Monday, July 05, 2004

Rats leaving the ship?

According to the Independent, Jim Dougal, Head of the European Commission in the United Kingdom, has resigned "because convincing people in the UK to tolerate, let alone love, Europe, in present circumstances is an impossible task".

Why anyone should "love" the EU or any other form of government (does anyone "love" Whitehall?) is a mystery, but never mind.

Poor old Jim feels that the bureaucracy in the Commission is "stifling" and the organisation has not yet come to terms with the fall of the Santer Commission. It seems to come as a surprise to him that "Staff are more interested in watching their backs than moving ahead", unaware perhaps that all bureaucracies behave in this fashion.

The man came to the Commission as a former broadcaster and he wanted to "communicate" but he has spent "two years in London pushing paper around my desk, generally the same pieces of paper recirculated, dealing with rules which appeared more to impede communication than facilitate it".

The Commission "has taken on responsibility for selling Europe throughout the Union" but its rules, regulations and bureaucracy "are too cumbersome for it to be effective". It should be the Government's job to present its European enterprise to its people.”

But our Jim doesn't seem to have much time for the Blair idea of blaming the unpopularity of the EU on the Eurosceptic press and the "Euromyth industry". "Those who hate the very thought of any European integration have an open goal because nobody challenges them".

And here we have the punch line: "The pro-European lobby must get out of its permanently defensive and reactive mode. It must have credible leaders and a credible voice". And they "must initiate the debate".

Certainly, our Jim ain’t going to do it any longer. He seems to be too busy manning the lifeboats.

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