Walesa jumps gravy trains

May 29, 2009 § Leave a comment

My latest blog at Presseurop

A couple of weeks back Lech Walesa caused mutterings in the Irish and Polish press for having been a guest speaker at the Libertas convention in Rome. Papers speculated whether this was not a ringing endorsement of Irishman Declan Ganley’s crusade against the Lisbon Treaty on a “pro Europe – anti EU” ticket.

“We need to heed the Libertas message and put the people back at the heart of the project,” he said. Rumours soon surfaced that for such chiselled gems the Nobel Prize winner and former Polish president had received €50,000 for his pains. A week later Polish daily Gazeta Wyborsza reported the figure was €100.000 and called him a “disgrace”. A tightlipped Declan Ganley refused to disclose. “Gentlemen do not talk about money to other gentlemen. The word honorarium includes the word honour.” And indeed for this Latin-monikered party whose Europe-wide candidates include Czech tax-evaders, a Holocaust negationist from Poland and France’s own Islamophobe-in-chief, the Viscount de Villiers, they are all honourable men, as Mark Anthony once said over the corpse of Julius Caesar. Later, Walesa bragged to fellow Polish journalists that for speaking he got more in one night than they earned in a year, which has a Linda Evangelista ring about it, though the model who would not get out of bed for less than 20,000 dollars does not apparently have to live off a Polish state pension.

Here’s where it all goes awry. After Rome, Walesa’s son told the press that “my father doesn’t agree with Libertas, their opinions or how it works,” As far as Poland was concerned, Libertas, he said, “don’t exist”. Walesa, on the defensive, grumpily asked impertinent journalists – “Should we lock them up and beat them?” After all he only wanted to take part in open debate with these honourable men. This week, reports the Irish Independent, Walesa now has personally distanced himself from the party which will be running some 550 candidates in 16 member states this June. He now urges Irish voters to say yes to the treaty rejected last year. “I don’t like the Lisbon treaty as a driver but it’s better than no driver at all.” There are bad drivers and bad drivers, however, so one assumes that the inference here is that the Lisbon treaty might go up over the kerb, jump a few reds rather than plough wildly through a crash barrier and plunge us all into a 300 foot ravine. In the meantime, Libertas hasn’t asked for a refund.

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Manifesto Club Debate in Brussels

November 30, 2008 § Leave a comment

December 8th, I’m in Brussels, speaking at a debate organised by the Manifesto Club on the EU. Details below…

handshake

8 DECEMBER, NO MEANS NO! – MEETING IN BRUSSELS

We are delighted to be co-organising a discussion – with the think-tank, Open Europe – in the centre of Brussels, three days before EU leaders meet. We will host a debate between European democrats of all political persuasions – to analyse the growth of EU technocracy, and the growing no-votes against it. At this meeting, we will also be launching two new Manifesto Club publications: EU Phrasebook: 27 Ways to say, No Doesn’t Really Mean No, by Josie Appleton; and No Means No, an analysis of the growth of EU technocracy, by Bruno Waterfield and Christopher Bickerton.

Speakers include: Declan Ganley (chairman, Libertas, Irish no-campaign); Bruno Waterfield, (Brussels correspondent, Daily Telegraph); Christopher Bickerton (department of politics and international relations, Oxford); Josie Appleton (convenor, Manifesto Club, and author of the club’s forthcoming EU Phrasebook); Gerry Feehily (writer and literary journalist, based in Paris).

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