I’m not sure what Jerome is driving at here. It seems quite clear that, by promising a further referendum on whatever arises from Angela Merkel’s efforts to revive the Constitution, SÃ©golÃ©ne Royal is taking quite a risk, not least by betting on her ability to get the Laurent Fabius fanclub on side. I wouldn’t bet on a remixed Euroconstitution passing a referendum in France, but perhaps the argument is that the “non de gauche” was really a generalised protest vote and once the Left is back in power, the poison will have been drained from the issue.
Instead, the collectif antilibÃ©rale over there seem to think the whole thing is a British plot to get the Germans to stop the French from reviving the constitution, which is now a key document of multipolarity, solidarity, republicanism, laicitÃ© and other agreeable qualities. It used, of course, to be an Anglo-Saxon liberal conspiracy to subvert the French welfare state, but presumably that portion of the statement is no longer operative. Anyway, it’s not the French government that is reviving it, it’s the Germans. And it’s not the Left that is reviving it, but the Right, which begs the question why he is so annoyed by the possibility of its non-revival.
Further, it is suggested that the UK is behind an effort to block Royal (as hypothetical president) from “democratising the European Central Bank”. This is truly strange. If there is one substantive issue that the UK government disagrees with the EU about the ECB, it’s the ECB’s charter. Since 1997, the Bank of England has been mandated to hit a symmetrical inflation target – that is to say, should inflation go below target, it is required to reflate the economy until it rises.
That is precisely the opposite of the ECB’s charter, which requires it to keep below a target. No matter how deflationary the situation, the ECB has no mandate for reflation, and it also has a further monetarist target to hit. This is what the French Socialists don’t like about it, and is also what the Treasury dislikes about it, and also the essential problem I have with it.
You would think that if Britain really was so wedded to deflation, we would apply it in our own central bank’s charter.