Democracy Denied – redux

Last night saw the public meeting on the Lisbon Treaty at the Conway Mill, Belfast. Below are the opening addresses by Bairbre de Brún (Sinn Féin), Daithí Mac An Mhaistír (éirígí), Alban Maginness (SDLP) & Christopher Stalford (DUP).

Daithí Mac an Mhaistír (éirígí)

More beneath the fold…

Alban Maginness (SDLP)

Christopher Stalford (DUP)

Bairbre de Brún (Sinn Féin)

Also Daithi’s closing remarks:

  • DC

    There they are, the nationalists (British and Irish), all debating over reduced popular sovereignty.

    Of course the problem there is that with that bunch cut them to the bone and you will find that each others’ notion of popular sovereignty conflicts, hence our little conflict.

    That’s the problem with conflicting notions of popular sovereignty especially along intense nationalist lines is that it is unpopular with others who live close by but with differing opinions. Not a good idea with so much diversity floating around in Europe.

    DUP popular sovereignty would have the gays locked up and problematic prisoners hung. Nice to see Chris there talking about the ‘Lisburn’ Treaty too.

  • RepublicanStones

    Whilst im no lover of every English law or statute. i think this whole Lisbon thing is best summed up as Magna Carta in reverse. Was King John happy to be limiting his powers through siging the Magna Carta? I’d venture that he was not. The fateurocats are not going to be happy if we don’t sign away elements of national sovereignty and democratic procedures. A crude analogy i admit, but one worth mulling over.

  • Dave

    DC, that’s a great reason to merge twenty-seven nation states into one nation state, isn’t it? “If the member states don’t merge, then they’ll start lynching their gays and their prisoners.” The problem with deranged reasoning (apart from the lack of evidence to show that the existing states on the continent of Europe have not done this or intend to do this and, ergo, need to prevented from such homocidal urges) is that creating a new state to solve the potential problem that is created by a state doesn’t actually solve the potential problem, does it? The pro-Europeans have spouted some nonsense but that’s a classic, DC.

    But you are correct to see that the EU is no longer about member states cooperating in supporting a common market for suppliers of goods and services but is now about integration of the member states into one super state, even though the citizens of the member states never voted to join the EU on that basis or toward that goal. None of them voted to abandon democracy, sovereignty, independence or the right to self-determination but they are badgered into conceding more and more of their sovereignty under some curious delusion that they can no longer sell goods or services to members states within the EU if they do not, and that the whole shambles needs to exercise more and more control over their lives as some curious means of reforming it.

    Since its inception as the European Economic Community which was intended as common market for six countries, its logical outworking has been common everything else, giving more work to a bunch of useless bureaucrats in the EU’s parliament. It needs to be disbanded and returned to first principles. It should be a voluntary standards agency for the supply and manufacture of goods and services that are sold between a group of cooperating nation states and nothing more. While self-determination is a collective right, there is no precedent in modernity for the citizens of nation states to renounce it, and I would hold that it is wholly illegitimate to renounce it – especially when people are being tricked into conceding it by degrees and by stealth with the bogus ‘realisation’ that they have gone too far to turn back without economic calamity being the dynamic that the EU is relying on to force them over the final hurdle if any of them do cop on to the blatantly obvious.

    If democracy, sovereignty, independence and the right to self-determination is lost to nation states through this trickery as the EU merges into one nation state in a couple of decades hence, then prepare for violent separatism to emerge as the indigenous peoples of those ‘former’ nation states reassert their right to those fundamental values. But then again, the EU engineers have already countered that eventuality and left the death penalty open for ‘terrorist’ offences, which actually means freedom-fighters within the EU seeking to restore what a bunch of brainwashed jackasses lost.

  • foreign correspondent

    I am in favour of a federal Europe so I hope the Lisbon Treaty is approved. However it is hard to justify far-reaching changes without consulting people about them first. So why not have an EU-wide referendum? If a majority in the EU as a whole approve of this or any subsequent treaty then it is put in place. Any member-state who doesn´t agree with this turn of events has to leave the EU. Any country which does not adopt the euro should also leave.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    What are these 6 counties Daithí Mac an Mhaistír keeps on referring to?

  • Ulsters my homeland

    is his real name David McMaster?

  • DC

    “DC, that’s a great reason to merge twenty-seven nation states into one nation state”

    The nation-state is not being replaced with like. The nation-state notion is disminishing as people have the right to move and travel freely so new ways to govern beyond that of old racial and ethnic means are required today.

    It is not a federal state given the 1-2% budget it has and doesn’t raise taxes to do so but co-ordinates member states together around areas of agreement on how to tackle problems. They just need improved upon.

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘What are these 6 counties Daithí Mac an Mhaistír keeps on referring to’

    the ones currently occupied by Britain.

    And if something isn’t in English it isn’t real?????

  • Gwerty

    None of them voted to abandon democracy, sovereignty, independence or the right to self-determination

    Democracy – The European Parliament and Council of Ministers are democratic institutions. It is sometimes said that a system like that of the Council of Ministers when used within a nation state (e.g. for German Landers) would not be considered democratic enough for a country to be permitted to join the EU, but it’s no worse than the USA’s electoral college system. The institutions are democratic, they simply have a different definition of “demos”, i.e. the mathematical set of people who form the electorate. I have no problem with someone saying they don’t want to share their “demos” with Portuguese or Poles, that’s a legitimate view, but that doesn’t amount to the EU being “undemocratic”.

    Sovereignty, independence or the right to self-determination – Sovereignty is pooled in the EU for certain issues. This would be true even if it was just a common standards setting body for goods and services and a cross border tariff restricting body. Which areas have been pooled has been decided by elected representatives. The EU is voluntary and any member state can leave at any time. Some dependant territories have decided to stay out of the EU even when their parent states are members; one, Greenland was in the EU and then voted itself out again. The leaving process is formalised and clarified in the Lisbon Treaty.

    Your criticisms therefore do not work. If you prefer not to voluntarily pool sovereignty on the issues the EU does so, or not to share your votes on a one (wo)man one vote basis with “johnny foreigner” on those issues then great, a valid opinion and position, but don’t spread inaccurate FUD about what the EU is with visions of violent separatist movements not allowing nations to leave etc.

  • Garibaldy

    Anybody here at the meeeting? Can details of it, attendance etc?

  • Mark McGregor


    I was there. There is some more detail if you click on the éirígí link in the blog. It has attendence at around 70. I’d have guessed closer to 60 but didn’t do a head count. What do you want to know?

  • Garibaldy

    Cheers Mark. I was just interested in the attendance, the range of opinion expressed, whether it seemed there were the usual suspects from the broad left in Belfast or had it got some purchase from the local community. 60 or 70 is in one way quite respectable, and a good turnout, especially if they participated in the debate. But given that we often hear how wonderfully politicised and sophisticated our electorate is, also a bit depressing at the same time given the fundamental nature of the issues raised, especially around national sovereignty.

  • Onlooker

    Is young Stalford setting out his stall as the DUP candidate for Europe? There doesn’t seem to be much competition for the post at the minute as Poots effectively ruled himself out.

  • Christopher Stalford



  • Mark McGregor


    Of course éirígí, SF and the SDLP were represented along with some others from left groups and people involved in things like the IPSC. With not having done any vetting I’d guess at a 50:50 split between those strongly associated with an ideological view and others. I don’t think Unionism was represented apart from on the platform. I’d say around 15 people asked questions; a limited number from a Yes perspective, the majority from a No perspective and a few from a more questioning/informing themselves angle.

    The numbers were at the high end of what I would have expected and disappointing for such a major issue. Thhough it was nice to see the courteous debate between Yes and No, Republican/Nationalist and Unionist (barring one small lapse into rudness from a Yes supporter)

  • Mark McGregor


    Go on. You’ve got quite a following on the Falls now ;0)

    Great to see you there.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    ‘What are these 6 counties Daithí Mac an Mhaistír keeps on referring to’

    “[i]the ones currently occupied by Britain.[/i]”

    ‘occupied by Britain’, lol, did you ever heard such rabble. Not long now until you’ll be saying Europe is occupying the republic. Sad-o

  • Dick Swett

    What is surprising is the sheer speed in which Stalford was able to reply to post #13… just two minutes later!

    It must keep refreshing the page to see if his name gets mentioned. lol

  • Garibaldy

    Cheers Mark. Sounds like a good meeting. Important too that it happened. A good job all round despite the numbers. I’ll have to watch the videos some other time as too busy now though.

  • hiro protagonist


    Firstly I am by no means a Jim Allister fan actually I think he is a pompous pratt but….

    He would have a field day against Poots in a European election – he wouldnt win but would run Poots close…he would murder Christopher Stalford.

    Interesting thing is the DUP are going to have to sacrifice someone big for Europe because they have to win and win well against Allaster. They might be able to put off the issue of dual mandates for a while but not forever.

    Despite Robinson probably thinking Paisley Junior is a half wit liability he might get the nod on the basis that he would be well out of Robinson’s hair and would ultimately leave the assembly altogether in favour of brussels…plus he has the name.