Whatever possessed me to promise to commit myself to writing about Euro MPs in way that was not ‘dry and dusty’. What was I thinking of? Perhaps I have just been unlucky, and given the chance to write about career criminal MEPs, lap dancing aficionado MEPs, are they/aren’t they transsexual MEPs, it was sheer bad luck that I started with Philip Bradbourn the most bloodless, colourless, shapeless, grey individual to ever enter a parliament. He makes John Major look positively orgasmic. There was a brief frisson of excitement back in 2008 when the News of the World accused him of having attended a wine tasting in South Africa, no really, a wine tasting. Whoa! Far too exotic a claim for Philip’s taste, he wouldn’t dream of doing such a thing, he promptly forced them to apologise via the IPCC for this slur on his scandal-free life. Sheesh! This is going to be hard work.
Philip Bradbourn started life in the Black Country, he seems intent of ending his life in the Black Country, and in between he has turned a degree in worthy Municipal Administration into a career of sitting on worthy committees. Zillions of them. He’s been in the European Parliament for the past 13 years, having failed to get elected to the House of Commons. We, the tax payers, have paid him well over half a million pounds in that time, and roughly the same again in expenses for shuffling between Birmingham Airport, Brussels and Strasbourg. Working on ‘Drone units‘, around 500 tax payers have slaved for a year to keep Philip on this ceaseless merry go round – so what did they get for their money? Was he worth the effort?
I should say that Philip appears to be one of the good guys. He has spoken on the record condemning the EUs accounting methods. Didn’t resign or anything dramatic like that, but it is an advance on other MEPs…
Philip Bradbourn, UK Conservative spokesman on the committee, said, “There seems to be a consensus across political groupings and nationalities that the commission simply isn’t doing enough to get to grips with what amounts to misspending and lack of financial control on an industrial scale.
“It isn’t just the amount of waste that is a disgrace; it’s that things are getting worse instead of better.
He hasn’t been involved in any expenses scandals, hasn’t taken any bribes for asking questions. 28 pages of Googling reveal that he seems to be an inoffensive quasi civil servant dutifully producing reports and attending committee meetings. The free car parking that Birmingham airport provide for him (duly noted on his register of interests…) can’t account for his exceptional interest in airports, particularly regional airports. He has spent the past God knows how many years producing his latest report, calling for airlines to scrap the ‘one cabin bag’ rule so that those few passengers that don’t realise that the EU scrapped duty free 10 years ago, can buy a bottle of overpriced wine from the departure lounge shops and carry it on board. I do realise that to have cheap airlines we have to have cheap landing fees, and to have cheap landing fees we have to let the airports scam the passengers in the shops and the restaurants as much as they can – but when you think of those 500 individuals who have slaved a way for a year to produce the taxes that support Philip, is it too much to ask that he has more to conspicuously show for this 13 year career than that Chav’s-to-Malaga can arrive clutching bottles of Sangria at twice the price of the local cava?
Where is the reason for citizens to turn out and vote him into place in Europe? Where is the excitement, the ‘hook’ that will engage the citizens of his allotted area? He has a Facebook page – only three people have ever bothered to like it. He has a web site; it took Labour MP Tom Watson to point out that it was displaying a picture of Birmingham, Alabama rather than Birmingham England. Philip hadn’t noticed.
He says he spends a lot of time answering constituents queries. Perhaps he needs a decent press agent, if the good people of Warwickshire and thereabouts go Googling for news of why they should vote for Philip, they will spend a long time looking. Ooh, look, he pointed out to the Commissioner that West Midlands canal boats didn’t go to sea and didn’t need radar…wow! He’s written a couple of books,”The Gravy Train” and “Who Rules Britannia?” which will no doubt thrill the members of UKIP, but did he need to be paid a million odd quid of tax payers money to write them? I’m looking for the specific value for the people of Warwickshire or should I say the ‘West Midlands European Parliament Constituency’, I’m looking for the ‘I didn’t know that, perhaps I should make more effort to vote in the European elections’ factor – I’m not finding it.
The best I can say about Philip is that he’s kept his nose clean, not offended anyone; he’s a loyal Conservative member, never rocked the boat; I’m sure he will say he works hard, but he seems to slither from from Birmingham to Brussels leaving no discernible trail; if I had to write an election leaflet for him, I’d be stumped for words – and that doesn’t happen often.
This week the subjects up for discussion on the official EU web site for Philip and Co include the EU-Armenia Association Agreement and Foreign Affairs – Syria. Presumably there are a few Armenian and Syrians living in the West Midlands constituency that will be following this avidly, rushing down to the Polling Stations at the earliest opportunity to remember Philip fondly – but as to why anyone else should be ‘engaging’ and voting for him, even remember his name? Beats me.
I was quite prepared to delight and energise my readers in the direction of the European Parliament. I really wanted to show you why you should be following this process, not just objecting to it. I’ve failed miserably.
If anyone can find anything remotely interesting about this MEP for West Midlands, any reason why any of my readers couldn’t replace him, sit on the committees, champion extra cabin baggage, and do just as good a job for the money, please let me know. That invitation is open to Philip Bradbourn MEP too….