Ahead of a referendum on relations with Ukraine that the Netherlands is holding tomorrow, UKIP leader Nigel Farage gave a rousing speech on democracy and the European Union at Geenpeil, a political event held by the influential and “provocative” Dutch blog GeenStijl.
Farage was introduced to the audience yesterday with a montage of his most memorable European Parliament speeches, where the UKIP leader had taken aspects of the EU to task, confronting them on their hostility to actual democracy. The event’s presenter asked about his having survived a plane crash, alluding to 2010 when Farage took to the skies to promote his party, but the plane crashed, its pilot later sentenced to a two-year community order for five counts of threatening to kill the UKIP leader and Farage admitted that in the frightening minutes of the crash he had resigned himself to death thinking, “this is it” and “it’s all over.”
The popular British politician joked of a “conspiracy theory” in that the crash had happened shortly after his “Van Rompuy speech” referring to the infamous exchange where in the European Parliament Farage described the first president of the (unelected) European Council as having “all the charisma of a damp rag and the appearance of a low-grade bank clerk” and posing the question of who had “actually voted” for the man, calling attention to the fact that the unelected Commission has all the power compared to the elected members of European parliament who cannot even introduce laws.
After the presenter describes Farage as a “force against the EU”, the Euroskeptic leader admits that even having a pint in the pub is now risky, likely referring to the Sunday lunch he enjoyed with his wife and two young daughters which was interrupted by an attack by a self styled “cabaret of diversity” “comprising migrants, HIV activists, gay people, disabled people and breastfeeding mums”.
Speaking to the Dutch audience about their upcoming referendum, held tomorrow, where “EU officials fear a rejection could fuel rising euroskepticism” according to the Wall Street Journal, Farage joked that as a foreigner he was not going to tell them how to vote but instead warned of the European Union’s history of ignoring and rejecting countries’ referendum results.
Urging “more direct democracy” to be the result of the Netherlands’ referendum Farage recounted how, previously, France, Holland and others had rejected the European constitution but went on to detail the body’s long history of contempt for democracy. He recalled Euroskeptics cheering in the Members’ Bar at the European Parliament when the vote came through with a decisive majority in France of 61% and how he thought this rejection of European centralisation meant everything would change, but just 10 minutes later hearing something so sinister “everything drained out” of him.
Seeing Joe Lynam, one of the co-authors of the constitution, Farage asked if he’d “like to share a glass of champagne with us” the German socialist MEP replied menacingly “you may have your little victory party tonight but we have 50 ways to win.”
After the EU’s astonishing defeat, recalling how they promised to “get rid of” the flag and the anthem Farage blasts, “They were lying, weren’t they?” and points to the omnipresence of both now. He also condemned the European Constitution’s rebranding as the Lisbon Treaty and the words of a former Italian Prime Minister who actually boasted that “the great thing about calling it the Lisbon Treaty is that we won’t need to have referendums”.
He bemoaned the fact that Ireland, a country who due to their constitution did have to have a referendum, rejected the Treaty but were forced to vote again until the EU got the result they wanted and noted how 15 years earlier “the same” had happened over the Treaty of Nice and that the Danes in 1992, rejecting the Maastricht Treaty, were told by the then German Chancellor that “as a little country” they had “got it wrong and that they would have to vote again.”
The UKIP leader also spoke of his party’s victories, topping the polls in the 2014 European elections, and that “Brexit has now become so mainstream that six members of David Cameron’s cabinet have come out for Brexit”. He pointed out that, too, 140 of the Conservative Party’s backbench MPs, increasing numbers of Labour Party MPs and that “even the Communist Party of Great Britain” are now supporting Britain becoming independent from the European Union.
As well as receiving rapturous applause from the mainly Euroskeptic audience commenters on Geenstijl’s website, reflecting
on the speech, called Farage a “hero” and a “heavyweight” saying he “hit the nail on the head” and is “amazing funny and intelligent”, Geenstijl itself branding the event a “resounding success“.