The Secret Lisbon Poll and the democratic deficit…

Apparently Brian Cowen and José Manuel Barroso have agreed that “the rejection of the Lisbon Treaty by the Irish electorate is not a vote against Europe.” Well done Naoise. That was a Libertas strapline from the start. And one that didn’t exactly set the Eurosceptics in Westminster alight the other day. Whilst Tim Garton Ash has the details of Plans D and E, Richard Delevan asks a more fundamental question: “why on earth do we not know what the Irish people meant by NO!” There was no RTE exit poll and the Eurobarometer poll has not yet been published:

It was clear – or should have been – from the outset that a No vote would require explanation, and that the Irish Times poll from the week previous or the Red C poll from the Sunday before were not adequate. They didn’t measure actual voters. They measured a general sample, which didn’t account for higher turnout amongst 20somethings.

As imperfect as it might have been, an exit poll commissioned by the Irish media and conducted by an Irish research firm, as is common practice with general elections (here’s RT?s story about the 2007 exit poll conducted for them by Lansdowne Mkt Research) would have given some answers.

As Richard goees on to point this leaves everyone it a political or other self interest in the result to claim they represent the full body of the NO vote with nothing in the public domain to proof or falsify their claims. Read on for the full post…

More from: Cian.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

  • Garibaldy

    Answer (d) All of the above reasons

  • BfB

    My rellies in County Galway and Mayo have spoken of the influx of immigrants legal/illegal (Romanian gypsies seeking asylum and going on the dole, as an example) impacting quality of life issues as their reason for voting no. Bunch of barking bigots, eh?….or not.

  • BfB

    Forgot to mention the immigration/Garda team at Knock airport….got a few panties in a twist
    And based on how the EU is scoffing at your public opinion, you will be bound to the full set of rules in the Schengen Agreement, whether you like it or not.
    Tsk, tsk.

  • Ireland and UK not part of Schengen Agreement

  • Wilde Rover

    If the No voters were unable to articulate their concerns about the direction of the European project it would seem its proponents have stepped in to help personify some of the demons of the campaign.

    What we do seem to know is that, taking into consideration young and women voters, this is no country for old men.

  • BfB

    ‘you will be bound’
    ‘whether you like it or not’

    I am aware of the current situation.

  • ‘you will be bound’
    ‘whether you like it or not’

    Says who? You? The Lisbon treaty? The Daily Telegraph? Forgive me, but I’m missing your point.

    I’m not disputing that immigration was an issue for no voters, just wondering what actual legal relevance Schengen has to Ireland.

  • BfB

    My point is that, in spite of the no vote, if Ireland sidles up to the EU, you will have no say on anything going forward. Have you not read the vitriol thrown Ireland’s way by the europhites, in and out of the island? In the eeyooo kingdom, Ireland is viewed as an ungrateful child, who will be reined in. They could give a shit less WHY people voted that way, they’re pissed you were allowed to vote in the first place!!

  • Mick Fealty


    The last Taoiseach tried to get a public debate on that one, but it has thus far failed to ignite… It’s been blogged here at copious length on Slugger… It’s more commonly spun as NI residents being asked for passports to go to Britain…. checks at the Irish land border have (apparently) been ruled out…

    Given the national security assets the UK has in NI, implementation of Schengen would more likely see significant convergence between British and Irish security protocols…

    No wonder the debate hasn’t taken off… And maybe, if people in the Republic get to find out beforehand, Schengen won’t happen…

  • Okay see what you mean now. Still early days I’d say. The diplomats / bureaucrats are irritated that their scheme has gone awry but they will get over it. If they didn’t have endless patience and stamina to work through the inch-by-inch tortuous process that is the European “project” then they wouldn’t be there in the first place.

  • Dave

    Mick, I don’t think anyone claimed that the Lisbon Treaty was a referendum on Ireland’s membership of the EU. However, it is a vote against a federal or integrated Europe and against the transfer of additional sovereign powers from member states to the EU toward that aim. In that regard, a federal Europe with Ireland as a member is off the agenda. Europe will choose to proceed with its federal option, and so Ireland will have to opt out of the EU or backtrack on its objection to becoming a colonised region of a federal Europe. I don’t believe that Irish people will backtrack irrespective of the amount of propaganda that a servile media deploys to service that campaign and I don’t believe that Europe will backtrack either, so “events dear, boy” will see Ireland withdraw in the years ahead.

    Co-operation implies independent sovereign states, union requires that they pool those sovereign powers: co-operation is used when union is the aim. The Treaty of Rome binds them to ever closer union; and the only logical outworking of ‘ever closer union’ is unity. Being on a par with the rest of the EU would represent a decline in our wealth, and a cap on our potential as a nation state and as a people which fixes it to a de facto mean average of the rest of the EU. We hold greater wealth than other EU countries, so equality with the rest of them means a drop in our living standards. Why bind ourselves to a union that can only serve limit our growth and prosperity? Admittedly, if Irish people see the rationale in that then it won’t be because the pro-EU media pointed it out.

    Sneering attitudes that display a contempt for the democratic will of the people and for the economic success that was achieved independently of EU grants to farmers that represented a tiny fraction of GDP (and only served to hinder efficiency within that industry rather than promote it) such as the one expressed in the article you linked to by Michael White, assistant editor of the Guardian, will only serve to undermine the EU agenda that they seek to promote: “…foolish are delusions of omnipotence from the remote western fringes of the continent whose economic fortunes have been magnificently transformed by EU membership.”

    In regard to the No vote: the electorate voted on a zero-sum option of yes or not, not an a pick-and-choose option (despite attempts to redefine the poll as non zero-sum). Ergo, they rejected ALL of the Lisbon Treaty.

  • Wilde Rover

    It would be appropriate to spare a moment for the predicament of an Taoiseach.

    Here he stands, up to his oxters in shite, his people calling him a bollix, the fuckers in Brussels calling him a bollix, having to clean up the mess left behind by Lucky Bertiano, the economy is looking shite, the outlook is shite, Kilkenny winning again, the bollixes, and he’s barely a wet week in the job.

    An Taoiseach, history awaits you.

  • Ye Wilde Rover – probably how the good man would describe his circumstances himself.