Greetings, Bad Hair readers – I’m Scott Burgess of the Daily Ablution, a UK blog by a US expat. Many thanks to Fausta for letting me fill in while she’s gone.
Since Fausta often discusses European issues (and since she specifically said that cross-posting is OK), I thought I’d contribute today’s Ablution post as Bad Hair content.
Times (of London) Brussels correspondent Anthony Browne presents a most diverting piece in today’s edition (“To leaders in Alice’s magical land, it was a yes“).
Mr. Browne wonderfully summarises the combination of arrogance, denial and rationalisation that characterise the EU leadership and many of their constitutional supporters. Current EU president and Luxembourg PM Jean-Claude Juncker – described by today’s Guardian as “on the verge of tears when he heard the news of the Dutch vote” – first demonstrates the latter characteristic:
“If we were to add up all the votes of those who wanted ‘more Europe’ as a ‘yes,’ then I think that we would have had a ‘yes’ vote.”
Well, perhaps, Mr. Juncker – and if I were to add up all of my ‘pence’ as ‘pounds,’ then I think that I would have a lot more money. Unfortunately for both myself and the nearly-weeping president, such ruefully constructed alternative realities have no bearing on this one.
Margot Wallstrom, the Vice President of the commission, opts for arrogance – insisting, as Mr. Browne puts it, “that the problem was ignorance” (presumably that of the electorate, not of the bureaucrats). This despite polls showing that “the more [French and Dutch] people knew about the constitution, the more likely they were to vote ‘no’.”
Fortunately, the benighted masses will not wallow in ignorance for long, thanks to the patient efforts of Mr. Juncker and the rest of his country. As he puts it:
“We are like teachers explaining the ins and outs of the new constitution.”
And the European public will be forever grateful.
Meanwhile, denial is represented by both Luxembourg foreign minister Jean Asselborn (“we don’t have a crisis”), as well as the European Green Party, which released a statement saying “‘No’ in France and Holland does not mean ‘no’ to the European constitution.”
Well, at first blush, it means exactly that. As the BBC website puts it:
“The constitution cannot come into effect unless it is ratified by all 25 EU members – as is made clear in Article IV-447. This states that the treaty will come into effect when ‘all the instruments of ratification have been deposited.’
“Although the result of the Dutch vote is technically non-binding, the government cannot ignore it. So the Dutch and French votes mean that, as things stand, there will be no constitution.”
Upon reflection, though, it occurs to me that maybe the Greens are right after all. Perhaps after the Luxembourgian re-education project is complete, the EU great and good will simply keep holding elections until the newly enlightened populace arrives at the correct result (as was the case in Ireland and Denmark previously).
In fact, they must do this – for, as Headmaster Juncker puts it:
“The countries which have said No will have to ask themselves the question again.”
And, if necessary, again, and again, and again.