Mansfield Fox

Law student. Yankees fan. Massive fraggle. Just living the American dream.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Look Familiar?

It probably shouldn't.

Because it's analogous to the American experience, Hindrocket of PowerLine gets why Paris and Lyon would vote "oui", but notes
I don't know enough about French politics, however, to say why Brittany is blue
Or, for that matter, the one department each in Alsace and Savoy that voted for the constitution.

Now, I don't know much about French politics either, but the common thread seems to be ethno-linguistic minorities. Bretons in Brittany, Germans in Alsace, Italians/Savoyyards/Swiss in Savoy: all have the common trait that they're not ethno-linguistically French. Which means a variety of things:

1. They're less emotionally tied to the French nation-state, and thus less anxious about the loss to France of prestige and sovereignty that a more powerful EU would mean.

2. They're more frightened by the doomsday scenarios put forth by pro-constitution forces warning that something like the Holocaust or Yugoslavia would reoccur if the EU broke down, since they're the ones who'd do the dying if that came to pass.

3. They see the EU as a venue in which the power of national majorities can be checked. In France, the Bretons are a minority facing down an overwhelming French majority. But in Europe, they're just one minority among many, with nobody in the majority. This increases their power notably.

The real analog in the American experience to the "oui" voters is thus not to Democrats in 2000/2004, but to (and I'm going to get all Beardian for a second) the creditor classes who supported the ratification of our constitution. In any given state they were an embattled minority, always at risk that the adoption of paper money or debt cancellation would ruin them. But as the scope of the government increased, their vulnerability decreased.

I'm curious if this pattern replicates throughout Europe. Does anyone know if Basques, Catalans, Scots, Welsh, Flemings, etc, are more pro-EU than their respective national majority neighbors? It wouldn't shock me, certainly.

UPDATE: The catch, of course, is that my theory doesn't explain why the French Basques, or the Corsicans, would have voted "non". Yeah, I got no idea on that one.