“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…

  • “all of them united by a visceral dislike of the EU bureaucracy: its arrogance, its remoteness, its expense, its endless condescension and its manic and messianic belief in its right to legislate for all 500 million people in the EU.” .. Boris

    So the people have turned to the ‘we ourselves’ parties, the bastards. They’re looking to the Shinners and Tuvies now 🙂

  • cynic2

    Its a revolution

    Almost makes one think if staying in for the fireworks but civil wars are never really fun

  • Cric

    I love the EU, but I think it is moving too far in political integration. As an EU citizen I enjoy the freedom to up-sticks and move to another EU state if my current state does something which I do not like (such as increase my tax burden, as the ROI recently did) – harmonisation of things like taxes across the continent will lead to the same monopoly the old Nation-States had over their citizenry and defeat the point of that particular pillar of the single market.

  • abucs

    It is testament to the failure of the EU that so many decades after it was envisioned, the biggest question is now how to deal with a large section of the populace who voice their desire to leave.

    If you listen to that voice the EU dream is over. If you try to ignore that voice, it festers and an increasing section of the populace see the EU as a hostage situation and an internal harmony of EU politics will never be achieved.