Not strictly relevant...
But I wrote to three of my MEPS about signing off on some amendments about online tracking and Phorm. Here's my first response:
>Thank you for your email of 23rd September concerning amendments 133 and 138. These were discussed extensively by our research team in Brussels.
In this instance, I agreed with your argument that amendments 133 and 138
could have potential benefits in limiting government's interference in
citizens' daily lives (although I would rather our Westminster Parliament
pass such legislation). However, we were not allowed to vote on just
amendments 133 and 138. These amendments were amalgamated into a much
larger package of amendments which we had to vote on en bloc. The other
amendments in this package would have been deeply damaging to the UK and we
could not, in all conscience, support them.
This is one of the fundamental problems with European Union legislation:
there is so much of it that we could not possibly vote on everything, one
amendment at a time. On some occasions we have placed 500 separate votes in
under an hour. Accordingly, there is no proper debate on any of these
issues and therefore huge power rests with the research staff in the biggest
Parliamentary groups, who prepare voting lists on behalf of their MEPs.
The absence of genuine debate is one of my main criticisms of this outdated
European Union project. It tries to do far too much, and stifles democracy
as a result.