Jeremy Corbyn claimed he does “not want to live in a European empire of the 21st century” at a rally during the 2009 Irish referendum campaign. The film of his speech, exclusively uncovered by The Red Roar, will dampen the spirits of Labour members who are still hopeful that the party will back a People’s Vote.
The Labour leader attacked the European Union as “subservient to NATO” based on the provisions contained in the Lisbon treaty. Speaking at the meeting organised by the Irish Anti-War Movement (IAWM) which has links to the Socialist Workers Party, he claimed that the Lisbon Treaty “creates this military machine, this military Frankenstein, that’ll be so damaging to all of us.” Brexit campaigners have long claimed that there are plans for an EU army, but this prediction has never come to pass.
Corbyn also mocked the idea of holding second referendums, joking that he had “just got a feeling they’re going to keep on voting until they get the answer they want.” In Ireland, the second referendum was won by the pro-EU campaign, receiving more than two-thirds of the vote, after guarantees on Irish sovereignty were negotiated following the narrow defeat in the first vote.
The speakers addressing the rally alongside Corbyn included Richard Boyd-Barrett, formerly chair of IAWM and leader of the Irish Socialist Workers’ Party. Two years previously, Boyd-Barrett invited then Head of Hezbollah-owned Al-Manar TV, Ibrahim Moussawi, to another IAWM conference, only for the Irish government to block his entrance, following complaints that he had reportedly described Jews as “a lesion on the forehead of history.”
Also in attendance was former Dutch MP, Harry Van Bommel, who was exposed in 2017 for organising and promoting a group of “Ukrainians” in the Dutch media to condemn the Ukraine-European Union Association Treaty, some of whom turned out to in fact be Russian. The Kremlin strongly opposed the treaty.
The full recording of Corbyn’s speech produced by Paula Geraghty in 2009 is available here.