It seems that France, too, has “red states” and “blue states.”
Paris and its posh suburbs are blue: They voted for the proposed European Union
constitution, a document that promised to bring together the diverse peoples of 25 European nations under a single political and economic system.
By contrast, color red the factory towns of northern France, the high-unemployment Mediterranean south and this mostly rural south-western region, where voters overwhelmingly rejected the plans proposed by France's elites.
The non voters prevailed by a wide margin. The elites have responded by calling them ignorant, fearful -- even racist. Perhaps some are. But when I asked people
around these parts why they voted as they did, their answers sounded sensible.
“We're not against Europe,” explained Michel Guilloteau, who grows grapes for use in wines and cognacs. “We're for Europe. But why go so fast? There are differences between France and other countries. Why pretend there are not?”...
And on the EU
About a decade ago, I was among a group of journalists invited to visit key continental capitals to learn about “the European project.” I was skeptical that so many old and distinct nations were genuinely prepared to give up a large measure of their sovereignty, doubtful that people from Portugal to Poland were ready to think of themselves as Europeans first and accept a one-size-fits-all government.
Not to worry, my colleagues and I were told -- a new, united Europe would be based on “subsidiarity,” the principle that every decision should be made at the lowest possible level of government. What can be decided by the people of Cognac for the people of Cognac was not to be decided by bureaucrats at EU headquarters in Brussels. It has not turned out that way. On the contrary, the power of the “Eurocrats” has increased year after year. What is called the “democracy deficit” has been growing. The proposed constitution would have both endorsed and reinforced this trend...
France has been cursed recently with systems men for leaders. For them staying in power is the only issue-- the rest be damned.