“populists are converging on Brussels – drunk on local hooch and chanting nationalist slogans”

And Boris Johnson, himself a decent performer in the old populist stakes is well worth quoting

There is a kind of peasants’ revolt going on, a jacquerie. From Dublin to Lublin, from Portugal to Pomerania, the pitchfork-wielding populists are converging on the Breydel building in Brussels – drunk on local hooch and chanting nationalist slogans and preparing to give the federalist machinery a good old kicking with their authentically folkloric clogs. There are Greek anti-capitalists and Hungarian neo-fascists and polite German professors who want to bring back the Deutschemark. They are making common cause with Left-wing Italian comedians and Right-wing Dutch firebrands and the general slogan is simple: down with technocracy, down with bureaucracy, and give power back to the people!

The European Parliament has long had a tradition of harbouring a couple of eccentric members. When I had the privilege of reporting on the debates of Strasbourg for this paper, they were occasionally enlivened by a contribution by an Italian porn star or a German ex-stormtrooper. But they were in a tiny minority: the place was run by the suits, the Christian Democrat suits and the Socialist suits being more or less interchangeable, and the mission was to keep that one-way integrationist ratchet clicking forward.

Well, as of 2014, that is no longer the case. According to some projections – and I write, obviously, before the precise figures are known – the protest parties will together have about 30 per cent of the vote. Imagine if a third of the MPs at Westminster were dedicated to the subversion and destruction of the House of Commons: I mean deliberately so dedicated, of course, not inadvertently.

Meanwhile, over in Dublin…