Brendan O’Neill

Jean-Claude Juncker’s staggering hypocrisy

Jean-Claude Juncker's staggering hypocrisy
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Jean-Claude Juncker has got some front. Today, to the glee of Boris-bashers and hardcore Remainers, he has accused Boris of having told lies during the EU referendum campaign.

Is he serious? This is a man who has publicly defended and even advocated lying. This is a man who has insisted that untruths are an essential part of political life. Sometimes ‘you have to lie’, Juncker once said. For him now to accuse Boris of being a liar is an act of staggering hypocrisy and technocratic cant.

As part of his slow-motion vacation of the role of president of the European Commission, Juncker has given an interview to Der Spiegel. In it, he takes some swipes at Boris. ‘So many lies were told’ during the EU referendum campaign, he says, including ‘by current prime minister, Boris Johnson…’

He criticises the Remainer movement, including ‘my friend’ Tony Blair, for lacking ‘a voice’ that might have countered these lies. He hints that he could have been that voice; he could have been an asset to the Remain campaign.

Sweet Lord, where to begin? Sorry, Jean-Claude, but the only thing that could have made the Brexit victory even larger was is if you had been on the Remain side. You’re not popular here, mate. And with good reason. Many Brits — and many of our Eurosceptic cousins on the continent, too — see you as typifying the elitist, technocratic bureaucracy that is the European Union.

As for your bluster about Boris having allegedly lied during the referendum campaign. Okay, Boris might have exaggerated things and engaged in political hyperbole, as all politicians do. But you, Mr Juncker, have openly, shamelessly defended lying as a political tactic. You’re far more of a liar than BJ is.

Let us remind ourselves of some of the things Juncker has said in his career. On the EU’s decision not to tell the media everything about the EU’s imposition of stringent economic measures on Greece, he said:

‘When it becomes serious, you have to lie.’

Deceit is the name of the game in Juncker’s world. He has justified deceiving the people of Europe. During the EU Constitution/ Lisbon Treaty era in the mid-2000s, when pressed on the question of whether the new treaties would involve the further dilution of national sovereignty, Juncker said:

‘Of course there will be transfers of sovereignty. But would I be intelligent to draw the attention of public opinion to this fact?’

In short, let’s not tell the public the whole truth. Let’s keep the political fundamentals hidden away. If only there were a word for this kind of behaviour. Oh yeah, there is: lying.

Slipperiness has long shaped the Juncker approach. When the French were voting on the EU Constitution in the mid-2000s, Juncker said:

‘If it’s a Yes, we will say “On we go”. If it’s a No, we will say “We continue”.’

In short: heads I win, tails you lose.

Juncker has also accepted that he is not very democratic.

‘I am ready to be insulted as being insufficiently undemocratic’, he once said. ‘I am for [having] secret, dark debates’, he continued.

As for national opinion — or democratic opinion, as some of us prefer to call it — Juncker has said:

‘Some of our colleagues in the European Council are listening exclusively to their national opinion. And if you are listening to your national opinion, you are not developing what should be common European sense.’

Shorter version: forget the democratic cries of national electorates — let’s instead have governance by foreign experts. Experts like Jean-Claude Juncker. That will fix everything.

Juncker surely ranks as one of the most dishonest, truth-challenged politicians of the modern era. He celebrates deceit and obfuscation. People like him are the reason we voted to end the UK’s membership of the EU. His insulting of Britain’s PM is only further proof of what a deceitful, hypocritical bureaucrat he is. Good riddance, Juncker — don’t let the door hit you on the way out.