Unearthed Video: Corbyn Slams ‘European Empire’, Referendum Re-runs

jeremy Corbyn
Rob Stothard/Getty Images
JACK MONTGOMERY

Footage has emerged of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn slamming the “empire” of the European Union and its habit of re-running public referendums until it gets its way.

The recording unearthed by The Red Roar, a hard-left blog, shows Corbyn encouraging “No” campaigners at a peace conference ahead of Ireland’s second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty in 2009.

“If you succeed in getting a ‘No’ vote here, that will be such a boost to people like us, all over Europe, that do not want to live in a European empire of the 21st century,” Corbyn implored Irish eurosceptics as they campaigned, ultimately without success, to defeat Lisbon a second time.

The Lisbon Treaty was, according to its proponents, including Germany’s Angela Merkel, a repackaged version of the European Constitution, which had previously been rejected by voters in the Netherlands and France.

Ireland was the only EU member-state granted an opportunity for a popular referendum on Lisbon, due to the national constitution requiring transfers of sovereignty to be authorised by a public vote, and they rejected in 2008 — but, as when the Irish rejected the Nice treaty in 2001, they were required to vote again the next year.

The Labour leader added that he was “pleased you’re having a referendum, I wish we were having a referendum in Britain.”

“I obviously hope and believe that the Irish people will vote ‘No’ in October, but don’t scrap your posters, don’t recycle them,” he added wryly.

“Because you’re going to need them for a third referendum… I’ve just got a feeling they’re going to keep on [having referendums] until they get the answer they want,” he said.

He also suggested that, once the Lisbon Treaty was implemented, the EU’s member-states would become “subservient” to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).

“We are creating for ourselves here one massive, great Frankenstein which will damage all of us in the long run… this military machine, this military Frankenstein,” Corbyn warned.

Corbyn’s vision of a militarised EU appears closer than ever as the EU’s leadership, with strong support from Germany and France, looks to create a “European army” through centrally-managed, supranational defence structures — although the prospect of its being subservient to NATO looks increasingly remote, as the bloc seeks to supplant rather than support the American-led alliance.

Jeremy Corbyn campaigned for a Remain vote during the 2016 referendum on Britain’s referendum on EU membership in 2016, and his official position on the current state of Brexit is that a second referendum is on the table.

However, the Labour establishment have often accused him of promoting the EU only reluctantly, and even sabotaging their efforts from within, given he came into the party leadership as a lifelong Brexiteer — a fact underlined not just by the newly-unearthed footage or him encouraging anti-Lisbon campaigners in Ireland, but the fact that he personally voted against the Lisbon Treaty and the Maastricht Treaty in the British Parliament, and campaigned to leave the EU — then known as the EEC — in the 1970s.

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