The fact that this sounds so bizarre to reasonable people is precisely what is allowing them ("them" being European socialists) to get away with building the new socialist empire on the sly. No wonder they don't want democracy coming anywhere near their grand federalist project. It's not just that the majority of the half billion people currently being railroaded into an undemocratic superstate would have rightly rejected Lisbon had they been given the choice, but that socialists are not interested in democracy in the first place. That is to say they are, at least, not interested in the brand of democracy you or I are used to, namely, pluralist liberal democracy and parliamentary sovereignty. They prefer the Soviet-style, trade union brand with delegates armed with the "bloc vote" of members. What is, after all, "supranational democracy" and "qualified majority voting" other than a rehashed form of block voting on an international scale? Of course this system was preferred by the left because it has all the added advantages of not only always securing the outcomes that are politically desirable, at least to the federalist movement, but of ignoring any dissenting voices. And all the time they are able to argue, as our politicians constantly do, that since our politicians have been democratically elected and they choose their members for the European Council and the European Commission, and now European "ministries" too, then all is well - we are democratically represented. Allied to this is the European Parliament, where directly elected MEPs thrash out day to day lawmaking, fiercely defending their nation's interests.
This is, of course, all garbage. In reality, all we have is delegates, hand-picked by domestic - and now often foreign - politicians who technically do not have the national constitutional and/or sovereign right to do so, who wield the power they have been given, (not with which they have been entrusted), in whatever way they see fit, basically unanswerable and unlimited. In reality, also, the European Parliament has no teeth (who would want it to anyway? I for one prefer Westminster to Strasbourg - but I digress), its members talk and talk and claim generous expenses but they don't make law, they can't hold the EU executive branches to account and they certainly won't (with notable exceptions) "fiercly [defend] their nation's interests," cohabiting, as they do, in transnational political - yeah, you guessed it - blocks. In fact, it's very hard to tell what they do do. In short, they accomplish nothing and amount to little more than a sop or nod to pluralist (genuine) democracy.
The real power is and always will be with the variously appointed EU commissioners, councellors, judges and now "ministers". The Lisbon Treaty, far from closing this democratic gap, has simply served further to widen it, which was, after all, its real purpose. The appointment of the risible Baroness Ashton, complete with "alleged" Soviet links through the CND and communist past, merely serves perfectly to illustrate the point. In fact, given how unknown and useless she and the newly installed "President" are, it appears that the commissioners are unwilling to give up the power in any event. Stitch-ups within stitch-ups, then, in what amounts to a wholly unedifying affair - and dangerous times for the continent of Europe.
Baroness Ashton of Upholland’s past came back to haunt her yesterday when the European Union’s new foreign affairs chief was forced to deny taking funds from the Soviet Union during her days as treasurer for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.
Lady Ashton, a surprise choice for her post, was challenged to deny that she had contact with Russian sources while she was in charge of its accounts at the height of the Cold War.
The Times has learnt that concerns about her CND involvement are felt across countries from the former Iron Curtain now in the EU and that MEPs plan to question her about it when she appears before them for the hearing to confirm her in her post.Nigel Farage, the UK Independence Party leader, raised the matter on the floor of the European Parliament yesterday, earning himself a reprimand for referring to Lady Ashton and Herman Van Rompuy, the new European President, as pygmies
CND rejected the claims, predictably, and are now seeking legal advice about whether they should take action against Farage and his fellow Kipperist Eurotroughers. I'd would love that, especially the part where Ashton is called as a witness:
Mr Farage added: “She was treasurer during a period when CND took very large donations and refused to reveal the sources. Will Baroness Ashton deny that while she was treasurer she took funds from organisations opposed to Western-style democracy? Are we really happy that somebody who will be in charge of our overseas security policy was an activist in an outfit like CND? I do not think she is a fit and proper person to do this job.”
Lady Ashton was not present but her spokesman said: “This was more than 25 years ago. She left the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in 1983 and has had no involvement in the organisation since then. During her time in the CND she never visited the Soviet Union, had no contact with the Soviet Union and has never accepted any money from Soviet sources. The first time she visited Russia was as EU Trade Commissioner.”
All the candidates for the next European Commission must undergo formal hearings at the European Parliament and the European People’s Party, the main centre-right group, has pledged to reject any who have promoted communism in the past. Lady Ashton has denied being a member of the Communist Party.
She is due to have an informal meeting with the MEPs’ Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday and a formal hearing in January, although she starts her new job on Tuesday.
Krisjanis Karins, a centre-right Latvian MEP, said: “Some information has been published that she was involved in this Marxist movement. If this is the case it is disturbing. We are especially concerned how the High Representative for Foreign Affairs will conduct discussions with our eastern neighbour.”
Hynek Fajnon, an MEP for the Czech centre-right ODS party, told the newspaper DNES: “There is no doubt that the Kremlin supported CND activities. If Mrs Ashton as treasurer had played any role in that, it would be a great scandal.”
(Best Alec Guinness voice) Barrister: "Did you handle any money from the Soviet Union sent to help fund the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and other, shall we say, 'dodgy' organisations?"
Ashton (clearly flustered): "I had no links with Moscow Central in 1982 and I know of no one named 'Karla.'"