All the world is a stage.
• European Parliament, Brussels – 16 March 2011
• Speaker: Nigel Farage MEP, UKIP, Co-President of the EFD Group in the European Parliament (Europe of Freedom and Democracy)
• Extraordinary meeting of the Conference of Presidents with EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy
• Full Transcript:
Mr van Rompuy, I hope you resist the calls for military action this afternoon, indeed the Liberal leader, Mr Verhofstadt, made a very pro-war speech.
I hope you will resist that on the grounds that there is no legitimacy or consent for the European Union to take military action, and that experience shows that if you go into military action, that may be easy, but getting out of it can be rather more difficult, and getting involved in Libya could indeed be a Vietnam-type experience, so please, please resist it.
But on Colonel Gaddafi, himself – you’re quite right to say that what is happening in Libya is really very wrong indeed.
But of course we knew that even before the uprising. Just last year he declared a holy war – a jihad – against the Swiss; he tried to blackmail the European Union – do you remember? He said give us 5 billion euros or we’ll flood you with migrants.
And of course he’s the man who was happy to embrace Al Megrahi, the man who committed the biggest ever mass murder in British history.
But what you didn’t tell us in your speech was about the fact that you actually know Mr Gaddafi. Indeed you went to meet him in December didn’t you?
Do you remember? In fact there’s a jolly nice photograph of you and Mr Gaddafi holding hands – in fact I have to say, I’ve never seen you smiling more or looking happier. Perhaps he’s an old drinking mate. I don’t know!
But I wonder why? Why would you want to be photographed with Mr Gaddafi? And I put it to you that it could well be that since you were appointed as President of Europe – and your side-kick, the Noble Baroness Ashton became a High Representative for Foreign Affairs – that you know that you’ve been seen on the global stage like a couple of political pygmies.
As Wikileaks showed you were very unhappy that you weren’t being recognised – unhappy that you were snubbed by Obama – and here was the chance to go along and be accepted by a head of state.
I don’t think that you, there, parading with dictators, was a very good and sensible thing to do, indeed not just you. The British Labour government made similar mistakes. But I do ask you at this juncture – with the horrendous things that are going on in Libya – I do ask you:
Do you accept that it was an error of judgement to be photographed as recently as December with Colonel Gaddafi and would you please, if you do, apologise for it.