Tuesday, May 25, 2004

The European Elections

I'll probably be blogging about this on and off for the next couple of weeks. The European elections are taking place on the 10th June 2004. These are, naturally enough, elections for the European Parliament, that powerless gravy-train of an institution that sits mostly in Brussels, when not in Strasbourg at the insistence of the French.

Powerless? Just about. Technically the European Parliament is meant to be the democratic mandate of the European institutions, but the Commission and member states have effectively ensured that it has no effective power. It's one effective power is the sack (I suppose impeach would be a constitutionally more accurate term) the Commission in its entirety. Even though my opinion of most of the Commission might be that there are a bunch of crooks this is an extra-ordinarily blunt instrument. Indeed, the word nuclear comes to mind. Otherwise the Parliament can cause embarrassment, but nothing else.

And now I have to decide who I am going to send to this institution. Except I won't be able to choose who I am going to send, but rather what thanks to the idiotic conceit called Proportional Representation. More on that sometime later.

Anyway, this is just a heads-up of sorts. And because I want to ramble slightly. But what brought it on is that the first pieces of campaign literature have come through the letterbox, along with my polling card. I'll probbaly post something more intelligent when I've done a basic read-up of what everyone is saying, though I think I mostly kind of know anyway.

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