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

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

Recruitment Genius: National Sales Account Executive

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company leads the market i...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Manager - Cyber Security

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Manager for Cyber Secur...

Ashdown Group: Service Desk Analyst - Application Support - Central London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Service Desk Analyst (App...

Ampersand Consulting LLP: 3rd Line Support Engineer (Windows Server, Exchange Server)

£35000 per annum + Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: 3rd Line Support Engine...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Ice skating in George Square, Glasgow  

How many Christmas cards have you sent this year?

Simon Kelner
 

Al-Sweady Inquiry: An exercise in greed that blights the lives of brave soldiers

Richard Kemp
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum