Economics and the mid-life crisis have much in common: Both dwell on foregone opportunities

C'est la vie; c'est la guerre; c'est la pomme de terre . . . . . . . . . . . . . email: jpalmer at uwo dot ca

. . . . . . . . . . .Richard Posner should be awarded the next Nobel Prize in Economics . . . . . . . . . . . .

Sunday, May 29, 2005

If You Don't Like the Result,
Call for Another Vote

French voters have decided not to support the proposed cumbersome and interventionist European constitution. Dutch voters are also likely to vote no, later this week. Here is Mark Steyn's analysis (thanks to Jack for the pointer):

...a couple of days before the first referendum, Jean-Claude Juncker, the "president" of the European Union, let French and Dutch voters know how much he values their opinion:

"If at the end of the ratification process, we do not manage to solve the problems, the countries that would have said No, would have to ask themselves the question again," "President" Juncker told the Belgian newspaper Le Soir.

Got that? You have the right to vote, but only if you give the answer your rulers want you to give. But don't worry, if you don't, we'll treat you like a particularly backward nursery school and keep asking the question until you get the answer right. Even America's bossiest nanny-state Democrats don't usually express their contempt for the will of the people quite so crudely.

Oh yeah? Well, what about Canada, where the Partis Quebecois have vowed to keep holding referenda on Quebec separation until they win?

Are gubmnts like these being run by men who do not understand that "No" means "No"?
Perhaps they need social consciousness raising sessions ...

I'm intrigued that people from both the left and the right are relieved that the French voted "no" and by a definitive margin. From the BBC on Sunday afternoon [thanks to Brian Ferguson for sending this link]:

Exit polls published just after voting ended put the "No" side at 55%.
It appears that leftists were concerned that the EU constitution would weaken the power of French trade unions and the socialist state. Rightists were concerned that German and French work rules and barriers to markets would become constitutionally entrenched. See, for example, all the links at Instapundit.

But back to the main point: It appears that "no" does not mean "no".

In short, the authors conclude that, in the event of one or both countries voting "no", the ratification process should be neither suspended nor abandoned. They assert that all member states have expressed a commitment to proceed with ratification by virtue of Declaration 30, appended to the Constitutional Treaty. Member states cannot unilaterally or collectively decide to change the ratification process.

Thus, member states which have not already ratified should continue with the process whence, once 20 members have done so, the matter should be referred to the European Council.

In the meantime, the authors caution that "the European Union must not remain paralysed". Rather, they say, "it must continue and intensify its efforts to relaunch its policies, even by implementing in advance, where possible, the provisions of the Treaty that do not meet with open opposition".

Thus, the considered response in the event of a rejection of the constitution should be "full steam ahead". Member states should implement it even faster than they are doing already.

Very helpful. I wish I could be equally helpful in return on this question:
So what, precisely, do we have to do to stop this thing?

Finally, it is clear the BBC thinks that even though all 25 countries must ratify the constitution, and even though France has voted against it, all is not over. Their lead for the story:

The vote could deal a fatal blow to the constitution, which needs to be ratified by all 25 members states. [emphasis added]
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