Nigel Farage, a British member of the European Parliament, was fined an equivalent of $4,000 on Tuesday for "insulting" the new European Union President Herman van Rompuy (r.) and refusing to apologize. In a memorable performance in Strasbourg ten days eaerlier, the Euroskeptic MEP told the former Beligian prime minister that he had "all the charisma of a damp rag and the appearance of a low-grade bank clerk":
"We were told that when we had a president, we'd see a giant global political figure, a man who would be the political leader for 500 million people, the man that would represent all of us all of us on the world stage, the man whose job was so important that of course you're paid more than President Obama. Well, I'm afraid what we got was you... The question I want to ask is: 'Who are you?' I'd never heard of you, nobody in Europe had ever heard of you."
Mr. Farage's tirade was well worth his ten days' MEP allowance. It put some spotlight on the inner workings of a monstrous bureaucracy. It gave a welcome boost to the popularity of his UK Independence Party (UKIP), which advocates Britain's withdrawal from the EU and opposes the Tory-Labour therapeutic-social-democratic duopoly. It provided a rare spark of rhetorical flair in an institution otherwise reminiscent of the Supreme Soviet, circa 1957.
But let us first consider Farage's passing reference, during his response to Van Rompuy's inaugural address, to Belgium as a "non-country," "an artificial construction" which is "breaking up." The bien-pensants were offended with that part of his statement, too, but they cannot refute the facts.
Belgium was created by treaty, ex nihilo, by the Concert of Europe 180 years ago, mainly on Britain's insistence as a buffer keeping the Channel ports neutral. (This consideration was deemed so important at Westminster in August 1914 that Germany's violation of Belgian neutrality prompted Britain to join France and Russia, thus turning yet another European war into the first truly global affair.)
Composed of Dutch-speaking Flemings and French-speaking Waloons, the "country" is less natural and less organically integrated than Yugoslavia or Czechoslovakia had ever been. Most of its inhabitants identify with their ethno-lingustic group and feel no loyalty to, or affection for, the state as such. Belgium is an entity with statehood -- alebit with limited sovereignty under the EU writ -- but without nationhood, or shared memories, myths, or epics. It is noteworthy that the most famous Belgians in history were Eddy Merckx the cyclist, Leon Degrelle the SS Standartenfuehrer, and... well, as of two weeks ago, Mr. van Rompuy himself. (Of course, all those 16th and 17th century Flemish painters were as "Belgian" as Peter the Great was "Soviet," or Brian Boru -- "British").
More important is Farage's exposure of an undemocratic nomenklatura that produces the van Rompys on demand. Their mindset was aptly summarized by van Rompuy's own boast in the run-up to the Copenhagen climate summit that we have entered the era of "global governance": "The climate conference in Copenhagen is another step towards the global management of our planet." Dixit. That one sentence is the key to understanding this little man, insignificant as he is intrinsically, and grasping the agenda of those who had made him what he is. Van Rompuy owes his position to the enactment of the Lisbon straitjacket -- by hook and by crook-- and to a backroom Franco-German deal.
The European Union is run by a coalition of multicultural fanatics, post-national technocrats, neo-Marxists and crooks. They are committed to a federal superstate, no less brazenly than the Comrades east of the Wall had been committed to the Peoples' Democracies between 1945 and 1989. In their world, only an EU freed from the obsolete shackles of national parliaments and wily electorates can guarantee the fulfillment of their ideological vision and, more importantly, the protection of their power and privileges in perpetuity.
Once hailed as a mechanism for overcoming deadly rivalries and increasing economic efficiencies, the institution Van Rompuy "heads" has morphed into a giant tool of social and political engineering. Its now defunct Constitution pointedly excluded Christianity from the Preamble, but introduced references to "equality" and "non-discrimination," and invoked the obligation to combat "social exclusion" and respect "diversity." Brussels is making opposition to the ongoing demographic change of the Old Continent not only undesirable but also illegal -- to the benefit of unassimilable, overwhelmingly Muslim multitudes, filled with contempt for their host-organism that breeds the urge to conquer it. The term "Eurabia," introduced as an intellectual concept three decades ago by Amerophobe French intellectuals, is on the verge of becoming real.
Various multiethnic states (imperial Russia, the Habsburg Monarchy, pre-World War II Kingdom of Yugoslavia) have been labeled -- often unfairly -- as "prisons of nations." That designation applies far more aptly to the European Union. Mr. Van Rompuy may look banal -- heck, he is banal -- but that makes him no less dangerous, or evil, than Tony Blair or Joschka Fischer. The "grey mouse" has been blinded by the sudden light, for which all true Europeans owe a word of thanks to Nigel Farage.