Friday, January 07, 2005

Their self-importance knows no bounds

28 MEPs, led by the egregious Edward McMillan-Scott have arrived in the Palestine to observe what they have described as “the most important elections in the Arab world”. Some of us may consider that the Iraqi election at the end of January will be as important if not more so, but, presumably, the EU’s opportunity for interference will be severely limited.

Mr McMillan-Scott, no slouch when it comes to spending taxpayers’ money explained why this was so incredibly important:
"The election is the most important in the Arab world. This is the European Parliament's largest ever electoral observation mission. We come with open minds, but fully aware of the special circumstances under which the election takes place.

We are also here to observe the observers. The EU has committed 16.5 million euros to election assistance and observation - we will assure ourselves that it has been correctly spent."
As opposed to EU money being spent in Palestine at other times, when it was most incorrectly spent or, to be quite precise, never properly accounted for. And if the MEPs are there to observe the observers, who is going to be observing them? Some of the other EU observers who will number 260?

Of course, there are a few problems with the Palestinian elections. One is that effectively there is only one candidate, Mahmoud Abbas. Mr Abbas seems to be falling into the usual habit of politicians of saying one thing to one set of people – to Western media and politicians in English – and something completely different to others – various terrorist groups in Arabic. You might argue that this differs very little from the way other politicians behave but more is at stake in Palestine.

When the only serious candidate for the Presidency of the Palestinian Authority assures terrorist organizations that he will not crack down on them when elected and repeats all the old rhetoric of Chairman Yasser Arafat of ill memory, then we should all pay attention. Perhaps, this is all electoral guff, perhaps not. Will the self-important European Parliament observers know the difference?

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