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Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another









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6/04/2005

Racing to the Top

The fact that a top German politician has resorted to attacking capitalism to win votes tells you just how explosive the next decade in Western Europe could be, as some of these aging, inflexible economies - which have grown used to six-week vacations and unemployment insurance that is almost as good as having a job - become more intimately integrated with Eastern Europe, India and China in a flattening world.

To appreciate just how explosive, come to Bangalore, India, the outsourcing capital of the world. The dirty little secret is that India is taking work from Europe or America not simply because of low wages. It is also because Indians are ready to work harder and can do anything from answering your phone to designing your next airplane or car. They are not racing us to the bottom. They are racing us to the top.
tom friedman, nyt
The situation in France and Germany is fairly pathetic and unlikely to change simply because the politics of those nations have not yet had their Thatcher moment.

Canada has many of the same issues but we also have a more open market and less restrictive labour laws. The blancing act for our own politicians will be to keep Canada competitive in a global marketplace while continuing to be elected or at least in the race.

Where the CPC has really missed the boat is in failing to get away from the whole SSM socon game and into the competitive nation/less government side of politics. Instead Harper is so terrified of annoying the Ontario voters - not to mention the Maritimes - that he insists on supporting the various Liberal give aways rather than simply sticking to the line that Canadian taxes are too high and that this will render us non-competitive in the international marketplace.

In not too many years - say five at most - France is going to have a rather nasty collision with reality. It already has had to effectively ignore the deficit rules of the Euro in order to pay for its relatively unproductive welfare state. The next failure to meet those rules could signal the end of France's participation in the Euro or, and this would be the end of the EU, the refusal of the UK, Ireland, Spain and various other nations to continue to allow funds from the rest of the EU to go to the French agricultural sector.

Canada is not likely to reach the same crisis point any time soon because we are blessed with raw resources, particularily oil and water which are going to command very high prices over the next couple of decades. However, in Canada, the collision may well come when oil producing provinces get fed up shipping money out to provinces which are simply not pulling their weight.

The centrifugal forces in Canada are two fold - cultural and economic. At the moment it seems a very good bet that the culturally distinct province of Quebec, mortally insulted by the Liberals' illegal interventions in the last Referendum will be looking to seperate sooner rather than later. Once a Yes vote has been recorded a negotiation will commence. During that negotiation the other great Canadian cleavage will come to the fore.

At the end of the day Canada will have to restructure and it is the debate over the shape of that restructuring which should be occupying the minds of the federal political parties. So, because Canada is what it is, the single topic which cannot be mentioned is what a Canada with a soverign Quebec would look like.

The folks in Bangalore must be laughing all through their weekly coffee break.

I have to say I don't like currency trading at all, whether done by central banks or by private traders. In an ideal world the only currency trading would be for actual trade purposes (including hedging for trade but not hedging for speculation). Since you list Jane Jacobs "City and the Wealth of Nations" as one of your five most influential books, you know why I prefer such a situation.

But certainly the current situation, where currency prices are driven, for years, by central bank purchases and by speculative money which is mostly pretty hot, gives feedback to economies (and governments) which is inappropriate and not in their best interest. Bear in mind, for most of the last four years about 80% of the free savings in the world were plunging into the US, not because the US offered higher returns (it didn't) but because a number of central banks (most notably the Japanese and Chinese but not limited to them) made a decision to support the dollar because they didn't want the free market consequences of what would happen if the dollar collapsed under the weight of its twin deficits.
ian welsh, tilting at windmills
Ian and I have been having a discussion about just how free currency markets are. In itself it is an interesting conversation; but it is also a rather good example of how people can disagree because they understand ideas in quite different ways.

I firmly believe that currencies are priced by a market mechanism. A mechanism which prices in such things as the strange behaviour of central bankers. But, then again, I don't actually think there are independently verifiable "economic fundamentals". There is, in my view, no such animal as a correctly priced currency. That is a currency which conforms to a price which the economic performance, trade statitistics, monetary policy and fiscal inclinations of a nation would suggest.

In fact, the markets in currency reflect the fact that such an economically correct price is an impossibility because of the uncertainties involved.

Those uncertainties range from the simple fact that there is a significant lag in the reporting of economic statistics to the more complicated fact that internal and international politics can cause fluctuations in price which have nothing to do with the underlying economy.

At best, a currency price is a guess, a bet, on a certain view of the current and future prospects of that currency relative to all of the other currencies it trades against. There is no right number from an economic perspective; but there are a range of profitable numbers for currency traders.

6/03/2005

On your Bike

"Everyone will come here with their own agendas, but for me it's all about the fun," says a man we'll call Kurt, a 25-year-old math student who, for reasons that will become obvious, asked not to have his name used. It's 10:30pm on May 27 and, amid the Friday night crowds, he's standing buck naked at the Bloor and Spadina intersection. There are four other naked and semi-naked men there too, with their bikes.

By the end of the night, a run-in with the police will leave Kurt and the others worried that their seemingly harmless act of cycling activism will cause employers and friends to think they're potential sex offenders. But for now he's smiling and having a good time.
eye
Outstanding, Torontonians, desperately searching for a life, are riding their bikes naked...and people suggest I'm just a little anti-Ontario for suggesting various area codes are a tad intellectually challenged. (via the flea of course, go click one of his really cool google ads)

Grewaling

The Liberals are running the full court press on the Grewal tapes and there seems to be some evidence of tampering, or, at the very least, hamfisted editing.

Which, if true, will mean that the story will shift from what a sleazy operation Martin, Murphy and Dosanjh were running to a technical analysis of any edit job Grewal or the CPC may have been assinine enough to perform on the tapes.

Which would take Harper from the offensive to damage control mode in a pico second. After all, if Grewal or the CPC have altered the tapes to implicate a Minister of the Crown and the PM's Chief of Staff in criminal activity, then issues of criminal conspiracy and fraud arise. You're not allowed to fake or alter evidence and, if you do, you go to jail.

Nothing is proven yet but the CPC should learn a critical thing from the Rather affair: if there is a reasonable technical basis for doubt toughing it out is not an option. Get the tapes to a properly qualified forensic audio expert and a competent translator immediately.

Which, bluntly, is what they should have done as soon as the tapes existence came to light.

Once again, the utter corruption of the Liberals may get a pass because the Tories really are thicker than the proverbial sack of hammers.

(I note that any editing of the originals of material which may be evidence in a criminal matter cannot be justified. there is a very thin argument for editing a transcript to make points clearer so long as the edits are clearly marked; but the original tapes themselves should never have been touched. And,realistically, as soon as their existence surfaced, Harper should have taken steps to secure them and to establish a chain of custody. And he should have ensured that the originals of the tapes were lodged with an unimpeachable person - retired Supreme Court judge - more or less instantly.

Does the CPC have legal counsel??)

Update: Lorne Gunther points out that it really doesn't matter if Grewal did or did not alter the tapes: the Liberal smokescreen was already thick on the ground.

What is important in all this, though (and the reason I predict Murphy and Donsanjh will never face any consequences) is that the Liberals (who used the CFRA story in the Commons Thursday) have succeeded in confusing voters and reporters about the authenticity of Grewal's entire tape collection.

Never mind that the allegedly alteration is in just 40+ seconds out of four hours. Reporters won't be too curious whether those are the only 40 seconds (they are not) in which Murphy and Donsanjh engage in questionable behaviour. They weren't really that curious from the start about whether the two Liberals may have violated the Criminal Code's provisions against buying an MP's vote. And now they have an excuse to be entirely uncurious.

'Well, the tapes are like, tainted, aren't they?"
lorne gunter

6/02/2005

He's Back!

CBC-TV has announced a redoubled focus on Canadian dramatic programming in its 2005-06 season.

That must be Satan's-Cabana-Boys-speak for "all Anne of Green Gables, all the time..."

Long-awaited projects like The Tommy Douglas Story, the prequel to the 2002 Trudeau miniseries, Shania: A Life in Eight Albums and Waking Up Wally: The Walter Gretzky Story will come to air.

Oh Lord, shoot me now... I'm already having visions of The Tommy Hunter Story, Comrade Jack Layton: the pre-hair loss years, and I've Been to Moose Jaw: the Musical.

"Our number one goal is to increase viewing to our network," said Richard Stursberg, executive vice-president of CBC-TV.

Excuse me for a minute.

Bwahahahahahahahahahaaaahaaaaaa!
all agit prop
We missed you Paul!

Margaret Wente has the Stonach Tapes....

Got them in a parking garage complete with an 18 minute gap.

Snaps

If you have a spare minute and you want to see really brilliant photographs go check out Sean's Digiteyesed and his E photography magazine, circle of confusion. (Yes, that Sean, the snarky one from Polspy.)

Blogging the Euro "Non" or "Nee"

But those opposed to the constitution found the internet in general and blogs in particular as one of the ways to get their message out, he said.

"Proponents of 'No' have said the mainstream media have been shamelessly in favour of the 'Yes'. They said the internet was the main area where the democratic debate can take place," he added.
bbc
In the last Canadian election blogs played a relatively minor role. We were out there banging away but there was not a lot of readership and the MSM had not really realized the blogs were there.

This time I expect it will be different. In particular, the Blogs Canada E-Group, Andrew Coyne, Paul Wells, Cosh, Kinsella and the assorted blogging alliances will all be putting an oar in.

The carefully structured photo ops and stump speeches for the 10:00 news filtered through properly accredited journalists are not going to be the only voices heard. This has the potential, in a close fought race, to create a dynamic out of the control of the political and media elites.

However, to do this bloggers from all parties and no party, need to be promoting blogs, their own and others, to the hordes of Canadians who don't know we're here. I suspect we have about six months.

French Pretense

It's freebe day at the Globe and Mail and Jeff Simpson weighs in on Europe:

But the No vote was still more: that France, so mighty in its own mythology and so proud of creating the original European Community, sensed that this new Europe of 25 (and to be expanded further) was no longer an entity France could control, but rather one that would increasingly control France.

From being an extension of French power and pretense, the EU had become a threat to both. Rather than reminding the French of their greatness, it underscored their weakness.

They could sense the shift during the debate over Iraq when the Franco-German alliance held, but the Italian, Spanish, British, Dutch, Danish and Polish governments dissented. Iraq exposed the myth of a European counterweight to the U.S., and nowhere was that more painful than in France.
globe and mail
He also points out:
n France, le libéralisme means the modern-day equivalent of 19th-century economic liberalism: free markets, free trade, individual self-help. It's the dogma practised, according to its French critics, by les Anglo-Saxons, notably the British and the dreaded Americans.

That Britain has an unemployment rate one-quarter that of France, a higher growth rate and a better inward investment record doesn't matter. Somehow, in the French mind, the British live in a heartless, cold economic climate, a milder variation of the dog-eat-dog capitalism of the United States.
The poor French have simply dug deeply into denial. Of course there were very good reasons to reject the Euro Constitution; but those were not the reasons which powered the French rejection.

Book Tag

Jay Jardine says I'm It:

# of books I own:

With a lot of moving I've sold or given away around a couple of thousand books in the last couple of years; but, at the moment I have around four hundred. Which are a drag to move.

Last Book I Bought:

Middlesex: Jeffrey Eugenides A 2002 book about a hermaphrodite child of Greek immigrants...not at all bad.

Last Book I Read:

Yours, Al: The Collected Letters of Al Purdy Just as the title implies, Canadian Poet Al Purdy's letters. An almost instant introduction to mid century CanLit with a sense of humour and a good deal of insight into how poems are made. (A mystery to me I must confess.)

5 books that mean a lot to me:

1. The Dance to the Music of Time - Anthony Powell -- England's understated answer to Rememberance of Things Past (which I have yet to make it through). Simply one of the most entertaining books I've ever read. Fitzrovia before WWII, WWII and the slightly befuddled world of post war, pre-Thatcher England described by a brilliant and very sympathetic writer. (This is a slight cheat as TDTMT is actually 12 volumes.)

2. War and Peace - Tolstoy -- I have fallen into the habit of reading W&P every five years or so. Every time it is different. It is a book to grow older with and I suspect reading it at eighty will be as interesting as it was to read at fifteen.

3. Parades End - Ford Maddox Ford -- If you want to understand the real scandal of the Liberal Party, Tiejens's horror when told to fake statistics for the government department for which he works pretty much captures what I view as the proper reaction.

4. Good Bye to All That - Robert Graves -- A memoir of the world lost in the trenches of France. I often read it on Rememberance Day.

5. Cities and the Wealth of Nations - Jane Jacobs -- I don't think there is a better book to aid the understanding of how economics works in practice and how the urban world has evolved.

6. Assorted other critical books: Economic Analysis of Law, Richard Posner; Anarchy, The State and Utopia, Robert Nozick; Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes (with the Oakshott introduction); a list I will add to

7. Some Novels: Winnie the Pooh, A Suitable Boy (Vikram Seth), The Depford Trilogy (Robertson Davies), The Camimolle Lawn (Mary Wesley); Time Enough For Love (Robert Heinlein)...a list I will add to.

Tag 5 More:

Time to infect the Canadian blogs - let's see:

Mike Brock
Anyone at Tilting at Windmills
Nick "the Flea" Packwood
Kevin Grace
Sean McCormick

6/01/2005

Mrs. Thatcher

Along with bad puns, see below, Sullivan captures the essence of the Euro divide:

The vote makes economic reforms harder not easier; and will probably mean even worse times for the euro-area economy. This isn't good for Europe, for the prospect of Angela Merkel's reforms in Germany, and for the U.S. Chirac lost in part because he wasn't anti-Anglo-American enough. Every day, I feel more amazed at what Margaret Thatcher achieved for Britain. Without her, Britain would be in the same state as France: deadlocked in decline with no one bold enough to shake the whole system up. She made all the difference.
andrew sullivan

A Dutch Pun

One analysis of the Dutch referendum result: They are the Knights that say "Nee!"
andrew sullivan
Sorry...couldn't resist.

Crooked or Dumb....You Decide

Nowhere in Liberal talking points distributed to MPs Wednesday are these tactics disputed. Instead, Liberals are told to stress that the tapes are suspect, no explicit offer was made, Grewal approached the government and Grewal's personal credibility is nil.

While agreeing the Liberals have been caught with their hand in the cookie jar, many other Conservatives reacted with public ambivalence and private vitriol to their colleague's ruse.

Sources said there's deep distrust of Grewal in caucus and his future in the party was limited even before this incident.

He was taken to task at caucus Wednesday and told his actions were dishonest, wrong and brought disrepute to all politicians.
cnews
As usual the Liberals are dispicable but effective.

The dumbos in the CPC form a circle and shoot...How dumb is it possible to be. At least Harper seems to have some clue,
"The Liberal party has denied in the past they attempt to buy off members of Parliament. They lied about that," Harper said following a national caucus meeting.

"What the tapes of Mr. Grewal show is exactly the process they use . . . . Frankly, the only issue now is why they continue to lie about what they've obviously done."
cnews

Stalking Grace

"Difference"? "Crucial difference"? Huh? What does Andres Serrano have to do with Amnesty International? And note the use of mangled cliché in the second paragraph. "Poster boy" would have been bad enough, but Marsden realized that AI is a thing, not a person, and so we are subjected to "poster organization."
the ambler
Like a little boy pulling the wings off a fly, Kevin Michael Grace has his way with Rachel Marsden's first National Post column.(Mercifully behind the subscriber wall.) To twist a tag line from one of Ms. Marsden's other employers, (where according to the interesting narratives she uses as resumes, she worked under Bill O'Reilly, (There are reams of sworn evidence suggesting Ms. Marsden is brilliant at, one might almost say obsessive about, Bill's favorite sport of smutty late night phone conversation.)), KMG is mean but fair.

Of course, what Kevin seems unwilling to admit is that bad writing, cliched punditry, and banal defences of the indefensible are an established tradition at the Post where they managed to replace Steyn and Frum with, er, Copps. But at least Sheila can rely on Warren to ghost, poor Rachel has to make her own way in the world.

All of which may get Kevin just what he always needed....his very own serial stalker. Alternatively, a date with Antonia Zerbaisis who is turning out to be a really first class blogger.

Now, I missed posting Canada's Miss Universe, but thanks to the WayBackMachine we are lucky enough to see the pictures which no longer grace Ms. Marsden's rather more respectable, American Republican kinda girl, website...Hit it Mr. Peabody:


"Wanna subscribe Big Boy??

Or giving Heather Malick a run for her money:
Now, personally, I think Rachel is hot in that "mad, bad and dangerous to know" sort of a way: who cares if she can write??

The Getting of Wisdom

Glenn Reynolds has an interesting piece up at TechCentralStation on the educational and creative consequences of 150-300 year human lifespans.

Would people who lived to 150 or 300 take time to retool? And, if they did, would they be as creative as they were when they were fresh out of school?

I'm not sure. On the one hand, people who live to 300 can't expect to coast for a lifetime on the intellectual capital of their youth. And the opportunity costs in terms of lost time would be much lower as a percentage of lifespan than they are for a 55-year-old today.
techcentralstation
the argument that there is an intense burst of creativity when a person is relatively young and then a long decline into a rather cantankerous obstructionism in old age is more than a little showorn when 60 is the new 40 and hundred year olds are the fastest growing cohort in America.

While in areas such as math, theoretical physics and music, there seems to be a rush to the peak and then a tenured slow slope to retirement, this is not nearly as true in the biological sciences or medicine. In the arts there are certainly young geniuses; but there are also men like Picasso or Augustus John who simply never stop creating.

There are some diciplines which are about the flash of insight which leads to the great discovery, there are others where simply accumulating the language, the vocabulary needed to produce great work takes years:

Take a look at this:

picture of a tree painted by Piet Mondrian in 1908 when he was 36, and this:



done over thirty years later. Mondrian had gone well past the skilled draughtmanship and Impressionist leanings of his thirties into a deeper, more complicated understanding of painting, colour and form. The earlier piece is a very good painting of a tree, the later is a brilliant exposition of what painting actually is. But Mondrian could not have come to "Composition 8" without having painted "The Red Tree".

While flashes of insight may be a young persons game, mastery almost never is.

Euro fans Alert

My friend Ian Welch and the vast army of anti-Bush Euro fans will be relieved to hear:

The president of Germany's central Bundesbank on Wednesday rejected as "absurd" a report saying he had taken part in a meeting at which the possible collapse of the euro was discussed.

In a statement, Bundesbank chief Axel Weber, said he would never take part "in such an absurd discussion".

"The euro is a success story," said Weber in the statement.
expatica hattip paul wells
A good rule in international banking is that when central bankers are going public to deny that a currency is in trouble, the currency is in trouble. A fact rather cunningly demonstrated in this chart of the Euro v USD from the end of March 2005, 2005 to today.


The overwhelming (63% nee in exits)Dutch rejection of the Euro constitution, hard on the heels of the French rejection, suggests there is more than a little shakiness in the entire European project.

Taped

Warren Kinsella has a nose for the dirt and, if you haven't already, go over to his site and check the Grewel exerpts.

In any normal country tape of a senior Cabinet Minister and the PM's chief of staff playing hide the salami with Senate seats and diplomatic appointment in order to bribe sitting MPs to abstain from voting in a confidence vote would put paid to the government. Especially when they were doing so with the sull knowledge of the Prime Minister. But, this being Canada, the Grits are spinning this as being Grewel's fault for taping the conversation and at least part of the media is buying it.

This has gone well beyond outrage. The question is whether or not the NDP will have had enough or, and here's a thought, some of the decent people who sit in the Liberal Cabinet and backbenchs will realize that the corruption is so deep, so profound, that if there is any hope of saving Canada's reputation in the eyes of her own people, the Liberal Party must be defeated...now. Abstention is a two way street and one which decent Liberals need to walk almost immediately.

5/31/2005

Best Comment on Dominique de Villepin

Punishing The French

Jacques Chirac has named Dominique de Villepin (who is not a woman) as France's new Prime Minister. One can only conclude that the appointment of the carefully coiffed foreign minister is intended to punish the French for refusing to approve the EU Constitution.
small dead animals
That is just so mean...and accurate. It's rare, in the middle of an economic crisis to appoint a man entirely bereft of any economic experience to the premiership...

How Smart is Google....this Smart

This Summer, don't let your programming skills lie fallow...Use them for the greater good of Open Source Software and computer science! Google will provide a $4500 award to each student who successfully completes an open source project by the end of the Summer. (payment details can be found in FAQ)
google
So google funds the geeks on open source, they love Google and, on finishing their degree go work for Google which already knows what they can do.

As the traditional definition of "job" is replaced with a freelance world this is going to look very smart indeed.

Legacy Media and Bias

Liberal copycats of talk radio fail, not because they are always boring but because there is little market or even need for such a counter-establishment media. The progressive audience already finds its views embedded in a New York Times or CBS “news” story. So why turn to a redundant and less adept Al Franken, Phil Donahue or Arianna Huffington?

Yet the irony is that while our major media are considered liberal, they are hardly populist. When Dan Rather and Newsweek are exposed, they seek refuge in stuffy institutional reputations and huffy establishment protocols. Meanwhile, a million bloggers with pitchforks — derided by a former CBS executive as “guys in pajamas” — couldn't care less about degrees or titles but use their collective brainpower to poke holes in the New York-Washington gatekeepers.
victor hansen
Much the same argument can be made in Canada with our lapdog, deepest Annex media trotting out whatever the spin of the week from the Grits happens to be. the major difference being that we lack the opposition that talk radio and Fox provides in the States.

Old and New in Europe

In the Netherlands, leaders prepared for a referendum tomorrow that will almost certainly result in a strong No vote. This is despite the fact that all the major Dutch political parties, media outlets, unions and well-known public figures have called for a Yes vote, as they did in France.
the globe and mail
As Canadians demonstrated with the Charlottetown Accord, when political parties, the mainstream media and assorted celebrities get together to try and put over an elite driven deal, the people are rightly sceptical.

The sense of political breakdown seemed paralyzing yesterday.

The continent now seems trapped between citizens who want to stop it from becoming like Britain or Ireland, where commerce and wealth dominate, and those who want to stop it from becoming like France or Italy, where lavish social programs and high taxes dominate.
the globe and mail
The paralysis is the result of two entirely different concepts of the state: "Old Europe" still sees the state as having, magically, resources beyond the simple productivity of its citizens. New Europe - Britain, Ireland and the new members of the EU from Eastern Europe, have a firmer grip on the limitations of the state.

In even the medium term the social programs, early retirement, short working hours and long vacation regimes in Germany and France ensure that these nations will become less competititive on a worldwide basis. However, their populations are in a state of deep denial and will not accept the need for profound structural change. The opportunity to reject the Euro constitution was an opportunity for the French left to pretend that the transformation of the world's economy could somehow be averted. It cannot and while the Euro constitution was only a minimal acknowledgement of the shifting world economy, its rejection as too "Anglo-Saxon", too competitive and smacking of "globalization" simply confirms the decrepit state of the French grip on economic reality.

If this condition persists, the EU will divide into nations which are competing in the world economy and those which are not. It is unlikely that the competitive nations will be willing to subsidize the non-competitive unless the non-copetitive undertake significant economic restructuring. Such restructuring was, at root, what the French were voting against.

More recently, it has been intended to create a European entity powerful enough to serve as a counterweight to the United States. But the recent accession of Eastern European members with pro-American instincts has undermined the counterweight idea. If anything, the growing size and integration of the European Union may be a counterweight to Gallic anti-Americanism. As a result, Europe needs to find a motor for integration that can replace French nationalism.
washington post
While anti-Americanism drove the Non vote it is really not an answer to the trouble which beset the non-Anglo Saxon members of the EU. Pretending that the world is locked in the 1960's and that France is a great, or at least, economic, power is not going to cut it.

One interesting speculation is that England might well take the rejection of the EU constitution as the opportunity to quit the increasinly irrelevant Community and set out to forge a social and economic path of its own. Not likely; but an interesting prospect for the Anglosphere.

I note the deafening silence from the domestic anti-Americans who, a few months ago, let their Bush psychosis suggest to them that the Euro was about to bury the US dollar..."In general I'd go to Euro and Swiss Franc denominated investments" Ian Welsh,January 31, 2005 The Bogging of the PresidentThey might want to check out this chart of the Euro v the USD since that advice was tendered. The term "downtrend" was coined for this sort of thing....

5/30/2005

Elle Henderson greets the Post

Nice to see that stalkers can live down the past and move on.

Mr. Grewal hired the controversial Rachel Marsden to work with him in his office using the name "Elle Henderson".
Source: Vancouver Sun, May 8, 2004
ten wacky tory stories
Nice to see that shit floats. Probably becasue it had a good coach.

5/29/2005

Note to the French Left

Peter Mandelson, the British EU trade commissioner, said: “There is a lack of appreciation amongst many not all in France that in the 21st century Europe has to raise its economic game.”
financial times

Non!

Turnout was estimated at over 70 percent, far exceeding other recent elections in France. The final figure was expected to surpass turnout in the referendum on the Maastricht Treaty 13 years ago that paved the way to the euro.

"It's a big no," said Bruno Jeanbart, director of political research at the CSA polling station. "It's a twin protest vote against the government and against Europe."
nyt
The far left and right in France are delighted to have defeated the creeping Anglo-Saxonism they read into the Euro consitituion. 57% of the voters rejected the constitution.

A huge defeat for the French poltical elites which hoped to be able to use the Euro constitution to enforce a more centralized EU regime with, naturally, French leadership. As I wrote below, the left attacked the consitution for precisely the elements which would have made Europe a more market oriented, competitive and productive society. And the left won by convincing people like this one,
"I believe in Europe, but not in a free-market Europe where everyone competes with everyone else and the result is lower wages and less security for all," Ms. Belgrave said, echoing one of the most popular arguments of the no camp.
nyt

Of course, this poor woman does not realize that the very nature of the expanded EU is to have precisely this sort of competition.

Still, this is a setback for the centralizers and the bureaucrats who wanted to further erase Europe's national distinctions. While many on the left in France thought, mistakenly, that this was a vote against globalization, it does have the happy consequence of leaving Europe's nations free to pursue genuine national interests rather than a synthetic "European" interest.