I can't help feeling that there must be a better way to run a continent than this.
The background is that the EU Commissioner, Neelie Kroes, wants to stop the mobile telecoms firms from charging roaming fees. Well, OK, whatever. But Vodafone, one of those companies that will be affected, is arguing that this will or at least could lead to the sort of cooperation among the mobile companies that other parts of the EU will regard as collusion. A cartel even: and the EU can fine a company 10% of global turnover for indulging in something like that.
Now I have no idea whether Vodafone is correct here: but that's not my point. It's what Kroes is arguing back that is:
Ms Kroes’ advisers insist that competition regulators can only assess the impact of the laws once they are passed
I beg your pardon? We have a governance system which cannot even check whether its own proposed laws are actually legal? Do not conflict with other laws they've already passed? We're actually entirely blind as to whether a new law is even possible to implement until after we've passed it?
I submit that this just isn't the way to run acontinent. It's not even the way to run a whelk stall or a bevvy at the brewery tap.
The only other politician I've heard saying something so remarkably obtuse was Nancy Pelosi who said that the only way to deal with the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) was "We have to pass the bill to find out what's in it". And the monumental cluster…. that is the roll out of the federal health care exchange over the past three weeks shows how good a method of governance that is.
Seriously, we do have Parliaments, they do have debating chambers, they're there in order to discuss laws before they're passed. Perhaps we should try this?