While Richard has published a full transcript of the interview on EU Referendum, the words alone do not come close to conveying the bombastic and intolerant nature of the man. But even that does not detract from the dose of realism Schultz injected into the confused morass of verbiage that passes for discussion about the fantasy of negotiated reform of the central pillars of the EU itself, or the in-out referendum that could not possibly be delivered with a treaty negotiation almost certainly well in train.
Perhaps this explains why even though the audio of the interview is contained deep within the UK pages of BBC online, it is not written up or commented upon anywhere on the BBC’s News page, Politics page, or even the Europe page. It has to be searched for in the God-awful search engine on the site. It has become the broadcast equivalent of the embarrassing ginger haired stepchild, being kept firmly out of sight, never to be discussed or mentioned again. Which as I say is very curious.
Schultz was refreshingly realistic. From his assertion that governments and heads of states such as David Cameron, Angela Merkel, Francois Hollande and Nickolas Sarkozy, declare themselves to be the government of Europe, yet it is Schultz’s beloved parliament that comes in for media and public criticism; to the satisfying moment where Today’s pisspoor token asian female presenter, Mishal Husain, was slapped down for talking of the UK’s ‘relationship’ with the EU with Schultz saying…
The United Kingdom is a member of the European Union so to speak about relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union sounds as if the United Kingdom would not be a part of the European Union. It is the United Kingdom Government which is a co-legislator in the Council of Ministers. There are 72 members of the United Kingdom as law makers in the European institution, the UK is part of Europe so this description, our relationship with Europe sounds to me strange.
This is a point made repeatedly on this blog, so it’s nice to see it challenged, albeit by a federalist opponent. One point Husain made that was useful was that MEPs are very well-paid parliamentarians and voters in the UK generally have absolutely no idea who their MEP is. Schultz dodged this, choosing instead to compare turnouts here with the higher ones in Germany. But as Political Betting just happened to point out today, we have a nonsense voting system in Euro elections that is designed in the interest of parties and their whipping systems, not voters.
But Schultz did not duck away from the main message he wanted to get across, his vision for the EU after Barroso. It was a clear message for David Cameron, Open Europe, the Fresh Start Group and the likes of the self serving Matthew Elliott, who all seem to think the EU can be brought to heel and made to reform to suit their deluded vision of an EU – where the political is replaced by the economic. Schultz wants:
… to fill the gap between citizens and between member states in the European Union. That some have an enormous profit and others pay. And, because I’m speaking with BBC, the United Kingdom as a full-fledged member of the European Union. That would be my vision, a United Kingdom which is taking part in the development in a common Europe and not speaking about a specific relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom.
No reform agenda in sight. Economic carrots dangled to maintain political power seeping to Brussels. There is a disconnect between what Cameron and his front organisations think they can ask for and get, and what the EU mandarins are prepared to give. At some point, sooner rather than later, reality is going to bite and the UK’s political class is going to realise it is powerless unless it accepts the one option it has always rejected out of hand – leaving the EU. Small wonder the BBC, having chosen to put Schultz on before the bulk of their Today audience tunes in, has chosen to bury this story as deep as they can. It doesn’t fit the establishment narrative.