I did, however, find this post by the very good EU blogger Jon Worth to cheer me up a little. Jon Worth is a passionate European - in the federal sense - a quick look at his profile and you'll get the general idea.
He writes about the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI), an initiative laughably designed to improve democracy within the EU, something that I blogged about here when MEPs complained that the device designed to improve democracy could be used to achieve that very outcome.
Entitled "See no citizens, hear no citizens, speak to no citizens – the institutional approach to the European citizens’ initiative (ECI)", his post - from a hardened federalist - is an absolute gem:
Surely the European Parliament should know a thing or two about democracy? Seems not…Really? Why the surprise? There's nothing democratic about the EU Parliament as there wasn't about the 'democratically elected' Supreme Soviet. He continues...
So there we have it. Members of the European Parliament, when preparing a working document about the citizens’ initiative, ask whether it should be necessary for elected representatives to support it, whether financial means need to be demonstrated, and then propose to slow down and bureaucratise the process by getting a bunch of “wise men” to advise on the admissibility of an initiative.It maybe hampered by bureaucracy? Blimey who woulda thunk it? Bureaucracy is the EU's middle name. And...
As if that were not enough they propose no change to the 1 year limit to collect signatures (have either them ever tried to collect 1 million signatures?) and seem to confuse themselves about whether individuals or organisations (legal persons) should be doing the collecting.
Of course they've thought about the logistics of collecting 1 million signatures, that's why they've proposed it - to make it more difficult. Keep up. Jon continues...
...this working document from the EP aims to pour cold water on any notion that participatory democracy, as if that could somehow challenge the house elected by the people.
EU Parliament doesn't want to be challenged? Of course it doesn't want to be challenged by something as inconvenient as EU citizens' views. It's a mere talking shop so it knows very little about genuine democracy anyway.
For all Jon's intellect there's a naive quality about it all that's really quite touching. It reflects similar sentiments by the equally good (now sadly defunct) pro-EU blogger Julien Frisch. And that is the problem with being a perestroika europhile, the system never was intended to be democratic so expecting otherwise means that you are doomed to constant disappointment.
Democracy is best served within the model of a sovereign nation state. But the EU from the very outset was designed to destroy the concept of the nation state (due to the experiences of the WWI & WWII) and to remove democracy and power from the people to bureaucrats. These bureaucrats would, apparently, not only 'know best' but would serve the institution first and foremost. This is not a conspiracy but the open objectives of the EU's founding fathers, particularly Jean Monnet.
The fundamental flaw in Monnet's theory, is that in reality there is only two ways to govern the people; democracy or tyranny. Tyranny is the natural state when unaccountable people are left unchecked with power and money; democracy is the only natural antidote. Making politicians accountable forces them to listen and forces them to behave. It's no coincidence for example that the biggest abuses of the expenses system were by MPs in safe seats.
Monnet believed that bureaucrats in a supranational state, free from the shackles of nationalistic concerns would make judgments that would prevent another war. In reality all it does is provide an environment where they can enrich themselves unhindered, especially true as the real purpose of the EU was to evolve under a cloak of stealth:
Europe’s nations should be guided towards the super-state without their people understanding what is happening. This can be accomplished by successive steps each disguised as having an economic purpose, but which will eventually and irreversibly lead to federation.’
So, yes in an ideal world I would love to see those in power altruistically do the best for humanity, in the same way I wish that my wife didn't have MS. But that's not how life works.
Expecting the EU to become more democratic is like asking the wheel to be less round.