The United Kingdom Independence Party MEP does not enjoy his regular trip to Strasbourg [who does?] for the European Parliament's plenary session – but returning home to bacon and real ale lifts his mood
• Monday is the day I have to start my trek to Strasbourg when the European Parliament moves there lock, stock and barrel to keep the French happy. Remember, the entire European Union project is for the personal benefit of the French, who have written Strasbourg into the Treaty of Rome. The annual cost of this monthly expedition is estimated at €200m and the Strasbourg parliament cost just under €1bn. As a Yorkshire MEP the journey is a nightmare. There are no direct flights to Strasbourg from anywhere in the United Kingdom. The rail trip is Selby to London King's Cross, then St Pancras to Paris, and finally Paris to Strasbourg. It is an 11 hour journey. This week the train breaks down in Doncaster so I return to base.
Déjà vu sets in as I again set off for Strasbourg. One loses the will to live on the Paris to Strasbourg leg. I could trim the journey time if they moved the parliament to New York.
My pilgrimage has not been wasted. We diligently vote on ingredients to novelty foods, standardisation of tractor seats and an expression of solidarity with the people of … no I can't remember. Having strutted and posed, puffed up with our self-importance, we adjourn for lunch. Lunch for EU parliamentarians and bureaucrats is a big part of the day.
In no time at all we embark on the return journey. By London the will to live has long since departed, but I have agreed to speak on the merits – or demerits – of the Basel III banking regulations at a risk assessment seminar in Marble Arch. The cab fare is £50 and it takes an hour. London is Olympic Games mad and most of the streets are dug up. I have too much luggage this trip to use the tube, my favoured option usually. Of course with fractional reserve banking and crooked bankers no amount of regulation will stop us sliding further into the abyss. In short, it is a further waste of my life. I am home by 9.30pm just in time to get a pint of real ale – bliss, after foreign freezing fizz. I look forward to bacon for breakfast, yippee. Johnny Foreigner does not understand bacon. Also: the first decent cup of tea for four days.
I spend Friday night at a York University Question Time event. It is always a fun sort of evening, especially watching a local Conservative MP trying to defend a clinically insane energy policy in which he clearly has no confidence. Amazingly, the Labour leader of the council is a very good bloke. We do not agree but as is so often the case blokes sometimes hit it off. We adjourn for a few sherbets.
Today takes me to Northallerton to join a 'save the local hospital' demo. I simply do not understand why we close local hospitals to save £30m or £40m quid, then give £25m quid a day in overseas aid. Much of which ends up buying F18s for the Pakistan air force or subsidising India's all singing all dancing aircraft carrier. Lord knows where the African aid goes.
The Yorkshire under-21s rugby team is in the final against Gloucestershire. I a have to go, noblesse oblige, there are young UKIP-ers in the side. They win, marvellously. Then back to base to watch the Antiques Roadshow. Public Service Europe