Friday, May 27, 2005

"Non" means "Oui" 

In his amorous rush to consume his relationship with the European Union, Jacques Chirac doesn't seem to understand that "non" means "non":
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.
In other words, we don't take "no" for an answer.

As I've noted before, the French voters are about to reject the EU constitution mainly out of fear that the document represents the victory of Anglo-Saxon free market model. That is, they are going to do the right thing for a completely wrong reason.

This makes it difficult to be optimistic about the future of Europe, seeing that the electorate seems to be largely divided between what many of us would consider the left (whether it actually calls itself the left or the right) and the far left.

France, of course, is not exceptional in that regard. As Mark Steyn wrote about the recent provincial elections in Germany which humbled the ruling Social Democrats (link requires registration):
The electors of North Rhine-Westphalia certainly understand the nature of the times in which they live. If it were just a matter of kicking Gerhard Schroeder's sorry ass around the room, I'd be all in favour of last Sunday'’s election result. But, in fact, voters in the Ruhr were punishing his party for their temerity in proposing even a teensy-weensy, tentative, tepid reform of their arthritic welfare state. They may have ended four decades of SPD rule, but they did so in order to vote against change. The Christian Democrats and Liberal Democrats are merely passing beneficiaries of the electorat'’s determination to live in denial for as long as they can get away with it.
Change is never easy and rarely pleasant. We, human beings, are generally conservative creatures by nature and termperatment and we would rather the things stayed as they are, the way we're comfortable with, thank you very much. And even though the American societytends to be more dynamic and adventurous than most others, even there changes can be passionatelly resisted (think Social Security reform). All this makes me think that the situation in Europe will have to get a lot worse before there is a workable majority committed to making painful but necessary changes to make things better.


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