Not for the first time, I was struck by how unpleasant some Euro-enthusiasts can be. They heckle and interrupt. They attack the speaker rather than the speech. They have become so accustomed to littering their interventions with references to “xenophobes”, “extremists” and “anti-Europeans” that they no longer realise that they’re being rude.
My impecunious Peloponnesian friend notes that he has encountered a similar theme.
Anyone who's ever been to a debate on the EU such as Dan describes (and believe me, I've been to more than my share) will immediately recognise the truth of this observation.
Indeed, I was at one such debate last week, which Vindico reported on.
Vernon Bogdanor, prize twat, attempted several times to link Euroscepticism to the war and tar us all with the same brush of xenophobia and of having a deep seated conspiratorial fear of a foreign takeover. Aaronovich also tried to do likewise, accusing Eurosceptics of being illogically emotive and paranoid of some kind of foreign conspiracy to create a superpower. The third panelist in opposition to a referendum was Blair's former EU advisor, Sir Stephen Wall, who tried to shift the focus on to the 'in or out' question. He suggested that that is the debate we Eurosceptics really want and so we should campaign for that and not one on the treaty.
I found Vernon Bogdanor—who is a classic avatar for the phrase, "those who cannot do, teach", being a professor in Government at Oxford University—particularly offensive. Not only did he describe EUsceptics as xenophobes, he tried to imply that we were all yearning for the days of Empire.
For the 65 year old Bogdanor to attempt to sit such an accusation on me, someone less than half his age, was not only facile, puerile and deeply fucking unlikely: it was quite transparent wish-projection. For fuck's sake, I was only seven when the last colony, Zimbabwe, gained full independence. Further, I am not xenophobic in the least and nor are the vast majority of EUsceptics that I know; we simply want to be ruled by the Parliament that we have elected, not one that we have not.
Aaronovitch attempted to make the argument that, since all politicians are liars (and their lack of their manifesto committment proved it), we shouldn't want to be ruled by them; this was mere sophistry. The point about being ruled from Westminster is that at least we have the chance to vote them out every five years or so. But then, he was a shouty, offensive little man who has quite evidently inherited the disgusting politics of his evil, Communist father*.
I should point out, at this point, that I am aware of the irony of complaining about the unpleasantness of EUphiles whilst calling all of them utter cunts, but as Master Hannan observes,
Of course, Euro-philes don’t have a monopoly on rudeness. There are some extremely disagreeable sceptics, too.
I shall stick to being disagreeable, because I fucking loathe those who would subvert our freedoms to an unaccountable bureaucracy; as such, I make no apologies for my insults.
But, unlike many EUphiles, I am very happy to debate the EU on the facts—economic, cultural and political. I do not base my arguments on them being "cowards" or accuse them of "surrendering".
I certainly may accuse them of pandering to totalitarianism but, then again, this is a fact: they are. After all, what else can you call a system in which an unelected bureaucracy is the only organisation which can initiate legislation? It's pretty much a text-book definition of totalitarianism.
But, for some reason, it is always the sceptics who are accused of being monomaniacs, ranters, head-bangers and so on.
It is because, Dan, of one simple thing: since the EUphiles have lost the economic debate, and the political debate, and the cultural debate and the moral debate, they have nothing left in their armoury except pathetic little insults. And the only insults that they can think of are those related to "the nasty foreigners", so they call us "xenophobes", "Little Englanders" and "racists". It is why the debate with EUphiles is always so fucking pointless: because they cannot win their arguments on the basis of the evidence.
And so the "xenophobe" epithets fly but, as with Vernon "I'm An Offensive Cunt And I'm Teaching Your Children" Bogdanor, one can only suspect that all of these insults are, in fact, projections of the EUphiles' own insecurities.
* Communism is evil; Aaronovitch senior was a Communist; therefore he was evil. Quod erat demonstrandum.