(And good to be back. This member of the SLATUKIP team has not been SLAT-ting for a while, having been too busy cheering England’s football, cricket and rugby teams until hoarse in recent weeks. So much for us being anti-British, eh?)
Gradually we have been debunking UKIP myths about the EU. On Wednesday the 11th, we exposed the lie about the European Commission being made up of ‘unelected bureaucrats’. Today, we will focus on the Council of the European Union (informally known as the Council of Ministers, or simply the Council).
But first, some feedback from the blog entry about the Commission. We are always delighted to hear from our readers.
Marty may be a mere cog in the UKIP machine, but we thank him for taking the time to contact us. In all probability the Tweet seems to be an attempt to buy time in the debate and get us to jump hoops (for some reason), but in truth we are happy to be given any opportunity to inform the public about the European Union. If any of the rest of you have any feedback for us, find us on Twitter here.
Let’s keep this brief. First of all, the Council (of Ministers) can only have one representative per country at any one time. That’s 28 representatives per meeting. The unelected House of Lords has 776.
Now for the most important point. Our sole representative in the Council is chosen from this list. They’re pretty much all British MPs. Guess what that means: they have already been elected by the British people. To falsely claim otherwise is, in all probability, a result of previous unsubstantiated claims about the EU being exposed as such. In other words, it is a retreat, a straw-clutching exercise. If you have been proven wrong time and time again, you have to keep moving the goalposts and redefining success. First they said the whole system was undemocratic. They were proven wrong. Then they said the Commission was undemocratic. They were proven wrong. Then they narrowed it down to 28 active individuals. They have been proven wrong.
So why do people believe these myths about the seven institutions of the EU? Firstly, the reality is that there is a dearth of information about the EU. Secondly, the EU is perceived to be distant and faceless; neither the Commission nor the Council has a ‘face’, a person who comes to mind when people think of the system. In contrast, if I asked you to picture the US federal government, you’d picture Barack Obama. All this means that people find it difficult to attach an emotional affinity to the EU and are thus more likely to believe myths about it. It does not mean the existence of EU is wrong.
It certainly does not mean it is undemocratic. As always, we hope that ultimately, facts will prevail over emotion.