OPINION

A non-united front against EU charter

Excuse me for saying so, but I have no respect for the French vote against the European Constitution. This is not because the treaty deserves a better fate – how can it successfully represent 25 different states with a total population of around 500 million? – but because the voters’ behavior seems to have been somewhat frivolous. We should remember that the French effectively elevated the «neo-fascist» Jean-Marie Le Pen into second place in their last presidential elections in June 2002 – through their protest vote against Socialist Prime Minister Lionel Jospin in the first round. Shaken by those initial results, they then gave the «progressive» Jacques Chirac such a vote of confidence in the second round that he seemed more popular than even Charles de Gaulle. Although they had wanted to punish the neo-liberal Jospin, they actually elected the even more neo-liberal Chirac. According to press reports, the «no» front in the French vote comprised xenophobes, pseudo-revolutionary leftists, insecure farmers and various groups linked to the public sector. But these groups have different demands. They just happened to express them with the same «no» vote – a «no» which is not just negative but also fearful of any kind of change.