So, it appears, Jacques Barrot, the French commissioner, is a convicted criminal, back in politics only through the generosity of his political boss. Chirac has given him a complete pardon, so comprehensive that it becomes a criminal offence even to mention that the man is a criminal.
I suppose that is only right and proper coming from a president who, but for his own immunity stemming from his office, would be in jail himself, having robbed and pillaged the state coffers for as long as he has been a politician.
As for Barrot, this is a man who takes on responsibility for a multi-billion budget in the transport directorate, a portfolio which, in terms of its freedom to make discretionary payments, is one of the most powerful in Brussels. So awards of billions rest on the say-so of a French crook, appointed by another French crook.
And would we have known anything of this but for the intervention of one MEP, Nigel Farage, of the much-derided (not least by myself) UK Independence Party? Loathe the man as I do, at least, amongst the self-serving claque in that ghastly pretend-parliament in Strasbourg, he had the balls to stand up and say what had to be said.
And where were the Conservatives – who also pledge to root out corruption? Where, might I ask were the Lib-Dims, to say nothing of the egregious Christopher Huhne, who was so voluble on Tuesday about the merits of the EU. And where were all the Labour MEPs, so full of righteousness about so many issues, but suddenly so silent?
Labour, itself, was far from silent. Denis MacShame, as you would expect, welcomed the European Parliament's support for the new EU Commission on 18 November, commenting:
I welcome the European Parliament's strong vote for the new Commission today. And I wish to pass on my congratulations to Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso who has built an effective and modern looking team drawing on the experience and enthusiasm from all 25 countries. It comes at an exciting time for a new look Europe that now needs to press ahead to take forward a dynamic and exciting agenda and tackle the challenges that we all face.Yea, right.
And where was the media? Did we hear anything of this on the BBC? Did we heck. Last night on BBC Radio 4’s "World tonight", we had a long spiel about Anglo-French relations, guided by that Euro-savant, Sir Stephen Wall, who ended up telling us how important it was that we worked with France within the context of the European Union. Pity no one thought it necessary to mention that Wall is a board member of Britain in Europe.
Some newspapers this morning do mention Barrot, most notably The Daily Telegraph with the indefatigable Ambrose Evans-Pritchard reporting that Farage had "caused uproar", adding that he had "stunned the chamber by calling the new team a claque of crooks, liars, Communist lackeys and 'political failures'."
The Financial Times also covered the story, referring to Barrot’s "suspended prison sentence" which had followed a funding scandal involving his political party, and The Guardian made a passing reference to it.
However, not one single paper mentioned just how much money was involved in this "funding scandal". Farage did - FFR 25m (US$ 3.8m), a £2.5 million rip-off from the French taxpayer. What’s wrong with our media? Are they "frit" – do they believe that the writ of French law runs here, and that the editors might be raided at the crack of dawn and carted off under an EU arrest warrant, to languish in a French nick?
That apart, but for Farage, and UKIP, we would not have known that the French commissioner – now part of our government – is a convicted crook, a big-time crook. Everyone else looked the other way. UKIP did not. Love it or hate it, therefore, as long as the rest of our politicians are gutless wimps, incompetents, or worse, we need UKIP.