Alphen, Netherlands. 27 January. One of the beauties of a blog is the ability to react immediately. I have just been watching former Belgian Prime Minister and Euro-fanatic Guy Verhofstadt on a Dutch TV programme called "Buitenhof". It is one of those political talking heads programmes that clog the airwaves of most European countries of a Sunday. The main topic was of course Cameron's big speech on Europe this week. It was strange to see my country being discussed at length with no Brit present who could offer a real insight into the strategic and political implications of the speech but hey ho!
However, most galling was to watch the fanatical Mr Vershofstadt use blatant disinformation to make his case for Britain to stay in the EU and thereafter for a federal Europe that would, he said, come to look like the US. He claimed that British trade with the rest of the EU represented over 53% of GDP. Wrong. It is 48% and declining. He also failed to point out the EUR60bn trading deficit Britain suffers with the rest of the EU. He claimed that all the opinion polls show that the British people are clamouring to stay in the EU. Wrong. A poll for this morning's Sunday Telegraph shows a surge in support for Cameron and most of the polls suggest strong support for a referendum, a big majority in favour of repatriation of powers and a small majority in favour of leaving. He asserted that the whole of British industry is warning Cameron not to push for a referendum. Wrong. Most of British industry and commerce as represented through their respective trade bodies are strongly in favour of a reduction in EU regulations.
Mr Verhofstadt is not simply a fanatic but he represents something very dangerous about the Euro-elite. If the European people, including the British, are going to be subjected to this kind of propaganda the Europe that emerges could be something sinister. It was after all Goebbels who said that if one repeats a big enough lie long enough people will start to believe it.
If you want to make your case for a federal Europe, Mr Verhofstadt, stick to fact not fallacy.