Bloom and his boss Farage are quite happy to sell our birthright for a mess of pottage as it says in the Bible!
The funding of pan-European political parties
The following notes have been sent to me by Mr. Richard Teather, senior lecturer in tax law at Bournemouth University, to whom I am most grateful.
These notes make sense given what I have heard elsewhere about the funding of pan-European political parties, but raise further questions. In fact, the whole subject is puzzling.
On the face of it, the EFD group would pick up a little under one million euros a year if all its constituent parties – including the UK Independence Party – decided to form a Europarty.
Frankly, this is chickenfeed relative to
i. the larger issues raised by the UK’s membership of the European Union and
ii. the sums of money routinely discussed in British political fund-raising.
I am astonished that anyone involved in the leadership of UKIP could want to convert the party into a Europarty for such a trivial amount.
True enough, the basis of allocation between the notional Europarties is such as to encourage “groups” to convert themselves into “Europarties”. The European Union imposes a limit on the total that can be spent on Europarties. In other words, the trough has only a finite amount of swill inside it. If one group in the European Parliament does not convert itself into a Europarty (such as the proposed “European Alliance”), the amount of swill available for the other groups (i.e., those which do convert themselves) is higher than would otherwise be the case. Hence, the two sentences in the Bonici e-mail, “The European Alliance will help parties dissiminate [sic – she meant ‘disseminate’] information by using European funds available to us, and if we don't apply the other Parties/Alliances such as the PES, EPP, Greens etc... will have the money which is allocated to us to share between them. Basically it is like giving ammunition to your enemy for free.”
Nevertheless, it remains unclear to me what advantage UKIP would get from belonging to a Europarty such as the proposed “European Alliance”. The 600,000 euros (plus or minus 250,000 euros) could not be used for a specifically British political purpose in this country, but must instead be part of a pan-European political programme of some sort. Since the UK Independence Party is the only significant political force in the European Parliament committed to its nation’s withdrawal from the EU, how could such a pan-European political programme be to UKIP’s benefit?
Interestingly, Europarty money cannot be used for the purposes of promoting referendums. Indeed, this seems to be specifically identified as an unacceptable destination of Europarty money.
There is an obvious - indeed hilarious – discrepancy between item 6 in Richard Teather’s notes above, and item 4, with its assertion that the EU “is founded” on “the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law". Democracy? Oh, yes, the EU is founded on the principle of democracy, until Europe’s peoples vote against further European integration. When any of Europe’s peoples vote that way, the EU and its related “political class” ignores their democratic verdicts. Remember how the EU’s politicians and bureaucrats overrode referendum results in Ireland, France, the Netherlands, etc.
Since any money arising from Europarty status cannot be used to promote UKIP in the UK, I cannot see any purpose in seeking Europarty status. My view is that UKIP should have nothing to do with Europarties.
28th October, 2010