More EU largesse and waste


by Rumbold
6th March, 2011 at 8:57 pm    

At a time when important services are being cut in this country, eGov monitor highlights yet more waste and largesse from the EU, where MEPs have voted themselves thousands more to run their offices for spurious reasons:

While Europeans are struggling with a sluggish economy and fears of inflation at a time when wages are stagnant, MEPs voted to increase their office allowances by another 1,500 Euros today to run their offices. Nice touch from our elected representatives. MEPs, now have 18,820 Euros to run their offices while most Europeans are finding it tough to make ends meet. This latest move would add 13.2 Million Euros to the European Parliament’s operating budget.

The European law makers or most of them argued that they need the additional money to handle the extra work Lisbon Treaty has entrusted in our elected representatives. But didn’t they use the Lisbon Treaty has a justification for last year’s increase of 1,500 Euros as well? Yes, they did. But the Parliament’s bureau, which is comprised of the parliamentary leadership of the President and his 14 Vice Presidents, thought their colleagues deserved some more of tax payers’ money. According to research by eGov monitor, no other group of legislators are as pampered as our representatives in the European Parliament [read more]

What I have never understood is the reluctance from many on the left (though not all) in this country to criticise the EU’s wasteful spending. Perhaps because most Conservatives now dislike the EU the idea that “my enemy’s enemy is my friend” is seen to apply. This is a clear and repeated case of money being wasted that could be spent on things which are actually useful and are being cut. Criticising the EU doesn’t make an individual anti-European any more than criticising the Coalition government makes one anti-British. Yet how often do we see high profile left wing politicians or commentators condemning EU waste and calling for the billions to be better spent in this country?


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  1. sunny hundal

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  2. eGov monitor

    http://bit.ly/esgDme http://fb.me/TfKqv3X1


  3. TPS

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : More EU largesse and waste http://bit.ly/esgDme


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  1. Jenny — on 6th March, 2011 at 9:43 pm  

    Well said!

  2. Shamit — on 6th March, 2011 at 9:56 pm  

    thanks Rumbold.

    It is not so much about left and right for me – because it was the centre right and the centre left were the two groups which pushed through this shameful office allowances.

    But lefty politicians should pay heed to what David Miliband said today on the Andrew Marr show. Since the first world war, for the first time, the UK, France, Germany, Sweden, Holland, Austria – all have centre right governments.

    Why did this happen? there are undoubtedly many reasons but not challenging European elitism and not giving people the voice about Lisbon Treaty surely played some role in it.

    And history has shown that no institution especially related to governance cannot be effective without democratic mandate and accountability – and EU surely lacks both.

  3. douglas clark — on 6th March, 2011 at 11:56 pm  

    Shamit,

    You are partly right. However Rumbold is not, I think, for making the whole European project more accountable nor more democratic.

    He is, instead, in favour of dismantling it.

    For he shares the fear of many in England that they have not just lost an empire, they have become the client state of another one.

    It therefor verges on a superiority complex about the ‘true born Englishman’ who supports eccentric judgments just because of his inalienable right to do so.

    Or, indeed, being English.

    Indeed, being English, it seems to me, is to elevate contrariness to an art form.

    Hence, he only sees the deficit and none of the advantages.

    To that extent he has moved to UKIP.

    I suppose it’s progress, after a fashion. ;-)

    I am, despite all of that, very fond of Rumbold. For it takes an eccentric Englishman to push issues that no-one else does. He has lit a beacon under female infanticide and indeed women’s oppression generally.

    And there is a different kind of internationalism in his comments usually. I don’t know about you, but I find myself caring about what happens to Dr. Mitu Khurana.

    I would never have heard of her without Rumbold making her case.

    But he has blind-spots and European integration is one of them.

  4. Boyo — on 7th March, 2011 at 7:52 am  

    As a democratic socialist I am broadly suspicious of the EU as an anti-democratic phenomenon, although I have some sympathy with it for the clear benefits it has delivered in terms of trade, travel, and peace.

    I disagree with the leftist tendency that because it resembles a “collective” it is somehow socialistic – on the contrary it can conversely be seen to enshrine capitalism. It is often only the refusal of states to abide by its rules that maintains fairer societies. The phenomenon of “feathering ones own nest” is as much a capitalist as socialist activity.

    I would add that democracy, always more of an idea rather than reality in the UK, is currently dying fast – not necessarily by a thousand cuts, which all parties went to the polls on – but by the complete reversal of promises, eg on the NHS and tuition fees, which would have made it a very different election. Many less would have voted Tory if they had known they would destroy the NHS, and less still Lib Dem if they had known they would assist them.

    What we are seeing in fact Rumbold, seemingly accelerating now as it comes in to closer focus in the UK, is a global trend to roll back democracy. Globalisation makes nation states less powerful, so global bodies are required. Global bodies have little accountability. Europe is getting poorer and may not ever truly recover from the latest shock, so the elites are busy hoovering up power as quickly as possible. AV or PR are hardly meaningful if politicians treat promises with such contempt.

    Your libertarian agenda is a waste of time, as economics rules. Capitalism actually equals corporatism in today’s world, as the Shock Doctrine eloquently illustrates. It is little wonder then that this is reflected in corporatism in Brussels and at home.

  5. MaidMarian — on 7th March, 2011 at 8:45 am  

    ‘Criticising the EU doesn’t make an individual anti-European any more than criticising the Coalition government makes one anti-British.’

    Stealing a line from Angela Merkel – very Euro-outlook Rumbold.

    Perhaps following on from Douglas Clark’s thoughts Rumbold – how about you set out your vision of the ‘ideal’ Europe you would like to see instead of just using it as something onto which you project your psychodrama?

    To be clear, not getting at you here, genuine question.

  6. MaidMarian — on 7th March, 2011 at 8:54 am  

    Boyo – ‘I disagree with the leftist tendency that because it resembles a “collective” it is somehow socialistic’

    I have no idea how you see that as a ‘leftist tendency.’ The post-1945 Labour governments had a strangely distant relationship with the then common market (try looking up Russell Bretherton for an idea). Gaitskell was cool at best to Europe and Wilson and Callaghan would certainly be seen today as anti-European, though they did it more as a pro-US thing which would likely be unacceptable today. Foot stood on a manifesto that appeared to suggest withdrawal. It was not until Smith that Labour had anything like a pro-EU leader.

    Indeed, rail about ‘culture’ as the neo-thatcherites may, they just love the wage deflation, high labour market competition and capital movements that the corporate-right vision of Europe reifies. Probably this is why the Condervatives stop short of calling for withdrawal.

    I’ll say something that will likely go against the grain – Europe is probably stronger than it looks. Often throughout history that is the case. Expenses are great as a piece if website knockabout. But what this story shows is that Rumbold thinks about money – an awful lot. What he is less good at is thinking about strategy and place in the world.

    By the way – the idea that democracy is not real in the UK suggests that you yourself have never been to an undemocratic country.

  7. Boyo — on 7th March, 2011 at 9:23 am  

    “suggests that you yourself have never been to an undemocratic country.”

    Ha. How little you know.

    One undemocratic country does not make another more democratic. Wealth and ease does not make a society more democratic, as Brave New World eloquently illustrates. Keep popping the soma ;-)

  8. MaidMarian — on 7th March, 2011 at 9:31 am  

    ‘One undemocratic country does not make another more democratic. Wealth and ease does not make a society more democratic,’

    No it does not. My point however was that whilst there are genuinely valid criticisms to me made about the quality of governance in Britain today, hysterics like, ‘undemocratic,’ rather diminish them.

    And as for Huxley, well better than the overrated tosh that Eric Blair pumped out certainly, but not a great work of prophecy either.

  9. Boyo — on 7th March, 2011 at 9:34 am  

    It’s an interesting point however – a vote every five years within a system which excludes all but the most powerful parties, chosen on promises they immediately break. Someone made a good point somewhere that were politicians business you could sue them for breach of promise.

    I think making pre-election promises legally binding would do much for democracy, however slight.

  10. Rumbold — on 7th March, 2011 at 9:42 am  

    Shamit:

    Yes, the centre-right in Europe is as corrupt as the centre-left. I was thinking more about the left in this country though, and their reluctance to criticise an undemocratic and corrupt system.

    Boyo:

    As a democratic socialist I am broadly suspicious of the EU as an anti-democratic phenomenon, although I have some sympathy with it for the clear benefits it has delivered in terms of trade, travel, and peace.

    As a democratic non-socialist I agree, though I regard the EU’s contribution to peace as an impact on the countries wishing to join it, rather than states like France and Germany.

    Capitalism actually equals corporatism in today’s world, as the Shock Doctrine eloquently illustrates.

    Surprising though it may seem, I am not a massive fan of capitalism either, especially, as you say, when it is corporatist in nature. And it is at present, with big companies getting plush contracts with the government and ministers and civil servants joining big companies for lots of money. I am a staunch free marketer, and would like to see this corporatist behaviour curbed.

    Douglas and MaidMarian:

    My vision of the EU? Well, I think there should be some sort of EU. An EU with free movement of trade, capital, services and people. Nothing else. There would be no Euro parliament or expensive commission. National parliaments would be free to set their own laws providing they did not interfere with freedoms above. Countries would be free to set their own trade policies, again, providing they did not conflict with free trade within Europe. There would be no need for EuroTV, or a Euro, or an EU foreign service.

  11. Boyo — on 7th March, 2011 at 10:11 am  

    Rumbold, we share the same view on the EU at least!

  12. Boyo — on 7th March, 2011 at 10:11 am  

    I would add though that it is the nature of Man to suck power to himself, and man-made institutions to do the same. It is social Darwinism…

  13. Rumbold — on 7th March, 2011 at 10:17 am  

    Great minds eh Boyo…

  14. douglas clark — on 7th March, 2011 at 10:51 am  

    Great minds?

    Oh well ;-)

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