Sunday, 7 March 2010

Free speech in the European Parliament

There was a telling contribution by Chris Davies MEP in the latest "Liberal Democrat News", excerpted in his blog. He points out that the freedom of speech which Nigel Farage takes for granted was hard-won in Poland, whence comes the President of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek. The President (the EP equivalent of Westminster's Speaker) had asked Farage to withdraw his insulting words about Herman van Rompuy.
Farage refused.

Buzek, an activist for the Solidarity movement in Poland during the 1980s, said: 

"I attach the highest importance to freedom of speech.  I fought for decades in my own country for such freedom.  However, I do not believe that freedom of speech in the Parliament can extend to insulting other persons, especially guests speaking at our own invitation in the chamber.  The very foundation of parliamentarianism and democracy is that freedom of expression should respect others."

Chris Davies adds:
“When Buzek talks about free speech his words carry more genuine substance than all the rants and ravings of UKIP's former leader.”

No comments: