For some years, voters in the east Midlands of England have been represented by Roger Helmer, a man who has earned a cult following on the Tory right with his robust views on European Union (pah), climate change (pshaw) and law and order (during the summer riots, he called on the government to "get tough", bring in the army and "Shoot looters and arsonists on sight"). Mr Helmer announced this week that he was standing down at the end of this year, partly out of disillusionment with Conservative policies. Under the rules of the European Parliament, nothing so time-consuming as a by-election is triggered (this is, after all, a body which has watched turnout fall at each and every European election in the last 30 years, and responded each time by demanding new powers and more money). Instead, Mr Helmer is replaced by Rupert Matthews, the candidate from the 2009 European election who secured the most votes for the multi-member east Midlands seat without actually winning a ticket to Strasbourg.Okay okay okay, that is somewhat odd in addition to being somewhat boring. But he's a Tory! And today is the day we demand spooky with our kooky. There must be more. And there is!
Mr Matthews is also a man of robust views, it emerges. In particular, he is exercised by the Lisbon Treaty, which he asserts grants the European Commission powers to invade Britain, should the British ever try to leave the union. I spent many weary hours reading the treaty, and cannot for the life of me think of the articles he is referring to. There are treaty articles which talk of deploying military forces on peacekeeping missions outside the Union, but they all make clear that national governments are in charge of such missions. There is a bit about member states being entitled to ask for help in the event of a natural disaster or attack, but only at their own initiative. There is an article which talks about uses for Europol, a body bringing together policemen from forces across the EU, but it expressly states: "Any operational action by Europol must be carried out in liaison and in agreement with the authorities of the Member State or States whose territory is concerned."
Monday, October 31, 2011
Hallowe'en-Themed News for Some Reason
Over at The Economist, some EU news: