Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2013-10-23-Speech-3-036-000"

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"Madam President, there is only one real debate going on here this week in Strasbourg: it is the fear stalking the corridors, the concern you have got about the rise of euro-scepticism. Years ago you were less worried. The few of us here who were euro-sceptics were treated as being mentally ill and sort of patted on the head. Now we are evil populists; we are dangerous; we are going to bring down western civilisation. It is clear that you do not get it, you do not understand why this is happening. Well, let me help you. In 2005 it was the pivotal moment of this project: the French and the Dutch had said ‘No’ to the EU Constitution. Mr Barroso stood up and said: ‘They did not really vote ‘No’. They did not understand what they were doing’. But they did. You see, ever since 2005, the real European debate has been about identity. What we are saying – large numbers of us – from every single EU Member State is: ‘We do not want that flag. We do not want the anthem that you all stood so ramrod straight for yesterday. We do not want EU passports. We do not want political union’. If you think about it, there is nothing extreme about that position. There is nothing right-wing about that position; there is nothing left-wing, indeed, about that position. It is a normal, sensible assertion of identity. What we are saying on our side of the argument – you see, you can scream and shout all you like, which really rather proves to me why you are going to do so badly in the European elections next year, because you are not listening – we want to live and work and breathe in a Europe of nation-state democracy. We want to trade together, we want to cooperate together. We are happy to agree sensible common minimum standards and, yes, we want to control our own borders, which is the rational, logical and sensible thing for any nation state to do. We are not against immigration or immigrants. We believe there needs to be a degree of control, and that is the message that is picking up support right across this continent. I genuinely think that there is an opportunity for an electoral earthquake to happen in the European elections next year, with a large number of people from all sides of this House who will come with a nation state agenda, who will come saying: ‘Let us have a Europe, as de Gaulle might have said, of the ; let us not have a Europe of political union’. You can abuse us all you like, but what we stand for is fair, principled and democratic."@en1

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