Belfast Telegraph

Nelson McCausland: How bullying EU negotiators let masks slip during filming of fly-on-the-wall documentary

 

A scene from the BBC4 documentary Brexit — Behind Closed Doors
A scene from the BBC4 documentary Brexit — Behind Closed Doors
Nelson McCausland

By Nelson McCausland

Must-see BBC Four film gives you all the reason you need to vote in next Thursday’s election.

Brexit — Behind Closed Doors is the title of an amazing two-part documentary that was shown last week on BBC Four. It’s a pity it was shown on BBC Four and should really have been shown on BBC One, but it is still accessible on BBC iPlayer and on YouTube.

Any Brexiteer whose political passion is flagging should watch it and they will be reminded of why they and 17.4 million other people voted to leave the EU. Every Remainer should watch it, too, and then perhaps they might begin to wonder why they want to remain in such an appalling organisation.

The fly-on-the-wall documentary was the work of Belgian director Lode Desmet and was two years in the making. During that time, he had exclusive access to the European Parliament’s Brexit steering group, which is led by Belgian MEP Guy Verhofstadt and the MEP was the central figure in the documentary.

Of course, if a film-maker is around for two years, the subjects become used to him and their guard drops. They almost forget that he is there and so they speak to one another from the heart, saying what they really think and not trying to play to the camera.

At one point, EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier was seen deep in conversation, before pointing towards the camera and asking, “You’re not filming, are you?” Verhofstadt replied, “Yes, he is, but it’s not a problem.”

Time can also help to build trust and a feeling that the film-maker is “one of us”. Indeed, that may have been helped by the fact that both the central figure and the film-maker were Belgian.

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Whatever the explanation, we get to see the people at the heart of the EU as they really are and it is a thoroughly unpleasant picture of organisation controlled by a brutal and arrogant elite.

The brutal approach of the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, was revealed in a conversation as to how he dictated the sequence of the negotiations with Britain.

Verhofstadt took a telephone call from Barnier and, at the request of the film-maker (but unknown to Barnier), the speaker was on.

“Just between the two of us,” said Barnier, “there is no justification in discussing the future relationship between the EU and UK in combination with their debts. I’ll tell them tomorrow, quite brutally, calmly but clearly, that this is not negotiable.” Later, he added: “Don’t say any of this publicly,” to which Verhofstadt replied, “I won’t.”

When Verhofstadt’s chief-of-staff, Guillaume McLaughlin, heard that Theresa May hadn’t cleared her deal with the DUP, he delivered a foul-mouthed rant and said: “What the f*** is wrong with her? That’s insane. That’s ridiculous, pathetic, pathetic.”

Time and time again, EU officials are filmed telling Theresa May to “f*** off”. Such is their level of contempt for Britain.

Theresa May was no match for the EU negotiators, who were in a totally different league as regards raw aggression. That’s why we are where we are; that and a parliament full of Remainers, who want to subvert the result of the referendum.

The EU is a tyrannical, imperialist power and that was made very clear during the second programme, when the film-maker asked two of the EU negotiators if they had any last words.

The reply was: “We got rid of them. We kicked them out. It took us two years, but we managed. It is done. On our terms and conditions. We finally turned them into a colony and that was our plan from the first moment.”

There may be some unionists who are contemplating not voting in the European election next Thursday, on the basis that they have already voted to leave the EU and that’s it. However, that would be a grave error of judgment.

You can be sure and certain that Remainers, including the supporters of SDLP, Sinn Fein and Alliance, will be out to register their vote and, while they are fighting their cause, we need to be fighting on to ensure that the United Kingdom breaks free from the shackles of the European Union.

This is our opportunity to send a clear message to Brussels and to the Government.

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