Rapid responses

EU budget battles

[Re: Cameron should wield the UK veto and block the EU’s bloated budget, yesterday]

Priti Patel is emerging as the rising star of the Conservative party, and this spirited encouragement for David Cameron to stand firm on ridiculous EU budget demands just adds to her support for tax reform earlier this week. I do wonder, however, whether anyone is listening. Cameron last used his veto more as an act of showmanship than statesmanship. He’s shown himself singularly helpless at trimming the UK budget, let alone the EU’s much smaller one. Although Patel’s intervention may help push Cameron in the right direction, we shouldn’t be surprised if he agrees to some sort of compromise as usual.

Malcolm Hancock


Privatised roads

[Re: A radical proposal for privatising the UK’s road network, yesterday]

Richard Wellings makes an interesting case, but his argument for privatising the roads has two major flaws. Firstly, although he highlights the potential cost benefits, what is to stop an owner charging motorists hundreds of pounds for using their service? Some major routes have few alternatives (or at least convenient or speedy ones). Some form of government regulation will crop up. Secondly, privatisation will not remove the impetus for green policies against motorists. Whoever owns the roads, the argument for imposing charges on drivers to mitigate against their impact on the environment will remain.

Rupert Brown



Japanese firms announced the purchase of a UK nuclear power plant and the Branston Pickle brand. A strange shopping list.

It’s excellent news that Hitachi is taking over the Horizon nuclear plant. We’re putting together a sustainable energy strategy.

Whoever handles Hurricane Sandy best will surely have an advantage in next week’s presidential election.

It’s encouraging to see the US unite to deal with Sandy, but a shame that next week’s election will divide the country again.