What's the Most Unpopular Thing You Can Say in the European Parliament?

by DANIEL HANNAN December 15, 2012

It's a crowded field but, bizarrely enough, I reckon the clip above comes pretty close.

To appreciate the context, though, you needed to have sat through the ceremony that had just taken place, in which senior Eurocrats praised one another sonorously for having secured peace in Europe. Trumpets were blown, flags raised and - as if in some insecure dictatorship - young people were paraded across the stage to hymn the praises of the regime. There was even a massive Big Brother-style telescreen outside the chamber showing, on a loop, a propaganda film about the Nobel award.

Never have I felt more attached to the ironic, quizzical, empirical culture of the Anglosphere. We don't get excited by flags and rallies; we find uniforms and parades slightly silly. So, in fairness, does the Deputy Speaker whom you see at the beginning of the clip, a good-natured Catalan called Alejo Vidal-Quadras, one of those rare Euro-enthusiasts who can none the less see the funny side of the EU's pomposity. He grasps something that few Eurocrats do, namely that the EU's lack of self-awareness is a terrible weakness.

Daniel Hannan is a British writer and journalist, and has been Conservative MEP for South East England since 1999. He speaks French and Spanish and loves Europe, but believes that the EU is making its constituent nations poorer, less democratic and less free. He is the winner of the Bastiat Award for online journalism.


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