More than a million spectators converged on the Thames yesterday to watch the diamond jubilee river pageant, despite worsening weather that forced the cancellation of a flypast.
As the Queen and other members of the royal family joined 20,000 participants in the 1,000-strong flotilla, millions of people across Britain joined in the celebrations at street parties, though many were hastily relocated indoors.
Understandably the media has been very focussed on the Jubilee, especially in the last few days, so there hasn’t been much discussion of the referendum vote in Ireland, despite it being a highly significant moment, especially for us in the UK.
In Britain, hostility to the EU is growing, with an array of political forces clamouring for a break-up of the euro and even of the European Union. The main trouble with the British anti-EU argument is that Europe’s voters keep letting them down. The Irish referendum is a case in point. In spite of the ongoing crisis in the eurozone, they did not endorse the policies of the current Dublin government. Instead, they remain firmly pro-EU.
Similarly, in Greece the leftist Syriza party is carrying the hopes of those struggling against the economic depression and is both pro-EU and anti-austerity, as is the majority of the Greek population.
It is also true in France, where the pro-EU, anti-cuts Front de Gauche performed so well in the first round of the presidential election. The same applies to the emerging anti-cuts movement in Spain.
Sadly in the UK we are out of touch with the rest of Europe. The leader of the formerly euro-fanatic Lib Dems has joined the anti-EU chorus, even Ed Balls has suggested a European referendum to “rebuild trust” with the electorate. Reversing the coalition’s cuts might achieve that more directly. Bending to Euro hostility will benefit only the Tories and UKIP.