The Corner

A New European Leader

Internet megastar Daniel Hannan MEP writes for ConservativeHome about the new leader of a recognizably conservative group in the European Parliament, Poland’s Michal Kaminsky:

Every day, he lived with the moral shabbiness, the material squalor, the thousand petty lies of Jaruzelski-era Poland. When Michal was small, his father defected to Canada. They met once, in Michal’s teenage years, in Cuba – the only state to which they could both get visas. Michal’s father urged him to defect, but Michal replied that he wanted one day to sit as a conservative in a free Polish Sejm. A few years later, he did, although his father was sadly no longer alive to see it.

That such a man, having led such a life, should now lead our Group, does more for European unity than any number of federalist declarations. The Europe that Michal and I believe in is one united by the spread of freedom and democracy, by commerce, by the actions of independent citizens. This is a world away from the Europe they want in Brussels, united by rules and regulations, by institutions and bureaucracies, by anthems and flags.

When Michal made his first speech as an MEP, he hymned the praises of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, to the unfeigned horror of the EPP. He is, in short, the closest thing to a British Tory outside the Carlton Club.

Daniel’s explanation of how Mr. Kaminsky came to lead the group is also edifying, and a reminder that there are still some gentlemen left in politics.

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