If they say no

People will vote no for many different reasons, some for opposite reasons. But it seems clear to me some complaints will be shared by nearly all no voters, as well as many yes voters. Namely, that the EU is undemocratic, that the elites don?t care what the people say, that integration has been pursued without any input from them. Furthermore, I think an appropriate reaction to defeat would be humility. Therefore I think the proper way to rewrite the constitution would be to discard with most of the expansions of the EU’s powers, and as a side dish to introduce more robust measures to make the EU more democratic and accountable. This seems like the right thing to do, and also like a politically wise thing to do. It would make it likelier that people would vote for it, wouldn’t be that vulnerable to criticism that you rerun the vote and ensuing bitterness and still get the important things from this constitutions passed

If they’d scrap language that would invite judicial activism too, I myself could vote for it with enthusiasm.

While it’s not unthinkable that they’d actually do what I’ve suggested, I wouldn’t bet on it. More likely, they’ll either have a new IGC and make some less substantial changes to the constitution, or they will just give up for a few years. Neither scenario strikes me as worse than a yes vote.

What would be worse is if they give up and then go back to IGCs without any referendums or conventions, but I don’t think they could get away with it. In a sufficiently long run I’m sure they won’t, but heightened contradictions will be a mixed blessing. One dismal scenario would be for the French government to promise never to let Turkey in, and then rerun the referendum without changes, which would also be worse, at least if it succeeded, but again I don’t see it as likely.

2 thoughts on “If they say no

  1. “More likely, they?ll either have a new IGC and make some less substantial changes to the constitution, or they will just give up for a few years. Neither scenario strikes me as worse than a yes vote.”

    I think this is a very difficult one to see. Firstly we have to wait a little to see if it is actually a ‘no’, the high participation can bring a surprise.

    If it is no, then there will be a ‘no’ on Wednesday in the Netherlands. Really then the first decision they have to make is whether to continue with the validation process, this they claim they intend to do.

    What we are then in for is a period of uncertainty. My feeling is that the financial markets will then concentrate their minds enormously. Still, better to wait till we really know the result begfore all this starts.

  2. I think the process ought to go on, to find out how much political support the two sides have. If it’s just France, or just FR and NL that’s one thing. And frankly, re-working the EU just to suit France isn’t on. The French countryside gets an egregiously good deal out of CAP subsidies as it is.

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