EV50 Awards...The Europeans of the Year
This was the second year for the EV50 Awards and the event was held in the imposing Musee des Beaux-Arts in Brussels.
The Awards are to recognise the most influential Europeans of the year and there were a number of categories which included Politician of the Year, MEP , Visionary, Journalist, Commissioner, Business leader and Non-EU citizen and of course the category of Campaigner of the Year which was won last year by the Metric Martyrs, Herron and Thoburn.
Unfortunately, Steven and his family came down with gastro-enteritis the night before the event so he was unable to attend, but his position was taken by one of the Defence Fund's Trustees.
The event was again a sparkling and glamorous affair with politicians, dignitaries, ambassadors and celebrities, and of course the rebels from Sunderland.
Sponsored by GlaxoSmithkLine, Microsoft, Adecco and Burson-Marsteller there was no expense spared, but fortunately, coming from Sunderland the lobster, mignonette d'agneau and Lambrini (or was it Bollinger?) didn't impress us !
One thing that everyone remembered from the previous year was the stinging address delivered from the platform as the Metric Martyrs collected their award, and was even mentioned in this year's opening address.
Voting for the winners had been conducted by internet polling, but unfortunately this year there were not many shocks or surprises.
We were warmly welcomed and enjoyed the company of Mr. EasyJet, Stelios Haji-Ioannou, Marta Andreason,whistleblower and exposer of EU fraud, who we had backed to win the Campaigner of the Year category, as well as the Russian and American ambassadors.
The winners of the various categories were
 as follows:-
Commissioner of the Year.....Margot Wallstrom
MEP of the Year.....................Emma Nicholson
Politician of the Year..............Pim Fortuyn (big round of applause from a certain section of the audience for the man who dared challenge the elite but who paid the ultimate price)
Diplomat of the Year..............Romano Prodi  (well, well, well !)
Visionary of the Year..............Valery Giscard d'Estaing (well,well, well !)
Non-EU Citizen of the Year....Colin Powell
Business Leader of the Year..Wim Duisenberg (well, well well ! Obviously disappointed at being beaten by the Martyrs last year, he had been moved to a different category ! The dishevelled President of the European Central Bank won as the successful euro currency was loved by all :-(  The German economy stagnant. Massive unemployment. Portugal on the bones of its a**e, inflation in Ireland, Greek businesses striking against the euro, the French are also revolting...a success ? And they want us to join ? More chance of spotting Lord Lucan riding a Unicorn to victory in next years Grand National ! Perhaps that is why Mr. Duisenberg appeared to have had drunk last year's EU wine lake. His acceptance speech was Stanley Unwin incarnate).
The Campaigner of the Year category included many of the famous and infamous, comprising Peter Caruana who by campaigning to keep his people British has put the EU Leaders as well as the British Government between a 'Rock' and a hard place. Marta Andreasen was the whistleblower who was suspended for exposing fraud and corruption in the EU. The chief bookkeeper exposed the fact that the EU's accounting system was open to abuse and she was promptly removed from her post by the Fraud Commissioner, Mr. Kinnock. Pope John Paul II weighed into the EU enlargement debate by saying that the future of Europe should be based on Christian values and not on directives and intergovernmental politics.
The winner was announced.....Pope John Paul II. There was a polite ripple of applause. The great and good of the EU breathed a collective sigh of relief. Had Andreasen won they may have faced a barrage like last year. So the fraud and corruption may continue unchecked and unchallenged with an accounting system that makes Enron look like a pillar of virtue.
We enjoyed the event which was not a stones throw away from the imposing glass monument to the hubris and arrogance of the political elite, known as the European Parliament.
Democracy has about as much place in the EU as a black and white shirt in the Stadium of Light.....but as long as we can keep sticking a spanner in the works eventually the House of Cards will fall. The EU is an institution based on foundations of sand. Without those deep democratic foundations known as the consent of all its member states peoples' it is only a matter of time before it crumbles into three metric tonnes of dust.
We had an early flight back to the North-East as I had two speaking engagements at Newcastle University.
One approprately entitled 'The Death of Democracy' and the other 'Regional Assembly...Yes or No ?'
As I enjoyed a pint and fish and chips last night after a hectic few days amongst the great and the good....a few quiet moments of contemplation and a wry smile....a couple of stubborn raggy-arsed market traders' names on a trophy now held by one of the most powerful,influential and important men in the world.
I don't think that he will be using it to stop the brown paper banana bags blowing off the counter ;-)
Neil Herron
Tel. 0191 5657143
ps. At the Camelot Oyster Awards held at the Globe Theatre last week the final result was :-
Neil Herron (runner-up) in the Governance Section.
Susan Tron (Stepney Bank Riding School, Byker ) was also a runner-up in the Regional Winners category .
The North East did well with the above two nominees at the national event.
Metric Martyrs have a new supporter...Speakers at the event included David Blunkett and Cherie Booth QC
The Home Secretary announced that his favourite was the Metric Martyrs Campaign ( covered yesterday in the Sunday Telegraph) and realises that we will not stop until we win...and he fully supports us, although he did point out that he wasn't sure about the rest of the Cabinet ;-)
Cherie Booth QC was to be offered the position of lead counsel in the upcoming case to the ECHR in Strasbourg, but in light of recent events we have decided that we have to be careful of the company we keep.   ;-)