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Britain and Europe - Short term fix or long term relationship?

Friday 9th May 2014: As voters across the European Union prepare to vote for their MEPs on 22nd May, many eyes will focus on Britain. If the Conservatives are returned to power in 2015, the UK will renegotiate the relationship with Europe. What should be Britain's aim and what course should she follow? What framework will best reflect the concerns of people in this country?

Next week the distinguished lawyer, Martin Howe QC, will be at Politeia to consider how the Constitutional Framework for a Future Settlement could be framed. Here he introduces some of the themes he will explore.

The key question we need to ask is whether renegotiating our relationship with Europe is a short term fix to address some immediate problems,or whether we should try to fix our relationship with Europe for the long term. If that is our goal,then we need to look at the mechanisms which act like an upwardly moving escalator carrying us in the direction of European integration,regardless of our wishes. These EU laws and regulations can be imposed on us over a very wide field by majority voting; there exists a ratchet effect which prevents us from reversing out of them once they are in place; and the ECJ in Luxembourg consistently interprets treaties and laws in favour of EU integration.

Free to Compete!

Friday 2nd May 2014: Governments worldwide are setting their universities free to face globalisation, says Dr Paola Mattei.  

This week's news reports, which suggested that some of Britain's new universities are doing well in the world rankings though others have slipped, also indicate that the new foundations in Asia are strongly competitive. While in Europe strains on the public purse have led to lower levels of spending per student between 2008 and 2012, in China and India governments have been investing in an ever-growing share of public expenditures in higher education.

Fools' Paradise or Nation State?

Friday 25th April 2014: As the European elections approach, French politicians, no less than their British counterparts, reflect the concerns of the voters, says Sheila Lawlor, Politeia's Director.

Last week, the European election campaign got underway as EU member states prepare to go to the polls late in May to chose 751 MEPs for the European Parliament in Brussels. These MEPs do not sit in national blocs, but in political groupings. They are expected to leave national interests behind as they enter the gigantic parliamentary building, and join the Europe of ‘interests’. While some groups want a more democratic, more accountable and less federalist EU, the architecture of the Union remains stubbornly opposed to national democratic accountability. Rather than a Europe of nation states co-operating on matters of common interest at each level of the EU and its institutions, we see in Brussels a Europe of interest groups which battle it out at many levels, from the Commission to the Parliament, for power and preferment.

Why We Need the Rich - and George Osborne

Friday 18th April 2014: Britain’s political parties are now in 2015 general election- mode. Labour, says Dr Robin Harris, promises a policy of ‘madhouse economics’. But if Britain is to prosper in the long term, the case for the free economy must be made. That responsibility falls to the Conservative leaders and in a piece for Standpoint, Dr Harris explains why:

Politicians who make a difference understand that Party politics though often fun, is never a one-set match. Keith Joseph and Margaret Thatcher believed that to make the free economy safe, the Opposition would have to be converted to its merits. This meant educating the wider public in the economic facts of life. Their mission must be not just to win elections but to win arguments — above all, the arguments for choice, markets, incentives, property and the rule of law. Otherwise Labour would revert.

Gender Balance, or Good Government?

Friday 11th April: In the aftermath of Maria Miller's resignation as culture secretary, the focus switched to the gender balance in the cabinet. But, suggests Sheila Lawlor, Politeia's Director, if Britain is to flourish, politicians and their critics need to focus on the bigger picture, not its segments.

This week the pressure groups had a field day, bemoaning the paucity of women in big political jobs, or complaining about those few who are given them. Maria Miller's resignation cut the proportion in the cabinet by a quarter. Her job as culture secretary and equalities minister went to the treasury minister, Sajid Javid, her brief as women's minister to another treasury minister, Nicky Morgan, who also moved up the treasury ladder to Javid's vacant job.

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