Ganley’s Czech mate

During his visit to Ireland Czech President Vaclav Klaus had dinner with ‘No’ campaigners and held a joint press conference with Libertas chief Declan Ganley. The Czechs have not ratified the Lisbon Treaty and Klaus previously declared ratification must stop. He will be heading up the next Presidency of the Council of the EU commencing in January.

He is quoted as lamenting the loss of freedom and democracy through EU supra nationalism:

“Because of our communist past we Czechs are sensitive to the idea of freedom and democracy, and perhaps over-sensitive when we see some ways of constraining democracy.”

and he seems to have words of support for the electoral ambitions of Libertas and their pan-European party idea which Ganley sees as a method of holding a Europe wide referendum on Lisbon:

“But if Mr Ganley wins the European elections I will be the first one to congratulate him.”

This has all caused a storm of protest from some pro-treaty forces.

UPDATE: Ganley’s speech, further links and discussion all on politics.ie

  • Greenflag

    Klaus obviously has a little to learn about State visits and associated protocols . Imagine an Irish Taoiseach visiting the UK and then holding a private conference with members of some group within the UK which opposes said UK Government on a major matter of policy and then joins said group at a joint press conference ?

    I wonder if Vacclav Klaus attended the recent funeral of that other anti EU central european politican Herr Haider of the Austrian People’s Party who died in an horrific car crash at 150 kph following a tiff with his much younger party boyfriend and if he did did he use the occassion to criticise the Austrian Governments policy re the Lisbon treaty.

    Micheal Martin should be commended for his restraint in not delivering a kick to the rear end of Mr Klaus .

    The Czechs are new to democracy . For centuries they were a small part of the Austro Hungarian Empire . For a brief period 1918 to 1939 they had a brief democratic existence . But from 1939 to 1991 they were under either Nazi rule (1939 to 45 ) or totalitarian communism 1945 to 1991 .

  • Mark McGregor

    GF,

    Funny, I didn’t hear any of these objections when President Sarkozy visited promoting ideas that had been rejected by Ireland in a referendum and were contrary to the constitution.

  • Harry Flashman

    Did I miss something, was the result of the referendum overturned? No, I didn’t think so, the Irish people have spoken therefore Irish government policy is to respect the sovereign will of the Irish people expressed at the ballot box, the government of Ireland cannot have a policy which is opposed to that defined in a constitutional referendum, if they feel they do then they must take the honourable decision and resign.

    It appears that the Czech president has a clearer idea of what constitutes democracy in Ireland than the Irish foreign minister.

  • Mark McGregor

    No complaints when Latvian President Valdis Zatlers spoke on the issue either:

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2008/1105/1225523373132.html

  • Greenflag

    President Sarkozy is not on his own.

    I seem to recall a shady ultra right wing group with long and extensive contacts to the US neo conservatives war mongers in Iraq having a great deal to say in Ireland not after the Lisbon election but actually during it and for the most part financing opposition to the Treaty by forming an ‘unholy alliance ‘ with SF .

    And after the referendum in which 27% of the electorate voted No we heard Mr Declan Ganley from the US suggesting that “If they come back with another referendum the No vote will be even bigger”. He too interferes with our democratic system by denying the Irish Government the right to negotiate a better deal on behalf of the Irish people. He goes further than Sarkozy, he already has decided how the Irish people will vote without knowing the content or the context – that surely brings the statement “if you don’t know vote No” to a new level.

    Basically Mr Ganley is saying that it doesn’t matter what the deal is, the answer is No. That may be good enough for Libertas and their SF allies and supporters but I believe the Irish people are much wiser than that and will judge every situation on its merits.

    Economic circumstances have changed dramatically since the Lisbon referendendum . A new referendum will be needed and I expect a clear YES vote next time .

  • Mark,

    You are spot on on the intervention issue, and have taken the words out of my mouth. The head of a government that is being asked to sign up to a Treaty says it does not enhance freedom and democracy. That is not a domestic issue for the south, so he has not interfered in the politics of another state. Unlike those who have said there must be another vote.

    Greenflag,

    Ganley’s prediction of a bigger no vote is hardly tying the hands of the southern government. And it is nonsensical to suggest so.

  • none about the place

    ……forming an ‘unholy alliance ‘ with SF .

    Posted by Greenflag on Nov 12, 2008 @ 02:06 PM

    Those uppety fenians, eh!!

    Greenflag…go boil your head!

  • joeCanuck

    General President DeGaulle shouted “Vive la Quebec libre” on a state visit to Canada back in the early 80s. P.M. Trudeau kicked him out of the country the next day.

  • damian Hockney

    …the pressure on Ireland from Sarkozy was far more invasive and threatening than the congratulatory nature of Klaus’ intervention: he was demanding that the Irish politicians work out a way to overturn the result of a referendum, to vote, vote and vote again (or that politicians ignore the vote) – after all, Klaus did not come to Ireland bemoaning something the Irish people had done – he came and congratulated the Irish people for their actions…are we saying that visiting politicians can only congratulate fellow politicians for successes and not their people for their own actions? btw joeCanuck, it was in the 60s that De Gaulle said that, not the 80s. De Gaulle died in the late 60s…

  • joeCanuck

    Quite correct Damien. It was 1967 and Trudeau was Justice Minister. Pearson was the P.M.
    Oul geezers have poor memories.

  • RepublicanStones

    Didn’t protocol for state visits go out the fuinneog with Obama strutting round Europe before the election?

  • Comrade Stalin

    the government of Ireland cannot have a policy which is opposed to that defined in a constitutional referendum,

    Why not ?

    Referendums are stupid, as the Yes vote on the Nice treaty showed. The US system for altering the constitution is a bit more sensible.

  • The US system for changing the constitution is totally designed to prevent any changes to it. Referenda give a clearer voice to the people.

  • pith

    Republican Stones,

    What do you mean at post 11?

  • Dave

    At least the Czech President forced the government to unwittingly betray that ratifying the Lisbon Treaty is government policy. How else could he breach the protocol that declares that a visiting head of state should not support those who oppose government policy if ratifying the Lisbon Treaty is not government policy?

    The government have rejected the result of the referendum, and are clearly acting against the will of the people. If they had any sense of honour, then they would have resigned when a referendum that they strongly supported was rejected. They are devoid of honour, and that lack of honour is again revealed as they conspire with other Europhiles in the EU (who also reject the result of the referendum) to find a means to ratify the rejected treaty against the democratically expressed will of the people, and, if no way can be found, to re-run the referendum until a result is produced that is satisfactory to the EU.

    As the Constitution is the only thing that prevents this Europhiliac government from transferring the remaining sovereign powers of the state to the EU, the government now has the constitution in its sights. It has established the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution to “complete a full review of the Constitution in order to provide focus to the place and relevance of the Constitution and to establish those areas where Constitutional change may be desirable or necessary.”

    Unsurprisingly, this committee has already exceeded its remit and is now looking at how amendments are passed with a keen interest in undermining the Coughlan Judgement from Mr Justice Carney which declared that “the allocation of uncontested broadcasting time to each side of the argument was significantly unequal and thereby constitutionally unfair” and that each side in a referendum debate must have equal time. The Referendum Commission, chaired by High Court judge, Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill, who was nominated to the position by the Chief Justice, John Murray, has proper responsibility for how referendums are conducted.

    Naturally, the stooges who were appointed to quangoes by this government are making all of the right noises to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution, with the chairman of the Independent Broadcasters of Ireland, Willie O’Reilly, complaining that requirement to give equal time to both sides in the debate allowed unelected groups to gain public platforms. Of course, this is exactly the type of tripe that the government wants to hear because if the debate was confined to elected politicians then it would be confined to pro-treaty mouthpieces since 160 and 166 TDs are pro-treaty. It is quite obvious that the government is no trying to silence the anti-treaty in the proposed rerun of the referendum by amending the 50/50 rule.

    In addition, a bi-partisan policy operates in regard to the EU which ensures that no debate about the merits of EU membership ever occurs in Dáil Eireann.

    There is only one constitutional change that is required, and it is this: if a government support an amendment to the constitution and the people oppose it, then the government must resign in order to a avoid a situation whereby the government continues to act in a manner that is against the democratically expressed will of the people they were elected to represent. We now have that exact situation: the people voted against the Lisbon Treaty, and the government conspire with foreign powers to commit treason against their own people.

  • RepublicanStones

    Pith just referring to the ‘Presidential’ nature os a senator’s jaunts abroad.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The US system for changing the constitution is totally designed to prevent any changes to it.

    There have been plenty of amendments to the US constitution, though. It just takes a bit more effort.

    Referenda give a clearer voice to the people.

    The kind of clarity where a No vote on Nice was immediately followed by a Yes one ?

  • Dave

    Typo: “…if the debate was confined to elected politicians then it would be confined to pro-treaty mouthpieces since 160 [b]of[/b] 166 TDs are pro-treaty.”

  • Greenflag

    garibaldi

    ‘Referenda give a clearer voice to the people.

    In theory yes, in practice unless there is a high turnout vote they do the opposite -as we have seen with both the Nice and Lisbon referenda.
    Perhaps we need to consider compulsory voting as the Australians have at least for changes to the Constitution . The Government’s handling of both the Nice and Lisbon referenda was pathethic and brings the whole process into ridicule .

    On a side note -most important legislation in Switzerland is decided by referendum although I’m not aware if there needs to be minimum turnouts .

  • I agree on compulsory voting. That would help remove the sort of problem CS refers to.

  • Liam

    hmmm, I wonder what the odds are of Mr. Ganley being involved in a ‘tragic’ motor accident sooner or later?……

  • sammaguire for years

    I lost confidence in the referendum system after the first Nice Treaty. One lady on the radio voted no because the government deregulated taxi licences just after her husband had coughed up big money for a licence. The government wanted the Treaty passed and this was her way of protesting. This was not untypical.

    If we do continue with referenda why not introduce a short (maybe 20 question) multiple choice test on what’s being voted on. If its clear you don’t know what the referendum is about you don’t vote.

    I had a good laugh at one of the abortion referenda. All the local pro and anti abortion nutballs all voted the same way for different reasons!

    Just let us elect the politicians and let them get on with the job. If we don’t like what they do put them out at the next election. A lot simpler and a lot smarter.

  • Wilde Rover

    Greenflag,

    “Klaus obviously has a little to learn about State visits and associated protocols”

    And what should the appropriate protocol be for the minister?

    “Micheal Martin should be commended for his restraint in not delivering a kick to the rear end of Mr Klaus .”

    And do you think he would have been within his rights to deliver a diplomatic punch to the bollix?

    “The Czechs are new to democracy”

    Poland is also new to democracy, but since they have passed the Lisbon Treaty I guess you don’t need to bring them up.

    “and for the most part financing opposition to the Treaty by forming an ‘unholy alliance ‘ with SF .”

    Was the Yes side part of some ‘holy alliance’?

    “Economic circumstances have changed dramatically since the Lisbon referendendum . A new referendum will be needed and I expect a clear YES vote next time .”

    I believe you said that last time.

    “In theory yes, in practice unless there is a high turnout vote they do the opposite -as we have seen with both the Nice and Lisbon referenda.”

    I had this saved from the last time you tried to make this point.

    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%)

    I still don’t see it.

    Comrade Stalin,

    “Referendums are stupid, as the Yes vote on the Nice treaty showed.”

    Referenda that are repeated until there is a Yes answer are stupid.

    Sammaguire for years,

    “Just let us elect the politicians and let them get on with the job. If we don’t like what they do put them out at the next election. A lot simpler and a lot smarter.”

    So Ireland should have a system that means you can elect politicians that will say they will do something one way on a vital constitutional issue and then do a complete turnaround once in office and pass a treaty that is irreversible?

    I have to agree with you. That is simple.

  • Greenflag

    IWSMNWDI ,

    ‘Just let us elect the politicians and let them get on with the job—A lot simpler and a lot smarter.’

    I see you’ve been impressed by the new Assembly’s ‘simple and smart ‘ operation at Stormont ;)?

  • Greenflag

    apologies above post 24 should have been to sammaguireforyears and not IWSMNWDI .

  • Greenflag

    wilde rover ,

    ‘I still don’t see it’

    Don’t see what ? Listen here Baldrick this is the last time I’m explaining how three beans plus one bean makes four beans and not a lot of beans 😉

    Nice 1 : 53.9% of turnout 34.8% = 18.75% NO
    Nice 2 : 62.9% of turnout 49.5% = 31.13% YES
    Lisbon : 53.4 % of turnout 53.1% = 28.35% NO

    Please note that neither of the ‘results ‘ 18.75% /31.13%/28.35% comes anywhere close to a majority of the electorate . The ‘referendum’ system needs to have some built in changes which prevent a minority of the electorate deciding constitutional change for the majority .

    This can be achieved by having validation of constituional change subject to either a minumum turn out figure or by compulsory voting or by introducing other voting options in referenda such as

    a) Don’t care either way
    b) Don’t understand.
    c) I did’nt elect TD’s to do their job for them !

    Voters who choose options a and c can have their votes divided 50/50 to each side in the referendum . Voters who choose the c option will be counted as NATR ‘s not applicable to the result and both options b & c can be interpreted as an indication of both the Government’s and Oppositions campaigns to explain the reasons for their side either for or against .

  • Wilde Rover

    Greenflag,

    “The ‘referendum’ system needs to have some built in changes which prevent a minority of the electorate deciding constitutional change for the majority .”

    So you don’t recognize any of the European referenda? You don’t even recognize the EEC?

  • Greenflag

    ‘So you don’t recognize any of the European referenda? You don’t even recognize the EEC?’

    I recognise that using referenda without taking into account voter turnout numbers makes the present system susceptible to giving skewed results . EU issues are just the present example of how that has happened in the past . We need to make changes in the system to ensure that ‘referenda ‘ when they are held make ‘democratic ‘ sense and enhance our democracy and not undermine it.

  • Wilde Rover

    Greenflag,

    “I recognise that using referenda without taking into account voter turnout numbers makes the present system susceptible to giving skewed results”

    And by skewed results you mean No votes.

    “We need to make changes in the system to ensure that ‘referenda ‘ when they are held make ‘democratic ‘ sense and enhance our democracy and not undermine it.”

    And the only way to “enhance our democracy” is through Yes votes.

    I’m beginning to think you are a closet No voter that is trying to undermine the Yes arguments.

  • Greenflag

    wilde rover

    ‘by skewed results you mean No votes.’

    A small minority of the electorate is a small minority no matter which way they vote .

    28 beans in a tin containing 100 beans is indeed some beans – but it’s by no means a majority of the beans . I refer you to Prof Baldrick for further enlightenment in the realm of basic counting .

    If we transfer the above analogy to ‘Island of Ireland’ politics then your rationale would buttress the argument of Unionists that as 20% of the island’s population they have a majority over the remaining 80% in their desire to remain a part of the UK .

    Both you and they could have a point especially after repartition .

  • Wilde Rover

    Greenflag,

    There is a certain amount of merit to your argument.

    It’s a pity you only seem to have come up with it as a result of the No vote.

  • Greenflag

    wilde rover ,

    ‘There is a certain amount of merit to your argument.’

    Nothing to do with merit it’s just applied common sense 😉

    ‘It’s a pity you only seem to have come up with it as a result of the No vote.’

    I’ve always held some doubts about the use and abuse of referenda as a means for politicians to evade/avoid making tough decisions – from the divorce/abortion referenda to the more recent Nice and Lisbon insanities :(. I still hold some faith for the procedure as I’m acutely aware that it was an anti government (FF) result in a referendum back in the 60’s, that prevented the Republic from becoming an effective one party State a la NI when FF under Dev tried to adopt the British first past the post system for electing government . Works well for the UK ( England /Scotland /Wales ) but not a runner for ROI or NI imo.