About bloody time
Controversial Italian EU Commissioner Rocco Buttiglione has stood down. Why the hell didn't he do this before, and save the ridiculous situation we've had over the last few weeks? God knows...
To be fair, I can see his point - he should not be forced to resign because of his beliefs; but by the same logic we should allow a Hitler or a Stalin to get away with mass murder because they, like Mr Buttiglione, believed that certain other human beings are deserving of contempt.
Unfair comparison? Certainly. But in a job which requires the office-holder to represent all people equally, having someone who is prejudiced against certain social groups was never going to work. It's a conflict of interest, plain and simple.
But since it was announced that Barroso is going to re-jig the Commission, there has been no need to get rid of Buttiglione - if he's not given the Justice brief, then there's no problem.
So why the hell has the Italian waited until now to quit? All this delay has done is provide ammunition for Eurosceptic snipers, while weakening further the Commission's already dodgy reputation. The new commission, which should have been starting on Monday, now has to wait for another month thanks to the stubborness of one man, who had claimed to be working for Europe's best interests.
Is it any wonder people don't think much of the EU? It's a bloody shambles.
Good round-ups of the whole affair are here and here, or have a scan down past topics to the right of this post.