Friday, 28 January 2011

Unelected Bodies

Colin Firth is somewhat of a favourite for my wife (something to do with some scene from a BBC drama in the mid '90s) and he's currently, and deservedly, in the running for an Oscar for the King's Speech - a fine film although not entirely accurate.

That however doesn't stop him from being an arse:
The 50-year-old star of The King's Speech who was this week shortlisted for the Best Actor Oscar, said in an interview on Friday night that he believed people should choose their rulers.
A fine sentiment and one I agree with, he then goes on to say:

Asked for his views on the Royal Family by Piers Morgan on CNN, Firth said: "I think they seem very nice", and praised The Prince of Wales for his environmental activism.

But pushed harder for his opinion he added: "I really like voting. It's one of my favourite things".

Asked by Morgan: "So, an unelected institution isn't really your cup of tea?" Firth responded: "It's a problem for me, yeah. Unelected bodies".

So Colin Firth expresses anti-monarchist sentiments? This immediately in my cynical mind raises suspicions that his objections to unelected bodies is probably not all encompassing. Normally these objections are in conjunction with support for other more powerful 'unelected bodies'.

And so it proves. This would be the same Colin Firth who before last year's general election gave his backing to the Lib Dems. This is the party who said; "no, yes, maybe then we'll give a different referendum on the EU - anything to get the Lisbon Treaty through". Mr Firth's response? Er nothing. He later withdrew his support from the Lib Dems. Why you may ask? For his party's support of unelected bodies? Nope. For the Lib Dem betrayal on student tuition fees instead.

Then in 2005 Mr Firth lobbied the EU for fair trade, in particular the then EU trade commissioner Peter Mandelson:

Mr Firth said that he wanted to lobby for the cause as a "European citizen..."

As a European Citizen, not a British one:

However, asked by the EUobserver whether he would get involved in promoting the EU, Colin Firth said without hesitation: "No."

But it wasn't a "no, because EU unelected bodies are not my cup of tea" response, nor was there any criticism of Peter Mandelson as an unelected EU Commissioner - instead Mr Firth is happy to lobby and engage with unelected bodies if it suits his purpose.

It always seems odd that the Queen, though granted is unelected but has relatively very little power, comes under criticism yet this criticism rarely extends to other unelected bodies, such as the EU Commission, the Council of the EU, the President of the European Council, Baroness Ashton or the European Court of Human Rights which passes judgment on prisoner's right to vote against the wishes of the UK people.

If republicans such as Mr Firth really cared about "unelected bodies" perhaps they would be better off starting with the bodies which actually have real power over public policy and the lives of real people, such as judges, quangos or international bodies like the EU.

Instead they waste their time fretting over an old lady who has a love for dogs and horses, her jet-flying climate change worrying son and the Privy Council.

But then some unelected bodies are more equal than others it seems.

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