Richard North, 28/04/2004  

Well, France to be quite precise but it seems that France is seen as “Europe” these days and French opinion is generally quoted as European opinion, as in “the differences between American and European opinion are growing”. This usually means that some French minister has made another anti-American statement.

Prime Minister Tony Blair has decided to take the fight where it counts: the pages of Le Monde. In a front-page article, written and/or translated, one assumes by the FCO, entitled My Europe, Mr Blair explains his decision to let the British people have their say on the constitution. It is about time, he says.

Furthermore, he adds, the new entrants will energize the modernization of the EU. This is rather an odd way of putting it, since it is generally agreed that the new entrants have suffered rather badly from fifty years of a politically oppressive and economically backward system. But ten years of freedom and reform has clearly given them the edge.

There is no word yet on whether President Chirac will decide that it is time for the French people to have a say on the constitution. Historically, the people of France have had interesting ways of dealing with governments that did not pay attention to their opinions.

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