Soft focus and eyes to the right?

With the bulk of Slugger emphasis on the Lisbon Treaty referendum firmly centred on the mainly electronic campaign of Libertas you could almost be forgiven for thinking their wasn’t a much larger element in the No campaign; a campaign based on left and progressive concerns about an increasingly federalised Europe involved in an ongoing sovereignty grab. The left campaign which was fought on the traditional battleground for winning votes in the Twenty Six Counties, the doorstep, unlike the purely electronic campaign of the right, was based around the CAEUC and involved Communist Party of Ireland, éirígí, Irish Anti War Movement, Peace & Neutrality Alliance, People Before Profit, Peoples Movement, National Platform, Sinn Féin, Socialist Party, Socialist Workers Party and the Workers Party.

These are the groups that ran the public meetings both in the 26 counties and the 6 counties, the groups that engaged in the agitprop actions that embarrassed the establishment parties and the groups that had a traditional constituency to motivate – the working class.

Working class constituencies came out in force recording the largest No margins in areas like Dublin South Central, Mid-West and South-West while the richer areas of Dublin South and Dun Laoghaire, more open to a right wing group like Libertas, recorded the highest Yes votes

So while some may think it was a victory for the right, I pause, look at the results and think to myself it was the Left wot won it.

  • FergusD

    Mark,

    Why would the left be so concerned about “national sovereignty” and be opposed to a federal europe? Is that a socialist position?

    If there is a democratic deficit in the EU, which I think there is, is not the answer greater democratic accountability through the European Parliament (toothless at the moment) and creation of more europe-wide left politics. I would have thought the left would want to discuss the economic policies of the EU on a EU wide basis, not from a narrow “national” perspectives, pitting Irish workers against Spanish etc.

    Greater co-operation between EU trade unions (there is an ETUC) would also seem to be the way forward. Why doesn’t the “left” campaign to make that a powerful force to protect workers in the EU. That would seem to be a better way to protect workers’ rights than campaigning on national sovereignty.

    I am worried that so many on the left seem to be defensive of “national sovereignty” – hardly a radical left position, certainly not Marxist. But maybe the groups you mention don’t claim to be Marxist?

    The Lisbon Treaty may have been a bad one for many reasons, but I don’t think the debate the left really needs on the EU really took place, in Ireland or anywhere else. Because of that the “radical” left often seems to end up on the same side as right wingers and extreme nationalists, in Ireland and the UK, on the EU. This seems to have been true for a very long time and left’s position doesn’t seem to be developing.

  • Mark McGregor

    Fergus,

    I wrote sovereignty above not ‘national sovereignty’. The sovereignty in question is the sovereignty of people as more and more law making power is transfered to unelected and unaccountable bodies and additional weight is given to the unelected representatives of larger nations.

    Many on the left in Ireland would still see more in the internationalist ideals Connolly “a free federation of free peoples” than that on offer from Brussels.

  • quick step

    – Mark you seem to have forgotten the work put in by the Women’s & Gay Transgender Vegetarian Lesbian Collectivist Workers & Intellectuals Forum in Performance Art for People’s Democracy of United kid Fiddlers Anti-Discrimination (kill everyone who disagrees) Campaign for Social Change through Post Modernist Expressionism

    (www.wgtvlcwifpapdukfadcscpme.ie)

    I hope you do not practise post-colonial patriarchal dominationist discriminationism

  • Garibaldy

    That wasn’t anywhere close to being worth all that effort quick step.

    Mark is right, that the people on the ground were from the left. Though Libertas and the IFA did their part in opening a chink in usually pro-EU sectors which others could then follow up on.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    Yawn…zzzzzzzzzz

  • I saw something about the IFA and the Lisbon treaty while I was on holiday (away from these shores, but still spotted both the Irish Times and Irish Independent on sale) recently – I’m presuming the Irish Football Association haven’t put out a press release on the EU Constitution, so who is this other IFA?

  • Concerned Loyalist

    “These are the groups that ran the public meetings both in the 26 counties and the 6 counties”

    Why do you insist on referring to the two nations on the island according to the number of counties they have? I could see how it would be confusing for people from other parts of the UK on Slugger, let alone people from Europe or across the Atlantic in North America.

    I don’t particularly care if you refer to the Free State as the “Republic Of Ireland”, “Irish Republic” “Eire”, or simply “Southern Ireland”, just as I’m not overly fussed if you refer to Ulster as “Northern Ireland” or the “North Of Ireland”, it’s your prerogative, I just despise this anally retentative “26 counties” and “6 counties” rubbish…

  • picador

    So while some may think it was a victory for the right, I pause, look at the results and think to myself it was the Left wot won it.

    Mark,

    That’s maybe half the story. The rural constituencies were heavily against the treaty too, particularly on the western seabord. Not too many socialists in those parts!

  • picador

    Why do you insist on referring to the two nations on the island according to the number of counties they have?

    Go back to sleep caveman. Unless you have something worthwhile to say..

  • Dave

    The left don’t make up the majority of the electorate but I agree that the good guys could not have won without the support of the left. Hat-tip to Sinn Fein in particular.

    However, it isn’t won yet. The concept of democracy has been systematically perverted by the EU to the degree that people now believe that it is proper for the democratic will of the people to be ignored in favour of rule by a self-appointed elite. To this end, we will see an organised campaign by anti-democratic elements to undermine the result of the referendum, rejecting the democratically expressed will of the people, seeking to implement the treaty regardless of that will. This campaign will be supported by brainwashed stooges within the Irish media and the Blogosphere.

    It is telling that the Irish government have no accepted that the Irish electorate have rejected the treaty by refusing to declare that it is dead, seeking instead to find a workaround that will allow them to implement the treaty regardless. If this happens, then I expect that we will have a near revolution on our hands and Cowen and his quisling ilk are physically turfed out of Government Buildings by a rightfully indignant public.

  • Kon Fucious D

    …speaking of which: the vast majority of the electorate in the Republic had been very much comatose during the Bertie Bagman years; it seems like only in the last month or two that the Left managed to get their coffee machine to produce the perfect espresso – not that the whole Bertieville F.C. dream fell off the back of a horse and provided a rude awakening in any case ;).

  • quick step

    Garry Baldy,

    your mildly annoyed tone is reward enough my dunkable friend.

    Mark is wrong, the Irish left could always be relied upon to reject this treaty, and the swing in the vote was under 10% in favour of a no. Affluent and metropolitan types would have been expected to deliver a yes under the form of the parties they endorse, it was pressure on this swing group wot won it.

    not forgetting (of course) the sterling work of the visionary progressives of the Women’s & Gay Transgender Vegetarian Lesbian Collectivist Workers & Intellectuals Forum in Performance Art for People’s Democracy of United kid Fiddlers Anti-Discrimination (kill everyone who disagrees) Campaign for Social Change through Post Modernist Expressionism in coordinating and inciting the proletariat to reject this crypto-fascist neo-imperialist treaty.
    (and despite myself I arrive sincere description of the treaty….)

  • quick step

    picador,

    you can see our confussion, as caveman loyalists we cant add 6 into 26, and never will.

  • Mark McGregor

    Picador,

    Mark,

    That’s maybe half the story. The rural constituencies were heavily against the treaty too, particularly on the western seabord. Not too many socialists in those parts!

    My contribution to the debate is more of an antidote to the syrup served up here and the MSM in relation to Libertas. They ran a campaign on a business/economic right argument and as shown by the constituency breakdowns they didn’t deliver that vote base – areas with the highest Yes vote were those of the richest. Those that delivered they strong No vote were the rural and urban working class.

    The people may not be voting strongly for socialist parties in many of those areas but given that they roundly rejected the establishment view on the Treaty someone has connected with their concerns and motivated a vote – I sure as hell don’t think that was Libertas in the West.

  • picador

    beano,

    The IFA is Ireland’s most powerful group. Think beef barons and milk quotas. Then substitute Football for Farmers.

  • picador

    Then substitute Football for Farmers.

    Doh! Other way round of course.

  • Mick Fealty

    I think you do others on Slugger a disservice Mark. The focus on Libertas was almost entirely mine.

    The head quarters of four men (one woman) and a website outfit was Galway. You can’t hang Dun Laoghaire on them any more than you could foist it upon SF because Eoin O’Broin was their candidate there last time out.

    Just saying like… 🙂

  • Concerned Loyalist

    Why do you insist on referring to the two nations on the island according to the number of counties they have?

    Go back to sleep caveman. Unless you have something worthwhile to say..

    Posted by picador on Jun 17, 2008 @ 05:05 PM……………………………………………………………………………………..

    Terminology such as “the six counties” comes from the real neanderthals of society, not people like me who support power-sharing and parity of esteem…

  • Garibaldy

    Quick Step,

    Nah not irritated. Just unamused. Had it been funny, I’d have admired it. Like the dunkable friend remark. That’s a good one.

  • Mark McGregor

    Gari,

    Check your dusty old box, you got mail.

  • Mick

    Lets be honest here, the media focus on Libertas, including your own was because they were nice middle class people, much like yourselves and have a millionaire in tow to boot. Even now beyond SF did well, you are not prepared to give the left any credit for their campaigning. It is just so typical, if it does not happen at Westminister, Stormont or Leinster House you lot will ignore it until it bites your arses.

    As to the working classes whom the media slag off all year and never have a good word for, along with the less well off in the rural areas they formed the core of the no vote. Yet this has completely passed the media by.

    All we are getting is articles and TV news segments about what to do next. Which in reality is code for how can we ignore the democratic will of the people. Shameful stuff, the way the media has behaved after this vote shows just how snug they are in bed with the mainstream politicians and big business and just how anti democratic they have all become.

    Why are the FF FG LP GP leaders not coming on TV and declaring we respect the will of the people, the lisbon treat is dead.

  • Garibaldy

    Cheers Mark. Must have just missed it as checked it earlier.

    In fairness to Gilmore Mick, he did say exactly that. Although I saw a quote from a radio interview with a PSF TD (Arthur Morgan I think) saying a renegoiation would be fine. Weird things going on all round in the chase for the middle class vote.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The left campaign which was fought on the traditional battleground for winning votes in the Twenty Six Counties, the doorstep, unlike the purely electronic campaign of the right, was based around the CAEUC and involved Communist Party of Ireland, éirígí, Irish Anti War Movement, Peace & Neutrality Alliance, People Before Profit, Peoples Movement, National Platform, Sinn Féin, Socialist Party, Socialist Workers Party and the Workers Party.

    I think it’s fantastic that the Communist Party of Ireland are taking a stand to secure Irish national rights. They don’t have any votes of course, but that isn’t a problem for me, since we’ll just seize power and abolish elections as a bourgeois instrument intended solely for the suppression of the working class. Having defeated the treacherous Lisbon Treaty, a work of fascist capitalist hirelings such as Romano Prodi, the next step shall, be the moving of the capital city to Mullingar, followed by the liquidation of the Dun Laoghaire, Ballsbridge and Rochestown Road kulaks. The way shall then be clear for us to commence the industrialization project, the heart of which shall be a new dam built in Lucan creating a flood plain which will completely destroy that hotbed den of counter-revolutionary vipers, namely Dublin city centre.

    The Party of Lenin shall guide us with it’s unconquerable spiritual armament for the proletariat!

  • fenian bastard

    Communist Party of Ireland, éirígí, Irish Anti War Movement, Peace & Neutrality Alliance, People Before Profit, Peoples Movement, National Platform, Sinn Féin, Socialist Party, Socialist Workers Party and the Workers Party.

    Look at the last 3 on the loolah list

    People’s Liberation Front of Judea anyone?

  • Comrade Stalin

    The idea that the left have any concept of a “traditional background for winning votes” is the part of Mark’s contribution that I like the best.

  • perry patetic

    Maybe the EU could take a look at this neat alternative from a competition the Adam Smith Institute ran. Allowing for its origin it doesn’t seem particularly right wing.

    http://www.adamsmith.org/publications/government/alternative-eu-constitution-200711201245/

    http://www.adamsmith.org/images/stories/John%20Hopkins%20Constitution%20(Final).pdf

  • perry

    Oops. The PDF link doesn’t work unless you paste the whole thing in your address bar.

  • Mark McGregor

    Sorry to have flagged up the fact that the No vote won, the left did the door work and the right, Libertas, only existed on politics.ie (run by an employee), Mick’s head (e-friend of the campaigners) and as part of a MSM anti-treaty discrediting campaign. It’s only my view but the voting returns tend to back it up, the working class rural and urban returned the strong No vote, the Yes vote came from the business class courted by Libertas. The stats can’t be hidden by the e-gimp hype. Elections in Ireland are won on the ground as I continually tell Mick and he refuses to believe.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Mark,

    Elections in Ireland are won on the ground as I continually tell Mick and he refuses to believe.

    The election, when it eventually happens, will see everyone turning out to vote for all of the parties who voted for the treaty. In the meantime, there’s every possibility that a re-run of the poll in 6-12 months’ time will deliver a different result, just like it did the last time, and if that happens all of the people contributing to this thread talking about the need to respect democracy and pay attention to the democratically expressed wishes of the Irish people will be nowhere to be found.

    The idea that the Irish electorate would trust people the Communist Party to recommend what way to vote on the Treaty is utterly and completely laughable. Yeah, I voted “no” because the Communist Party said so. Catch yourself on.

  • “The idea that the Irish electorate would trust people the Communist Party to recommend what way to vote on the Treaty is utterly and completely laughable”.

    Comrade stalin,

    If you say so, but they may well listen to what a member of the No campaign had to say, [who just happened to belong to the CPI] and then make up their own minds.

    As I’m sure you are aware life and politics are far more complex than the picture your painting here.

    best regards

  • Pete Baker

    “My contribution to the debate is more of an antidote to the syrup served up here..”

    God bless you, Mark.

    You’re a star for being such a martyr to the cause.

    Except that your description of the ‘syrup’ is entirely subjective.

    Please provide the evidence you claim to have.

    In the meantime, keep on keeping on.

  • Mark McGregor

    Pete,

    My evidence is there in the link reflecting the referendum returns if you care to read it. The urban and rural working class dominated constituencies returned a strong No vote, the richer Libertas targeted voters did not. Try and keep up.

  • 0b101010

    Not aimed at this post in particular, but the feel of the commentary so far: it’s been a strange and strong reminder that political pundits, and those who swim in political circles, would sooner lay all the praise, or blame, at the doors of parties and lobbyists rather the electorate themselves. Caught up in their own circus of conceit.

  • perry patetic

    Mark,

    I linked to the Adam Smith Institute’s winning alternative constitution above. I’ve found two others, one a “people’s constitution” drafted by some legal academics specialising in European social legislation and the other’s actually a 2 for 1 offer with “visionary” and “realistic” alternatives.

    Would the left not have proofed themselves against the critcism of negative campaigning if they’d used either one of these or something similar as an example of how the constitution might have been drafted?

    It seems to me that these are simple because they’re drafted around the basics, allowing for separate enhanced cooperation (eg Schengen or European NATO club). The Lisbon Treaty seems so unreadable because it trys to sneek additional competencies and is then forced to add hundreds of pages of derogations for countries not interested. This shows how the ambitions of some within the union are putting it under strain.

    Here’s the others I found. If there is an Eirigi approved alternative? If so do you have a link?
    Here’s the “people’s” version.

    http://www.risq.org/modules/Downloads/pceu_eng.pdf

    and here are the other two (from German think-tanks).

    http://www.policypointers.org/page_6028.html

    Given the readiness of people to come up with lucid, coherent, readable alternatives you start to wonder why the union didn’t just tender the thing. At least that would have indicated an openess to general public involvement rather than a bureaucrat’s cabal.

    I have to admit that I’d have picked the Adam Smith Institute’s version. I also think that simply distributing this and asking why the Lisbon Treaty needs to be so complicated would have won a fair number of NO’s.

    There’s something neat and about the peoples’ layer (parliament) the revising houses’ layer (senate) and the executives’ layer (council). The voting system seems straightforward too although I haven’t worked out why it sets the majority voting threshold at 62% of the national votes.

    Anyone know the significance of 62%? Is it a function of the penrose system or does it require some proportion of the leaders of government for example?

  • Pete Baker

    I’m not at all surprised that you missed the point, Mark.

    But keep telling yourself that the evidence is as you want to believe.

    In the meantime allow me to suggest that this is an example of “the syrup served up here” you’re complaining about

    “The assortment of groupings within the ‘No’ camp should beware thinking that yesterday’s result in the Lisbon Treaty referendum is evidence of actual support for any of their differing agendas.”

  • Dave

    I see our friends on the left are putting manners on our politicians. The European Parliament’s Socialist leader Martin Schulz attacked Ireland’s EU Commissioner Charlie McCreevy for saying that he had not read the Lisbon Treaty, despite encouraging Irish voters to endorse it:

    “We have to ask Mr Barroso what kind of people he has in his Commission, particularly if you have someone acting as the deregulation Pope in Europe who goes home and says he hasn’t read the treaty and doesn’t understand it. The No of the Irish has to be taken very seriously”

    So, Ireland’s Taoiseach Brian Cowen and Ireland’s EU Commissioner Charlie McCreevy had both admitted that they have not read the Lisbon Treaty. So why are they asking the Irish people to approve a document that fundamentally alters their human, constitutional, civil and political rights when they don’t know what they are talking about? These quislings would sell-out Ireland’s sovereignty, independence, territorial borders, and the right to self-determination of Irish people simply because others who were not elected by or accountable to the Irish people told them to. And we were supposed to “trust” them whethey were even bothered to read the Lisbon Treaty? Amazing.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Mick Hall,

    If you say so, but they may well listen to what a member of the No campaign had to say, [who just happened to belong to the CPI] and then make up their own minds.

    I’m reminded of what happened when the Conservative Party won the election in 1992. They won because the people of the UK were taken in by their lies and deception. The same thing has happened with this referendum vote.

  • john burns

    Lots of people are claiming they voted no because they are afraid of abortion and euthanasia(Youth Defence and Richard Green) or conscription for Irish kids (Sinn Fein) or detention for 3 year olds kids(Libertas). Ask people privately and they tell you they are worried about foreigners comming and taking their jobs for mimimum wage. Of rents going through the roof because workers from Eastern Europe will pay over the odds and irish people cannot get places to rent. Dana and Youth Defence can hardly be called left wing either and they opposed the referendum.