About paulhaydon

I'm a masters student studying European Public Policy at UCL. I enjoy writing political comment pieces and have had a number of articles published in various student publications.

UKIP MANAGER

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As the January transfer window draws to a close today, football clubs in the UK have been buying up some of the best footballing talent in the world.

Most people can’t wait to see Juan Mata or Nemanja Matic in action. Not UKIP.

In fact, UKIP have said that British clubs should be banned from having more than three overseas footballers in their starting lineup. 

That would force managers to make some pretty tough decisions about who they would keep and who they would give the boot.

Where would that leave your favourite team? Who would you keep and who would you send home? Toure or Silva? Negredo or Aguero? Oscar or Hazard?

Click on any of the teams below to play UKIP Manager. Scroll up when you’re done to see how others voted, you can then let others know your top three choices on Twitter and Facebook using #UKIPmanager.

If you agree that UKIP’s off-the-wall ideas would be bad for the Premiership and bad for Britain, you can sign the Lib Dem #whyiamIN petition here.

Manchester City

Liverpool

Manchester United

Arsenal

Chelsea

Tottenham

6 Contradictions in Cameron’s speech

1. Austerity

  “People are increasingly frustrated that decisions taken further and further away from them mean their living standards are slashed through enforced austerity.”

 “It is through the Greek Parliament that Antonis Samaras has to pass his Government’s austerity measures.”

 2. Justice and Home Affairs

 Nations must “work together against terrorism and organised crime,”

 We should “return some existing justice and home affairs powers.”

 3. Single Market

 “For the single market to function we need a common set of rules and a way of enforcing them.”

 “Let us not be misled by the fallacy that a deep and workable single market requires everything to be harmonised, to hanker after some unattainable and infinitely level playing field.”

 4. Referendum

 “Now – while the EU is in flux, and when we don’t know what the future holds and what sort of EU will emerge from this crisis is not the right time to make such a momentous decision about the future of our country.”

 “When we have negotiated that new settlement, we will give the British people a referendum with a very simple in or out choice. To stay in the EU on these new terms; or come out altogether. It will be an in-out referendum.”

 5. Competitiveness Council

 “When the competitiveness of the Single Market is so important, why is there an environment council, a transport council, an education council but not a single market council?”

 There is already a Competitiveness Council.

 6. Democracy

 “My fourth principle is democratic accountability: we need to have a bigger and more significant role for national parliaments.”

Does this include the unelected House of Lords?

EU membership is crucial to Britain’s growing car industry

nissan leaf uk

We may have just overtaken Brazil to become the world’s sixth largest economy, but the overall economic outlook for the UK remains relatively bleak. Some economists foresee a full-blown triple-dip recession, and with consumer spending and domestic investment remaining sluggishand more public spending cuts just round the corner, even minimal economic growth will be highly dependent on an increase in British exports.

Despite the doom and gloom, one sector continues to provide a small glimmer of hope: the British car industry. Rapid growth in output and productivity is bucking the wider trend of relative economic decline and restoring the UK’s position as a global manufacturing hub. This resurgence has been driven by a range of factors, but especially important has been an increase in foreign investment, international trade and innovation. In each of these areas, Britain’s membership of the EU remains crucial. Continue reading

Boris Johnson knows how to play the Eurosceptic press

Boris Johnson

On Tuesday, Boris Johnson made his latest thinly veiled bid for the Tory leadership, outlining his own distinctive vision of Britain’s relationship with the EU ahead of David Cameron’s crucial, defining speech on Europe later this month. He called for Britain’s EU membership to be “boiled down to the single market”, scrapping the social chapter and other pesky regulations from Brussels. He then went on to suggest that Britain should join the “outer tier” of Europe along with Switzerland and Norway, while maintaining an active role in shaping single market legislation.

Never mind that neither Norway nor Switzerland’s relationship with the EU is purely based on free trade, never mind that minimum social and employment standards are an inextricable part of the single market: Johnson knows how to play the keys of Eurosceptic press like a concert pianist. This may just be because when it comes to British Euroscepticism, Boris Johnson invented the Steinway. Continue reading

Theresa May’s opt-out mess

Stephen Booth of Open Europe was alone in defending the UK government’s plan to opt out of 130 EU police and judicial measure at a Law Society debate last week. Even he pointed to the list of 60 measures of ‘practical value’ to the UK compiled by prominent Tory eurosceptic Dominic Raab. These include the instruments governing Europol, Eurojust and even the oft-maligned European Arrest Warrant.

Professor John Spencer, author of a Cambridge University paper on this topic, hit back at some of the arguments being made in favour of the opt out. He first pointed to the letter to the Telegraphin January 2012, signed by 102 Tory MPs and calling for a mass opt out. Of the three measures mentioned in the letter – the European Public Prosecutor, the European Investigation Order and the European Arrest Warrant – only the third is even covered by the opt out. Continue reading

Focusing on the size of the EU budget is side-lining the wider issue of what it is spent on

The outcome of the EU budget summit last week was not as bad as it could have been. Cameron did not wield his veto, as he was threatening to just a few days before. And while EU Leaders did not reach a final agreement, progress was made towards reaching a compromise at the next Council meeting in early 2013. Crucially, the UK was able to drum up support for a real-terms freeze amongst like-minded member states such as Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden. This is in stark contrast to our self-imposed isolation following Cameron’s blocking of EU-wide treaty change last December.

However, Cameron’s focus on preventing a rise in spending is side-lining the wider issue of EU budget reform. Continue reading

To get the best deal on the EU budget we must engage with our natural allies

Although the Commons vote on the EU budget isn’t binding, the Government is now under pressure to make demands that simply cannot be met. Calling for a real-terms cut in the EU budget would not only be unrealistic, but would undermine the government’s ability to negotiate effectively and reach a much-needed compromise with other member states. Continue reading

In Sweden, smokers have another option – Snus

 

Snus

I tried to quit smoking this month. I lasted a decidedly unimpressive five days. I have tried all the remedies – patches, gums and going cold turkey – but none of them worked. Meeting friends for a patch and a pint down the pub or joining a colleague for a stick of nicotine gum after work just doesn’t have the same social appeal as smoking.

In Sweden, ex-smokers have another option: Snus, small bags of moist tobacco that are placed under your top lip. Consumed in Scandinavia since the mid-19th century, the popularity of Snus rose significantly from the 1970s onwards, as people became increasingly aware of the dangers of smoking. The proportion of male smokers fell dramatically from 40% in 1976 to just 15% in 2002. Almost a third of ex-smokers used Snus when quitting, and those who did were about 50% more likely to succeed. Continue reading

Peter Mandelson: Government putting UK interests at risk

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Peter Mandelson argued passionately for greater British engagement in Europe at a debate last Thursday on the implications of further Eurozone integration for the UK. He criticised David Cameron for threatening to veto the upcoming EU budget, which he said amounted to saying the UK’s opening position will be its final position, thus “leaving no scope for negotiation.” With vital British interests at stake, particularly regarding the planned Eurozone banking union, Mandelson argued that it was crucial for the UK to shape legislation on financial services as much as possible. He therefore stressed that “rigid positions and veto threats won’t help to ingratiate ourselves, negotiate effectively and protect British interests.” Continue reading

Why the EU deserves the Nobel Peace Prize

The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the EU on Friday was met with predictable derision from the likes of Nigel Farage, who described it the decision as “baffling,” and leader of the Tory MEPs  Martin Callanan, who said it was “a little late for an April Fools’ Joke.”  Admittedly, the current social unrest across Southern Europe made the award seem a little incongruous, especially coming just days after Angela Merkel’s visit to Greece was met with violent protests in Athens. Yet in fact, this was precisely the logic behind the decision by the Norwegian committee, as explained in their statement; that in these times of instability it is especially important to remember the EU’s contribution to peace and prosperity on the continent. In this way the award serves both as a timely reminder of what the EU has achieved, and as a warning of what could happen if it were to collapse. Continue reading

Britain’s prosperity depends on trade with Europe, whatever Ukip may say

Nigel Farage

It is high time Britain left the ailing EU and its burdensome regulations and embraced trade with fast-growing emerging economies. That was the argument put forward by Nigel Farage at his keynote speech this morning at the Ukip conference. It’s an argument that also chimes with a growing body of opinion about the EU’s diminishing importance for British trade, with recent trading statistics showing that Britain’s non-EU exports have risen to their highest levels since records began in 1998 while exports to the beleaguered eurozone continue to fall. However, the idea that Britain’s economic prospects would actually improve were it to leave the EU is deeply misguided. Continue reading

Young, Bright and on the Right – The Tale of Two Tragic Tories

Young, Bright and on the Right,’ the story of two aspiring young Tories at Oxford and Cambridge, definitely made for some entertaining television. Joe and Chris inspire a mixture of loathing, pity and bewilderment as they struggle to navigate the elitist world of Oxbridge Conservative politics, which is characterised by ridiculous outfits, port, cheese and the odd bout of extreme racism. Continue reading

Liberal Democrats need to counter the perception that they are no longer a serious political force

Many of my friends are quite bemused when I say am working for the Liberal Democrats. “They’re a bit of a laughing stock at the moment,” one will say. “They’ll be wiped out at the next election,” another comments. These are not die-hard Labour tribalists or Tory hardliners, who yearn for the end of the Lib Dems and the return to a two-party system. They are just ordinary members of the public, with nothing more than a passing interest in politics.

For me, this is the biggest danger facing the Liberal Democrats: that, despite having been in power for over two years, we are still not being taken seriously as a political party. Continue reading

European countries must work together to solve the asylum crisis

Today marks World Refugee Day, which aims to raise awareness of the plight of the 42.5 million people worldwide who remain forcibly displaced due to conflict and political persecution. The UNHCR’s Global Trends report, released earlier this week, shows how during 2011 major conflicts in Ivory Coast, Libya, Somalia and Sudan caused several major refugee crises, forcing more than 800,000 people into neighbouring countries, the highest in more than a decade, and internally displacing a further 3.5 million within the borders of their own countries.

Yet with world leaders focusing on the fate of the eurozone, the plight of the world’s most vulnerable people is in danger of being overlooked. As well as working together to solve our economic troubles, it is vital that we help the millions of men, women, and children who have been forced from their homes and had their lives thrown into a state of fear and uncertainty.  Continue reading