There have been many fine essays published this weekend on the significance of the French "non" vote, but, once again, Steyn nails it better than anyone. Here's a sample:
Europe's "consensus" politics has ruled more and more topics unfit for discussion, leaving voters with a choice between Eurodee and Eurodum, a left—of—right—of—left—of—centre party and a right—of—left—of—right—of—left—of—centre party. None of these plodding technocratic parties seems eager to talk about any of the faintly unrespectable subjects on the minds of voters — Muslim immigration, increasing crime, Turkey, EU labour mobility. So voters, naturally, are turning elsewhere, and in five years' time the entire Continent could end up with the same flight from the centre as we've seen in Ulster.
As to whether Turkey is European, evidently it was a century and a half ago when Tsar Nicholas I described it as "the sick man of Europe". Today the sick man of Europe is the European, the gilded princeling like Chirac or Juncker, gliding from one Eutopian planning session to the next, oblivious to the dreary parochial concerns of the people. In The Sunday Telegraph, Douglas Hurd, typically, missed the point in his analysis of the French vote, arguing that Europe needed "new leaders". Our colleagues headlined it, "Two men and a woman who can save Europe". No, no, no. Europe doesn't have a lack of leaders, it has a lack of followers.

I mentioned to a theatre chum the other day that the EU reminded me of Garth Drabinsky's Livent company. They were the big theatre producers in the Nineties: they revived Show Boat and produced Kiss of the Spider Woman and Ragtime and Sweet Smell of Success in Toronto and on Broadway and brought most of them to the West End. And they were all critically admired, yet didn't seem to make any money. But Livent took the view that somehow if you produced a big enough range of flops they would add up to one smash hit.

They're gone now. But their spirit lives on in the EU, critically admired (at least by the Guardian and Le Monde) but not making any money, and clinging to the theory that if you merge enough weak economies they add up to one global superpower. The big story of the past three decades is that the more it's mired itself in the creation of a centralised pseudo—state, the more "Europe" has fallen behind America in every important long—term indicator, from economic growth to demographics. "Europe" is an indulgence the real Europe can't afford. The followers recognise that, even if the leaders don't.

Melanie Phillips has some wise words, as well.

Clarice Feldman   5 30 01