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I spent the 2004–5 academic year in Europe (the first two months in Sweden, the rest in France), culminating with the May 29 referendum on the European Union Constitutional Treaty. Fifty-five per cent of French voters rejected it. Three days later, 62 per cent of the Dutch did likewise. Across the Channel in Britain, a nasty general election was fought. Had they been able to vote on the EU Treaty, the British too would have rejected it.

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