Comments for http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html en-gb 30 Wed 06 May 2015 22:47:20 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html David http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=98#comment68 ty jan keescop Wed 13 Jan 2010 18:46:03 GMT+1 cool_brush_work http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=97#comment67 Jukka-RohillaRe #67"..if Germany.." 1932 same system as UK..But, it did not: There is no 'if Germany had the same system as UK' concerning the events in Germany in 1933, and well you know it. The coalition formed that included the Nazi Party only had 3 Nazi Ministers out of 17; it was only by stealth, political chicanery and double-dealing plus the critically feeble-minded condition of Pres Hindenburg created conditions for Hitler's Enabling Laws.Herr Hitler's Nazis actually received less votes after burning down the Reichstag and announcing a national emergency than in the previous election.Germany's descent into hell was not because of FPTP.If you must refer to the 'past' then it is worth recalling that France has Msr le Pen's extremists very well represented for some 20+ years at a National level: The UK, thankfully, has not 1 BNP in Parliament and only a tiny smattering of Councillors at local Government level.It was the EU 'Proportional Representation' system that let the BNP in: Another reason for the UK/England to disgard the EU as soon as possible. Tue 12 Jan 2010 22:56:58 GMT+1 Jukka Rohila http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=95#comment66 To Menedemus (66):I don't think that Brits are any more xenophobic than other nations in Europe. But I do understand your point on not moving from FPTP to proportional voting, however I think that is just bandaid to a bleeding wound.In other parts of Europe where people with less respectable or intellectual ideas can and do get elected into national parliaments, there are wakeup calls heard from time to time. Thus there is much more effort put to fix the situation that is causing these populist movements to get support and understanding. Governments try to use education, social programs, etc.. to defuse the situation and main parties themselves strengthen their lines and get their own houses in order to respond to these populist challengers.I also should make quick reference to history.. The Nazis in 1932 elections got 37,8% of votes, giving them an equal mount of seats in the parliament. Still in that situation, if the other parliamentary groups would have rejected Hitler, they could have voted for vote of no confidence and either formed coalition cabinet with a same minority that the Nazis had. However in FPTP system a winner takes it all, the Labor in 2005 elections got the majority of seats with only approx 35% of votes. If Germany would have had the same kind of system that the UK does, the Nazis wouldn't have needed to grab the power by illegal means but by simply putting lots of new legislation in motion.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom_general_electionsNow of course I'm not saying that there is some threat that UK will be taken over by some autocratic power, but just pointing out that in FPTP system a simple power grab is possible with a minority of votes.Personally, if I would be a British citizen, I would support going from FPTP to proportional voting, even if it would mean having not so nice minority groups getting into the parliament: probably with BNP there could be something like Islam4UK. Then again at least then these groups would be out in the open, the big parties would have to attack them, the voters would have to really value on are big parties giving enough return and do they really want to give a off the hedge party a vote. Tue 12 Jan 2010 20:50:43 GMT+1 Menedemus http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=94#comment65 "I am not a number!" @ #62Regarding the House of Lords being a bastion of the unelectable leading the British without being elected I could not be in more agreement. The Upper House of Westminster is an anathema to me as it is totally undemocratic in nature and in the 21st Century I think it is riduculous that an unelected Senate or Upper Chamber of Parliament exists in the United Kingdom at all.As I previously wrote in reply to Jukka at #65, I am not against seeing better democracy in the United Kingdom and, if it were to be a form of proportional representation delivering all that it was supposed to do, I, for one, would be a leading proponent. However, whether it is the xenophobia of the British or something else deeply entrenched in the British psyche, I worry that proportional representation could open the door to small groups of people to achieve the power that they could then subborn to their own end. 20th Century European History shows us how power can be seized and perverted despite democracy and by perversion of electoral systems that operated proportional representation at that time.I simply say that we must be careful about what we wish for as we may not get what we want or how we wanted it. Tue 12 Jan 2010 18:23:18 GMT+1 Menedemus http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=92#comment64 Jukka,I understand how various proportional representation systems work and one form of it is used in the UK but only in the EU Parliamentary Elections where single transferable vote allows electors to nominate the listed candidates in order of preference.The drawback of this is that, in the United Kingdom, we now have 2 BNP MEPs sitting in the EU Parliament. Under First-past-the-Post this would not have happened.As an advocate of freedom and a proponent of Representative Democracy and democratic votive choice I cannot say that the electors who nominated the BNP Candidates top of their preference or near the top of their list of preferred candidates were wrong or that the EU Areas for which these BNP candidates were elected did not get what the 'majority' wanted. However, these BNP candidates were elected through a transferred vote rather than first and only candidate choice which is what First-past-the Post delivers.What occurred last year in the EU Parliamentary Elections could also happen in the national elections if such a proportional reprentative system were to be adopted without giving it a great deal of thought. Therefore, although I am not against the concept of proportional representation, I worry that the inherent risk (perhaps because the British are more xenophobic than other europeans?)of electing fascists or nationalist xenophobes to any form of national authority would be a consequence of allowing a proprotion of the popular vote to be used as a tool to deliver us all down a road towards exclusion of certain minorities or perhaps worse.The Anglo-Saxons, Celts and Picts of the British Isles are no better or worse at deciding who their leaders are than the Russians or Germans were in the 1930s. Proportional Representation could allow the British to adopt similar choices by electoral engineering. I am therefore somewhat cautious when people tell me that proportional representation is so much better than FPTP systems! Tue 12 Jan 2010 18:09:43 GMT+1 Jukka Rohila http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=91#comment63 To Menedemus (61):Actually getting single issue parties and representatives elected to the parliament is a positive thing. First of all, people who see one issue being over top of anything else, or people who want to protest against dominating people will have their voice heard and noted. Now sometimes these one issue parties might differ greatly from the majority view, sometimes having agendas that are either straight ugly or hideous, but that is good too as it forces everybody to accept that there really is a lot of people who think so.Also it is a one thing to get elected and being in the parliament, it is a completely another thing to influence anything. With small populist parties with one agenda they see initial quick rise to fame with a charismatic leader and steep opinions, and then either slow or quick plunge to oblivion: a party does really well and gets to be a junior partner in coalition, soon their voters see them as sellouts when main coalition parties make main decisions; or a party doesn't get into a governing coalition and soon voters abandon the party as it doesn't deliver anything.Proportional voting also usually guarantees that candidates try to please the mainstream parts of their electorate and not go all the way to one way. For example in FPTP elections, if you have strong Tory or Republican district where re-election is just a piece of cake, party leadership can nominate a person they want for that district without thinking does he/she please the majority but can go for the extreme if it pleases the party leadership. This probably doesn't show much in the UK where there isn't, at least to my knowledge, traditions of gerrymandering like in the US.In my opinion proportional voting offers more for the voters as they have larger selection of candidates to vote, but also because their vote goes to the party also. For example in Euro Parliament elections I voted for young a woman who had mostly views that I had, I knew that she wouldn't pass, but that didn't matter. My vote for her would A) give her support to carry on, B) tell the party that they should look for her in other elections, and C) still would give the party my vote.**Just in case... The candidate with most votes in the party, will get all the votes. The second most voted candidate will get 1/2 of all the votes for the party, the third most voted candidate will get 1/4 of all the votes for the party, etc.. These counts are then matched cross parties and all candidates put in order until all places have been filled. Tue 12 Jan 2010 16:25:00 GMT+1 Mathiasen http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=89#comment62 #61. MenedemusI understand my point was not clear: The construction of the EU has in every detail have been dictated by the member states, not least the British member state, which by has had an ambivalent position towards the whole arrangement and has therefore been a block most of the time.On this background to open an article as Mr. Hewitt is quite strange, to say the least!Could BBC tell us a couple of things: Does the company have suggestions to the improvement of the political system in the EU? What are these suggestions? Is the British government supporting these ideas? Have they any relation to the political facts of the union, including such created not least by the government in London? Is the BBC advocating a system with less nation state influence, which will diminish the blocking potential of the UK government? Is Mr. Hewitt advocating referendums across the whole Union?I have twenty further questions.... Tue 12 Jan 2010 13:37:48 GMT+1 I am not a number http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=88#comment61 #51 Menedemus wrote: The fact is that, in the UK I can know what my local Councillor or my national MP has or has not supported as my representative but I can never know or find out what my MEP has or has not supported in the EU PArliament becuase, once elected their mandated power is subborned into ploliticalOdd, I know what my MEP has or has not supported in the EU parliament, thanks to obscure sites such as www.votewatch.eu sadly enough I can't rely on the mass media to give me that information.Of course I can vote for a different individual, you can't thanks to British voting system used during the European elections, I suppose you can always move to a different country if you want some decent representation on European level. :-)About the FPTP the disadvantage can be best seen at the 2005 British elections, 35.3% of the voters voted for the Labour party and yet the Labour party managed to get 55% of the seats. Where does the extra 20% come from? Some sort of divine intervention? Looking at the Liberals it started to make sense, 20% of the popular vote, only 10% of the seats. Labours 20% extra seats come from voters who didn't vote for them. 1 out of 5 British voters aren't represented, at all, on national level after the election thanks to FPTP winner takes all method. This is precisely the reason why former British colonies such as New Zealand and Canada are moving away from FPTP towards proportional representation.Candidates nominated within smoke-filled back rooms by secretive selection process are no more guaranteed a seat in local goverment or the UK ParliamentLast time I checked 500+ candidates are guaranteed a seat in the British parliament, not voted by the people but selected by the parties. You call this parliament the House of Lords. Tue 12 Jan 2010 12:46:55 GMT+1 Menedemus http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=86#comment60 Mathiasen @#60:Be careful about you wish upon the British people as proportional representation based upon vote share will allow parties with single issues to obtain seats in the national parliament as they will attract and be able to demonstrate having a share of the popular vote.The most recent British EU parliamentary elections saw the election of two successful candidates to the EU parliament who are an anathema to the majority of the people of Britain. From small acorns such political representatives have a habit of attracting more and more votes and thus extending their powerbase. Houses built on quicksand - despite having an attractive vista and being solidly build - will sink and become an unviable dwelling. Tue 12 Jan 2010 09:51:05 GMT+1 Mathiasen http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=85#comment59 "A democracy moment in Europe today."What an opener and then followed by a comparison with USA. Actually I would have expected BBC to have a little more sophisticated insight. In the end it is a national media in a country, where the representative democracy is constructed without proportional representation. Tue 12 Jan 2010 07:50:23 GMT+1 Menedemus http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=84#comment58 Jan-Keesop @ #58The single transferable system is a new form of proportional representative voting system and I do believe that the British Parliamentarians are looking at the benefits and demerits of this votive system as a possible replacement for first-past-the-post used within the UK. However, this was a subversion of my point which was that, to date, the British adhere to FTTP because it results in stronger government than the proportional representation created by party political block placement based upon electoral share. I am not against proportional representation so long as it maintains representative democracy which is what I feel the EU fails to deliver.As regards the General Election in the United Kingdom, the fact is that General Elections are fought over a wide range of political issues and all the mainstream political parties which have a realistic chance of forming national government do not and will not offer voter choice on membership of the EU .... thus it is erroneous to say the British have any chance whatsoever of changing the status quo of our continued membership of the EU at the ballot box within the parameters of a General Election.I believe that were any of the mainstream UK political parties were to offer a serious opportunity to allow a vote on the UK membership of the EU then that would be a serious vote winning exercise. However, none of these parties will do so as the politicians know the result of a membership vote as a single issue would end the illusion that the UK is a willing member of the EU and probably do for the EU as it currently exists. Thus, the attitude of our political representatives remains that they are being more wise heads than their electorarte and thus better placed to decide the future of the British citizens persists and this illusioon of superiority continues to cause rancour amongst the British people like a boil that is never lanced.Although I despise the autocracy of the EU, I am realistic enough to know that Britain's continued membership of the EU is never going to be threatened by any Westminster Parliament but, alas, this also means that there is never going to be any real pressure upon the EU to change from beneficially-intended autocracy to truly representative democracy. Tue 12 Jan 2010 04:54:09 GMT+1 Jan_Keeskop http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=82#comment57 Menedemus: In post 51, not all proportional representation systems make use of party lists to perpetually return certain members to parliaments; for example, TDs in Ireland are elected by a single transferable vote system.On post 57, the people of the UK will have the opportunity to rebel against all of the efforts of the mainstream political parties to keep the UK within the EU, within the next five months or so — despite this being the case, I believe that one or two of these parties will form the next government, and thus the UK will remain within the EU.David: For post 53, I am neither a EU-hater nor a EU-lover, just a kook with a pair of binoculars trying to understand what’s happening on the other side of the Atlantic.With post 54, what make is your laptop? I have an ancient IBM, and I’ve been able to carefully pop off its keytops to clean underneath of them, then snap them back into place with no ill effects. Doing so with the space bar was a bit more involved than with the other keys, though. (I hope that other brands would allow similar keytop removal and reïnstallation, but I have no experience with them.) Tue 12 Jan 2010 03:25:31 GMT+1 Menedemus http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=81#comment56 Jean Luc #55"Ah right. It can only be a democratic process if the MEP's do what you as an individual agree to. Strange conception of democracy you got there."If you want your MEP to simply be noiminated to power and then go off and do his own thing then your concept of democracy is by far the more strange!Representative democracy requires that the representative "represent" his constituents in the parliament (or government or organistaion)to which he or she is elected. If he fails to represent me according to manifesto or promises made then I have a personal one-man/one-vote opportunity to challenge his or her re-election at the next available opportunity, If my vote comprises the majority view then my single vote is one of many that will unseat the incumbant; if my vote is of the minority then it won't. That is true democracy and I accept that the will of the majority shall prevail. I may agree or disagree with the choice made but the majority will of the people must be accepted and that I do.You quoted Blair as an example of minority votive power but in simple terms his 'electorate' of 70,000 people could have voted him out of being their MP at any time and, had they done so (unlikely as that would be as I believe he was a good constituency MP, then he could no longer be Prime Minister of the UK. One act would lead to the other but there is a disconnect as the authority of Prime Minister is merely a government role subject to the vagaires of daily party politics within the Westminster Parliament whilst being MP was, actually, Tony Blair's seat in Parliament.Your "democracy" allows people to be nominated to positions of power and have that enthronement endorsed by 'groupings' within the EU Parliament. If today's proceedings are anything to go by, the endorsement is merely a formality and, in practical senses, all "smoke and mirrors" used to conceal the fact that Catherine Ashton has not arrived at her political position though any mandate of the people through the ballot box.Despite what you think, I do not have any disdain of how other people in Europe are governed nor do I try to compare my British electoral system with any other EU nation's system - what I do is compare the EU, its parliament and how the EU as a political entity compares to my personal expectations of what I accept as democratic political processes and what I see is an undemocratic organisation. Despite your attempts to argue against me, the EU organisation is politically undemocratic and unrepresentative. Your views do not accord with the the court of public opinion in the United Kingdom where I am now sure that the EU is a dead duck - if the people were allowed the opportunity to do so I am now absolutley sure they would rebel against all the efforts of the mainstream British political parties to keep the UK within the EU.However, sadly, as much as I espouse the democracy of the UK and despite my denigration of the EU as an undemocratic organisation, I accept that the possibility of the British people ever getting the chance to vote on continued membership of the EU is about as likely as the EU ever becoming acceptable to the British electorate and becoming more democratic. Mon 11 Jan 2010 23:36:52 GMT+1 NotoTyrany http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=79#comment55 I wrote:"The MEPs have acquired new powers under the Lisbon Treaty"Strange, I thought it was just a "tidying up exercise"A few people have responded to this and maybe they didn't understand what I meant, or maybe I didn't understand their replies.They tried to pretend the Lisbon treaty was "just a tidying up exercise" if you remember, and I'm just pointing out one short sentence from the article that proves it wasn't, to my mind anyway.For the record, I suspect we're on a path to tyranny, but done so slowly — though quicker of late — that most will just accept each little nibble at freedom in the cause of 'security' be it terrorism or food supply or whatever else they come up with. It may be too late before it dawns on enough people what's really being put into place. Hopefully not. Mon 11 Jan 2010 23:06:34 GMT+1 Jean Luc http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=78#comment54 @CBW"You keep using straightforward logic and reasoning like that to explain the basic 'Demcoratic-defecit' within the EU and the 'pro-EU' will start calling you names and telling everyone how they've read Lisbon 21 times and are reading it again tonight before they go to bed...TeeHee..."Good to see your added value to the discussion!Re "We, in the UK, maintain FPTP because whether candidates are nominated or selected by small cabal, the wider population can endorse or dispose of the candidate in free electoral vote and so no cabal can know that their machinations will definitely conclude with success for 'their man'."Re "You seem to be suggesting that the EU MEPs have a democratic mandate to choose the EU Commissioners but their expanded authority to even grill and endorse/refuse the appointment of recently nominated Commissioners is a power - definitively not a democratic mandate - acquired through the Lisbon Treaty and not through the electoral ballot box."They had this power even before the Lisbon Treaty. Get your facts straight.Re "You glibly seem to imply that MEPs have a democratic mandate to force nominated Commissioners to resign but the fact is that no MEP has ever offered electoral promise or manifesto commitment to perform or not perform this task."What exactly do you want from a candidate standing for EP elections than? That he promises to fulfill his responsibilites as MEP. This would seem quite self evident. Do you also want candidates to promise they will vote laws?Unless I have completely misread your assertion, you are wrong.Let us take Mr Blair's last election as an example: according to you the wider population had the opportunity to vote for him. His constituency was Sedgefield: only 70.000 in the entire UK had the possibility to vote for or against Blair. Out of those 70.000, 41000 showed up and 24000 voted for Blair. Compare this 'wider population' with the 800.000 votes the current Belgian Prime Minister received (Belgian population : 10.000.000)Aside from this, it's quite remarkable that you qualify the EU as undemocratic, simply because it doesn't follow the UK style of elections. This would mean the whole continent of Europe is undemocratic. This would also leave the question why the UK would have wanted to join a continental club of countries that are clearly undemocratic.Re "I do accept that if my MEP were to openly stand up and openly support the unelected Lady Ashton against my wishes and then throw himself on the mercy of his own electorate at the next EU Parliament Election for having made that choice then I would agree that that would be democratic process in action"Ah right. It can only be a democratic process if the MEP's do what you as an individual agree to. Strange conception of democracy you got there.Re "All that notwithstanding, I expect Hell will freeze over before you actually understand that my idea of real democracy requires that I should have a vote on who represents me in any capacity within local government, national government and the EU - especially that of the UK-nominated Commissioner who has never stood for election but is a political-party career henchwoman!"Well that's your conception of real democracy. As long as you realize your own country doesn't live up to your standard either. No need to specifically target the EU than. Mon 11 Jan 2010 21:04:41 GMT+1 David http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=76#comment53 Also, I think that if the UK joined the Euro and Schengen group, there might ultimately be less focus on a superstate as this action (joining) could be seen as strengthining (sp?) the British hand in matters of the proposed superstate. Power could reside more in participation than by carping on the sidelines. No offence. Also, please help me. My laptop fn button is now turned on fulltime and at this moment I'm typing with one finger on the fn button to get normal letters rather than 'fn' figures:)!:)And in return I'll stay on topic..wheee. Has anyone else had this happen to them? And what can one do?? Mon 11 Jan 2010 20:58:02 GMT+1 David http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=75#comment52 Forgive me, but it seems to me that the 'EU haters' are British, and Americans (and a few others).The 'EU lovers' are French, German, Italian, and Irish who might be said to gain from a superstate (ie, more power on the world stage.)The haters see their power on that stage diminishing with a superstate. So, perhaps, there is more emotion driving this debate than is admitted.(Excluding the Euro and Schengen questiomns of course):) Mon 11 Jan 2010 20:30:18 GMT+1 U14292254 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=73#comment51 This post has been Removed Mon 11 Jan 2010 19:22:52 GMT+1 Menedemus http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=72#comment50 Jean Lu #48You display a continental view and acceptance of a warped meaning of democracy and, perhaps, your servile attitude to accepting nominated politicians without the need to allow an wider-electorate opportunity to accept or refuse a candidate is, perhaps, a reason why the rest of the EU populace do not understand the British and their preference of an First-past-the-Post electoral system rather than proportional representation. We, in the UK, maintain FPTP because whether candidates are nominated or selected by small cabal, the wider population can endorse or dispose of the candidate in free electoral vote and so no cabal can know that their machinations will definitely conclude with success for 'their man'.Candidates nominated within smoke-filled back rooms by secretive selection process are no more guaranteed a seat in local goverment or the UK Parliament than anyone from the within the wider-electorate who puts themself up for election on a non-affiliated background. It is a reason why, especially at local government level in the UK we have so many non-affilliated "Independent" Local Councillors who are elected on their own merits and not the merits of the mainstream political parties. Fortunately for the British there are also non-affiliated Independent MPs who achieve majority vote too .... to my mind a clarion call for what is great about British politics.You seem to be suggesting that the EU MEPs have a democratic mandate to choose the EU Commissioners but their expanded authority to even grill and endorse/refuse the appointment of recently nominated Commissioners is a power - definitively not a democratic mandate - acquired through the Lisbon Treaty and not through the electoral ballot box.You glibly seem to imply that MEPs have a democratic mandate to force nominated Commissioners to resign but the fact is that no MEP has ever offered electoral promise or manifesto commitment to perform or not perform this task. I do accept that if my MEP were to openly stand up and openly support the unelected Lady Ashton against my wishes and then throw himself on the mercy of his own electorate at the next EU Parliament Election for having made that choice then I would agree that that would be democratic process in action but I won't hold my breath for real democracy in how the EU politicians are elected and made accountable happening any time soon. The fact is that, in the UK I can know what my local Councillor or my national MP has or has not supported as my representative but I can never know or find out what my MEP has or has not supported in the EU PArliament becuase, once elected their mandated power is subborned into plolitical All that notwithstanding, I expect Hell will freeze over before you actually understand that my idea of real democracy requires that I should have a vote on who represents me in any capacity within local government, national government and the EU - especially that of the UK-nominated Commissioner who has never stood for election but is a political-party career henchwoman! Mon 11 Jan 2010 18:55:03 GMT+1 cool_brush_work http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=71#comment49 MenedemusRe #48Careful now!You keep using straightforward logic and reasoning like that to explain the basic 'Demcoratic-defecit' within the EU and the 'pro-EU' will start calling you names and telling everyone how they've read Lisbon 21 times and are reading it again tonight before they go to bed...TeeHee... Mon 11 Jan 2010 17:40:22 GMT+1 Jean Luc http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=69#comment48 Re "Ashton, like all the other EU Commissioners, is neither elected nor removable by the electorate but can be subborned by internal political machinations of the various 'groupings' in the EU Parliament - none of which has the political mandate to machinate on your behalf or mine."EP can force the Commission to resign. The EP is composed of elected MEP's, therefore they have a mandate.You complain about 'internal politics' as if these don't exist at the national level. As if there weren't any games played when some members in Labour wanted a debate about the position of Brown.Re "The lack of democracy in the EU is demonstrated by the way these new political Commissioner appointments were made in secrecy by the European Premiers and the light grilling that the new Commisioners are going to receive prior to their confirmation in role by the EU MEPs is, in no way, shape or form democratic."Commissioners are proposed by their own member state. If you want to have a say in the selection ask your own government, don't blame the 'EU'. Furthermore, I may remind you of the would be Italian Commissioner Buttiglione, who didn't make it in the end because the EP resisted to his appointment (this is proof that the hearings are not just a façade).Re "We, who should be the electorate as people living within the EU, do not have any say in who these Commissioners are nor do we get the opportunity to remove them through the ballot box as part of an electoral process."You'll need to explain how this system at the EU level FUNDAMENTALLY differs from the systems we have at national level. At national level we do not chose our members of government either. They get appointed by the party/parties that win the elections. In their appointment political games are involved and the electorate can't oust them either, but will have to wait for the next elections.So please show me where the fundamental differnce lies with the EU. Unless of course your critique is that all politics in Europe (at EU and national level) have (become?) undemocratic. Mon 11 Jan 2010 17:34:26 GMT+1 Menedemus http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=68#comment47 Benefactor wrote ' #16:"Urm... How is any elected individual held accountable once elected? In pretty much every country once elected they can do pretty much what they like until the next election. The EP gives the Commission a much harder time than the House of Commons gives Brown."Democratic accountablity IS the right of the electorate to remove the sitting politician at next election if the politician fails to abaide by, keep or maintain any electoral promises made whn courting the popular vote - at the next election the politicain can make a case for any failures but they can and do get removed from their political roost. That is the democratic role of the electorate and we will see this happen at the next General Election within the United Kingdom ..... perhaps that is why so many current sitting MPs are retiring at the next election as they know the electorate are going to oust them through democratic choice.Ashton, like all the other EU Commissioners, is neither elected nor removable by the electorate but can be subborned by internal political machinations of the various 'groupings' in the EU Parliament - none of which has the political mandate to machinate on your behalf or mine.The lack of democracy in the EU is demonstrated by the way these new political Commissioner appointments were made in secrecy by the European Premiers and the light grilling that the new Commisioners are going to receive prior to their confirmation in role by the EU MEPs is, in no way, shape or form democratic. We, who should be the electorate as people living within the EU, do not have any say in who these Commissioners are nor do we get the opportunity to remove them through the ballot box as part of an electoral process. That is what I mean when I wrote that EU Democracy is non-existent! Mon 11 Jan 2010 17:14:01 GMT+1 cool_brush_work http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=66#comment46 DemocracyThreatRe #14You have hit the proverbial nail on the head: Good to see you back in full form and succinctly opening up the rotten core of the EU apple-pie with the Politicians, EUrocrats and Media parasites feeding on it. Mon 11 Jan 2010 17:02:46 GMT+1 cool_brush_work http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=65#comment45 Re #5 and #10Nobody is amending anything you write.The implication of your, "...it's time you finally respected the wish of the Irish people..", is that the Referendum result was a decisive moment for the EU: So, when you and the rest of the 'pro-EU' con-merchants refused to recognise the 1st Irish Referendum result as the legitimate result then that was your right, but we 'anti-EU' must not do the same with the 2nd Referendum.Your cynical abuse of the word 'Democracy' simply reinforces all our impressions of why the European Union is an enemy of the Citizens. Mon 11 Jan 2010 16:57:36 GMT+1 I am not a number http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=63#comment44 19. At 1:27pm on 11 Jan 2010, Freeman wrote:"Would that be the one where you can only vote for parties, not individuals?"Unlike Britain, in the rest of Europe people can vote for individuals in European elections. Just because Britain uses the FPTP system doesn't mean the rest of Europe does. Mon 11 Jan 2010 16:13:58 GMT+1 Benefactor http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=62#comment43 #41. Freeman wrote:"The EU Parliament being given a rubber stamp vote on laws that it cannot propose is not much of a power."The EU amends most legislation and rejects some. Very rarely are things passed straight through, it can also propose legislation. Mon 11 Jan 2010 15:47:16 GMT+1 D Dortman http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=60#comment42 "16. At 12:56pm on 11 Jan 2010, Benefactor wrote:Which parts? The Commission is accountable to Parliament that can disband it and has to approve its laws and directives and the Council is accountable to its national electorate."When you're talking about people that wield such power, they need to be directly accountable."Accountable" through 3 layers of various committees and a mass vote of members whose vested interest is NOT to rock the gravy train (see UK parliamentary allowances) isn't the same thing at all.The EU was hideously undemocratic pre-Lisbon with far too much of the power behind held by people that no one has voted into power, and now is even worse.It's basically "jobs for the boys (and girls)" on a Europe-wide scale, and no one in the system wants to let the general EU public anywhere near it in case they vote in an unacceptable way (see 1st Irish vote).The really scary questions are - why is the EU so afraid of allowing its own voters to actually vote?- and why should EU citizen trust people that hold them in such contempt? Mon 11 Jan 2010 15:46:20 GMT+1 democracythreat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=59#comment41 Benefactor wrote:@18. democracythreat"I never said perfect, infact I never said alot of the things you attribute to me, nice try though. "And I never said you said I said what you never said you said. You were amazed that folks might be critical of the EU institutions commitment to democracy. I was just returning some of that wonder. "The EU is however not even close to being as bad as you make out. "Not yet, but give it time to mature."In fact you come close to saying as much yourself, the EU is roughly as democratic as the countries that make it up."Yeah, you got me there. I did suggest that. That was another of those you said I said things. We both said it.And so...... see, here i am lost again.So what?In fact this is a serious argument and there are profound differences between the way the EU institutions have been engineered to function and the way various national governments are designed.But this is not the time or place for such a discussion. Mon 11 Jan 2010 15:44:01 GMT+1 Freeman http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=57#comment40 The EU Parliament being given a rubber stamp vote on laws that it cannot propose is not much of a power. Mon 11 Jan 2010 15:12:36 GMT+1 Freeman http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=56#comment39 "39. At 2:51pm on 11 Jan 2010, Jean Luc wrote:"So it could be argued the second vote was instigated by "EU-lovers"."What? Instigated by EU lovers? Quickly! To the Supreme Court with this new evidence!"I will take that as concurring with RG. ^^ Mon 11 Jan 2010 15:06:43 GMT+1 Jean Luc http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=55#comment38 "So it could be argued the second vote was instigated by "EU-lovers"."What? Instigated by EU lovers? Quickly! To the Supreme Court with this new evidence! Mon 11 Jan 2010 14:51:05 GMT+1 rg http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=53#comment37 37. Jean Luc "...it was the decision of the Irish government to hold a second vote, the "EU"-lovers didn't decide it..."As I recall almost the whole of the Irish Establishment (the government and opposition parties excluding Sinn Féin) were in favour of Lisbon.So it could be argued the second vote was instigated by "EU-lovers". Mon 11 Jan 2010 14:44:17 GMT+1 Jean Luc http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=52#comment36 @WOnthillianRe "And how many votes does the Commission have when finalising Council/parliament legislation? "No vote for the Commission. Only Council and Parliament decide.@EUprisoner"EUpriis: So why didn't "EU"-lovers like you accept the first Irish referendum?"Obviously because the Irish gave the wrong answer. "Ever closer union means ever closer union". Still it was the decision of the Irish government to hold a second vote, the "EU"-lovers didn't decide it. Mon 11 Jan 2010 14:37:09 GMT+1 rg http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=50#comment35 30. Jean Luc"...If you don't like it, have the treaty amended or get out of the Union..."I don't recall this being spelled out to us in such graphic detail as we sauntered down to the polling booths that balmy May 2005.Instead I'm sure there was a referendum commitment in each main party manifesto.And now we (who are too thick to give the right answer) are to be shepherded by our kindly EU Shepherdess The Noble Lady Ashton of Upholland and be assured that she'll be vetted under the very same system that we weren't allowed to vote on. Mon 11 Jan 2010 14:36:39 GMT+1 EUprisoner209456731 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=49#comment34 5. At 11:39am on 11 Jan 2010, Jean Luc wrote:'Re "What like dodging referendums?"Perhaps it's time you finally respected the wish of the Irish people, who by a large majority voted in favour of the Lisbon Treaty.'EUpriis: So why didn't "EU"-lovers like you accept the first Irish referendum? Mon 11 Jan 2010 14:32:22 GMT+1 EUprisoner209456731 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=47#comment33 13. At 12:48pm on 11 Jan 2010, The_Ridger wrote:"Maybe #12, you could just read the bloody thing yourself?"EUpris: The fact that it is incomprehensible is on its own reason enough to reject it. Mon 11 Jan 2010 14:30:44 GMT+1 Wonthillian http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=46#comment32 '19. At 1:27pm on 11 Jan 2010, Freeman wrote:And about that Directly Elected Parliament...Would that be the one where you can only vote for parties, not individuals?'Where does it say that you can't stand as an individual?''The parliament which has that little bit of power while the commission hogs the rest?'And how many votes does the Commission have when finalising Council/parliament legislation? Mon 11 Jan 2010 14:30:02 GMT+1 EUprisoner209456731 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=44#comment31 13. At 12:48pm on 11 Jan 2010, The_Ridger wrote:"Maybe #12, you could just read the bloody thing yourself?"EUpris: Even Irish academics specialising in this area, writing in the Irish Times could not agree on its meaning. There is no point in reading it.If integrationists like Merkel, Blair, Sarkozy and Barrosso want it, then it maust be bad. Mon 11 Jan 2010 14:29:06 GMT+1 EUprisoner209456731 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=43#comment30 5. At 11:39am on 11 Jan 2010, Jean Luc wrote:"Re "What like dodging referendums?"Perhaps it's time you finally respected the wish of the Irish people, who by a large majority voted in favour of the Lisbon Treaty."EUpris: This is clearly a reference to #4. I canno0t speak for rg, but I can speak for myself. I accept the right of the Irish to accept the Lisbon Treaty in a referendum. That acceptance only applies to them. It does not make the application of the Lisbon Treaty to the UK legitimate.You, Jean Luc are just behaving in a manipulative way that I (we?) have come to expect from many "EU"-lovers. Mon 11 Jan 2010 14:25:43 GMT+1 Jean Luc http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=42#comment29 Re "Or do we stop asking when the 'right' answer is given?"Obviously we stop asking questions when the right answer is given. Note that the right answer has now been given, for the wrong reasons. Just as at their first go the Irish gave the wrong answer for equally wrong reasons.The lesson to be learned: no more referendums.Because the objective has been there ever since the beginning: "an ever closer union" meaning "ever diminishing sovereignty on the part of the member states".If you don't like it, have the treaty amended or get out of the Union. Mon 11 Jan 2010 14:13:18 GMT+1 EUprisoner209456731 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=40#comment28 " ... Catherine Ashton. She is to be Europe's new foreign policy chief ..."EUprsi Gavin! The "EU" is still not Europe. Stop using Eurospeak! Speak English! Mon 11 Jan 2010 14:12:49 GMT+1 EUprisoner209456731 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=39#comment27 " ... The MEPs have acquired new powers under the Lisbon Treaty ... "EUpris: And the people of the UK have had their rights stolen from them. Mon 11 Jan 2010 13:59:06 GMT+1 Benefactor http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=37#comment26 @18. democracythreatI never said perfect, infact I never said alot of the things you attribute to me, nice try though. The EU is however not even close to being as bad as you make out. Infact you come close to saying as much yourself, the EU is roughly as democratic as the countries that make it up. Mon 11 Jan 2010 13:58:27 GMT+1 Freeman http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=36#comment25 Starbuck...I may have her ranking a little out but she is still up for a big cheese job. As she will be proposing and creating rather than just implementing, she is somewhat more than a civil servant.Our current cabinet being as bad as the Italians, I cannot disagree with sadly. Mon 11 Jan 2010 13:57:28 GMT+1 EUprisoner209456731 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=34#comment24 "A democracy moment in Europe today. ..."EUpris: So are they giving us the referendum we were promised?No, of course they are not. This is not democracy. This is deceitful marketing. Mon 11 Jan 2010 13:56:41 GMT+1 rg http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=33#comment23 16. Benefactor"...still, still, people find some way to complain about the lack of democracy..."The whole edifice is built on a circumvention of democracy. Mon 11 Jan 2010 13:51:39 GMT+1 rg http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=31#comment22 13. The_Ridger"...you could just read the bloody thing yourself?.."And what would be the point? Are we to be allowed a vote on it? Mon 11 Jan 2010 13:46:29 GMT+1 rg http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=30#comment21 5. Jean Luc"...Perhaps it's time you finally respected the wish of the Irish people..."Oh so they are the chosen people who decide on all our futures?When do the Irish get their third go at this? The score is 1-1.Or do we stop asking when the 'right' answer is given? Mon 11 Jan 2010 13:42:54 GMT+1 Starbuck http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=28#comment20 @Freeman"2nd highest post in the EU" ? not quite so, in the Commission only (vice-president) ... and the Commission is beholden to both the European Council (elected ministers usually) and the European Parliament (only elected officials, though you have to blame UK party politics if you vote for a list rather than an individual at European elections).Anyway, bureaucrats don't have to be elected to be efficient. They have to be held accountable, either through an electoral system or a body of elected representatives (ie: EU Parliament which holds regular inquiries and partly frame policymaking).The UK cabinet senior positions are held by elected officials, but that doesn't make it more effective at policymaking : over the past 50 years, the duration of each minister at his/her post has steadily declined from an everage of 3.5 years to around 1 year (and in some cases, even less).In many respect, the value of UK cabinet ministers is on par with the worst period of Italian politics.That's probably the reason why the UK still uses long-serving, unelected bureaucrats, to either complement or replace altogether their "elected" bosses.You should count yourself as lucky that EU commissioners are able to dedicate themselves to running their portfolios over a longer period.Is the UK bureaucracy "accountable" ? and held to account ? the MOD or Treasury would sure beg to differ :)Best regards, Mon 11 Jan 2010 13:33:36 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=27#comment19 Not only is this a typical European sham, democracy seemingly in form but certainly not at all in substance, it is the essence of how the EUSSR will work. A spectacle put on just for public show by a rubber stamp so called parliament because the deal has already been done. Not at all like the US Mr. Hewitt. And the fact that you even suggest that it is demonstrates BBC's penchant for unconditional support of a contenintal European dictatorship which has few people actually fooled. It is one more example of BBC's editorializing which pervades all of its reporting as well. Confirmation is not the right word at all, coronation is far more appropriate. That it may not be entirely pleasant merely means it resembles a trible rite of passage or induction into an American college fraternity, not an honest collective assessment by any stretch of the imagination. If the question were to be put to Ashton: "What preveious knowledge or experience qualifies you for the job you are seeking" the correct and honest answer is "NONE!" And the followup question: "Then why should you be approved?" The honest and frank answer is be: "I shouldn't be." But even if the question does come up and she dances around it, the very form of the vote, all up or down proves there is no democracy. The MEPs and the rest of the EU-Mafia has only one objective, securing power through what they hope appears to be a legitimate process accepted by the public than the quality of how that power is structured. And it is structured so that it is in substance not accountable to anyone. The veil is so thin, so transparent, so hypocritical, that only those who are equally obsessed with forming an EU supserstate could fail to see right through it. And the next question should be: "The EU not being a state, why should any government in the world recognize any of its emmisaries?" The honest answer to that would be "they shouldn't and likely won't." I'm sure the President of China won't even if the President of the United States grants an audience out of politeness. When President Obama wants or needs to tell one European country's leader something, he won't be ringing Ashton's phone, he will call the particular leader of that country directly. The insuation that this in any way resembles a process of American government which is the antithesis of Europe is an outrageous lie. This is a tryannical state being created if ever there was one. And it is conceived of and structured along tradtional European lines going back many many centuries. It is the pinacle of European hypocricy, tyranny, and culture entirely representative of the one cultural and historical commonality these dutchies have in common. Mon 11 Jan 2010 13:29:45 GMT+1 Freeman http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=26#comment18 And about that Directly Elected Parliament...Would that be the one where you can only vote for parties, not individuals? Where if someone is high enough up the party list, you will never get them out? The one which has rules to make sure that independents and peons are kept away from the true rulers and only the 'proper' parties are allowed any power? The parliament that will remove that little bit of power from anyone who dares think even a bit independently? The parliament which has that little bit of power while the commission hogs the rest? That parliament? Mon 11 Jan 2010 13:27:43 GMT+1 democracythreat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=24#comment17 Benefactor wrote:"Wow, the Commission is being vetted and interviewed and dealing with questions put to it before being approved or rejected by the directly elected Parliament and still, still, people find some way to complain about the lack of democracy."I guess the thing to do would be for everyone to bow down and praise the EU for its incredible transparency and democratic nature. After all, how can people be so critical of an institution that was only set up to serve their interests? You can't argue with folks like Benefactor, because from their standpoint, the logic is impeccable. Democracy means whatever the party says it means because the party line is the truth. The party line is the truth because the party is made up of people who know best. The party is made up of the people who know best because only the smartest and morally best people are allowed to participate within the party.Wow.But, despite the wow factor, benefactor does make a valid point. Brown is hardly held to any meaningful account by British parliament. So insofar as the EU is no worse than other systems of representation, it is perfect.That is more "wow" logic: There are other political systems that work in much the same way as the EU, and therefore the EU is democratic. Therefore it is perfect, also.I am beginning to get the hang of life in Benefactor world. It is sort of cool, a little like being drunk. It's easy, anyway.If there are any problems in my life, I am just going to wave a flag and chant "democracize me baby!" until I pass out.The government will put me on welfare payments of some kind, and thus my love for the party will be requited.Wow. Mon 11 Jan 2010 13:20:15 GMT+1 Freeman http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=23#comment16 Bene @ 16: "Wow, the Commission is being vetted and interviewed and dealing with questions put to it before being approved or rejected by the directly elected Parliament and still, still, people find some way to complain about the lack of democracy." So you do not find it even slightly disturbing that the second highest post in the EU can be attained by someone who has never been elected? Mon 11 Jan 2010 13:08:44 GMT+1 Benefactor http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=21#comment15 #2. Menedemus wrote:""For these few days individuals who will hold considerable power within Europe will be held to account in public.Gavin, in one brief throwaway sentence you sum up all that is wrong with the European Union!Democracy? Bah humbug!"Urm... How is any elected individual held accountable once elected? In pretty much every country once elected they can do pretty much what they like until the next election. The EP gives the Commission a much harder time than the House of Commons gives Brown.-------------------------------------------------------------------#6. D Dortman wrote:"It is truly scary how unrepresentative and unaccountable the EU is, and I say that as a fan of many parts of the EU.Certain parts of the EU make Zimbabwe and Iran look positively Democratic and yet it looks like this is the "future" for Europe - ruled by people no one voted into office and no one can remove through the ballot box.Makes you wonder what most of the 20th Century conflict in Europe was really worth."Which parts? The Commission is accountable to Parliament that can disband it and has to approve its laws and directives and the Council is accountable to its national electorate. ----------------------------------------------------------------#12. NotoTyrany wrote:"The MEPs have acquired new powers under the Lisbon Treaty"Strange, I thought it was just a "tidying up exercise""Those things are not mutually exclusive. ----------------------------------------------------------------Wow, the Commission is being vetted and interviewed and dealing with questions put to it before being approved or rejected by the directly elected Parliament and still, still, people find some way to complain about the lack of democracy. Mon 11 Jan 2010 12:56:28 GMT+1 Freeman http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=20#comment14 "13. At 12:48pm on 11 Jan 2010, The_Ridger wrote:Maybe #12, you could just read the bloody thing yourself?"He may die of old age before he finishes it.....Or go insane trying to understand its deliberately confusing contents. Mon 11 Jan 2010 12:56:02 GMT+1 democracythreat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=18#comment13 Just as in the former soviet union, the show of democracy in the EU is dreadfully embarrassing for all the participants.Still, "democracy" is the gift of these party members to the unwashed masses. One can't be unkind about receiving gifts.I was particularly struck by the following phrase in the article:"Sometimes there are trade-offs. Power within the European Parliament is divided between groupings."'Groupings'? What a curious word. It is a noun stem sporting a verbs past participle and yet nevertheless being used as a noun. 'groups' might have done the job equally well.I suppose the word "party" has been deliberately left out of this analysis. In the context this would seem the obvious choice of word, for the behaviour of political parties is precisely what is being described here. And yet, we are not graced with the obvious word. Instead of political parties making trades, we are informed that "groupings" SOMETIMES engage in trade-offs.It is really pretty remarkable journalism, even for the BBC. I mean that in an entirely bad way. Reading this piece gave me several raised eyebrow moments, but not because of the information it imparted.Call me well informed, but reading that political parties in the EU make trade offs (sometimes) was not news. It was not a newsing experience for me. Of the newsings I have encountered today, it wasn't one of the major ones.Some questions:1. Why are we told that parties engage in trades without being told what they are trading?2. Why is being held to account IN public being described as the same this as being held to account BY the public?3. Most of all, why is this article so evidently written by someone who finds the whole show utterly ridiculous, but who is unable to say so in normal language and clear terms?I do not lament the EU because I already know what it is and how it works, but today is a sad day for journalism. If this article is the sort of writing that results from the new system, I fear Europe has been very badly served by the members of its various political parties.Although the party elite feed off the tax revenue of working European people like insane parasites devouring their host, the fact remains that these party members, and their custom built political structures, shape the whole society.The soviet union was not only characterized by wholesale corruption and fraud against working people by party elites. That was only one part of the whole society under the rule of the party.Another striking characteristic of the former soviet union was the slavish and utterly inane journalism that promoted the party. Mon 11 Jan 2010 12:51:36 GMT+1 JR http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=17#comment12 Maybe #12, you could just read the bloody thing yourself? Mon 11 Jan 2010 12:48:49 GMT+1 NotoTyrany http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=15#comment11 "The MEPs have acquired new powers under the Lisbon Treaty"Strange, I thought it was just a "tidying up exercise" Mon 11 Jan 2010 12:17:05 GMT+1 Freeman http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=14#comment10 "It is truly scary how unrepresentative and unaccountable the EU is, and I say that as a fan of many parts of the EU."It is a pity that the EUrocrats do not share your vision DD. The EU is already dead due to the new aristocracy. Their contempt of the people has changed previously mildly sceptical people like myself into entrenched haters. Those who were neutral are sceptical. Even some of the fans of the EU are looking at it in askance...Very sad. Mon 11 Jan 2010 12:04:18 GMT+1 Jean Luc http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=13#comment9 Re "So, 1 out of EU27 voting at the 2nd Referendum attempt 'yes' is counted a "large majority" within the EU!?"Now now, where did I write "a large majority within the EU""Perhaps it's time you finally respected the wish of the Irish people, who by a large majority voted in favour of the Lisbon Treaty."Who's amending comments? :) Mon 11 Jan 2010 12:01:16 GMT+1 Charentais http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=11#comment8 So (apart from dodgy deals in non-smoke filled rooms), exactly what will happen if Baroness Ashton is 'rejected'? We will get another unelected political lightweight or has-been. Is Tony Blair still sitting in the wings to come to the rescue? Or do we expect another stitch-up by the Berlin-Paris Axis?The analogy with US 'approval hearings', though perhaps not 100% accurate, is apt; the power-brokers will ensure that they get their way, regardless of what the electorate think. (Those of the electorate who can be bothered to think about the EU, that is). Mon 11 Jan 2010 11:56:51 GMT+1 cool_brush_work http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=10#comment7 So, 1 out of EU27 voting at the 2nd Referendum attempt 'yes' is counted a "large majority" within the EU!?Imagine if 2 Nations had voted: Pro-EU would want it put in the Guinness Book of Fantasy World Records! Mon 11 Jan 2010 11:53:11 GMT+1 Freeman http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=8#comment6 Re "What like dodging referendums?"Perhaps it's time you finally respected the wish of the Irish people, who by a large majority voted in favour of the Lisbon Treaty.---Very poor show. You know RG is not referring to the two Irish referendums. They have the right to determine their own destiny (as many times as necessary to get the 'right' answer).We have not been given that right despite it being promised by all of the big three.I suppose it is at least apt that we represented by Ashton The Unelected. Mon 11 Jan 2010 11:50:07 GMT+1 D Dortman http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=7#comment5 It is truly scary how unrepresentative and unaccountable the EU is, and I say that as a fan of many parts of the EU.Certain parts of the EU make Zimbabwe and Iran look positively Democratic and yet it looks like this is the "future" for Europe - ruled by people no one voted into office and no one can remove through the ballot box.Makes you wonder what most of the 20th Century conflict in Europe was really worth. Mon 11 Jan 2010 11:49:04 GMT+1 Jean Luc http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=5#comment4 Re "What like dodging referendums?"Perhaps it's time you finally respected the wish of the Irish people, who by a large majority voted in favour of the Lisbon Treaty. Mon 11 Jan 2010 11:39:28 GMT+1 rg http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=4#comment3 OP "there will be no free rides"What like dodging referendums? Mon 11 Jan 2010 11:17:29 GMT+1 Freeman http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=2#comment2 Ashton and democracy do not mix. Even the EU wet lettuce variety. It is an insult she is even there. Mon 11 Jan 2010 11:07:26 GMT+1 Menedemus http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=1#comment1 "For these few days individuals who will hold considerable power within Europe will be held to account in public.Gavin, in one brief throwaway sentence you sum up all that is wrong with the European Union!Democracy? Bah humbug! Mon 11 Jan 2010 10:48:45 GMT+1 cool_brush_work http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/a_little_light_grilling.html?page=0#comment0 Mr Hewitt, this is a really dubious piece of reporting. Not because you got anything wrong (that I'm aware of), but because it is about a complete non-event, about a non-person, in an incredibly expensive non-job with absolutely no interest among the vast majority of European Citizens of whom some 56% did not participate in electing the non-MEPs of the non-Parliament.Oh wait! It is about an EU EUrocrat - - well, all is explained - - the EU meanders on its way deliberately oblivious of the 490,000,000 it claims to represent: Situation normal, no need to say more... Mon 11 Jan 2010 10:17:58 GMT+1