The word they dare not speak in the corridors of Strasbourg…

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UKIP Leader Nigel Farage heralded the rise of Euroscepticism across the EU member states this week in Strasbourg, telling the Parliament its rise was normal, sensible, assertion of identity.

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He told the chamber: “There is only one real debate going on here this week in Strasbourg, it is the fear stalking the corridors. The concern you’ve got about the rise of Euroscepticism.

Years ago, you were less worried, the few of us here who were eurosceptic were treated as being mentally ill and sort of patted on the head.

But now we are ‘evil’, ‘populists’, we are ‘dangerous’; we are going to bring down Western civilisation. And it is clear, you don’t get it. You don’t understand why this is happening – well let me help you.

In 2005, it was the pivotal moment of this project, the French and the Dutch had said No to the EU Constitution. Mr Barroso stood up and said they didn’t really vote no, they didn’t understand what they’d be

They did! You see ever since 2005, the real European debate is about identity. What we are saying, large numbers of us from every single EU member state is: we don’t want that flag, we don’t want the anthem that you all stood so ram-rod straight for yesterday, we don’t want EU passports, we don’t want political union.

And if you think about it, there is nothing extreme about that position, there is nothing right wing about that position, there is nothing left wing indeed about that position. It is a normal sensible assertion of identity. Because what we are saying on our side of the argument… [shouting from MEPS] Well you see you can scream and shout all you like, which really rather proves to me why you are going to do so badly in the European elections next year. Because you are not listening.

We want to live and work and breathe in a Europe of nation state democracy. We want to trade together, we want to cooperate together. We are happy to agree sensible common minimum standards, and yes we want to control our own borders which is the rational logical and sensible thing for any nation state to do. We are not against immigration, we are not against immigrants, we believe there needs to be a degree of control.

And that is the message that is picking up support right across this continent and I genuinely think that there is an opportunity for an electoral earthquake to happen in the European elections next year with a large number of people from all sides of this House who will come with a nation state agenda. Who will come saying, let’s have a Europe, as De Gaulle might have said, of the patrie. Let’s not have a Europe of political union. And you can abuse us all you like, but what we stand for is fair, principled and democratic.

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