My (French) wife turned out yesterday to vote for the European constitution but in vain. I can understand the French nationalists opposing it for similar reasons to those of our own anti-Europeans, but the idea among the Left that the constutition should be renegotiated to include more of a “social dimension” is just wishful thinking, and the idea promoted by old Left unions and right wing politicians that we should shut out the workers of the nations of central and Eastern Europe to protect our own jobs is both immoral and wrong-headed. Of course, it goes without saying that voting against the constitution to spite Chirac is equally misguided (since all major parties agree that the constitution should have gone ahead).
The constitution has plenty of weaknesses but if renegotiations did take place and in the unlikely event the result did pull the constitution further in a ‘social’ direction, it would be even less likely to be passed in Britain.
I can’t put things much better than the Guardian’s recent editorial:
For all the anger about liberal Anglo-Saxon economics, the text does not include economic prescriptions that are any different from those in the Treaty of Rome in 1957… the text does improve on the botched Nice treaty and delivers significant improvements to the EU’s rickety institutions. It certainly makes more sense to have a full-time president of the EU, to give it strategic direction and continuity, than to go on with the musical chairs system … It is a good idea to have a foreign minister to boost Europe’s faltering global role. It makes sense to reduce the use of national vetoes to avoid gridlock, to slim down the European commission to streamline delivery and to give more powers to the European parliament. It is good to have a charter of rights.
All of the above seems now likely to be lost or delayed or weakened.