Vive la France! My joy is only slightly alloyed by the bitter reflection that this historic rejection by the French people of the "European Constitution" will clearly have a more profound impact, to say the least, than any rejection by the British people would have had.
In Europe, France counts even when she's wrong. Britain doesn't count even when (occasionally) she is right.
The French rejected the Constitution for all the wrong reasons. Properly understood, by their own criteria, they should have given it a full-on Gallic embrace.
Britain would have rejected it (if given the chance) for all the right reasons - namely a belief that to subsume such widely differing legal, administrative and political systems in the federal Europe to which the Constitution was tending, would be about as likely to succeed in the long term as a relaunch of the Soviet Union.
I have spoken this morning to two influential European businessmen; a Frenchman and a German. Both said "Federal Europe is dead" and that Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey can "forget about" joining the EU. This may be the turning of the tide on the grandiose, nonsensical "European Project", which was such a profound and mistaken reaction of the WWII generation to the horrors of that war.
Perhaps we may even get back to the simple "free trade zone" that most modern Brits would prefer.
I guess all Eurosceptics must be grateful to the French for making such a mistake from their own point of view. For this blessing, we must supress our feelings of resentment that our own views would never have had such an effect. Merci, mes amis. We are all in your debt. Now we look to Britain's most constant friends in Europe, the Dutch, to give this dying beast its coup de grace.
BBC NEWS | World | Europe | French say firm 'No' to EU treaty