February 17 2018
RB: With Inquistan elections already only a week away, we sit down with Councillor Edward Firoux to discuss the quiet and sleepy election season, his election campaign and his message to voters, as well as politics... and love, of the new European Commission. I'm Rosemary Barker and this is Inquista Today.
Edward Firoux Discusses Love and Politics in the EU and at Home
RB: Inquistans will be heading to polls in less than a week, and while this election season has been all but mum, and the outcome already widely regarded as predetermined, nobody is perhaps as willing to challenge the status quo as Councillor Edward Firoux. Councillor Firoux, whose seat will also be up for re-election next week, has a lot to say about the Christian League's chances, his vision for the Europe Union, and his hope in the new European Commission.
RB: Councillor Firoux is not only Inquista's Councillor to the European Union, but is also currently serving as the Deputy Speaker of the European Council, and the Treasurer of the European Progressive Alliance. Councillor, thank you all for joining me here today.
EF: Thanks Rosie, there's no other place I'd rather be. Please just call me Firoux. I prefer the mononym. You know, like, the Firoux.
RB: Like Adele?
EF: Exactly. I'm basically Adele. The Adele of the European Council.
RB: Let's dive in right in there. The European Council. You've got a new job there, no? You worked hard to bring about the position of a deputy speaker, which is a position you now have. Tell me about it, and tell me why you didn't run for the primary speaker position itself - a position, by the accounts of many experts, you were touted to pursue.
EF: For sure. The European Council can be quite unwieldy, which will come to a shock to absolutely no one who remembers the debate between Lei Feng, the Trade Secretary of Xeng, and Elizabeth Hale, the Speaker of the Duxburian Union's Sovereign Assembly-
RB: -A debate which you recorded, edited and put online.
EF: I mean, who wouldn't?
RB: True, but were the air horn and shooting noises edited for the background necessary?
EF: I always deliver quality content, both in terms of legislation and in online videos. But like I was saying, the Council can be quite unwieldy, and there is little structure and formality within the European Council, so our behavior as politicians is only limited to how we decide to conduct ourselves as individuals. It is my opinion that a legislature should stand to be an example of a peaceful place where opinions and ideas can be exchanged respectfully and peacefully. Having only one speaker oversee this conduct was definitely a point of weakness, in addition to the fact that the speaker was the only person responsible for moving along legislation, timetables and voting motions. When there are speakers who barely showed up the Council, like He Who Should Not Be Named Oliver, it was quite troublesome. We needed an additional someone who could fill in for a speaker who has gone missing in action.
RB; But again, why did you feel like you were positioned to be Deputy Speaker instead of Speaker?
EF: Until recently, I've more or less been the most consistent dissenting voice in the Council. Angleter, the United Kingdom and the Duxburian Union do tend to agree on most things, while I'm not at all ashamed to be the progressive firebrand that I am. I'm like the liberal eagle that comes down flying for their wigs, you know? So I don't picture myself as the one who should be first to intervene in Council business. I do like to get messy myself. So even though I get to be one of the, you know, prefects of the European Council School, I don't have all the duties of a head boy. I'm like the second-in-command prefect that sells weed on the down low.
RB: We've all seen you debate the legalization of cannabis quite passionately, so we know where you stand there. But let's go to Inquista now. Elections are next week Friday. As per rules passed by Archbishop Craticus four years ago, he mandated that Inquista's seat to the European Council be democratically elected. How do you feel about your election chances, and the chances of your party as a whole?
EF: I feel like I have done my very best to serve Inquistan interests in the European Council. I have certainly been a stalwart in defending Inquista's economic interests, and have staunchly promoted Inquistan freedoms and values. I also believe I have brought balance to our Archbishop's foreign policy, which does not at all align with mine. The Archbishop aims to isolate Inquista, while I have kept Archbishop Kligneberg's ideals of international cooperation close to mind. I also feel that I am effective leader within the European Union, and have been a key part in shaping it and its institutions as a whole. I believe I have played a vital part role in keeping Inquista's integrity in the world stage intact, and have indeed advanced it to levels never seen before. As for the party, I believe the Christian League is very focused, and we have presented an alternative to the current Church leadership, which is quite frankly out of touch with the Inquistan people, and whose influence in the Church has been quite negative, in my opinion.
RB: How can you say that the Christian League offers an alternative when several members of the party defected to join the incumbent Black Swan Movement?
EF: That's precisely why the Christian League is the best alternative. The Archbishop and the current Church leadership do nothing but play political games and use incentives to disorientate and disparage parties. The Christian League hasn't wavered. Our caucus in the Council of Bishops has remained intact, and those who have left our caucus represent the exact political hollowness that make up the Black Swan Movement and the other parties. They're both parties of political defectors and opportunists, and the Christian League won't be afraid to take them to battle. Like I said, we're very focused this election.
RB: I would grill you more on what the Christian League is focused on specifically, but I want to ask you about your message vis-a-vis Europe, while you are here.
EF: For sure.
RB: If re-elected, what would you like to achieve in the European Council?
EF: So much! I've been a massive reformer since the moment I stepped into the European Council 5 years ago, and I feel like there is so much untapped potential in the Union. The European Union is moving in a very positive and hopeful direction. I like a lot of what I am seeing. I not only want to continue this spirit of reform, but I really want to place Inquista in the centre of it. There are a lot of outdated pieces of legislation that require rewriting or repealing, and there are many gaps that are currently missing. We need to sort out new environmental measures for the Union, as climate change continues to be a topic that is sidelined. We need to enshrine and protect the freedom of refugees, which has been a sore but woefully avoided topic. We need to expand our Universal Declaration of Human rights to better include all marginalized groups. Our Court of Justice needs some tweaking. Inquista needs to be at the table for these reforms. The Black Swan Movement will not represent Inquistan interests at these discussions, and they would sooner see us withdraw from the European Union altogether than cooperate with it.
RB: Well, the election for the Euorpean Council will be a tight one. You and Aiden Flemming will be re-matching once again. You mention the European Council, but what are your opinions of the current European Commission?
EF: (laughs) I love it. Is that a surprise? I have so much faith in and support for Gisela and the other Commissioners. I cant think of anyone better suited for Foreign Affairs than Commissioner Drake, who has already done so much for region's defenses, and I feel strongly that he will revive the diplomatic capabilities of the region, and even expand our capabilities to areas which we have not explored before. Commissioner Chelsea Clinton-Mezvinsky is also an absolute delight. I'm a good friend of her mother, and I feel like our values and visions strongly align.
RB: I feel like you skipped over Premier Stuart very quickly on purpose.
EF: Oh man, she's great. What more needs to be said? Despite that we often went back and forth in the European Council, we actually agree in a lot of areas. Gisela's mantra has always been that she wants an EU that 'does less, more effectively' - which is naturally appealing to me both personally, and as an Inquistan. But the question between us has always been 'but less of what'? We always have the same goal in mind, but often take two totally approaches in achieving it. I really like the plan she has set out in her mandate, and I hope to support her in accomplishing that mandate within the appropriate capacity of the European Council.
RB: So you still call our Premier Commissioner 'Gisela'?
EF: You better believe it. Just because she's got some fancy new title doesn't mean I'm not going to call her Gisela. You better also believe that my email signature hasn't been updated at all, and it doesn't even list that I am Deputy Speaker of the Council. But, of course, literally the day after the Commission elections, Gisela got her brand new title in her email signature - 'Premier Commissioner'. Our IT department in Europolis needs reforming too.
RB: With you now busy campaigning in Inqusita, while still working diligently in the Council as well, and Gisela now working as Premier Commissioner, do you two manage to find time for each other anymore?
EF: Do we have time? It's a question if she has time. She's ghosted me since Valentine's Day. I offered to take her to an advanced screening of Black Panther on Valentine's Day, but she was not impressed with my proposition at all. She thinks super hero movies are garbage and that I was not being thoughtful. She's more of a classic romance kinda gal. I was like, Black Panther has a 99% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, we have to see it. Gisela then swiftly reminded me that the Fast 7 was also acclaimed on Rotten Tomatoes but that doesn't mean she wants to see that either. I think she then proceeded to block me. I definitely haven't heard from her since.
RB: Well, Councillor Firoux, we are glad that we have heard from you. You will never be ghosted here. Thank you for providing such insight today, and thank for joining us this evening. I also want to thank you all at home for joining us in our conversations tonight. I am Rosemary Barker, and this has been Inquista Today. Good night.