Quotulatiousness

January 3, 2013

Comitology and the EU

Filed under: Bureaucracy, Europe, Government, Humour — Tags: , — Nicholas Russon @ 10:58

Alexandra Swann notes that the great C. Northcote Parkinson predicted the EU’s decision-making mechanics with great accuracy:

If we listen to Daniel Guéguen, Professor of European Political and Administrative studies at the College of Europe, the Europhile madrassa, the equation spells the downfall of the European Union.

Guéguen has worked as a Brussels lobbyist for 35 years; he is a full time federast and one of the remaining true believers in the EU. Given his commitment to the EU project, when he deems its system of governance, comitology, “an infernal system” perhaps it’s time to listen.

The concept of Comitology was invented by the incomparable Professor C Northcote-Parkinson in his seminal work Parkinson’s law of 1958. It was meant as a satire but, like many of the best jokes, they either get elected or, in this case, embedded in the bureaucracy. Here is the Professor explaining the comitology and his equation:

    x=(mo(a-d))/(y+p b1/2)

    Where m = the average number of members actually present; o = the number of members influenced by outside pressure groups; a = the average age of the members; d = the distance in centimetres between the two members who are seated farthest from each other; y = the number of years since the cabinet or committee was first formed; p = the patience of the chairman, as measured on the Peabody scale; b = the average blood pressure of the three oldest members, taken shortly before the time of meeting. Then x = the number of members effectively present at the moment when the efficient working of the cabinet or other committee has become manifestly impossible. This is the coefficient of inefficiency and it is found to lie between 19.9 and 22.4. (The decimals represent partial attendance; those absent for a part of the meeting.)

This beautifully encapsulates the terrifying silliness of what is going on in the tubular steel and stripped Swedish pine chairs of Brussels, and for anyone with an interest in transparency or good governance, it is a serious concern. After all, under various estimates upwards of 75 per cent of our laws, the laws that govern the minutiae of our lives are made in the sterile Committee rooms of the Breydel, Berlyamont, Justis Lupsius and other buildings in the EU quarter of Brussels. That this cosmic joke now governs our lives is just a factor of the brobdingnagian reality of our membership of the EU.

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