Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Silencing Gawain

You might have seen this around but if not, here's the story. One of our own, Gawain Towler, has been banned from blogging by the powers that be in the European Parliament. Apparently, having your own opinions and expressing them is frowned upon. To the extent that you can be fined four months wages if you do so.

The full story is here.

Well, OK, we all knew they didn't like people taking the mickey out of their pretentions but there's a much larger point to make behind this as well.

As Lord Pearson has been saying repeatedly in the House of Lords, there are a number of peers who are in receipt of (substantial, up to €80,000 a year,) pensions from the EU and they are subject to the same gagging clauses. In theory, as has just happened to Gawain in practice, they can be threatened with cuts in or even the abolition of their pension if they do not support the aims of the Union at all times.

However, as Malcolm Pearson has been pointing out, those peers do not have to declare such an interest when speaking in the Lords: not even on a debate about that very European Union.

One rule for the common man, another for the Masters, don't you think? And a situation we might want to change as well.

No comments: