Wednesday, October 29, 2008

How do you "win" democratic legitimacy?

Whatever responses our readers may have had to that question they may as well forget them. The fluffy-brained Fragrant Margot, a.k.a. Commission Vice-President in charge of institutional relations and communication (there’s glory for you) will disagree with you.

As part of her evidence to the House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union, printed in “The Commission’s Annual Policy Strategy for 2009”, which I have already mentioned, the Commissioner said (Q. 61):
What citizens will remember is what we do on energy and climate change—that we have addressed that, that we are doing something on biofuels—or where we are visible with things that are very, very concrete. This is what citizens will see, and very few, as you rightly say, will remember that as part of a five-point agenda or whatever. We win democratic legitimacy by doing the right things that really change the lives of European citizens. That is how we win legitimacy.
Give the lady a prize. She really understands politics and political theory.

Dear Fluffy-Brained Commissar, one either has democratic legitimacy or one does not. You and your colleagues do not. There is nothing democratic in the way you are chosen, in the way you impose your views, ideas and legislation on the people of Europe or in the way you are not accountable to the people in any way.

The idea that the Commission or, indeed, the European project as a whole, will acquire “democratic legitimacy” because of “the right things” they do for our welfare whether we like it or not, whether we agree with it or not, is laughable. It is, of course, the argument that is produced by numerous Europhiles as they hope to lull us all into thinking that managerial governance is better and more desirable than the political and democratically accountable version.

One reason why I am not laughing quite as loudly as I should is the House of Lords Committee’s reaction to this completely fatuous comment (Par. 11):
We welcome the priority on "Putting the Citizen First", but regret the lack of coherence among the disparate sub-priorities gathered underneath this heading. The Commission should do more to stress the weight it places on putting the citizen first throughout its work, thereby giving more coherence to this list of sub-priorities. Particular attention should be paid to issues impacting on communities and local projects.
There appears to be no clear understanding here of the crucial problem with the Commission “putting the citizen first throughout its work” rather than governments being accountable to said citizens.


John Page said...

Surely Eurocrats are too silly to believe in something that wouldn't be tolerated in a sixth form essay? So it's just another opiate for the masses.

Anonymous said...

I always have a laugh at any programme that talks of the French and their absurd motto. It may sound good but it has not been complied with since being born. And the French call us names??