Return to Website

Number Watch Web Forum

This forum is about wrong numbers in science, politics and the media. It respects good science and good English.

Number Watch Web Forum
Start a New Topic 
View Entire Thread
Re: Re: What is John Brignell talking about?

The problem with politicians is not that they fiddle their expenses. I've been known to fiddle mine. It's that they impose standards on us and fail to meet them themselves. Nobody can get £20,000 pa to run a second house where they need to work and not have it taxed, except MPs. If we get some sort of allowance, we have to produce receipts. There's pretty much nothing left you can get tax-free nowadays. It's not the fiddling, it's the featherbedding that annoys me. It's that they can get caught and not punished because they turn out not to have broken even commons rules, let alone laws. BUT at least we get a vote for our own MPs, in the case of Europe there is a massive disconnect, we can't get rid of them in any legal way, and they do not police themselves properly either, viz the failure of the EUs accounts to pass scrutiny every year without fail. I agree with all of JBs rant. More power to him.

Re: What is John Brignell talking about?

So vote for someone who will change the rules on what MPs can get!

Do you complain as loudly about not getting a vote for the Queen, or the House of Lords, or the British ambassador to the United Nations as you do for not getting a vote for your commissioner? Or is it OK for those persons to be appointed to powerful positions by the government (or accident of birth) because that's the British way of doing things, while European habits of appointing people to powerful positions without a popular vote (European commissioners, President of Germany ...) are unacceptable? Why not petition the government to provide for the election of the UK commissioner by popular vote? There's nothing to stop them doing that. Or vote for an MEP who will keep tabs on the commission as they did with the entire Santer commission and more recently with Rocco Buttiglione. Or bear in mind that nothing the commission proposes currently passes into law without the agreement of all 27 national governments. With that in mind it doesn't really matter how undemocratic the commission is. They could call for the final solution if they really wanted to, but no-one would agree to it, let alone everyone. I can't vote for the civil servants who write German or British law either, and why should I care about that? Do you care about that? Do you want a US-style democracy where you get to choose everyone from king-president to who gets the next 4-year term as chief librarian at tht local high school? That job, like all jobs paid for by the state (taxpayer) should go to whoever is best at it, not whoever can win a five-yearly beauty pageant. The commissioners, like the high school librarians, should be apolitical. That they are not is their own failing and that of those who appointed them.

Provided there's democratic oversight of everything the state might foist on us, including international obligations (I don't remember any referenda on the treaty of Versailles either) we have no democratic deficit. Cave: commissioners, like politicians in general, would do well to remember they are our servants, not our masters.

By the way, when did the UK government's accounts last pass an independent audit? I just want to know so we can draw a fair comparison with the EU commission.