Saluting the Usurper Empire

July 14th:  We have just sat through the opening session of the new 2009/14 parliament, in the Strasbourg hemicycle.  Contrary to popular myth (and contrary to BBC reports, which speak of new MEPs being “sworn in”), there is no oath of allegiance to the EU for newly-elected members, and I certainly should not take such an oath if there were.
 
I have remarked before that despite the dropping of the symbols of nationhood, the flag and the anthem, from the Lisbon Treaty — about the only material difference between the Treaty and its precursor the European Constitution — the symbols are still well to the fore in Brussels and Strasbourg.  Today, outgoing parliament President Hans-Gert Pöttering invited us to stand for the European Anthem.
 
Needless to stay, I remained resolutely in my seat, as did quite a number of Conservative colleagues including Emma McClarkin and Vicky Ford.  I was sorry to see the leader of our delegation on his feet as a mark of respect to the Usurper Empire.
 
The first business of the day was to elect a new President.  There were two candidates: Jerzy Buzek, a former Prime Minister of Poland, for the EPP, and Eva-Britt Svensson, a Swedish MEP with the Nordic Green Left, an extreme socialist and green.  In fact Buzek, of the EPP, is about as good as we’re likely to get.  Of course he’s a federalist, but he’s a respected statesman, a former scientist, and more or less centre-right in many of his attitudes.  But in his speech ahead of the vote he specifically spoke of the importance of ratifying the Lisbon Treaty.
 
If the issue had been in doubt, I should have held my nose and voted for Buzek, as the less bad option.  But given the stitch-up between the EPP and the Socialists (who expect to get their leader Martin Schultz elected as President for the second half), Buzek was a shoe-in, so I had the luxury of writing “None of the above” on my ballot paper.  Not good grammar — strictly I should have written “neither of the above” — but my ballot paper was well and truly spoiled, and I had managed to avoid voting for a europhile.  Historically I have always voted against the EPP candidate as a matter of course, but I really couldn’t bring myself to vote for a hard-left green.

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1 Response to Saluting the Usurper Empire

  1. James Deighton says:

    Well done Roger on yet another principled stand. When will the EU learn that a stitch up is not a choice!

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