And another thing . . . The French “no” shows that self-indulgence remains a powerful force on the left in France.
In 2002, left protest-voting for hopeless fringe-left candidates against Socialist prime minister Lionel Jospin in the first round of the presidential election ensured that he came third behind the obnoxious fascist Jean-Marie Le Pen and was eliminated, leaving Jacques Chirac to walk the second round.
Yesterday, left voters convinced that “Another Europe is possible” joined Le Pen and the far right to vote “no”. The French Communist Party, the Trots and Laurent Fabius – the Mitterrand-era Socialist prime minister who revived his political career by coming out against the treaty – are congratulating themselves on a grand victory. But who will benefit? Not Chirac, whose star is now definitely on the wane. But not the left either. The crass opportunism of the left “no” camp severely damages the chances that the left will be able to find a candidate at the next presidential election who commands widespread support. Idiots utiles.