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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sign In, Sod Off... and Slap!

SISO? What could this mysterious four-letter acronym stand for? A complex and bureaucratic way in which MEPs claim expenses back from the European Parliament? Hardly. SISO stands for 'Sign in and Sod Off'.

MEPs receive various forms of allowances (and some expenses), one of which is the daily allowance, intended to cover expenditure on food and accommodation for every day that they are physically present in the European Parliament, be it in Brussels or Strasbourg.

The idea, of course, is that they do work. However 'SISO' involves MEPs rocking up at the EP - signing in - a pre-condition of claiming the €300 of daily allowance - before promptly sodding off without doing any actual work. That's not exactly how the daily allowance was intended to be used.

There have been cases of this practice being captured on film in the past, and while it always makes for hilarious viewing, it remains a PR disaster for a body already struggling with legitimacy.

We hadn't heard about any cases of SISO for some time, so we thought the practice might have stopped. Alas, that might not be the case. At his own peril (as he soon came to find) GeenStijl reporter @TomStaal, decided to take a trip to European Parliament to see for himself. But Staal got a lot more than he bargained for...

The video below shows Staal confronting two MEPs, Czech MEP Miroslav Ransdorf (from the EP's far left GUE group) and  Italian MEP Raffaele Baldassarre (of the European People's Party) after the two have allegedly signed in and left straight away.

Now, we must stress that we haven't seen the whole chain of events and since the MEPs in question aren't exactly keen to talk, we don't know their side of the story either. So we're NOT saying they are necessarily guilty of signing in and sodding off - the jury is still out on that.

But, regardless, the MEPs' reactions aren't exactly dignified. 

shortened version / credit to Geenstijl reporter Tom Staal

To clarify for those who are unfamiliar with Italian hand gesturing, two gestures feature in the video:
  1. Lei chi è? Cosa vuole? (Who are you? What do you want?): Fingers and thumb come together with hand shaken up and down repeatedly – the arm can also move and the speed varies depending on how angry you are.

  2. Calma, calma(Calm down, dear): Move your hand (or both of them) as you were pushing something invisible down, with the palm(s) directed towards your interlocutor. This is the gesture actually made by the other Italian guy - the one in the dark suit - not the MEP himself. 
There should be no doubt that when push comes to shove, MEPs aren't afraid to throw their weight around - literally. So is this a case of unfair and overly aggressive investigative journalism, or a slap on the face of European taxpayers? You decide.

If it's the former, then it's ironic that Baldassarre's most recent activity in the EP is listed as "decriminalising defamation"...


Anonymous said...

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Everything about the E.U. is corrupt so I'm voting UKIP.

Duncan said...

Unbelievable! These people clearly don't believe they are accountable to the people of the EU. Which of course in practice, they aren't.

And people wonder why the UK wants to leave?!

Anonymous said...

Yes vote UKIP because the EU is corrupt, lets just forget that they have the worst attendance record, also take this money and consistently vote AGAINST measures to prevent this. Yeah vote UKIP.. FacePalm

Anonymous said...

The video has been blocked due to copyright reason. What is happening?

Anonymous said...

The video has been blocked by
RTI = Reti Televisive Italiane = Gruppo Mediaset = Berlusconi's propaganda channel.