Thursday, April 21, 2005

A bow to the pros

The USA's Democrat party is well known for its innovations in obtaining the votes of the dead, deranged, dubiously registered, and derelict. In the latter case, the going rate always used to be a pack of cigarettes, but I don't how how long that can last if the "clients" hear about what the French are up to - EU denies free air ticket bribes for Yes vote in French poll
The European Commission denied yesterday it was bribing French voters to vote Yes in next month's referendum on the draft constitution.

That was despite its unveiling a scheme to offer free and subsidised transatlantic air tickets to residents of Martinique and France's other overseas territories and departments.

Under France's colonial traditions, Martinique, Guadeloupe, French Guiana and Tahiti are legally treated as parts of the mainland and are known in French as "Dom-Toms". That grants residents of those palm-fringed corners of the world a perfect right to vote in the French constitutional poll on May 29.

In the 1992 French referendum on the Maastricht treaty, the result, which was decided by a margin of less than one per cent, was swung in favour of the Yes camp at the last moment, when France announced the fortuitous arrival of huge numbers of Yes votes from the Dom-Toms.
That was lucky, I'm sure! The first Mayor Daley was similarly lucky when the votes finally came in for JFK from all the urban wards in Chicago in the 1960 election.
The commission said it had approved a French request to offer state aid to "offset the permanent disadvantage suffered by the inhabitants of Martinique" and other Dom-Toms trying to reach the EU, thousands of miles away.
A commission spokesman "categorically denied" the decision was linked to polls showing a steady majority for the No camp in France. But Chris Heaton-Harris, a Tory MEP, said: "It is outrageous. The commission clearly thinks 250 euros a year will do the trick again."
Maybe George Soros can kick in a few more bucks to the Donks to bridge this price gap.

A hat tip to EU Referendum which has the latest polling numbers.