Monday, March 28, 2011

Outing outrecuidance over offers...

Another Euro-MP has been caught in the extensive "brown-envelope" sting by the Sunday Times to expose how 'lobbies' sneak in amendments to EU legislation: he is the forth so far - out of fourteen MEPs 'baited' - to accept the offer to change/adjust/move EU rules/regs for money, bribed in other words; Pablo Zalba is the first Spaniard MEP to bite but according to sources close to the newspaper it isn't because of the inherant honesty of his colleagues but because reporters have difficulty finding one with sufficiently good English to be able to fiddle! Pablo had a great excuse for the third meeting, an informal one over a coffeee, with the false lobbyists: "era muy guapa": she was really pretty! [El Mundo: only in Spanish].

Unfortunately, as Dan Hannan points out, "unless you read the Sunday Times, you'll almost certainly have missed the story." He also points out a number of reasons why there is no real reporting of this: commercial rivalry (between competing newspapers); lack of familiarity (who's your MEP?); journalistic laziness (UK MP expenses stories aplenty); and finally cynicism (dodgy Euro practices - what's new). All reasonable possibilities, however, Dan mentions a fifth:
"So far, two of the MEPs named have been members of the Socialists and Democrats (to which Labour is affiliated) and the other two of the EPP (which the Conservatives left last year because of its aggressive palaeo-federalism). As many as ten more MEPs might yet be compromised in this affair. What's the betting that, if one of them turns out to be from the ECR, the Guardian and the BBC will suddenly decide that the story is worth covering after all?"
I have little doubt that very shortly we shall see if he's right.

P.S. Worth noting that PZ, on discovering the trap, contacted the Sunday Times and got a signed declaration from their lawyers - before publication - asserting that he "clearly did not accept any money" or "break any rule of procedure of Parliament". FFS! Caught with his hand in the cookie jar we get 'but I didn't actually get any cookies' and 'there's no law to say I can't put my hand in a cookie jar'!

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Paul said...

I love that last paragraph.

See it's all Johnny Foreigner, you wouldn't catch a Brit fiddling his expenses now would you.

Span Ows said...

??? either you have misunderstood or I am not understanding you: the whole point of Dan the man's post was that this isn't getting the attention precisely BECAUSE there is so much easier targets with UK MPs. "journalistic laziness (UK MP expenses stories aplenty)"

Paul said...

My irony was lost in translation, and I didn't even get to kiss Scarlett Johansson.

Span Ows said...