Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Simon Carr

The Sketch: Funny guy, but Vaclav has little to laugh about

On a suitably cold and dismal day, the President of a dissident republic addressed his underground supporters in inner London about the optimal size of a monetary union.

The human spirit and so forth, how indomitable it is.

Vaclav Klaus has a broad face, a neat moustache and a quiet sense of middle European humour. He described a graph showing the inverse relationship between the depth of integration and the number of countries being integrated. It got a much bigger laugh than you'd expect.

"I will not be blowing against the wind in front of this audience," he'd said. That got a laugh as well.

"There is not from heaven falling a large sum of money," he told us (that didn't get a laugh). The EU had created a political culture that was "post-democracy".

Yes, even euro-enthusiasts recognise that. As to what will happen? "I don't see what to do tomorrow, or the day after. I think there will be muddling through short-term problems to long-term stagnation."

Such rhetoric may not light a tall fire in your mind but President Klaus has a cult status in Eurosceptic circles as the last head of state to sign the Lisbon Treaty (although he did actually sign it in the end).

He also has an eight-point plan that pumps blood into every UKIP heart – fiercely and comprehensively anti-socialist from global warming to monetary union. By his account, it's gaining traction.

The persistence of President Klaus – and of the Bruges Group hosting them, and of Bill Cash now of the European Scrutiny committee – is heroic when you consider what has been achieved in the sceptic cause.

That is: nothing. They have been outmanoeuvred at every level and every stage and the only thing that will now reform the institutions of the EU is a catastrophe of collapse.

Maybe they won't have long to wait.