Pressure on Ireland mounts

By next Monday night, after the visit to Dublin of Nicholas Sarkozy as President of the European Council, Brian Cowen will have been forced to declare some of his hand for persuading the Irish people to hold a second vote on the EU treaty. I say “some of his hand” because Sarkozy is unlikely to arrive in Dublin for his five hour consultation armed with a full package of sweeteners. The French President will be on the diplomatic high wire to avoid further offence to Irish susceptibilties after his Elysee stumble?/ deliberate indiscretion? that “The Irish will have to vote again,” which later his diplomats scarcely bothered to deny in the code of their trade.
Brian Cowen’s brush-off was unconvincing. Privately he was seething.

Sarkozy had two choices. Either to defer the suggestion of an offer of better terms to the Irish to the last possible moment, to EU summits in October or even December. Or make an outline offer now, before it’s even agreed by the other member States, risking a partial unraveling of the Treaty itself and inviting the fury of the great majority of member States which have ratified it already. Deferment of new terms make sense until the laggards, the Polish President and the Czech legal system fall into line, leaving Ireland isolated but the rest of the Union in compliance with the Treaty. This list from the excellent multilingual EurActiv website reveals all too starkly that the ratification deal in the rest of Europe is nearly made.

With ratification complete by the entire EU minus one State, the emphasis on Ireland would be less on sweeteners and more on implied threats such as banishment to the fringes or even suspension of full membership. Very rough politics indeed. And moreover, a violation of the very principle of unanimity for institutional change on which the Irish people voted last month.Looking at it from Brussels, a second vote is inevitable and improved terms for holding it are fairly obvious, as stated in the briefing of the authoritative Centre for European Reform . .

The preferred option of the French government, like most other EU governments, is for the Irish to hold another referendum, after the rest of the EU has offered them reassurances on issues such as sovereignty, neutrality and taxation. However, the Irish will need more time and concessions than most European politicians are yet prepared to acknowledge, such as a return to the principle of each EU country having one commissioner in Brussels

These terms are echoed in an analysis of the No vote by the Eurosceptic but reputable think tank Open Europe

Extract:
Myth: “The posters that I saw on BBC and Sky had issues of abortion, tax and
conscription, which are nothing to do with this Treaty.” (David Miliband, BBC News,
13 June 2008).

Fact: The latest poll showing Ireland would vote no revealed that the reasons for
their planned rejection of the Lisbon Treaty were primarily to “keep Ireland’s power
and identity” and “to safeguard Ireland’s neutrality”. It was also clear that they voted
no because they “don’t like being told what to do/forced into voting yes”. Abortion did
not appear anywhere in the top ten reasons for voting no. (Irish Times/TNS mrbi poll
6 June 2008)
Tax did indeed feature in the campaign, driven by ongoing moves towards a common
corporate tax base.

Cowen’s electorate would I suspect be very interested indeed if he were to endorse terms like these. But the bind he is on is this: if he goes public on such an offer, he will attract the ire of the other heads of government who have sold the Treaty to their parliaments and peoples, on lesser terms, believing that terms now being offered to the Irish were either unnecessary or unattainable. And that is very bad politics indeed.

  • Dave

    “Cowen’s electorate would I suspect be very interested indeed if he were to endorse terms like these. But the bind he is on is this: if he goes public on such an offer, he will attract the ire of the other heads of government who have sold the Treaty to their parliaments and peoples, on lesser terms, believing that terms now being offered to the Irish were either unnecessary or unattainable. And that is very bad politics indeed.”

    And ‘good’ politics is, presumably, proceeding with ratification despite the treaty being rejected under the rules that it was offered, thereby showing your contempt for democratic will of the Irish people and for your own rules? I think not. We will take no lectures in civility from unmitigated blackguards.

    Cowen will be committing political suicide if he also shows his contempt for the Irish democratic process by ignoring the outcome of the previous and demanding a rerun until he gets an outcome that is acceptable to non-Irish citizens. He is in this bind because he refused to acknowledge the will of the Irish people when they expressed it, thereby leading the EU mandarins to conclude that they had an ‘insider’ who would collude with them in their conspiracy to undermine Irish democracy. If he and his government of Europhile lackeys had any sense of honour, then they would have resigned from office after the people rejected the Lisbon Treaty, since he and his government clearly do not agree with the will of the people whom they were elected to represent. The Irish people will tolerate his low standards until he compounds them and calls another vote, at which point the Treaty will be rejected by an overwhelming majority and Bog-Boy Biffo will be forced to resign from office in the aftermath (and if he refuses, then it will be suicide for FF at the next election).

  • Sam Flanagan

    Could this incite the Southern Irish to do something original like commnecing an;
    “IRELAND SAYS NO!” campaign.

    How do you say Never, Never, Never,Never in Irish.

  • cynic

    Sarko will need handcuffs not sweeteners if he hopes to get this through. People dont want this treaty…it goes too far

  • foreign correspondent

    I would have voted yes to Lisbon, but you have to accept the referendum result. Did Sarkozy call for France to vote again after they rejected the Constitution, I wonder?

  • abucs

    There is not going to be any “implied threats such as banishment to the fringes or even suspension of full membership”.

    For the actuality of that to happen you’d have to get all countries together again, draw up, agree and then unanimously vote (excuse me – get their parliamants to vote) for Irelands banishment – and that unaminous vote would have to be passed also in Ireland.

  • If changes were made to the effect that each country gets a permanent commissioner then I think that would significantly change things. Not sure if this can be done without renegotiation and reratification though. Explicit assurances on neutrality and tax would also help – this could be done by the commission / council without affecting previous ratifications etc. The reasons for a yes rather than no must be made VERY simple – that’s the one and only clear outcome of the poll in June.

  • Basil Brush

    I hope Ireland does vote again so they can give the Treaty another”NO” vote.

  • Yvonne

    “Did Sarkozy call for France to vote again after they rejected the Constitution, I wonder?”

    Non!

  • LURIG

    Somebody with a bit of guts or moral fibre within the Irish political body or media should tell Sarkozy where to go. He’s been reported in nearly every paper or media outlet as badmouthing the Irish at every turn because they had the temerity to follow their consciences and vote no. The Irish have spoken and that’s it. If it doesn’t suit the French because it’s their 6 months at the helm so what. Europe is not just France & Germany, the arrogance of them! He would do better to ask WHY people voted the way they did? It’s exactly this pompous behaviour that annoys many. If Brian Cowan capitulates and forces the Irish to vote again it will just make the country look stupid AND what it will say about Irish democracy? After all they have already rolled over and backtracked on a previous vote. Instead of being in hock to British imperialism they will be seen to have been bullied and intimidated by the big European 2. Rather that Ireland pulled out of the EU altogether than have the reputation of a cowardly wee weak island with NO balls.

  • “the emphasis on Ireland would be less on sweeteners and more on implied threats such as banishment to the fringes or even suspension of full membership.”

    Brian, why don’t you be honest with your readership and delete this sentence from your entry until you can explain how, legally, this would work. I cannot find ANY reference to ANY mechanism where Ireland can be unwillingly removed or suspended from the Union except for this (which I think was done in reaction to the prospect of Jorg Haider’s electoral successes:

    http://europa.eu/scadplus/leg/en/lvb/a10000.htm#a10004
    BREACH BY A MEMBER STATE OF THE PRINCIPLES ON WHICH THE UNION IS BASED

    The Treaty of Amsterdam proclaims that the Union is founded on the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law, principles which are common to the Member States. At the same time, the new Treaty acknowledges that these principles may be infringed by a Member State and lays down the procedure which the Union should follow in dealing with the Member State concerned.

    Establishment of the existence of a breach

    On a proposal from the Commission or one third of the member states, the Council – in the shape of the heads of state or government – may determine the existence of a breach by a Member State. The breach must be “serious and persistent”. The European Parliament has to give its assent by a majority of its members and a two-thirds majority of the votes cast. The government of the Member State in question is first invited to submit its observations.

    The Council’s decision establishing a breach will be considered unanimous even where a Member State abstains.

    Suspension of the Member State concerned

    Once a serious and persistent breach has been established, the Council may (but need not necessarily) suspend some of the Member State’s rights under the Treaty. However, the country remains bound by its obligations. The suspension of rights might, for instance, involve withdrawing the Member State’s voting rights in the Council.

    At this second stage, the Council acts by a qualified majority, disregarding the votes of the Member State concerned.

    Given that the Union is supposedly built on democracy, it’s hard to see how they could punt out a member as a result of a democratic vote.

  • Greenflag

    ‘Cowen will be committing political suicide if he also shows his contempt for the Irish democratic process by ignoring the outcome of the previous and demanding a rerun ‘

    If an absolute majority of the Irish electorate voted NO you would be correct but they they did’nt . 47% did’nt bother to vote at all -27% voted NO and 25% voted YES .

    Democracy ‘simplistically ‘ applied as you and others appear to favour can easily descend into ochlocracy ( government by the ‘mob’ ) and given the origination of most of the NO camp votes and supporters -SF and Libertas what we got was a result won by those who shouted the ‘loudest’.

    The problem with ‘referendums’ on complex issues like the Lisbon Treaty is that minority interest groups such as SF and Libertas can focus on aspects of the Treaty which would militate against their ‘agendas’ were the Treaty to pass . However the fact remains that SF get approx 7% of the popular vote in the Irish Republic and Libertas is a shady American right wing group with links to Iraqi War profiteers. Neither of these groups command the support of more than a small minority of the Irish electorate .

    Cowen needs to go back to the electorate but before he does so there should be another question on the ballot sheet re minimum electoral turnouts for any amendment to be passed or rejected. I suggest 70 to 75% as being possible. That way any change or rejection of change to the Constitution would be seen to have sufficient democratic legitimacy .

    We have seen the abuses to which ‘majority rule’ was put in Northern Ireland during the period 1920 to 1972 . We do not need to have a repeat by seeing the abuses to which ‘minority’ rule can be put in our Republic via a referendum mechanism which ‘rewards’ the loudest ‘minority’ at the expense of the majority.

    If the result of a new referendum were subject to a minumum turnout requirement of 70% and if it were rejected by a majority then Biffo should resign and so too should Kenny and Gilmore etc .

    Presumably then the Irish Republic will be governed by a coalition of SF and Libertas the most unlikely combination of ‘coalition’ partners since Molotov and Ribbontrop 🙁

    Cowen needs to put his entire political career on the line for this one -as do the other main party leaders . If they haven’t the ball’s for that they should’nt be in politics . The future economic well being and political stability of the Irish Republic is up for grabs nothing less.

    The referendum has place in our democracy but we cannot allow the country’s economic and constitutional future be decided by a minority of the electorate much less the future of 500 million fellow european citizens . Democracy has it’s limitations just like any other system of government .

  • Wilde Rover

    Lurig,

    “If it doesn’t suit the French because it’s their 6 months at the helm so what. Europe is not just France & Germany, the arrogance of them!”

    In fairness, the French electorate also rejected this constitution before their political castration.

    It’s pretty sad to see the whirlwind romance that once was the Great European Dream deteriorating into the Shotgun Wedding that now confronts the Irish electorate, but there you have it.

    Perhaps there is one concession they may be able to wring from their political betters.

    Let there be no more talk of Europe being a shining light in a world of darkness or lectures on how others could follow Europe’s pioneering lead. If the people of Europe are to face bleak political realities then at least they could be spared the burden of the unbearable weight of hypocrisy.

  • George

    LURIG,
    Somebody with a bit of guts or moral fibre within the Irish political body or media should tell Sarkozy where to go.

    Eamon Gilmore, leader of the Irish Labour Party, has said Sarkozy is not welcome if he refuses to recognise the democratic will of the Irish people so things are stirring.

    This Lisbon business reminds me of the good old abortion debates when people were at each other’s throats.

    Ireland is really split on this one with people’s positions hardening.

    Full-blown federalists against those who say enough. This referendum lanced a boil that the politicians of Europe refused to acknowledge existed.

    It reminds me of Young Frankestein: Hump? What hump?

  • George

    Democracy has it’s limitations just like any other system of government.

    Strange how you didn’t mention any of these limitations before the Lisbon result Greenflag. You had countless elections to voice your concerns but not once did it seem relevant to you.

    You seem to value democracy only as long as your views are in the ascendant. When they aren’t you seek to undermine it by questioning the validity of democratic votes.

  • Greenflag

    george,

    ‘Ireland is really split on this one with people’s positions hardening. ‘

    Of those who actually voted I agree at least 80% of them (both YES and NO) Of those who did’nt bother the vote I’m finding that just more are in the YES camp . As I said above we have reached a limitation in our democracy which can only be overcome by ensuring a high minimum turnout in future referenda of at least 70 to 75% . It would be nice to have a 100% turnout but in our entire democratic history I doubt if we even had an 80% turnout (apart from some parts of NI 🙂 where I read of a 102% turnout in a close sectarian contest in which the number of resurrected protestants or catholics played the trump card in a ‘live’ election.

  • Wilde Rover

    Greenflag,

    “As I said above we have reached a limitation in our democracy which can only be overcome by ensuring a high minimum turnout in future referenda of at least 70 to 75%.”

    So if your proposals were to be implemented retrospectively then the referenda on the Single European Act (turnout 44.1%); the Treaty of Maastricht (turnout 57.31%); the Treaty of Amsterdam (turnout 56.2%); and the second Treaty of Nice (turnout 49.5%) would all be invalid and Ireland would revert to being a member of the E.E.C. based on the 70.9% turnout in the 1973 referendum.

    Or do you feel turnout is only relevant when there is what you believe to be an undesirable result?

  • Greenflag

    ‘So if your proposals were to be implemented retrospectively’

    I was’nt suggesting they should be implemented but we have enough ‘evidence’ now Nice 1/Nice 2 and now Lisbon 1 that voter turnout numbers make ‘all the difference’ to the result .

    ‘ do you feel turnout is only relevant when there is what you believe to be an undesirable result? ‘

    Not at all . I happen to believe that where there is a written Constitution as in Ireland’s case that changes made to it should be infrequent and should subject to ‘majority ‘ voting. If there had been a 70% plus turnout and the NO’s had won by 51% to 49% or even closer then I would accept the result as being an accurate reflection of the democratic will of the majority . What we got this time was a minority of the Irish electorate deciding the result. Practical considerations prevent us from ever expecting a 100% turnout but 70% should at least be attainable . If the turnout was 74% say and the No’s had won by 51 to 49 then divvying up the non voters 50/50 between both sides would still technically give the NO voters more than 50% plus 1 . In that situation Sarkozy would be unable to even suggest another referendum . As it stands he’s not the only one who is suggesting another one should be held .

    But it should not be held and decided ‘regardless’ of the turnout figure otherwise those who voted NO would have IMO a justifiable case against holding just another referendum .

  • Greenflag

    ‘Strange how you didn’t mention any of these limitations before the Lisbon result Greenflag.’

    I’ve always had some ‘reservations’ about the ‘mob ‘ aspect of some referenda results . Some referenda results have fortunatley enhanced our democracy eg FF’s referendum defeat on PR under Dev . Had it gone the other way we’d have had virtually a one party State for the past 40 years a la Northern Ireland 1920 -1972 .

    I happen to believe that voter ‘turnout ‘ has to be a factor in all future referenda particularly in matters as pivotal and as crucial to the country’s future such as the Nice or Lisbon Treaties and matters which require a change to the State’s Constitution . I would hold the same view re turnout for general elections as the usual practice has been for higher than average turnouts leading to a change of government whereas lower turnouts favour the ‘in’ crowd .

  • Greenflag

    ‘Strange how you didn’t mention any of these limitations before the Lisbon result Greenflag.’

    I’ve always had some ‘reservations’ about the ‘mob ‘ aspect of some referenda results . Some referenda results have fortunatley enhanced our democracy eg FF’s referendum defeat on PR under Dev . Had it gone the other way we’d have had virtually a one party State for the past 40 years a la Northern Ireland 1920 -1972 .

    I happen to believe that voter ‘turnout ‘ has to be a factor in all future referenda particularly in matters as pivotal and as crucial to the country’s future such as the Nice or Lisbon Treaties and matters which require a change to the State’s Constitution . I would NOT hold the same view re turnout for general elections as the usual practice has been that higher than average turnouts lead to a change of government whereas lower turnouts favour the ‘in’ crowd .

  • Brian Walker

    Mark Dowling and others in that vein:
    A noble opinion but a little naive. In high politics laws and treaties are trip-wires not immovable objects. I’m not making this up; it’s orthodoxy. Of course expulsion or banishment for Ireland is far from certain. It carries with it the stigma of last ditch realpolitik against current legality. Hard to believe it would really happen but we are in unchartered waters. Here is a balanced extract from Le Monde Diplomatique (English edition). It would be as well not to close your eyes to the possibility.

    “EU leaders are now suggesting that ratification will continue and that some compromise will be made with Ireland – in the hope the treaty will be accepted in a second vote. It is conceivable that if the Irish vote no a second time they will be asked to leave the EU, though this isn’t a position any member state will defend publicly. An alternative is to abandon the treaty altogether and implement some aspects of it without tying everything together into a single treaty”.

  • Greenflag

    Moderator .

    Please remove NO 18 above Jul 17, 2008 @ 05:24 PM.

    reason -duplication and NO 19 corrects omission in 18 as in

    ‘I would NOT hold the same view re turnout for general elections ‘

    thanks

  • Greenflag

    B.W ,

    ‘but we are in unchartered waters.’

    Indeed and although still in the canoe the paddles are missing and the creek’s current is speeding up -what is that noise – sounds like Niagar —–?

  • George

    Brian,
    they will be asked to leave the EU

    Asked is the relevant word there. They can ask all they like but it is for Ireland to decide whether it wants to or not.

    Ireland cannot be thrown out of the EU. The current EU can break up and re-constitute without Ireland.

    Naturally, all 26 other countries would have to vote for such an eventuality.

    Greenflag,
    As I said many times before, I don’t have a problem with the idea of a minimum turnout, I have a problem with you retrospectively trying to undermine a specific referendum result simply because it went against your wishes.

    I find your view fundamentally undemocratic.

  • LURIG

    So Le Monde is saying that the Irish will be ‘forced’ to vote again AND if they don’t come up with the right result this time they could be asked to leave the EU. The French and the Danes (or was it the Dutch?) have in the past rejected EU treaties, weren’t asked to leave and renegotiations began in all these cases. It seems that the EU is prepared to vent it’s anger and frustration on the gridlock, make an example of a smaller non-compliant dissenting country that won’t roll over and Ireland fits that bill. History has shown that the Irish don’t take too kindly to being bullied or threats from bigger aggressors. Consequently the stubborn streak within the Irish character will harden and Sarkozy and co. will be told to get to f**k, and rightly so. As a northerner I would go South and actively campaign for a NO vote in such circumstances. The arrogance, intimidation and bullying from the French & Germans is quite galling. In fact Ireland and Britain should tell Sarkozy and Brussels to shove it, pull out of the EU altogether and form a North Atlantic Council of the Isles trade zone with the Scandanavian countries.

  • “The preferred option of the French government, like most other EU governments, is for the Irish to hold another referendum, after the rest of the EU has offered them reassurances on issues such as sovereignty, neutrality and taxation. However, the Irish will need more time and concessions than most European politicians are yet prepared to acknowledge, such as a return to the principle of each EU country having one commissioner in Brussels”

    The above would be a step in the right direction but probably not enough to get me to vote yes. The big deal for me is the need for an optout from the Charter of Fundamental Rights, as well as keeping our Commissioner. The UK and Poland have such an optout, so why can’t we? The govt reportedly considered such an optout in the original negotiations but had a change of heart following pressure from the unions who said they would not support the Treaty without the Charter. I oppose the Charter because making it part of EU law gives the European Court of Justice too powerful, expanding its jurisdiction into human rights issues like asylum, industrial relations, and ethnical issues of scientific research like cloning. Now don’t get me wrong – I support stemcell research and I am not one of those whose opposition to the Charter has a religious basis – indeed I am an agnostic and often an atheist. But these provisions only turn the ECJ into our new Supreme Court. Whereas a loophole in the Irish Constitution can be closed via referendum, that is not the case for those which may emerge in the Charter arising from ECJ rulings in the future. To close them, we would need unanimous agreement by all member states, and then ratification of such changes by parliaments/referenda. That is not on as far as I am concerned. The Charter is the most federalising part of this Treaty, and without an optout from it I will definitely vote no again.I also have concerns about the new voting system which halves Ireland’s vote on the Council while doubling that of Big States like Germany, as well as the erosion of the veto in areas like energy (possibly foisting nuclear power on Ireland) and health.

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    I voted yes in the refeendum because I am pro-Europe, but frankly Sarkozy can fuck off if he is trying to be pushy for us to have another referendum! If that is the case why vote at all? If he believes in Equality, Liberty, Fraternity, and Democracy (what his French people fought a bloodbath for), well then he should respect our vote. Typical bully, just coz we are 4 and a half million people here. He’s definitely another Napoleon!

  • Garibaldy

    Except Napoleon was a great leader, reshaped France (which thankfully is more than Mr Bruni will be able to do), and created a progressive European empire.

  • Greenflag

    ‘He’s definitely another Napoleon! ‘

    Not according to the French Army and the French military industrial complex . Sarko is trying to reduce French military expenditure by 20% . Not the Napoloeonic way not by a long shot:)

    The much lamented late Frank Harte used to sing
    an ould street ballad unaccompanied in honour of brave Napoleon . Surely there must be a wag or two in Dublin who could recimitate a doggerel ditty on bould Sarko ?

    Wellington’s Irish troops had great respect for oul Boney some of them being even moved to tears on hearing of his death .

    ‘Attention pay both young and old unto these lines I will unfold,
    The deeds of valiant heroes I am going to relate,
    It’s of aa valiant a Corsican as ever stood on Europe’s land,
    I am inclined to sing his praises ; so enobled noble was his heart,
    In every battle manfully, he fought to gain the victory
    And to the world a terror was, Napoleon Buonaparte.

  • Greenflag

    lurig ,

    ‘Ireland and Britain should pull out of the EU altogether and form a North Atlantic Council of the Isles trade zone with the Scandanavian countries. ‘

    Rubbish . The UK , Sweden , Denmark and Finland have already ratified the Lisbon Treaty . Why would they want to have anything to do with the bigger part of a small island with a population of just over 4 million instead of belonging to a free trade zone with 490 million people ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    I’m pro-Europe and I was very disappointed in the referendum vote, I think it was wrong. Nonetheless, if I were living in the RoI I would be very, very tempted to tell Sarko to go and fuck himself on a point of principle.

    The only way this matter is going to get sorted is quietly, and diplomatically; not by foreign leaders lecturing people through the media.

  • Greenflag

    George ,

    ‘As I said many times before, I don’t have a problem with the idea of a minimum turnout’

    Glad to hear it.

    ‘I have a problem with you retrospectively trying to undermine a specific referendum result simply because it went against your wishes.’

    Take two aspirins and have a lie down and the problem will go away 🙂

    ‘I find your view fundamentally undemocratic.’

    The word ‘democracy ‘ is much used and abused as is the description ‘undemocratic . Very rarely will one hear Unionist ‘democrats’ complaining about the fundamentally undemocratic nature of the British monarchy nor will one hear devout Catholics complain about the undemocratic nature of the Roman Catholic Church .

    Many countries in the former Soviet Bloc used the word ‘democratic’ although none ever had an opposition party- and all were one party states . On a part of this island -Northern Unionist made much use of the word ‘democratic ‘ while at the same time pulling every stunt in the book of gerrymander to ensure that Derry City Council was controlled by the representatives of a minority of the city’s population . Democracy in action or tyranny of the majority /minority ? Take your pick .

    Referenda have their uses in some democracies particularly in those which have a history of strong internal /regional / religious /ethnic /cultural divisions . They can help to prevent a ‘tyranny of the majority ‘ from emerging . In States where there is less internal division along the above mentioned lines -a simple unqualified referendum majority can send a society down the slippery slope to either a ‘tyranny’ of the minority or of the majority.

    The result of the Lisbon Treaty referendum in Ireland is not just pertinent for this island but also for 490 million other Europeans. It is this aspect which has focused the attention of those in the EU who see their reforms for the EU ( in which the Irish Government played a major part) held up by what many of our european partners would see as the tyranny of a minority of a minority. We Irish make up 1 % of the population of the EU . Thus the entire Lisbon Treaty is supposed to be ‘stopped’ because 0.27% of the European electorate voted NO in Ireland whereas the remaining 26 countries have already ratified the Treaty or are on the verge of doing so.

    SF and Libertas have shouted the Irish Republic inot a NO cul de sac . We’ve seen the UUP and DUP and SF do the same with NI for the past several decades and the former for a period of 50 years . Why would the Irish Republic want to follow that example ?

  • George

    Greenflag,
    all your talk of monarchies and the Soviet Union is irrelevant hogwash.

    Put simply, you have singularly failed to explain why you have selected this referendum for your particular crusade while never saying a word about virtually any other election in Europe over recent years.

    I never heard you questioning Sarkozy’s mandate to govern, Ahern’s, Blair’s, Merkel’s and all the others even though all these mandates failed your new post-Lisbon criteria.

    Strangly enough, you advocate new powers being given to a European Parliament whose elected representatives also fail to meet your criteria.

    Apart from the obvious inconsistencies in your position, I find it an extremely dangerous policy to undermine election results after the fact when the vote was carried out freely under the rules agreed by all.

    It undermines the democratic process and devalues the electoral process. Talk of improving future elections, don’t undermine previous ones.

    We Irish make up 1 % of the population of the EU . Thus the entire Lisbon Treaty is supposed to be ‘stopped’ because 0.27% of the European electorate voted NO in Ireland whereas the remaining 26 countries have already ratified the Treaty or are on the verge of doing so.

    Also completely irrelevant to the point and contradicting other things you previously said.

    On the one hand you say a referendum should only be valid with a 70% turnout but on the other you seem to feel the Lisbon Treaty should not be “stopped” merely because one small country is against it.

    So what would be the point in Ireland having a referendum if that is the case.

  • Greenflag

    George

    ‘you have singularly failed to explain why you have selected this referendum for your particular crusade’

    I did -you just don’t want to see it .

    ‘while never saying a word about virtually any other election in Europe over recent years.
    I never heard you questioning Sarkozy’s mandate to govern, Ahern’s, Blair’s, Merkel’s and all the others even though all these mandates failed your new post-Lisbon criteria.”

    The 70 % turnout suggestion was for referenda only . If you are going to debate this issue please read the posts . I refer you to my note above on the previous page

    ‘I would NOT hold the same view re turnout for general elections ‘ .

    Posted by Greenflag on Jul 17, 2008 @ 06:16

    ‘It undermines the democratic process and devalues the electoral process.’

    No more so than does a constitutional change being accepted or rejected by barely a quarter of the electorate .

    ‘On the one hand you say a referendum should only be valid with a 70% turnout’

    It’s the best way to ensure that the ‘majority ‘ will is not circumvented by a focused single issue agenda minority .

    ‘ but on the other you seem to feel the Lisbon Treaty should not be “stopped” merely because one small country is against it.’

    I’m suggesting here that the Lisbon Treaty will NOT be stopped because Ireland voted against it . The 99.75% of Europeans through their democratically elected representatives are going to ratify the Lisbon Treaty anyway .

    ‘So what would be the point in Ireland having a referendum if that is the case. ‘

    Good question . The point being that Ireland’s particular Constitution demands a ‘referendum’ in the case of this issue . Ireland’s present Constitution was drafted 20 years before the EU was established .

    In the event of a 70% plus turnout in a referendum and the Vote still being a majority NO then we have to accept the will of the people and either renegotiate our membership status with the EU or leave the EU. What we want to avoid at all costs is a re run of NI’s neither here nor there half arsed deal with the UK being replicated in our relationship with the EU.

  • Comrade Lenin

    Va te fais en culo

    in case Sarkozy does not speak english.

  • Wilde Rover

    “I was’nt suggesting they should be implemented but we have enough ‘evidence’ now Nice 1/Nice 2 and now Lisbon 1 that voter turnout numbers make ‘all the difference’ to the result.”

    Nice I: turnout (34.8%) For (46.1%) Against (53.9%)
    Nice II: turnout (49.5%) For (62.9%) Against (37.1)
    Lisbon: turnout (53.1%) For (46.6%) Against (53.4%)

    Sorry, I’m afraid I don’t see your evidence concerning turnout.

    “What we got this time was a minority of the Irish electorate deciding the result.”

    This time? As opposed to when?

    “Libertas is a shady American right wing group with links to Iraqi War profiteers.”

    You are fond of making this point and I will not say your argument is groundless. However, you seem to be suggesting that because of this right thinking people should be obliged to shy away from being against the Lisbon Treaty.

    And yet I cannot recall you mentioning the Labour government passing the Lisbon Treaty this year. This would be the same Labour government that produced the false intel that led to the invasion of Iraq, the same government that sent its troops there. So if you are using the Iraq occupation as a yardstick for taking a position on the Lisbon Treaty then perhaps you should look again because your logic is flawed.

    “Thus the entire Lisbon Treaty is supposed to be ‘stopped’ because 0.27% of the European electorate voted NO in Ireland whereas the remaining 26 countries have already ratified the Treaty or are on the verge of doing so.”

    It isn’t the fault of the Irish electorate that the electorates of the other 26 states have been turned into eunuchs.

  • Greenflag

    wilde rover

    Nice I: turnout (34.8%) For (46.1%) Against (53.9%)
    Nice II: turnout (49.5%) For (62.9%) Against (37.1)

    Sorry, I’m afraid I don’t see your evidence concerning turnout.

    This is because you can’t read your own numbers and you are comparing apples (Nice ) with oranges (Lisbon).

    Looking at your Nice 1 and Nice 2 example the turnout increased by 15% in the second referendum . The YES vote increased by almost 15% . Clear evidence that the higher turnout changed the result . In Nice 1 those who voted against made up just 18% of the electorate thus the need for Nice 2. The fact that even on Nice 2 the turnout only went up to 49% is an indication that this kind of issue is perhaps not best decided by referendum . Nevertheless that is what the Constitution demands as of now .

    Lisbon: turnout (53.1%) For (46.6%) Against (53.4%)

    We’ll have to wait for Lisbon 2 to see how a higher turnout would impact on this result . I’ll bet we would have a repeat of the Nice experience.

    ‘What we got this time was a minority of the Irish electorate deciding the result.”
    This time? As opposed to when? ‘

    Unfortunately ‘referenda’ do not attract high turnouts mainly because many people either don’t bother to vote or believe the government view will prevail . However the initial referendum on which voters chose to join the EU in the 1970’s there was a turn out of over 70% and IIRC the vote for joining was 75% or more.

    ‘you seem to be suggesting that because of this (Libertas ) right thinking people should be obliged to shy away from being against the Lisbon Treaty.’

    Call me old fashioned if you want but when I see the likes of the French neo fascist Le Pen ,and Austrian Neo Nazis -as well as the likes of Libertas cheering on the NO side then I think ‘right thinking ‘ people should be mindful of their company .

    ‘And yet I cannot recall you mentioning the Labour government passing the Lisbon Treaty this year.’

    I’m Irish not British. While I take an interest in British politics I don’t feel obliged to tell the British how they should execute their affairs or how to vote . I did however mention on one thread that the House of Lords had just ratified the Lisbon Treaty . I must have missed the debate in the HOC .

    ‘It isn’t the fault of the Irish electorate ‘

    I did’nt say it was . It’s just that Ireland unlike most of the other countries decides certain matters by referendum . I don’t have a problem with that other than the inherent weakness of a low turnout resulting in a skewed result as we saw at Nice 1 and now again . The result of Nice 2 should have been a spur to action for the Government to bring in some minimum vote requirement for referenda results to be upheld . A minimum 70% turnout IMO for referenda would ensure that results would truly reflect the democratic will of the majority of the electorate .

    ‘that the electorates of the other 26 states have been turned into eunuchs.’

    A very stupid and ignorant remark of which you ought to be ashamed . The other 490 million people within the EU vote in elections and choose their Governments just as we do . Some have PR some have just a straight vote . Some use referenda on some issues . To insist that they should all ‘ape’ the Irish referendum system is like saying the Irish should adopt the first past the post system used by the UK in general elections . If you are from NI which I suspect you will remember how well the FPTP did’nt worked in NI yet it works perfectly well within the rest of the UK .

  • Jimmy Sands

    The one question that I’ve not seen anyone in the media address is why Sarkozy is trying so hard to make sure the Treaty fails.

  • @Greenflag – I presume you would be looking to amend article 47 of Bunreacht na hEireann to provide for such thresholds as you are proposing? I’m not sure 47.4 would allow for that since 47.1 likely supercedes it and a Treaty ratification is also a Constitutional Amendment.

    @Brian Walker: “In high politics laws and treaties are trip-wires not immovable objects.”

    What does that even mean? You do not present the law, you do not even present a similar example. Epic fail.

    Here’s the bottom line: assuming that the European Council voted to limit in any way shape or form the membership of Ireland within the European Union MERELY on the grounds that it failed to ratify and not that we had turned into a nation of Nazis or something, if Ireland could not overturn that decision in the European Court of Justice then the European Union would be over – “falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus” – citizens could not rely on any Treaty right being summarily ignored by the Council, nor could Union institutions like the Parliament.

    Treaties are essentially a deal, and most of all the European Treaties. Something for something and all that. In order to get all their previous Eurofederalist stuff in, the fast trackers had to promise that the Union would evolve by consent and not by a tyranny of the majority. That was the deal, and now we want the deal honoured. Simple as that.

    In any case, there is no obligation whatever for the European Union to expand beyond 27 since no accession treaties are yet signed, and any such treaty signature would be reckless until while a negative on Lisbon from Ireland remains in effect.

    In fact it is increasingly clear, as was clear to me at the time of Nice, and said so in public debates at the time, that the EU has already over-expanded. Among other things, Cyprus is failing to unify as was expected as the political price of their accession and the removal of the Greek roadblock, and Bulgaria and Romania were rushed in before they were at all ready.

  • Dave

    There is a certain democratic logic to Greenflag’s claim that a minority of 0.8 should not impede the will of the other 99.2%, but it is predicated on the false premise the majority applicable in the democratic poll is the majority of the citizens of all of the member states on the continent of Europe and not the majority of the citizens of the particular member state wherein the poll takes place.

    Europhiles do not accept the legitimacy of national sovereignty within the nation states on the continent of Europe. Indeed, they must persuade those states to transfer this sovereignty to the EU in order to engineer the new state of Europe. Europhiles have a constitutionally binding obligation in the Treaty of Rome, restated in subsequent all treaties, to seek “ever closer union” between the member states – and the only logical outworking of “ever closer union” is unity. This is why they are engineering a new nationality of European alongside the national identities of the respective member states with the intention that the new identity will supplant the old identity when it is rendered obsolete when the unity agenda within the Treaty of Rome has been achieved.

    Greenflag assumes, erroneously, that the EU is a state and that the citizens of the member states are no longer citizens of nation states entitled to national self-determination, but are now citizens of the new state of Europe, having renounced their old nationality for the new nationality of European. In this Europhile world, the only will that matters is the will of the state of Europe, not the will of nation-states that he considers to be obsolete.

    In Greenflag’s world, the will of the people of individual nations is irrelevant because the nation is now deemed to be the EU, and only the collective will of its people matter. Of course, that isn’t strictly true – only the will of the political elite matters to Europhiles (the democratic will of the people of those states do not).

    This demand that loyalty along with sovereignty be transferred to ruling elites is a demand for citizens of those states and their governments to commit treason upon their own people. The national interests of member states are deemed to be irrelevant, and must be abandoned in favour of the new ‘national’ interest of the EU. In their world, if you are limiting your national prosperity to a mean average of a slow-growing region of the world that accounts for less that 6% of its global population and that is burdened down with overregulation and high taxes when your own national success was founded on deregulation and low taxes, then you must do this for the greater good of all of the people (who are Europeans, and not Irish or any other obsolete entity).

    It is a form of mass hysteria where people support the project because others support it rather than though a calculation of its merits and where they are discouraged from acknowledging its drawbacks in the form of dissolution of national sovereignty etc (the UK government has never done a cost-benefit analysis, but squanders over 15 billion of its citizens money on the project nevertheless); and the Irish have decimated their fishing industry and will be donating billons of taxpayers’ money to the project in the years ahead without questioning the wisdom of any of this. In reality, it is all founded in the desires of Germans to expedite their guilt over two world wars by locking the other states on the continent into a position where they – along with the Germans – will never be able to do that again (only the EU will be able to do it and on a much larger scale with no objection from the obsolete member states since sovereignty will reside with the EU). In our rush to expunge German guilt, we are to assume that merging a few states into a bigger state will mean the death of the nation state rather than the creation of a slighter bigger one (wherein the “foreigners” will be the 96% of the world’s population who live in states that compete with the new state of the EU). If we don’t buy this ‘argument’ then we are to be persuaded that our sovereignty must be renounced because it is nessessary for free trade within the EU. Err, it isn’t: all that is nessessary is for those states who wish to trade freely not to impose tariffs.

    We#d be far better off outside of this farce that is on a slow track to nowhere.

  • Greenflag

    mark dowling ,

    ‘In fact it is increasingly clear, as was clear to me at the time of Nice, and said so in public debates at the time, that the EU has already over-expanded.’

    Ergo the rationale for the Lisbon Treaty which is a serious attempt (it’s taken 7 years of negotiations ) to accomodate to the larger number of States . The more members the better imo as this will water down the overall influence of the larger member States .

    ‘Among other things, Cyprus is failing to unify as was expected as the political price of their accession and the removal of the Greek roadblock’

    Patience – It took NI over 40 years to get to it’s present still shaky accomodation .

    ‘Bulgaria and Romania were rushed in before they were at all ready.’

    Most likely . It seems the Romanians already have Ireland in their firing sights for ‘expulsion’ such is their new found Euro enthusiasm . Understandable of course given their history seeing as at one point not to long ago they found themselves at war with both the Axis powers and the Soviet Union and the Allies 🙁

  • Greenflag

    Dave

    ‘There is a certain democratic logic to Greenflag’s claim ‘

    I know .

    ‘Europhiles do not accept the legitimacy of national sovereignty within the nation states on the continent of Europe.’

    Cobblers . Pooling aspects of what in the past was considered a sovereign ‘national ‘ matter only, does not dispense with national sovereignty but adapts it to the circumstances in which the nations of Europe now find themselves .

    ‘Indeed, they must persuade those states to transfer this sovereignty to the EU in order to engineer the new state of Europe.’

    The Germans still elect a Bundeskanzler – the French their President and the British their Prime Minister . I don’t foresee an even medium term possibility of their being no elected British Prime Minister nor German Kanzler .

    ‘Europhiles have a constitutionally binding obligation in the Treaty of Rome —-subsequent all treaties, to seek “ever closer union” between the member states – and —” is unity.’

    The majority in Ireland in favour of joining the EU was 85% to 15% in a 70% referendum poll so you would have to agree that the majority of Irish people are thus in favour of this ‘ever closer union’ . DO you maintain that the 85% who voted to join the EU are guilty of treason also ?. Your newly acquired role of ‘Quisling Finder General is being developed in these threads to ever higher levels of almost Paisleyite nuttiness 🙁

    ‘This is why they are engineering a new nationality of European alongside the national identities of the respective member states etc ‘

    So the EU Parliament in Brussels is going to render obsolete the ‘national ‘identities of Englishmen , Irishmen , Germans , Czechs etc. More rubbish. Look at British Union history over the past 300 years as an example of how ‘nations’ continue to exist regardless of political superstructures . The Scots and Welsh are no less what they are, by also being British . The same would apply even more so to the 26 or so individual european union members .

    ‘Greenflag assumes, erroneously, that the EU is a state ‘

    Do I ? News to me . I don’t recall having to renounce my ‘nationality ‘ when I voted in the Lisbon Treaty nor in any previous EU referendum . Your xenophobia is showing.

    ‘Of course, that isn’t strictly true – only the will of the political elite matters to Europhiles (the democratic will of the people of those states do not).’

    Even more rubbish . The democratic will of the people in those countries was expressed through their elected Governments . Ireland is the exception in the EU given our particular Constitutional requirement for a referendum .

    ‘In reality, it is all founded in the desires of Germans to expedite their guilt over two world wars by locking the other states on the continent into a position where they – along with the Germans – will never be able to do that again (only the EU will be able to do it and on a much larger scale with no objection from the obsolete member states since sovereignty will reside with the EU). In our rush to expunge German guilt etc etc ‘

    As I said above your ‘xenophobia ‘ is now coming through loud and clear . And your ‘reality’ i.e the EU is now a German plot is ludicrous -Next up we’ll have you trotting out the new German Pope plus a rebirth of the Spanish Inquisition as also being part of an EU SuperState . It’s beginning to sound like you read too many of those American biblical tracts that show the EU as the Anti Christ complete with 12 horns etc etc .

    ‘We’d be far better off outside of this farce that is on a slow track to nowhere.’

    I’ll be the first to admit that the EU needs less statism but despite our brief (in the scheme of things) economic success with deregulation and low taxes, it’s becoming clear with each passing day that such policies are not guarantors of eternal growth in prosperity either . Granted we have done better than the EU average but this has been due to other local factors which were in Ireland’s favour and not just ‘low taxes’ and deregulation . The real beneficiaries of deregulation in the USA the prime example of ‘free marketism ‘ in the world appears now to be a small minority of financiers who reap over 40% of the profits made in business in the USA ,whereas manufacturing earns a miserly 10% . This is a dramatic turn around from the pre deregulation days before Thatcher and Reagan took their sharp turns to the right favouring corporate financial interests over the interests of their electorates.

    The jury is still out on how well Ireland gets through the present worldwide ‘recession’ engineered for the most part by the reckless and under regulated financial services sector in the USA and UK which has harried a generation of Americans and Britions into quadrupling their private debt by rewarding their increased ‘productivity’ with wage and salary increases that have seen effective stagnation in real incomes .

  • Greenflag on your 1% point, it would have more credibility if those other 26 govts (not all of whom have ratified yet) had put the Treaty to referenda. They have decided not to. Why do you think that is? Probably because they know the answer would be no, as in France and Holland with the carbon-copy EU Constitution. This Treaty is a tarted-up form of that Constitution, and as such it is an attack on democracy to foist it in its current form on the 500 million other Europeans. In 1940, the French National Assembly voted 586-80 to set up the Vichy Regime and hand all power to it. The rest is history – let’s not allow it to be repeated.

  • Dave

    In fairness to Greenie, BB, it’s not his ‘argument.’ He would need to mix his medication with hallucinogenic herbs to formulate that propaganda. He is just unquestionably repeating the propaganda of Euro-federalists that he has assimilated which seeks to undermine the national sovereignty of member states by obfuscating the citizens of those states as being the citizens of the EU, thereby creating the bogus impression that the democratic process should reflect the will of all of the (non-existent) citizens of the EU rather than the will of the state wherein the poll occurs. Ergo, if a majority of the people oppose the Euro-federalist agenda within a particular state as determined by democratic poll, then the Euro-federalists will seek to falsely present that majority as being a tiny minority by said obfuscation.

    Euro-Federalists/integrationists see the national sovereignty of member states of the EU as an impediment to their constitutionally binding obligation to seek “ever closer union” between those states. It is an impediment that they systematically undermine in an effort to destroy. So, they don’t see national sovereignty, or any form of democracy that it is exercised by or the outcomes of those polls, as legitimate. In their warped world, only the will of the ruling Euro-Federalists/integrationists elite is deemed to have legitimacy.

    You can see that mentality in the serfs of the self-appointed elite, wherein they too (despite being mere serfs) see the legitimate state as being the emergent state of Europe and any polls that oppose their agenda within (what they see as being illegitimate) nation states is dismissed within their mindset as ‘undemocratic – hence the warped reasoning that converts a majority into an irrelevant minority.

    People should ask themselves why they would support a process that transfers their sovereignty to foreign powers, trading a situation wherein they have 100% control of their internal affairs in return for 0.8% control of their internal affairs as members of the EU. They get nothing in return for this power except 0.8% of a failing and overregulated political entity that comprises less than 6% of the world’s population and regards the other 94% who are not members of the EU as being foreigners who are to be excluded from the EU trade cartel or are to have second-class trading status imposed upon them. There is, of course, no sane or sensible reason to do this.

  • circles

    Maybe we, the plebs (or rather the bewildered herd), should just acknowledge both our ignorance and the insight of Walter Lippmann name and bow down before the wisdom of the elites as the continental plebs have been obliged to.
    Sure wouldnt that make Greenflag happy, and Sarkozy wouldn’t have to sully his high heels with that aul sticky bog mud of Ireland.

    Has anyone started work on the banner yet? “Monsieur le Président de la République Francaise – va te faire foutre!”

  • circles pissed off with the hyperlink circus

    For the Walt Lippmann link click this instead:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Lippmann

    You know I’ll never work out how these damn hyperlinks work!!

  • Dave

    “Cobblers . Pooling aspects of what in the past was considered a sovereign ‘national ‘ matter only, does not dispense with national sovereignty but adapts it to the circumstances in which the nations of Europe now find themselves .” – Greenflag

    This is a sophism that is proffered by the EU to promote the transfer of national sovereignty to it while presenting the transfer as something less tangible. Sovereignty actually means the authority to make a decision. If one man ‘pools’ his sovereignty with 27 others, can he still make decisions about his life? No, because he has transferred his sovereignty to others who will then make the decisions based on what best suits their lives and who will then tell to live his life accordingly. Ergo, it is an outright contradiction to claim that sovereignty can ‘pooled’ and still retained. You do not “pool” the sovereignty: you transfer it to others, giving those others the authority to make decisions and to act.

    Governments of member states within the EU will ‘pool’ their sovereignty, falsely claiming that they are gaining greater influence over global affairs by doing so. You can read Michael Heseltine spewing this flawed thinking below. The warped thinking runs along the lines of “If a large number of people pool their wealth, then think of how much richer they will all be!” It’s true that there will be a greater amount of wealth to be shared, and if it is all shared on a per capita basis, then those who were richer will become poorer and those who were poorer will become richer, so it clearly is not true that all will become richer by sharing. The main flaw with this argument, however, is that is confuses power with authority: the group will have more power, but the individual members will lose their authority over how they spend their money. Clearly a man is better off having a billion pounds and having sovereignty over how he spends his money than he is if he pools his wealth with 27 other billionaires and loses all control over his money.

    So, the EU may gain power but that does not mean that member states gain power. In fact, the EU can only gain power at the direct expense of both the power and authority of its member states. This formula translates as Ireland transferring sovereignty over matters that it had 100% control over to the EU in exchange for 0.8% control over those matters (the same ‘control’ it would have over the EU under the Lisbon Treaty). This is the same control that a flea has over a dog, and hardly counts as the increase in our influence over global affairs that we traded our sovereignty for. Indeed, it isn’t even global influence, but rather local influence, since the EU is region that accounts for 6% of the global population. So instead of making our own way in the world (like most of the 195 nation states in it), we are to ignore the rest of the world and contend ourselves with 0.8% control over 6% of the global population as the apex of our international ambition.

    Now back to Heseltine’s typical Europhile waffle on why the UK must surrender its sovereignty to the EU. He starts out by being proven wrong, speaking in 1999, he said “Of course the decision to join the single currency is not a decision to be taken lightly or in defiance of the evidence at the time.” Yes, Michael, you sure called that one correctly, didn’t you? The actual “evidence” is that the UK attracts 40% of all Foreign Direct Investment in Europe despite not being a member of the Eurozone, so far from being a handicap, the UK’s sovereignty over its currency sees it attract the lion’s share of all FDI that comes into Europe.

    [i]”Our self-interest as a nation is inseparable from that of our continental neighbours. It is becoming more so as the years pass.”

    Mr Heseltine warned the party “the age of empire is over.

    “A new power – Europe – is a growing force of influence and respect.” Mr Heseltine said the EU had a central role as the cornerstone of Britain’s defence and economy.

    But, he warned, “faintly at first, but with growing confidence the ‘Britain out’ brigade are inching our party towards a policy of incalculable folly – a policy that would leave France and Germany, our principal rivals for power and influence in the Europe of tomorrow, with the drawing boards of tomorrow on which to sketch their self-interest in our absence”.

    He said it was vital for the UK to retain a voice in cross-European debates such as on how to tackle asylum seekers.

    The “historic shift” of Britain’s ever-closer integration with Europe “is irreversible”.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/465028.stm%5B/i%5D

  • Dave

    [b]Continued[/b]

    Do you see this typical flawed thinking of Europhiles in play? The UK’s “self-interest” is to surrender its own interests to the self-interests of the new empire of the EU. He can’t point out a single advantage that is created by this new empire, so he merely asserts that the UK should promote it because if they don’t then the Germans and the French will gain control over it. So why help to engineer a competitor to your national self-interests when you will then be locked into it because if you leave it you will have engineered the success of your competitor? No sense in this thinking at all.

    One of the psychological drivers for this propaganda is a sense of powerless that leads people to believe that there is greater power in bigger numbers, and that they should therefore ‘huddle’ together as Europeans to thereby have the power to defend their mutual interests from the hyped-up threats of the globalisation. Ironically, the only ‘globalisation’ that actually presents a threat to them is the mini-globalisation of the EU itself and the sense of fear they will feel about being excluded from it. In that sense, they are engineering what will be their own biggest competitor if they withdraw from it, thereby ensuring that they bend over backwards to remain “at the heart of it.” These myths and fears are fully exploited by the EU propagandists in order to promote their sinister entity.

  • 0b101010

    The only people to blame for a low turnout are those that sat at home scratching their arses and it’s disingenuous to attempt to co-opt them to the cause of changing the status quo, whatever the particular cause may be.

  • Wilde Rover

    Greenflag,

    “This is because you can’t read your own numbers and you are comparing apples (Nice ) with oranges (Lisbon).”

    Uh, no, I think you need to read what you have written again. You were the one comparing the two treaties.

    “I was’nt suggesting they should be implemented but we have enough ‘evidence’ now Nice 1/Nice 2 and now Lisbon 1 that voter turnout numbers make ‘all the difference’ to the result.”

    “The YES vote increased by almost 15% . Clear evidence that the higher turnout changed the result .”

    And the scaremongering and accusations of xenophobia had nothing to do with it?

    “I’ll bet we would have a repeat of the Nice experience.”

    We’ll see.

    “However the initial referendum on which voters chose to join the EU in the 1970’s there was a turn out of over 70% and IIRC the vote for joining was 75% or more.”

    Voters didn’t choose to join the EU in 1973. They chose to join the E.E.C.

    “Call me old fashioned if you want but when I see the likes of the French neo fascist Le Pen ,and Austrian Neo Nazis -as well as the likes of Libertas cheering on the NO side then I think ‘right thinking ‘ people should be mindful of their company .”

    So what you are saying is that because people from outside of Ireland decide they like the decision taken by the Irish electorate then they are automatically bedfellows.

    “I’m Irish not British. While I take an interest in British politics I don’t feel obliged to tell the British how they should execute their affairs or how to vote .”

    But what you are saying only applies to people from outside of Ireland who wanted Ireland to vote No? If it applies to one, it applies to both, so by your logic those who voted Yes are in bed with the people who brought you the Iraqi occupation.

    “A very stupid and ignorant remark of which you ought to be ashamed .”

    I feel no shame. The political classes in other countries fear a vote by their people on this constitution because they suspect it would be rejected. You yourself lament the fact that “the mob” has to be consulted on this matter. Voters who cannot vote are by definition political eunuchs.

    “To insist that they should all ‘ape’ the Irish referendum system is like saying the Irish should adopt the first past the post system used by the UK in general elections .”

    I insist on nothing. The Irish electorate has been accused of stifling the will of the people of Europe for merely having the temerity to express an opinion. This constitution has been rejected by the French and Dutch electorates but that doesn’t seem to matter to a lot of those on the Yes side who display an a la carte approach to accepting the will of the people.

    “If you are from NI which I suspect you will remember how well the FPTP did’nt worked in NI yet it works perfectly well within the rest of the UK .”

    While I have lived north of the border I am very much a Mexican.

  • Greenflag

    Brian Boru,

    ‘it would have more credibility if those other 26 govts (not all of whom have ratified yet) had put the Treaty to referenda.’

    I agree. However Ireland is ‘unique’ in the way our Constitution ‘demands ‘ certain issues which could be seen to be at odds with our Constitution are first put to the people in referendum . I don’t believe there are any other of the EU countries that have that ‘legal’ requirement . Most EU countries operate on the basis of a purely representative democracy . Even the UK has very rarely if ever had recourse to decision by ‘referendum’ . I recall at one stage a ‘referendum’ being demanded on bringing back the ‘death penalty ‘ . The British Government rejected the demand because they knew what the result would be .

    Ireland’s particular Constitution locks our Government into having ‘referenda’ on issues which other countries would see as the prerogative of their elected parliaments . After all if parliament is not representative of the vox populi – what is it ?

  • Wilde Rover

    “Ireland’s particular Constitution locks our Government into having ‘referenda’ on issues which other countries would see as the prerogative of their elected parliaments . After all if parliament is not representative of the vox populi – what is it ?”

    Your contempt for the constitutional republic that you claim to defend is depressing.

  • “After all if parliament is not representative of the vox populi – what is it ? ”

    Greenflag – except, for instance, Parliament does not have authority to amend the Constitution or elect the President. Those powers are not delegated to them by the People. It follows therefore that Parliament does not have continuous status as vox populi – which was exactly what Crotty vs An Taoiseach was all about.