Take this example. Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Henley on 12 July (WA 97), which European Union countries support their position on reform of the Common Agricultural and Fisheries policies; and what voting power those countries have in the Council of Ministers.This was carefully worded to find out exactly which countries will give support for that putative reform that has not materialized in all these years or, in other words, how many votes can Britain count on. Apparently, this is a state secret or something because the answer was to a completely different question:
There is broad agreement across the EU about the case for reform of the common fisheries policy, including the need to decentralise and simplify the current complex regulations. Few, if any, member states support the status quo, though views vary as to the changes needed. A draft legislative proposal will be published in 2011 and the UK is fully engaged in dialogue with other member states, the European Commission, industry, environmental NGOs and scientists to establish common ground for reform.Given that those reforms never seem to happen and every Fisheries Council finishes with the status quo more or less intact; given that a number of countries have already made it clear that they have no intention of changing the CAP come 2013, just as they refused to introduce any big reforms last time, these statements are fatuous, quite apart from ignoring the question.
The UK's aim of a competitive, thriving and sustainable agriculture sector is supported by all member states. The Government are starting to consider their detailed position on reform of the common agricultural policy beyond 2013. Individual member states' positions will become clear in their responses to the European Commission's communication on CAP reform later this year.