GuyVerhofstadts little secret
Guy Verhofstadt can be found always having a go at the British, almost nothing he says is nice. Even before the vote for Brexit, he was snarling at the British like a mad dog with Rabies. Since the British voted to leave his beloved little corrupt club its got worse.
Who is he and in particular, where does he get his power?
What democratic mandate has he got?
Guy is a Member of the European Parliament (“MEP”) and is the EP’s spokesperson on Brexit. He, therefore, speaks for around 500 million European people.
Let’s see with what level of democratic legitimacy he speaks for 500 million people…What you are about to see is a typical EU democracy.
A hint of a vote here, a smattering of consent there, overall, just enough to make the system appear democratic to a casual observer. But it’s just a veneer of democracy hiding a deeply authoritarian reality.
Because believe it or not Guy was never elected as an MEP.
The Belgians do not elect individuals in the EP elections; they vote for political parties. Guy’s political party is the Open Flemish Liberals & Democrats (“the OFLD”).
The OFLD got 858,872 votes in the 2014 election. Under the Belgian electoral college system that meant the OFLD got 3 MEPs (out of 21).
The OFLD got 12.89% of the popular vote in the 2014 EP election.
To put that into context, UKIP got 12.6% of the popular vote in the 2015 UK general election.
The winners of the 2014 EP election in Belgium were the New Flemish Alliance, a center-right nationalist and separatist party who increased their share of the vote by three hundred percent.
GUY IS AN MEP BECAUSE HIS PARTY GOT HAMMERED IN AN ELECTION.
So how did this MEP from this minority party in one of the European small states come to speak for the EP — and 500 million people — on Brexit?
The process I am about to outline should make anyone who cares about democracy feel very unsettled. Did MEPs elect a Brexit spokesperson in an open vote, choosing from a range of possible candidates with different views from across the political spectrum?
Of course, they didn’t.
Guy was APPOINTED by the CONFERENCE OF THE PRESIDENTS OF THE EP (“the Conference”).
The Conference meets twice a month, in private, and is closed to all but 8 — yes 8 — MEPs. The 8 MEPs are the chairs of the 8 broad political groups into which the EP has organized itself.
“What groups?” you ask, “I don’t vote for a group in the EP elections”.
Oh yes, you do.
The political parties from all the member states have organized themselves into 8 broad political groups. It is those 8 groups which operate in the EP, not the political parties themselves.
Each of the 8 groups has a “President”. Each of the 8 Presidents attends the Conference.
One of the 8 groups is the Alliance of Liberals & Democrats for Europe (“ALDE”).
The Belgian party OFLD is in ALDE.
Guy is the (unelected, obviously) president of ALDE.
So Guy attends the Conference.
Do you see how the VOTERS are getting more and more distant?
It gets worse.
So did the Conference meet, consider a range of candidates, hold an open vote and declare the winner?
Of course not.
Well did they even meet and have a debate about candidates then?
The Conference didn’t even meet and there was no vote.
Guy met up with Martin Schulz (remember him?) informally.
MS was the President of EP group Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (“PASD”).
Two other group Presidents joined them. In a back room, they alone appointed Guy to speak for 500m people.
WITH NO VOTE AT ALL.
The Presidents of the other political groups were informed of the appointment and the announcement was made to the world that Guy was the EP spokesperson on Brexit.
An ARCH-FEDERALIST, an extremist even by EU standards, a fanatic and Brit hater basically had become the EP Brexit spokesperson.
Look at what Guy Verhofstadt tweeted only the other day
He has tweeted that the EP will refuse to approve any form of Withdrawal Agreement without the Backstop in it.
Now hang on a tad if you will because our nasty little Brit hater has dropped one and I don't mean a fart that smells like a rotten egg.
How the hell does he know?
It’s supposed to be a vote taken in the EU Parliament. But democracy never works properly in the EU.
Even the Parliament — the only quasi-democratic institute in the whole rotten Union — is controlled, co-ordinated and centrally managed by the political groups.
Guy knows which way the EP will vote because he and few of his buddies control the EP. This man holds the interests and the well-being of 500 million in his hands. He is a key player in a set of extremely important international negotiations. All because his fringe party, in a small state, lost an election.
And because three other blokes decided he should be.
Try and think about this from the point of view of a French agricultural worker or a German manufacturing worker, or a Greek hotelier, Italian Piza maker or an actual person in the EU In what credible democratic sense does Verhofstadt speak for them? How the hell does he know whether they want a backstop or not?
Try to follow the democratic chain?
If you cannot follow the democratic links in the chain from the people to the representative, then IT IS NOT DEMOCRACY.
If you cannot comprehend, or even ascertain, the process by which the representative obtains his power, then IT IS NOT DEMOCRACY.
If you cannot conceive of a possible democratic method by which the representative can be removed, censured or otherwise controlled by the electorate, IT IS NOT DEMOCRACY.
What is a Spanish worker supposed to do to replace Guy? Where should she or he start? Who does she or he protest to?
That goes for any of the 500 million in the EU just where do they start.
It's actually a conundrum that will never be solved.