The best speeches are not originating these days from the Palace of Westminster, the French National Assembly, or the US senate. And they are definitely not features of Question Period in our own House of Commons. Strasbourg has supplanted Rome as the hotbed of oratory, and European Union bureaucrats seem to have replaced Roman generals on the receiving end of well articulated and eloquent verbal assaults. José Manuel Durão Barroso is becoming the Marcus Antonius of our era, and move over Cicero, as here come Daniel Cohn-Bendit and Nigel Farage.
Indeed, the most passionate, most articulate, most irreverent, and therefore most fun speeches are happening nowadays on the floor of the European Parliament. Understanding this phenomenon should make an interesting research project.
Is it because the European Union is the only political entity where bureaucrats have more power than its elected politicians? Is it because the commissioners are often “ostracized have-beens” from their own political systems, hence lacking the support of the leaders in their own countries? Is it because it is easier to go all out against bureaucrats/former politicians from other countries?
In any case, the European parliament is not a place where elected representatives are holding back these days.
Nigel Farage’s recent “You should all be fired” speech in Strasbourg has gone viral, surpassing 272,000 views in 48 hours on one Youtube account alone. It is really remarkable both in content and in delivery. Do not miss it!
Daniel Cohn-Bendit‘s sensational “Ta gueule” speech (in French) had also gone viral one year earlier. It is not a coincidence that both are about the European economic crisis.
Whether one appreciates good old-fashioned oratory or not, the urge for watching a free-for-all bash against unaccountable bureaucrats is simply irresistible.