Monday, 2 February 2009


I will give a prize to anyone who can give me a good reason why anyone who cares not a jot for notions of civic responsibility should vote in the June european elections.

It is a fact that MEPs can have more influence over the shaping of laws than MPs possess. It's a consequence of the separation Of powers and of the personally non-combative nature of the institution. But the Parliament is not an executive body and has no say over taxes or foreign policy. At best it is worthy not exciting.

We need to give people some positive reasons for voting in the European elections, and we need to attract their interest. So I am glad that Nick Clegg is keen to take the fight to the EU's opponents.

I've met with Dunfermline MP Willie Rennie who is in charge of messages. He wants clear differentiation between our policies and those of our opponents.

Let's give them a fight, and if we can't do that let's give them a show. Lot of work to do to agree the messages but the campaign might be more interesting than I had grown to expect.


Anonymous said...

Reasons not to vote in the European Elections:

1) MEPs cannot hold the commission to account. This is a legislature that has no control over the executive. Until they are given the right to sack commissioners the commission will continue in its corrupt ways.

2) The Strasbourg issue. The European parliament shows how out of touch it is with the people of Europe with their annual move between cities. This is an incredebly expensive farce and shows just how little the parliament cares for the people they claim to represent. Until this is stopped we can consider the parliament to be incapable of ruling itself, let alone a continent.

3) People do not vote in European elections on European issues, they vote out of party loyalty or to give the British government a kicking. This is not proper democracy because people do not understand what they are voting for.

4) MEPs do not pay British taxes. Just like in the Lords there should be 'no representation without taxation'.

I think you will agree I deserve four prizes.

Anonymous said...

In reply to Jimmy:

1) MEPs can veto the Commission after holding confirmation hearings.

2) The Parliament has tried many times to have only one seat, the one in Brussels. Strasbourg is written into the Treaties that govern the EU. It is national Governments that make Strasbourg happen, NOT the Parliament.

3) We don't get to decide what reasons people need to have for casting their vote.

4) British MEPs pay British taxes. Other countries MEPs pay the taxes of their home countries. Your point 4 is simply wrong!

Anonymous said...


1. Yes, the entire commission. From BBC News site:
The problem for MEPs is that although they have a "nuclear" option to sack all 20 commissioners, they cannot dismiss individuals.
In reality they have never taken the nuclear option, nor are they likely to.

2. This demonstrates just how weak the parliament is.

3. Why bother voting for an MEP if the majority of electors are not voting on the relevant issues? Until political parties pledge to stick to European issues, and not the Iraq war or the state of the economy, the elections are not relevant.

4. My information may be out of date:
This article from 2003 says MEPs are "exempt [] from British tax and national insurance, and instead charge a special EU income tax of between 15 per cent and 17 per cent".

Perhaps things have changed in the last parliament. Can you confirm that this is no longer that case and that this shocking system has been ended?

Josiah said...

Are you going to respond to this Chris or has Jimmy got it spot on ?

I was going to vote for a Lib Dem but quite frankly having actually looked into you as individuals I'd rather give it to an independent candidate now.