Skip to comments.Yes, It's Hit the Fan – But Europe Hasn't Quite Run Out of Hope
Posted on 05/31/2005 6:35:35 PM PDT by quidnunc
There is nothing like a good public apology. I don't count it when a politician says sorry for some calamity for which he could not possibly be responsible, like Tony Blair apologising for the Irish Famine. Nor do I include the public figure who mutters some shamefaced form of words when he is caught with his trousers down or his hand in the till. What I mean is saying sorry openly and wholeheartedly when you have made an almighty Horlicks of something serious.
Examples in my small collection range from Lord Aberdeen doing penance for the Crimean War to Estelle Morris resigning as Education Secretary, saying she was not up to the job. To be honest, there are not many other examples.
Yet here, a bit late in the day perhaps but welcome none the less, comes a ripe and juicy example of the Big Sorry. Amid the clatter of Eurocrats leaving their seats to escape the blame for Sunday's fiasco in France, there is one noble exception: Lord Kerr of Kinlochard, better known as Sir John Kerr, lately head of the Foreign Office.
Kerr was at Giscard's right hand throughout the long negotiations which drew up the unlovely and now embarrassingly unloved European Constitution. As secretary-general to the convention, he became a near-legend for his ingenuity in disentangling knots and reconciling opponents.
But now, reviewing the European scene, he says sadly ''it's a mess'', and accepts that the constitution is much to blame. Key sections on defence and foreign policy ''got out of control''. They failed to resolve the ambiguities on economic policy, thus allowing both dirigiste socialists and free marketeers to claim that the document was loaded against them.
''That's because,'' Lord Kerr explains with characteristic candour, ''we thought: 'Oh s---, this is difficult stuff', and we didn't do anything about it.''
All this has now come unstuck. The deceptions are laid bare. The EEC/EC/EU has not suffered such a hammer blow in all its 50 years, with another blow likely tonight from the Netherlands.
It is futile for the Eurocrats to whimper that the French actually voted not on the constitution but on the dismal state of the French economy and their distrust of their political elite.
The fact that lefties and rightwingers all voted NO, that the commoners voted NO, has puzzled me, but that they voted NO to protest the dismal French economy seemed to make sense. I wanted the reason to be more than that, but that seemed to make sense. This states that the NO was more than selfish concerns. It was genuine resentment of the anti-democratic nature of the ruling classes pushing this onto the commoners. If true, matters have become interesting and complicated.
Will the Dutch come up with a voting bloc large enough to sack the Constitution?
It is good to keep a sense of humor in this whole mess.
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