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Wrong reasons, right result

To all French crypto-communists, syndicalists, marxists, trotskyites, leninists, stalinists, national socialists, socialist nationalists, primitivists, Trade Union dinosaurs, student activists, greenie nutters, neo-fascists, old fashioned fascists, quasi-crypto-troglodyte-Pol-Pottist-year zero-flat-earthers, looney tunes and enviro-goons… Merci Beaucoup!!!!

I could kiss every single one of you (but I don’t know how to say that in French).

47 comments to Wrong reasons, right result

  • The way to say it is:
    Je pourrais embrasser chacun d’entre vous…

    And they’d be more than willing to accept, as long as your kissing takes up a bit of their 35 working hours.

  • Rich

    So how long before they are offered a chance to make the right choice.

    And how long before we are told we will not get a referendum.

    Within a month on both is my bet.

  • Verity

    BaraK – Rigolo! But look, everyone, the polls only closed an hour and a half ago. It’s early days yet. Il ne faut pas vendre la peau de l’ours avant de l’avoir tué!

  • GCooper

    David Carr (rather rashly) says:

    ” I could kiss every single one of you…”

    Ack! So much garlic. So many moustaches.

  • Verity

    Chirac has conceded! Fifty-five percent said Non.

  • Stehpinkeln

    I heard no fat ladies warbbling, so it ain’t over yet. I still think the EU is a good idea, and constitutional government is a good thing, but not when the constitution is a mammoth effort to confuse and trick the citizens. Make it short and simple with a bill of rights that is well defined and protects the citizens. Then have it passed by referrendum. Representative government is ok for day to day state business, but for something like a Constitution, you need to give every citizen the chance to participate. The Germans got hosed in this deal, because they couldn’t vote.
    It will be interesting to see if there is a complete re-write or if there will be a few superficial changes made before the next vote.

  • Actually, I don’t care. Referendums are a politician’s AWOL. Well, it’s hard to make a technocratic elite accountable for their bad desicions. But how do you make a entinre population accountable?

    The swedish referendum about the Euro in 2003 was about just anything but the Euro: Snub the PM; against EU; fear for more kinds of coins in the wallet [sic!]; plain nice homegrown stale conservatism in general; etc ad nauseam.

    The lessons learned from the US is that good federations take long time to come of age.

  • dave

    Valery Giscard d’Estaing, Jaques Chirac, can you hear me?! Your boys took one hell of a beating!

  • Stephpinkeln,
    Sadly the EU is not a constitutional democracy it is an oligarchy. It was never designed as a democracy because the ruling elite do not trust the people to vote the right way,this will only confirm that belief.
    The nearest approximation of the EU system of governance is Mandarin China..The Constitution wasn’t long winded by accident,it was designed to put as much beyond political debate as possible

  • I'm suffering for my art

    Peter, you mean it isn’t the (paraphrased) “inspirational document that schoolchildren will learn by heart in class” that d’Estaing claimed it as?

  • postacomment

    The French people decided to look out for their own individual financial interests and also to demonstrate their independence of other countries. How can Chirac be suprised when this is exactly what led him to oppose the U.S. attempt to enforce UN resolutions on Iraq? People criticize Chiraq’s leadership on the issue of the referrendum but actually the French are following his lead precisely.

  • Michael Farris

    “Make it short and simple with a bill of rights that is well defined and protects the citizens. Then have it passed by referrendum.”

    Well, along with all the other differences, there are different ideas in different countries about what a constitution is for. In many countries, it’s as much a mission statement as blueprint for government and needs to include a lot of specific invocations to specific values (historical or otherwise).

    That doesn’t bother me, but I’m not sure just what the EU constitution is (and I don’t trust most of the conflicting analyses I’ve seen).

    I’m not against the EU in principle but I’m tired of those who think that it has to be based on ever-increasing union, integration and bureacracy. I’d prefer to let the whole integration thing find its own pace for the time being.

  • Stephan Jukic

    Any schoolchild that is capable of emorizing a 250 or so page heap of bureaucratic droppings, should also be capable of seeing through its myriad provisions for tyranny.

  • Jacob

    The EU was never a popular idea with the masses. It came into being not by popular acclaim; it was imposed from above by ruling elites. They should have known better than submit it to referendum.

    The EU will march on, with or without a constitution, that’s the consensus among the elites. And the EU ain’t a bad thing. It could be better, much better, but even so, with all it’s faults it isn’t that bad. That’s what the europeans were able to produce (the bigotry of low expectations…). Maybe they should change it’s name and call it The Holy Roman Empire II.

  • oed

    Maybe they should change it’s name and call it The Holy Roman Empire II.

    Maybe they should follow historical precedent and constitution-style wordy blather and call it:

    The United People’s Democratic Republic of European Solidarity and Social Justice. (UPDRESSJ).

  • David Crawford

    The fact that the “NO” sentiment in France and Britain comes from opposite ends of the political spectrum tells all you need to know about this abortion known as the “EU Constitution”.

    The French “NO” sentiment is mainly from the left, and that sentiment is basically is anti-capitalist.

    OTOH, the British “NO” sentiment is mainly from the right, and that sentimeny is basically antisocialist.

    Now, how does a body square that circle? They can’t.

    The French people chose to defend the political system that they want. And yes, that system is anti-capitalist, high tariff, dead-hand welfare state. But, respect their wishes, everyone.

    The British people, OTOH, will reject the EU constition for the degree that it will ham-string Britons from competing in the dynamic maeketplace known as “globilaztion”.

    There is no way on Earth that any politiical body on earth that can reconcile what the average voter in France and Britain want. Nor is there any economical system on earth that would satisfy both sides of the debate.

  • David Crawford

    The fact that the “NO” sentiment in France and Britain comes from opposite ends of the political spectrum tells all you need to know about this abortion known as the “EU Constitution”.

    The French “NO” sentiment is mainly from the left, and that sentiment is basically is anti-capitalist.

    OTOH, the British “NO” sentiment is mainly from the right, and that sentimeny is basically antisocialist.

    Now, how does a body square that circle? They can’t.

    The French people chose to defend the political system that they want. And yes, that system is anti-capitalist, high tariff, dead-hand welfare state. But, respect their wishes, everyone.

    The British people, OTOH, will reject the EU constition for the degree that it will ham-string Britons from competing in the dynamic maeketplace known as “globilaztion”.

    There is no way on Earth that any politiical body on earth that can reconcile what the average voter in France and Britain want. Nor is there any economical system on earth that would satisfy both sides of the debate.

  • Verity

    Suffering – Giscard really said he thought schoolchildren would memorise his 480 pages of drivel? What a hoot! Maybe he expected them to memorise it in his precious, original French? Oh, god, that is funny!

  • Now the French have delivered the Main Course, we await the Dessert from the Dutch.

  • Verity

    Stephen Pollard quotes David, above, on his own blog today. stephenpollard.net

  • Sven

    The EU was never a good idea. In fact, it has been a pathetic DISASTER since its conception.

    Hopefully this will be the beginning of the end for this dreadful socialist experiment.

    If not, I am afraid my native Europe will fall even further behind in both economic and political power.

  • “Now the French have delivered the Main Course, we await the Dessert from the Dutch.”

    My guess is Tony will try and avoid the inevitable from Britain – a (bum) cigar…

  • guy herbert

    The British people, OTOH, will reject the EU constition for the degree that it will ham-string Britons from competing in the dynamic maeketplace known as “globilaztion”.

    Well, I won’t.

    I reject the EU on the ground that it is a system of bureaucratic centralism that seeks to tell 500 million people, in detail, how to live. I embrace the free market because it is free, not because it is a market.

  • steve

    jees it’s hard not to gloat. maybe we can now proceed to a real one speed europe,

    one that contains all the best in europe, France, Belguim, germany, and who ever wants to catch the quick train to oblivion, and let the rest of us get on with the future.

    What a chance for the toriesm but will they take it?, it is obvious that any future European agrrement is going to have to be statist and strictly socialist for the French to accept

  • Verity

    Steve – Why do the Americans writing in not understand? We do not want a United States of Europe. There is absolutely no reason to manufacture one. Why do Americans insist on equating their few settlers in a vast wilderness coming together for protection – against the British crown, for one thing – and the European countries, which have been settled since man began to walk upright?

    If you know nothing of the history of Britain and the countries on the continent, nothing of their languages, their arts, their folkways and their intertwined histories, and you think the artificial construct of the EU is similar to a federal United States, what on earth about this subject motivates you all to comment?

  • Verity,

    The trouble is that Americans hear or read the word ‘constitution’ and automatically assume that this MUST be a good thing becaus they treasure their own constitution so much.

    It therefore follows that anyone opposed to this entrenchment of a permanent pan-European ruling class must be the bad guy because, “hey, buddy, what’s your problem with the constitution?”.

  • Verity

    Yes, David, this is how most of them think. But if they are unable to encompass something foreign to their own experience, why are they bothering to frequent a foreign blog? It’s like moths to a flame! What is it that attracts them?

    You are certainly right about the (deservedly) high regard in which they hold their constitution. When they see the word “constitution”, the section of their brain labelled “reasoning” shuts down.

  • Frank

    Now I understand what Lenin meant by “useful idiots”.

  • Jacob

    You are right about the difference of the concept “constitution” in the US and Europe. For the Americans a Constitution is almost(?) as important as the Bible, a holy scripture.
    For the Europeans it’s just another piece of paper containing political babble that nobody gives a damn about. Innumerable constitutions have come and gone in the different European countries. Hell, even the murderous communist had a very nice sounding constitution. In contrast, the British manage to live quite well without a written one.

    So I repeat: this rejection is funny but no big deal.

  • Verity

    No, Jacob. The “constitution”, certainly ridiculous in its own right – I wouldn’t like to take that away from it – it a sign of something that we do not want. We do not want to be one country with our neighbours.

    Americans (I know you’re Israeli and I’m not including you) have an infantile attitude to the EU. Federalism worked for a bunch of primitive, newly developing political entities on a new, largely unpopulated continent. Banding together was wise and it worked.

    As I keep saying, our lands have been populated since the Neanderthal’s – some of whom are still in the British Parliament – and we are unique. We have been friends or enemies or allies throughout a couple of thousand years. The French do not resemble the Brits. Nor do they resemble the Germans. The Swedes have absolutely nothing in common with the Greeks and no reason to team up with them. We have developed our own languages over the thousands of years. Our cultures are hugely various and different – not homogenous like America (which is very new compared to us).

    Americans must stop childishly seeing the world as though it’s an extension of America (which many of us on this blog love and admire) and understand that the whole world has little interest in living on their template.

    We enjoy being friends. We don’t want to get married.

  • GCooper

    Jacob writes:

    ” For the Americans a Constitution is almost(?) as important as the Bible, a holy scripture.”

    What always amuses me is the look on the poor lambs’ faces when you explain to them that the U.S. Constitution was written by Englishmen.

    Mind you, the thought comes as a shock to a fair few Brits, come to that.

  • Patrick

    Actually, the Americans are just self-interested: the quicker Europe can get on with it and speed off to hell in a handcart (ie by ratifying that piece of pretentious nonsense) the better for all involved.

    And if by chance they manage to reverse the handcart, that will only be because the ones that most of us (americans brits and all together) want to go to to hell (the communists) will be sidelined by their neighbours and new fellow europeans.

    So ratification is either win, or win, but non ratification is drawing out the agony. Although non-ratification does increase slightly the long-term chances of the second and preferable option.

    ps I’m not American, and although I could be British, I don’t see any good reason to exercise that right

    pps obviously, then, I come from…

  • Chris Goodman

    Since you are called Patrick you are obviously from Wales.

  • Verity says:
    “Americans (I know you’re Israeli and I’m not including you) have an infantile attitude to the EU.”

    Not neccesarily, maybe we’re just tired of picking up the pieces after you oh so sophisticated continentals fuck it all up again and again.
    It hardly matters if all your tribes have been in the same place for thousands of years, and you’re all so very cultured, if you keep making the same mistakes.
    Aloha, Hunt Johnsen

    P.S. personally I read this blog because there’s lots of good stuff here!

  • Verity

    Hunt Johnson – Please get out an atlas and look up Britain. We are a group of islands. We are not the “continentals” you so revile. (By the way, apart from Hawaii, you are actually “continentals” yourselves, are you not? Are “continentals” in the Western hemisphere somehow more intelligent than the “continentals” of W Europe, China, Australia, Russia? All the evidence says no.)

    Where on earth did anyone claim that we are all so “very cultured”? “Culture” is a ghastly American term. Chills up the spine. (Just to save you future embarrassment.) What does it mean, by the way?

  • Euan Gray

    Not neccesarily, maybe we’re just tired of picking up the pieces after you oh so sophisticated continentals fuck it all up again and again

    The uncharitable might point out that if America had not imposed its naive do-goodery on Europe in 1919, there would have been no WW2 for them pick up the pieces afterwards. It might also be pointed out by the uncharitable that the American insistence on over-rapid decolonisation contributed greatly to Franco-British political antipathy towards America (and still does) and is a major cause of much contemporary third world instability and maladministration, as did (and does) American insistence on things being done the American way. Amazingly enough, not everyone wants to be American, nor does everyone necessarily think that free markets and democracy can be imposed at the end of a gun barrel. And the uncharitable might finally point out that things such as the United Nations, international law and even the European Union are in large measure American ideas – America caused or invented many of the problems it now complains about.

    EG

  • Richard Easbey

    EG:

    Ouch! as an American who loves this blog, it pains me to admit how much truth there is in your post. I have long thought that one of our biggest mistakes was getting involved in WW I… it made WW II virtually inevitable. And that obnoxious Wilson with his “League of Nations” nonsense…

    But let’s still be friends, shall we?

  • The Last Toryboy

    I thought Wilson wanted to more or less let Germany off, but France especially wanted to exact revenge after taking such horrible losses in the trenches.
    The Germans whimpered a bit in the early Twenties and the French promptly stomped into the Rhineland and made em pay up after all.

    I don’t think we can blame the Yanks for that one.

    Eisenhower (and successors) and his eagerness to turn the Third World from a fairly competently administered British sphere into a barely administered at all sphere of assorted kleptomaniacs and thugocrats, now, that could be considered a mistake.

    As for the UN, I think it has morphed into something that the Allies (officially called the United Nations remember!) in 1945 would not recognise, so I can’t blame them for that.

  • guy herbert

    EG –

    “The uncharitable might point out that if America had not imposed its naive do-goodery on Europe in 1919, [...]“

    Indeed. Don’t get me started on the poisonous influence of the Wilsonian conception of international law. When Americans complain about the UN and transnational institutions they are advised to remember whose literalist statesmen insisted on creating them in the first place.

  • John K

    Yes, David, this is how most of them think. But if they are unable to encompass something foreign to their own experience, why are they bothering to frequent a foreign blog? It’s like moths to a flame! What is it that attracts them?

    I’m sure we can guess who will flame them if needs be!

  • pip

    when the amercian constitution was first drafted, it consisted of a small number of *like-minded* states – hardly the same situation the EU finds itself in.

    GH, EG et al – i think we should be thankful (possibly to the point of gratitude) that our colonial friends have armed us so much international ‘legislature’ that we are forced to fight with our pens, instead of our swords.

  • Euan Gray

    I don’t think we can blame the Yanks for that one.

    By insisting on a humiliating peace treaty that simultaneously imposed vast financial penalties AND stripped the loser of the means to actually pay these penalties, America does have to accept a major share of the blame for the disaster of Versailles and thus more or less directly for the start of WW2.

    eagerness to turn the Third World from a fairly competently administered British sphere into a barely administered at all sphere of assorted kleptomaniacs and thugocrats

    Not just British. The two major colonial powers at vthat time were Britain and France, both of whom administered their territories with far more humanity and decency than the independent governments since have managed to do (with a handful of exceptions).

    The American naivete here lay in the assumption that what worked for a relatively sophisticated bunch of European colonists in the agrarian 18th century would necessarily work for millions of generally poorly-educated people of radically different culture 200 years later. America doesn’t seem to have learned much from this experience. It didn’t earlier learn much from the Liberian experience either – perhaps this is just a blind spot in the American world-view.

    As for the UN, I think it has morphed into something that the Allies (officially called the United Nations remember!) in 1945 would not recognise, so I can’t blame them for that.

    America more or less insisted on it. Despite the ample evidence from the League of Nations that this sort of thing tends not to work too well, they still insisted. Triumph (yet again) of hope over experience. What’s wrong with learning something from history?

    EG

  • I endorse the view expressed by Messrs Gray and Herbert.

  • It would appear that not only are Americans pig-ignorant of European civilization and geography (England an island? Who knew!) but responsible for most of the world’s woes dating back to WW1 if not farther.
    Oh, the shame of it all. I’m sure American policy was responsible for the gas chambers and the oppression of the Japanese leading to Pearl Harbor as well.
    Maybe the nest time Europe melts down we will be wise enough to stay clear and simply watch from the sidelines. buy your prayer rugs now and avoid the rush. Stock up on kitchen knives as well. Aloha, Hunt

  • Mike H.

    It appears that we were right, at the time, to want to stay neutral in the european theater in WWII. If we had concentrated on the Pacific front we would have realized a more rapid cessation of combat. You have our apologies for our mistake.

  • GCooper

    Mike H writes:

    ” If we had concentrated on the Pacific front we would have realized a more rapid cessation of combat.”

    How’s your German?

  • Gus

    Isn’t it interesting that a commentary on the failure of the EU Constitution to pass a popular vote in France quickly turns into yet another “blame America” conversation.

    I have a question: Have you worked out yet how to blame the 10,000 or so years of European history and prehistory that happened prior to the late 1700s on the United States?

    We in the United States, being uneducated, naive and incapable of competence in a political sphere, need the answer to that question.

    After all, we should trust societies that have 10,000 years of things like, oh, the Crusades, the various Inquisitions, the 100-Years War, the amputation of the right hands of Gaulish men, the prosecution (persecution) of Gallileo, the Terrors (oh wait, I’m not supposed to know European history well enough to know anything about the French Revolution, sorry, forget I mentioned it), the Spanish conquests of Central America, privateers, the Borgia family (oops, forgot and mentioned a historic detail again), WW I, etc.

    Yes, European civilizations (when they’ve taken a few years off from ruinous warfare) have also given birth to Democracy, the Republic and the scientific method, along with the Calculus, geometry and the alphabetical writing methods plus the printing press to take best advantage of that.

    But those have been the exception, not the rule. The rule, so far as anyone can tell, from a few centuries BC to the 1990s, has been for Europe (and I do include European Russia in this when I mention the 1990s) to be a land of massive, brutal, basically non-stop warfare. Can anyone name a single century in which warfare was not more common in Europe than peace?

    So, if Americans make mistakes in creating things like the UN and League of Nations in a vain and perhaps impossible attempt to make Europeans stop their perenial bloodbaths, I guess it makes sense to blame us for the failures of those desperate attempts.

    And, when those desperate attempts fail, to decide you are better educated, more mature and more competent at politics, than we ignorant Americans. And then to prove your maturity by such grown-up tactics as saying “it was all his fault, he hit me first after I kicked him” (translated from “WW II was Americas fault, they shouldn’t have interfered after WW I”); name-calling and mockery (“pig-ignorant”); and other such highly mature behavior.

    Thus, I will leave you to your schoolyard and retreat before your obvious superiority back to the land that spawned ignorant, interfering, immature me.

    P.S.: If I overdid the sarcasm, please just groan and ignore me. I’m just a little tired of the scions of Europe, land of a billion attrocities, telling me how horrible America is for trying to achieve a better world in our imperfect and often misdirected manner. I’d rather try to improve the world and fail than sit around bitching about how bad someone is for trying to improve the world and failing.