This week, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, revealed the EU’s further integrationist federal plans in his State of the Union address; he promised more than the existing 27 EU member states—new states would include the Western Balkans and extending the Schengen free movement area to include Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia. But national vetoes on tax, social and foreign policy will be rescinded. He said, “Europe is and must remain the continent of solidarity, where those fleeing persecution can find refuge.” He confirmed Brussels needed a European Defence Union (EU army) by 2025, apparently blessed by NATO. The notion of a new European Defence Fund and a European intelligence unit are being considered. Juncker called for a financially assisted “Euro-accession instrument” to facilitate compulsory entry into the single currency and proposed amalgamating the roles of President of the European Commission and of the European Council, into one Presidential authority. This is interpreted as an insurance against Germany’s authority. If any Brexiteers were doubting their vote to leave the EU, this speech would have reignited their resolve. Junker said he regretted Brexit and that the UK would too. It seems he has turned into a “bloody difficult man” to match Theresa May’s “bloody difficult woman”.
Regrettably, this confrontational meme is doing the rounds. In August, a Labour MP, Laura Pidcock, claimed she had a visceral hatred of Tory women and would never have a Conservative woman MP as a friend. Pidcock’s aide blogged about celebrating Margaret Thatcher’s end. On Thursday, Bob Stewart, MP and former United Nations commander in Bosnia announced that his four children had been hassled in school because of their father’s job. Colonel Stewart went on to say that during the June general election, his 13-year-old son’s teacher had told the other children in the class not to talk to his son, as he was the child of a Conservative politician.
It is a sorry state of things when mature politicians cannot come together to pragmatically resolve differences and less mature individuals behave abusively. In politics, sensible MPs realise the importance of working across the floor to get things done.