In his first post, Tom Ellis considers why Baroness Ashton’s attendance record is one more reason for Britons to reconsider our relationship with Europe.
After the destruction caused by the two World Wars of the twentieth century few people can deny that the establishment of some sort of a European Union, in the hope of avoiding future hostilities, was a powerful idea.
Of course, thankfully, the current generation of Britons does not fear a loss of identity through military aggression. Even so, many of them have reason to fear such a loss as the result of political and economic measures which are being imposed upon Britain from Brussels.
A Eurosceptic’s ultimate fear is that an overwhelming European hegemony could swallow up Britain and her institutions, and reduce her from being the great nation she still is to a relatively powerless single state within a United States of Europe. This fear emanates from a growing belief that the EU could well come to hold precedence over Britain in many areas of its existence. Unfortunately, the EU already does hold such precedence. There are, of course, the smaller issues which may seem rather irrelevant to some, such as the EU’s new legislation which ban Britons from selling eggs by the dozen. Yet it is just such petty issues that show just how far-reaching Herman Van Rumpuy’s laws are extending into the British domain.
In addition, there are the larger issues such as the European Arrest Warrant, whereby British citizens can be whisked away from their homes and put before a foreign court (which has lower judicial standards than those of a British court), and often charged with only minor offences.
Those are just two examples of the detrimental effects which the EU has upon the individual British citizen. I have not even mentioned the numerous treaties which have been hurried through parliament with a distinct absence of national referenda.
However, for all the EU’s faults and imperfections, at least we have a representative fighting for our interests on the European Commission, the branch of EU government which initiates European legislation, don’t we? It emerged last week that Baroness Ashton, the only British member of the Commission, has the poorest attendance record of all 27 Commissioners. Since this time last year Baroness Ashton has failed to attend 17 meetings, so just who is pushing British interests forward?
Only the EU, a union with a tradition of appointing senior posts without the vote of the electorate, could appoint a woman to a role of which the pay is £250,000 a year, a role which surely requires someone who has held a senior political position in the past. However, unsurprisingly the EU appointed someone who has never held any such senior position before – someone is who is clearly not up to the job of representing the people of Europe on the international stage, and, more importantly, of representing British interests.
I go back to my original point. Few people can deny that the establishment of some sort of a European Union, in the hope of avoiding future hostilities, was a powerful idea. As we have seen, even Norman Tebbit recently admitted he was once a Europhile, and I can see why. I believe the EU did indeed start out with good intentions. Even so, the EU has greatly changed since we joined it in its original form in 1973. It is now such a threat to our sovereignty that we cannot beneficially continue as members of this Union. Baroness Ashton’s lack of commitment to the Union is just one more reason why, pragmatically, we should rethink our relationship with this European hegemon.