This evening I gave the seventh John Fitzmaurice Memorial Lecture. John, a European Commission official, a prolific academic author and a founding member of the Brussels Labour branch, was in turns my academic mentor, boss, colleague, comrade and dear friend. He passed away suddenly in August 2003. It was a great pleasure and privilege to be able to pay tribute to him. Neil Kinnock delivered the first memorial lecture and the subsequent lecturers have been Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, Geoff Hoon, Julian Priestley, Margot Wallstrom and John Monks. Until the end, John and I would have lunch about once every six weeks (our last lunch was just one month before he died), and we would use these occasions to bounce ideas for articles and books off of one another. I deeply miss those lunches, so I asked the audience to pretend they were John and bounced some ideas off of them. My chosen theme was the rise of Euroscepticism and the risk of a conflation with extremism. Basically, I think we have much to learn from American politics in the mid-1800s, when permanent political parties first started to form at the federal level. These have always remained loose coalitions and maybe that’s the way party politics in the EU will evolve in the longer run, with a loose coalition of pro-integration parties and a loose coalition of more Eurosceptical parties. I’ll post a link to the speech once I have written it up. Here’s that link.