Thursday, June 02, 2011

The plunder continues

While the media concentrates on bread and circuses in an effort to keep the masses entertained, with The Daily Failygraph pitching for the Womens' Own audience, the Moody's rating agency has downgraded Greece's local and foreign currency bond ratings deeper into junk status. It cites an increased risk that the country will be unable to handle its debt problems without an eventual restructuring.

The immediate practical effect of was in Athens, where riot police had to escort MPs out of the parliament, after some 200 demonstrators heckled them as they left in their cars, some spitting at and kicking the vehicles (and do the muppets in Westminster think we feel any different?). Now the MPs are under constant guard, the deeply sinister photograph (above) showing the police in position outside the parliament.

And now, while the people are paying an ever increasing price for the profligacy of their rulers, we learn that José Manuel Barroso and his fellow apparatchiks racked up a €249,000 bill for private jets during the period he attended the 2009 UN convention on climate change. Furthermore, that was just a small part of €7.5m worth of trips on private jets chartered by EU commissioners over the last five years. A further €118,000 was paid for limousines to chauffeur commissioners between official engagements.

But this wholesale raiding of the public purse has been going on a long, long time. We broke the story in 2005 about how bent the commission president really is, only to have the issue ignored by member state governments (and the media).

To add to their current list of crimes, Barroso and 35 others spent €28,000 at the luxury Peninsula New York hotel during the visit to the UN climate change convention. Public money was used to fund a €75,000 cocktail party at a science conference – Discovery 09. This was "filled with wonder like no other ... with trendy cocktails, surprising performances and top DJs", as much of the EU was in the grip of recession.

In the same year, the commission also funded €300,000 worth of events described as cocktail parties. At least a further €1.2m was spent on hotel and conference costs in 2009, including stays in San Diego, Prague and Balmoral. An additional €20,000 was spent on gifts for commission guest speakers since 2008, including cufflinks, fountain pens and Tiffany jewellery.

Yet all this is the tip of a huge iceberg. The commission has made more than €42m of transfers to "natural persons" – individuals, whose names the commission keeps secret, and a further €381m has been spent on "confidential" activities, which the commission refuses to disclose "for security reasons".

This now is against the background of EU demands for an extra £200-a-year in stealth taxes from British families, while the commission is also proposing to cut back payments to the UK, returning even less of the £11.54 billion lifted from our wallets.

Yet, from Tory "eurosceptic" MP Douglas Carswell, we get the weak as ditchwater comment that the plans show that "Eurocrats simply don't get it". The people who don't get it, of course, are British MPs, through whose inertia this carve-up continues. This plunder is their responsibility because they permit it.

But throughout Europe, as well as in the UK, democracy has effectively ceased to exist. And here, Autonomous Mind is right, speaking for so many of us. In order to restore democracy, he writes, power must be taken back by the people.

The power our politicians possess is the ability to make decisions requiring them to determine how our money, collected through taxation, is spent. If people had the ability to veto decisions by refusing to allow their money to be spent, the power of the political class – supposedly our representatives and servants anyway – would be removed. Ordinary people would be calling the shots, which is as it should be.

We do not have a lot of time to do this, but determined we must be. Our rulers are ripping us off wholesale, and we cannot allow this to continue. As European Disunion notes, "Europe" is incompatible with democracy – and so is our own provincial government. The Demos must take the initiative, if we are to survive.