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Anthony Rose: Conversations with Penfold

[What follows is the latest contribution from the lawyer Anthony Rose, about whom you can read more here. – Bob Amsterdam] anthonyrose.jpgConversations with Penfold * Weekend of June 7th and 8th 2008 I was talking to Penfold over the weekend about some things that were on my mind. He is marvellously uncritical and listens with every evidence of sympathy and agreement, even when I become hysterical. It was said of a certain late 19th century poet that, although he tortured the language, he never succeeded in forcing it to reveal his meaning. So with Hillary Clinton, who did not lie but misspoke – a term with which I was not previously familiar. Our judges do not make mistakes: they “misdirect” themselves. With a certain amount of ingenuity, and assuming a reckless disregard for grammar, syntax and vocabulary, it should never be necessary to own up to anything – a lie, a mistake, an improper pecuniary advantage, even an outright theft.

I was unable, unfortunately, to complete my reading of the latest “snouts in the trough” story of MEPs in Strasbourg and other European Watering Holes – sorry, centres of European legislation, administration and jurisprudence. I reached the paragraph in which it was revealed that a report had been prepared by an unimpeachable forensic investigator but that such report had been suppressed, and could only be read in a locked room – presumably by those same MEPs – and that it was forbidden to make copies. To read on would have been injurious to my health. I could feel the incandescence at the back of the neck and said to myself that I must turn to some beautiful Elysian thoughts.A few years ago, The European Comptroller General ( I don’t suppose that was her title, but it describes her function adequately) investigated the European Union accounts and found holes in those accounts so large that, were Zimbabwean Dollars Euros, or ECUs as it might then have been, they would have been insufficient to plug the gap. When she sought to make public her findings, she was sacked.European functionaries are stateless, in effect. In some – perhaps the majority – of Member States of the Union such revelations (at a national level) would have resulted in scandal or, at least, some sort of publicity. There might even have been dismissals or resignations with attendant publicity and opprobrium. Even in the UK, where the tariff for failure is normally promotion sometimes accompanied by elevation to the Upper House, one would have expected an outcry sufficient to rouse the most torpid government. But not in the EU; it’s all hocus pocus behind several sets of curtains with the result that the Citizens of the great trading bloc which is the EU were unable to restrain their indifference. We have come to expect this and expect no better behaviour. Eurocrats are thought of as having no morality, no responsibility, no accountability. To be sent to Europe is to be given an office of profit without attendant duties. We think of them in the same detatched sort of way as we do of yobs in the market place – turn your face to the wall, my darling, while the gentlemen of Europe ride by.