Farage: "I have not done this as a publicity stunt".
Yes. And the Pope is Jewish.
So Nigel got what he wanted. A lot of publicity and a new role as a martyr.
But should Nigel have had all that booze before going into the chamber? Getting tipsy before you make a speech is not a very wise move. We are still getting over Godfrey Bloom’s last drunken speech!
It is interesting to note that this is not the first time Nigel has had to face the EU President after complaints about his conduct in the chamber.
Normally Nigel is more than happy to boast about his clashes with the President. So why was he keen to keep these previous complaints quiet?
From BBC News:
Eurosceptic MEP Nigel Farage has been fined just under 3,000 euros (£2,700) after refusing to apologise for a tirade in the European Parliament.
He was reprimanded for "insulting" behaviour after telling President of the European Council Herman van Rompuy he had "the charisma of a damp rag".
The authorities said he would lose an allowance paid to MEPs for 10 days but would not be suspended.
Mr Farage said his was a legitimate "voice of opposition" to EU policies.
He said he would continue to criticise the powers wielded by Mr Van Rompuy and other senior officials who had not been elected.
Mr Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) group in the parliament, drew jeers last Wednesday when he said Mr Van Rompuy had the appearance of a "low-grade bank clerk" and described Belgium as "pretty much a non-country".
The president of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, said such language was "not acceptable".
During a meeting with Mr Farage to discuss his comments, Mr Buzek said he had asked him to apologise for the personal criticism of Mr Van Rompuy which he said was "offensive".
"I defend absolutely Mr Farage's right to disagree about the policy or institutions of the European Union," he said.
"But... his behaviour towards Mr Van Rompuy was inappropriate, unparliamentary and insulting to the dignity of the House... I cannot accept this sort of behaviour in the European Parliament."
Given Mr Farage's refusal to apologise, Mr Buzek said he would be docked his right to a daily allowance paid to all MEPs for 10 days.
Mr Farage said the amount he would lose would be about 3,000 euros (£2,722).
The European Parliament had the power to suspend Mr Farage but decided against the move.
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Farage was unrepentant: "The only people I'm going to apologise to are bank clerks the world over - if I've offended them then I'm very sorry indeed," he said.
He said he did not think he had been insulting or used "unparliamentary language" and his comments had sparked a debate on Mr Van Rompuy's role as president of the European Council - a role created under the EU's controversial Lisbon Treaty and opposed by Eurosceptics.
Mr Van Rompuy got a blistering attack on his first appearance before MEPs
Mr Farage's party, UKIP, campaigns for a withdrawal of Britain from the European Union. It has 13 representatives in the parliament.
During his attack on Mr Van Rompuy last week - during the former Belgian PM's maiden appearance in the role - Mr Farage said "nobody in Europe had ever heard" of him.
He told the BBC he would continue to draw attention to the fact that Mr Van Rompuy and other EU officials had the power to "fundamentally change" the lives of UK citizens even though they had not been elected.
Mr Van Rompuy, 62, was chosen unanimously by the governments of the EU's 27 member states to take on the role of the first permanent European Council president.
Mr Van Rompuy said he held Mr Farage's comments "in contempt", without elaborating.
To see the original: LINK
And this is an interesting article from The Economist:
THE Belgian newspaper, De Standaard, asked me to write an op-ed explaining to their baffled readers why a British Eurosceptic politician was so very rude to the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, in the European Parliament this week. Nigel Farage, a member of the European Parliament (MEP) from the United Kingdom Independence Party, called Mr Van Rompuy (a Belgian) that he had the "charisma of a damp rag", among other insults.
The short version of why Mr Farage was winkled out of the UKIP politician by BBC Radio 4's Today programme yesterday morning. What does being so rude achieve, Mr Farage was asked. Well, it has got me on this programme, hasn't it, he replied. And there you have it. "Today" is a flagship programme on the BBC: about the most serious news programme in Britain, along with "Newsnight" on BBC television. And calling a foreign politician names gets you on it.
For a longer explanation, this is the English original of my op-ed (in Flemish here).
IF ALL Herman Van Rompuy’s political opponents in Brussels were as harmless as Nigel Farage, a British Eurosceptic member of the European Parliament, the new President of the European Council would have few worries.
A clever enemy of European integration might have found valuable ammunition in Mr Van Rompuy’s first presidential address to the European Parliament. Despite his mild appearance and quiet delivery, Mr Van Rompuy has big ambitions for the European Council, and he scattered clues throughout his speech. The former Belgian prime minister hinted, not for the first time, that he would like to see as many as ten European leaders’ summits a year, and made clear he wants the European Council to make “full use” of the powers in the Lisbon Treaty to move towards much closer economic co-ordination between EU member states. He confirmed that he believes he should attend G20 meetings alongside the President of the European Commission, and made clear he wants a role alongside the new High Representative in representing Europe to the outside world.
Much of what Mr Van Rompuy has in mind should be anathema to Mr Farage. He is from the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), whose vow to pull Britain out of the EU secured it 13 seats at the 2009 Euro-elections (just ahead of Labour, though some considerable way behind the Conservatives, on a feeble 35% turnout). Mr Farage did offer some political commentary, telling Mr Van Rompuy: "You appear to have a loathing of the very concept of the existence of nation states. Perhaps that's because you come from Belgium, which of course is pretty much a non-country."
But in truth, Mr Farage had other ambitions for his parliamentary intervention: namely, to say something that would generate headlines.
So he did. The promise was of a Council president who would be a “giant global figure" worthy of a salary higher than President Barack Obama, said Mr Farage, adding: "But I'm afraid all we got was you." Then came his big sound-bite: “Really, you have the charisma of a damp rag, and the appearance of a low-grade bank clerk. And the question that I want to ask, that we are all going to ask, is: who are you?”
Readers of De Standaard must now be asking a question of their own: who is Nigel Farage (and why is he so rude)?
Mr Farage is a fairly successful populist politician, who would like to become a really successful populist politician. He is not a far-right extremist, though he flirts with tough rhetoric on immigration, Islam and crime. He is a libertarian rather than a social conservative, a trouble-maker and a risk-taker (before politics, he worked as a commodities trader, bawling out bids at the London Metals Exchange). To risk a Flemish comparison, he is more Jean-Marie Dedecker than Filip Dewinter.
In Britain, members of the European Parliament can serve years in Brussels and Strasbourg without once appearing on television. Mr Farage does better than that: as a former UKIP leader and reliable provider of tough quotes, he makes it on to political talk shows every now and then. Along with a clutch of other ambitious British MEPs, he has discovered the power of YouTube, the internet site which can send an especially outrageous soundbite around the world, as a parliamentary appearance goes “viral”.
But Mr Farage has a purely domestic focus just now. He is running for the House of Commons, in the normally rock-solid Conservative seat of Buckingham, a prosperous commuter town near London. He has run for the Westminster parliament five times before, and never achieved more than 8% of the vote. This time, he might just have a chance of winning.
Mr Farage is standing as a rebel challenger to the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, who was Conservative MP for Buckingham, but by convention gave up his party affiliation to become Speaker. By the same convention, when Speakers stand for re-election to parliament, the other big parties do not field candidates against them. Mr Farage has broken that convention, arguing that Mr Bercow is not a true Conservative. It is true that Mr Bercow has few friends on his own side, after drifting from the right of his party to a position not far from the Labour Party.
In short, the attack on Mr Van Rompuy may have a simple explanation. The idea was surely to secure press headlines and YouTube viewings to impress voters in Buckingham.
Strict sticklers for logic might ask Mr Farage why he is so fascinated with running for the Westminster parliament. After all, UKIP argues that “72% of new laws affecting UK citizens come from Brussels.” Unless Mr Farage assumes his party is magically going to enter the British government, he is surely condemning himself to a life of tedium on the green benches of the House of Commons, tinkering with the 28% of laws that do not come from Brussels.
If Mr Farage does make it to Westminster, he will certainly have to brush up his powers of abuse. Calling someone a “bank clerk” will barely impress MPs, a band who take their insults seriously. Norman Tebbit, a cabinet minister under Margaret Thatcher, has said his career was launched when a Labour leader called him a “semi-house-trained polecat.” Years later, when he was ennobled and sent to the House of Lords, he paid homage by including a polecat on his coat of arms.
A “damp rag” on a coat of arms would not look nearly so clever.
To view the original: LINK
But Nigel has no intention of sitting on the back benches! He wants to get his backside on that red leather. Getting elected as an MP is just a means to an end.
With thanks to John Page.
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