The Brussels Diary: The "everyone's gone home for a taxpayer-funded holiday" edition

A quiet week in Brussels with the eurocrats heading for the beach, compounded with some lunacy over naming a corridor. Seriously...

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Deserted... at your expense
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Alexandra Swann
On 20 July 2012 16:12

The EP has been eerily quiet all week and Brussels is essentially a ghost town.  It is a Friday morning yet Place Luxembourg is not strewn with the remnants of a Thursday evening. This morning I failed to see a single non-UKIP staffer in the building, security aside, and the lights weren't even on in a couple of the corridors.

There is a reason for this, aside for the basic fact that Eurocrats rarely work on Fridays; today is the last day of term and the Parliament and Commission are now off for a five week holiday, fully paid of course, by you. 

As this is also a Green week, most MEPs have been in their constituencies but Roger and Nigel made it to Brussels and all my fears and worries have been allayed because my permanent contract has been signed, probation is over, I am a fully fledged Assistant just in time for Summer! 

Being the geek that I am, I am a little sad to not be working a great deal over the next few weeks. I rather love this job and the anti EU scheming it entails.

This week has been one of tying up loose ends, finalising projects and tabling any remaining Written Questions before the summer break. Monday and Tuesday were fairly quiet as there are no committee meetings or events going on at all, so I figured it was about time to stop putting off a task.

I am in a very fortunate position here in that I tend to agree with my boss, Roger Helmer, on most issues and therefore writing articles and embarking on campaigns on his behalf tends to be a joy – attacking the RSPCA over their legal affront to the Heythrop Hunt, for example.  But for once our views are not aligned and it was for me to write a propaganda piece in favour of wild animals in circuses.

While I do not believe in "animal rights" as such, I tend to think that we have a moral duty to promote animal welfare and that a society can be judged by how they treat their animals (ahem, foxes aside), and I accept that circuses tend to treat their animals rather well these days.

However, I find circuses deeply sinister and their use of wild beasts to perform tricks rather demeaning.  But, I had to write a pro-circuses piece so write it I did by turning it into an impassioned support for traditional arts and a vitriolic attack on the well documented lunacy of PETA – who last year tried to have constitutional rights conferred to five killer whales in America. 

On Wednesday, contract day, I saw Roger for the first time in a couple of weeks and worked through the piles of letters for him to sign, drafts for him to amend etc. then we headed for a few celebratory drinks and dinner, a sort of Brussels Gadfly, with Nigel and UKIP staff. 

Today I am heading back to the UK by way of the Eurostar, tomorrow I will be speaking at the South East UKIP Conference in Frimley on the subject of targeting Tories to defect to us (as if we need to push them, given the sheer volume of Councillors seeing the light) then I am driving to Cheltenham to accompany Roger to The Freedom Association's summer bash.

On Sunday, ideally, I might get a bit of rest and a chance to do something entirely non-political!

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