Now about that Irish referendum…

England Expects throws up an interesting anomaly. It seems that in a recent vote to respect the decision of the Republic’s referendum, the two Unionist MEPs (otherwise known Brussels as ‘the two Jims’) found themselves on opposite sides of the vote. Sinn Fein’s Ms de Brún does not seem to have registered in the vote at all, which is strange since, presumably. her decision would have been something of a no brainer. The aye’s included Jim Allister, and the noes, Jim Nicholson. What makes it interesting is the degree to which the UUP MEP was critical of Brown when he refused a referendum for the UK:

“The new EU Treaty will have a profound effect on the way the UK is governed taking further powers away from Member States and it is nothing less than an affront to democracy that the Prime Minister will not allow the British people to have their say on it.

In which case, presumably, Jim would expect the rest of the EU to ignore the result of any such referendum?

UPDATE: Checking the figures at the original source, it seems Mc de Brún was there and voted in favour of the amendment. Interestingly, Prionsias de Rossa seems to have voted against respecting the outcome of the Republic’s referendum. Curiouser, and curiouser…

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  • Mark McGregor

    Except she did register a vote and voted how you’d expect

    Here (this is a huge and dull pdf file and I wouldn’t open it unless you need absolute confirmation)

  • Mark McGregor

    Also of note was de Rossa voted against respecting the refendum. He is some democrat.

  • George

    Thanks for making my blood boil Mick with those respecting the referendum figures.

    My usual default position for European referendums is yes but this time it is a resounding no.

  • O’Neill ran with this last week.

    I can’t understand how anyone professing to be a democrat can vote against this. Doesn’t the constitution treaty have to be ratified by all 27 members?

    I could understand disinterest but to actually vote against respecting the democratically expressed will of a member state says quite a lot about this European project and the level of secrecy and corruption inherent to it.

  • The amendment during the Corbett report debate was hugely cynical.

    Every state has to ratify, and decisions can be yes or no regardless of what the EP says. So why add a paragraph to a report saying that the EP will ‘respect’ the referendum result? Of course it will: it has no choice.

    Moreover, as Rz points out on Re: Europa, the amendment demanding that the EP ‘respect the outcome of the Irish referendum “does not mean ‘respect’ like in ‘Hey Man, Respect,’ but would more or less mean that you bind your approval of the treaty to the outcome of the Referendum in Ireland.” Why would the European Parliament decide that Ireland’s very real veto over the Treaty is also a veto over the EP’s debating or expressing opinions on Lisbon?

    There are countless problems with this treaty and especially with the way that it is being rushed through. Why oh why does the ‘no’ crowd, instead of addressing real issues, seem to find it easier to invent fake ones?

  • Ciaran, nobody said they had to stop debating or expressing opinions. If they have to respect the outcome then why vote against doing so?

  • Mick Fealty

    Ciaran,

    I understand the Tories who did not vote for it (Dan Hannan voted for it), declined because they believed it had been initiated by Sinn Fein.

    “Why oh why does the ‘no’ crowd, instead of addressing real issues, seem to find it easier to invent fake ones?”

    Interesting. I am not sure why. Perhaps it is provoked by the massive passivity that people have on the matter. A recent report by the independent minded British Labour MP Frank Field notes that 70% of legislation in the UK comes directly from Europe. Something Westminster is simply not geared to meet with a scrupulous enough response. He recommends sharpening the teeth of parliamentary committees.

    Ditto Leinster House. The ridiculous and repetitive reviews of the Seanad for instance could all be binned if the upper house was given some kind of serious role in acting as a kind of clearing house for the reams and reams of this stuff and envelop it every year… then handing on to the Dail those parts that need more serious scrutiny…

  • Because the end of a debate is precisely what ‘respecting’ a decision means, at least in law.

    There referendum end of it is a bit of a red herring. Imagine if the amendment had said ‘the EP will respect the decision on the British Parliament on the Lisbon Treaty.’ That wouldn’t mean respect in the sense of ‘kudos’ but in the sense of ‘if Westminster passes the treaty, the EP will pass the treaty. If Westminster doesn’t, the EP won’t.’ In other words, respect in a parliamentary document is meant precisely in the causal sense: you decide and we’ll be entirely guided by your decision.

    This amendment is just a baiting stunt.

  • Sorry Mick: I didn’t see your comment. I entirely agree with you of course!

  • kensei

    Mick

    I understand the Tories who did not vote for it (Dan Hannan voted for it), declined because they believed it had been initiated by Sinn Fein.

    Er, that wouldn’t even pass muster here where they’d be politely asked to play the ball.

  • lib2016

    It’s obvious! Pass and move on.

  • oneill

    De Rossa’s reason for voting against the motion was contradictory; he said the parliament “should not have been asked to interfere with the sovereign decision of the Irish people”, which was surely the whole point in the first place of asking the EU to respect the choice of the electorate of the Republic?

    Mick Fealty
    I understand the Tories who did not vote for it (Dan Hannan voted for it), declined because they believed it had been initiated by Sinn Fein.

    That fact didn’t seem to bother too much the UKIP who arrived drapped in Union flags wearing their “Too chicken for a referendum”…or Jim Allister, for that matter!!

    A closer examination of those parties in the “Yes” camp might give a more accurate reason why the Tories abstained; there are some rather unsavoury groups there in that lobby and I don’t just mean Sinn Fein or the TUV. Cameron’s Conservatives are nothing if not pragmatists. Or cowards.

    There are countless problems with this treaty and especially with the way that it is being rushed through. Why oh why does the ‘no’ crowd, instead of addressing real issues, seem to find it easier to invent fake ones?

    Ciaran,
    Unfortunately with the very real democratic deficit and increasing self-imposed press censorship on this one, the pro-referendum lobby has been forced to resort to this kind of stunt to keep the issue alive in the public domain. For example, it’s interesting and understandable that it’s taken well over a week and a half before Slugger has got hold of this one, after all the Irish (and UK) media (with the exception of, I believe, the Irish Examiner) has basically ignored it.

    The political elite in the ROI and the EU want this referendum over and done with as quickly as possible,with the minimum of uncomfortable debate and as someone who is most definitely a Europhile and also believes in the basic concept of the EU, I find that fact very disturbing.

  • pith

    Just had a look at England Expects. Will try to be polite but to use an out of fashion word it is zany to say the least. Surely it is not that difficult to represent voting correctly where there has been a recorded vote.

  • Mick Fealty

    oneill,

    Point taken… You are spot on with the invisibility thing… and it would not even have made it to Slugger had I not been directed towards EE…

  • as someone who is most definitely a Europhile and also believes in the basic concept of the EU, I find that fact very disturbing.

    To be honest, I’m generally untroubled by Lisbon in and of itself. It’s imperfect to say the least, but I don’t believe it’ll make a jot of difference to, say, Ireland’s capacity to get things done in Europe. That said, I’m most certainly troubled by the sort of railroading that has come with getting it ratified. And so I’m very much with you on the democratic deficit.

    I think Mick’s point is a very good one. To bring it a bit further, on the ROI, the tactics with Nice 1 worked: the ‘no’ campaign didn’t set out to win the argument. The no campaign won because people didn’t bother turning up to vote (largely because of the clever “if you don’t know, vote no” line). The campaign just had to either make people despair (viz this particular stunt in the EP) or leave them perplexed.

    As of the last EU referendum the numbers inclined to vote no have barely risen at all since Maastricht. Since the key to Nice 1 was that collapse in turnout on the ‘yes’ side, it’s no surprise that they are pursuing the same tactics this time around. They will keep feeding scare stories and misrepresentations so the ‘yes’ side has to spend its time rebutting them and in the hope that, at the very least, everyone will look equally shifty. Nothing depresses electoral turnout like, um, a depressed electorate.

    Focused as they also are on turnout, the ‘yes’ campaign is equally disgraceful when it comes to actually arguing the case. If the government et al can employ the Nice 2 tactics of browbeating people into simply voting, and thus keep turnout up, then they’ll prevail. Moreover, as I said here, one likely component of the government’s tactic will be to run a referendum on children’s rights on the same day as Lisbon. This will get the punters out and they will be more likely to vote yes.

    In other words, both sides are working from the same question. Faced with a relatively small and stable, but certain to show up, ‘no’ vote, how do you influence the much larger but unmotivated ‘yes’ voter to do your bidding by either showing up or staying away? Either way, important debates over Europe be damned.

    So, I maintain that the non-issue over the EP’s vote is just a disgraceful stunt. But my saying that isn’t meant to suggest that there are any heroes at all in Ireland’s political classes when it comes to Europe.

  • BfB

    Well, hurry up! These boys gotta get their troops in.
    ‘Irish authorities arrested three Afghan nationals at a hostel for asylum seekers last night on suspicion of terrorist activity. It calls into question the common wisdom that terrorists exist because of Western oppression or cultural arrogance:

    Three Afghan men remain in Garda custody in Co Kerry on suspicion of terrorist activity.

    It follows a raid on a hostel in Tralee last night, during which suspected bomb parts were found.

    A team of twenty Gardai swooped on the Atlas House apartments in Tralee at around half-six last night, acting on intelligence from the Special Branch.

    The premises houses all-male asylum seekers.

    Inside they discovered what’s being described as possible bomb-making equipment including electrical devices and remote controls.

    Why target the Irish? They don’t participate in our operations in Iraq or in Afghanistan. They have argued against the Iraq mission vociferously, and haven’t been especially supportive of the NATO mission against the Taliban in Afghanistan. In short, they have been one of the most pacifist nations in Europe during the war on radical Islamist terrorists.

    A jihadi mission against Ireland would destroy the self-blaming explanations that many in Europe and the US offer regarding the nature of Islamist terrorism. It would show that the terrorists don’t target the West because of American foreign policy, or because of Western support for Israel. They target the West because of its secular governments and Christian cultures. In that context, Ireland makes a perfect target, especially since they might have been caught napping if they actually bought the we-brought-it-on-ourselves meme.

    However, the Irish know a few things about terrorism. They have dealt with it for decades and know the warning signs. If the jihadis thought they could sneak something past the Garda, they apparently have not studied much about the Troubles and the success the Republic had in protecting themselves from the conflict. The jihad came up against a nation that has always had to be vigilant against violent nutcases, and in this case these nutcases tended to stick out a lot more than those the Irish have had to find in the past.’ Michell

    Blowback

  • Ulsters my homeland

    [i]”However, the Irish know a few things about terrorism. They have dealt with it for decades and know the warning signs. If the jihadis thought they could sneak something past the Garda, they apparently have not studied much about the Troubles and the success the Republic had in protecting themselves from the conflict. The jihad came up against a nation that has always had to be vigilant against violent nutcases, and in this case these nutcases tended to stick out a lot more than those the Irish have had to find in the past.’”[/i]

    BfB, are you being serious? The Irish invented terrorism, the Gardai supported terrorism and the Dáil sowed the seeds for terrorism. The Irish won’t be as successful as you think, they’re receiving it now instead of giving it out.

  • BfB

    This was a quote from Ed Morrissey I hacked off the link at the end of the post. My point was that as the EU continues toward dhimmitude, it’s modern, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, etc, etc, members will suffer. No doubt.

  • BfB

    And, as the ‘pacifists’ endlessly niggle over ‘referendum’ crap, the Eurot continues. Very bad for the ‘pacifists’.
    Tsk, tsk.