Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2014-07-15-Speech-2-027-000"

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"Mr President, if this is European democracy in action, as we have heard this morning, then I suggest we have a rethink. We are told that as a result of the European elections, Mr Juncker here is the nominee. Well I can tell you that absolutely nobody in the United Kingdom knew that when they voted in the European elections it had anything to do with the next nominee. The truth of it is that no voters in any of the countries actually realised what this process was. Mr Juncker’s name did not appear on any single ballot paper. The whole thing has been the most extraordinary stitch-up. The loser, Mr Schulz, gets the consolation prize of being an unprecedented second-term President in Parliament. It is all just a pretence that we are increasing democracy. Of course, I will be told ‘ah yes, but hang on a second, the European Parliament, the elected bit of the European institutions, did actually have a say and did decide whether Mr Juncker was to become Commission President or not’. Well, let us just have a think about the process we are about to engage in. We are all going to be asked to vote – and we have got one candidate to vote for! It is like good old Soviet times, isn’t it? Surely, democracy means you get rather more of a choice than one. But far worse than that is that it is going to be a secret ballot. You really could not invent it, could you? Hard on the heels of European elections, our voters are not going to know how any of us have voted. I would say to you Mr Schulz, as President of the Parliament, that Parliament should not vote in secret. The whole point of being publicly-elected representatives is that we should be held accountable for our actions to our own voters. To be asked to vote in secret is a huge insult to voters. I would have thought that after the huge advances in the Eurosceptic vote, there might have been a rethink somewhere in Brussels, but clearly that was not to be. Mr Cameron had a brief go and tried to oppose Mr Juncker’s candidacy, but he was busy succeeding with reshuffles in Britain and failing with reshuffles here, and Mrs Merkel of course crushed him because what the German Chancellor says goes in the modern Europe. So what of our nominee? On the plus side, Mr Juncker, you are a sociable cove with a very much better sense of humour than most people I have met in Brussels, and there is no question that you are a political operator. You have even managed over the last couple of weeks, as you have gone round the political groups, to change the mood music a bit. You have said that you do not believe in a united states of Europe, and that you do not believe in a common European identity, but I have to say I did not believe a word of it. Today you have proven that actually you are stuck back with the ideas of the old Europe. You talked about Mr Delors being a hero of yours. I can understand that from your perspective, but you also talked about Mr Mitterrand and Mr Kohl as being heroes of yours. I would have thought a wartime collaborator and somebody who left German politics under a huge cloud of a massive party-funding scandal should not be the kind of people that we should stand up as great models of virtue in modern Europe today. You talked about the need for a common foreign policy and security policy. You talked about the need for a common energy policy. What is clear is that you are going to carry on with the process of the centralisation of powers, which is not surprising because for 20 years you have been a key player in this whole process, which frankly has treated democracy with deliberate contempt. I think the best example is your quote about the French referendum on the constitution where you said if it is a ‘yes’ we will say ‘on we go’, and if it is a ‘no’ we will say ‘we continue’. How is that for belief in democracy? Your dedication to the project is unchallengeable. You have said before that when it becomes serious, you have to lie. So in many ways you are the perfect candidate for a lot of people in this House and I have no doubt that you will get the nomination, but we are being asked to vote for the ultimate Brussels insider, somebody who has always operated with dark backroom deals and stitch-ups, and I have to say that our group overwhelmingly will vote ‘no’. We do not want business as usual. We want real change. You said at the end of your speech that this is not the time for a revolution. I put it to you that there has already been a revolution. There has effectively been a coup d’état on nation state democracies without people realising, without people realising what was being done to them. After these elections, the Eurosceptic may not yet have a majority in this House, but please do not think we are over, because the vast majority of European people do not want a European state, do not want a European Commission to be the executive, do not want that flag and do not want that anthem. So, you will get elected and we will enjoy doing battle over the course of the next year or two."@en1

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