Politicians and bureaucrats love to spend our money on themselves, for their pleasure, love of luxury, sense of self-importance, or just to show they can. It's in the nature of people who are drawn to that kind of life that they will abuse the money that they are given to control, and that others of their kind, who are also looking to get their hands on some of it, will acquiesce in the sharing of power over it, in legislating or defending the need for such spending, and so making it all nice and legal, or at least make it impossible to find mechanisms to stop it happening.
Thus we have an insignificant bureaucrat from Belgium, a man with the charisma of a used teabag and the appearance of a child molester auditioning for a minor role in the school play, whose job exists not from necessity but as a result of private agreements between other bureaucrats who expect to find it useful at some stage, and who was given that job precisely because he won't be able to do anything with it- he's a placeholder, his very function is to be nobody, he is useful because he isn't Tony Blair, he isn't Felipe González, he is isn't Romano Prodi- we have this non-entity whose life is not in any danger and whose death would pass unnoticed outside his family, provided, at our expense, with a chauffeur driven car full of armed policemen, while countless thousands who really do live under a direct threat- from a violent ex-husband, thuggish neighbours, the local crooks, the drug gang that controls the area they have no option but to carry on living in, the guntoting friends of Adams and McGuinness, for being the wrong colour, the wrong sex, attending the wrong church, having the wrong opinions, doing the wrong thing with their dangly bits, or for no reason whatsoever- are told to go home and lock the door because there are not the resources to protect them properly.
Van Rompuy, like most of the unelected, unaccountable and irrelevant penpushers who use our money to make their bodies rest more comfortably and their egos shine more brightly, is robbing us because he can, because collectively they have the keys to the safe, and they have learnt to work together for the good of all of them.
And even to those who actually do matter in some way, because they have been specifically chosen by the people to represent them in certain matters, because the position they occupy does have a symbolism that would be affected by an attack on them, because their activities are important to a large number of people and could not easily be carried out by someone else, and who are under a real threat, I say this: You went into this for the money and the power, not to improve my life or anyone else's. Any risk attached to that decision is your problem, not the taxpayers.
It may appear to be a small matter to excite my ire in this way, just the use of an official car for a private journey, but it is corruption, and serves as a very clear and concrete example of what is going on everywhere the unaccountable are spending other people's money. Our MP's pay themselves, with our money, a sum that they choose, without asking us what we think they are worth; MEP's claim for expenses which they have never paid out, they claim for attendance when they were not there, they do no real work, as the Parliament has no power and they almost never pay any attention to the people they are supposed to represent. They are mostly glorified lobbyists, representing special interests to the Commission. This corruption is well documented on a massive scale, and is protected by the rules that they make themselves, and by the culture of entitlement which they have spent many years creating and normalising.
Power not only corrupts, it attracts the corrupt. The purpose of government, we fondly think, is to protect the nation and to organise, collectively, such things as are better done that way. This is total bollocks. The purpose of government is to make politicians powerful and their courtiers rich. It has, and never has had, any other purpose, from its earliest days in the tribal group in the savannah. Democracy is a deal by which they let us throw them out every five years in exchange for our promise not to slit their throats in the mean time. Both sides interpret this agreement with a certain amount of freedom, but it can, at times, work quite well. But it should not be confused with government by the people. It isn't, and probably no such thing is possible. Democracy is a way of controlling the state, not of turning the people into the state.
Thank you for your attention. Tomorrow we shall relax by talking about hedgehogs, which I enjoy much more than this depressing stuff.
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