When the French voted down the European constitution prepared by Euro-crats, their government responded by making some cosmetic changes and renaming it a treaty which, as such, they said didn’t need to be voted on by the people in a referendum; a vote by their representatives would do it. On Thursday, the one country out of 27 whose people were actually allowed to vote on the consti-er, treaty — said no. While the Eurocrats immediately took to the air to explain this by saying it was just that the people didn’t understand the treaty — i.e., they’re stupid — one French politician, the usual one, got it right. “We wanted to ignore the people,” said François Bayrou, leader of the Modem party, “and now their voices have become stronger.”
A couple of years ago there was a wave — okay, about four — of suicides among farmers, whose metiers were becoming more and more difficult. The one that really touched me involved a farmer in, I believe, the Loire valley who killed himself after two suits from Brussels showed up one day and told him he had to spend 100,000 Eruos on ecological improvements because fecal matter from his cows was infiltrating the water. The man killed the cows and himself. More recently, Brussels threatened to veto a French government plan to come to the aid of their dwindling number of fisherman, hit by astronomical gas price increases. And of course, because of European Union rules that no country can exceed a deficit of 3 percent, sectors across France are being cut back — notably arts allocations to regional governments, and also notably audio-visual centers.