An Occasional Guide to EU politics: The Protest MEP.

Wait until he gets to Brussels, he’ll show them! All those commissioners and council of ministers and their austerity and ignoring the voice of the real people! He’ll show them!

But of course, he doesn’t. He arrives in Brussels with another 750 MEPs, and suddenly, he’s just another cranky MEP.

But I speak for the real people, he protests.

No, says the fella beside him. I speak for the real people, and they’re sick of the Jews running the world!

Our hero shifts uneasily… “eh, steady on, I didn’t mean…”

“No”, shouts another fella with weird peroxide blonde hair, “it’s not the Jews. That’s ridiculous!” our hero feels breath of relief, maybe this guy gets it.

“No,” continues his new friend, “It’s the Muslims, they’re going to outbreed us.”

“No, sorry, that’s not my thing either, I’ve nothing against…”

“It’s the homosexuals, they’re the problem. They want to take CAP funding off good hardworking farmers and spend it on Pet Shop Boys concerts!” another looper bellows.

Our hero slinks away quietly, sitting in the corner of the Mickey Mouse bar, wondering what he’s let himself in for. I mean, he wants to protest, but those guys are nutters.

Then a nice woman sits down beside him. She even knows his name, introduces herself, and asks him has he considered joining her political group?

I’m an Independent, he says, I won’t be joining any groups or parties, sure I’ll sit with the Independents. Oh, says she. It’s just that, you didn’t look happy with them, and points over at the nutters, who are now fighting over whether Mussolini or Hitler gets first place on their brochure.

Sure enough, after a few weeks of aimless wandering around the parliament and sitting in his office playing CandyKrush, he bumps into her again, and asks can he maybe sit in on a group meeting, just to get a feel for it?

She’s delighted, and brings him along. They’re nice people, a little out there (there’s a woman from Holland obsessed with rights for badgers) but when the chairperson asks him his issues, he talks a bit about local stuff. They look uncomfortable, and he feels a bit of a spanner, because he knows they’ve nothing to do with Europe, but he’s been banging on about them during the campaign for so long that he can hardly stop himself, it’s like campaign Tourette’s.

But then he mentions an issue that is relevant, and their eyes light up. The Badger Lady is on the committee that deals with the issue, and if he wants to sit in and help her question the commissioner? Now we’re sucking diesel, he thinks, finally.

And so it goes. He gets to talk to the commissioner, and the group puts forward changes to the policy based on his ideas, and he’s staggered, STAGGERED, to find that the commissioner actually listens and changes some of the things he’s looking for.

Sure, he has to vote with the group on other MEPs stuff, but most of it doesn’t really matter to him. He sort of hopes the local media back home don’t twig that he’s voted for the Badger Lady’s votes for weasels thing, but sure, that’s the price of doing business in the European Parliament.

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