Oui or non: the
creation of the European State will go on.
May 13- 2005
Vol 10 No 15
Will the eurosceptic cause be best served by a yes or a no
vote in the French referendum on the European Constitution on 29th
To some the answer is obvious: the French are
co-architects of the European project and Giscard d’Estaing, [-see our
bulletin board -major issues No 38-Valery Giscard d’Estaing-WHY he is X] - the
author of the constitutional text is not merely a senior French political
leader but one who exemplifies the values of a political class that has made
the creation of a unitary European State its most its most urgent task. It follows, or would seem to follow, that a
French non would be far more damaging to the European cause than
a British no, and should therefore be warmly welcomed.
However the matter is a little more complicated than
that. It is already clear that a French
non will not mean a return to drawing board. There is no Plan’B’ ‘C’ or ‘D’, and no
intention to provide one.
Work to achieve a number of objectives set out in the
Treaty document - for example the creation of an EU diplomatic service and the
creation of the European Defence Agency-have begun ahead of ratification and
will continue; other federalist objectives are proceeding outside the framework
of the treaty document.
Inevitably, it will be hard to stifle a degree of pleasure
in observing the discomfiture of the French political elite, but the almost
certain consequence of a no vote will be the continuation of federalism by
A second French referendum is just thinkable in the event
of a wafer-thin victory for the French no camp; much more likely is the private
resolve of political leaders in France (and elsewhere) never to allow the
electorate a say in such an important matter. Jacques Chirac, like Tony Blair,
was extremely reluctant to call a referendum: he is very unlikely to risk
making the same mistake twice.
Nor would the French non represent a victory
for forces identical to those that would celebrate a British rejection of the
treaty. Some French opponents of the Constitution
believe that it does not go far enough or even that it represents a victory for
the political and economic values of the hated Anglo-Saxons; some are simply
expressing their dissatisfaction with the French president or the dismal
performance of the French economy.
More generally, as Daniel Hannan [www.junepress.com -‘Voting on the
Constitution: What Britain should know about the consequences’] has suggested,
there is widespread hatred of the entire French political class which is viewed
much as if it were an occupying power; disaffection with politics in Britain has
not gone quite so far.
However, the biggest reason for
not cracking open the champagne is that the French non would in
all probability deny the British an opportunity to express their views on the
on-going process of political integration.
The Irish, Portuguese and Dutch
governments have insisted that referendums will take place in their countries
whatever happens elsewhere. But it
seems inconceivable that our lame-duck Prime Minister would stick to his promises
to disregard the results in other EU countries and proceed with a plebiscite in
2006 with the odds so heavily stacked against him.
The British prime minister
sounded distinctly less than enthusiastic about a referendum than formally when
he was quizzed on the subject on Breakfast with Frost on 1st
Asked whether a French no would
mean the end of the Constitution. He
“I honestly don’t know. My feeling is that people will find a way
round. Whether it is possible to find a way round it, I don’t know.”
Britain’s EU allies no doubt
want Tony Blair to find “some way round it” -i.e. to find a way of salvaging
the treaty in some form during the British presidency starting in July, no
doubt fearing that the credibility of the EU will be left in tatters if he
fails. That is the last thing that eurosceptics
will want him to do.
If, however, the French vote yes
on 29th May -2005
[They have been bribed by their
own Government in the last few weeks with the reduction of vote on restaurant
meals from 19 per cent to 5 per cent, which Chirac will hope will sweeten the pill]
a British referendum seems
likely even if the Netherlands votes against two days later, on 1st
It is about time that the
British were allowed a say in their political destiny.
Substitute the word “Britain”
for “England” and the following lines from G. K. Chesterton
(1874-1936) seem apt:
It may be we are meant to
mark with our riot and our rest
God’s scorn for all men
governing. It may be bear is best
But we are the people of ENGLAND;
and we have not spoken yet
Smile at us, pay us, pass us;
but do not quite forget.
For we are the people of
England, that never have spoken yet.
* * *
Daniel Hannan - Forming an OPPOSITION
to the EU
WITH THE ONLY PARTY WITH A MANDATE
TO SET YOU
TO RECLAIM YOUR DEMOCRACY DON'T VOTE
FOR THE TRIPARTITE PARTIES IN WESTMINSTER
SMALL PARTIES THAT SPEAK THEIR MINDS
WITHOUT SPIN AND LIES.
Home Rule for
HOME RULE for
[All underlined words have a
THE QUESTION THAT THE VOTER MUST ANSWER
‘DO YOU WISH TO BE GOVERNED BY YOUR OWN PEOPLE, LAW AND CUSTOM OR BY
THE CORRUPT ,EXPENSIVE UNACCOUNTABLE AND ALIEN BUSYBODY BRUSSELS’
-SIMPLE IS IT NOT?