; these businesses have scaled from the quite small to hundreds of millions. I've managed export activities to many parts of the globe and lived outside the UK for several years.

In all this time I have never once found difficulty (or advantage) in being inside, or outside, the European Union. It has mattered not one jot to the issues of trade and I have always enjoyed free movement everywhere.

The scaremongers who would tell us we need this environment to enjoy "free trade", are generally those with personal vested interests and, notably, often political animals with little experience of the business world.

Europe is a huge delusion. It was founded after the Second World War as a French/German political entity to avoid another conflict. As the non-productive elements of our society have found, it has become a wonderful trough to feed from. From the business community I have yet to find an individual who can demonstrate benefit from this institution. It has just made us less competitive. Time to move on.

Tim Bittleston

Abbots Worthy, Hampshire

This is Cameron's equivalent of Blair's Iraq war moment. It opens a trap-door, creating a shambles of a policy over which he has no future control, and can't hope to recover.

It generates uncertainty and muddle for the foreseeable future. And for years to come he will bleat that he knew that he was right, had no regrets, and would do exactly the same again.

Gavin P Vinson

London N10

Prince Harry's Xbox war in Afghanistan

Prince Harry's comment that using the gun on his Apache is a "joy for me because I'm one of those people who loves playing PlayStation and Xbox, so with my thumbs I like to think I'm probably quite useful," is a staggeringly insensitive and stupid one.

Much better had he lowered his head and said, "Yet the Afghans we kill have mothers too... but alas, it's a war."

That would have been the wise as well as the right move. Alas now, he has made the British Royal Family a target for all the crazy fundamental Islamists out there.

Dai Woosnam

Grimsby, Lincolnshire

For many years I have loudly decried research which purported to establish a link between video games and real-life killings. Tosh, I repeatedly said.

In one interview Prince Harry has not only made me eat those oft-uttered arguments, but he has also made me feel ashamed to be in any way British. In war death happens – there is no excuse for anyone describing it with such relish and lack of concern for the feelings of the families of people he may have killed.

Matthew Hisbent

Oxford

So the Taliban think that Prince Harry probably has a mental problem? This from an organisation that commits systematic massacres of civilians, engages in human trafficking, desecrates religious sites, oppresses women and shoots schoolgirls. No mental problems there.

As for Prince Harry, he's damned if he does and damned if he doesn't. Who'd be a Royal?

John Adkins

St Austell, Cornwall

Your hospital could be next

In a few days the Health Secretary is due to make a decision about the fate of Lewisham Hospital. This is a busy, solvent, successful local hospital which serves its mixed south-east London community well, but which has the misfortune to be near another hospital which has a massive PFI debt.

A government administrator has proposed taking away Lewisham's emergency services and demolishing most of the hospital buildings to raise money for the bankrupt neighbouring trust. It's like having your house knocked down and the land sold off to pay someone else's mortgage. And Lewisham's patients will be expected to go to the bankrupt neighbouring trust. The whole idea is unsafe, illogical and hugely unfair.

Hopefully Jeremy Hunt will see sense and reject this proposal, but if he agrees to it then this destruction could happen anywhere, to any hospital. Yours could be next. You have been warned.

Ruth Cochrane

London SE13

No more dithering over the climate

Your leading article of 14 January rightly highlights the need for urgent international action to tackle climate change. But bold steps by the UK Government to slash emissions at home are also required. Despite David Cameron's pledge to lead the greenest Government ever, his ministers have been steadily watering down efforts to build a low-carbon economy.

As a country that prides itself on being innovators from the first industrial revolution, there is a real opportunity for the UK to take a lead in developing a clean energy revolution. And for a nation blessed with some of the world's finest renewable energy resources there are substantial economic and job benefits too.

However, the Government's refusal to include a clear target for decarbonising the power sector in its Energy Bill, and its reckless push for new, polluting gas power is putting off future investors. As well as delaying action on climate change, this fossil-fuelled strategy means that when the inevitable green energy revolution takes hold, Britain will not be at the vanguard.

If we really expect the world to adopt the measures needed to avoid catastrophic climate change, wealthy nations such as the UK, with a technological advantage and near boundless renewable resources, must take a lead. Time is running out – our environment and economy simply can't afford more dithering over global warming.

Andrew Pendleton

Head of Campaigns, Friends of the Earth, London N1

The man I owe it all to

I totally agree with every word Virginia Ironside says (22 January) about the joys of being a grandparent. My two grandchildren, both under five years old, are the light of my life.

But I'd also like to put in a word for that sometimes maligned species, the son-in-law, their Dad.

My idea of heaven is when my daughter brings the whole family round on a Sunday afternoon. I have a chance to catch up on her news and have great delight playing in the garden with the grandchildren – we gave up swords a few months ago, Virginia, it's light sabres now.

But while all this fun is going on my son-in-law is pottering around fixing all those annoying DIY jobs that I can't do and which would cost a fortune if I called in a tradesman.

What would I do without him? And anyway, it's down to him that I've got the grandchildren in the first place.

Louise Thomas

Abingdon, Oxfordshire

Emin clashes with Gove

So Tracey Emin is complaining about the treatment of the arts in the school curriculum ("Emin warns of riots if Gove gets his way", 22 January). She got in to her unmade bed with the Tories before the last election. I'm afraid she'll have to lie in it some more before young artists get the breaks again.

Tom Watson MP (West Bromwich East, Lab)

House of Commons

I wholeheartedly agree with Tracey Emin's view that the arts have been downgraded in the latest education reforms.

We lead the way in so many creative fields, ranging from film, stage, writing, fashion and fine art, to graphic design and illustration. I find the obsession with science and maths thoroughly depressing and long for the importance of the arts to be more fully appreciated by governments of all hues.

Robert Crowther

Great Massingham, Norfolk

Luggage market at the airport

John Broughton (letter, 23 January) suggests a single weight allowance for each airline passenger and their luggage, allowing lighter passengers to take more luggage.

Surely all you would then do is pack some of your things in your wife's increased luggage allowance. Only lone passengers would be affected. And then, perhaps, we would have scenes at airports of strangers negotiating and re-packing at the check-in counter. What fun!

Kevin Marris

Bathford, North East Somerset

Adventure playground

Your report "Children are now raised 'in captivity'" (19 January) raises an interesting question. Would exposing today's children to the adventures and perils I delighted in when young risk a referral to social services? My view is that today's environment is much more crowded and faster than it used to be. This calls for an imaginative effort by parents that is outside the scope of many.

Michael Skipper

Norwich

Back to normal

So, "Boy shoots dead five people in New Mexico" (21 January). Front page news? No – two column inches at the bottom of page 29. Looks like we're back to just the routine slaughter in the US then.

Stanley Knill

London N15

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager - OTE £50,000

£18000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is recruiting for ...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Manager / Account Manager

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This B2B software supplier, spe...

Recruitment Genius: Systems Application Analyst - Data, SQL

£22000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing SaaS (Softwar...

Recruitment Genius: Events Consultant

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A position has arisen for an ex...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

'You’re just jealous', and other common misconceptions about the Protein World advert

Hannah Atkinson
Dave Brown's cartoon for the 28 April edition of The Independent  

After five years of completely flaccid leadership, I'm glad something 'pumps up' David Cameron

Joe Sandler Clarke
Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence