Plans to eliminate Eurosceptics as an organised opposition within the European Parliament are expected to be agreed by a majority of MEPs this summer. They will vote to change the rules governing the political groupings formed by MEPs, which can be eligible for lavish funding. Current rules allow 20 MEPs from a fifth of the EU's member states to form a grouping, giving them a say in the parliament's administration and power structure. Under the changes, the threshold would become 30 MEPs from one quarter of the EU's member states.
Richard Corbett, a British Labour MEP, is leading the campaign to cut the number of groups in the Parliament next year.
The move would dissolve the pan-European Eurosceptic "Independence and Democracy" grouping, which includes the UK Independence Party. The result would be that the largest and pro-EU groups would tighten their grip on the parliament's political agenda. "It would prevent single-issue politicians from being given undue support from the public purse," said Mr Corbett. His proposals would also give the president of the parliament sweeping powers to approve or reject parliamentary questions.
Nigel Farage, the leader of the UKIP, said that the move went hand in hand with the denial of popular votes on the new EU Treaty. "Welcome to your future. This shows an EU mindset that is arrogant, anti-democratic and frankly scary," he said.
The Liberal Democrats, Greens, the far Left, Eurosceptics and other groupings have vowed to oppose the plans during a vote scheduled for July 9. But the proposals are expected to be passed with the backing of the parliament's centre-Left and Right groupings, which account for 64 per cent of MEPs, including British Conservative and Labour members.
The taxpayer money saved from the clutches of the Eurosceptics will then be available to fund more stuff like this :
To think our young men died in the hundreds of thousands for these people. I think a quote from A.G. MacDonnell's "England Their England" is in order. Our hero is in a country pub in the late Twenties :
"That war didn't do any of us any any good" said Mr Stillaway. "Nothing's been the same since."
"Yes, and what did we gain by it ?" asked Mr Young.
"Nothing" said Mr Davis.
Donald made a halting remark about Belgium and national honour and treaties, which the semicircle listened to attentively. Then Mr Stillaway, the impartial voter, replied :
"But can you tell me,sir, what national honour does for me ? I've worked on the land all my life, and the least I've ever earned is four-and-six a week and the most is twenty-nine shillings. It isn't a fortune, either of them. In 1914 a man comes down to the green here, and he makes a speech about just that national honour that you've been talking about. Mind you,sir, in 1914 the nation and all its honour was giving me twenty-two shillings a week and I was working seventy-eight hours a week for it. But I had to give three sons and eight grandsons to fight for the national honour. And three were killed and two lost legs. And what good did that do to them or to me or Mr Davis here or Mr Darley ? Cost of living is higher. Beer is more expensive and so is tobacco. And my grandsons, the ones that weren't killed, can't get work. And all that for what you call national honour."
"That's right." "Mr Stillaway's hit it." "That's as true as I'm sitting here." came as muttered applause.
Ancient Darley raised his venerable head once more.
"We fought on the wrong side," he whispered strongly. "Those Frenchies were never any use to us. My father saw the beacons on the downs of Sussex when Boney was on the other side. The Germans never did us any harm. It's all they Frenchies."
"Ah ! Thats right," echoed every antique voice in the parlour.