The Great Debate UK
Almost alone on the democratic world, we British have no written constitution protecting our basic civil and political rights. We have no constitutional charter defining the scope of the powers of the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government or the relationship of these branches with the European Union (EU). Parliament struggles to assert its power while the government uses its ancient monarchical authority — that is the prerogative power vested in the Queen — to exercise its executive powers.
There is now widespread discontent with our system of government, and a massive loss of confidence in politics and politicians.
The early days of the “New Labour” government were times of promising reform. Major changes such as devolution for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, removal of most hereditary peers from the House of Lords, abolishing the role of Lord Chancellor and creation of a Supreme Court were accompanied by measures directly empowering individuals, in particular the Human Rights Act and Freedom of Information Act.
The debate for or against a Latvian fixed exchange rate rages on. There are good pieces of analyses on both sides of the debate, there are less good ones, there are mediocre ones – and then there is Jonathan Ford’s “Latvia: let the lat go” from 29 July.
Sir Win Bischoff appears to relish a challenge. His brief spell as chairman of Citigroup was spent resisting regulators who wanted to break up the bank. If the veteran banker takes over as chairman of Lloyds Banking Group, his first fight will be with competition authorities in Brussels. This is one battle where it would be better if Sir Win did not live up to his name.
Europe rarely features highly in European election campaigns in Britain. In the 2004 campaign the word Euro more often than not referred to a football tournament rather than the single currency. And for at least two reasons, we shouldn’t expect European integration to be much discussed.
- Professor Colin Pritchard is a Research Professor in the School of Health & Social Care, Bournemouth University, whose research is increasingly linking problems of deteriorating human health and the wider environment. The opinions expressed are his own. -
One reason to vote in the EU elections is that on June 6, 1944 Europe was a slaughterhouse – the second time within 30 years. The EU may be imperfect but in the last analysis is one of the greatest progressive achievements of the 20th century, as it seeks to achieve the great political trilogy of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, and, albeit hesitatingly, seeks to implement the UN Declaration of Human Rights.
- Suren Surendiran is the spokesman for the British Tamils Forum. The opinions expressed are his own. -
The news that over 20,000 innocent civilians were killed by the military onslaught of the Sri Lankan army has shocked the world, but not world leaders like President Obama, Prime Minister Brown, President Sarkozy and Chancellor Merkel. For, they knew exactly what was going to happen and what is happening now.
Mon Dieu! Are the Germans starting to behave like the French?
Berlin’s efforts to salvage carmaker Opel from the wreckage of U.S. auto giant General Motors pose as big a challenge to Europe’s single market as French attempts earlier this year to tie loans to its carmakers to keeping jobs and factories in France.
Opinion polls predict a record low turnout in next month’s EU-wide European Parliament elections. The Strasbourg-based assembly was once regarded as a toothless talking shop, but that has long ceased to be true. Indeed there are many reasons for Europeans to cast a vote.
A revisionist theory on the causes of the global financial crisis blames surplus countries like China, Japan and Germany as much as highly-leveraged, deregulated finance in the United States and Britain.