How eloquently our renowned and revered Frenchman Jerome a Paris writes about the French referendum on the proposed new European Constitution. If you want detailed and well expounded information, then read his diary.

What you will get here in this diary is a classic rant. Because I am a European and people like Jerome are killing the European ideal in me.
Firstly. let me address you Tribbers directly. I know you all recognise that the growth of Europe as a united force has relevance to the shape of your future world. Beyond that, there is no real need for you to kid me that the French voting on some poxy 138 page document has any real meaning to you. Don’t worry. Armed with this limited knowledge, come to Stourbridge in the heart of the Black Country in the West Midlands in the UK  with me, mate , and you will find you know more about it and have a higher interest in it for your future in Ohio than they do, who are going to live under it.

Jerome is a Frenchman, dammit, a citizen of that most passionate of countries. You would never believe it reading his diary about one of the biggest events in European history. That is because his highly educated L’Ecole education (OK, Polytechnique or whatever) has overcome his heart. Like it has removed the heart from those thousands of elite French civil servants who shared the same excellence of tutorship.

Did the Students not rise up in France magnificently in 1968? Was their passion wasted on the next generation that Jerome represents?

Jerome is a friend. A man I admire. We believe in the same things and we share a hunger to see a new Constitution bind Europe closer together.

But I despair when I look at what mon ami Jerome has written:

…it is not true that this is not a democratic document. It was prepared by an assembly representing all legitimate sources of power in Europe: the European Commission, the European Parliament, each national Government and each national Parliament (including these of the Central European countries, which were not even members when this took place).

What? These grey suited, grey haired old men democratically represented Europe? An unelected, all powerful bunch of overpaid and sometimes corrupt, and certainly over influential European Commission, represent the people of Europe? The grubby dealing, national aggrandisement and self-interested, and politically fearful government ministers, represent the people? The politically compromising, desperate to ingratiate, ex-soviet countries leaders represent their people?

Jerome, where are you coming from? This is a progressive liberal blog, not a civics class in a faith-based school in the mid-west.

What did these men, these sad old geezers who love their big cars, big salaries, hidden mistresses and pomp give birth to when they charged that retired, elegant former French President Valery Giscard d’Estaing to produce something at the Laeken summit in December 2001? Over the next 16 months, with countless political manoeuvres and by use of that camel-producing,  so-called consensus method, the elderly politician managed to draft most of the text for a bright new Europe with a potential membership of 28 or more states. One hundred and thirty-eight or more pages on how that future should work.

That is what the men of Marseilles and Stourbridge will be asked to vote on. Don’t go to that football match, put down your wine. Read it, absorb it, understand it and be prepared to answer questions on it.

Well one, at least. “Yes” or “No”.

Too much to ask? O.K. The same grey suited men that wrote it can be trusted to tell you which is the right answer. can’t they?

Vote “Yes”. they say.

Jerome says so. and Jerome is an educated man. Welshman says so, but Welshman is a Brit and not so easy to deal with and his vote “yes” comes with a resounding rebuttal that the people of of Marseilles and Stourbridge and the rest of Europe should not be asked to answer such a question.

Look, the Constitution is a pig’s ear of a document. The compromises are those of countries seeking to maintain sovereignty and those which recognise the incompatibility of doing so with a United Europe. They are the compromises of those who see France and Germany wanting dominating influence and resist it. They are the compromises of those who see France and Germany hamstrung by their social security commitments and want a freer, more liberal and perhaps more exploitable people, but certainly more flexible workforce, if the trading bloc is to survive.

What a mess.

Jerome wants people to vote on it and say “Yes”? What, when it comes into implementation, is the ordinary man, woman and child buying into?

Is it any wonder that the argument in France has descended into a ridiculous question of vote “Yes” if you want to break the rights of French citizens to the finest and most economically ruinous social security protections in the World or “No” if you want to maintain these and sink ever further down the economic ladder. Quelle! What a choice to present.

So Jerome. We agree about where we want to see Europe go. So why did you screw it all up? For goodness sake don’t mislead Tribbers here like we are all misleading our own people that Europe is about this damnable document.

No, this is what the people of Europe should have been asked to vote on, backed by the already agreed European Convention on Human Rights.. It is contained in the first couple of pages of a document that should never have been produced, let alone let loose amongst the politicians upon which to base a referendum.

Article I-2: The Union’s values
The Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, liberty, democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights. These values are common to the Member States in a society of pluralism, tolerance, justice, equality, solidarity and non-discrimination.

Article I-3: The Union’s objectives

  1. The Union’s aim is to promote peace, its values and the well-being of its peoples.
  2. The Union shall offer its citizens an area of freedom, security and justice without internal frontiers, and a single market where competition is free and undistorted.
  3. The Union shall work for a Europe of sustainable development based on balanced economic growth, with a social market economy aiming at full employment and social progress.   It shall aim at a high level of protection and improvement of the quality of the environment. It shall promote scientific and technological advance.

It shall combat social exclusion and shall promote social justice and protection, equality between women and men, solidarity between generations and protection of children’s rights. It shall promote economic, social and territorial cohesion, and solidarity among Member States. The Union shall respect its rich cultural and linguistic diversity, and shall ensure that Europe’s cultural heritage is safeguarded and enhanced.
4. In its relations with the wider world, the Union shall uphold and promote its values and interests. It shall contribute to peace, security, the sustainable development of the earth, solidarity and mutual respect among peoples, free and fair trade, eradication of poverty and protection of human rights and in particular children’s rights, as well as to strict observance and development of international law, including respect for the principles of the United Nations Charter.

Article I-4: Fundamental freedoms and non-discrimination

  1. Free movement of persons, goods, services and capital, and freedom of establishment shall be guaranteed within and by the Union, in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.
  2. In the field of application of this Constitution, and without prejudice to any of its specific provisions, any discrimination on grounds of nationality shall be prohibited.

Article I-7: Fundamental rights

  1. The Union shall recognise the rights, freedoms and principles set out in the Charter of Fundamental Rights which constitutes the Second Part of this Constitution.
  2. The Union shall seek accession to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. Accession to that Convention shall not affect the Union’s competences as defined in this Constitution.
  3. Fundamental rights, as guaranteed by the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, and as they result from the constitutional traditions common to the Member States, shall constitute general principles of the Union’s law.

Article I-8: Citizenship of the Union

  1. Every national of a Member State shall be a citizen of the Union. Citizenship of the Union shall be additional to national citizenship; it shall not replace it.
  2. Citizens of the Union shall enjoy the rights and be subject to the duties provided for in this Constitution. They shall have:
  • the right to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States;
  • the right to vote and to stand as candidates in elections to the European Parliament and  in municipal elections in their Member State of residence, under the same conditions as nationals of that State

Now I could vote for that! The students of Paris would rise up for that! Jerome would be right there alongside us.

Damn these grey suited politicians, damn these French bureaucrats and damn all those who have no ideals left from when they were young enough to dream and hope.

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