Watch out Eurocrats, here come the Pirates!

The Brussels establishment see their diverse new opponents as just a bunch of extremists. They won't know what's hit them

4 January 2014

9:00 AM

4 January 2014

9:00 AM

I once shared a car to the airport with a French MEP, a member of the Front National (FN). He spoke that very correct French which, across the Channel, serves in place of accent as a social signifier. He casually mentioned that the Holocaust couldn’t have happened, at least not on the scale claimed: the volume of the ovens, he creepily explained, was insufficient.

The European Parliament has always had its fair share of extremists, eccentrics and outright, drooling loons. With the FN then polling at 6 per cent, there seemed no need to treat any of its MEPs seriously, so I took to avoiding that one. Now his party is set to win the next European election. But it’s not just madmen on the rise. In country after country, genuine protest movements of left, right and centre are surging.

And the most hysterical language is coming, not from the insurgent parties, but from the Eurocrats. The EU president, Herman Van Rompuy, fears that the whole European structure will be blown away by the ‘winds of populism’. (Populism is a favourite Eurocrat word, meaning ‘when politicians do what their constituents want’ — or, as we call it in English, ‘democracy’.) The president of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, seeks to make our flesh creep with his vision of ‘political extremes and populism tearing apart the social fabric’. Jean-Claude Juncker, the ultimate Brussels insider, who recently stepped down after 18 years as prime minister of Luxembourg, is so alarmed that he foresees another Great War: ‘I am chilled by the realisation of how similar the crisis of 2013 is to that of 100 years ago.’

What is prompting this panic? Has an archduke been shot? Are mobilisation orders secretly being sent out from the palaces and chanceries of Europe? Hardly. What all these lurid warnings are about is the fact that public support for the EU is collapsing. According to the Commission’s own polling agency, 60 per cent of European citizens ‘tend not to trust the EU’ — up from 32 per cent five years ago.

Naturally enough, some of these citizens will vote accordingly in May’s elections to the European Parliament. What we might call anti-systemic or ‘pirate’ parties are polling at record levels. Some of these parties are indeed distasteful, but others are almost boringly respectable: Alternative for Germany (AfD), for example, is essentially a Eurosceptic offshoot from the liberal FDP, and its upper ranks are disproportionately filled by economists and academics. It alone espouses what, in most countries, would be regarded as a mainstream view, namely that there is no point in asking taxpayers to keep funding euro bailouts that are doing more harm than good.

Being anti-establishment doesn’t necessarily make you sinister. The Pirate Party began life as a single-issue campaign in Sweden against the rules on intellectual property. The geeky corsairs won two MEPs at the last elections, and have established branches across Europe and America. They have slightly broadened their agenda to cover privacy and transparency issues, but are still mainly a party for intense young men in T-shirts. Such is the weakness of the traditional parties, though, that the Pirates have managed to get national representation in Iceland and the Czech Republic as well as winning some regional elections in Germany.

For similar reasons, the Five Star Movement, an unlikely coalition of ecologists, Eurosceptics and, for want of a better term, Carswellians (supporters of open primaries, referendums, internet polls and the like) remains the third force in Italian politics, polling in the high teens. British newspapers like to refer to their founder, Beppe Grillo, as a stand-up comic, but he was better known in Italy as an anti-establishment blogger, a kind of Guido Fawkes. His party resembles what we would get if Guido’s readers combined to form a political movement: some are high-minded libertarians, others are angry anti-politics types, a few are unhinged conspiracy theorists.

What links all these ‘pirate parties’? What links Marine le Pen, Geert Wilders, Beppe Grillo, Nigel Farage, Alexis Tspiras, the firebrand leader of the far-left Syriza movement in Greece, and Berndt Lucke, the clever and mild-mannered professor of macro-economics who leads AfD? Beyond the fact that they expect to do well in May’s elections, only one thing: they all dislike the euro. As far as Eurocrats are concerned, this makes them more or less interchangeable. Barroso frames this year’s election as a choice between ‘pro-European forces’ and ‘extremist forces’.

It’s amazing how common this narcissism is: I disagree with person A, and I also disagree with person B, therefore A and B are identical. The idea is reinforced by countless bien-pensant journalists, who apply the blanket term ‘far right’ to anyone they disapprove of. Here, to pluck an example more or less at random, is an article from last month’s Washington Post: ‘With the FN at 24 per cent, the Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV) at 15 per cent, and the United Kingdom Independence Party (Ukip) at 10 per cent, the total of far-right seats [in the European Parliament] would go up to 50.’

What do these three parties have in common? The FN has positioned itself to the left even of François Hollande on economics, favouring protectionism, nationalisation, high taxes and increased welfare spending. Wilders’s PVV, which is overwhelmingly focused on Islamisation, seeks common cause with LGBT organisations, feminists and left-wing secularists. Ukip, unlike most continental Eurosceptics, is unequivocally libertarian, pro-capitalist and pro-City, and has ruled out collaborating with either the FN or the PVV.

In the solipsistic world-view of the Euro-integrationist, none of this much matters: any Eurosceptic is, ipso facto, extreme. Perhaps the silliest example of the phenomenon is the way the label ‘far right’ is now extended to the party likely to make the largest advances in Finland, Timo Soini’s Finns Party, which emerged from the Rural Party, and has always been squarely in the middle of the political spectrum. Because the farmers who constituted its base were hostile to joining the EU in the 1990s, it was freer than the other parties to oppose the euro. When the rest of the Finnish establishment lined up behind the bailouts, Soini naturally emphasised the bit of his programme that most chimed with public opinion: hostility to the single currency. Immediately, his party surged in the polls. And, immediately, commentators cretinously started calling it ‘far right’.

The trouble with labelling everyone you dislike a fascist is that, when you’re confronted with the real article, you have no adequate vocabulary. Greece’s Golden Dawn is an authentic Nazi party if ever there was one: anti-democratic, anti-Semitic and nostalgic for the Metaxas dictatorship, when political parties and trade unions were banned. Like all properly fascist parties, Golden Dawn loathes the free market and yearns for an authoritarian, corporatist state. Having bumbled along with less than 2 per cent support since the 1980s, it was turned by the euro crisis into Greece’s third party.

To lump together fascist parties (Golden Dawn in Greece, Ataka in Bulgaria, Jobbik in Hungary, the BNP) with bellicose but essentially constitutional anti-immigration movements (FN in France, PVV in the Netherlands, Freedom Party in Austria) is clumsy. To add in eurosceptic parties of the democratic right (AfD in Germany, Mouvement pour la France, Danish People’s Party, Ukip) is deliberately tendentious.

When someone groups all these parties together under the label ‘extreme right’, he is telling you more about himself than about them. Parties like Golden Dawn are not right-wing in any recognisable sense. They favour workers’ councils, higher spending, state-controlled industries; they march on May Day under red flags. They could just as easily sit at either end of the European Parliament’s hemicycle (our closest equivalent, in its combination of mystical nationalism and loathing for capitalism, is Sinn Féin). Calling such parties right-wing isn’t intended to make anyone think less of them; it’s intended to damage mainstream conservatives by implying that the difference between them and the Nazis is one of degree.

But the Barrosos and Junckers and Rompuys don’t stop there. Their definition of extremism also covers those leftists who have seen through the EU. The euro crisis has led to a revival of communist parties in the austerity-stricken states: Ireland’s Socialist party, Spain’s Izquierda Unida, Greece’s Syriza. Radical socialists argued all along that the euro was a scam that would benefit bankers and bureaucrats at the expense of ordinary people. And — it’s not often one gets to say this — they were spot on. Every successive cut has vindicated their interpretation of the EU as an organised racket in which a privileged caste lives off the sweat of the workers.

In a sense, it’s no surprise that all these parties, from the Pirates to Syriza, from the Five Stars to the PVV, should resent the euro. Who, coming new to the argument, would think it a success? The chief reason that the old parties defend monetary union is that it was their idea. Incredible as it now seems, a decade ago they were assuring their electorates that the single currency would boost GDP by 1 per cent a year in perpetuity.

If anyone in this debate can be fairly lumped together, it’s not the disparate insurgent parties, but the paleo-federalists of the EPP (European People’s Party), the Liberals and the Socialists. Listening, month after month, to the EPP leader, a German-speaking Alsace farmer called Joseph Daul, and his Socialist counterpart, an amiable Austrian called Hannes Swoboda, I genuinely struggle to see any great ideological divide between them. Both want a United States of Europe. Both want a social market, eco-regulations, tax harmonisation and a common European foreign policy. The only issues on which they disagree with passion are the moral ones: abortion, same-sex marriage and so on.

My guess is that May’s elections will see big losses for the EPP and the Liberals. The Socialists may pick up a few seats, benefiting from anti-incumbency votes against centre-right governments at national level. But the big gains will be made by euro-critical parties. Paradoxically, the result will be to drive the EPP and the Socialists even closer together, propping each other up like two exhausted boxers at the end of ten rounds.

We can be certain that they will cling to their demands for ‘more Europe’, whatever the economic reality and whatever the wishes of their constituents. For five years, their policies have caused unemployment, deflation and emigration across southern Europe, while the IOUs pile up in northern Europe. Nothing makes them question their faith. No amount of suffering, no amount of debt moves them to admit that the single currency might have been a mistake. They are, literally, beyond argument. Which raises the question — who are the real extremists here?

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

How we Invented Freedom & Why it Matters, by Daniel Hannan MEP, is published by Head of Zeus.

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Show comments
  • Perseus Slade

    Well, “les autres” are only far right insofar as the EU jobsworths are far wrong.

  • saffrin

    That’s why your mob are going to lose the next General Election Daniel. Cameron is pro-EU, nobody but a few believes a word the man says on European Union issues. Nigel Farage on the other hand is worthy and before anyone comes back to me on Vote UKIP get Labour, Labour only come close because the North of England vote Labour for one reason and one reason only. That is, keep/get the Tories out.
    However, as Nigel Farage is not only British, he talks the talk, walks the walk and as UKIP ain’t Tory, I’m betting the North of England will be voting UKIP too.

    • zanzamander

      Lest we forget, while jumping up and down about the Poles, Romanians and Hungarians migrants, they (Cameron and Mr Hannan) are keen for Turkey to join the EU.

      • RobertC

        I am quite keen that CMD either moves to Turkey or becomes one; Boris likewise!

      • roger

        The Turks can never get into the EU, so many countries wouldn’t ratify it (starting with Cyprus and Austria) that it isn’t worth wasting time on.
        If Britain and France had stuck to the treaty of Sevre in 1921 Turkey wouldn’t even have a toehold on Europe.
        Armenia? Smyrna? Cyprus? EU ‘elites’ ignore history and just think of the corrupt paydays.

    • As Hannan says: ” high-minded libertarians, others are angry anti-politics types, a few are unhinged conspiracy theorists.” Not sure if you qualify as category 2 or 3, but certainly not 1

    • bonnylad

      Here’s one of many Northerners who intend to vote Ukip next time.

    • trotters1957

      UKIP has 11% in the last round of polls. They couldn’t even get into second place in any seat in 2010.
      You’re dreaming.

      • global city

        So, that’s the case then, forever?

        Can I lend your crystal ball for tonight’s lottery draw?

  • Littlegrayman

    The EU is a cartel politicians dream organization, ergo how can it be wrong?.

  • Roy

    Seeing as I can’t read this, being too mean to buy a subscription, I can barely guess the contents. Daniel Hannan is a fan of mine and stands for a part of the Conservatives deserving of support. It is a pity he is relegated to the EU rather than a more senior level closer to the level of decision making. Better still would be his immediate promotion to leader. Now that would be the new blood and necessary decisive policy to reinvigorate the Party to win the next General Election. Would it not?

    • saffrin

      No, not a chance. Cameron is a proven failure, his promises have no value and he almost lost the unlosable 2010 General Election remember?

      Daniel Hannan would be better off joining UKIP.

      • Roy

        You are right on the first, and I don’t need to be told to remember on the second. On the third point, the Conservatives do have a ready made party, if they can only get their a. into g. and gather some common sense people supported policy. Policy the greater part of the British people agree with and would vote for. Even if this means stealing some thunder from UKIP.

        • saffrin

          It doesn’t really matter who or what the Conservative party come up with, Cameron has lost the party all credibility. Apart from that, too many Northerners would rather die than vote Conservative.
          Thatcher’s destruction of Northern towns is what makes many vote Labour, that alone won them a thirteen year term. Thatcher’s legacy will haunt the Conservative party for many more decades and Cameron isn’t helping anyone forget.

          UKIP on the other hand has street cred both North and South.

          • trotters1957

            Labour has the majority of seats in London despite losing the election or is London north to you?

          • saffrin

            To Labour’s shame, London is 60% immigrant.

          • Fergus Pickering

            Are you sure of that? Could you give you source and what you count as London?

    • Pip

      There is no part of the Conservatives who deserve any support, all one has to do is look at each Conservative MP and MEPs voting habits over the past 3 years to understand this. Cameron could not function without the support of the vast majority of his party including the backbenchers so to suggest that suddenly, 100s of them are actually Europhobes and Democratic is far fetched to say the least.

  • Thoughtful Skeptic

    “Populism” is not “politicians doing what their constituents want” but “politicians telling their constituents whatever they want to hear without wasting a thought on thinking it through or if it is achievable or how it really would be achievable and what the side effects could really be”.

    That is why “populism” is not about finding solutions that could work but about finding easy solutions and scapegoats that some parts of society take like to hear about. It is also the reason why most populist parties are existentially threatened by being in government. Because reality busts their simple solutions and incompetence as well as corrupt tendencies do the rest.

    • celtthedog

      Um yes, but I think the author’s point was that this term “populist” is being dishonestly applied. That is politicians who respond to democratic concerns are dismissed as “populists” when they are not.

      I have no quarrel with your definition of “populist” but I think the author is correct with respect to how the term is being used.

    • Druth

      Populist, mob rule, thick, yes thanks we’ve got the message.

  • zanzamander

    There is nothing right wing about the Nazi. This fascist movement like all other such bigoted, intolerant and racist movements has deep roots on the Left of the political and social spectrum. They are militant Socialists, protectionists, controlling freaks. They believe they have a god given right to rule, subjugate, enslave and butcher those who oppose them. Many such movements, when unopposed, feared or pampered, go onto become powerful cults and religions with limitless capacity of depravity.

    • trotters1957

      You and 64 others need to go back to school and learn the difference between left and right.
      Your ignorance is astounding.

      • andylowings

        Adolf was a National Socialist, matey

        • WalterSEllis

          Hitler wanted to remove the Socialist tag. He had inherited it in the party’s early days. But the feeling was that they needed to attract working class support. The Nazis were in fact a bourgeois party, 90 per cent of whose leaders came from the professional middle classes, plus numerous aristos – all those Grafs and “Vons”. The idea that the toffs hated naziism was largely a lie. They may have been embarrassed sometimes by the party’s showiness and vulgarity, but they enjoyed the deference and the power. The point of National Socialism was the promotion of German state and ethnic power. It had nothing to do with the rights of the common people. Gays and the handicapped, as well as Jews and gypsies, were to be exterminated. Trade unions were, of course, banned and their leaders either imprisoned or guillotined.

        • allymax bruce

          A rose, is a rose, by any other name.
          Defining someone/Political Party/Political System by its framed-preserve, (those that decide what meanings are through propaganda), is lacking in thorough thought; actions speak louder than words. Most of the Political terms need to be seen through a Neo-prism now.

      • Right-Minded

        I’m afraid you’re on your own in ignorance here Trotter, the Nazi party or National Socialist party were a distinctly left wing movement from the outset with a strong passion for the supremacy of the state and central governance (over everything).

        Unfortunately the socialists (liberals) have incorrectly labeled them ‘right wing’ in an attempt to distance themselves from the ideology they in-fact share.

        • mctruck

          Actually it was Uncle Joe who first called the NSDAP right-wing; they wouldn’t take direction from his fount of socialism and this was his way of excommunicating them.

      • roger

        Left,right? it’s more like a clockface, go clockwise enough and you meet the other lot coming back at you.
        The division is Totalitarians vs Liberals. Not that we have a real Liberal party (can liberals be in a party?)

        • allymax bruce

          Yes, completely agree.

  • Ricky Strong

    Good article Daniel. I think the key issue is that to be eurosceptic is to be anti-socialist, and socialists, much like the religions, do not and will not accept any criticism of their core beliefs. Whereas someone like myself with conservative leanings, would happily accept a socialist point of view on an issue if I felt it was well reasoned and made good sense. I am happy to adapt my own views and accommodate those of others, they are not.

    *awaits telemachus’ response

    • global city

      Socialists believe in the project because it is tied into woolly notions of internationalism, anti-nationalism, collectivism, etc.

      All silly stuff that has been show to cause greater problems where power has been ceded from the people to supranational institutions and ‘international’ law, etc, but they persist in backing things they do not have to think about.

      • Ricky Strong

        Agreed, they also seem to focus too much on what could be or was has been and so often forget what is.

        • global city

          that’s the fundamental problem with them….. keep on with the thing, even though it is clearly causing massive pain as the sunlit uplands are, er, just the other side of those hills!

  • zanzamander

    Despite their envious Socialist utopia, I wonder how does the author explain the near complete Judenfrei states of the Nordic?

  • Richard N

    When the EU dictatorship is finally brought down, there should be Nuremberg-style trials, with all the national puppets of the EU who have collaborated with the EU dictators, seeking to establish an anti-democratic dictatorship across Europe – like Cameron, Clegg and Millipede in the UK, for example – put on trial for their lives.

    • Pip

      You forgot to mention the Journalists and TV Political Commentators, especially the BBC who have aided and abetted the Political deceit and propaganda. These people should stand next to the Politicians in the Dock.

      • Rocksy

        Let them stand together in the tumbril. I’ll do the knitting.

    • trotters1957

      You and 57 others are completely barking!

      • Richard N

        Yeah,right – 58 people agree, and you alone don’t: but they are barking, and you are sane.


        No trotters, you are the dog here…..Nazis right-wing are they?…..your utter ignorance is incredible, Uni educated are you? If so, then you have been indoctrinated, not educated. The Nazis were as left wing as you could get, pure evil, as is the left. You must be a really pathetic lost soul, i pity you.

        • Chris

          National SOCIALISTS —>

          Privatization as expedient and not ideologically driven —>

          Magyar struggle by Engels riddled with Nazi ideology, including this quote -“The next world war will result in the disappearance from the face of the
          earth not only of reactionary classes and dynasties, but also of entire
          reactionary peoples. And that, too, is a step forward.” –>

        • bengeo

          The Nazis were socialists, so they weren’t fascists? Some folk confuse Nazism, a political party platform, with fascism, which is a particular structure of government. Fascism legally sanctions the persecution of a particular group within the country — political, ethnic, religious — whatever. So within Nazism there are elements of fascism, as well as militarism, capitalism, socialism etc. To tar all socialists with the national socialist brush is as absurd as citing Bill Gates and Augusto Pinochet in the same breath as examples of free market capitalism.

          Economically, Hitler was well to the right of Stalin. Post-war investigations led to a number of revelations about the cosy relationship between German corporations and the Reich. No such scandals subsequently surfaced in Russia, because Stalin had totally squashed the private sector. By contrast, once in power, the Nazis achieved rearmament through deficit spending. One of our respondents has correctly pointed out that they actively discouraged demand increases because they wanted infrastructure investment. Under the Reich, corporations were largely left to govern themselves, with the incentive that if they kept prices under control, they would be rewarded with government contracts. Hardly a socialist economic agenda!

          But Nazi corporate ties extended well beyond Germany. It is an extraordinarily little known fact that in 1933 a cabal of Wall Street financiers and industrialists plotted an armed coup against President Roosevelt and the US Constitutional form of government. The coup planners — all of them deeply hostile to socialism — were enthusiastic supporters of German national socialism and Italian fascism. Details of the little publicised Congressional report on the failed coup may be read in 1000 Americans:The Real Rulers of the USA by George Seldes.

          Fascism, according to the American Heritage Dictionary (1983) is A system of government that exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership, together with belligerent nationalism. Italian philosopher Giovanni Gentile’s entry in the Encyclopedia Italiana read: Fascism should more appropriately be called corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power. No less an authority on fascism than Mussolini was so pleased with that definition that he later claimed credit for it.

          Nevertheless, within certain US circles,the misconception remains that fascism is essentially left wing, and that the Nazis were socialists simply because of the “socialism” in their name. We wonder if respondents who insist on uncritically accepting the Nazis’ cynical self-definition would be quite as eager to believe that the German Democratic Republic was democratic.

          • ROBERT BROWN

            Very good Bengeo, give yourself a cookie. I also am aware of most of that you have posted, but the fact remains, the Left are wrong to call the nazis right-wing, they are, in essence, left, and they do so to avoid the embarrassment of their own dogma being associated with the nazis. Right-wing souls like myself long for small government and administration, and resent the Left calling us nazis and far-right, but hey, it’s what the left do. And Hitler stated that if you tell a lie often enough, it will be held as the truth.

          • bengeo

            It does not sound like you are a Fascist, Nazis or Socialist. Sounds like you are a Libertarian in the American sense.

            “Fiscally conservative and socially liberal and against government intervention in economic affairs, and for expansion of personal freedoms and often, a foreign policy of non-interventionism.”

            Of course unfortunately here in a UK publication, that would be thought of as a form of European anarchic socialism.

            “Adherents of libertarian socialism assert that a society based on freedom and equality can be achieved through abolishing authoritarian institutions that control certain means of production and subordinate the majority to an owning class or political and economic elite. Libertarian socialism also constitutes a tendency of thought that promotes the identification, criticism, and practical dismantling of illegitimate authority in all aspects of life.”

            USA and Britain, two countries separated by a common language 🙂

      • global city


        The EU has been a coup against the ordinary citizens of the continent, organised to centralise massive power in the hands of an undemocratic elite. The leaders of our current political class see themselves as eventually upgrading to this elite, so encourage it’s continued growth.

        What of the next generation of political wannabees though. How will they gain their place in the new European court….if the democratic step is demolished?

        More importantly, what of our democratic control and right to self determination?

        • Tom Tom

          It was always intended to be when Arthur Salter and Jean Monnet designed it in the 1920s


          • global city

            Exactly, and even they were only honing the ideals of an older federalist tradition… none of which has oft included democracy.

      • Tom Tom

        Why not simply read the 1932 Manifesto of the NSDAP and decide for yourselves ?


      • Tom Tom

        Why not read the 1932 Manifesto of the NSDAP and decide for yourselves ?


    • Rocksy

      Forget the trials.

  • greggf

    Ah Daniel – you have mentioned deflation!
    At last, the grim reaper of democracies has entered your vocabularly and, while you still persist with your “explanations” for our parlous precarity, the truth may eventually out.

  • dalai guevara

    The rise of the far right, in the latest addition conflated with “pirate parties”? Beppe Grillo dislikes the Euro, not banksters? With all due respect, what on earth is going on in your head, Daniel? You are deliberately misrepresenting twice in one piece.

    I for one am too old for this. We have heard this tripe all our lives: the rise of the far-right. There is no rise of anything, they come and go as even a Monarch would confirm.

    • global city

      I think that was the very point that DH was raising, was it not?

      How can all of these disparate parties legitimately be confined to the ‘far right’? The reason it has been used is because to highlight the common thread, as in anti EU, would most likely increase their votes considerably more than they will get anyway.

      • dalai guevara

        Ukip are not Solidarność.
        They command no such appeal, not at home and by no means abroad. What would they talk about with the loons of the FN or Golden Dawn?

  • robertsonjames

    Some nice points, Mr Hannan, but this tendency to group all opponents together as though they are identical is also favoured by many of those anti-EU elements you mention.

    How long is it since you last read a UKIP commenter on these pages or over at the Torygraph barking on about the figment of his own political imagination known as “Lib/Lab/Con”? Or when did you last hear someone claim that Cameron is a “Marxist” and that voting so as to ensure the most left-wing Labour leader since Attlee becomes Prime Minister should not worry right-wing Eurosceptics because Miliband and Cameron, for all their disagreements over education, welfare and the deficit, never mind the European single currency which the former has always favoured and the latter has always opposed, are, apparently, “just the same”?

    Frankly this tendency to collapse all political and policy distinctions, even to the extent of ignoring whether a party supports (ie. Labour and the Lib Dems) or opposes (ie. the Tories) membership of the Euro or holding a referendum on staying in the EU, is becoming endemic, and not only found among Eurocrats.

    • Lady Magdalene

      LibLabCon ARE effectively the same because they all favour EU membership. And the EU now either completely or significantly controls around 80% of policy areas.
      The 20% of policy areas which the EU doesn’t control are still influenced by EU membership (ie Education and Health).
      So the policy differences are miniscule, but are argued over and dress up as huge.
      ie. Gove’s Free Schools. Blair’s Academies. The differences are minute.

    • Fergus Pickering

      All the people to the right of Cameron say he is the same as Milibum. They say that everybody to the left of them is the same. The same is true of left-wing extremists

  • I broadly agree with all of this, but that’s precisely why I don’t advocate immediate withdrawal from the EU. The tide is turning against centralism and federalism all across Europe, and the prospects of fundamental change in the way that the EU is constituted have never been better. The UK’s interests are best served by being a part of this, and using our influence to recast the EU into what it should have been all along. Our voice needs to be heard, and heard loudly.

    • dodgy

      …the prospects of fundamental change in the way that the EU is constituted have never been better. The UK’s interests are best served by being a part of this, and using our influence to recast the EU into what it should have been all along…

      It’s not going to happen. We have watched 50 years of this crisis building, with warnings at all points. The EU bureaucracy is now ensconced and has pulled up the drawbridge. If the collapse of the Euro didn’t change them, why should revolution?

      They will sit in their castles, reject all reform and die there. Oh, and the UK has NO influence at all over this. Never has, and never will…

      • global city

        Yes, grasping monkeys, the lot of them. Dogmatic ones to boot. They will die hanging on to ‘what they hold’. DH should really force this point home to DC.

    • Lady Magdalene

      We are massively outvoted by the net receivers of OUR money. They will never reform it.

      • Fergus Pickering

        They will reform it if Germany wants it reformed.

    • global city

      what it ‘should’ have been was killed immediately by the supranationalists who wanted intergovernmentalism to play no part in the future decision making structures of the EU…. as envisioned to be from the start.

  • Chris

    When they get voted in, then the voting block can be called ‘the pirate alliance.’

    • global city

      with jolly rogers instead of national flags to adorn their desks…… that’ll look cool…and attract even more young folk to the cause of freedom and rationality…. to say nothing of democratic freedom.

  • crosscop

    I don’t think it was solely the euro crisis which caused the surge in support for Golden Dawn. I seem to recall that a Greek man who was murdered by two Afghans in the hospital car park while he was visiting his pregnant wife had a lot to do with it. That and the rape of a Greek girl by ( and doesn’t this sound familiar?) some Pakistanis…

    The English, of course, do not even bat an eyelid when an English girl ( Charlene Downes) is raped, murdered and turned into kebabs… and the killers are not only freed but presented with thousands of pounds compensation because of police incompetence.
    For some reason, the Greeks do tend to get upset when this sort of thing happens.

    • Chris

      Excuse me Sir, I believe you meant to say
      “That and the rape of a Greek girl by ( and doesn’t this sound familiar?) some Asian man..”

      Clearly he was Sikh or Hindu.

  • Stuart

    “‘Populism…meaning ‘when politicians do what their constituents want’ — or, as we call it in English, ‘democracy’.” Not according to Burke.

  • bobby_r

    Congrats, a great article.

  • Lady Magdalene

    “Nothing makes them question their faith. No amount of suffering, no amount of debt moves them to admit that the single currency might have been a mistake. They are, literally, beyond argument. ”
    The same applies to Heseltine, Clarke, Howe, Hurd, Britten, Mandelson, Kinnocks (both of them), Clegg, Ashdown and the rest of the pro-EU dinosaurs infesting British political life.
    When it comes to the EU (if not the Euro) it also applies to most of the arrogant LibLabCON Party.
    They will never admit that membership of the EU is a mistake.

    • global city

      More than a mistake, it is an ongoing criminal conspiracy amongst our ‘own’ parties.

  • dalai guevara

    You’ve done it again, Daniel. Beppe Grillo does not facilitate an “unlikely coalition of ecologists, Eurosceptics”.
    They are not Eurosceptics, they criticise a criminal banking class. Two entirely different things.

    • Pip

      Nobody cares what you think.

      • dalai guevara

        Oh, you’ve expanded your response yet still said nothing.
        Well done, matey. Now refute my undeniable intelligence if you can.

        • global city

          they are anti bankster AND anti EU…. or most of them are seriously euroseptic, the autocratic model it supports being much more better understood on the continent than it is here.

          As a result the scepticism is much more serious than the UK’s.

          • dalai guevara

            Exactly, sceptic isn’t anti.
            That is the first hurdle many fail to take. The next is to hear what they are actually saying.

          • global city

            It is vital that the notion of European cooperation is not lost in the debate. Thankfully this is an issue that Farage repeatedly raises. Being anti EU is not to be anti close cooperation with our friends.

        • Fergus Pickering

          By intelligence do you mean the things you know or your hat size and the way your head sticks out at the back?

          • dalai guevara

            Anyone who ever read the Beppe blog will know who and what he criticises. I am willing to reproduce that here in a nutshell. A simple thank you will suffice.

  • Richard N

    Just remember that this article is written by a member of the Conservative party – the party which sold off more of Britain’s sovereignty and independence than even the Labour party over the last 40 years.

    Hannan is just one of a large number of self-styled ‘eurosceptics’ in the Tory party who supported the tawdry little piece of pure deception called the ‘Referendum Bill’ – utterly meaningless (since if passed into law it could be cancelled at a stroke in the next Parliament), but which they have been trying to sell as ‘guaranteeing’ a future EU referendum.

    The fact that every single Tory MP signed this piece of pure deception should remind people than these fake eurosceptics have been maintained in the Tory party for the last 40 years, continuously – because they are very useful in attracting eurosceptic votes from the suckers – while for the last 40 years, the Tories have been signing treaty after treaty to the EU at the back door.

    There are no genuine eurosceptics in the Tory parliamentary party – nor in the rubber stamp ‘EU Parliament’: they are just window dressing, seeking to disguise the fact that the Tory party signed up to surrender Britain to the EU gang 40 years ago – and is still going full-tilt for that objective.

    All the rest is just the same smoke and mirrors that they have been using for the last 4 decades.

  • global city

    Daniel… did you see how Isabel linked to your article from HER Speccie piece?

    Hmmm, ‘the rise of Far Right parties’

    She obviously didn’t read it before linking to it!

  • global city

    The other point, in an otherwise exellent article, Daniel is that you miss the doctrinaire nature of the federal social market model that all pro EU people hang the rest of their politial ideals on. That is right and left federalists end up becoming the same. They cannot see their other differences, as the few they have in common vastly outweigh their differences. Just like so many can’t see the Nazis as Left Wing because of the defining nature of their core, racist ideology. To all intents and purposes all pro-Eu politicians are of the same party… the Social-market ‘Democrats’.

    With a few notable exceptions, the sad reality is that the Conservatives are part of the EUsocialmarket model party

  • whs1954

    Populism is a favourite Eurocrat word, meaning ‘when politicians do what
    their constituents want’ — or, as we call it in English, ‘democracy’

    Most certainly not. I refer you to Edmund Burke’s address to the electors of Bristol.

  • regbs

    This author commits the slander he condemns by labelling the BNP as extreme, which the BNP is not. Name-calling is easier than presenting ideas methodically.

  • Tom Tom

    He may be right about the ovens if you read the technical studies on the oven manufacturers and the installations at Birkenau. That is why they used huge pits and railway sleepers to stack corpses on and burn them with such a glow that they could be seen from aircraft overhead.

    How that invalidates the fact of mass-slaughter requires a particularly nuanced form of French which signifies the speaker to be of a particular and somewhat unique social stratum

    • Terence Hale

      que dire de la facture de gaz

  • Terence Hale

    Watch out Eurorats. The European democratic establishment is living up to its old name the European Union. With its participant’s jet lagged from traveling from Brussels to Strasbourg having no time to think sitting on the fence with both ears to the ground they disappoint democracy. I have lived outside Britain all my working life reading and writing in silly foreign languages at the moment feeling to develop throat cancer by tying to learn Dutch. I have never once received any papers to vote in a European election. I have always been registered with the municipalities of my residence but never any form of democratic representation. Asking around I found this to be very common. Is the European parliament a place of honour without virtue, as a honest man nearly always thinks justly I expect no answer. I question the democratic legitimacy of the European Parliament.

    • Alan Borgars

      The main problems with the European Union are the European Central Bank and the European Commission,actually, neither of which are elected or accountable to voters. The European Parliament has some democratic legitimacy, but it lacks the power to initiate new legislation-it can block it,though, and importantly,it can block the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Search on google for details of that proposed agreement.

  • BoiledCabbage

    Extremes in politics and social mood are normal in extreme economic situations – Europe is in the grip of deflation caused by the ECB/ EU/ Eurofin etc and as night follows day what follows next is some sort of ‘black swan’ event – the pressure for a fracture has been building for some time.

  • Jim ツ

    Why Pirates Dress As Pirates at The Pirates’ Christmas Ball by NorthernJim:
    Within a cramped and dimly lit, old, seedy, basement room,

    Secreted in The Jolly Sailor Inn by Falmouth dock,

    A meeting came to order of a shady little group

    Of salty chaps with tricorn hats, big boots and stripy socks.

    Bizarre in their appearance, round a table sat this crew,

    Some members sporting eyepatches, with rings in mottled ears,

    And perched upon odd shoulders, squawking out most noisily,

    Were weird and scruffy parrots nestled on their buccaneers.

    “Belay the noise and heed me well,” the chairman bellowed forth,

    And glowered round the room at all the coves before his eyes;

    “Apologies are offered from Black Jack and One-Eyed Sid,

    They’re currently a-swinging from their gibbets up on high.”

    “Oo arrrggh!” replied the motley crew, who downed a toast of grog,

    In memory of Jack and Sid and all who jig and prance

    When dangling from the hangman’s noose on Tyburn’s windswept knoll,

    Unwilling partners in Grim Jim the Reaper’s final dance.

    As silence fell upon the room and all respects were paid,

    The chairman dabbed a teary eye and cleared his throat of phlegm :

    “Good masters from the mighty ships that plunder Cornish seas

    I call to order members for this Pirates’ AGM!”

    “Now as y’know, Agenda Item One, contentious be,

    So we must full apply our best attention one and all.

    A question of perplexity, that always causes grief:

    What theme shall we ‘ave this year for the Pirates’ Christmas Ball?”

    The group began a murmuring which quickly grew and grew,

    As keen debate and argument erupted o’er the choice.

    A fist fight briefly took a hold until a musket shot

    Brought sense and order to the room, and then up spoke a voice:

    “We could all come as vicars,” ventured Peg Leg Pirate Pete,

    Whose mother dearly wanted him to get a clergy job.

    “You scurvy dog! That’s utter bilge!” another voice rang out;

    ‘Twas Peg Leg’s mortal enemy from Bodmin ; Long John Bob!

    And soon the room became quite polarised between the two

    For Bob’s mates favoured dressing up as cowboys from the West,

    With vicars versus cowboys as the choice before them all

    A show of hands was how the question would be put to rest.

    The chairman counted out aloud, as arms were duly raised,

    And taking note that those with hooks for hands had half a vote,

    Declared a draw, and as was custom when the poll was tied,

    A free for all ensued, with daggers drawn by each cut-throat.

    And so like all the AGMs that pirates could recall,

    This meeting ended badly with a mighty bloody brawl,

    And as was customary in that County of Cornwall,

    The pirates dressed as pirates at the Pirates’ Christmas Ball !

  • BoiledCabbage

    By 2017, when Cameron suggests we might have a Referendum on the EU, there will be nothing left of Britain. The rot – green energy policies, over-regulation, crazy immigration and welfare rulings, ECHR – will have taken hold. And Cameron was elected to stop the rot Labour were creating.

    But carry on muddling through, this PR substitute for doing something. UKIP will pick up what the conservatives have dropped.

  • WalterSEllis

    Daniel Hannan – who is distrusted, even despised, by most Faragistas – frequently makes play of the fact that, while he has no time for the EU, he remains a true “European,” which appears to mean that he, as a cultivated man, and a linguist, has many friends in Europe and appreciates the Continent’s history and traditions.

    He would have us believe that the tide of history is on his side and that the people of Europe are uniting around the need for division. Note, however, that he points to a clear distinction between his antipathy to the idea of European Union, which is apparently based on an enlightened sense, shared by civilised élites elsewhere, of what can and cannot reasonably be achieved, and the crude, “bellicose” rantings of the disparate factions representing mainly workers’ interests, from Greece to Denmark.

    Hannan has no time for the likes of Barroso and Van Rompuy. But I suspect, as he suggests, that he would be even more uncomfortable in the company of the protest movements that have sprung up across Europe in the face of the ongoing economic crisis. He doesn’t want them labelled “fascist,” because that would make it difficult for him to associate with them and still appear a principled “moderate”. But there is little doubt that if the EU should ever collapse, Hannan will not join the celebrations alongside leaders of these “mystical” movements, which he sees as damaging to “mainstream” conservativism.

    Street protesters, in other words, are the “useful idiots,” in Stalin’s phrase, who will sweep the European Union into the dustbin of history before being swept away themselves, leaving the nations of Europe once more in the grip of educated men in suits.

    Nineteen-sixty-two, here we come.

  • Wilhelm

    Hannan speaks with forked tongue, he’s all for the EUSSR, he even wants Turkey in it.

  • johnslattery

    Why was the comment about the oven capacity at Auschwitz ‘extreme?’

  • allymax bruce

    Daniel, you said, “reinforced by countless bien-pensant journalists, who apply the blanket term ‘far right’ to anyone they disapprove of”; isn’t that what you are doing when you ‘discount’ “extremists, eccentrics and outright, drooling loons.” ?
    But I kinda know what you mean; those you think are not sufficient in their ‘acceptability of others views’. But! Wait! You infer the far-Left, & the Far-Right are going to do well in this year’s MEP elections; can we extrapolate this means the ‘Centre’ is losing ground? Is the popular thinking in European countries moving away from ‘Elitist Class’ politics? Are these Far-left & far-Right ‘loons’, (your terminology), that are going to garner more than 50% of the MEP vote, going to change the Ideological system of Politics in Europe? Another question is, how can the European people continue to accept being run/owned by a bunch of unelected ‘Elite Class’ fixers like he European Commission (EC)? The EC is not elected by the people; only by their own Elitist Class! I think in 10 years, the EU will look very different to what it looks like now; I believe the power the EC has, will be abolished, and an all-elected proper EU, (minus the EC), will emerge; the EU countries want this, and that’s what’s going to happen. Barrosso is being kicked-out of his job in 3 months; he’s a waste of ‘writing space’. He has a history of saying whatever his EC masters tell him to say. In a way, Barrosso typifies how out of touch the EC is; are the plebs going to revolt? Another Revolution in Europe, exactly 100 years from the last one?

  • Chaotopia

    “We can be certain that they will cling to their demands for ‘more
    Europe’, whatever the economic reality and whatever the wishes of their
    constituents. For five years, their policies have caused unemployment,
    deflation and emigration across southern Europe, while the IOUs pile up
    in northern Europe. Nothing makes them question their faith. No amount
    of suffering, no amount of debt moves them to admit that the single
    currency might have been a mistake. They are, literally, beyond
    argument. Which raises the question — who are the real extremists here?”

    I think Peter Oborne gave the best possible explanation that the EU Federalists are so fanatically wedded to their idiot ideology. It really comes down to a fundamental difference of Philosophy – Empiricism (Britain’s great gift to the world that to this very day defines the systematic standard for Scientific inquiry, high quality journalism and the Law) vs Rationalism (responsible for infantile imbecility of cultural relativism and Post-Modern gobbledegook):


    “The problem is that European and British leaders tend to come from rival intellectual traditions. In Britain, empiricism – most closely associated with Hume, though its roots can be traced back to William of Ockham and others – is the native inheritance. Empiricism insists that all knowledge of fact must be based on experience. Most European schools of philosophy claim the exact opposite, namely that ideas are the only things that truly exist. This school of metaphysical idealism can be traced back through Hegel (for whom history itself is the realisation of an idea) and Kant to Plato.

    Anglo-Saxon empiricism and the idealism found on the Continent therefore prescribe directly opposite courses of political conduct. Empiricists are trained in scepticism and caution: if you put your hand in the fire once, you will not do so again. Idealists, by contrast, are much less likely to renounce a course of conduct or set of beliefs because reality gets in the way.

    Empiricists, alert to the lessons of history and conscious of man’s tragic imperfection, are wary. So they concentrate on specific rules – honesty, decency, accuracy, compassion to friends or care for a particular community. Idealists tend to embrace grand plans for social reconstruction or for general human salvation. They are much less worried by rule-breaking, especially if they believe that it serves the greater good.

    It is this underlying philosophical disposition that explains the continued reverence felt by the European political class for the euro, when empiricists would have given up long ago. Indeed, it is impossible to avoid a certain grudging respect for the imperishable optimism of the single-currency enthusiasts, their absolute refusal to be deterred by adversity and contrary evidence. (This is something they have in common with the American neo-cons, unrepentant despite the twin calamities of Afghanistan and Iraq, and still urging fresh fields for armed intervention.)”

    The EU fundamentalists simply will not abandon their feeble-minded faith even when bitter experience shows it being steadily annihilated it before their very eyes.

  • lowCal90

    Since each of us has unique intellect, talents, and experience, the only way to make us all equal is to treat each of us unequally.