Baroness Ashton has arrived in Burma to tell the country’s leaders that the EU wants to ensure the continuation of the moves towards democracy in Burma.
That is…Baroness Ashton of Upholland, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the Vice-President of the European Commision. And boy, has she got a story to tell about democracy.
From good working class stock, when she was plain old Cathy Ashton she held a variety of positions. Chair of the Hertfordshire Health Authority and her children’s school governing body, and a Vice President of the National Council for One Parent Families.
In 1999 Cathy was elevated to the Peerage by Tony Blair, and in next to no time she found herself a member of the British Government. Where she held a number of positions in Education, Constitutional Affairs and the Ministry of Justice. Gordon Brown took it one step further and appointed her appointed her to the Cabinet as Leader of the House of Lords and Lord President of the Council. It was from here that she passed that beacon of democratic reform, the Lisbon Treaty through the Lords.
This opened up new avenues for the good Baroness. She was appointed as a European Commissioner where she was appointed as a Trade Commissioner. Subsequently, she was appointed to one of those positions created by the Lisbon Treaty that she had done so much to promote when she was appointed the EU’s first High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. Her appointment was agreed by a summit of 27 European Union leaders in Brussels.
As far as I can tell this latter process is about as close as Cathy Ashton has ever come to being elected by anyone.
In fact, she appears to have risen to these lofty heights with about as much democratic credibility of the leaders of the Burmese Government. The President of Burma may have secured an unlikely ninety per cent plus vote in his election, but I’m not sure Cathy Ashton is the best person to go there lecturing him about democracy.
Perhaps they could discuss Tony Benn’s five tests for democracy…
What power have you got?
Where did you get it from?
In whose interests do you exercise it?
To whom are you accountable?
and most importantly of all….
How can we get rid of you?