For much of last week politics was dominated by David Cameron’s ‘EU Speech’. Andrew Rawnsley’s analysis had some interesting observations, such as the fact that much of the jubilation following the speech came from the ‘enemies on the benches behind him’.
Rawnsley noted that it was the wrong people clapping: “Those most delighted by his promise of an in-out referendum are the visceral Euro-haters for whom he has just fired the starting gun on a five-year campaign to leave Europe whatever he comes back with from any renegotiation.”
The other point that Rawnsley makes rather well is that it is an issue Cameron has previously resisted, but it was a speech he was forced to give for internal party management reasons, and in that, Rawnsley writes, it has been a success, but argues this will be short lived.
Rawnsley warns that after the initial buzz “the speech will prove to be a terrible mistake, quite possibly the fatal error of his premiership. David Cameron has taken a great leap into the dark, which would not be so serious if he were not making his country jump with him.”
Indeed another point, well made, is that Cameron can’t possibly know who he is going to attempt to negotiate with because there are a lot of elections between now and 2017, not least in Germany this autumn. You can read his article in full here.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is to downsize, it will have its funding cut and will inevitably lose some of its power. The Guardian asked, ‘will it lose its purpose?’
As its funding will be slashed from £70m to £17m, many have raised fears about the government’s regard for rights.
It was, as the article points out, a difficult beginning for the EHRC and it required reform. However, several people who are close to the organisation have suggested “there appears to be a deliberate attempt to give the reformed body a lower profile.”
Culture Secretary Maria Miller has confirmed fears in a written response to the Guardian Questions: “Miller acknowledged the change of style and said the EHRC should avoid being a campaigning or lobbying organisation.” She said: “Of course we need impassioned lobbyists in the area of equalities but that is not the role of the EHRC. It shouldn’t be leading emotive campaigns; rather its role is to be an expert witness [and] to make recommendations on the basis of the facts”.