HAVE A DRINK WITH JUNKER
Everywhere elites cluster round governments. Within the beltway in the US, in the Westminster village here, and in the isolation wards of Canberra and Brazilia. So it's only to be expected that the EU being bigger, messier and more problematical than grown up countries should have a bigger penumbra of hangers on. The Euro elite is bigger and better paid than our's.Yet it has something in common with it. You're paying for them.
This isn't just the Commission bureaucrats in their marble palaces chauffeurs, big houses and huge pensions.They all like to feel important by encouraging awed British delegations from unions local authorities and businesses to go to Brussels and plead their case to be greeted with sympathy, biscuits, Vichy water, and inaction.All those delegations, and I've been on many, must do wonders for the tourist trade of a country so boring no one might otherwise want to go to it.
We're paying the bureaucrats as they exercise their power to share out our fish, regulate our takeovers and business support, spend our aid money for us, dole some of our money back to us and put up signs to say how generous they've been. I should add that they also negotiate our trade deals for us That's a job for life. EU trade negotiations are the slowest in the world and it always tackles them mob handed.
We should also include the British civil servants sitting in the inflated embassy in Brussels, going native in their awe of an institution they're worshipping. When I was an MP they always told us to treat it with awe and respect ( and never to mention Brexit).Then there's the Parliament and its members of staff here and in Brussels and its expensive shuttle service trundling between Brussels, Strasbourg and Luxembourg. Don't forget the 30,000 lobbyists from business, NGOs, professional lobby firms,Accountancy houses and local authorities, many of whom have set up offices there.
Add in the ancillary institutions, defence, the European bank and its money printers. All on expenses. Many tax free.All boost business costs; two oil companies spend five million a year on Brussels offices which you pay for on petrol.The regular fights to stop EU follies such as requiring the same electricity plugs, or stopping the sale of health foods and other barmy ideas all take more time, effort and money
The EU is Belgium's main industry but its tentacles reach out into all EU members with Commission and Parliamentary offices and staffs, visiting inspectors and auditors. Being Europe's elite, and hidden from the eyes of national tax payers and audit committees they're free to live a luxurious life style which isn't confined to Brussel's expensive restaurants but includes skiing,the various rivieras, visits round Europe (all with free travel of course) and second houses, usually in the south of France or Tuscany with swimming pools and the full mod con the elite are entitled to.No wonder they're all so tanned and healthy.
Nice work if you can get it.But for those of us who can't It's an expensive burden. British MEPs are restricted to British salaries but with bigger and eminently fiddleable expenses and the civil servants are much better paid than ours. Which is why so many of ours see the top of their aspirations as Brussels rather than endless cuts and impotence in Whitehall.
You're paying for all of this great vested interest. No wonder they feel threatened by Brexit. No wonder either that they're putting their efforts and our money into lobbying against it. They don't want to leave the flesh pots.Many don't want to come back at all. Euro turkeys won't vote for Christmas. But we should ignore their endless,self interested, cackling.