OUR Parliament, Fergus,’ said the Pole, ‘is the veritable cathedral of European Harmony and Reason, the embodiment of truth and goodness. Nothing else can compare.’
The two Members of the European Parliament strolled into the Strasbourg building. Its splendour never ceased to impress them. Both of them raised their eyes to the ceiling in wonder. ‘In my opinion, Fergus,’ said Grzegorz to his Irish colleague from the European People’s Party, ‘our Parliament outshines all the world’s churches for magnificence; and quite right too!’
Fergus laughed. ‘Yes, Greg, and I’m sure that, over time, Europhilia will replace Christianity as the people’s faith too, following today’s proceedings! Nobody will dare to challenge us again. We will be supreme, for ever.’
The two men turned to more immediate matters. ‘Moves to establish a coordinated European Army under the command of a general appointed by the Commission are progressing well, I understand,’ said Fergus.
‘Yes,’ replied Greg in a confidential tone, ‘the UK and France continue to resist; but I don’t think it will last. Both of those Regions claim to have a “glorious history” when it comes to armed conflict; of Britain, this is doubtless true, but of France it is doubtless untrue; and when challenged on this, the French President threw a hissy fit. I was there when he did. It was very funny.
‘Even funnier was to watch the Brits demand a right of “independent action” to defend the Falklands from Argentina, or to defend Gibraltar from Spain. We said No, knowing that the Brits have no bullets left following their vote to Remain in their referendum. We expect them to cave. In the end, the Brits always do. Pathetic.’
Fergus laughed again. ‘Indeed! Their national submission to Our Magnificent Union has gone down well in Ireland. Many Irish love nothing better than to see Britain humiliated. Long may it continue!’
‘And,’ said Greg, ‘a European Army will be our final guarantee of stability, a complete solution to the risk of Regions trying to split off. I dream of the day Romanian soldiers keep the peace on the streets of Paris! And Swedish police maintain order in Warsaw!’
He warmed to his theme, eyes gleaming, arms waving. ‘Maybe a regiment of former Somali refugees, armed with water cannon, batons and teargas, to be the anti-riot police in London? I long to see them suppressing nationalist demonstrators. Such diversity! Such mixing! Such true European togetherness and citizenship! The final victory of our multicultural project!’
Highly pleased, the two MEPs strolled into the European Parliament together.
Meanwhile, a tour guide was showing a group of Japanese tourists around. None could be in any doubt about their guide’s enthusiasm for the building, and for the Parliament for which it was home one week in four.
‘This is the largest multinational parliament in the world,’ she gushed, ‘and second only to India’s, among all parliaments; it’s got 751 members, all directly elected by more than 350million voters from 28 countries. The next election is due in 2024, so not long to go.’
‘Why two buildings?’ asked a tourist. ‘Why meet in Brussels and Strasbourg? Bit expensive, isn’t it? And disruptive?’
The guide scowled. ‘It is a testament to the Glorious Principle itself that our Parliament meets in two countries, France and Belgium; cost is no object when it comes to furthering the aim of Ever Closer Union.’
‘Ever Closer Union? Is that what you mean by the Glorious Principle? But that’s the aim from which that English prime minister got an exemption, wasn’t it? You know, for the UK, so they voted to Remain in their referendum. So not everyone agrees with that principle. Calling it “glorious” seems a bit strange.’
‘The Parliament,’ the guide snarled, ‘is the supreme body of all Europe. It has complete power which supersedes all the national bodies. That’s clear from the Lisbon Treaty. The Glorious Principle is at the heart of everything the Parliament does.
‘Besides, no one gives a hoot about the UK Agreement. Today’s proceedings will confirm that.’
She raised her voice so that all the Japanese guests could hear. ‘Today, my friends, is an auspicious day for you to have come. Key decisions will be finalised that will entrench permanently the Supremacy of the European Parliament over all legislatures and governments of the member states, and of the European Commission and Court of Justice over all national civil services and courts.
‘Today we will confirm our historic mission to unify the People of Europe as One Nation, ending the divisiveness and enmity which has marked our history. From the Urals to the Atlantic, from Lapland to Malta, we shall be Bound Together. For ever.’
The gaggle of tourists followed their guide into the Visitors’ Gallery. They passed one of the Members heading to take his seat. It was no ordinary MEP: this was Antoine Dubois, head of the European People’s Party, the largest political grouping within the Parliament, Greg and Fergus’s big boss. For him, the day was momentous indeed; a day that would be remembered with joy unconfined by all True Believers in European Union, and would cause wailing and gnashing of teeth among the Unbelievers.
The inner cabal of the EU elite – known to the cognoscenti as The Committee for the Creation of a Single World Government – would meet soon after this plenary session. They would toast the outcome of proceedings with fine wines and canapés. Eternal happiness would surely reign amongst all those who live under the benign rule of this Most Glorious Union; and for those failing to share such happiness, the Committee had its plans . . .
The atmosphere was tense as the President of the Parliament stood, looking over a packed Chamber. Every MEP was there. Without exception.
Everyone knew what was coming. Nevertheless, it must have startled them when the President, speaking in French, declared: ‘Normal procedures are suspended. I call for a supporting vote by Members on this.’
Every single Europhile MEP of Left and Right, from whatever country, stood and cheered. Euro-sceptics tried to resist the declaration but they were shouted down.
The President continued: ‘Noted. Members have assented to the suspension. I ask the President of the Commission to assent.’ The head of the European Commission nodded. ‘Accordingly I will shortly put to the vote Resolution 1. I will first read Resolution 1.’
He stretched his back and neck and seemed to add inches in height. He knew that all Europe would be watching via internet and television channels dedicated to the work of the Union.
‘This Parliament notes that it is the supreme legislative body for all of the European Union; that the European Union is the single unitary country which this Parliament represents; and that all other legislatures of the Regions of the Union (formerly theoretically independent states) are subordinate to this Parliament. This Parliament so resolves.’
Every Euro-obedient MEP, from the European People’s Party, the Socialists, Liberals and Greens, as well as assorted Leftists, rose and cheered. The ‘Conservatives and Reformists Group’ sat glumly, silently, its British Tory MEPs humiliated, its Polish MEPs of the nationalist Law & Justice party clenching their fists. The Eurosceptics were shouted down again.
‘The Resolution is carried!’ roared the President, the cheering re-doubling. ‘We now move to Resolution 2!
‘The Parliament resolves to require an Oath of Complete and Total Allegiance to the European Union from every Member, it being inconsistent with membership of this Parliament for any person to espouse policies inconsistent with the Glorious Principle of Ever Closer Union. The text of the Oath is as follows: I swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the European Union, noting that any allegiance to any Region of the Union is wholly subordinate to this Oath.’
The Euro-obedient groups cheered again, while the Euro-sceptic groups began singing the national anthems of their home countries (or ‘Regions’, as the President called them).
The British Conservatives shrank into their seats, hoping that things could not get worse. But they did.
The President declared Resolution 2 passed; he then moved on to the third and final Resolution.
‘This Parliament notes the Agreement reached by all 28 heads of government on February 19, 2016, purportedly granting special status to one particular Region, namely that Region historically named the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. This Parliament notes that this Agreement is without effect unless a treaty implementing this Agreement is passed, and unless this Parliament approves the Agreement; and so this Parliament resolves to dis-approve of this Agreement, on the grounds that it is wholly inconsistent with Resolution 1 passed today for any Region to be permitted to have a status inconsistent with the Glorious Principle of Ever Closer Union.’
If it had been possible for the roof of the magnificent building to be raised, the cheering and delight that greeted this third Resolution would have done it. French and German Europhile MEPs jeered at the British Conservatives.
One of the most Europhile of the British Socialists rushed over to the Conservative group. He had been drinking a lot of premium quality Belgian beer. He had become addicted to it since his 2014 election to the Parliament, abandoning the weaker English bitter he had habitually drunk in his home town, a former coalmining stronghold now notable only for its food banks, betting shops and temporary jobs on zero-hours contracts.
‘You’re so screwed! We’ve won! You’ve lost!’ he yelled, his face red, his suit crumpled, his breath smelling of alcohol and stale cigarette smoke. He turned round and began to unzip his trousers, evidently intending to display his buttocks for the edification of the Tories. He was dragged off by a chuckling colleague before he could complete the process.
The youngest member of the British Euro-sceptic group ran over. He too had been drinking and his message to the British Conservatives was in similar tone, although its meaning was quite different.
‘You scum! You’ve turned over the whole nation! Damn you!’
At this point, ninety officers of the newly appointed Euro-Gendarmerie entered the building to the strains of ‘Ode to Joy’, the Euro-anthem, sung loudly by Euro-obedient MEPs. The gendarmes were dressed superbly, in a manner that would have befitted Napoleon Bonaparte’s personal bodyguard. With the powers of arrest now available to them, they marched forward and seized certain known dissidents, MEPs who had historically caused trouble.
‘You, citizen, are under arrest for insulting revered members of the European Commission!’ declared a Turkish officer from the Gendarmerie to the most senior British Euro-sceptic present. He dragged the duly elected Member of the Parliament for the Sub-Region of Surrey towards the exit.
He was not the only one. The Gendarmerie took other MEPs out by the collar, and some were handcuffed. Others were threatened with Tasers to persuade them to come along quietly.
‘What crime have I committed?’ shouted a Hungarian. ‘Do you know who I am?’ screamed a Frenchwoman who had stood for her country’s presidency unsuccessfully. Both were told that their offences were ‘Sedition and Regionalism’. The arresting officer explained that ‘Regionalism’ referred to the offence of publicly asserting that a Region of the Union was somehow to be regarded as an Independent Sovereign State.
‘This is self-evidently treason to Our Most Glorious Union. It is also evidence of insanity, as such an assertion is clearly contrary to the factual position.’
He laughed in the Hungarian’s face. ‘So although the offence normally carries a five-year prison term, you can cop a plea of being a nutter, and spend a few months in a secure hospital for the criminally insane.’
The officer waved at the other arrested Members. ‘Lots of you traitors will probably end up in the loony bin. You should be good company for each other, as you learn the errors of your anti-European ways, and get re-educated.’
Some of the other arrested MEPs were accused of the same stock offence. Others were charged with different crimes, ranging from ‘Questioning the Legitimacy of the Supremacy of the European Union’ to ‘Writing Poems Not Totally Respectful of the European President’.
Greg, Fergus and the tour guide watched all this with enthusiasm and cheered along with everyone else. The British Socialist MEP who had taunted the Conservative group saw an opportunity for a bit of self-serving publicity.
He rushed over to the MEP for Surrey who was being removed by the Turkish gendarme and screamed: ‘You monster, spewed up from hell. The thought of your punishment intoxicates me with joy!’
Even though he was shouting in French, the (soon to be former) MEP from Surrey understood the words, and knew they were originally yelled at Maximilien Robespierre in Paris on July 28, 1794, as he was taken by tumbrel to the guillotine.
The Socialist noted that the TV camera had captured his moment in the limelight, and punched the air with all the delight of a footballer celebrating a goal.
The head of the Parliament called for order, and then made his closing declaration: ‘Let Joy be Unconfined for all the Peoples of Our Glorious Union! Tear down these national flags, burn them. Let there be just One Flag, to which all shall pay respect!’
Curtains parted to reveal a huge steel cauldron painted blue, with a circle of 28 little gold stars. The national flags of the 28 member states were lowered by gendarmes and placed in it.
‘Look over there,’ said Fergus to Greg, as they smiled and applauded.
Greg saw that another troop of the Euro-Gendarmerie had lined up on both sides of the aisle from the entrance to the Chamber to the central point occupied by the Leadership Group, as the presidents of the Parliament and of the Commission would thereafter be known across the Union, where the Euro-Cauldron had been placed.
At the entrance appeared a man of about forty. He was tall, handsome, clean-shaven, his dark hair beautifully coiffed above his twinkling blue eyes. He was the president of a medium-sized member state whose citizens had steadfastly refused to blame the Union’s policies in any way for the dreadful state of its economy. They preferred to blame such standard totems as big business, tax avoiders, speculators, climate change, cheap Chinese imports and the American president.
The president was dressed in athlete’s kit, a tight-fitting blue lycra one-piece, decorated with the twenty-eight gold stars of the EU Regions. He carried in his right hand a flaming torch.
Waving to the adoring Europhile MEPs, the athlete ran down the corridor of Gendarmes, smiling for the cameras. When he reached the cauldron, he stopped and held his arm aloft.
‘I greet you, honoured citizens of the European Union, on this awesome occasion. We are united in friendship, comrades together. Everybody. Irrespective of language. Irrespective of the history of your Region. Irrespective of any enmity or rivalry that may have existed hitherto. Irrespective of religion. Irrespective of race or colour. And irrespective of whether you were born within the Union’s boundaries or not. For all are equal in our eyes as European Citizens, with full rights to express your chosen gender or sexuality any which way you like. As long as you are loyal to the flag of the Union, nothing else matters!’
He waited for the cheering to die down.
‘On a plaque at the entrance to this building are written the wisest words ever spoken. They are the words of Philip Kerr of the area we now know as the North-West Region formerly called Scotland.’
‘Who was Kerr?’ asked Greg. ‘He was the Marquess of Lothian,’ replied the Irishman. ‘A Scottish nobleman. He tried to persuade Churchill to make peace with Germany in 1940. He failed, but what a hero in the cause of European unity. He would be proud of what we are doing today.’
The athlete was still speaking. ‘Those words of Kerr reverberate today. I will remind you of them: National sovereignty is the root cause of the most crying evils of our times . . . The only final remedy for this evil is the federal union of the peoples’.
A murmur of approval could be heard in every corner of the Chamber.
‘Today marks the moment we finally extinguish the crying evil identified by Kerr, back in 1939. Join me, my friends, in this most joyful act.’
The athlete theatrically lifted the torch a little higher, stretching his lycra-covered arm to its maximum, then lowered it to the cauldron.
The contents burned merrily.
An enormous blue flag was unfurled, bearing the single glorious gold star of the European Union.
‘One star is all that’s needed,’ whispered Fergus to Greg. ‘Yes,’ replied the European Citizen from the Region Formerly Known as Poland. ‘One Star to rule over twenty-eight little Regions!’
‘Ode to Joy’ burst from the sound system, louder than it ever had been heard before. Everyone stood and sang along with gusto. Every right arm was stretched across the chest, fist placed by the left shoulder.
And all across the continent Euro-citizens joined in with both song and salute. Whatever they had been doing, they stopped to do their duty. No, not their duty, their pleasure, their joy. Tears rolled down every cheek as every European citizen’s voice rose to celebrate the birth of the European Union of Perpetual Reason, Peace and Harmony.
They knew. They understood at last. They loved Mother Europe.
At London’s City Airport, a private jet was taxi-ing on the runway. The sole passenger was the British member of the Committee for the Creation of a Single World Government, a very well-known former politician. An ardent Europhile, it was his intervention in the referendum debate, his impassioned argument that the UK could be ‘in Europe, but not absorbed by Europe’, that had swung it for Remain.
He had watched the proceedings in Strasbourg on his iPad. His duty was done to the Europe he loved.
‘Okay,’ he thought, ‘Time to scarper. Panama, that’s the place for me.’
He leaned back in his leather seat, raised a glass of vintage champagne and grinned. ‘Job done, though. Job very well done.’
As the plane ascended, darkness fell over the European Union Region Formerly Known as England.