A daily blog on the thrills, spills, and frequent absurdities of the world's one and only 'non-imperial empire' - as Barroso himself called it - the European Union.
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Wednesday, 20 April 2011
I Think You'll Find Hitler was Quite Fond of European Integration
It never ceases to amaze me the readiness with which our enlightened brethren in the federalist camp accuse their opponents - of any political stripe - of fascism. It seems to almost be a badge of honour for those who still dwell in their ivory towers to find a denier - of anything, be it the climate change consensus, multiculturalism, or the European Union - and openly call them a Nazi. In the European Parliament, that bastion of insanity that saw Nigel Farage declare he was Spartacus and a heated debate on the merits of various alcoholic drinks in relation to European solidarity, the primary offender is a chap called Martin Schulz.
Those of you who regularly follow the doings of this bizarre bunch of people would probably be familiar with that name. This is the German Socialist MEP - the leader of the Socialists in the European Parliament, in fact - who was insulted by UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom who quoted the famous Nazi slogan 'Ein Reich, Ein Volk, Ein Fuhrer' at him. I'm not condoning Bloom's unwise outburst, but it couldn't have happened to a more deserving person. Martin Schulz has made the same slur more times than anyone cares to remember. In the above video, he uses it to shout down an MEP who calls on President Barosso to publish exactly how he managed to claim two thousand dollars a day in expenses. He once expanded his vocabulary to call the French and Dutch electorates 'ultra-nationalists, fascists, and former communists' when they refused to share his fanatical love for the Lisbon Treaty, or the European Constitution as it was called at the time. For him to complain about being accused of fascism is the biggest laugh I've had from the European Parliament in quite some time. But Martin Schulz's pro-EU colleagues do not see the funny side. For them, the threat of Nazis, fascists, and right-wing political extremists taking over the EU is real. Schulz's fanatical delusions are not unusual; there are others in the European Parliament, hundreds of them, in fact, who have called their opponents nationalists, xenophobes, and bigots over the years.
Daniel Cohn-Bendit, aka Danny the Red, once called those who criticised the EU 'mentally weak.' Denis MacShane, former Europe Minister, took a similar line to Mr. Schulz when he referred to 'reactionaries, neo-conservatives, neo-communists and cretins.' Andrew Duff, MEP for the Liberal Democrats, reached for the nearest set of platitudes and declared that his opponents were 'an odd bunch of racists, xenophobes, nationalists, communists, disappointed centre left and generally p****d off.' Herman van Rompuy, President of the Council, brought out the big guns and declared that Eurosceptics are the leading cause of war. In fact, they have chastised the entire political spectrum, from the far-left to the far-right, and disregarded nearly everyone - including themselves and each other - as extremists or anti-European conspirators (Daniel Cohn-Bendit leads the way here with his 'half of Ireland is employed by the CIA' routine). If we took their word for it, everyone in the European Parliament would be banned from political office.
But if this endless name-calling and fanatical adherence to nothing in particular were to be taken to its logical conclusion, those doing it would see the error of their ways. Would they really mind a room full of Nazis, if they were shown one? The irony of them calling opponents of European integration is really quite laughable; not only is Hitler and the Second World War the main reason for the EU's existence, European integration is also what Hitler and the Third Reich were trying to achieve. 'Aryans,' or Europeans, were to be united into a single state. Hitler actually said a lot that many of those who accuse others of being Nazis would agree with. He declared in 1927 that:
'We are socialists, we are enemies of today’s capitalistic economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance, and we are determined to destroy this system under all conditions'
Hitler himself later backtracked, but other members of his party remained unrepentant socialists to the end of the war. Ernst Rohm, who called for a 'second revolution,' was dealt with quickly. But Goebbels continued to stress the socialist aspect of the Nazi Party until he committed suicide as the Soviet soldiers reached Berlin. And they were not the only fascists to support European union, either. Oswald Mosely also supported Britain's integration into a European superstate.
And, leaving the realm of Nazism and fascism behind, the opponents of the EU aren't always nationalist. They aren't always right-wing. Andrew Duff mentions the 'disappointed centre-left,' perhaps a reference to the members of his own party who have flocked to the Greens. The Greens are not a Eurosceptic party in the conventional sense; they do not advocate complete withdrawal, as UKIP, for example, does. But they are arguing for the same democratic reforms, and also campaign for a referendum, as the Liberal Democrats used to do before they joined the government. The Scottish National Party is another one campaigning for a referendum. The English Democrats - who claim to be separate from the standard political spectrum - campaign for a devolved parliament for England (making them the only party to openly do so) and straight-up withdrawal from the European Union. And then we come to the reds that Mr. Schulz thinks want to sabotage the European Union.
That most famous of British union leaders came out as a Eurosceptic on Have I Got News For You, although he had previously set up a party, NO2EU - Yes for the Democracy, that was supposed to fight in the 2009 European elections, accusing the EU of being an unelected, unaccountable, corporate bloc. Arthur Scargill also has a Eurosceptic party, the Socialist Labour Party, which campaigns for EU withdrawal. Now, the readers of this blog may see these parties as extreme - some of them actually are. But they're at the opposite end of the spectrum from Oswald Mosely, and quite far from Hitler. In fact, there is only one real political difference between British socialists and Martin Schulz, and that is that he has a seat in the European Parliament, and they do not.
Most importantly, if anyone who campaigns for a democratic vote on Europe is a nationalist or a communist, where does that put the three main parties, who have each done so at one point or another? Or the 70% of people who want a referendum, in every poll ever taken, nationalists or communists? Or is it the 20% who do not want to let others vote, and the 10% who don't care, who are the 'extremists?' Are they not the tiny minority of people who are denying sixty million people the chance to make their voices heard? And they have the fanaticism to turn around and call us fanatics, when the most we - libertarians, socialists, conservatives, and the generally p****d off - have done is call for a vote - that's it, a vote - on the single most important political, economic, and social change in European history?
Eurosceptics do not want Ein Reich, Ein Volk, Ein Fuhrer. We want twenty-seven countries, twenty-seven peoples, and twenty-seven leaders, and, most importantly, we want democracy.