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Thursday, 19 November 2009

Who on earth is Cathy Ashton?

There was a time when I though that the EU was a good thing because of free trade, movement of goods, freedom of movement employment etc, and those still are good points, but over the years, there are many aspects, including the lack of accountability, fraud, wastefulness etc that have made me realise the seamier side of the EU. To that we can add a story from the FT that a likely contender for the Brussels Grand High-Poobah for Dealings with Foreigners is none other than the British EU Commissioner.

For the benefit of any foreign readers who have not heard of this woman, here is her potted political biography:

From 1983-89 she was Director of Business in the Community working with business to tackle inequality, and established the Employers’ Forum on Disability, Opportunity Now, and the Windsor Fellowship. She chaired the Health Authority in Hertfordshire from 1998 to 2001, and her childrens' school governing body, and became a Vice President of the National Council for One Parent Families.

She was made a life peer as Baroness Ashton of Upholland in 1999. In June 2001 she was made a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in theDepartment for Education and Skills. In 2002 she was appointed minister forSure Start in the same department. In September 2004, she was made a Parliamentary Under-Secretary in the Department for Constitutional Affairs, with responsibilities including the National Archives and the Public Guardianship Office. She was admitted to the Privy Council in 2006, and became Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the new Ministry of Justice in May 2007. On 28 June 2007 the new Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, appointed her to theCabinet as Leader of the House of Lords and Lord President of the Council. On 3 October 2008, she was nominated as the UK's European Commissioner in the European Commission.

But as far as anybody can tell she has never stood for election to any public office. I thought we were supposed to be living in a democracy. If this appointment goes through we can clearly claim to have unelected political leaders.


Steven_L said...

I'm perplexed as to where these people come from, but believe me, they are everywhere throughout the public sector and quangocracy.

Councillors and MP's mean jack in the main, these people supposedly run everything, except they don't really.

I work in the public sector and they don't actually have much influence over what I do, just over what policy pamphlets arrive in my inbox and what kind of dumbass meetings by boss gets invited to.

Some people think it's an evil conspiracy, it's just a gravy train.

Alex said...

"It's just a gravy train."

And some of them are riding the Bisto Express.

Ed P said...

She is married to Kellner of YouGov - NuLab's favourite tame polling team. Now you would have to be a conspiract theorist to find that tenuous link significant, wouldn't you?

Alex said...

I don't buy that theory, but I do go with the "She's-not-Tony-Blair,-but-Gordon-Brown-can-hardly-complain-that-she-is-a-total-patsy-(even-though-she-is-a-total-nobody-and-is-going-to-get-kicked-around-by-Merkel-and-Sarkozy)-because-he-appointed-her-to-be-Leader-of-the-Lords-and-UK-EU-Commissioner" school of thought.

The woman is a total nobody and she probably barely knows the international dialling codes.

She may be a graduate of the LSE but it was in Sociology not economics, so how she got to be Trade Commissioner is a mystery. The fact that she got to be head of the EU diplomatic service with zero experience when nobody in this country knows who she is despite spending all but the last year in national politics speaks volumes about the EU.