8th February 2013: Andrew Brons has been contacted by a London-based research and advisory group seeking an interview for a research project.
They were researching voting trends in the European Parliament focussing on MEPs from the EFD and non-attached members, using data from the organisation Votewatch, to produce a report which would be disseminated to opinion-formers, policy-makers and the media.
The questions they asked Andrew were as follows:
- What do you see as your primary purpose in the European Parliament?
- What is your experience of working on a day-to-day basis with other MEPs in the European Parliament (e.g. participating in committees, informal meetings and communications with other MEPs)? How friendly are your relationships with other MEPs?
- Have you tried to form transnational alliances (formal or informal) with like-minded MEPs? If so, how successful have these alliances been?
- To what degree do you consider drafting reports and opinions in the European Parliament a priority? How often do you have opportunities to participate in the policy-making process and would you like more?
- To what degree do you consider asking questions or delivering speeches at the plenary sessions a priority? When delivering speeches, who is your primary audience (is it the other MEPs, the media, UK voters, etc.)?
This is his response:
What do you see as your primary purpose in the European Parliament?
My first purpose on being elected was to discover information that would bring the EU Project into disrepute and to enhance the reputation of Nationalists for discovering it. I have unearthed admissions that the Lisbon Treaty was a new version of the Constitutional Treaty but that was hardly a state secret and we received no publicity from the admissions. I have stimulated discussion in AFCO about the status of what Tony Blair referred to (inaccurately and possibly untruthfully) as a British ‘opt-out’ from the Charter of Fundamental Rights. I have asked what the purpose of Protocol 30 attached to the Lisbon Treaty was, if it is not an ’opt-out’. Was it simply a cynical device to win support for the Lisbon Treaty in the House of Commons but known to all concerned as worthless? However, I have received no publicity for this ferreting of information.
A second purpose has been to gain publicity from speeches that I have given but I have received very little, apart from some newspapers in fishing ports for our opposition to the CFP. The media in Britain show little interest in the European Parliament, unless the speaker descends to infantile personal remarks, like those of UKIP about Van Rompuy.
A third purpose was to develop policy on a wide range of issues for the benefit of Nationalist listeners at home. This has been successful.
A fourth purpose is to show fellow MEPs (including those who are well-disposed to the EU) that the policies of the EU will not achieve what is claimed of them. This applies particularly to the Euro experiment: that a single currency value cannot be appropriate for seventeen different economies: that the EU is not focused on European interests but on Global interests; that Third World immigration will turn parts of Europe into the Third World.
A fifth purpose is to consider carefully all legislative proposals and vote on them appropriately. This very occasionally makes EU legislation slightly less toxic. However, mostly the votes of the Non-Attached have little effect on the outcome. Nevertheless, I can demonstrate that Nationalists take their legislative role seriously.
Perhaps my overriding purpose was to show that Nationalists elected to senior office take all of their responsibilities seriously. My attendance and voting record in the plenary is very high. My attendance in my committees is much higher than most. My few absences are because a meeting is held on an isolated half day and the expense of travelling to it would not be proportionate or because my committees are held at the same time. My speaking record in the plenary was in the highest 10% when Vote Watch recorded such information.
What is your experience of working on a day-to-day basis with other MEPs in the European Parliament (e.g. participating in committees, informal meetings and communications with other MEPs)? How friendly are your relationships with other MEPs?
My relations with fellow Nationalists are very good. My relations with other MEPs are professional and business-like but not usually cordial. However, when attending events abroad, I have had some interesting conversations with other MEPs
Have you tried to form transnational alliances (formal or informal) with like-minded MEPs? If so, how successful have these alliances been?
We have not had success in forming a formal group in the Parliament. That would require more participants than we have. However, we have formed a European Alliance of National Movements.
Informal relations between Nationalists are sometimes more valuable than the formal ones.
To what degree do you consider drafting reports and opinions in the European Parliament a priority? How often do you have opportunities to participate in the policy-making process and would you like more?
This would be appropriate for MEPs who support the EU Project but much less so for those of us who oppose it. Philip Claeys of Vlaams Belang did raise the question in LIBE of Non-Attached MEPs being made rapporteurs and he was appointed to produce a report on a question involving the integration of immigrants. However, his report was doomed from the outset to be opposed by nearly all other LIBE members.
To what degree do you consider asking questions or delivering speeches at the plenary sessions a priority? When delivering speeches, who is your primary audience (is it the other MEPs, the media, UK voters, etc.)?
I ask questions regularly of the Commission and occasionally the Council. The purpose is not so much to elicit information, although that would be a bonus. It is primarily to expose EU bodies as being unwilling to answer questions directly.
I give a high priority to making speeches in the plenary. They are made for many distinct reasons:
- to show my fellow Nationalists in the UK that I am working hard;
- to demonstrate to the British media and (indirectly to the British public) that it is worthwhile electing Nationalists to public office because they are willing and capable of doing what they are elected to do;
- to advance policy development both within Nationalist circles in Britain and Europe, among MEPs in other parties and among the public generally. The latter might be rare but my arguments against globalisation and against the current financial system are sometimes listened to by other MEPs.
We in the Non-Attached are at a disadvantage in obtaining speaking time because much less time is allocated to us per member. This means that most of the speaking time that I have been given has been under the 'catch the eye' procedure which has necessitated my being present during whole debates.