So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbyeee. Ladies and gentlemen, I am sad to announce that from henceforth my contributions shall be consigned to the dustbins of history. I say this with a heavy heart, but it is the case. And this is why.
Last week I was summoned by my Secretary General and informed that a formal complaint had been made about my posting on this blog. My activities were found to be in contravention of the Staff Code of Conduct
In particular I was in breach of Article 12 and 17. That is
An official shall refrain from any action or behaviour which might reflect adversely upon his position.
1. Subject to Article 15, an official wishing to engage in an outside activity, whether paid or unpaid, or to carry out any assignment outside the Communities, shall first obtain the permission of the Appointing Authority. Permission shall be refused only if the activity or assignment in question is such as to interfere with the performance of the official's duties or is incompatible with the interests of the institution.
1. An official shall refrain from any unauthorised disclosure of information received in the line of duty, unless that information has already been made public or is accessible to the public.
2. An official shall continue to be bound by this obligation after leaving the service.
The problem was at the beginning of the month I had posted a piece about some gender language absurdity (please note that the staff regulations talk about his. I had included the name of the author and she had requested that I remove the name. This I did, as she pointed out that she had been phoned by a couple of journalists and was, as an official unable to talk to them.
Notwithstanding me removing her name, somebody made an official complaint about this blog to the powers that be. The Secretary General of the Parliament, Harald Rømer then wrote to my group pointing out my clear breach of the staff rules. I had, it said posted article upon England Expects, a website that is "ironique et eurosceptique". (One wonders which was the worse transgression, the scepticism or the fact that I laugh at them?).
The upshot is that I have a formal warning and, if I continue to blog then 'sanctions' may be applied. Given that the sanctions amount to upwards of a four month docking of wages, I really cannot afford to continue.
Now I do not say that I am not in breach of the staff regulations, I am. But it is odd when one considers that I employed to be the Press officer of the UK delegation to the Ind/Dem Group, which is the UK Independence Party. My job is to bring the institutions into disrepute, which I am doing, well if I am any good I should be doing.
The rules come with guidelines
The above provision establishes the general obligation as regards circumspection whereby officials and other servants, while remaining free to express their opinions as the fundamental principles of human rights and citizens' rights allow them to do, must observe a degree of moderation and conduct themselves at all times with a due sense of proportion and propriety.
3. Any failure to observe the obligation as regards circumspection is assessed according to the nature and level of the duties performed and the circumstances, for it is more incumbent on the most senior officials and other servants to show self-control in what they say and write, as well as in their attitudes.
The point being that their interpretation as to my lack of circumspection is key.