Distorted values

Relative democracies


Famine has reappeared in Ethiopia. The World Food Programme says an emergency fund of $285 million in international food aid is needed to avert mass starvation in the next six months. OK the famine is as much caused by a corrupt, inept and authoritarian government as by the drought but the fact remains that these days $285 million seems a small amount of money to save millions of lives.

President Sarkozy spent $254 million on France's 6 month presidency of the EU. I know where I'd prefer my taxes to go.

In the 2005 Ethiopian election, both the opposition and observers from the European Union and elsewhere stated that the vote did not meet international standards for fair and free elections. Now they did have an election. We have an unelected Prime Minister, have no referendum on Lisbon and are to have most of our laws decided by unelected Commissioners, an appointed President of the Commission and another unelected President-to-be and Foreign Minister.

"It doesn't help that the recruitment process is so opaque. Candidacies are not declared but are muttered about in huddles of European diplomats. It all makes a mockery of the original plan for a treaty that would usher in a more democratic and accountable era of EU decision-making."

 It says something about the EU Presidency to make even the Observer critical!

An independent Britain could control all its aid and even freely trade with developing countries if it weren't part of the EU cartel. It's beyond shame that the EU can criticise other elections ( or not, as initially in Afghanistan) but does not allow its own unwilling citizens any say.