Yesterday, the EU Parliament ‘debated’ the Brexit Proposals.
I watched the whole thing on their TV channel so you didn’t have to, and it was astonishing, to say the least. (I am very polite here!) A debate, such as we know it from our HoC, it most certainly wasn’t. It was simply speaker after speaker standing up, having his say in an allotted time slot, and that was that. Of course, some speakers, being more equal than others, were allotted more time, as this list shows:
- Verhofstadt – 7 mins at 8:10:30
- Farage – 3 mins – 8:23
- Wolfe – 1.5 mins – 8:28
- Juncker – 5 mins – 8:39:30
- Barnier – 5 mins – 8:44:30
- Nuttall – 2 mins – 8:59:30
These times were published by the EU Parliament.
Off we went, with Verhofstadt being his usual snide, anti-British self. He and those who followed him in those early speeches were in full-on “Punish Britain” mode. Messrs Juncker and Barnier (that’s the ‘Chief EU Diplomat for Brexit’) showed their suave EUishness (yes, I’ve just created that word!) by switching halfway through their speeches from French to bad English. In an aside, I have to tell you that the conference translators were often utterly dire, sounding more like pupils trying their hand at live translations for the very first time. Apparently, they earn €80,000 p.a. …
That first, ‘serious’ lot of speakers immediately started telling us Brits how awful, dreadful, disgusting and horrible it was of perfidious Albion to threaten poor Spain with war! Didn’t that show how valuable the EU is in keeping peace! And: how abhorrent is nationalism in the form of Brexit!
Then we had Nigel, with another stellar performance. You can watch him again here. He got the loudest and longest applause. Oh the uproar when he compared that lot to the Mafia! Jumping ahead – just before the vote, a Tory MEP was nearly in tears, demanding as point of order that Nigel be severely admonished for his Mafia remark!
“We don’t all think like that”,
she said. Sorry, madam, but we do, we do indeed think like that!
Speaker after speaker started either saying sorrowfully that the British people had made such a terrible mistake in voting for Leave, or saying snottily that they really really love Britain, but – Britain was never truly part of Europe! The EU, in their delusions, stands of course for the whole continent of Europe.
All continental speakers went on to lecture us Brits angrily on our ‘bad decision’, many saying that we needed to be punished, a few only saying that, well, perhaps, being too harsh might not be such a good idea.
Two MEPs stood out, fully supporting Brexit, garnished with a nice swipe at the Commission: one from the Netherlands, one from France. Three guesses which parties they represented!
There was worse to come. Scottish and Northern Irish MEPS started wailing that their people didn’t vote for Leave, that they shouldn’t be forgotten, that they wanted and needed the EU’s help. The Plaid Cymru lady, who couldn’t say that Wales didn’t vote for Leave because Wales hadn’t, had to wail instead about Wales needing EU ‘help’ against bad Westminster.
It was pathetic, and if you think that was bad enough, it got even worse. The Greens of all EU countries in one way or another said that the UK was far too small to combat Climate Change (if we’re so small, then surely we don’t contribute much to it?) and that only the EU can do that, so for the sake of the Planet we should remain …. think of the children!
The Socialists of all EU countries went on and on about how the EU defends “The People”, how they themselves defend “The People”, one MEP even warning us Brexiteers that we might well lose our human rights if we leave – yes, really! – so remain for the sake of “The People” …
That was of course the right place for our own Labour Remoaner MEPs to wade in, moaning about workers’ rights and “The People”. The lone UK LibDem performed her Party Line of Remoan: ”please-let-us-back-in” to the hilt.
Still, there were even more depths to be plumbed, for example repeated appeals – coming under the heading of ‘brown-nosing’ – to Juncker et al to be reasonable and nice to to the UK, because then we might recognise the error of our ways and want to come back into the generous arms of Brussels. ‘We do love you in Britain’, said one MEP, ‘please come back!’ (‘And please bring your cheque book and money’ – he didn’t quite say …!)
Some MEP even faithfully regurgitated Osborne’s ‘Project Fear’ numbers, obsolete for nine months now: that’s the caliber of the MEPs deciding on Brexit!
“History” with a capital ‘H’ was invoked time and again, with us Brits of course being ‘on the wrong side’. One MEP even had the audacity to ask what Churchill would’ve thought of our decision, implying Churchill would’ve been sad. Well, he was from Bulgaria, so how should he know what Churchill did say about the EU …
Then the ‘danger’ of leaving was painted in the bleakest colours: war, more war, no peace, the children, yoof, war …’we need a common army’ … on and on, relentlessly. And of course “principles” and “EU values” were mentioned many times – but what they actually were, not one MEP told us.
I’m sure you’ve now got the gist of what went on!
Three points in conclusion:
Firstly – the strongest feeling emanating from this speechifying was fear: the fear of the EUrocrats and MEPs of the unknown, of Brexit, and that Brexit would be a success if they didn’t do their utmost to derail it. Mixed into that fear was the overt hatred for one man: Nigel Farage. Time and again he was verbally attacked – but since this ain’t the HoC, nobody was called out for it.
The second point: Nigel putting his own spoke into the EU juggernaut in his concluding speech. He proposed that the two sides should come to an agreement: the 50 billion on the one hand, being weighed on the other hand against the fate of the 3,5 million EU citizens to remain in the UK if they so wish. I thought that was very clever, because if the EU won’t budge on the money, we can all say that money is more important to them than the fate of their citizens.
And finally: the voting. There they all sat, like in a bingo hall: vote for xyz – press button – vote closed – accepted … next vote – press button … on and on. That’s the EU Parliament.
And they want to teach us lessons in democracy and sovereignty?
I say, give them the Agincourt sign like Sir Winston Churchill. It needs no translation!