Ancient and modern

Jean-Claude Juncker speaks to Britain like a Roman emperor

…and David Cameron is responding like a loyal imperial governor

12 March 2016

9:00 AM

12 March 2016

9:00 AM

Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the EU Commission, made a typically brilliant intervention in the EU referendum debate by arguing that ‘Whoever does not believe in Europe, who doubts Europe, whoever despairs of Europe, should visit the military cemeteries in Europe.’

Cicero made just this point to his brother Quintus, who in 59 bc was about to embark on his third term as governor of Asia Minor (now western Turkey): ‘Asia ought to remember that, if she were not governed by us, she would hardly have been spared the disasters of external war or internal discord. But our government cannot be maintained without taxes, and Asia ought without resentment to pay over some of her wealth as the price of permanent peace and quiet.’

So speak Masters of the Universe, who expect those they control to know their place. The Greek toff Publius Aelius Aristides (c. ad 117–181) — note the Romanised name — also came from Asia Minor and understood exactly how to play the game. His most famous speech was made on a visit to the imperial household in Rome, extolling the emperor and the governors he had put in place across his empire.

Read this, and think of Cameron as a governor: ‘So great is the governors’ reverence for the emperor that they believe he knows their business better than they themselves do, and hence they respect and listen to him far more than one would a master overseeing them and giving them orders (i.e. than obedient slaves)…. And if the governors are in the least doubt about the justice of any legal claims, public or private, brought by those they rule, they send at once to the emperor for his rulings and await his reply, as a chorus awaits its trainer’s instructions …careers are open to talent, rich and poor find contentment and profit in your system, there is no other way of life. Your rule is a single and all-embracing harmony.’

Such Cameronian sentiments are a far cry from his Bloomberg speech just three short years ago, but after his recent ‘reforms’, he knows who his masters are, and they are not us.

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  • Frank

    Cameron may well re-discover who his real rulers are in late June when he gets sacked!
    It will probably become a minor essay title: why did Cameron suddenly dump all principles and become a fawning subject of Project Europa.

  • Migru Ghee

    My dad says that when writers lower themselves to using war rhetoric, all reasonable argument and the listeners are already lost.

    • Jingleballix

      My dad says that people like you are just fookingcoonts.

    • trobrianders

      Does your dad regret having a socialist in the family?

    • putin

      I bet my dad could beat your dad in a fight.

      • greencoat

        He did but then my gran got your dad in a headlock.

    • Lawrence James.

      Woolly: do you mean warlike rhetoric or rhetorical allusions to past wars ? I do hope fuzzy thinking is not hereditary, so think and speak for yourself.

  • mr humphreys

    Have you noticed, friends, that vacant expression our CaMoron has been going about with since his private interview with the Count in February? I mean the Count, Jean-Claude Juncker. Isn’t this what I have been trying to warn the nation about, to no avail? As you know I am convinced it is the result of the Kalergi Plan which contains an ancient Egyptian curse which, once loosed will transform our descendants into an inferior non Caucasian breed destined to be nothing better than compliant brown-faced mosque goers. Can there be any doubt after these latest events, that Juncker is the High Priest of this half-caste devil cult! I tell you friends, poor CaMoron has been changed into one of that vile creature’s jackals. We have to try to stop her – sorry, him – before the Brussels plague spot can spread beyond the confines of Westminster. Come, comrades, we have little time, we must complete our task before dawn. CaMoron has to be impaled tonight, my dears, he is too infected, there is no other cure. Lord have mercy on his soul.

  • WFB56

    “…made a typically brilliant intervention in the EU referendum debate” Just to be clear, this is saracsm, right?

  • John Andrews

    I see the hated Juncker as more like a Holy Roman Emperor – full of aspirations to power but lacking the real power exercised by Roman Emperors.

    • Lawrence James.

      And utterly without charisma: a boring pen-pusher promoted beyond his limited abilities.

  • fred finger

    It’s the EU I have no faith in; the problem with Europe is that too many citizens think the EU is working for them.

    • Lazydaisy

      you’ll find that those who think it works are those who are actually incapable of thought.

  • pobjoy

    What any historian is sure to notice is that, while continental Europe has experienced very many wars, those that involved England or Britain were usually started by continentals against England or Britain or its commercial interests. There is no reason at all to suppose that this antagonistic instinct has reduced.

    • JabbaPapa

      That’s not true of the Hundred Years War, both World Wars, the War of the Roses, nor every internal conflict including several of those against Scotland, Wales, Ireland, etc etc., nor the wars waged to establish the British Empire, nor is it true of the British involvement in the various wars since 9/11

      • Adam

        The Hundred Years’ War was England trying to reclaim the territories that had been stolen off her by the French. Both World Wars were started by the Germans. The War in Afghanistan was to protect British citizens from Muslims terrorists. I also think Britain was right to go to war in Iraq.

        • AtMyDeskToday

          “Both World Wars were started by the Germans.”

          In neither of them did Germany declare war on Britain, we in fact declared war. Which contrasts with the OPs assertion… “were usually started by continentals against England “

          • WTF

            Better to honor a treaty with your allies than to renege as you would !

          • AtMyDeskToday

            “to renege as you would”

            You assume too much, or simply cannot follow the reasoning in this thread. You can debate the rightness of Britain joining these conflicts till the end of time but the issue is that the OP claimed that all wars were initiated by Europe and directed at Britain. In the majority of cases there was no threat whatsoever to Britain, we simply chose to be involved.

          • WTF

            Although there were underlying reasons that set the stage for WWII the trigger for WWII was the direct result of Germany invading Poland when Britain and France had a treaty to protect each other by an attack on one being an attack on all. No assumption, just simple facts.

            As I posted above, the link showing UK wars in Europe up until WWII were almost solely the result of threats and actual attacks on British interests. Perhaps you should read it to see those threats but even without our occasional war in Europe, they’ve been fighting among themselves for centuries and still are.

          • AtMyDeskToday

            “the result of threats and actual attacks on British interests”

            Yes I wrote that in my first post above…

            “initiated by, or joined by, England/Britain solely in defense of its own commercial or expansionary interests”

    • AtMyDeskToday

      Clearly you don’t know your history as almost every conflict that England/Britain has been involved in over the past 1000 years has been initiated by, or joined by, England/Britain solely in defense of its own commercial or expansionary interests. Perhaps the only exception being the Spanish Armada. Not your subject is it.

      • pobjoy

        almost every conflict that England/Britain has been involved in over the past 1000 years

        A thousand years ago, in 1016, there was no England as we now know it, because there was no nationalism, then. So the battle of Agincourt, for instance, was a battle of the bottle. It was about which rich landowners were going to drink claret. An understandable dispute, perhaps, but not for the ordinary toilers and tillers, for whom it made no difference who won (though Shakespeare had an interest in presenting another view because things had changed, in his day).

        Perhaps the only exception being the Spanish Armada.

        That event was of course the turning point; history would have been very, very different had the wind been from another direction. Since then, England/Britain has been saved by the Channel, and the Royal Navy, from Spanish, Dutch, French, and of course Germans and Italians in two world wars.Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire commemorates the role of the British Army, also, against the predatory Louis XIV. Waterloo station reminds of not just one decisive battle, but of the Peninsular War, that arguably destroyed hopes of a Napoleonic Europe, if not world.

        Even the Civil Wars were fomented by a damn fool of a monarch who would have married into the Hapsburg Empire. It is fortunate that even the Hapsburgs could recognise a damn fool when they saw one.

        This Juncker has a not dissimilar look, if you look.

        • JabbaPapa

          A thousand years ago, in 1016, there was no England as we now know it, because there was no nationalism

          What a load of bollocks — “it was about which rich landowners were going to drink claret” ; that’s about as realistic as suggesting that the overthrow of Boadicea was a plot by the ancient Wombles of Wimbledon Common.

          The notion of England/Britain as a single country is **at least** as old as the establishment of Roman Britain, and nonsensical claims based on a complete misunderstanding of 19th Century (and later) Nation-State political theory are utterly worthless.

      • luke sampson

        Initiated or “joined by” are not the same .
        History and English are not your subjects.

        • AtMyDeskToday

          Read my post properly (if you are able to). I was illustrating two different circumstances, those that are initiated by and those that are joined by. In no way did I suggest them to be the same. Back to your homework before mummy catches you on the net.

          • WTF

            Judging by the very long list of wars none were initiated by Britain and those that we took part in was as a result of belligerency by our European neighbors somewhere on the globe. Even in WWII when we were allied to France we ended up with half of France at war with us when they sold out to Germany !

          • Lazydaisy

            Oh dear… the pathetic assumption by a flaccid little 4th Reicher that he is in some way intellectually superior to all those who don’t fully embrace the insanity of the European Project.
            Get over yourself. Your day is done.

          • AtMyDeskToday


      • WTF

        1701 – The war of Spanish Succession kicked off by Spain & France triggered by the death of the King of Spain.

        1715 – The Jacobite rebellion instigated by Jacobites in France trying to regain the UK throne.

        1721 – Dummers War, The French in New England trying to take over part of the UK’s colony of America

        1740 – The war of Austrian Succession kicked off by France, Spain, Prussia & Bavaria.

        Seems like a pattern here, every time some royal dies in Europe a war kicks off !

        I wont continue as there are too many to post here but France, Spain and Germany have all been instigators of conflict thoughout European history if you bother to look at the causes.

        • AtMyDeskToday

          “France, Spain and Germany have all been instigators of conflict thoughout European history”

          You are clearly having difficulty following this thread, so let me help you. Those countries instigating conflict was never in doubt. The issue was that the OP claimed that all conflicts had been directed at “England or Britain”. Whereas in almost every case England/Britain had chosen to join the conflict simply because it feared for the impact on its own commercial or expansionary interests. Hardly the same thing.

      • Chamber Pot

        And I suppose 1066 was a case in point ? Perhaps you had better go back to school I’m sure that you still believe that cavemen co-existed with dinosaurs.

        • JabbaPapa

          And how many times since 1066 have foreign troops engaged in warfare on British soil ?

        • AtMyDeskToday

          1066 was an argument among various factions of the royal family. However, if you want to claim that as a war on “England” then it’s the last 900 years not 1000. OK.

          • JabbaPapa

            1066 was an argument between factions of “the Royal family” ??????

            Whose ? Harold’s, William’s, or the French ?

            Engage brain before typing on keyboard.

          • AtMyDeskToday

            “Engage brain before typing on keyboard.”


            The Norman royals believed that they had been made a promise by the English royals that they would succeed to the English throne on the death of the king. They were disappointed that the English reneged on that so used force to make their claim. In that sense it was an argument between factions of an extended royal family.

          • JabbaPapa

            What “Norman Royals” ???? Normandy was and is a Duchy, regardless of its having been reduced to 3.5 islands.

            The three families involved in the invasion weren’t “factions” in some completely anachronistic “Royal Family” fantasy crap.

          • AtMyDeskToday

            When someone is largely agreeing with you on the main point of contention, and supportive of your opinion, it’s not the best approach to talk to them as if they were an idiot. I begin to appreciate the unfavourable view that many other posters hold of you.
            All the best, over and out.

          • JabbaPapa

            Debate is not in fact the practice of taking one side against another.

          • Lazydaisy

            What? What on earth are you talking about? Which royal family are you talking about?

  • trobrianders

    Even the Roman Empire would be better than this.

  • Those people didn’t die so we could all be forced to pledge allegiance to a centralised European power. That’s exactly what they were fighting against.

  • ppw

    why did half of his own country back and fight with the german death squads ?hypocrite

    • hereward

      The young men of Luxembourg were forced to join the German Army ( against all international Laws ) or take the consequences .You are being very unfair IMO .

  • ppw

    junker is an enemy of the uk

  • ppw

    Cameron is now kow toeing to this junker no-mark

  • JabbaPapa

    CRIPES !!!

    Apparently, 53% of the French want France to leave the EU.

    The whole thing is unravelling.

    We either need to whole concept of the Union to be revised from A to Z, or we need another plan.

    • Tekknocrates


      • nextville

        53% want to have a referendum, like the britons have.

        • Lazydaisy

          And why would they want a referendum, if not to leave? I have never yet met a pro-4th Reicher who was in favour of a referendum. Like all good fascists, what they want is for all the rabble to shut up and let the ‘experts’ get on with ordering us all about “for the greater good.”
          Vive la revolution, and all that. Can’t wait to see the vile Brussels empire tumble and take all the scuttling minions who support it, with it.

  • Polly Radical

    Juncker should spend a week visiting the war memorials in a hundred British villages.

    • Lawrence James.

      Are there any in his native Luxembourg, once part of Prussia, which in 1914 and 1940 grovelled to Germany. Petty politicians from petty principalities have become the bane of Europe together with the Germans

  • WTF

    What Junker fails to mention is that many times in history, Britain has been dragged into a European war not of its own making but because of the war mongering of others. We’ve had centuries of warring with the French which only ceased once Napoleon was captured and exiled. We’ve fought both the French & the Spanish over global colonization with the odd sortie with the Netherlands. We’ve had two wars with Germany due to their expansionists polices in Europe, again not of our own making. Who is Junker, an alcoholic tax haven launderer to lecture us on our war dead and even suggest that WWIII could be the result of the UK leaving the EU.

    If god forbid another war kicks off in Europe it wont be down to the UK but more likely Germany again through Merkel & Juncker but this time we should stay out and not come to the rescue of France or anyone else.

    • geyien

      We may not have much choice if WWIII is essentially between Muslims and non-Muslims across the globe, we’ve already imported plenty of Fifth Columnists into our land, “sleepers” who will rise up to attack us when the time comes.

  • WTF

    All roads lead to Rome but all money scams from the EU end up in Brussels !

  • Lazydaisy

    Has anyone else taken note that the shelf-life of the previous attempts to force European nations into unity – USSR, Yugoslavia, etc – was 70 years, and that the EU is now 65?
    Wouldn’t it be great if it didn’t make it to 70?

  • Chamber Pot

    All Hail, Gluteus Maximus.

  • Graeme S

    Salva… Biggus dickus, all hail Titus sodus

  • Absurd article.

  • Dormouse

    Juncker is responsible for every death in Ukraine since he took office.

  • Paul Holland

    juncker can go fk his self, put him on the end of a rope plzs

    • voidist

      well he cant fk his self if he is dangling from a rope can he ?

  • Janet Channell

    Sounds like he has been at the tonsil varnish again!

  • Baz

    I fear the next European war will be a religious one, thanks to Merkel – and we want no part of it.

  • Neil S

    Pointless rabble rousing bin fodder, there is no similarity between the EU and the Roman Empire. Not a huge fan of Juncker but what he says is actually correct, one of the original reasons for initiating the EU was to make European economic interests so inter-related that war within Europe was not practically possible. Not quite the protection racket argument put forward by Cicero.

    • JabbaPapa

      one of the original reasons for initiating the EU was to make European economic interests so inter-related that war within Europe was not practically possible

      Yep, and then take a look what happened to Yugoslavia.

      The original reason was Utopianism — possibly of Masonic origin — but when we have hostile foreigners killing people and blowing things up as acts of warfare inside Europe, it’s obvious that the plan has NOT worked.

    • maxwatson

      It was less an original reason than a post rationalisation put forward by the likes of Schumann, to retain some degree of French control over German industry.

      The original reasoning was that by dismantling Germany’s industrial economy (as part of the far wider US-established Morgenthau Plan) Germany could no longer be a threat. As part of this numerous factories were either dismantled and destroyed, and France effectively annexed the Saarland, the main coal/steel area in the West. When the plan changed and France had to hand back the territory it wanted supranational control through which it could exercise authority (the ECSC). The UK by the way didn’t join because Labour had just nationalised coal and steel and the last thing they wanted was supranational control of those industries. It had relatively little to do with an anti-European world view. The customs union (which became the EEC) came later and separately.

      The underlying argument that the ECSC/EEC/EU prevented a re-emergence of war was entirely around initially dismantling and shackling Germany (which wouldn’t have been possible if Germany hadn’t been defeated, in a victory where almost all the continental European powers were generally non-participant) and then establishing external controls over reconstruction, governed largely by French national interests (and the French started to rankle about supranational control as their ability to control these bodies declined – from an effectively absolute point – during the 1960s). But if this is the crux of the argument one might equally credit the USSR’s far more complete dismantling of the DDR’s economy in the late 40s.

      The actual threat in Europe – the USSR – was then held at bay by a mixture of economic and military power until the 1990s, largely led by the USA within NATO. And, by the way, one contributor (probably not the largest, but a significant one) to Germany’s economic re-emergence was the presence within its borders of well funded NATO – US, British and indeed French – garrisons creating significant internal economic demand.

      Juncker’s saying that, not only was the foundation of the EEC/EU around establishing a long lasting peace (it was, but only the sense of shackling Germany) but that it was the reason for a long last peace (it wasn’t). And Peter Jones’ job at the Spectator is to draw parallels between classical and the modern – I don’t think the EU is the modern Roman Empire either (at least the Romans had better arguments that they maintained an extensive and long lasting geographic pax Romana) but I always find the column interested and informative.

  • voidist

    the best way to create world wars is to try and make all europeans one race by force, one way or other……it seems adolf failed followed by his equally kind brother stalin… i ts miss islam merkel

    and her brother junkyard junckers turn to wreck whats left of the sad continent

  • Ivor MacAdam

    It is not Europe that is the problem.
    It is the European UNION and their bumbling, incompetent bureaucrats that is the problem.

  • MrUnclevanya

    “President” Jean-Claude Junkers is another incompetent EU-SSR apparatchik with delusions of grandeur. He should never have been elevated to his office. Like many of his colleagues before him, (Barrosso, Van Rumpuy, Barroness Ashton) are all good lefty Comrades who will toe the party line and not rock the EU Gravy Train as they loot the EU tax payers accounts.(alleged of course)

    As has been stated – it is NOT the individual European states that are the problem, it is the Political Construct called the EU (European Union) or the “New Communisms”. They are all nothing more than bampots and sock puppets. The idea behind the EU is to try and prevent further wars in Europe, and that is a fine thing, but it could be suggested that it was membership of NATO of West Germany, France and other European states that have kept the peace since the end of World War Two, or the Great European Civil War as the EU propagandists call it, as they rewrite the history of Europe since 1945..

    The current stresses and strains within the EU – economic, financial, mass immigration, crime etc are all pointing towards the eventual failure of the ‘EU Experiment’ along with the ‘experiment’ called the Euro currency. The EU has sown the seeds of the its own demise. The de facto paymaster of the EU, ECB and Eurozone is Germany and Mamma Merkel is ReichsChancellor.

    “He who pays the piper calls the tune” so the old saying goes!!

  • MrUnclevanya

    With Germany in a postion at Top Table in the EU-SSR, a role they don’t really want due to ‘past history’. Germany is de facto Paymaster for the ECB and thus Europe. Perhaps one day Mamma Merkel or her successors will have a britgh ideas of moving the EU’s institutions, parliament etc to be near to the New Reichschancellery and Reichstag in Berlin in years to come. (But I jest about this)