“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…

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty