Try, Try Again
The Times Online reports "Turmoil as Chirac plots to disregard 'non' vote". Why am I not surprised?
President Chirac of France is preparing to throw Europe into confusion and put Britain on the spot by backing moves to keep the European constitution alive if it is rejected in Sunday’s referendum. French diplomats say that M Chirac is expected to urge other countries to proceed with ratification because France does not want to be seen to be blocking the European project. Any attempt to persuade other countries to go ahead will dash the hopes of those in the British Government who believed that a French rejection would make a British referendum unnecessary. ... M Chirac is expected to react to a French "non" by promising to listen to the people before making a second attempt at ratification. He and other "yes" campaigners have said repeatedly during the campaign that there is no “Plan B” if the treaty is rejected and that there would not be a second referendum.
The Guardian has an update of reactions to polls showing that the French may vote "No" at a referendum to ratify a European constitutional treaty. The Times had this to say:
"Why are the people of Europe so angry? ... The answer is simple: it's the economy, stupid ... Their living standards are falling, their pensions are in danger, their children are jobless and their national pride is turning into embarrassment and even shame ... If Europe's economy remains paralysed, then the federalist project is clearly dead, as are all hopes of further significant EU enlargement." -- Anatole Kaletsky, Times
Le Monde got it partly right on the way to getting it entirely wrong. Why should the only possible European vision proceed from Valery Giscard d'Estaing's draft constitution?
the no camp now seems as though it is actually saying yes, in a grandiose way, to another Europe, another economy ... But in reality, the no camp has no alternative programme to offer. Its hope is empty: there are no profound economic and social alternatives for Europe ... Edgar Morin, Le Monde
Mark Steyn irreverently suggested that possible European futures were not necessarily limited to the turgid visions of M. d'Estaing.
Many Americans wander round with the constitution in their pocket so they can whip it out and chastise over-reaching congressmen and senators at a moment's notice. Try going round with the European Constitution in your pocket and you'll be walking with a limp after two hours: It's 511 pages, which is 500 longer than the U.S. version.
But then France hasn't voted "no" yet.