Tuesday, January 18, 2005
Highly suspect reverse-metaphor
The party structure within the European Parliament is specifically designed to ensure maximum pro-EU co-operativeness in all concerned. There are three main groups: the EPP-ED (Christian Democrat / Centre-"right"), ALDE (Liberals), and the Party of European Socialists. On top of that, you've got your fringe nutters like the Greens, the Green Left (tautology, I know, I know), and Independence & Democracy (UKIP). To be fair, describing the EPP-ED as "centre-right" is giving them too much credit: they're centrist and federalist and I see no difference between them and the socialists - they want the same thing, a federal Europe, they just disagree on the precise method of how to achieve that end.
As I say, the system is designed to shaft those parties who won't play Europhile ball; make trouble by going your own way, and your funding and plenary speaking time get vastly reduced - the bigger the Party, the more cash and speaking time they receive. UKIP get few of either, sitting as they do with Independence & Democracy - and as such they like to attack the Conservatives for their membership of the federalist EPP-ED(albeit under very strained terms and special circumstances).
All of which leads me to my tenuous metaphor in reverse; as I dragged my hungover arse into work this morning through the Brussels drizzle, hunched under my EPP-ED golfing umbrella, the thought struck me - my umbrella usage was almost the Conservatives' situation in reverse. In the same way that my EPP-ED umbrella kept me dry (remove it and I get wet), the Conservatives' position under the EPP-ED makes them Wet; however, remove that EPP-ED umbrella and the funding would slow to a trickle, leaving them high and dry.
I did say it was a highly suspect reverse-metaphor.