Peter, the German people are not being allowed to vote on this question (the ‘nein’ in my headline referred to the North Rhine Westphalia election as yet another example of the increasing discontent on the continent) as their rulers believe that, based on the Third Reich, Germans are forever unable to decide such matters by referendum. You raise, however, two very important points:
(1) Do the no votes from some countries count for more than others? Disgracefully, it seems so. We are told that the French vote matters, but the Dutch referendum is an obstacle that can somehow be overcome, ignored or otherwise be dealt with.
(2) Could we be headed for some sort of crisis within the EU? I’m generally of the view that most ‘crises’ are the creation of overexcited journalists and ambitious politicians and that, in reality, they can generally be dealt with by that most conservative of approaches – muddling through. That said, I think that we may be heading towards the real thing in Europe at the moment.
Lets take a look. If the French vote ‘no’ (which I hope they do) they will be taking the right decision for, very largely, the wrong reasons. It will be a rejection as much of economic liberalism and les Anglo-Saxons as of European integration. The crowning irresponsibility of the EU’s elite is the way that they have allowed necessary free market reforms to be contaminated by the creation of their unnecessary and unwanted superstate.
A Dutch no, meanwhile, will primarily be a rejection of the way that the country has been run into the ground – and their currency trashed – for no good reason other (again) than the mad belief that a superstate is necessary if Europe is to avoid a return to 1940.
Over in Germany, a profoundly irresponsible, unpopular and destructive government will, after today’s provincial election results now likely swing sharply to the left, the last thing the country needs, in an attempt to avoid the electoral annihilation it so richly deserves. The country’s economic problems will remain unaddressed – and the extent to which the introduction of the Euro, ill-judged, ill-planned and economically illiterate, has devastated the country will be glossed over.
Moving to the South, both Italy and Portugal are facing enormous structural problems, with, after the introduction of the Euro, few ways to solve them.
Do I think that people over here are looking enough at all this? No.
Do I think that the administration should be doing or saying anything? No, it would be counterproductive.
Do I think that Condi Rice’s supportive comments on the draft ‘constitution’ reveal an ignorance so profound and an imagination so shallow that I am at a loss to understand why she has the job she has? Yes.