A Farage-backed conference will explore the prospect of Ireland leaving—while in Italy, the Eurosceptic Five Star Movement is on the rise. But will either actually go anywhere?by Alessio Colonnelli / January 8, 2018 / Leave a comment
Here we go again. Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage has declared that he will visit the Republic of Ireland to back a conference which could, he hopes, instigate that country’s own departure from the EU. After ‘Quitaly’, ‘Frexit’ and ‘Nexit’, a newly coined neologism has emerged to blast our ears: ‘Irexit.’
Or maybe not. Irish mainstream politics seems to have little time for ideas like that—as does politics in Italy, France and the Netherlands—all EU founding members. There, the idea of leaving Europe is still the stuff of emerging fringe movements, led by so-called ‘populists.’ You only wonder if they could ever take off properly, as they did in the UK.
In Spain—soon to be the union’s fourth largest economy if Article 50 isn’t recalled—they’ve apparently made no appearance at all. Euroscepticism is a teeny-weeny thing among Iberians: Portugal seems immune to it, too. Catalan also separatists want to stay in Europe; their leader Carles Puigdemont is living in ‘exile’ in Brussels. His move there was an unequivocal political statement in line with a federal Europe future. A manifesto in action.
So, is the Nigel Farage-backed conference to explore the possibility of the Republic of Ireland ever leaving the EU going to attract that much attention? Even a month before the Dublin event—called “Irexit: Freedom to Prosper”—there’s already no mincing words over it. Fine Gael Senator Neale Richmond has termed it a “sham gathering.”
At the time when a surge in Irish passport applications from the UK is under way, calling for Ireland to follow its bigger neighbour seems a long shot—especially given how daft the UK looks right now in the eyes of many.
“But for many of those who voted Leave, the intention surely was only to blow the bloody doors off. The referendum was an opportunity to vent a general rage at the Establishment, much of it justified. It was a free flying kick at the well-upholstered bums. But instead of being a controlled explosion of anger, it has sent the whole vehicle of state skywards,” columnist Fintan O’Toole wrote in the Irish Times.
That brings us on to another country where Farage surely hopes for an equivalent movement to “take back…