BBC Onepolitics show


Last Updated: Friday, 7 December 2007, 13:12 GMT
This week's programme...
Jon Sopel
Jon Sopel
The Politics Show

Hello again...

Offshore wind farm
I must go down to the seas again, to the not so lonely sea and the sky...

With this, our final programme before the New Year, I don't want to come over all the Grinch who stole Christmas... but if we're not careful, the nuclear and coal-fired power stations which supply much of the UK's energy will reach the end of their natural lives in a few years' time.

And then it won't just be the Christmas lights that could go out.

But into the vacuum could renewable energy - things like wind power, wave and tidal power, and solar power.

The government is committed to renewables providing 10% of our energy within three years, and up to 20% 10 years later.

But, given the local resistance to wind farms on our hillsides and the expense of many tidal schemes, the government is poised to announce a massive expansion of offshore wind turbines.

Potentially such a development could meet almost all our household energy needs within a generation.

But will it work?

Will obstacles appear? Is it affordable? I'll be speaking to the Cabinet Minister responsible, John Hutton, and to his Conservative opposite number, Alan Duncan.

Health holidaying

Operating theatre
A room with a healthy view

There are EU laws on the free movement of goods, people and labour, all of which means you might think you'd be able to access a French or German hospital without cost if you want a hip or eye operation and the NHS waiting list is too long.

Except of course you can't. But that might be about to change.

Later this month, the European Commission is likely to approve a new directive which will open up the possibility of patients moving around Europe in search of the shortest queues or best treatments.

And if you're British, the NHS will have to foot the bill.

It sounds like good news for patients, but will it work - and will it be damaging for the NHS back home? Paola Buonadonna reports.

Circus tricks

Could this be the final leap for circus animals?

In 2006, the government passed a law to end the use of wild animals in circuses: they promised it would be the end of the road for lion-tamers and boxing kangaroos.

Once a committee of scientists and experts had proved that using such animals was cruel, the practice would be banned, ministers said.

The only trouble was, the committee they appointed surprised everyone by saying there was no evidence of cruelty to circus animals.

So the law was effectively useless.

Now all sides of the debate are scratching their heads.

Will there be a new law? Is there anything more the government can do to ban circus animals with the law in existence already?

Or will they just quietly let the circuses be?

Roll up ladies and gentlemen, roll up...

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