Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Vote No to the Lisbon Treaty

Over the past few weeks, I have focused much of my attention on this blog on the threat I believe is posed to democracy and sovereignty by the Lisbon Treaty. I do not regret a word of what I have said, because I know how much was sacrificed by the men and women of 1916, the War of Independence, 1798 etc. and how we must not allow their collective sacrifice to have been in vain by surrendering our hardwon Irish sovereignty. I believe that it is imperative that the Irish people turn out in large numbers to say a firm "No" to this Treaty.

However you intend to vote though, make sure you do vote. Our ancestors also sacrificed in some cases their lives for us to have that right and we should not dishonor their sacrifice either. But consider this - if we centralise power in the European Union from the national political sphere to that of far away Brussels and its unelected bureaucrats, then the whole point of having elections is called into question. I do not want Dail Eireann and the Government to become a glorified county council and a glorifed Lord Mayor. European political integration has gone far enough. The elites must listen to us jsut as they failed to listen to the peoples of France and Holland, who said no to the EU Constitution - the evil twin of the Lisbon Treaty - in their referenda in 2005. Thankfully unlike these 2 countries, our Constitution cannot be changed without a referendum, and as such it will not be so easy to get around our "No" vote. This places Ireland in a privileged position and is a trump card to be used wisely, to extract the best possible deal for Ireland. Lisbon is not that deal. It removes our automatic right to a Commissioner and EU referenda, halving our vote on the Council of Ministers and changing the voting system to favour the Big States, ends our neutrality by Article 28a's mutual-defence pact, while making it easier for Brussels bureaucrats to interfere with our taxsystem in Article 113.

Noone can truthfully (unless misinformed) tell me then that Lisbon is the best deal Ireland had available to it. The Irish Times reported at the time of the negotiations that the Government had considered obtaining an opt-out from the Charter of Fundamental Rights with its legally-binding status that will allow the ECJ to strike down Irish law in a vast array of human-rights areas including asylum and industrial relations. That they did not take out the opt-out is painted as being due to pressure from SIPTU - yet even SIPTU is staying on the fence this time - perhaps owing in part to the chastening experience since their backing of Nice of rulings by the ECJ like Laval, which confirmed the right of businesses to exploit Eastern European labour by paying below agreed rates of pay.

The "Yes" side like to write off the no campaign as the some old 'headbangers/loolahs' who opposed previous EU treaties. Yet this is disproven by the involvement of Libertas and its Chairman Declan Ganley who supported Nice I and II, as well as the involvement of some of the unions such as the TEEU. I for one am very pro-European and find myself being forced to say no on this occasion. Because while I am passionately pro-European, I put democracy first. The peoples of France and Holland said no in 2005, and if the elites succeed in riding roughshod over their wishes, then the Brussels elite will feel emboldened to become even more indifferent to public opinion across Europe. That is why real pro-Europeans will vote no today.

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