So who actually voted no in France?
This was pretty much the line before the vote:
But the centre-left electorate that will decide the outcome today is largely well-educated and in no particular pain. It is an electorate that benefits from the French status quo of high manning and generous social benefits in the public sector.
Now the actual figures are in:
"It was the popular classes, the France that works, that voted no," he said. "It was more than 75% of all blue-collar workers and unemployed people, two-thirds of low and mid-grade employees, and a majority of self-employed.
A lot of the pro-treaty liberal arguments resembled pro-war arguments from the same quarter, depending on a sort of pseudo-philistinism, with impeccably middle class people flinging accusations of "middle classness" at their opponents. Behind them stand "the people" anxious to liberate others and be liberated themselves by force and forces, whether armed or market. These people are in turn betrayed, fooled, bamboozled by selfish and cunning refuseniks amongst whom certain opinions are de riguer and ruthlessly enforced.
In the UK, this is sometimes accompanied by the idea that they control the media, albeit by a suffusive "oxbridge mentality" rather than through some form of conspiracy. Those rejection letters must have really hurt. And from there we go to Shiraz quaffers...
That line of business doesn't sell in France, where the media and political establishment was almost monolithically pro-constitution. Instead, we hear talk of a crisis because a majority of the people didn't do what they were told. What's disturbing here is that the response seems to be more about identifying scapegoats than discovering reasons.
There's a nasty, almost pathological tone to a lot of liberal discourse these days. It's full of hints of betrayal, stabs-in-the-back, worthy causes sabotraged through lack of vision and selfishness. The next stage is to call for a strong leader with the commitment to move forward against all opposition and the vision to know where he is going. All in the name of pluralism, openness and democracy.
Your essay title for today. The 18th Brumaire of Christopher Hitchens. Discuss.