Mirroring the worst splits of the Major years in the Conservative Party, the French socialists are now in total disarray over the EU constitution. With presidential hopeful Laurent Fabius having come out against it, calling it unacceptably "liberal" in inspiration, former prime minister Lionel Jospin has now given it his backing, making the left-wing divide unbridgeable.
Jospin – who was unceremoniously dumped by his party after trailing a poor third after Chirac and Le Pen in the first round of the 2002 presidential election - has now risen from the political morgue to tell the left-wing weekly magazine, Le Nouvel Observateur, that though the constitution was not perfect, it was an "acceptable compromise." To reject it would weaken Europe and isolate France.
Currently, party leader Francois Hollande in also in favour of the constitution, and he is left holding the ring in what is described by outsiders as an "acrimonious debate", with an internal party referendum due in November to decide on the official line. Perhaps with that in mind, Jospin is playing the "US card", claiming that a no vote would create a blockage in Europe that would "leave the field open for the United States... America prefers a handicapped Europe to an active Europe."
Er… who paid for the Marshall plan and kept troops (and is still keeping troops) in Europe to protect it from Communist invasion, while France and the rest cut back on their defence commitments in order to spend their money on their fabulous "social model"? What a total schmuck the man is.