By Luke Ming Flanagan
It’s been a bad couple of days on the democracy front for the people of Europe, an even worse day for the people of this country. front for the people of Europe, an even worse day for the people of this country.
The European Parliament (EP) is a lot like the Dáil in that it is dominated by a coalition of the ironically named European People’s Party ( it’s anything BUT!), of which Fine Gael is a member (called the EPP) and the Socialist & Democrat Party (S&D), of which Labour would be a member, if they had any deputies in the EP.
It also has a Committee system but as in the Dáil, the numbers are dominated by the two major parties.
So it was that this week we had the farce that was the ‘debate’ in the Dáil around Irish Water, guillotined of course by the government (no doubt about it, Enda just loves to lower that blade) with the subsequent vote easily carried, Fine Gael and Labour still with an overwhelming majority and all bowing to the whip.
So it was also in the European Parliament, the ‘governing’ majority in the EPP and S&D forcing through what they wanted on the EU Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive (really giving us the BRRD, aren’t they?), which is one of the final pieces in the jigsaw that is the so-called Banking Union. No whip in the EP of course but of course also, none necessary where our EPP members are concerned; Fine Gael politicians are so used to being whipped into line at this stage that all they need for Christmas is a little box with two button marked Yes and No, with the little instruction booklet that comes with it telling them which one to press in which circumstance. No thinking required.
And so it is, finally, that on January 1st 2015, the people of Europe gets a piece of legislation that potentially puts us all on the hook for tens – maybe even hundreds – of billions more of bank bailout; so it is that in addition to that and despite the huge campaign against it, we in Ireland are also put on the hook for Irish Water.
It’s been written elsewhere but it’s the truth – this isn’t democracy, it’s demockracy, making a mockery of the idea of government of the people, for the people, by the people.
Due to circumstances beyond my control, and while the entire team have been working as hard as we can since the elections last May, I haven’t been able to give a full commitment to the monthly Plenary voting sessions in Strasbourg (another example of the pure lunacy that’s part of the this monstrosity that has evolved into the modern EU – we’ll get to that another time).
Come January, however, with my family now moving to Brussels, that will change. Bottles feeds at night. Directives by day.
As with most things in life which are in their infancy one experiences teething problem. Now it’s game on in earnest, only unlike in the Dáil, in Brussels I have a Party with me, 52 members in GUE/NGL. Time to make some waves.
To those who triumph in other people’s misfortune. To the people who would like to spread the lie that I am not willing to do my job.
Next year you will say.
‘Jesus I wish he’d stay at home more often with the wife.’
‘He’s showing us up as traitors’
Cos that’s exactly what I’m going to do.