Monday, May 12, 2008

Cowen - 'support Lisbon or else'

In the latest disturbing sign of the undemocratic agenda pursued by the Lisbon treaty, Taoiseach Brian Cowen is to tell his backbenchers that unless they actively campaign for a "yes" vote they will "face consequences". It seems in the supposedly 'more democratic' Europe the Lisbonistas promise us, one casualty will be the right to free debate on behalf of the needs of the constituents where those interests are perceived as conflicting with the opinions of the party-bosses. This is the latest in a long list of disturbing undermining of the democratic values we are told the EU is supposed to be built on. In a debate in the European Parliament some months ago, Labour MEP Pronsius de Rossa was one of the 75% of that body that voted down a motion promising to respect the results of the referendum in Ireland. When questioned on this on Newstalk's Breakfast Show this morning, party leader Eamon Gilmore bizarrely explained it as a vote that the European Parliament has no say in the Irish referendum. Very clever Eamon, but unfortunately for you and the Treaty's supporters we did not come down in the last shower. If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and it flies like a duck - then chances are it is a duck.

The 'more democratic' Europe we are told will come about if we ratify Lisbon has some curiously undemocratic elements. Firstly, it amounts to a trampling on the democratic rights of the peoples of France and the Netherlands, who have already said a firm "No" to 95% of the provisions in this Treaty that former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern already admitted are contained therein. Across Europe, governments elected on mandates that including holding referenda on the old EU Constitution suddenly had a change of heart after the rejections in France and Holland.

Some in the "yes" campaign have tried to pretend this is a different Treaty. But that carries no credibility considering the candour with which their counterparts across the European Union have said otherwise. Valery Giscard d'Estaing, former President of the Convention on the Future of Europe that drew up the EU Constitution, has said: "The difference between the original Constitution and the present Lisbon Treaty is one of approach, rather than content. The draft constitution resulted from a political desire to simplify European institutions, rendered inefficient by recent expansions. It was about creating more democracy and transparency within the European Union. It was about opening the way for a "Constitution for the people of Europe". And with a candour that is absent from our own political-leaders, he even admits why this is the case: "Otherwise, the proposals in the original constitutional treaty are practically unchanged. They have simply been dispersed through old treaties in the form of amendments. Why this subtle change? Above all, to head off any threat of referenda by avoiding any form of constitutional vocabulary. The Brussels institutions have also cleverly reclaimed the process from the – to them – unwelcome intrusion of parliamentarians and politicians in the work of the original drafting Convention. The institutions have re-imposed their language and their procedures – taking us even further away from ordinary citizens." Czech President Vaclav Kalus has said ""Only cosmetic changes have been made and the basic document remains the same.". Giuliano Amato, former Italian Prime Minister has said "The good thing about not calling it a Constitution is that no one can ask for a referendum on it.". Nicolas Sarkozy has said "A referendum now would bring Europe into danger. There will be no Treaty if we had a referendum in France, which would again be followed by a referendum in the UK."

Even former Taoiseach Garrett Fitzgerald, now a leading figure in the "Irish Alliance for Europe", has admitted the same:

"As for the changes now proposed to be made to the constitutional treaty, most are presentational changes that have no practical effect. They have simply been designed to enable certain heads of government to sell to their people the idea of ratification by parliamentary action rather than by referendum."

So what do we have here? In sum, we have the central figure in the negotiation of the EU Constitution admitting that the content is no different, and that the reason for it now being called a Treaty is to head off referenda in other EU countries. We also have Irish politicians trampling on the wishes of the peoples of France and the Netherlands, and asking us to assist them and the other 26 governments in doing so. Even if you leave aside the merits or demerits you believe are contained in the contents of the Treaty, it cannot be credibly denied that if this treaty is ratified in Ireland, it will mark a serious erosion of wider European democracy. It will have set a precedent whereby nations can have sovereignty ceded to supranational EU institutions not merely without the expressed-consent - but against their expressed refusal of this consent. When taken against that background, the largely symbolic 'powers' of 9 national parliaments to give non-binding advice that proposed EU legislation be withdrawn, and the much-vaunted 'Citizens Initiative' of 1 million signatures to ask the same - again non-binding - are exposed for the pig-in-a-poke that they are. The only answer can be a firm "No".


Anonymous said...

Vote YES to the right Europe: Free Europe - at

Markus said...

Sadly, either way they'll push something through. A No vote is the most democratic decision we will ever have given in Europe. De Rossa has turned from Communist to right wing conservative since he went to Europe, and should be ignored. Cowen is a exerting his bullying powers to get this through for his european paymasters, and I hope he gets his just desserts on the 12th June.

FutureTaoiseach said...

Markus I don't think they will be able to push it through this time if we vote no. Unlike with Nice, we would be the third country saying no, and that has not happened before. With a lot of the protest groups e.g. hospitals coming out against this Treaty, I have some hope this illegitimate document can be stopped.

kerdasi amaq said...

Here is something else.
Bunreacht na h-Eireann
Article 34 sub-section 4

***** 40 No law shall be enacted excepting from the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court cases which involve questions as to the validity of any law having regard to the provisions of this Constitution.*****

"Insertion of new Article 29.4.11:

No provision of this Constitution invalidates laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by the state that are necessitated by the obligations of membership of the European Union referred to in subsection 10 of this section, or prevents laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by the said European Union or by institutions thereof, or by bodies competent under the treaties referred to in this section, from having the force of law in the State.

'No provision of this Constitution invalidates laws enacted,'

I believe that these Articles conflict with each other. It may be possible to constitutionally challenge this amendment in the courts.

If the Supreme Court were to rule that the new Article 29.4.11 is unconstitutional and that the Government were forced to delete it from the amendment: it would be a major setback for the 'Good Europeans'.

In effect it negates Article 34 sub-section 4 by putting EU legislation and directives outside the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. It also deprives Irish Citizens of the protection of the Supreme Court!

As far as I understand it: all EU legislation and directives are 'necessitated by the obligations of membership of the European Union'.