Anorak News | Setting Le President

Setting Le President

by | 31st, May 2005

‘THE truth the papers fail to point out is that the French people’s decision to say “non!” to the EU constitution doesn’t matter to the better part of the British public a jot.

France doesn’t surrender!

Having not yet been offered the chance to vote in a referendum on the pan-European charter, the British media has not been awash with insightful analysis and jingoistic, knee-jerk headlines on the proposed legislation.

So when the French voted “no” most of us haven’t a clue what they were voting for or against, and, in any case, those French just love to be contrary.

But the Times says that one UK citizen does care. His name is Tony Blair. He’s the leader of this fair land who will take up the European presidency in July.

In the headline rattling “Battle for the heart of Europe”, the paper hears Blair call for “a time of reflection”.

Tony thinks the best place to do some reflecting is Italy, where he’s holidaying with his family. But he breaks off from his reflective pose on a lounger to distil the debate into a single question, one he thinks we’ll cope with.

“The question that is being debated by the people of Europe is how do you, in this era of globalisation, make our economies strong and competitive?”

That is indeed a question, and it is a big one. But it is by no means the only question. What about the enlargement of the EU? How big should the European budget be? How did the masters of the EU manage to pen a constitution that not even the founding fathers of European unity in France wanted?

The other thing the French vote has done is to as good as end the chance for there being a referendum on the European constitution over here.

The Telegraph says that Whitehall is preparing for a full-scale U-turn on the commitment to put it to the vote in Britain.

And the Times says that with no vote here, Blair will be denied a suitable chance to step down from power.

As the paper explains: “If Britain voted ‘yes’, he’d have left in a blaze of glory. Even a ‘no’ vote would have allowed him to say he left office having fought for something he believed in.”

Now with the future of Europe less clear, Blair’s own destiny looks less certain.

Although his stint as EU president might give Tony an entirely new idea on how he and the continent can work together. President Blair, indeed…’

Posted: 31st, May 2005 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink