Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/395/4479
What we think
EU constitution defeated
Now step up the struggle for workers' rights
THE FRENCH 'no' to the EU constitution is a massive blow to the pro-big business politicians in France and Europe. In Britain it means that a referendum is effectively dead.
Blair's dream scenario involved a 'yes' campaign in 2006 where, with Brown's support, he would use his powers of persuasion to convince the British public to vote in favour of the EU constitution. Then he would be able to stand down as Prime Minister, leaving his legacy of Britain at the "heart of Europe".
It was only ever really a dream. Much more likely was a humiliating defeat, as it turned into a referendum on Blair himself, with a battered Blair forced to bow out with his tail between his legs.
In one respect Blair has been let off the hook. But he is also left to pick up the pieces of the constitution wreckage when Britain takes over the presidency of the EU in July.
Some Labour MPs are calling for his early resignation now that a referendum is unlikely to go ahead. However, Blair will want to see through the six-month EU presidency, determined to try and force through the bosses' neo-liberal agenda.
This would include keeping Britain's opt-out of the working hours directive, which means that British workers can work more than the EU limit of 48 hours, and pushing ahead with the so-called 'Frankenstein' services directive which would drastically undermine workers' rights and conditions.
But that's precisely what millions of French workers were voting against in the referendum and what German workers rejected in the recent election in the region of North Rhine Westphalia. They don't want the 'Anglo-Saxon model' of longer working hours, privatisation of public services, slashing of the welfare state and decimated workers' rights.
There have been huge struggles in France, Germany and many other European countries against these attacks.
British workers need to join with these and others in the rest of Europe to fight against the bosses' EU of profits and exploitation and for a united workers' Europe of solidarity and socialism.
In The Socialist 2 June 2005: