Oh, a whole article about #Libertas and I in the Financial Times! http://twitclicks.com/t9loabout 13 hours ago from web http://twitter.com/declanganley
Ganley is obviously suffering from paying a mere 700 euro per month month to his spam army.
Ireland's No vote dissenter spreads horizons
By Joshua Chaffin in Brussels
Published: April 23 2009 03:00 | Last updated: April 23 2009 03:00
Declan Ganley almost single-handedly brought further European Union integration to a halt when he led a shrewd - some would say disingenuous - campaign against the Lisbon treaty in last year's Irish referendum.
Now, as the European parliament elections approach, Mr Ganley is trying to spin that campaign into a broad-based political movement.
He has vowed to field candidates this June in all 27 member states under the banner of Libertas, a party that calls itself a "pan-European movement dedicated to creating a new, democratic and open European Union, from the ground up".
Its target: the faceless officials running Europe from Brussels. Last month, as European heads of state gathered for yet another Brussels summit on the econ-omic crisis, Mr Ganley was putting on a show of his own just down the street.
"We don't know who these people are, what they look like," he recently told journalists. As heads of state met, he accused officials of contempt for democracy. "Do we need a thousand meetings a month? What are they meeting about?"
Libertas is particularly optimistic about its prospects in the Czech Republic. It recently recruited two members of the ODS (Civic Democratic) party who voted to bring down the Czech government in the midst of its first EU presidency. Opinion polls beg to differ.
"They don't register at all," said Simon Hix, professor of European politics at the London School of Econ-omics, who predicted that Libertas would not win a single seat in June. It is still early in the campaign, however, and Mr Ganley has already demonstrated the dangers of underestimating him.
Libertas is spicing up an election that has typically suffered from voter apathy. A recent debate between Mr Ganley and Daniel Cohn-Bendit, the Green party MEP and student hero of 1968, filled a Brussels hotel ballroom to overflowing.
Mr Ganley tried to use the encounter to cast himself as the reluctant politician - the businessman thrust into public service to rescue a foundering democracy. He also insisted he was "enthusiastic for the European idea"; he just wanted the EU to work better.
But any hopes for a substantive debate were dashed when Mr Ganley revived allegations of paedophilia based on episodes described in Mr Cohn-Bendit's memoirs, Le grand bazar . Mr CohnBendit has always rejected the claims as ridiculous.
Mr Ganley was forced to defend himself against allegations that Libertas had consorted with racists. There were also questions about his business dealings: he made a fortune in aluminium in the former Soviet Union before moving on to US defence contracting.
Yet perhaps the biggest problem facing Libertas is that, in the midst of a deep economic crisis, voters are more worried about job security than institutional reform in Brussels.
"I think that's where he falls down," says Glenis Willmott, leader of the Labour party in the European parliament. Ms Willmott predicts Libertas will help to fragment the anti-Europe vote in the UK.
The performance of fringe parties is emerging ascrucial to the election. Irish voters, having seen their econ-omic miracle crumble, now seem more inclined to seek shelter under the broad roof of Europe than when they rejected the Lisbon treaty.
Mr Ganley says Libertas is "about much more than the issues of the Lisbon treaty".
So far he has presented few specific policies beyond calling for a €10bn ($13bn, £9bn) cut in the EU's annual budget and promises to encourage small business. Libertas has yet to release a detailed manifesto.
Mr Ganley is banking on an Obama-inspired campaign website to raise money and unleash a grassroots -movement.
"Whether or not Brussels recognises Libertas is the least of my concerns," he said. "We're coming - whether they like it or not."