Well, my first trip to Brussels as an MEP was everything I expected – full of shiny, expensive people and buildings, all living off the European taxpayers, at great expense.
Last week the 24 new UKIP MEPs gathered in Brussels for induction and registration. You would think that registration would be easy, after all they’ve been doing this for a number of decades. Not so. They were perfectly pleasant, highly paid, well dressed and highly educated but a little inefficient. Some of us were advised what our ‘allowances’ could be spent on, others not.
To register for Wifi was relatively long-winded, unless you had a Blackberry – I do – and then it was a trip up several stairs, getting off at wrong floors as the lifts are not straightforward and no one knew where the secret Blackberry Wifi wizard was. When I eventually found him he was chatting away, seemingly with nothing to do, and said he could fit me in for an hour the next day. This didn’t suit my schedule so off I went without my Blackberry indoctrinated into EU propaganda.
Then we tried finding flats. Their estate agents make the UK’s look like charities. You can see their eyes lighting up with £ signs and then when you do want to negotiate on price and timings, they go quiet. They have to be constantly chased, but then again they are on the gravy train with guaranteed incomes, it makes the Russian oligarchs buying up property in London look meek and poor.
The BBC have a Brussels office and were keen to interview our new MEPs. They had gone quite native and federal. The interview was quite hostile – ‘what are you going to do now you’re here?’ with very cross faces.
Me: I will expose this place for its excessiveness, its damaging legislation, I will vote against all legislation because I do not recognise Brussels’s sovereignty over ours, I will campaign for Brexit, that’s what I’ve been elected to do, etc …. you know the drill.
Their heads move from side to side, they scrutinize you with their eyes and their mouths turn downwards – I felt like they were examining me as an alien species. But then again I am, it’s cos I’m UKIP!
A colleague stood in a queue to register for an ID pass. He is very pleasant and mild mannered. He made polite conversation with another new member. When she found out he was UKIP he was subjected to a tirade of abuse. It’s good to know that we are going to have a pleasant time with our European colleagues.
On a lighter note, we all had dinner together, all 24 MEPs, together with our staff and we couldn’t find a restaurant large enough to seat us in one room, so we had two.
It’s a funny old world, going to a place where you do not want to be; where your European colleagues dislike you; where you are braced for arguments and hostility every day and the only job where you want to make yourself redundant. Next stop Strasbourg on 1st July when we officially take up our seats…