Friday, February 18, 2011

"Why bother too much with the House of Commons?"

So asks that paper of record, Tribune.

The thing is, whilst shielding your eyes from the glare of vehement anti-capitalism Ben Fox in this week's cover story,
Brussel and Westminster under a malign influence
is substantively correct,
Large-scale lobbying of the European Parliament is a relatively recent phenomenon. Until 1997, with its legislative powers severely restricted, lobbyists would direct their attention to the European Commission rather than Parliament. However, as the responsibilities of the Parliament have grown, particularly with the signing of the Amsterdam Treaty in 1997, so the Brussels lobbying industry been drawn to it.
He goes on to point out an obvious truth that has and will continue to have a growing impact on the way that governance and influence works. In particular here in the UK as an unintended consequence of the shift in power from Westminster to Brussels.
representatives of the financial sector have stationed themselves in Brussels on a permanent basis.
For them, this makes sense. Major financial legislation is not decided in Westminster any more. If most regulation of the City and the financial sector in general is done by the European Parliament, why bother too much with the House of Commons? As a result, financial lobbyists have laid virtual siege to the European Commission, European Parliament and the Council of Ministers.
One practical result of this undeniable fact is that lobbying in the Westminster village will become more and more about pork barrelling than aboyut legislating. It will be about where money goes, rather than whether money goes.
While the Brussels Lobby scene is becoming more and more important, their colleagues here in SW1 will have to content themselves with securing contracts not legislation.

No comments: