There was much crowing from British eurosceptics when a recent poll showed mounting concern about the new European Union constitution in France.

But they are so deafened by their own rhetoric they have failed to notice the reason for the change, a reason that really should give them pause for thought.

The French generally regard the new treaty as a triumph for British negotiation. It is a document which secures the EU as an association of sovereign nation states and makes future integration that much more difficult.

The new constitution, they complain, is a very British victory.

Sixty years ago, George Orwell warned about "political schizophrenia", making it possible "to believe two opposing things simultaneously". The "no" campaigns in France and the UK are based on contradictory assertions about what they see as the dangers of the new treaty.

Both cannot be right. But, luckily, both can be wrong.

Richard Corbett,

Labour MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber,

Blenheim Terrace, Leeds.

Updated: 11:05 Friday, March 25, 2005