He Who Fights Monsters

As Guido reports, the speech that Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s Brexit Coordinator, made to the Liberal Democrat conference was rapturously received.

He said,

We cannot continue, dear friends, with a Europe that is always acting too little and too late. In the world order of tomorrow – the world order of tomorrow is not a world order based on nation states or countries; it is a world order that is based on empires. China is not a nation, it is a civilisation [inaudible word]. India – you know it better than I do – is not a nation. There are two thousand nations in India. There are twenty different languages that are used there. There are four big religions. At the same time it is the biggest democracy worldwide. The US is also an empire, more than a nation. Maybe tomorrow they will speak there more Spanish than English, I don’t know what will happen. And then finally, the Russian Federation. The world of tomorrow is a world of empires, in which we Europeans and you British can only defend your interests, your way of life, by doing it together in a European framework and in the European Union.

Some people objected to Guido’s description of this speech as saying that the EU needed to become an empire. Fair enough, he never said that. But he certainly seems to think that in order to survive among a world of empires the EU must become more like an empire than it is at present. And – how shall I put this? – neither he nor his audience seemed unhappy at the prospect. Liberalism once meant something different from this.

Updated: 21st September 2019 — 9:11 am


  1. Liberalism once meant something different from this.

    “If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.”
    1984, George Orwell

    Comrade Verhofstadt believes that the road to the future is that of George Orwell’s 1984. In at least one respect, he is right. “Oceania is at war with Eurasia. Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia.”.

    Advance, Britannia!

  2. Verhofstadt mentioned China, India, USA, Russia, and (potentially) Europe as the Empires of Tomorrow.

    1. Was he being racist when he left Africa off the list?
    2. Was he being stupid when he left off the Islamic world?

  3. Neither. He sees the peoples of Africa and the Islamic world as enablers towards his goal of ever closer union, else why have they opened the flood gates to African and Islamic immigration to the EU against the (ignored) wishes of it’s own indigenous population?

    Clearly without the pressure and fear of enforced diversity the EU won’t undertake what is necessary…

  4. When Verhofstadt mentioned India, he rather destroyed anyone’s ability to claim he was not saying the EU should be an empire. If he had only mentioned China then “theirs is nasty one-party undemocratic empire but we are a nice union in which there are parties and everyone gets a vote” would be a line you could take. But by throwing India into the mix, he much undermined his ability to deny that ’empires’ was not just what he said but what he meant. (The US too, of course, in logic, but Verhofstadt doubtless thinks that under Trump it is indeed an evil empire.)

    Some people objected to Guido’s description of this speech as saying that the EU needed to become an empire.

    If Verhofstadt himself does not try to walk it back then the objectors are are doubly undermined. Meanwhile we should be one one sense grateful for yet another example of the EU’s seemingly incurable foot-in-mouth syndrome. 🙂 Without it, we might never have got this far.

  5. Maybe he’s right. Maybe the idea of independent European states is over. Maybe they are too small to defend themselves. Maybe they are every bit as old hat as the Thuringian states in the aftermath of German Unification. Or Mercia. If so, then I think I’ll be part of the American empire. After all, they already do our defence for us. And they speak the same language. And their legal system is similar.

    Also. Interesting that Verhofstadt seems to be implicitly repudiating the idea of a New World Order. How does the UN, for instance, fit into a world of competing empires? Not at all I should think.

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