I am sure much will be written today about the election of Polish MEP Michał Tomasz Kamiński as the President of the new European Conservative and Reform Group in the European Parliament.
Mr Kamiński's election comes after Timothy Kirkhope's dignified and party-minded decision to withdraw from the race after a rank act of treachery from Edward McMillan-Scott.
Tim made reference to Mr Kamiński's maiden speech in the European Parliament last night but I thought it was worth quoting in full here:
"Polish is the language of over 40 million Europeans. Before our eyes, ladies and gentlemen, the division of Europe is coming to an end, a division whose sources date back to the Second World War. In these days of joy and emotion, it is fitting, therefore, to remember all those to whom the New Europe is indebted for its reunification. I would like to pay homage to the millions of my countrymen, soldiers and civilians, who were victims of the Second World War. Unfortunately, their blood, spilled on the fields of battle, only secured peace and prosperity for one part of Europe. I would like to pay homage to all those in Poland and Central Europe who, in the Stalinist era, sustained the flame of freedom on the other side of the Iron Curtain. Their inspiration was varied: from democratic socialism through liberalism to Christian-democracy and conservatism. Today we must also pay homage to the political prisoners and victims of the Stalinist terror, although many of them did not live to see a united Europe.
"As a Pole, I take particular pride in pointing out to the House that today’s celebrations would not be taking place were it not for the spiritual inspiration of our great fellow countryman, His Holiness John Paul II. He inspired Solidarity, the powerful social movement that led to the fall of Communism. President Lech Walesa, the leader of this movement became a symbol of the struggle for democracy and human rights for the world. He is our guest today in this Chamber. I also want to recall with pride that the leaders of my party, Prawo i Sprawiedliwosc [Law and Justice], as well as many of its members, were active participants in the movement for political independence that was Solidarity . At this time I would also like to express gratitude to two great leaders of the Western world whose steadfast attitude in the eighties helped break the fetters that bound the nations of Eastern and Central Europe. I would like to thank Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and President Ronald Reagan. The great task now before us is to make certain that the fruits of the reunification of the continent are fairly divided among all the nations of the New Europe".
Opponents of the European Conservative and Reformist Group have queried the group's "credo" - and its vision for changing Europe. From here on, I shall simply refer them to the above speech.
Good luck Mr Kamiński!