I don’t know if I’m in good company or bad but Alan Milburn’s article in today’s Times could have been written by me. Not in terms of the subject: I wouldn’t have written about Europe but in the general emptiness of the article; littered with buzzwords as though these confer understanding, solutions and substance.
Milburn’s thesis is that European institutions and decision-making are remote from the ordinary person. Of course, they are remote: just as most political institutions, including those in the UK, are remote from those they are meant to serve.
“Unaccountable decision-making no longer works in an era when the public is far more informed and inquiring. The new democratic thirst that exists among citizens requires from the EU a more modern modus operandi.
The need “is to find ways of bringing the public into Europe's decision-making tent.
The European Parliament in particular needs to think about how the public’s voice can be better heard in its deliberations”.
This also describes accurately the position of government and people in the UK.
Milburn reserves his tour-de-force until his last paragraph:
“Unless the EU is prepared to address the gulf between rulers and governed we risk a bureaucrats’ Europe, not a peoples’ Europe. It is time for Europe to face outwards not inwards, to empower the public not the politicians. Elitism is out. Engagement is in. Europe needs to learn the lesson.”
The buzz-words are tripping over each other like politicians fighting to be interviewed but with nothing to say. If Milburn, as a professional politician, can do no better than this, perhaps he should consider his position.
Spend more time with your family, Alan,
Oh, you’ve done that already. Well, just give up Alan; you don’t have what it takes.
Bad company, that’s what you are, Alan!