Jacques Chirac was humiliated when la belle France rejected her bully
suitor, whose enticements were conveyed to the populace by
lui-même. Even politicians exquisitely attentive to public
opinion somehow can't see that the charms of Europe are increasingly
invisible to its separate populations.
Now, Gordon Brown, who, along with his predecessor Tony Blair, had promised
a referendum on the end of Britain, has reneged. I myself can't see for
the life of me what lures Brits, French, Italians, Spanish, even Germans
either to the idea of Europe or to the already undemocratic, bullying,
cold-hearted, bureaucratic reality of the new Europe ensconced in Brussels.
But Brown won't have his way, as the Daily Telegraph, in an article by Toby
Helm, its chief political correspondent, makes clear in today's paper:
"Threat to Brown as 120 MPs demand EU poll."
What is really on the table with Europe is the end of representative
nationhood. But nations will survive, although their spirits will have
been channeled into an operative constitution that almost no one, save
the bureaucrats, will have read or understand.