Impotent fury of spurned EU-federalists
Federalists see the writing on the wall after Ireland’s ‘No’ to Lisbon treaty, says Daniel Hannan MEP
MEPs meeting in Strasbourg yesterday were furious. They fumed and shouted. They hopped about. They jabbed accusing fingers at the handful of Eurosceptic MEPs. We were 'populists', they said. We were 'dishonest'. We were 'a right-wing rabble'. Worst of all, many of us were 'British', who had never before shown the slightest interest in Irish democracy.
What had we done to provoke this ire? We had turned up wearing T-shirts bearing the slogan 'Respect the Irish Vote'. This seemed to madden the federalist majority, who, only two months ago, voted not to respect Ireland's vote. True to their word, they have since demanded that ratification proceed in the other 26 states and, in the meantime, they are implementing the contents of the Lisbon treaty as if there had been a 'Yes'.
'We respect the Irish 'No', but...' said speaker after speaker. Yeah, right. If they truly respected Ireland's 'No', they would undo the bits of the Lisbon treaty that have been implemented in anticipation of a 'Yes' vote, including the EU's diplomatic corps, common policies on immigration and a binding Charter of Fundamental Rights.
Obviously, they can't express their true feelings about the Irish - who, after all, have voted the way every other country would. No politician can openly disdain his voters.
So they project all their frustration on to the Eurosceptic MEPs, the visible reminder of their unpopularity, their bad conscience. For, in truth, they are starting to feel vulnerable. Martin Schulz complained that all the passion had left the pro-Europeans, that it had all migrated to the other side.
I almost felt sorry for him. The federalists can read the polling data: they can see that the 'Yes' voters are overwhelmingly over the age of 50. They can feel it all slipping away from them. No wonder they are tetchy. ·
Comments are now closed on this article