Saturday, May 21, 2005

Being Europe: Part One

Democracy is something we do. It's not in the structures, but in the practice of democracy, that its benefits emerge. So, I'm kicking off a series of blog posts on how to be a democratic Europe. Or, if we want a more democratic EU, how we can do democracy in Europe. As a start, Nosemonkey passes on a cool idea fielded by Labour MP Derek Wyatt. He's passing an Early Day Motion to mandate British MEPs to return to the House of Commons every month and report back on what they've been up to, rather (the key point) than making the risible multi-million pound commute to Strasbourg. This is well worth supporting, because not only does it reinforce the link with their constituencies, it also provides the best way to end the Brussels/Strasbourg duplication. That is, the boycott. After all, the only reason it still happens is because key marginal constituencies in France do very nicely out of EP spending and MEPs' personal spending. And nothing, but nothing, would do more to explode the stereotype of the EU as wasteful, byzantine and generally evil than to end this porkbarrel nonsense.

Even though an EDM won't become law, we could still campaign for voluntary action by MEPs, across Europe and across party. If necessary, pairing could be organised to cover important votes at Strasbourg sessions. Withdrawing the honest would leave the Strasbourg attenders sticking out like a sore thumb and subject them to peer pressure.

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