“Lisbon is a dead duck, a goner, not a hope in hell”…

This one comes courtesy of reader Paddy Matthews in the comment zone here. Deaglán de Breadun with the bad/good news from inside Leinster House:

I was told by a highly-experienced (and pro-EU) Fianna Fáil backbencher the farmers are voting against en bloc and don’t pay any attention to what their leaders are saying. (I should point out that the executive council of the Irish Farmers’ Association has voted unanimously to recommend a Yes to Lisbon.) But surely the possibility of negative economic results will deter people from voting No a second time, I suggested? Another TD, from the Labour side, said he believed there was a “death-wish” among the electorate.

Hardly conclusive, but indicative of a dire fatalism in the heart of the Irish parliament… Did Libertas not run because they didn’t have to…? And it’s a further indication that some of those suits really are empty just now

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  • “Another TD, from the Labour side, said he believed there was a “death-wish” among the electorate”

    – over the past year or two the whole country strikes me as acting more like a sulky teenager. “It’s not fair!” / “Not my fault!”. And to the government – “I HATE you!”
    This teenager is being egged on by a lazy media which refuses to ask the real question i.e. why are people here unable to take responsibility for anything. Decades of abuse in church and state institutions that can’t not have been common knowledge? Well, it’s the government’s fault isn’t it. Almost total collapse of the global money markets system, well it’s the government’s fault isn’t it. The only public discourse that the media is prepared to tolerate is related to who can be hanged from a lamp-post on Kildare Street.

  • Wilde Rover


    “This teenager is being egged on by a lazy media which refuses to ask the real question i.e. why are people here unable to take responsibility for anything.”

    A valid point. The Irish electorate has a history of voting in cowboys and then taking the hump when the cowboys do a botched job. The clientelism that is the systematic flaw promotes a me fein attitude and prevents anyone with a long term vision from helping to guide the ship of state.

    Nod and Wink politics could be tolerable if it were merely Jobs for the Boys or someone making money off a deal here or there, but now the state and seemingly the children and grandchildren of this state, are being asked to pick up a tab of an unknown quantity.

    As much as FF deserve the boot, repeatedly, I am unconvinced that an FG led government would have done anything fundamentally different. Ultimate blame lies firmly with the electorate.

    There is the other matter of not investing in the future of the country by helping to set up indigenous companies, but instead pouring everything into property and waiting for some benevolent multi national to come along and provide solutions. Relying on the vagaries of trans-global corporate policy is no way to go through life.

    Returning to Lisbon II: Electric Boogalo, the “death-wish” remark from the Labour TD sounds a little ominous.

    It sounds like something you might say about a small businessman who confronts the local mafia boss in the street and tells him he isn’t going to pay protection to a two bit crook anymore.

    What’s next, TDs telling the electorate that they have some beautiful children, and it would be a terrible shame if some horrible accident were to befall them?

  • Glensman

    The problem is that the ‘political classes’ are treating the electorate like children with constant threats that ‘if you don’t vote yes you’ll not get any sweeties’.

    I’m not saying the majority of the electorate don’t deserve this, the problem here is that people vote along party loyalty rather than on the issues, the result is that people in rural areas for example will complain day in day out about lack of broadband but then come canvass time will politely say, ‘sorry, we’re FF voters in this house’

  • I hope he’s right. I think there is a dichotomy down here between not merely the political elite and the people, but also the academic/agricultural/union/corporate/NGO elites and the people, when it comes to the EU and I would argue issues like asylum and immigration. And yet we vote in these out of touch elites. I wish we could vote for parties based on the issues, but party-preferences for most are a matter of tradition within families. There is some evidence this is less the case with the young – 18-24 yr olds voted 27-27 FF-FG according to exit polls in 2007. But they are the least likely to vote, meaning it will take time to feed into General Election results. Don’t read too much into the local/euro elections yet.

  • Wilde, I read the Labour TD’s ‘deathwish’ comment as despairing rather than menacing or threatening. People have been wound up so much by the media that there is a danger they’ll reject Lisbon thinking that they’re in some way punishing the establishment (whoever they are). Anyone who isn’t a devotee of the SF school of economics must see that the consequences of that will be disastrous.

  • Mick Fealty

    It’s PR too FT. Everything is well stacked for new entrants. Is it that although people think that way few want to stand up and say it in public?

  • Glensman

    There it is again Danny, you’re basically saying that if we don’t vote yes the economy will be fecked. I don’t thing that is fair, we should be voting on this Treaty on what’s in the Treaty- this isn’t about whether Europe is good or bad, or a purely financial matter.

    I’m sick of the sword of Damocles hanging over the Irish public’s head.

  • Mack

    Mick –

    Do you mean people don’t want to admit they’re traditionally FF or FG households? Seems to be the other way round, at least once you get to know people, it’s a badge of pride..

  • By PR do you mean PR-STV (Proportional Representation)?

  • Glensman, you may not like it and I may not like it but that is the reality. The teenager storming off and SLAMMING the door will not change that. What normally happens is they come home again when it gets dark or they get hungry…

  • Glensman

    That may be true for teenagers, but I don’t see that it’s the EU putting food on our table.

    Being in the EU generates efficiencies and has multiple benefits, but we’re contributing to this family too… What’s the point in having a vote if your only allowed to vote one way!

  • Glensman

    Ireland has gained €40 in transfer funds from the EU (no small amount) but in return the EU has gained access to the Irish fishing zones.

    On average, more than five million tonnes of edible fish varieties, valued at E7 billion (£4.8 billion), are fished from EU waters every year, 40 per cent of which originates from Irish waters.

    That soon adds up- the thing is, and Irish people need to realise this: we shouldn’t be running with our begging hats on, we’ve made our fair contribution too…

  • Glensman, Don’t disagree with you on the Irish contribution and many in Europe will agree on that too. But when a politician (TD or otherwise) warns of the consequences of voting down Lisbon people whinge that they’re being told-off and patronised. What about the public representatives owing the people not just their industry but their judgement too (Burke). What’s wrong with a TD trying to express an genuine view that a No vote would be a very bad idea? Or do we just want to hear what we agree with nowadays?

  • Glensman

    That’s a very valid point Danny. But it’s the manner in which the political elite have approached this whole debate. From framing the no camp as raving loonies to not allowing equal media time to re-running the vote just because it didn’t go the way they wanted.

    We heard their opinions the first time, and I for one tried to gather as much information as I could before I made a decision… The treaty hasn’t changed, the political class told us the world would implode if we voted no the first time, it didn’t- why should we believe them now?

  • “why should we believe them now?”

    Heh! You’ve got me there. All I can say is, I will be voting yes, despite and not because of the way the issue has been handled by government both last year and now. The world hasn’t imploded only because the rest of the EU are waiting to see what happens this time around. There will be consequences this time I fear…*

    * not scaremongering just stating my opinion

  • Glensman

    That’s fair enough Danny, I for one would rather face down the consequences than except a bad treaty, money isn’t everything.

    I suppose two Danny’s from Cushendall were bound to come to an amicable agreement!

  • fin

    maybe the sulky teenager would like the parent to explain why they should do something instead of just ordering.

    How will a yes vote improve the economy, how will it prevent a future collapse? does it actually make a difference.

    If Lisbon had been passed prior to the current meltdown what debate would be taking place today