I have little doubt that the European elections of May 2014 will send a powerful political tremor through the corridors of Brussels as a much larger number of Eurosceptic MEPs, from both left, right and centre get elected to the destroyer of parliaments.
Outside the Brussels bubble, people out there in the real world are struggling with euro-induced poverty, unemployment, and powerlessness. The European election will be a golden opportunity for those who do not have a strong voice in the present parliament to shout in a very clear fashion, "No to the United States of Europe" as envisaged by EU justice and fundamental rights commissioner Viviane Reding. There is growing disillusionment and anger about the EU across the European continent, not just in the UK; and Eurosceptics of every hue will seek to channel these democratic hopes and economic fears into a force ready to take on those who wish to keep on building a failing centralised state, headquartered in Brussels.
Greek prime minister Antonio Samaras came to speak in Strasbourg recently. He is a man with little power to determine the future of his own country. How could we expect that he could exert much meaningful change, through the Greek presidency, on the future direction of the EU? The whole PR rigmarole about the efforts of the Greek presidency is comical.
The Europe of Freedom and Democracy group over the next few months will be preparing assiduously to take on the undemocratic influence of big business, big banks, and big bureaucrats in the shape of commission president José Manuel Barroso, in order to wrestle power back from Brussels so we can hand it over to the peoples and parliaments of our national states.
Over the coming weeks we shall try to turn the European election into a quasi-referendum between national democracy and EU state bureaucracy. Up until now, everybody has thought that centralised development of the European Union was inevitable. That myth of inevitability will be shattered in the European elections this year.
As EU federalists look down the barrel of a gun as the election nears, it is touching to see some notes of realism appear on the scene. Parliament's committee on budgetary control, in its report on the actions of the troika, recently commented that "a consequence of the macroeconomic assistance programmes and [European Central Bank] lending operations European Union citizens face a meltdown of their life savings with interest rates being lower than one per cent, i.e. around the current inflation rate. This situation could potentially put the acceptance of the euro currency and the EU as a whole at risk." How right they are, but it will be too late to douse the flames of people's anger as unemployment rates in Greece and Spain and other countries rise.
As leader of UKIP, even without having any MPs, our party is exerting huge change in the agenda of political debate in the UK, also encouraging other parties across the continent to call for a halt to a centralised Europe and a restoration of power to national parliaments, if not a total withdrawal from the EU itself. In Britain, I hope that UKIP success in the European elections will lead to a change in personnel and policies of the three old parties. We are changing the agenda. In 2014, we hope to do it in Westminster as well as Brussels.