Thursday, July 01, 2010

Charlamagne to Bagehot

David Rennie, formerly of the Telegraph (where I helped set up his first blog), then the Economist's man in Brussels has been Charlamagne for the past few years, Today is his last as he is moving to London to take up the London equivalent, Bagehot.

However he leaves with quite a humdinger of a column in which this little anecdote stands out.
Shortly after the first Irish No in 2008, I found myself at a gala dinner in Brussels. Sitting on a gilt armchair in a panelled stateroom, I was told by the head of a Brussels think-tank that the Irish result proved the idiocy of putting EU treaties to the people. “Fucking voters,” he declared, languidly extending one arm so the hovering steward could refill his champagne glass. “I mean, fucking voters, what do they know?” I still wish I had walked out.
I could hazard a pretty good guess who this man might be, but there would be numerous others who could take his place. Anybody who has worked in Brussels for any time has similar stories to this. Examples of the utter contempt by which the people are held by the elite. I well remember Joe Lienen MEP, after the Dutch vote on the Constitution saying,

"Have your little celebration, we have a thousand ways to win"
I am sure that David will enjoy the Smoke and I look forward to finding out who has been sent to replace him.

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