Letter: Brussels closes ranks

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The Independent Culture
Sir: The ungracious letter from Neil Kinnock (16 December) and his obvious annoyance with Mr van Buitenen reveal that there has not been the necessary culture change in the European Commission. Instead of grasping the opportunity for a fresh start, ranks have been closed.

Whatever the inconvenience cause by Mr van Buitenen, he is credited with alerting the public and the media to the extent of the sleaze within the European Commission and acting in the public interest. The culminating mass resignation of the European commissioners (after much arm-twisting), was widely welcomed.

Despite the initial optimism, the instant reappointment of Mr Kinnock as a commissioner revealed the empty gesture of the earlier acceptance of collective responsibility. Whilst no one has questioned Mr Kinnock's personal honesty, as part of the collective leadership overseeing this corruption, he should have accepted his share of the culpability.

In the same way that the Tory party will suffer for its collective guilt in harbouring the likes of Jeffrey Archer in its midst, the European Commission will suffer until those tainted by the past are gone.

Both organisations seem to think the answer to restoring public confidence is to air-brush embarrassing figures out of history, but both will find the public has a long memory.


London SW12