So the Irish have passed their referendum on the Lisbon Treaty by a margin of 2-to-1, despite the volume of sceptical opinion out there.
Even Nigel Farage's excuse-making that the score is now 1-1 and a decider is required has been blown out of the water by the scale of the defeat - it can't even be written off as an away-goals victory considering the aggregate score!
The thing which gets me is how the criticism is just so massively misplaced.
If the EU is imperfect then we should work to make it better - it can be and has been an effective counterweight to the excesses of national governments, so we should strengthen it's accountability processes and improve transparency.
Equally our national governments are far from perfect, but they are an effective counterweight to the weaknesses of the multi-national institutions and the only line of defence to wholesale intervention from outside, so we also work to bring in positive reforms at home.
Yet the very same people who complain about the loss of national sovereignty are exactly the same ones who complain loudest about how the people elected to our no-longer-sovereign parliament are abusing their power. By that logic we should get rid of the EU and we should get rid of the UK and literally turn every Englishman's home into a castle!
But I don't see it as a zero-sum game where an increase of sovereignty by one political body is matched by an equal loss elsewhere.
No, the balance of powers held by each organ is a mechanism by which real freedoms can be protected and advanced in a competition for legitimacy.
Obviously that isn't anything any aspirant dictator wants, so people like Farage use whatever means they can to attack each side in turn as they undermine the whole system. It doesn't matter to them what damage they've wrought so long as it helps advance their cause of building a power base (NB standing down one job to try to gain a bigger one in a breaking of convention is a tactic straight out of Caesar's handbook - Conservatives who egg on their Ukip opponent simply betray their anti-democratic credentials and lack of principles).
As for referenda I think it would be very interesting to hold them simultaneously at a pan-european level, just like with Eurovision or Uefa competitions, which would massively increase the interest among the general population to ensure decisions are placed on a much more democratic footing. This would also prevent sceptics from accusing commissioners of rigging the vote quite so easily.
At the moment I simply don't think the issues are understood or debated widely enough (the only people who have at least tried to read the actual texts of what is under consideration are amateur obsessives and real pros), so I don't think it is possible to make a good decision - yet.
What we really need to understand is that at the heart of the European question is a fundamental decision over whether people think integration or disintegration is the way to proceed - one thing is certain: the status quo is both unacceptable and unsustainable.
Update: He may be a slightly different species, but I think it's worth linking to Nosemonkey's desire for eurosceptics to use rational arguments.
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