UK Software Patents
Software Patents and the EU Council of Ministers
"UK ministers are thought to support a November 2002 draft drawn up by patent offices across Europe, which would promote software patenting, instead of the September 2003 European Parliament version."
(Apparently) this means far, far fewer restrictions on patenting, and a much more laissez-faire approach to awarding patents, which would be a big step for allowing a US-style approach to the matter.
Anyone in a small-medium business will tell you that, while patents may protect a single, original idea you may have, restrictions on what ideas you can and can't use are ultimately damaging to how flexibly you can work. Owning one idea isn't very useful if all the others are owned by someone else, and owning none at all in such a situation is even more disadvantageous.
Time to write a letter, tomorrow...