Richard North, 22/05/2005  

In an article in The Sunday Times, Matthew Campbell reports on how Chirac is counting on jungle tribes to swing the EU vote.

These are the Wayampi Indians, who inhabit an alligator-infested corner of French Guiana in South America. They are one of the many tribes in the French portfolio of dominions around the globe from the Pacific to the Amazon jungle. Their 1.4m voters, Campbell writes, could swing the result in the French referendum and determine the future of Europe.

Although they only speak rudimentary French, copies of the constitution have been shipped to them at considerable expense on Air France from Paris, and then by helicopter and canoe up the river from Cayenne, the distant capital. The Wayampi, it seems, are particularly pleased to receive them as, we are told, they come in handy for wrapping tapir meat and lighting fires.

These Indians are to be congratulated. They are the first community to have found a use for the constitution.

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