One of the gripes Britons have about the European Union is that they think the big decisions are stitched up between the Germans and French. Anti-Europeans are fanning this feeling in the runup to the referendum on whether the United Kingdom should stay in the EU, saying that Britain has little influence on what happens in Brussels.
Reforming the European Union involves more than renegotiating the UK’s relationship with it. That may sound like a statement of the obvious. But in the British debate over staying in the EU the two have virtually become equivalent, largely because David Cameron, the newly re-elected prime minister, has promised to renegotiate Britain’s relationship with the EU before holding a referendum on continued membership.
Are the Tories and Labour the Tweedledum and Tweedledee of UK politics? In most things, there’s not much to choose between the UK parties’ economic election pledges. Both want to cut the deficit gradually. Both want to splash out on the National Health Service. And both have a smattering of silly micro-policies. The big differences are that Labour would tax the rich more and the Tories might take Britain out of the European Union.
Hugo Dixon is Editor-at-Large, Reuters News. The opinions expressed are his own.
Britain’s treatment of its so-called “non-doms” gives some rich people an unwarranted tax break. If they qualify as being “domiciled” abroad, even if they live in the UK permanently, they can pay tax only on income generated in Britain. Britons usually have to pay tax on their global incomes.