Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ganley returns to fight Lisbon 2

In a dramatic development, Declan Ganley has announced he is to campaign against Lisbon 2. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Ganley argues that the second referendum not only insults the Irish people, but also the French and Dutch who rejected the controversial treaty’s predecessor, the EU Constitution: "It’s profoundly undemocratic to walk all over democracy. . . The Irish people had a vote on the Lisbon Treaty. They voted no. A higher percentage of the electorate voted no than voted for Barack Obama in the United States of America. No one’s suggesting he should run for re-election next month. But—hey, presto!—15 months later we’re being told to vote again on exactly the same treaty.” He taps the table for emphasis: “Not one comma has changed in the document". Asked for evidence the two treaties are the same, he again cites the architect of the EU Constitution, former President of the Convention on the Future of Europe Valery Giscard d’Estaing: "Well, first of all, the people who drafted the European Constitution say it is. Like [former French President ValĂ©ry] Giscard d’Estaing. He called it the same document in a different envelope. And having chaired the presidium that drafted the Constitution, he would know…He also said in respect of the Lisbon Treaty that public opinion would be led to adopt, without knowing it, policies that we would never dare to present to them directly. All of the earlier proposals for the new Constitution will be in the new text, the Lisbon Treaty, but will be hidden or disguised in some way. That’s what he said. And he’s absolutely right. There is no law that could be made under the European Constitution that cannot be made under the Lisbon Treaty. None".

Asked by the interviewer why should 1.5 million Irish voters get the opportunity to hold back the progress of 500 million citizens of Europe? Ganley argues that rather than thwarting the will of hundreds of millions of fellow Europeans, Ireland has a duty to them to uphold the results of those earlier votes. Approving the treaty would be a betrayal of those in France and the Netherlands—not to mention the millions of others who were never offered a vote on the Constitution or Lisbon. "Millions of people in France, a majority, voted No to this European Constitution. In the Netherlands, millions of people did exactly the same thing. When the Irish were asked the same question, they voted no also. Those three times that it was presented to an electorate, the people voted no…Why..when the French voted no, the Dutch voted no and the Irish voted no, are we still being force-fed the same formula? You don’t have to scratch your head and wonder about democracy in some intellectualized, distant way and wonder, is there some obscure threat to it". Inevitably, the discussion turned the economy. Was Ganley putting his country at risk by calling for a No vote? He responds that that the only people threatened by a no vote are: "these elites in Brussels, The only people we risk annoying are a bunch of unelected bureaucrats and what I call this tyranny of mediocrity that we have across Europe…the Irish have never been afraid throughout history of asking the tough questions and standing up for freedom and what was right against much, much bigger opponents. In fact, we seem to revel in it". With the no campaign derided in the press as an alliance of Far Left and Far Right, the re-emergence of Libertas as a force in the Lisbon potentially puts the middle-classes, which voted pro-Lisbon last time back in play for the no-camp, and will come as an unwelcome distraction in the wake of a large falloff in support in the latest TNS-MRBI Lisbon poll. The battle is joined, and the outcome is all to play for.

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