Cold gazpacho with that Spoofer’s guide to Lisbon Mark 2?

I like this. Not a lot, but I do like it. It stands out like a sore thumb amongst the utterly banal marketing and talking down of the rest of pro Lisbon noise… And Jason is unapologetically pro Lisbon. Yet it doesn’t talk to the reader as if they hadn’t got a thought of their own. This bit below the fold is the bit I like the best. It’s the bit where it says what is likely to happen if Ireland does not ratify the Treaty. The answer: not a lot. Except Ireland will likely have to drink its soup on the veranda. Possibly alone, possibly the company of others, like the Czechs or the newly Tory-led British (which would make things very interesting).

We cannot be forced to ratify the Lisbon Treaty. That’s not just Irish law, that’s EU law. But if we vote no a second time, we are in effect telling the other countries that this is the end of the line for us. Not that we are leaving the EU, but that we have gone as far as we are going.

The rest of the EU won’t like that answer, but they’ll accept it, and make their own arrangements without us. Why? Because we told them we were no longer interested. Shocking and all as the concept is, they will actually believe us. If there is anyone who thinks that Ireland is better served by the great majority of our allies having private discussions without us about the future of Europe, then let’s hear from them.

In 1916 we fought and defeated the most powerful empire in the world for the right to speak for ourselves at the table of nations. The EU assured us of that place, and now we seem eager to relinquish it, just as other small countries like Iceland seem very eager to take our place. (Or, in the case of Iceland, is it plaice?)

This October, we get to decide our future, and despite what the cynics tell you, our decision will be respected.

It’s better to look these things straight in the face rather than running away from them, or letting fear of the future pre-dominate. Which is kind of what I think Hugh Green is trying to do with this rather complicated piece of working out in which he hopes the left’s No campaign gets a good national hearing but that they actually lose the vote:

I agree entirely with the observations coming from advocates of a No vote that the purpose of the Lisbon Treaty is a consolidation of neo-liberalism within the European Union, that it entails a greater militarisation of that entity, and that for the most part it is a bad thing. At the same time I fear we might see a tendency among No campaigners to gloss over the ugly reality of the consequences of a successful No vote second time round.

I am not the best judge of what those consequences might be, but I do not believe that they would be good for the left wing in this country, nor do I believe from this vantage point that a No vote would serve as some sort of beacon for leftist struggle across Europe. That strikes me as wishful thinking. So I find myself in the odd position of agreeing with a No vote but seeing a Yes outcome as easier to deal with. Perhaps the best result would be for people to hear lots of convincing arguments against voting Yes, none of which would have anything to do with corporation tax, abortion, or the retention of commissioners, but to lose anyway.

Perhaps the prospect of sipping cold gazpacho on that veranda with all those ‘Gung Ho’ Cameronite Tories is just too much for Hugh?


  • Mack

    Hi Mick,

    Any chance of linking to the actual document in your post? Currently pointing at Dan O’Sullivan’s blog in the first instance, Jason O’Mahoney’s in the second, Hugh Green’s beneath the fold, but not direct link so far..

  • I prefer to eat gazpacho with a spoon, like a civilised European, Mick.

  • RepublicanStones

    Not to be pedantic Mick, but isn’t gazpacho a cold dish?

    ‘In 1916 we fought and defeated the most powerful empire in the world for the right to speak for ourselves at the table of nations. The EU assured us of that place, and now we seem eager to relinquish it,’

    Its great the way both camps can wave the flag of 1916 and use it to justify their position. With the NO camp assuring us that a yes hands that hard won freedom over on a plate!

  • kensei

    I don’t like it. The tone grates and it says stuff like “QMV is hardly ever used” as if that substantially changes the point. It also looks at these things individually taht it neglects the impact of all these extra powers for the EU and the general direction of travel. there is sleight of hand in it. Oh, and he violates Godwin quite early. “I used ot be Eurosceptic but then I found out about the Nazis”. Good grief.

    And I especially dislike the bit you quote. It is, once again, sugggesting bad consequences if we don’t ratify however nicely). Which is the same shit in a different bow.

  • Mick Fealty


    I should say I was building on a metaphor someone else used in the wake of last year’s No.


    I like it, you don’t. Fine. But even Hugh is prepared to admit there are consequences to both options. Anyone says there aren’t is pulling your proverbial.

    As for as the charting of consequence goes, I thought Jason’s was pretty modest in the context of a debate that’s been particularly marked by hyperbole… On both sides…

  • kensei


    It wasn’t a challenge. Simply giving an opinion. There are undoubtedly consequences to both options. Though those consequences spread beyond Ireland. If, as suggested, others just push ahead, then you might see other small countries getting nervous. There are consequences, but not all of them are clear.

    He avoids sensationalising but I’m not sure he avoids hyperbole as the passage quoted is essentially the same argument as elsewhere, just done more nicely.

  • The notion that we should vote yes just to avoid being on the side of the Tories is nonsensical. We should vote according to Ireland’s interests, regardless of whether the ratification of Lisbon also happens to be the preference of parties in foreign countries. For certainly, the vast majority of foreign political parties support Lisbon, as do our own. But that doesn’t make them right. I say no.

  • abu nicola

    I think everyone should read that spoofers guide.
    I voted “no” the last time because I thought that the treaty would allow irresponsible women to kill their babies. But now that I know that abortion will be kept safely in the hands of the clergy people, I will vote “yes”.

  • “Not that we are leaving the EU, but that we have gone as far as we are going.

    The rest of the EU won’t like that answer”

    Especially the bits that wanted to give the same answer but weren’t allowed by their “betters”.

    The question about why we needed 5 treaties in quick succession when the Treaty of Rome was good for a couple of decades is also important. There seems to be a perpetual need for upgrades in Brussels as if they migrated from Unix to Microsoft some time in the early 90s. We have not finished digesting the latest before the next is pressed upon us, sort of like the last round of EU expansion.

    The fact is that there is no sunset clause on Ireland’s membership of the EU, it is not conditional on endlessly thumbs-upping treaties. Accession to the EU/EC/EEC was predicated on our right to accept or refuse fundamental changes to EU structures and laws – Article 48 of the current consolidated treaties was put there for a reason.

    The amendments shall enter into force after being ratified by all the Member States in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements. (Emphasis added)

    Nice touch with Grizzly Adams and the coffin too btw.