I have to say that even in my most apocalyptic Eurosceptic moments – when I had moved on from thinking the federalist project simply preposterous to believing that it was criminal folly – I never anticipated this. (...)Seemingly out of the blue Mrs. Daley posits that Muslims might become the Jews of the 21st century. Mrs. Daley is rather unfortunate (an that is putting it mildly) in her statement of fear. It's a nasty, uncalled-for stain on her otherwise excellent essay. Her concluding remark, however, is one I am very much afraid is a bang-on assessment of our predicament.
Well, so much for that idea. This is going to be huge: so cataclysmic that it may summon up forms of ugliness that we have not seen walking abroad in Western Europe for half a century. This is where the story goes beyond irony. The European federal dream was devised by its architects to be a definitive repudiation of the ideological conflicts of the 20th century. Pragmatism, consensus and regard for the greater supra-national good would reign where once wicked nationalism and zealotry had prevailed. But what strikes me when I hear the surreal statements emanating from those emergency summits and absurd Franco-German-Greek conference calls is that this is precisely a continuation of the old ideological delusions of the European past.
EU ministers are not, as is sometimes claimed, “in denial”. They fully appreciate what Mr Osborne calls “the gravity of the situation”. They are paralysed because they see clearly the full force of their dilemma. So they vacillate between the impulse to ram through “fiscal integration”, and the fear of electoral consequences: between the totalitarian impulse and the democratic principle. By the end of the year, we will know which one they chose.Read it all. I dare you.