## Thursday, February 25, 2010

### Farage vs Van Rompuy

A powerful verbal evaluation of a high-ranking EU politician, also known as the "president of Europe", took place in the European parliament yesterday. I admire Nigel Farage, share his values, and I even agree with the essence of his newest talk, too. Still, it was probably more aggressive and negative than what I consider the "golden mean".

Nigel Farage explained that Herman Van Rompuy whom we had never heard of has the charisma of a damp rag and a low-grade bank clerk, coming from a non-country (Belgium) in order to become a silent killer of the nation states and the democracy in Europe.

Van Rompuy known as the "gray mouse" in the Belgium was nearly crying - and answered by "no comment". The boss of socialists, Martin Schulz, took the job of counter-attacks against Farage. Because the boss of the EU Parliament, Jerzy Buzek of Poland, hasn't spanked Farage enough, Buzek became a target of Schulz's counter-attack, too. (Buzek belongs to Tusk's Christian conservative but mostly pro-EU party. He was born on the territory of Nazi Germany that belongs to Czechia these days.)

The Czech media such as Lidovky report the story mostly from Farage's viewpoint, pointing out that Van Rompuy is just a target of jokes. That would be the attitude of most Czechs - except that most Czechs still don't know who Van Rompuy is. ;-) Those who just learned about him and comment on his appearance usually point out that Van Rompuy looks like Vladimír Špidla, our gray mouse and a former (or current?) EU commissioner.

The BBC tries to criticize Farage and argue that he only wants publicity - and maybe to become a martyr by being fired from the EU Parliament.

I don't quite understand how he could be "fired': the disciplinary options considered by Buzek seem to be much more modest. There are no laws I am aware of that would allow someone to fire an MEP for his dislike of another EU official. And there are no laws like that for a good reason: such laws would mean that democracy is over. The very proposal to fire Farage from a top politician would be a stunning attack on the basics of democracy in the EU, especially - as Farage has correctly pointed - he and his UKIP party has been criticized at least comparably violently.

The BBC tried to answer a few questions by Farage. It's interesting to discuss the answers for a little while:
And who is Herman Van Rompuy? (Answer: The former Prime Minister of Belgium.)
Fair enough except that the Belgium itself is the ultimate model of a colorless, mostly useless and dysfunctional conglomerate of smaller authentic regional entities which is inevitably governed by similar "gray mice". So I don't think that its leaders are more appropriate candidates for a genuine leader of a bigger state. They haven't been chosen for their being special but for their being a damp rag.

I agree with Farage that the Belgium as one country is so awkward that one can call it a non-country. We had much smaller differences - especially cultural differences - with the Slovaks but it was still natural for Czechoslovakia to split because the two constituent nations were not "thinking together" politically. The results of elections were uncorrelated. And people - especially Slovaks - would view their being Slovak as a more important part of their identity than being Czechoslovak. Well, that's actually enough of a reason to split the country. And the splitting made our relationship more harmonious than ever.

Such basic logic is not followed in the Belgium - and the suppression of this basic logic of identity is being exported to the whole Europe which is simply bad.
How did a man barely known outside his own country end up being in such a powerful position? (Answer: A classic European fudge/compromise, when all other potential candidates like Tony Blair were ruled out for one reason or another.)
That's surely true but it's bad, isn't it? Politicians simply have to carry some values and vision, even if they're usually inconvenient for a substantial portion of the population. I would surely find Tony Blair more logical - even though he is a member of the Labor Party.
The European Parliament works very much on consensus. That can make it seem a little dull when compared to the rough and tumble of the House of Commons.
How can the European Parliament work "very much on consensus", unlike the House of Commons? The only way how it can be the case is that there's no genuine democracy in the European Parliament. If there were at least as much democracy in the EU political institutions as there's still in the U.K. Parliament, there would also be as much or as little consensus in the EU as in the U.K.

According to the laws, the EU is as democratic as the United Kingdom. So I find it sensible if the MEPs such as Nigel Farage behave according to this rule, even if some of their talk end up too painted by negative emotions.