Tuesday, May 31, 2005

 

The French Referendum, the EU and Us

The failure of France to approve the draft EU constitution will have a number of repercussions for the UK. Firstly, it will tend to encourage similar negative votes as in Holland's vote tomorrow. Secondly it will remove the need for Blair to hold the long postponed referendum scheduled to take place some time in 2006 and which he must have been dreading. Having said this some press reports suggest he believed it could be won.

It's true that in 1975 before the campaign for the referendum started, there was a 2-1 poll majority in favour of pulling out but after the campaign the result was a 2-1 majority for staying in. But then the press and business was solidly in support of 'Common Market' membership; this time the press is mostly hostile and the public, fed on such a diet for a decade or more, are hostile to the EU too. Moreover a referendum will almost certainly be used as an opportunity for a protest vote against an unpopular government. Few can doubt that many people, who voted for Blair earlier this month, would take the chance to deny him victory if the stakes were lower than a general election. So French communists and Le Pen supporters have let Blair off the hook. Robin Cook, I heard today, has suggested that now the 'natural' standing down occasion of the referendum has been denied the PM, he should instead go later this year. Tony really should have given him a job a few weeks back.

The third effect is that France has possibly opened up the chance that Chirac will urge the creation of an 'inner core' EU which retains the agricultural privileges it enjoys and protects the socalled 'French model' of employment protected welfarism. Should this happen Britain will be shifted to the margins of the EU though such a move might precipitate the complete unravelling of the EU project which some commentators are predicting. However the EU countries have much to lose by such an eventuality. Furthermore the expected election in the autumn of the Christian Democrats in Germany under a reforming rightwing Frau Merkel(compared by many to Maggie Thatcher) will militate against such a comforting refuge for the beleagured Chirac.

The fourth effect is that the Conservatives will have lost a valuable stick with which to beat their infuriatingly successful chief opponent. They have been salivating over the expected disaster of a Blair led Yes campaign. If it falls flat enough, they have reasoned, it might even precipitate his removal from office with his place in history-long assumed to be concerned with locking the UK into the heart of the EU- still unachieved. Now that happy scenario has been denied the former natural party of government and they have to envisage a more trouble free transition of power to the ever-waiting Gordon Brown. In the short term, additionally, Eurosceptics fear the removal of the draft constitution from the political agenda might encourage the defiantly Europhile Ken Clarke from dusting down his leadership application one more, possibly successful time.

Comments:
ZDo6ri The best blog you have!
 
k34UKg Nice Article.
 
Hello all!
 
Thanks to author.
 
Good job!
 
Magnific!
 
Wonderful blog.
 
Wonderful blog.
 
Thanks to author.
 
Please write anything else!
 
fR20uA write more, thanks.
 
Thanks to author.
 
Nice Article.
 
Hello all!
 
Please write anything else!
 
Nice Article.
 
Nice Article.
 
Magnific!
 
actually, that's brilliant. Thank you. I'm going to pass that on to a couple of people.
 
actually, that's brilliant. Thank you. I'm going to pass that on to a couple of people.
 
Please write anything else!
 
Good job!
 
Magnific!
 
Good job!
 
Wonderful blog.
 
Please write anything else!
 
Build a watch in 179 easy steps - by C. Forsberg.
 
Oops. My brain just hit a bad sector.
 
Please write anything else!
 
Thanks to author.
 
C++ should have been called B
 
Build a watch in 179 easy steps - by C. Forsberg.
 
The gene pool could use a little chlorine.
 
Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link



<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?