Why Matteo Renzi's ‘Dopey Dave’ Moment Is Good For Britain

5 December 2016, 12:02 | Updated: 5 December 2016, 12:09

Renzi - Cameron

So Matteo Renzi had his dopey Dave moment, invited the Italian people to slap him around in a referendum, and they did, David Mellor writes.

Maybe he and Dave should chillax together, and talk about all those might have beens over a vat or two of Chianti.

Make no mistake this weekend’s events in Austria, as well as in Italy, are good for Britain, whether you are an ardent Brexiteer, or, like me, voted Brexit to get a better deal for Britain about staying in.

Why did Renzi do it?  Italy has severe long term economic problems, with several of their biggest banks on the verge of collapse.  As I write this, there is semi chaos in the markets surrounding them.  Lots of Italian people were angry, just like they were in Britain, so why, Matteo, did you give them a loaded gun?

Now the fate of Italy may well be decided by a crazy gang of quasi anarchists, the Five Star Movement, run by a professional comedian, Beppe Grillo (unlike the amateur comedians who run stuff over here), and the right wing, anti-EU, anti-immigrant Northern League.

That should make Juncker and his junckersaurs – those high living Brussels apparatchiks who can’t see their looming destruction any more clearly than dinosaurs did - think twice about their tactics over Brexit.

They try to convey the impression that the EU is united, and only Britain is out of step.  This weekend shows the reality which is large swathes of European voters are also fed up with Brussels, and the entire EU project is under threat. Not just in Italy, but, even in France, where the Juncker supporting President Hollande has stepped down from next year’s Presidential elections, thinking, (probably rightly!!), that his current 4% approval rating isn’t enough to get him re-elected.

It’s nothing short of pathetic how much joy the Junckernauts, indeed the entire EU establishment took in that Austrian “Victory” on Saturday.  Victory, what victory?  A far right neo-Nazi party gets almost half the votes.  Where’s the victory there?

And remember, Austria was where Nazism was always at its strongest.  More so than in Germany.  Indeed Austria’s biggest achievement is getting people to believe Mozart was an Austrian and Hitler a German, when it was, of course, the other way around.

Would they be drinking deep in Whitehall, like the Junckernauts in Brussels if the British National Party got almost half the votes in a UK Election?  Of course not.   And Herr Hofer and his Peoples Party are not finished yet.

Only one person is strong enough to sort this out, if she really wants to.  And that’s not Theresa May, but Angela Merkel.  She could tell Juncker enough is enough, demand change, and using what is still her considerable authority in the EU, ram the case for change through, which could begin to rebuild confidence amongst voters across Europe that the EU project is going somewhere positive.

This weekend proves we are not alone in telling Brussels and the EU enough is enough.  We were just the first of several, or maybe, indeed, the first of many to do so, as Merkel herself might find out next year, to her cost, if she doesn’t do something about it fast.