With the decisive French ‘Non’ to the EU Constitution, clearly the whole project for European super-statist integration has taken a hit unlike any in its history thus far. In many ways the most significant feature of this is that it has made the intellectual and social disconnect between whole peoples in the EU’s constituent nations impossible to paper over. In short, the nation called ‘Europe’ is seen to be a fiction and the ‘inevitable march of progress’ has been shown to be an illusion.
So what happens next? The obvious move by Tony Blair is to cancel the UK’s promised referendum as being moot now that the process has been derailed. Yet there are already frantic attempts going on by the integrationists to prevent that from happening, on the basis that it would be an admission that the process really is over.
Now this attempt to get the UK to vote anyway is really splendid news and I hope that other people who share my views that the EU is an abomination will remember Napoleon’s dictum “never interrupt the enemy when he is making a mistake” as any UK vote will almost certainly be a vote against the EU which will just widen the rift in political cultures between France and the UK.
As I have stated before, unlike David, I wish that France had voted ‘Oui’ so that Blair could not possibly wriggle out of his commitment to hold a referendum and thus allow Britain to vote ‘No’, thereby making the UK a virtual ‘pariah state’ to the French, Spanish and German political elites and as a result making them perverse allies in the effort to disengage the UK from the EU. Oh well, scratch one possible optimistic scenario but the situation is now alive with all sorts of other interesting possibilities.
But it is still hard to see the rejection of the EU Constitution by anyone as bad news. How it will play out remains to be seen but the attempt to sleepwalk Europe into an ever more dystopian regulatory super-state just got a bucket of cold water poured over it. The game is afoot and provided the Tory Party do not go and live up to their nickname name by choosing some member of the Quisling right to lead them, maybe even that collection of risk averse Grandees will realise that taking on the EU is something that can reap huge political benefits. Labour too must be looking at the spectacle of the French power elite being bitten in the arse by millions of common people who want the political system to impose economic and social stasis to a background rap of splendidly unintelligible gibberish from sundry French intellectuals and thinking “there but for the grace of God…”. At least some of them must be wondering if the downside of Euro-integration is worth the political risks.
The dismay is palpable. It is hard not to laugh.