Nosemonkey's EUtopia

In search of a European identity

An apology

Had I gone to some press junket as I was supposed to, rather than head home to watch the France/Portugal game (fairly tedious), I would have been within easy assassination distance of Margaret Thatcher last night. I have failed in my duty.

(Even though I’m actually one of those annoying people who thinks Thatcher did more good than bad – but ssssshhhh! I’m supposed to be a bit of a lefty, apparently.)

I must also apologise for bringing you no news of the EU for a while. Nothing on the new Finnish presidency, nothing on the failure of the Common Fisheries Policy, nothing on the supposed revival (once again) of that damn constitution, nothing on populist Europe-wide anti-paedophile drives, because so much of it is simply incredibly boring.

Instead, have a brief summary of a few important EU developments from the last few days:

1) The EU has offered Russia a free trade deal – really designed to head off any more energy crises, but with the potential finally to bring Moscow back towards Europe where (if you’re a fan of the likes of Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Turgenev and their ilk) she belongs.

2) European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has slagged off Gordon Brown, hinting that with Brown as PM Britain would be further isolated within the EU (registration required for the Spectator’s site, but doesn’t seem to work all the time, so see the Telegraph for a summary).

3) As from today, MEPs are significantly more powerful and so the EU significantly more democratic, as the European Parliament gains the ability to revoke Commission decisions for the first time. (Please note, Danish eurosceptic MEP Jens-Peter Bonde, whose criticisms of this advance are quoted extensively in that EU Observer report, is the husband of the owner of, erm… the EU Observer.)


  1. A fan of Thatcher? Not even I saw that one coming.

  2. I once 'shot' Mrs T with a finger (unloaded if any of the Thin Blue Line/MI5 are reading this). I was waiting at the bus stop at Center Point in the 80s when a convoy of largish cars drew up and small, grey woman with a handbag ran out of the middle one between larger men. Childish, but the look on a uniformed policeman's face was worth it.

  3. David – I didn't say I was a fan. She still scares the crap out of me and I have a fairly high level of dislike for her as a person, but put everything in the balance and I reckon history will treat her relatively well. Certainly a lot better than Blair will be.

    (But then again, throughout the 80s I was safely out of harm's way, living about as far south as you can get without getting wet, so wasn't affected by her less popular policies as much as some…)

  4. Not as bad as Blair? Even Lloyd George was not as bad as Blair. Ramsay Mac, Anthony Eden, Harold Wilson, Ted Heath, John Major. The list is rather long. Perhaps Lord North was about as bad as Blair?

  5. Am I the only one who thinks that a major change in the procedural rules of the EU taking place without any European voters knowing it was being debated doesn't quite qualify as a step towards lessening the EU's democratic deficit?