The European Elections, although mainly remarkable for not really having a debate about the EU, have also been notable for bringing to our attention how little politicians actually know about the thing.
It's a pity that the few weeks where we should have been debating the EU: talking about how much control they have, what it costs, who your MEPs are and, of course, who the Commissioners are since it's always good to have an idea who controls the country, has just been ignored by the expenses scandal.
Don't get me wrong, I'm very glad that MPs are being brought to book for feathering their nest with our cash. Sod two homes, I can't afford one and it's because I'm paying for them and their children to be Laura Ashley'd up to their eye balls.
It's just that I do wish in between all the stories we could take time out to discuss the elections being held. Hey, we could even have a compromise and debate how much MEPs cost and all those jollies they like to go on. It could be 'whoops-a-daisy' all over again!
At least when it comes to expenses MPs actually know what they are talking about because they really don't have a fucking clue when it comes to the EU.
Take Caroline Flint on Question Time last Thursday. She's Minister for Europe and the woman appears to be so dumb she can't tell the difference between a regulation and a directive. She keeps on pushing this 'only 9% of laws come from the EU' and I can't help but think it's a combination of malevolence and ignorance. No, sweetcheeks, it's at least 75%. The Government themselves have admitted that at least 50% of major laws and 75% of all it's laws come from the EU and yet glamourpuss Flint hadn't quite read that bit.
Perhaps it's all part of this strategy they have of telling us how absolutely vital our membership of the EU is, how we need it in this global world (yes, yes I know that we know it's protectionist) and all the amazing things it does whilst at the same time telling us it doesn't cost us very much and it has very little influence...
From the Lisbon Constitution:
"The Conference recalls that, in accordance with well settled case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union, the Treaties and the law adopted by the Union on the basis of the Treaties have primacy over the law of Member States, under the conditions laid down by the said case law".
Someone else who doesn't know his arse from his elbow when it comes to the EU is the great David Cameron. I'm not sure the Tories have actually drawn up their EU policy yet but they're trying to cover it up by calling for an election and bitching about UKIP.
Dave's pre recorded interview on Sky this morning was another classic. From the party that said they wanted to withdraw from the Common Fisheries Policy without realising it requires unanimity in the Council, comes the astonishing accusation from Cameron that UKIP voted for Spanish fishermen to have access to 60% of our stock!
This is based on a vote a couple of years ago which the Tories voted for which increased the access our fishermen had in the Shetland box to 40%. UKIP voted against it because they would rather we had 100% control of our own territorial waters but the Tories obviously don't think that way. Even so, to say that UKIP voted for Spanish access because they voted against this measure is highlighting that Dave appears not even to know that the Common Fisheries Policy which gives access to all and bloody sundry, was brought in under a Conservative Government.
It's important to have UKIP MEPs in Brussels - they haven't 'been doing nothing' for the past five years you massive foreheaded PR obsessed hollow man - because you need to vote against legislation which Labour, Tories and Lib Dems support and often write. Legislation like fortnightly bin collections and rules on waste which Conservative MEP Caroline Jackson wrote whilst she was in the pay of a company which stood to gain. Home Improvement Packs come from the EU, Post Office closures stem from Maastrict and post office legislation, the European Arrest Warrant which could see you shipped off to Romania because your name popped up and the police can't be bothered to investigate the crime.
Now, whilst the power for referendums on Lisbon and our future in the EU stem from Westminster, it's good to have as many people correcting the integrationalist voting patterns of the other parties just to keep head above water.
Because let's face it, they've been talking about 'reform' for the past few decades and we're further away from governing ourselves than we ever have been.