Read this before you decide

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The Independent Online
AUJOURD'HUI, a message to the citoyens and citoyennes of France. Messieurs, Mesdames] I appeal to you, in the name of logic, good sense and Cartesian fair play, to consider the following factors, before you go to the referendum.

Why you should vote 'Oui' to Maastricht

1. To stop David Owen being thrown out of a job just when he has finally got one again.

2. To maintain the uninterrupted flow of news about our Royal Family to your country.

3. To baffle the pundits and pollsters.

4. To show that you have read and digested the treaty, and still don't understand it.

5. To stop the leaders of Europe from appearing nightly on your televisions to tell you what to do, when there must be much better programmes to be screened.

6. To maintain France's historic role in the EC; that is, as a check on the ambitions of Germany to have its own Euro Disney.

7. To keep Europe safe for the next crisis.

8. To keep the way open for Quebec to join the EC.

9. To make up for your lack of success in the European Football Championship.

10. To ensure that announcements continue to be made in French on as many major airlines as possible.

Why you should vote 'Non' to Maastricht

1. To show the Danes that they are not the only ones who can throw a spanner in the works.

2. Because it is unfair that the EC bureaucracy should create so much work for people in, of all places, Belgium.

3. To get revenge on John Major for refusing to take part in a TV debate on the subject, thus preventing us from finding out if he speaks French any better than Mr Heath or Mrs Thatcher.

4. To be revenged on Mr Heath and Mrs Thatcher for their treatment of the great French language.

5. To show that you have read and understood the treaty, and still don't approve.

6. To make up for the fact that you have produced nobody nearer to a rock'n'roll star than Johnny Halliday.

7. To exert pressure on the British Government to give us a referendum, so that we, too, can have the chance of a bit of emmerdement.

8. To express your disgust at the inability of the British to build a proper railway line to their end of the Channel tunnel.

9. To say no thank you, we don't want Pakistani fast bowlers coming over to France and inserting their fingernails under the seams of our cricket balls, whatever that means.

10. To treat the referendum as the British would; that is, as a by-election in which you get another chance to cock a snook at your unpopular government.

Why you should say 'Eh bien, peut-etre bien que oui, peut-etre bien que non' to Maastricht

1. To preserve the reputation of the French for seeing both sides of every question.

2. To force the referendum into extra time, with penalty kicks.

3. Pour rigoler un peu.

4. To protest at the continued refusal of the British Government to put the name of its country on its postage stamps.

5. To bring another furrow to the already wrinkled brow of President Mitterrand.

6. To protest against a referendum that allows you only to give such unFrench answers as 'Oui' or 'Non'.

7. Because Michael Gambon did not look quite as much like Maigret as one had hoped.

8. To cast doubt over the future of the Eurovision Song Contest.

9. To stress that, while every other country may have succumbed to Australian wine, there is at least one where you will not find it on sale.

10. To show that you have been unable to make head or tail of the Maastricht treaty, and would like your money back, but can't find anywhere to get a refund.

Why you should say 'Enfin, je n'ai pas l'intention de voter, quoi'

1. I shall be fishing that day.

2. I have paired off with a friend who was going to vote the other way.

3. It is not chic to vote.

4. I haven't got a thing to wear to vote in.

5. I am waiting till the treaty comes out in paperback.

6. If Mrs Thatcher would not vote, I shall not either.

7. I never vote till the second round of a referendum.

8. I do not have the faintest idea where Maastricht is, but I suspect it is abroad somewhere.

9. Because I have placed a lot of money with the bookies on the result, and I do not want to affect the outcome unfairly.

10. Parce-que je m'en fous.