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February 02, 2004

European elections

I see from todays newspaper that the government is already worried that fewer than 1 in 5 British voters is likely to vote in the forthcoming European Parliament elections. As noted at An Englishman's Castle, the government just don't seem to get this particular message. They plan to launch a big drive to persuade people to vote for their MEP's and to try to persuade us the Europe is "a good thing" to misquote "1066 and all that".

Frankly most of us see the European Parliament as an expensive and useless talking shop which provides very nice little income streams to a bunch of no-hoper politicians from across the EU. Everything they do costs the taxpayers and arm and a leg and is usually also to the distinct disadvantage of the UK who seem to be the only country daft enough to actually adopt all the over prescriptive regulations which flow from Brussels. And its not as if the "Parliament" actually has anything much to do with the regulations beyond either rubber stamping the (unelected) EU Commissioners recommendations or suggesting new ways the Commissioners can really mess up the economies of any state stupid enough to join.

How seriously should we take an organisation which has its seat in Strasbourg (because the French demanded it!) and its headquarters in Brussels. A huge convoy of pantechnicons moves twice weekly between the two to accommodate this separation while, of course, the MEP's themselves shuttle back and forth at our expense in Business Class by air or in First Class by train.

Its almost worth my while swallowing my pride and offering to stand as a candidate just to claw back some of the money I contribute to this gravy train each year!

For my money, scrap the Parliament, reduce the Commission to one representative for each country and allow for a Council - again elected on a ratio of one per country, and by the populace, NOT the sitting government - to direct operations. While we're at it, scrap the bureaucracy in Brussels and devolve it to the national administrations in the member states. If the French want to continue the Common Agricultural Policy, let them pay for it themselves since they're the principle beneficiaries.

I may only be a simple fire fighter at the end of the day, but surely there has to be something irrational about paying billions into this farce in order to receive roughly half back in subsidies? Somehow I think that keeping the money at home in the first place and spending it on our own economy and enterprises makes a damned sight more sense than funding the almost unregulated southern European states to take jobs away from our own populace?

As I said, I am a rather simple soul! Is Guy Fawkes standing?

Posted by The Gray Monk at February 2, 2004 03:00 PM


At least the Brit's haven't swicthed to the euro. Imagine the havic that would cause.

Posted by: Matthew at February 3, 2004 07:53 AM

Just for your info,

Most MEPs do not travel business class. What they do is travel cattle like the rewst of us - just gop to Chareleroi on a Thursday afternoon, you wil see what I mean. But then they get reimburseds for first or business class. The rules preclude them from being paid for the travel costs, merely for what the administration think the travel costs should be.

Posted by: Gawain at February 4, 2004 12:13 PM

If you or I tried that scam, we'd by out of work and in jail for fraud!

Posted by: The Gray Monk at February 5, 2004 01:21 PM