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Thursday, June 02, 2005

Anti-snob Vote Not Anti-EU Tome Vote

Max Boot does a nice job in the LAT of analyzing the French vote of "No" defeating the ratification of the EU Constitution. Boot says there is no logical explanation of the vote other than comparing it with the guy in "Network" who screamed "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!"

Boot says the Brits against the EU Constitution say it's too socialist and the French say it's too capitalist. (I'll add that the Spanish say it's too long to actually read and the Eastern Europeans are so busy working and making money after being shackled for 60 years that they could care less). Boot says the general anger at low growth, high unemployment, fear of losing the welfare benefits they now expect and the overall sense of the haughtiness of the EU leaders has developed an anti-Chiraq attitude that this vote was really about.

Says Boot:

The lives of ordinary French people are not dominated by dreams of lost glory; they simply want a decent job and public services that work. It was telling that only professionals and senior executives — i.e., France's top occupational rung — voted for the constitution last week. Everyone else opted for "non."

The only way to dispel the current climate of gloom on the continent is to get economies moving again. Margaret Thatcher showed how it can be done: Reduce the size of the state and break the power of the labor unions. But neither Chirac nor his hapless counterpart in Berlin, Gerhard Schroeder, has the guts to do that. Instead, like most European leaders in recent decades, they have thrown their energies into EU integration in the vain hope that this would deliver a shot of Viagra to a moribund continent.

That the Schroeders and the Chiraqs hold no solutions or, more likely, recognize the necessary changes that must be made but, like all of the remaining lefties, they hope that their socialist charter has a 9th inning rally in them. Some Europeans are "getting" it. Says Boot:

The good news is that in the wings in France and Germany are conservative leaders Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel, respectively, who just might have the gumption to cure their countries' real woes rather than continuing to administer an anti-American analgesic.

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