In theory the European Parliament ought to be the most open and democratic of the EU institutions: it is, after all, composed of those who, unlike any other EU creature, have sought and won election via the ballot box. The Bovine & Ovine (European Branch) have, however, a refined Brownshirt flavour about them.
There will be those who cry out in faux shock at the comparison between Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and those nasty thugs who used to mete out physical beatings to those who opposed the Nazis at rallies, meetings or even in the street. To them and indeed to all I commend Daniel Hannan’s post on how some of those democratically elected personages have singled out fellow MEPs who took part in a demonstration recently against the Treaty of Lisbon within the curtilage of the EU Parliament for punishment.
Polish, Italian, French and Austrian MEPs are among those being punished, as well as a couple of UKIP members and my Tory colleague Roger Helmer. The fines range from £400 to £1000, and have been allocated more or less arbitrarily. […]
These fines have been dished out almost randomly. One of the Austrian members being penalised was in Frankfurt on the day of the demo. Several other MEPs who joined the protest — including a number of Conservatives, such as David Sumberg, Syed Kamall and me — have got off scot-free. Nigel Farage, the UKIP leader, was so annoyed not to have been punished that he rose on a point of order in the manner of Kirk Douglas, shouting: “I’m Spartacus!”
It is not the fact of punishment that annoys Mr. Hannan but the fact that others who indulge in identical activity are never punished for what they do and that such sanctions seem to be reserved for anyone who is either a Eurosceptic or has otherwise questioned the system.
It is a tawdry tale and one which, in other circumstances, might be the cause for hilarity. But it is the way in which, when it feels threatened, the EU reaches instinctively for the metaphorical knuckleduster and cosh in order to discourage and suppress dissent within its ranks that ought to give anyone with half a mind pause for thought.
In current numerical terms Eurosceptics are actually no threat to those with the rampant Europox and thus one wonders why the latter feel the need to react in this aggressive bullying manner and what they will do when the day comes, as it surely will, that Eurosceptics increase in number and pose a real threat to their cosy world. How then will these bully boys feel compelled to suppress dissent?
I find the mindset of the authorities that lies behind this story thoroughly sinister and one is left with the feeling that an institution that ought to be utterly democratic is actually utterly and profoundly antidemocratic.