Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Donald MacLeod: Clowns to the left and right as Putin waits in the wings to see Europe tear itself apart

Russian President Vladimir Putin (Adam Berry / Getty Images)
Russian President Vladimir Putin (Adam Berry / Getty Images)

GIVEN the polarisation and financial uncertainty over Brexit, you would have thought that the elite in Brussels would have changed their self-serving ways.

Not a chance! As the results from Italy’s general election prove, they haven’t learned a thing. And woe betides us all!

They and Italy’s former governing Democratic Party thought they were in for an easy win.

As Gerry Rafferty might have said: “Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right. Here we are, stuck in the middle with EU.”

How wrong they were. The Democratic Party lost massively as the populist anti-European Reformist Five Star Movement (M5S), formed by former comedian Beppe Grillo and a plethora of far right anti-immigrant parties, romped home.

That left Italy, and the EU, teetering on the abyss.

We shouldn’t forget that, to their conceited folly, the EU dismissed the possibility of the UK ever voting to leave their cosy wee club.

They also arrogantly ignored the rise of Marine Le Pen and her far right National Front party during France’s presidential race, breathing a smug sigh of relief when fresh-faced Eurocrat Emmanuel Macron came to their rescue.

Their Euro blushes were also saved in Austria, Holland and Germany, where the uncrowned Queen of Europe, Angela Markel, narrowly clung to power.

With surges in support for anti-European and anti-immigration parties sweeping across the continent, Brexit, the success of isolationist Donald Trump and Russia’s Putrid Putin plotting on our doorsteps, the Brussels elite should have realised the dangers.

The EU, if only to protect their own gilded lifestyles, should have done something, anything.

Not a chance – they have been deaf to the public’s cry for change, blind to the needs of the many, not just their precious few.

Guilty of being asleep at the wheel, the EU has become an economic car crash.

It is a disaster very much of their own making, and one which could have been avoided if only they had decided to spend more time listening, not preaching and ignoring the economic plight of their member nations.

If they are not careful, the powerful political shockwaves reverberating throughout Europe over this result could force the whole of the EU to come crashing down.

Not a bad thing, you may say. Time this particular swamp was drained?

I might agree, expect for the fact that I’m sure a certain Mr Vlad “The Mad” Putin also wishes that were the case.

So voters across the EU must be very careful what we wish for.

Destabilising and breaking up the EU would save Russia a fortune on invincible nukes, military hardware, computer hackers, spies, and, of course, toxic nerve agents.