Good riddance, Donald Tusk

His speech last night was a reminder of how shockingly anti-democratic the EU is.

Brendan O'Neill

Brendan O'Neill


The most shocking thing about Donald Tusk’s speech at the College of Europe yesterday was not its actual content. We already knew that Tusk, the outgoing president of the European Council, was an officious bureaucrat with no love for democracy, so his brazen meddling in the UK’s General Election and his offer of support to the anti-democratic Remain alliance was not a surprise.

No, most shocking was the way the Remainer elites in our own political and media classes lapped up Tusk’s words. They genuinely prefer the alleged expertise of faraway, unaccountable technocrats over the beliefs and wisdom of the British masses, of their fellow citizens. In the bizarre chattering-class love for Tusk we can see just how thoroughly the UK’s opinion-formers have turned against democracy, and against their own people, in preference for living under the apparently wise judgement and undemocratic laws of nicer, cleverer people from Europe.

This is really a tale of two Donalds. When Donald Trump poked his fake-tanned nose into Britain’s electoral affairs a couple of weeks ago, by proposing an alliance between Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage, the chattering classes went crazy. ‘How dare he’, they hollered. Yet when Donald Tusk sticks his beak into our politics, they lap it up. They get emotional, even, shedding a tragic tear or two over the fact that this bloke no one in the UK ever voted for will never again get to boss Britain around once he leaves the EC. How will we cope when this decent bureaucrat, a man just like us, a man so unlike the thick throng who voted for Brexit, moves on?

The acceptable Donald’s meddling in Britain’s electoral affairs was brazen. He said British Remainers should never ‘give up’ on stopping Brexit. Stopping Brexit – I am always, perhaps naively, amazed at the way that Remainers and others bandy that phrase around, as if it were somehow acceptable to stop the largest democratic vote in UK history, to stop the people from having their say. It’s always worth reminding people that stopping Brexit means stopping democracy; it means stopping the franchise that ordinary British people won a hundred years ago following centuries of struggle.

Anyway, Tusk thinks Britain’s anti-democrats should not give up on trying to stop Brexit because once the UK leaves the EU it will become ‘an outsider, a second-rate player’. What an insult. What an insult to Britain and its resourceful people and our ability to shape our destiny in a positive, democratic way. This Donald’s implicit threat to Britain as it goes to the polls was far worse than the other Donald’s comments.

More alarmingly, Tusk admitted, openly for once, that he has tried to stymie Brexit. ‘I did everything in my power to avoid the confrontational No Deal scenario and extend the time for reflection and a possible British change of heart’, he said. And there it is: a Eurocrat confesses that he dragged out the Brexit process in the hope of beating down our democratic desires and bringing about a ‘change of heart’. What we have here is a powerful foreign politician admitting to using his considerable power – ‘everything in my power’ – to prevent the enactment of the largest democratic act in our history.

This ought to feel disturbing. And to Brexit voters, it does. To us, Tusk’s meddling in our election confirms why we voted leave in the first place – to liberate ourselves from this Brussels oligarchy that presumes authority over our democratic, sovereign affairs. But to the Remainer elite – which is distinct from the 16.1million people who voted Remain, it must always be reiterated – Tusk’s words are good. He’s right, they think. He’s right in what he says and he’s right to try to steer British politics away from the democratic cry of 2016 and towards an authoritarian stitch-up of Brexit.

This is how much Britain’s supposed intellectuals and activists have lost the plot. They now view unaccountable foreign politicians as a preferable source of wisdom to their own neighbours, their own people. The more distant they become from ordinary Brits, the more love they feel for the stiff bureaucrats of Brussels. And then Remainers, and Tusk in his speech last night, have the gall to accuse Brexit voters of being nostalgic for empire! It isn’t us who want vast, unaccountable bureaucratic machines to exercise political authority over the nations of Europe – it’s you who wants that. You’re the new lovers of empire.

We should be thankful for Tusk’s speech, though. It’s a reminder of what we’re up against – an arrogant and undemocratic EU bureaucracy and, more importantly, a native political class that has utterly lost faith in its own people and their democratic nous. Good riddance, Donald. And now let’s wish good riddance to our own anti-democratic politicians in this election that too many outsiders keep poking their noses into.

Brendan O’Neill is editor of spiked and host of the spiked podcast, The Brendan O’Neill Show. Subscribe to the podcast here. And find Brendan on Instagram: @burntoakboy

Picture by: Getty

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Ven Oods

16th November 2019 at 11:26 am

Tusk’s main quality was that he was preferable to Juncker.
But that’s a bit like observing that you’d rather have your lounge strewn with garbage than with sewage.

Tim Matthews

14th November 2019 at 9:25 pm

“It’s always worth reminding people that stopping Brexit means stopping democracy”. You do write some hysterical clap-trap, don’t you Mr. O’Neill. I always find it remarkable how so many Brexiteers dodge the question that if they’d “lost” by a margin of 52/48, would they be content with the result and retire with grace? Of course they wouldn’t! They’d fight on! Now that’s what living in a democracy is about, my friend. The country is split down the middle. If we had leadership of quality and true vision, we’d be in a very different place by now. Tusk for PM I say.

Jerry Owen

14th November 2019 at 10:32 pm

Your post is mostly supposition!
The country isn’t split down the middle it was 52% – 48%.
Opinion polls suggest leave is the preferred outcome for way more than 52 %.
You are a typical sore loser … Three years on and you still whinge about a democratic vote you lost.

Tim Matthews

14th November 2019 at 10:57 pm

Oh Jerry. Why so angry? Your poll choice seems very selective. YouGov has shown a majority in consistently in favour of remain throughout this year. Pick whatever poll you want. The country is split down the middle.

Jim Lawrie

15th November 2019 at 12:10 am

In a democracy there is only one poll that counts.

Daniel walsh

15th November 2019 at 1:09 am

Are you for real? You are presented with the fact a representative for the EU, of whom we didn’t even vote for has self admittedly made an effort to prevent such a democratic process from actually happening for the past three years, and you’re still here changing the subject and spouting about democracy as if WE’RE the ones who are delusional hypocrites. You know something? If it was a different story (like it was for the past 3 decades when Thatcher tried having a referendum), I would’ve been blissfully unaware of the EU, and wouldn’t care if the majority voted remain. However since that isn’t what happened, we’ve had our democracy attacked by remainer MPs and MEPs, for the past 3 years. And of course the echos of those multi-million pound funded EU protests in Westminster will still chant “STOP BREXIT” like morons. And clowns such as yourself will accuse us of being undemocratic. If Donald Tusk himself, a highly decorated president of the EU at the time was meddling with our politics for his interests, and even openly admitted to doing so in a speech when standing down, and you can’t comprehend how undemocratic this political trading bloc is, AND you still think we’re the bad guys…. then that just shows what a massive joke you are. In addition I am genuinely concerned that a significant amount of the British public actually follow your mindset.

Joseph Brown

15th November 2019 at 9:39 am

The mindset of many remainers is quite, quite bizarre. There’s an almost Stockholm Syndrome vibe to it, but on a global scale. Frightening stuff.

Steve Atkinson

15th November 2019 at 12:29 pm

“I always find it remarkable how so many Brexiteers dodge the question that if they’d “lost” by a margin of 52/48, would they be content with the result and retire with grace? Of course they wouldn’t! They’d fight on!” With all due respect …. what utter garbage!! Would we have changed our minds about wanting out of the EU? Nope, never! But we would never have had such blatant disregard for our democracy and caused the carnage that your side has. Apart from anything else, we wouldn’t have had a period of years in which to cause said carnage. Everything would have remained the same – at least until the next EU Treaty was forced upon us. You should remember Tim Matthews that our vote for Brexit was very much a vote for democracy which is something most of us consider precious. The remain vote was against democracy and for distant centralisation by an institute manned by Tusk, Barnier, VerHofstadt et al …. and God knows what other unelected fanatics in the future!!
Losers consent is a fundamental principle in a democracy and your side refused to provide it. All of the post referendum division and hate in this country is the sole responsibility of arrogant remainers (which isn’t all of them) who think they know best.

Maria Johnson

15th November 2019 at 3:39 pm

Rather rude not to mention odiotic post Tim.
Perhaps reflecting the general anti-democratic ideology of totalitarian worshippers.

P Newbon

16th November 2019 at 12:14 pm

The leave vote was a dishonest bit made up of mostly people with a vested interest 3 million were from the EU, 3 million were expats, 3 million were people who received financial funding, people like farmers, land owners, scientists, MP,s Artists, people from and in education, the list is a long one so I’ll stop here. You get my point, because the Brexiteers were ordinary people who believed in freedom and wanted nothing to do with the EU dictatorship. And yes we knew what we was voting for, we voted to remove the parasitic EU from our backs! Our economy would always recover, because opportunity would not be stifled by the EU. The other reason we voted to rid ourselves of the EU was to stop the EU destroying the British races through mass immigration to achieve their Nirvana of a new European race, belonging to the EU was an act of national suicide!

Bella Donna

16th November 2019 at 4:40 pm

Democracy isn’t something you can cherry pick! You lost the referendum get over it accept it or move out!

Northern 1312

14th November 2019 at 5:07 pm

Demonising the Russian’s for re-taking Crimea is the selective outrage of someone’s who bought into the prevailing media narrative without expending any critical energy on it’s construction. The idea that the Ruskies would simply allow western backed (ie American) rebels to seize the Russian navy’s only access to the Mediterranean without even resisting is ludicrous. Sevastopol is far too valuable an asset to the Russian military, indeed I’d wager keeping the port out of American hands was the main motivation for Crimea’s return to Russian possession, along with the background of the Nordstream II pipeline etc. By all means be outraged about the violations of international law, just as long as you recognise which party in the wider conflict it is that has utterly trashed all those precedents in international relations.

The outraged response from western media to Crimea’s return to Russia can be explained by our journalist’s lack of familiarity with a Russia that acts decisively in it’s defence when necessary. In my mind, the Crimean incident and Russia’s entrance to the Syrian conflict would be the only times in my life time that the Russian’s have really responded to 3 to 4 decades of barely disguised aggression by a capitalist west desperate to strip her assets and resources in the same manner they did in the early 90’s, and are currently doing in Western Ukraine (but that’s absolutely morally okay for the modern left, as evidenced by the nonchalance displayed to revelations about Biden’s Ukrainian dealings).

To return to the larger topic, I suppose one can be grateful to characters like Tusk for at least performing the litmus test on one’s commitment to democracy. Anyone who can’t see the dangerous sentiment lurking below the surface of what’s being said here is either an abject liar or a simpleton.

Dominic Straiton

14th November 2019 at 5:37 pm

Russia will never allow itself to become the manure for another culture to take root and destroy it like Western Civilisation has done.They learnt that from Byzantium. Russia will be there long after we are a distant memory. Im not a Russian bot.

Jerry Owen

14th November 2019 at 5:03 pm

‘British change of heart’ … those three lions on the English flag didn’t come out of thin air.

Dominic Straiton

14th November 2019 at 4:03 pm

“President” .What a laugh.

Bella Donna

16th November 2019 at 4:42 pm

Yes Tusk is a dope and a loser and someone we won’t miss!

Lord Anubis

14th November 2019 at 1:29 pm

Don’t really know why so many people are worried about Russia, seems our greatest and most meddlesome enemies are (Collectively) within sight of the cliffs of Dover (As they always have been really)

Gerard Barry

14th November 2019 at 1:41 pm

True. And I always find it amazing how pro-EU people always preach about “European solidarity” while demonising Russia, the USA and China. Can’t we be friends and allies with them too?

Neil John

14th November 2019 at 2:07 pm

And the war-shite-hawk cliton who the useful idiots at the british brainwashing colusionists have been promoting this week with her ‘blame the russians’ diatribe.

Gerard Barry

14th November 2019 at 2:48 pm

Some criticisms of Russia are justified (e.g. its annexation of Crimea). But the idea that they are somehow behind Brexit or Trump’s election success? I just don’t buy it.

Jerry Owen

14th November 2019 at 10:36 pm

Yes.. Boris’s decision not to stand down in some areas to aid the BP proves that he, as I have said before is putting party before country. The referendum won by 17.4 millions comes second to his party.
The Tory party disgust me.

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