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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

“Federast” in Parliament

OK, so I Googled for federast too. And yes, we are the first result and we rock. Whatever.

But unlike this commenter, I looked beyond the second result and look what I found. A record of Parliamentary debates dated 20 Apr 1999 (column 687) that shows that “federast” was not used by David or Perry for the first time (sorry guys, but this is worth it).

I have reproduced most of the debate as I think it is interesting to see what discussions our ‘representatives’ were having in 1999 about the EU:

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Ms Joyce Quin): The Government are in favour of a European Commission that is efficient, transparent and accountable. The independent experts’ report revealed a catalogue of deficiencies in the Commission’s internal structures and practices, but the resignation of the Commission gives us an opportunity to ensure that, in future, the Commission carries out its functions more effectively and makes much better use of taxpayers’ money. The Berlin European Council took a decisive step towards that by agreeing the nomination of the new Commission President.

Mr. Blizzard: Does my right hon. Friend share my view that the only sensible words ever uttered by the noble Baroness Thatcher were that “advisers advise, Ministers decide”? That is the principle that underlies the civil service in this country; should it not also be true of the European Commission? Will the people of this country not accept more readily the institutions of the EU if they are confident that decisions are taken by democratically elected Ministers, rather than by unelected bureaucrats? Will my right hon. Friend use this opportunity to press for reform of the European Commission that brings about that state of affairs?

Ms Quin: The Government have tabled a number of proposals for reforms. It should be emphasised that, in European decision making, the elected Council of Ministers has the final say and is responsible for making final decisions; that is a system of which we approve. As for the accountability of the European Commission, a great deal can be done to improve matters in terms of its relations with both the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers, and we have made proposals in that respect.

Mr. Bercow (Buckingham): In backing for the presidency of the European Commission Mr. Prodi, who says that economic and monetary union and political union are two sides of the same coin, why can the right hon. Lady not admit in Britain what is widely acknowledged on the continent–that Mr. Prodi is a committed “federast”, who is determined to create a single defence policy, a single economic policy, a single foreign policy, a single immigration policy, a single social policy, a single constitution, a single Government and a single state called Europe?

Ms Quin: First, I remind the hon. Gentleman that the appointment of Mr. Prodi at the Berlin Council was linked firmly with Commission reform, and that is why he received the support of all member Governments. Secondly, the hon. Gentleman obviously has a short memory. I am not sure whether he was in the House when Romano Prodi’s predecessor was appointed, but I remember the press coverage at the time about the fiercely federalist Jacques Santer, who was the Conservative Government’s appointee.

Mr. Bill Rammell (Harlow): Does the Minister agree that, in taking forward the essential reform process, we must establish a mechanism whereby individual acts of proven misconduct against individual Commissioners can result in their disciplining or dismissal? We should not always have to take the nuclear option of forcing the entire European Commission to resign.

Ms Quin: My hon. Friend makes a very important point. We must not only move ahead in appointing a new Commission, but consider the terms and conditions that govern such appointments in order to address some of the issues to which my hon. Friend referred.

Mr. Michael Howard (Folkestone and Hythe): Mr. Prodi has declared his intention to use his presidency to create a single economy and a single political unity; yet the Foreign Secretary said recently that the Maastricht treaty was a high water mark of integrationism. How can those positions be reconciled?

Perhaps, we should warn Mr John Bercow, MP about the company he keeps…

18 comments to “Federast” in Parliament

  • Aaarghhh…the ghastly Bercow! That is almost enough to make me want to renounce the term (but not quite enough).

  • I know, I know David, just calm down.

    I have known Bercow since, oooh, must be 1992. I shall not say anything on this site for fear of unfriendly lawyers coming our way but suffice to say that he cannot be described as a radical, revolutionary or subversive by any stretch of imagination. ’nuff said.

    Take some pain killers and spend some time in a quiet dark room, David. It’ll pass.

  • Woe is me! I found even an earlier reference to federast in Parliament dating back to May 1996! Scroll down for Mr. Patrick Nicholls (Teignbridge).

    Our standards are slipping!

  • mad dog barker

    Federasts under the bed scare on Samizdata!

    Apparently it is true – we are in the company of a “poacher turned game keeper”. It has been reported that a well placed member of the Samizdata team has (alledgedly) been performing services for the EU. Not, perhaps, as bad as Mr Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam but maybe enough to start a “witch hunt”.

    Senator McCarthy is unavailable but I am sure we can find an inquisitor among our ranks….

    … and remember, no one expects the Samizdata Inquisition!

  • Liberty Belle

    David, Take comfort! Without this site, this useful new word would have sunk like a stone. Who reads Parliamentary debates – especially involving government ministers one’s never heard of uttering streams of meaningless NewLabspeak? It took Samizdata to introduce this useful and newly minted word to the world at large in a lively context.

  • sick puppy

    Err, Mad Dog

    I pay taxes to the EU via the UK tax thieves. I can assure you it was not voluntary. I hope I don’t get the midnight knock from the “Samizdata Inquisition”.

    Anyway, didn’t they use “comfy chairs” to extract the confessions. Not sure that method will be of much use on poachers or gamekeepers!

    Anyway, my observation is that most “federasts” are too fat to fit under the bed and there are no beds at Samizdata HQ anyway. So that puts paid to your theory.

  • S. Weasel

    We gotta try to attract a better class of troll.

  • mad dog barker

    Yes, you just can’t get good trolls these days, at any money. Apparently they all work for the EU now! :0)

    Since starting work at the EU, trolls are also now a classless product, to conform with EU harmonisation laws. So apparently there is only one class of troll.

    And you still can’t get a good one of those. Heads up, here come the comfy chairs!

  • Yes, it is true… I was once an assimilated borg drone of the EU collective, doing the bidding of the European Investment Bank’s subversive work in the British Public Sector, before I broke my subspace link and escaped.

    No wonder I became a wild eyed EU hating radical!

  • ‘Federast’ is nice, though it loses some force because few people now know the word ‘pederast’, preferring instead, rightly or wrongly, ‘paedophile’. Some discreet reintroduction of ‘pederast’ will help ‘federast’ to make more sense.

  • prodigal son

    Welcome back to sanity Perry,

    Your actions are a sure example that intelligence will prevail over traditional mental atitudes! It looks like your work may not have all been in vain. The “public sector” looks to be in trouble again and this time the PFI cavalry are just around the corner. Time for the kill?

    I am sure you will be the first of many who undergo a Pauline conversion on the road to Brussels.

  • mad dog barker

    Don’t be modest Perry. That’s just the story they spin for the public.

    We all know that in reality you were engaged on a daring two year mission to succesfully recover the money the kleptomaniacs had stolen from you in the first place. How you kept you kool, as well as your cover, for so long is a tribute to the fine man you are. If only there were more…

    (can you turn the laser designator off now?)

  • I seem to remember the term “federast” first being used by one Jean Marie le Pen at the time of the French referendum on Maastricht in 1992.

    Maybe we should be careful in the company we keep.

  • Damnit I will sue! 🙂

    I came up with the word in ’92-93 during Masstricht stuff. I am sure Bercow would have heard it from me since he was a regular chez Cash.

    Anyone who knows me, knows I specialise in this sort of twisted dodgy words.

    I am glad the word is being used widely but at least give credit where its due…

  • Andrew

    The French referendum took place while I was working for Bill and you weren’t.


  • Patrick: Maybe we should be careful in the company we keep.

    Not at all. Just as occasionally the transnational socialists are correct (like Blair on Iraq), so too the national socialists are occasionally correct (even Le Pen). Even a stopped clock is correct twice a day.

    We must not fall into the tribal trap of so many Tory/Labour/Republican/Democrat commentators… how many conservatives have you seen opposing policies under Blair that they would support in a heartbeat under a statist Tory government? Many Democrats cheered Clinton doing exactly the same things they now excoriate Bush for doing, and visa versa.

    Just because Le Pen says something juicy, that does not make the idea any less juicy and if it causes our enemies to attack us as Le Pen style racists, that is actually excellent news as it exposes them to all manner of ridicule from us and presents us with a great segue into shouting out what we really think and stand for.

  • Guy Herbert

    Wish I were as sanguine as Prodigal Son. I don’t think there’s any evidence that “intelligence will prevail over traditional mental attitudes”, even in the case of individuals. Rather the opposite, actually. Fabulous amounts of intelligence have been deployed throughout human history in successful support of the untenable and self-justified irrationality.

    Winning votes (or more complex institutional struggles) has little to do with having the better of the debate. Winning in debate has little to do with having the better rational argument, or the sounder facts on one’s side.

  • I was working for the Bruges Group before that in ’90. We had regular contact with the French anti-EU lot. Of course, it is possible I came up with at the same time as someone else. Alas, the term just fits too well for one person to have thought of it solo…sigh.