A Special Status Inside the European Union

After long and agonising talks with other EU leaders in Brussels, David Cameron has finally struck a deal over Britain’s future in Europe.

Shortly after the talks David Cameron said in a press conference that, “I have negotiated a deal to give the United Kingdom special status inside the European Union.”

Donald Tusk, President of the European Council announced the agreement after more than 24 hours of intense discussions over British demands to curb benefits for migrant workers. “Unanimous support for new settlement for the UK in Europe,” he said after a final agreement was signed off at dinner of 28 EU members in Brussels.

Whilst compromises had to be made by Cameron such as restricting welfare payments to Eastern European workers, the deal as a whole will be viewed as a victory for the Prime Minister.

“Britain will be permanently out of ever-closer union, never part of a European super-state, there will be tough new restrictions to our welfare system for EU migrants – no more something for nothing – Britain will never join the euro and we’ve secured vital protections for our economy.”

So what are the key points from the deal:

  • If a bail out is required of another EU member country, the British taxpayer will be reimbursed.
  • British businesses cannot be discriminated against just because they are outside the Euro zone.
  • Safeguards for Britain’s large financial services industry to prevent eurozone regulations being imposed on it
  • the Euro zone cannot act as a block to undermine the single market.
  • the pound will be protected as the EU has agreed there is more than one currency and responsibility for securing the financial stability of the UK remains in the hands of the UK.
  • It will be easier for services industries to compete in the EU and for businesses to access capital, and the EU has given commitments it will establish trade deals with other blocs, meaning a boost to competition
  • On migration, there will be new powers to stop criminals and suspected terrorists from coming to the UK and to deport them if they commit crime.
  • On benefits, anyone coming to the UK from the EU who does not find work within six months can be required to leave
  • there will be an emergency brake that allows the UK to stop paying in-work benefits for seven years, and EU migrants working in Britain can no longer send child benefit home at UK rates.
  • On protections against further union, treaties will be changed so that the principle of an ‘ever-closer’ union will not apply to Britain. This specifically means that Britain can’t be forced into further political integration.
  • It will become easier for governments to block unwanted legislation, If 55% of national EU parliaments object to a piece of EU legislation it may be rethought.

Now all that’s left to do is to start campaigning! The IN vs OUT referendum will take place on the 23rd of June.

Elephants in the Commons

 

On the day of the 2nd strike over the Junior Doctors Contract, not once was it mentioned at Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons. David Cameron was subjected to half an hour of questions on the day of the strike but neither he, nor Jeremy Corbyn, nor any backbencher from any party raised the subject.

Questions asked by Jeremy Corbyn were mainly about the housing crisis and especially how young people would be able to afford to buy homes.

The closest any politician came to implicitly mentioning the medics’ stoppage was Corbyn wearing a pro-trade union badge on his label reading “heart unions”. The badge was however a nod towards the campaign to stop the Government’s proposed anti-trade union laws, rather than direct reference to the strike.

There are no urgent questions or statements about the strike scheduled for later today, meaning the main platform for discussing it in Parliament has been missed.

Labour’s lack of will to capitalise on the strike in the Commons comes despite a very high proportion of the public blaming the Government for it. An Ipsos MORI poll for the Health Service Journal found 64 per cent of people believe the Government is to blame for the strike, while 13 per cent say junior doctors are. Whilst according to a poll by Sky News, 74% of people back today’s walkout by junior doctors.

A Department of Health spokesperson said this morning: “This strike is completely unnecessary. It is very disappointing that tens of thousands of patients and NHS staff have been inconvenienced by the BMA.”

Other significant issues that were missed out during PMQs was questions regarding the EU referendum. The topic was ignored by MPs, despite it dominating much of the discussion in Westminster ahead of next week’s crunch EU summit. A subject which in recent weeks’ has dominated news’ headlines was not questioned even once.

David Cameron was not asked about his mother, Mary. Earlier this week it was revealed she had put her name to a campaign against plans by Conservative run Oxfordshire County Council to close a number of children’s centres as a result of government cuts. Cuts introduced by her son. However, again the issue was ignored.

Furthermore, recently published figures have revealed cases where children have been admitted to A&E and were diagnosed with psychiatric disorders – and had also intentionally harmed themselves – has more than doubled since 2011. The statistics show that self-harm among those with mental health problems under the age of 18 rose from 1,098 in 2010/11 to 2,313 in 2014/15. The figures also come as the number of children diagnosed with mental illnesses has more than doubled in five years, and cases of intentional self-harm have also surged. However the topic was not raised by MPs at today’s prime minister’s questions.

David Cameron must think PMQs nowadays are just a stroll in the park. Jeremy Corbyn ought to step it up, if he really wants to see David Cameron begin to wobble.

Labours’ Lack of Direction and Cohesiveness

A fourth shadow cabinet minister resigned today, and similarly to the previous three to have resigned, Catherine McKinney, has also cited a lack of direction and, I guess what seems a lack of labour ‘cohesiveness’.

Its another devastating blow for Jeremy Corbyn, a man now under huge pressure to start showing a true sense of leadership and begin to start giving back on the promise of a ‘new politics’, something which he so heavily championed to help him gain leadership of the Labour Party.

But even more importantly for Corbyn, is that he needs to cement together the deepening cracks that are appearing within the Labour Party. Anger over the sacking of Pat McFadden, which prompted the resignation of three other ministers, is further evidence of the worrying times that could be ahead for Jeremy Corbyn and Labour.

This has played well to the ears of David Cameron and the Conservative Party. Not only will the lack of unity in the labour camp and the falling support for Jeremy Corbyn please him, but the reshuffle and the fall out from it has made a nice little distraction from the real problems that are facing the UK and Globally in terms of Politics.

Floods. Junior doctors to go on strike for the first time in 40 years. Britain’s supposed support for the justice system in Saudi Arabia. ISIS. And many more, these are the issues that should be at the focus, but as a result of the problems of the Labour Party, they are sadly not being discussed or as heavily acknowledged as they should be.

One day, hopefully in the near future, Labour will at least become a more unified and stronger opposition and we can focus on the things that really should matter in our world of Politics.