EU | Well d’uh

19 03 2010

Should have posted this ages ago, d’uh!

Dan Hannan, an MEP who has been ‘fighting’ the EU from the inside for over a decade in the political cesspool of Europe, once again proving he is in the wrong party.  That or he has fallen victim to the European Easy-Life and is nothing more than a stooge who provides the Euroskeptics a release valve.

Brussels is run by and for lobby groups

Last updated: March 12th, 2010

Nearly two years after the European Commission introduced a register for lobbyists, only 40 per cent of Brussels lobbying firms have signed up (hat-tip, EUObserver). Forty per cent, that is, of the 286 companies that explicitly market themselves as Brussels political consultants. We’re not talking here about the in-house lobbyists of the big corporations, nor of trade and professional associations, nor yet of the lobbying-at-one-remove that can be undertaken through proxies, so as to avoid having to declare meetings.

Nor, needless to say, are we talking about lobbying by green pressure groups which, as we discovered earlier this week, often fund their activism with grants that have come from the EU. Nor yet about lobbying by the mega-charities, which also receive tens of millions of euros from Brussels. Include all these, and the register would start to look like a Yellow Pages.

Lobbying is not intrinsically wrong. Indeed, three of my oldest and dearest friends have become lobbyists, and I can’t imagine them ever behaving unethically. The trouble is that the Brussels system cuts out the voter, concentrating power in the hands of unelected functionaries and, to a lesser extent, anonymous Euro-MPs. Lobbyists, naturally enough, have filled the vacuum.

Perhaps the best option is to do a John Redwood: that is, to refuse to deal with any lobbyists, however benign their motives. This attitude is doubtless unfair to many wholly innocent public affairs people; but it avoids any appearance of conflict of interest. And here’s the thing: if you have a problem, you can write directly to your elected representative. Nine times out of ten, he or she will take up your case for nothing.

Lobby groups are nothing more than ‘special interest groups’.  Think-tanks, Charidees, Non-Government Organisations and Corporations want to borrow the violent power of government to further their special interests.  They have no interest in asking Politicians, only buying them.

With the concentration of power in Brussels, it becomes so much easier for these special interest groups due to the fact that instead of buttering up umpteen politicians from umpteen nations, they can do so in the comfort of Strasbourg or Brussels.




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