Saturday, June 14, 2008

Ireland - The Mouse that Roared

In a great day for Irish and European democracy, the Irish people, on a higher turnout than Nice II, rejected the illegitimate and anti-democratic Lisbon Treaty by 53.4% to 46.6%. In doing so, they have struck a blow for freedom and against remote, unaccountable and undemocratic rule by unelected bureaucrats in Brussels. They have shown great courage in the face of an Establishment media blitz by Independent Newspapers, the Irish Times, the Sunday Business Post, The Tribune and others who bombarded us with a relentless torrent of black propaganda about the “disaster” a no vote would be for Ireland. As I pointed out on a previous post, the final day before polling was marked by a disgraceful attempt at scaremongering on the front-page of the Irish Independent, claiming that a “No” vote would accelerate rising unemployment. It is interesting that while the margins were not as large on the day, the poll on the Independent’s own website and the story’s comment pages were deluged by angry criticism of the story and support for a “No” vote.

This outcome cannot be separated from the context in which it takes place, which relates to one of my biggest grievances against our party-political culture - namely the culture of the “cosy-consensus”, in which like the ideological equivalent of a business-cartel cornering the market by refusing to compete with one another on price, the political-elites insist on refusing to compete with one another on a certain set of political issues. The Irish elites insisted - like with immigration - on refusing to represent the huge segment of public opinion that has historically opposed closer European political integration. Never has that been more true that now, with the elites continuing to display open contempt for our decision. Only yesterday, Una Claffey, former government spokesperson, argued that in Lisbon “we” had gotten all we wanted. Who is the “we” in this? This mantra continues to be repeated by members of the FF elite, who insisted during the referendum campaign that “we” had gotten all our “redlines” in the negotiations. Again who are “we”? The answer is clear - they are referring to themselves - the elite. Never in the history of Irish politics as an independent country have our political-class be so out of touch with the people they claim to represent.

It is infuriating to me, as a “no” voter, to hear Barroso, Wallstrom, Polish PM Donald Tusk, French Secretary for Europe Jouyet, German Foreign Minister Steinmeier and others insist that the ratification of the Treaty must go ahead. On the contrary it must not go ahead, and most certainly must not apply to Ireland in its current form. The Irish people have said “no” and if the elites persist in trying to railroad us into ratification by trying to isolate us by getting the other 26 governments and parliaments to ratify Lisbon, then it will only reinforce Irish and European public opinion of Brussels as a remote and anti-democratic project. While a pro-European myself, I had not choice but to vote no due to a number of factors including those I have described in the previous post. The French and Dutch peoples have already said no. Now the Irish have said no. You don’t need to be a rocket-scientist to deduce how the British would vote had they been given the opportunity. When the Irish politicians tell the other states should continue ratification, what they really mean is that the governments and parliaments of those countries should do so - for not one of them will dare put this to a referendum in their respective countries due to the certainty of a “no” vote. Sarkozy said as much in a meeting with journalists some months ago.

Our decision on the current package is final. Another tarted-up copy of the rejected formula rejected by the Dutch, French, and now Irish is a non-runner. We Irish are tiring of the “permanent revolution” of European integration. We want to remain in the EU and the euro, but not at any price. The recent reintroduction of the annual 1916 parades have served to remind the Irish people of what was sacrificed for our freedom, and I believe a richer Ireland is now more self-confident and inclined to defend its sovereignty in a way that was not the case in the past. If they come back to us again with a new package, we must insist it be radically different - at least in its application to Ireland - from the one we have rejected. That must include the deletion of the self-amending Article 48 that allows for treaty ratification without referenda, the retention of our Commissioner and voting weight on the Council, an opt-out from the Charter of Fundamental Rights like Poland and the UK obtained, and the retention of our national vetoes on issues like energy, public health, and tourism and sport. Anything less deserves the same answer we gave on June 12th.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello Ireland ...

... here is Italy

Thanks to the geat irish folk who said NO to this treaty.

We Europeans out of Ireland we haven't the right to vote.

We haven't any chance to say our opinion about this treaty.


European Union is slowly becoming the Soviet Union with his central KREMLIN (Bruxelles) government.

Irish people gave us a sign of Hope and Freedom.