Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
You have a perfectly legitimate and widely held (and perhaps growing) point of view which I thank you for sharing here. In some respects it is reminiscent of views also held by Brexiteers who like to contrast unaccountable EU bureaucracy with accountable democratic national government.

I like to push back on that view lest it become an unchallenged consensus here as elsewhere. While no one can claim the EU or EZ is perfect in every respect I'm not convinced it is much worse than most national bureaucracies despite being an order of magnitude more complex. This makes it more difficult to reduce to the simplistic slogans you see on battle buses in national general election campaigns.

You don't have to be a disciple of the Cambridge Analyitica school of politics to realise that elections are generally not fought or won on the minutiae of politics such as the minutes of cabinet or Council meetings even if these were published.

In Ireland, Cabinet meeting minutes aren't published for 30 years, members are bound by cabinet confidentiality, and all must take collective responsibility for decisions taken whether they agreed with them or not. How is this better than how Council meetings are conducted?

If those minutes became immediately publicly available, I suspect the real meetings would take place informally beforehand and cabinet meetings would become simply formalised rubber stamping exercises.

Politicians will always try to resile from unpopular decisions by giving briefings to journalists that they opposed them privately and that they were driven by so-and-so. Briefing against political opponents is a national sport.

If your national media is stupid enough (or self-interested enough) to be taken in by this guff you deserve all you get. And I can assure you the situation is much worse in large hierarchical private businesses.

So forgive me if I am a bit blasé about the whole "undemocratic EU" narrative. Of course I support Emily O'Reilly's concerns, but do I think it would change things much if Council meetings issued published minutes? NO. Most voters would prefer to watch paint dry.

And neither am I a fan of a lot of direct democracy on very complex issues - that is why we elect parliamentarians and appoint specialists and experts to our civil service. I quite like the Irish system of having referenda on major issues of principle as contained in the Constitution, or on the ratification of EU Treaties which pool further sovereignty at EU level.  But that is about as far as most people want to be involved.

The notion that you can have a lot direct participation by citizens in the governance of a Union of 27 states and 500 million people seems to me to be particularly fanciful. That is just a charter for commercially financed lobby groups and religious fanatics to gain an influence far in excess of what their actuals numbers or contribution to the public good warrants.

It takes a great deal of specialist expertise and sophisticated structures with many levels of decision making to manage very large and hugely complex systems. We elect, select and appoint hopefully some of our best qualified people to these roles and deserve all the turmoil we get when we fail to do so.

Spare me from the authoritarian simpletons who think they know best on every subject and who believe the world would be a better place if everyone were forced to do what they told them to do. If you elect and appoint the Boris Johnson's and Micheal Gove's of this world to the highest offices in the land you deserve all you get.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jun 12th, 2018 at 05:04:26 PM EST
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