Top Gear UK’s Christmas special had hype surrounding it. Many were excited with the trailer shown on television. Post-viewing, many had expressed their disappointment regarding the episode.
Many on social media expressed that the episode was ‘boring’, ‘childish’ and ‘a risky joke’. Some even said that the ending was quite surprising, but a bit too crazy for its own good.
The episode became controversial after the Top Gear production crew was chased out by Argentinian protesters angered by the number H982FKL on Clarkson’s Porshe, a reference to the 1982 Falklands War.
However, some viewers found the ending to be exciting, terrifying and scary. Some expressed relief that the crew were all safe.
The plot was that the three hosts of the show, Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, were warned that they were the key target and they should not drive to the Argentinian border with their crew. The plot was sprinkled with humour all around.
According to outgoing European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, UK Prime Minister David Cameron might make a regretful “historic mistake” if he continues to shun the EU and push immigration reforms. He said that the UK is in danger of being isolated in the continent if the UK continues to alienate its European allies to push the agenda of many.
Cameron currently intends to re-negotiate UK’s position in the European Union. He is set to have an In/Out Referendum should he remain in office in 2016.
Barroso warns him of “provocative talk” about immigration and folding below UKIP’s pressure to reclaim UK’s border controls. He referred to Margaret Thatcher, who stood up in defiance of UKIP and not just giving into popular opinion.
Barroso also warned that any attempt by the UK to adjust the cap on the number of EU migrants it accepts would breach the EU “fundamental principle” of the free movement of labour. He added that Britain would lose its “international clout” if it decides to go against the European Union.
Jose Manuel Barroso, a former Prime Minister of Portugal, is retiring by the end of October after 10 years of presidency in the European Commission. He noted that very few UK officials were working in Brussels helping to shape EU policy. According to Barroso, “constant criticism and a pending existentialist debate do not make us the most attractive employer for young British graduates.
Around 800,000 policemen, teachers and nurse will be relieved from their 40% tax duties under the new Tory plans. The plans will uplift the middle class from their ‘fiscal drag.’
The 40% tax rate introduced by then-Chancellor Nigel Lawson in 1988, a major reduction to the 60% threshold. It only had one out of 15 individuals caught in the 40% rate. Today, the figure is now one in six.
Four million middle class employees are shouldering the heavy fiscal burden. The Independent Office for Budget Responsibility noted that within two decades, one in three workers will be paying for the 40% tax rate.
Former Tory Cabinet Minister John Redwood said the rates were never intended for the nurses, police, teachers or even skilled workmen.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said that the Conservative Party is the ‘trade union for hardworking people.’ Cameron said that no one earning below £50,000 should pay the heavy 40% tax rate. He said that he would love to bring back some fairness to taxes.
According to Institute of Directors Member Simon Walker, the move was ‘a bold overdue correction to a tax system that was sucking in more and more medium earners.’
Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales said that these proposed tax cuts will appeal to both low and middle income earners. It may also derail plans to tackle the deficit and public debt.
British Prime Minister David Cameron’s reputation is on the line if Westminster cannot grant its promised devolution powers to Scotland. Different party members continue to argue about the balance of powers and rights England will lose against Scotland if they give Scotland what it wants.
MPs gathered in Cameron’s country residence to hear their say regarding the granting of additional devolution powers and discuss what the Prime Minister could do.
According to Conservative lawmaker James Wharton, Cameron has to know that England could be at a disadvantage if Scotland receives its new powers. He stressed the need to do something for England to ensure a balance of power between the two states.
Lawmaker Claire Perry, a Conservative, said that Scotland will receive “financial party bags” should Westminster grant them additional funding per head.
Meanwhile, the SNP, who strongly advocated the independence of Scotland from Westminster, said that Scots who voted “No” have been tricked by the English government into staying. First Minister Alex Salmond said that he feels bad for the No voters as this was what they expected Westminster will do in the first place.
Cameron is expected to hold a vote in parliament regarding the English complications that could be caused by an increase in power for Scotland. The Conservative party is also at “loggerheads” with the Labour party, who didn’t support the idea of voting for a solution before the next election.
Ashya King, a five year-old boy, had a very fatal brain tumour as his parents had taken him from the NHS’ custody in Southampton and were found in Spain. The Spanish High Court judge had ruled that Ashya King’s parents will be kept in police custody for 72 hours. The parents fought to ensure that the three of them remained in Spain and not extradited to the United Kingdom.
Ashya was found with his parents in Malaga on Saturday after an international search was carried out when he was removed from a ward on Thursday. Meanwhile, Assistant Chief Constable Chris Shead did not apologise regarding the way officers had conducted the search for the family and the boy.
The NHS had advised that Ashya was in “grave danger” because of his brain tumour.
Mr and Mrs King, who were found with the boy, were arrested in Malaga after being found on Saturday. A Downing Street spokesman said that Ashya will receive “the best medical care” and that it was “an understandable parental instinct to want what is best for the child and it is also understandable that relevant authorities with responsibility for the welfare of children will take an immediate interest in such cases.”
A Hospital Spokesman in Malaga had confirmed that Ashya is now in a stable condition. Mr. King said that the family wanted to provide proton beam therapy for Ashya, but the NHS will not provide. Meanwhile, the two parents were not charged with any crimes in Spain.
The video of a freelance journalist, James Foley, beheaded by an ISIS fighter with a British accent had sent British Prime Minister David Cameron back into the capital to create an emergency meeting regarding the British response to the threat.
According to the government, it is aware that there are British members among the Islamic State evident as the spokesperson in the video who beheaded James Foley had a British accent. They also warned that if ISIS were to gain Iran and Syria it could launch international attacks easily. British members of the terrorist group could also bring the danger into Europe.
A No 10 Spokeswoman had called the act “shocking and depraved.” The Spokeswoman also revealed that the Prime Minister is meeting with the Foreign Secretary and Senior Home Office Officials and other Offices to discuss the situation.
Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said in a Radio 4 Programme that Iran and Syria will be ISIS’ targets as their base for launching attacks against Europe and other countries. The fears of the Foreign Office is when the British fighters from ISIS returns. The individuals may bring state trouble if they are not contained properly.
He also said that the UK government opposes the ISIS with “every breath in our body.”
However, the UK retains its policy not to use ground troops in any event in Iraq, saying that they would only be sent in Iraq for training but not as combatants.
According to London Mayor Boris Johnson, leaving the EU is a better option for the capital, rather than staying in an unchanging EU that does little for UK’s growth. Johnson said that UK Prime Minister David Cameron must be proactive and bold in demanding a renegotiation of UK’s EU membership.
Meanwhile, the Conservative party of Cameron had promised to hold open talks regarding the EU relations.
Johnson said that London’s £350 billion yearly could expand to £650 billion yearly by 2034 should EU agree to have London given new reforms, including trading with emerging markets. It could grow to £614 should the United Kingdom decide to pursue trade-friendly policies.
Meanwhile, the numbers become smaller, about £495 billion if the UK stays without a word from the EU
Gerard Lyons, a Sunday Times and Sunday Telegraph banker, believes that the UK belonging in a reformed EU is the best scenario for the UK in the next 20 years.
Johnson said the UK must have no fear if it should leave the European Union. His comments are the latest in a series of prominent figures calling on Cameron to separate from the EU if the talks regarding its needs fail.
According to new Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, the UK could leave EU if it does not allow major UK concessions. He said it was “pretty clear” that UK voters will reject EU membership in 2017 if they see no major changes in the EU in working with the United Kingdom’s interests. He added that other EU countries saw that change was needed.
Hammond stressed that “the status quo is not an acceptable way to run the Europe in future”. He added that the EU’s new offer had no change or negotiation. He iterated that it was his job to ensure that re-negotiation takes place for the good of the United Kingdom in the EU.
Hammond aims to ensure that there is change in balance in the competencies between the EU’s nations, have a resolution on how the EU could succeed and co-exist with non-Eurozone members, and ultimately work for the United Kingdom as well.
Political analysts saw Hammond’s assignment to Foreign Secretary as an attempt by British Prime Minister David Cameron’s conservative party to win back UKIP converters, those who have lost faith in the conservative government.
However, many Tories continue to place doubt on Philip Hammond’s capabilities to achieve major changes that will work for the United Kingdom in the European Union. His predecessor, Ken Clarke, warned that “right-wing headbangers” have invaded the Tory debate regarding the EU.
According to Newstatesman.com writer Bryan Glass, England has more to gain if Scotland voted for its sovereignty. He said that “devo max” is a bribe proposed by the UK to give the Scottish parliament more powers from Westminster. However, many people, including Scots, find the offer to be too late. Glass implies that nobody will believe that devo max would ever change the minds of the Scottish people or its government in a sudden surprise.
Glass views that if Scotland remains in England with the promise of devo max, it would only hurt England because Scotland will continue to ask for more powers. As compared to them having their own government, economy and constitution, they can grant all the powers sovereignty could give them, without troubling the entire United Kingdom.
Once Scotland also gains its independence, it would allow reinvestment of allocated Scotland funds to other areas of the United Kingdom. He also indicated that it could help resolve the West Lothian question, which allows Scottish MPs to vote on the legislation of England that does not affect Scotland directly.
Glass iterated that the problem is only cultural attachment and its historical union, but the facts are clear that Scotland’s independence weights big benefits for the United Kingdom, and would not affect England’s and Scotland’s productivity.
According to UK political analysts, it is highly possible that Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond, could only become a lobbyist in Westminster if Scotland ever wins its independence vote.
Analysts said that Scotland will have all the sovereignty to make political decisions independent of the United Kingdom, but it would reduce its capability to influence decisions in UK’s Westminster. Currently, Scotland has MPs who could express the opinion of Scotland and have heavy political leverage.
Scotland will also be unable to share the Pound Sterling with the rest of the United Kingdom. The entire country will enjoy the fruits of its decisions, but in the end, the terms of its independence also relies on other countries, including the members of the United Kingdom, as to the rights that it has.
With weakening influence, Scotland is likened to a “fax democracy” by political analysts. They describe fax democracies as proposals of council ministers being literally faxed to the offices of Westminster should it want to lobby for anything. Yet, as being only paper, it becomes weak.
Scotland’s political leverage will have severe reductions, which could affect its growth, aside from a reset credit rating and the restarting of its currency away from the Pound Sterling.