Thursday, 19 January 2006

A lonely dissenting voice

This is the text of Daniel Hannan’s speech in the European Parliament today. MEPs voted by a large majority to push ahead with the implementation of the constitution by 2009.

‘Mr President,

Listening to this debate, I am reminded of Bertold Brecht’s lines:

“Wäre es da
Nicht doch einfacher, die Regierung
Löste das Volk auf und
Wählte ein anderes? ”

[Would it not be simpler to dismiss the people and elect another in their place?]

The peoples of two core, founding states have thrown your project out, my friends. I know it’s hard to accept rejection, but look at the figures. Fifty-five per cent French voters. Sixty two per cent of Dutch voters.
Now you might try to argue that the voters have got it wrong; that they are suffering from what Marxists call false consciousness; that they need better propaganda, and that it is up to us, the Euro-elite, to take a lead. To which I say: do your damnedest.
Current polls in the Netherlands show that 82 per cent of Dutch voters would now vote “No”: a tribute to the level-headedness of that brave people. But if you think you can turn them around, dear colleagues, be my guests. Doing so would at least prove your commitment to the democratic ideals you so frequently invoke.
Far more outrageous would to push ahead with the implementation of the contents of the constitution without popular consent.
Yet this is precisely what you are doing. Look at the number of policies and institutions envisaged by the constitution that have been, or are being, enacted regardless: the European External Action Service, the European Human Rights Agency, the European Defence Agency, the European Space Programme, the European External Borders Agency, a justicable Charter of Fundamental Rights.
None of these has a proper legal basis outside the constitution. By adopting them anyway, you demonstrate that you will allow no force, internal or external—neither your own rule book nor the expressed opposition of your peoples—to arrest the rush to political assimilation. You vindicate the severest of your opponents’ criticisms.
In the words of my countryman Oliver Cromwell, “I beseech you in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken”.’

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