Quite how power slips away into an unaccountable structure divorced from the demos depends. Depends upon who is doing it and when. For certain of the Puritans it was that the Elect – a self-proclaimed grouping of those who agreed on the Meaning of the Book – decided for everyone because they were right. Among the communists it was that the Elect – a self-proclaimed grouping of those who agreed on the Meaning of the Book – decided for everyone because they were right. Entirely different, d’ye see?
In the European Union it’s who gets to receive the money being shelled out:
Brussels will be able to block budget payments to rogue EU governments that undermine the rule of law or the independence of judges, under a hard-fought agreement between the European parliament and member states.
In what was described as the “end of a painful phase” for the EU, a provisional deal has been struck, which will allow a qualified majority of member states to impose sanctions where governments fail to maintain democratic standards.
Seems fair enough, right? If Adolf did return from that submarine base in Antarctica then we’ not want Brussels money to be lavished on the new soap factories, would we? So, right on. Except:
A suspension of payments from the bloc’s seven-year budget and coronavirus recovery fund could be enforced in response to “breaches of the principles of the rule of law in a member state” or where governments “seriously risk affecting the sound financial management of the EU budget or the protection of the financial interests of the EU”.
You can squeeze just about anything you like into that second set of circumstances. Protection of the financial interests of the EU? Well, recommending a smaller EU budget would be against such interests, wouldn’t it? Having a referendum to leave? Seriously, you could fit anything that isn’t quite the current fashionable Brussels nostrum into that. Which does mean that the power to punish opposition to the current fashionable Brussels nostrum has just been handed to Brussels.
Sure, I’m stretching just a bit but which governance system hasn’t eventually expanded to use all of the powers even vaguely granted to it?