Saturday, June 04, 2005

The voice of a believer

I was amused but unsurprised to hear on BBC Radio 4's Any Questions?, Marc Roche, UK and Irish correspondent for Le Monde, passionately declare (aren't they always soo passionate): "I would like to see this country [the UK] believe its future lies in Europe and not with the US".

Once again, we have the "belief system" in play – no rational arguments, simply one must "believe".

The great Shirley Williams was also on the programme, once again blathering about the EU having kept the peace in Europe since 1950. They never give up. When challenged by John Redwood – who asserted that NATO might have had something to do with it – she rounded on him saying that the Balkans had gone to war and they were NATO members. Really?

I am obliged, incidentally, to Christina Speight, who has kept us informed with developments on the Bilt survey, in which readers were asked to give their opinions on the EU constitution. Some 390,694 people rang and a whopping 96.9 percent were against the constitution. This contrasts nicely with the Bundestag just some three weeks ago, writes Christina, where some 95 percent voted for the constitution.

In Germany also, it seems the grip of the "belief system" is breaking down, the Dutch and the French "no" votes effectively having given people "permission" to think the unthinkable. Heresy, suddenly, is back in fashion.

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