First day on the job: MEPs dubbed as ’embarrassing’ Brits abroad

“This is petty, small-minded little England at its worst."

The European Parliament opened for business on Tuesday following elections and British MEPs have been accused of being “embarrassing” Brits abroad as cross-party protests took place. 

29 MEPs from the Brexit party, including Nigel Farage, faced the most backlash as they at first refused to stand for the parliament’s opening ceremony anthem, Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, and then turned their backs to the parliament when they were asked to stand out of respect. 

Farage claimed that the move was “cheerfully defiant” and carried out to make their “presence felt”.

However, European parliament president, Antonio Tajani deemed the action disrespectful 

“[It] is a question of respect; it doesn’t mean that you necessarily share the views of the European Union. If you listen to the anthem of another country you rise to your feet,” Tajani said. 

On Twitter, Labour MP David Lammy said that the MEPs were doing “their best to isolate the UK from the world.

“This is petty, small-minded little England at its worst. These plonkers do a proud and open nation a disservice. Shame on them,” he added. 

Meanwhile, Liberal Democrat MEPs donned sunshine yellow t-shirts with the slogans “stop Brexit” and “b******s to Brexit”. 

Lib Dem MEP Chris Davies denied accusations that the slogan was “unparliamentary”.

“It’s amazing how well b******s to Brexit translates into 24 different languages,” he said. 

Both stunts were described as “crass” by political commentator Kevin Maguire, who added that the protests painted Britain to look like “a country of rude morons”. 

Despite the “embarrassing” protests, many MEPs have been getting to work straight away and are taking to Twitter to shine some light on what MEPs actually do, and what they hope to achieve in the next four months before Brexit potentially happens. 

Alexandra Phillips, an MEP for the Green Party said in a video on Twitter that she’s diving headfirst into work. 

“I don’t know whether I’m going to be an MEP for four months or for five years,” she said. “So I’m hitting the ground running with a Green New Deal that would create a huge amount of jobs for people in the southeast, it would lower their fuel bills and crucially it would contribute to tackling the climate crisis.” 

Labour MEP Julie Ward added that she’s focusing on culture and education, women’s, children, and LGBTQI+ equality and rights. 

“Over the next five years, I am here working for you and working towards a fairer more prosperous, equal and safer Europe,” Ward said.

Meka Beresford is a freelance journalist. Follow her on Twitter.

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13 Responses to “First day on the job: MEPs dubbed as ’embarrassing’ Brits abroad”

  1. Patrick Newman

    According to Paul Mason the German Nazi Party made a similar demonstration in the Reichstag in the Thirties. Not a country but an EU contingent of crass morons. It is not the fault of the EU that UK people voted to leave. Imagine what it would be like if the Brexit Party got a foothold in the House of Commons – especially the balance of power – parliamentary business would be all but impossible. A coalition with the Tories? – Ann Widdecombe as Justice Secretary sentence first verdict later – I like it that way. Nigel Farage as Secretary for Health!!

  2. Tom Sacold

    Our Labour MEPs should have done the same. Not stand up for the anthem of the neo-liberal capitalist superstate.

  3. steve

    Is the EU worthy of respect?

    Just reflect on what the EU did to the Greek people.

    As Yanis Varoufakis put it:

    “Having put Greece into a permanent coma, EU-IMF declared it “stability”. They pushed our people off a cliff & celebrated their bounce off the hard rock of a great depression as proof of “recovery”. To quote Tacitus, they made a desert and called it peace.”

  4. Julia Gibb

    The U.K. Is not a country. It is a Union very like the EU.
    The flag signifies aggression and occupancy by force, suppression of identity by force. The National Anthem is recognised by few in Scotland. The objection to the EU anthem and flag proves the hypocrisy of the BritNat mindset.

    The other key point – this is the people that the left of the Labour Party are aligning with.

  5. Rod

    Julia Gibb – ggod points. Unlike the UK, the EU is a voluntary union of states. It isn’t a neo-liberal superstate. As for your other key point – the part of the left of the Labour Party you mention is deeply reactionary and almost as BritNat as the Farigists.

  6. Chris Kitcher

    Sadly these Brexit yobs are demonstrating the lowest common denominator in the UK today. Whatever do other sensible countries think of the UK and who will want to deal with us should we ever, God forbid, leave the EU?

  7. Tom Sacold

    Why would any socialist Labour supporter want to stay part of a neo-liberal, market-driven, undemocratic organisation. It was created by the Maastricht and Lisbon Treaties to be driven by multinational corporations in the interests of profit and the bosses – NOT the workers.

    Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal and France have all had workers rights reduced in the last five years as a direct result of EU ‘stabilisation’ policy. Just what the multinational corporations ordered.

  8. Patrick Newman

    Tom Sacold – is that really the nom de plume of Mr Farage.

  9. wg

    To see the Labour Party lining up alongside corporates, bankers, and international currency speculators is a sad thing – this is not the Labour Party that I grew up with.

    The latest shenanigans with the appointments to the top EU jobs should be a wake-up call – but it won’t: the religious EU church zealots of the United States of Europe order have hijacked what was once a party that represented the working UK people.

  10. steve

    Julia Gibb: ” this is the people that the left of the Labour Party are aligning with.”

    Opposition to the neoliberal EU does not imply support for or alignment with Thatcher-lovers like Farage/Brexit Party/UKIP.

    The Brexit-Remain option is presented as the most important choice of the moment. But that option avoids the most urgent choice: pro-neoliberal or anti-neoliberal. Brexiters within the Tory Party and Brexit Party support neoliberalism, as does the EU.

    What is needed is a viable alternative to neoliberalism and the climate chaos that accompanies it.

  11. Lawman

    I voted Leave (but not for a no deal hard Leave), and consider the EU a flawed institution.

    However, you do not advance your cause by showing confrontational disrespect, or wearing T Shirts referring to testicles (I do not see the relevance).

    The serious point is made by Patrick: whether in the EU or out, how do we work against the forceful new-liberalism of the last 30 years and – very different – the evil far right?

  12. Misha Carder

    Left Foot Forward Fri 5/07/2019
    Lawman July 3, 2019 (2 days ago)
    ‘I voted Leave (but not for a no deal hard Leave), and consider the EU a flawed institution.
    However, you do not advance your cause by showing confrontational disrespect, or wearing T Shirts referring to testicles (I do not see the relevance)’

    I am sure s/he is not alone in this confusion of the term ‘bollocks’. According to my dictionary bollocks means testicles but is also slang for ‘mess or to make a botch of’ – which accurately described Br -exit as it has been executed by those who lead the Leave campaign (Masterminded by an unelected Australian spin doctor – Lynton Crosby, who used scapegoating the EU for all our problems, including the prolonged austerity and massive cuts-to- the- bone of public services – in order to escape the EU tightening up on off-shore tax evasion. To protect their investments, these ‘patriots’ are prepared to see the breakup of the Union and British industry destroyed -by uncertainty and the prospect of a greatly diminished market. So, however we voted we all have to accept chaos and disaster, rather than the Brexiteers admitting they have painted themselves into a corner. So much for the Conservative Party being the party of business! Actually ‘Bullocks’ would be more accurate -as it described bullies who prey on the weak. Bullshit would have been more readily understood – but Bollocks it is. Ms Ann Widdecombe clearly does not have testicles, but she was certainly talking bollocks in her maiden speech in Brussels; comparing the Brexit Party’s actions to slaves rebelling against their owners. For the re4cord: The EU is elected by proportional representation, whereas the UK has an arcane first past the post system and an unelected Lords The European Council is made up of the Prime Ministers of the 28 European States, whereas the UK Cabinet is appointed by the Prime Minister (of a government about to have their majority reduced to 3) The PM also elects the Head of the Civil Service (380,00 staff, compared to 46,000 staff to run the whole EU of 28 countrie) So Yes, we Remainers we are angry. Three million 18- year olds, denied a vote, EU tax-paying citizens also deliberately dis-enfranchised. ‘Don’t you believe in democracy?’ a frequent Leaver jibe. ‘Yes, when fairly won: without lies, bribes and hateful racial prejudice. We are not a Banana Republic yet – but watch this space’.

  13. just dubbed

    oh your post is really nice

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