The Guardian this morning reports that Labour may not go ahead with a referendum on the European Constitutional Treaty if the project goes down to defeat at the hands of the French. This not an entirely unsurprising development, and neither are the aspersions cast against the French electorate:
'Fifteen polls in France, once seen as the motor of integration, have shown a majority likely to reject the constitution, partly in protest at the leadership of the president, Jacques Chirac, and partly in opposition to the pro-market sentiments supposedly enshrined in the constitution.'
In the view of Patrick Wintour, the author of the article and the paper's chief political correspondent, the French populace could not possibly have come to their own conclusions about the ECT, and must only be voting No in order to give Jacque Chirac a black eye, or, at best, because they ignorantly believe the ECT to be enshrining pro-market principles.
There is nothing supposed about it, Pat: the ECT is as laced with pro-market principles as a dime-bag of oregano is laced with a marjoram-like Italian herb. And as the French - unlike Mr. Wintour - have actually familiarised themselves with the document, they are increasingly aware of this fact.