Published on June 26th, 2016 | by Padraic Coffey

Christopher Hitchens was pro-EU and strongly disliked ‘Eurosceptics’

The late author and journalist Christopher Hitchens had few kind words to say about the so-called ‘Eurosceptic’ movement back in 1999, the same year UKIP won three seats – for Michael Holmes, Jeffrey Titford and Nigel Farage – in the European Parliament.

Speaking at the launch of his brother Peter Hitchens’ book, The Abolition of Britain at Conway Hall in London , Christopher Hitchens referred to the so-called ‘Eurosceptic’ movement as “the British version of fascism”.

“To me, the political question is the crucial one about Europe. The centripetal-centrifugal balance allowed Greece, Portugal and Spain in my lifetime to, with confidence, get rid of their dictatorships knowing, as all intelligent citizens in those countries did, they would never be allowed into the European family if they retained their dictatorial and despotic mode of government. The rules of the community forbid the admission of dictatorships, or any but parliamentary democracies.

It is also this that prevents Hungary and Romania from contesting Transylvania now both of them want to be members of the European Union. They will not be allowed to import a tribal quarrel into the European union. They’re on good behaviour for that reason. There is even a possibility that the filthy consequence of British policy in Cyprus can be undone by careful European handling of Greek-Turkish relations.

And what does the right wing say? We don’t want to do business with foreigners. We don’t want them interfering in our internal affairs. We reserve the right to say to the extraordinarily sober and disciplined and decent and conscientious political class in Germany – we don’t know how lucky we are to be dealing with such people – we reserve the right to daily visit upon them the crudest and most vulgar and hateful insults. And we reserve the right, as Mrs. Thatcher did the other day, to reward their patience and Europeanism – a country that openly says ‘we want a Europeanised German, not a Germanised European. We want to enlarge Europe, so to speak, to restrain ourselves. To contain ourselves and our history.’ – to speak of them in the most spiteful, and nauseating tones, and to say that only English speaking countries have played a civilised role in Europe in this century. Where does this arrogance come from? How is this demagoguery permitted?

This is the British version of fascism…

It was a shame to see you dans cette galère, and that if you find that kind of talk repellent, you have a whole column in which to address your conservative allies in what’s ridiculously called the ‘Eurosceptics’ movement. Scepticism is a title of honour! These people are not sceptical. They’re fanatical. They’re dogmatic.”


About the Author

Padraic Coffey is a freelance writer and film critic who currently lives in Vancouver, Canada. He has written for the Sunday Independent, Ireland's largest circulation newspaper, and Trinity College, Dublin, ranked in the top 100 best universities in the world by the QS World University Rankings in 2014. Additionally, his film criticism has appeared on Volta - Ireland's first VOD website - as well as sites such as Taste of Cinema, Film Jam and Head Stuff.

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