Thursday, April 14, 2005

Any sense in Strasbourg?

todays shoes: brown furry boots

Yesterday I went into town with Mr B, since we were getting cabin fever. Not surprising in this place, where you can arrive at 8am and not leave for 12 hours, by which time it is dark and all one wishes to do is consume vast G&Ts. Yesterday, however, I realised what a beautiful city Strasbourg was: the atmosphere, architecture, restaurants and bars. It really is infinitely superior to Brussels which is drab at best and has a quirky nickname for the dog shit which smothers the pavements.

Last session MEPs voted on whether we should be in Strasbourg at all or stay in the centre of bureaucracy the whole time. Only 15 MEPs disagreed with this suggestion and considering my comments above you may wonder why. Let me tell you. The travelling circus use the Strasbourg Parliament for four days per month - which works out to forty days per year after holidays. On top of the expense of heating, maintainence, lighting, guarding, cleaning and staffing a massive unnecessary building there is an additional cost of £100m just to cart equipment and bits of paper to and from Brussels. Then, of course, you have to pay for the MEPs and their staff to get there, and to stay in hotels. And who pays for this? The good old tax payer, of course.

As generous as I am with my credit card when it comes to lovely little boutiques, I am severely against this huge waste of money which could be spend in Member States doing something useful - maybe some research into currently incurable diseases? I'm even more against it when the overwhelming decision taken by MEPs (a surprise in itself that they did anything sensible, when you see some of them) was vetoed by the French. Why? Je ne sais pas. Puisqu'ils sont français?

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