EU Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt’s rant that tomorrow’s world order is “based on empires” has been met with mockery on social media, and with accusations that such rhetoric is ironically out of the ‘Brexiteers’ playbook.’ Belgian MEP Verhofstadt, who was a guest speaker at the Liberal Democrats Party conference in Bournemouth on Saturday, told the audience that the world order is no longer about nation states, but about empires, like the European Union. His words received a rapturous response from the pro-EU party delegates.
The world order of tomorrow is not a world order based on nation states or countries. It is a world order that is based on empires.
“The world order of tomorrow is not a world order based on nation states or countries- it's a world order that is based on Empires.”
– Guy Verhofstadt, to his Lib Dem minions, at Lib Dem conference, to *adulation*.
Shocking rhetoric. The rhetoric of a madman. pic.twitter.com/0UbLTCNDNt
— Tim Dawson (@Tim_R_Dawson) September 15, 2019 Verhofstadt claims that countries like China, India and the US have more characteristics of empires than nation states, because of the size of their populations and their influence on the world, and because of this, the EU has to respond.
However, the MEP’s remarks have been met with amusement and bemusement in equal measure, and with accusations that his rhetoric is that of “a madman.”
Brexiteers on Twitter have been quick to highlight the irony of Verhofstadt’s sentiments. They are astounded that the case for an EU empire has been warmly received by Remain supporters, who have consistently ridiculed Brexiteers for “harking back to Empire days.”
Remainers: “Brexiteers are just harking back to Empire days.”
Guy Verhofstadt: “We must build an EU Empire!”
— Thomas Evans (Liberal Brexiteer) ✝️✡️☪️☮️🕉️☸️ (@ThomasEvansSDP) September 15, 2019 Others suggested the cheers for Verhofstadt were like a party political broadcast for ‘Vote Leave’ — the official campaigning organisation that helped win the 2016 EU referendum for Brexiteers.
The Lib Dems cheering Verhofstadt calling for a European Empire is like a party political broadcast for Vote Leave. https://t.co/PdwDp0Y3l8
— Iain Martin (@iainmartin1) September 15, 2019 Verhofstadt’s comments came as the Liberal Democrats officially decided their new Brexit policy at their conference. They stated that they would revoke article 50 and cancel Brexit altogether, if they won a majority at the next general election.
It’s a bold, if slightly risky position to take, which may embolden their core base of strong Remainers, but could disenfranchise other potential voters including ‘soft’ Leavers who may think such a move would be anti-democratic.
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