In a long-awaited speech earlier this year, Prime Minister David Cameron declared that if the Conservatives win the next general election, he will renegotiate the terms of Britain’s EU membership and hold a historical referendum on staying in or leaving the EU before the end of 2017. If a vote was taken today, a large majority would vote to leave. Britain’s EU partners are appalled. For if Britain goes, it will be the first country to quit the 27-member union. The consequences for the other members could be momentous.
So will our EU partners accommodate the UK’s wishes for more democratic self-government while we remain signatories to the EU Treaties? Or do we need a new treaty between the EU and the UK based more on the ‘trade and political cooperation’ which most Brits feel is all they wanted in the first place? Diplomat covers all this and more, outlining arguments for and against staying in the Single Market in articles by former Diplomatic Editor of The Times, Michael Binyon and Bernard Jenkin, MP. Ivana Nohel’s striking cover artwork on this topic is also bound to get us noticed!
Diplomat also approaches another political hot potato: immigration into the UK. On 1 January 2014, labour market restrictions will be lifted for Romanians and Bulgarians. As campaigners warn of the arrival of large numbers of unskilled workers in early 2014, the Ambassador of Romania clarifies some common misunderstandings regarding Romanian immigration into the UK. Contrary to reports, he believes that Romanians are not a menace to the British economy and society, but can act as a bridge between our two nations.
As always, Diplomat reviews the credentials of new heads of mission to the Court of St James’s, this month meeting with the High Commissioners for Bangladesh, Dominica, St Lucia and Malawi and the Ambassador of Kosovo. For our series of photographic portraits, we feature His Excellency Mr Witold Sobków, Ambassador of Poland.
In the lifestyle section, Diplomat experiences a weekend in St Petersburg, staying in the magnificent Taleon Imperial Hotel and discovering the city’s rich history, full of dramatic events and major historical figures. We also enjoy the new suites at The Dorchester and dinner at the Royal Garden Hotel’s Park Terrace Restaurant. Readers with a taste for culture will find valuable advice in our book and art reviews, including details of the Design Museum’s intriguing ‘Designs of the Year’ exhibition.