Wednesday, April 13, 2005

A funny old world

While the core of Eurosceptism in the UK occupies a political position that could loosely be called the "right", opposition in France is firmly embedded in the ranks of the hard left.

Now the British Eurosceptics are joined by the Greek Communists, at least 1,500 of whom marched through central Athens in an anti-EU protest yesterday, on the day that their parliament was due to begin deliberations to ratify the EU constitution.

Holding banners calling for a "double no" to the EU and the constitution, the protesters marched in front of parliament before disbanding peacefully. The police estimated attendance at 1,500, while a reported from Agence France Presse estimated the number at 2,500.

A similar Communist-led rally was staged in the northern port city of Salonika, Greece's second largest city, earlier Tuesday. Demonstrators there marched with a gallows labelled "Euro-constitution", from which they hanged papers representing EU treaties.

The Greek parliament began the debate on the constitution yesterday evening, with a vote expected in three to five days. The opposition socialists (Pasok) are expected to support its ratification.

Meanwhile, back in the UK, a poll carried out for the Financial Times of that that most capitalist of fraternities, company finance directors, revealed that nearly seventy percent were opposed the constitution, while almost none of them are strongly in favour of it.

The poll, of some 200 directors, showed that 30 percent of respondents "strongly oppose" Britain adopting the new treaty. A further 38 percent said they were "generally opposed" but "could be persuaded in favour of it" and only 26 percent said they are generally in favour of it.

But this latter group "could be persuaded against it" if they thought it would be bad for Britain. A minuscule four percent said they "strongly support Britain adopting the new European constitution".

So there you have it. On one thing Capitalists and Communists unite: their detestation of the EU constitution - while the sludgy socialists in the middle support it. What a funny old world.

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