In these trying days for MPs beset by judges, parliamentary functionaries and journalists (whose own expenses are above reproach) let us hear it for the heroes and heroines of Hansard who last night had to report and transcribe the German pronunciation of the word Kant. As the Commons loses its fun and fearlessness there can be an occasional moment of cheer and light especially from the Hansard team so well trained in the school of Jim Naughtie!
EU Referendum Bill Debate Hansard 7 December 2010
Mr Denis MacShane (Rotherham) (Lab): We have had a menagerie-type debate: Pandora's boxes have been opening, Trojan horses have been jumping out of them and there have been mice of different sizes to contemplate. But there is a broad division-between Labour Members, along with the hon. Member for Westmorland and Lonsdale (Tim Farron), and most of the speakers on the Government Benches. They have a rather Hobbesian view of Europe, in which there is an undeclared war of all against all. I take the view that Immanuel Kant-or, as it should be pronounced properly in German, "Immanuel Kunt"-put forward in his perpetual peace argument. He argued that Europe needs a construct of rule of law, a Lockean Europe, in which we can live together in perpetual peace, as he thought. It has taken perhaps 200 years to get that far, but that is my version of Europe rather than the permanently negative one where it is Britain contra mundum, about which we hear so much from the Government Benches.
Austin Mitchell: As my right hon. Friend is representing his views as those of this side of the House-I do not think that they are-may I ask whether his own constituents are Kantians or Lockeans?
Mr MacShane: Perhaps I shall leave the reply to my old friend, Jim Naughtie.