Richard North, 06/04/2005  

Given the volatility of the French electorate, it was still anyone's guess as to which way they would vote in the 29 May EU referendum – despite the polls.

But not any more.

According to The Times today, the French have just concluded a national vote on the "greatest Frenchman of all time".

And was it Napoleon? Was it Joan of Arc? Nope. They didn't even make it into the final. The winner was none other than Charles de Gaulle, the man who at one time was so hated that he held the record for greatest number of assassination attempts against a Head of State.

This is the man, though, who said of the Elysée Treaty after it had been emasculated by the Bundesrat: "Treaties are like maidens and roses, they each have their day".

If this is the man with whom the French now most identify, the EU constitution hasn’t got a chance.

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