Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The fragrant Glenys

On Sunday I spent some time taking part in various TV discussions about the Spanish referendum, each time up against a Labour MEP. In my own opinion the europhiles do themselves no favours by fielding people who so clearly do very well out of the system. But then, why should I care?

One of the discussions was with Lady Kinnock, otherwise known as our Glenys, the fragrant Welsh MEP and assiduous participant in all European Parliament tours round the the world in her capacity as yet another spokesperson on aid.

What astonished me was the paucity of her arguments about the constitution. Not for her the sophistication of “soft power”. She was droning on about economic benefits (unspecified), jobs (unaccounted for), and the horrors of the eurosceptic press.

She even tried to tell me that what I referred to as the constitution was not precisely that but had lots of add-on documents. Not sure what she meant but if she thinks that all those protocols are not part of the constitution she does not know a great deal.

When asked about the need for information, she informed us that the Commission was ready to provide it but the nasty eurosceptics objected to that. I pointed out that we did not object to it but insisted on it being properly labelled (i.e. if it is the Commission who says things, we should know that) and we reserved the right to correct all errors in the information.

Then came the dreaded eurosceptic press. In particular, she referred to the story about closing the embassies. Well, well, well, I thought. Can she really be that silly? So, I told her that it was Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero who said it and no, he was not misquoted. Also, I said, if she is in favour of the common foreign policy, she should be in favour of EU embassies.

At that point the interviewer announced that we had run out of time. But I remain worried. These cannot be the heavy guns. When are they going to be wheeled out and are we prepared for them?

PS There will be a short interruption in my posting service as I deliver myself into the hands of the NHS. My colleague will carry on and as soon as I emerge from the anaesthetic I shall be on the phone to him.

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