Lisbon Treaty: Claim and counter-claim

While politicians and campaigners trade blows on air, a group calling itself ‘Generation YES’ has launched a ‘Fight the Lies’ section on its pro-Lisbon website.

Generation YES bills itself as “a movement of young people from all over Ireland who are committed to promoting the benefits of EU membership. We will further this core aim through events and campaigns which show that membership of the EU is one of Ireland’s greatest strengths, and offers our generation huge opportunities.” They claim in a video on their site, filmed at IKEA, to have 1,200 registered members.In the ‘myth-debunking’ section of the site, they challenge claims that the minimum wage in the south will be reduced to €1.84 if Lisbon is passed, that the Lisbon Treaty will reduce Ireland’s voting strength to 0.8% in the Council of Ministers, and that the EU wants to introduce conscription in Ireland.

It reminds me somewhat of the ‘Fact Check’ initiative that CNN deployed during the US presidential election, although obviously with a more partisan bent.

Meanwhile, the southern government has published a condensed guide to the Lisbon Treaty. Perhaps one of the biggest failures of the Yes Campaign during the first referendum was that they relied too much on a ‘trust us, we’re right’ attitude rather than actually informing voters and letting them come to their own conclusions. Presumably this site is aimed at remedying this shortcoming.

Separately, Labour hit the ground running yesterday as the first party to launch its pro-Lisbon campaign with a new blog. Party leader Eamon Gilmore argued: “In the current climate it is possible that some angry voters, who may have not problems at all with Lisbon, will be tempted to use the referendum to inflict what they would regard as a blow on the government. I would urge anyone thinking along these lines to reconsider the position. A second defeat for the Lisbon Treaty will do more damage to the country than it will to Fianna Fáil.”

However, Sinn Féin’s Kerry North TD Martin Ferris accused the Labour leader of doing “a massive u-turn on workers rights,” pointing out that “in June last year Eamon Gilmore said ‘the Lisbon Treaty is dead’ and ‘the result of the referendum must be fully respected’ and that ‘it would be entirely wrong, inappropriate, and counter-productive for the European Union to proceed on the basis of any settlement that does not fully respect the voice of the Irish people.?

With just over a month to go until the vote, things certainly look to be getting interesting.

  • DC

    Generation Yes is a good idea, as far as I’m concerned the Devil rode on horseback in terms of those who think the historical national boundary and sovereignty is just so great. The map of Europe has been recast due to horseback crusades and narcissistic territorial/military gambles, usually shafting (or killing) the little person caught in between on their own lands.

    Not just N Ireland but look at the history of Prussia where the commoners between 16-20th century were mistreated by opposing armies and actually their own. Greed and the reasoning of might is right.

    So, for the ordinary guy there’s something quite humbling knowing that even for our lot, the British/Irish PM/Taoiseach have to know their limits based on them having people above them. Knowing their limits based on consensus and discussions, usually with positive outcomes in mind, but at times there will be those discrediting agreements that can favour certain nations over others. In the balance it tends to work in favour of stability.

    Operations involving the EU are very complex and at times it is quite a wasteful multi/supranational body working on behalf of relative stability *but* it is still all done and dusted at a meeting table, with a bit of organisation thrown in to keep it working. Civilised shall we say.

    It’s not perfect, but it is rational and of course a good deal better than having to have *making one’s voice heard* belligerent unilateralism.

    Cue Dave about sovereignty.

    Ps Dave, did you hear Bank of China are selling mortgages in Britain? Maybe they can help Irish citizens out too?

  • Auld Dubliner

    I was in Tralee over the weekend, and am back in Dublin now. All over both places all i see are signs from the ‘no’ campaign. Similar ones from last time, and a few new ones.

    ‘Those who are squandered the nation’s hard earned cash and who have impoverished many families are asking you to trust them on the Lisbon Treaty.’

  • “LIE: Lisbon removes Ireland’s right to a permanent EU Commissioner.

    THE TRUTH: The Lisbon Treaty is THE ONLY WAY for every member states to keep a national Commissioner.”

    This is ridiculous.

  • On the Commissioner, I would argue that is still an issue because unlike the ‘guarantees’ on taxation and abortion, the Commissioner issue was not contained in a Council “decision”, and therefore is not legally binding. A “decision” is an instrument of EU law, and those decisions did not include the assurances on the Commissioner or workers’ rights. Also, even the decisions can be annulled by the ECJ if they regard them as subverting the Treaties.

  • Wilde Rover

    From the Generation Yes link:

    “Out of the countries that voted on the European Constitution 27million voted Yes as opposed to 23million who voted No.”

    27 million countries voted Yes? Perhaps I have not been paying attention to the numbers of new member states.

    I believe only four countries voted on the constitution, and two of them voted against.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_European_Constitution_referendum,_2005

    “More importantly, the Lisbon Treaty referendum is not about the rest of Europe but about Ireland’s future.”

    The Lisbon Treaty is just about Ireland’s future and nothing else? I feel so special.

    “If we want to secure Irish jobs, get our economy back on track, increase the input of the Dáil into European legislation and keep our Commissioner, we need to vote Yes on October 2nd”.

    The Lisbon Treaty will secure Irish jobs and get the economy back on track? Will it also make me more attractive to the opposite sex and a better lover too?

    The Astroturfers will have to do better than this.

  • fin

    the 30 minute guide reads like a election leaflet, and not a great one, if Lisbon is crucial to Irelands economic recovery it might have been an idea to include some detail on it. Instead the document waffles like New Labour, the evironment, tourism, space, human rights, worker rights etc.

    The goal of the EU under Lisbon is to eradicate Poverty, Really!!! who wouldn’t vote for that.

    Strangely for a treaty thats going to stop us all from going bust, its not going to affect the European Central Bank or the auditing of the EU

    Lastly, and probably most silly, it claims that any changes to the treaty in the future will have to be passed by a referendum in Ireland, really, just like Lisbon, where the chance of giving the right answer gets several bites of the cherry, and the wrong answer gets veiled threats of been excluded.

    I have nothing against the EU in general, I think its a good idea to club together and present individual nations as a large united body, however, I oppose the gravy trains, the unaccountability, the waste and disunity, these are issues which should be dealt with first.

  • Mack

    FutureTaoiseach –

    There is no guarantee to a commisioner per member state as thing stand under The Nice Treaty.

    The agreement reached to provide one commisioner per member state clearly increases the probability that will maintain ‘our’ commissioner in the long term.

    http://www.lisbontreaty.ie/questions/

    The effect of this agreement is that, if Lisbon is ratified, we will retain an Irish Commissioner indefinitely but, if it is rejected, the Nice Treaty provisions will apply and the number of Commissioners will have to be reduced.

    You will, of course – as protecting the ‘our’ commisioner is an issue for you, be voting yes?

  • Mack

    Cue Dave about sovereignty.

    The Lisbon Treaty codifies a mechanism for withdrawing from the EU. Dave should be overjoyed about this. Can we expect him to campaign for a yes?

  • Mack, I believe the Commissioner issue could be addressed by not counting the President as a Commissioner.

  • Mack

    So your argument is that there is no need for Lisbon? Rather than that Lisbon will result in the loss of the Irish commisioner? If it’s the former, that’s certainly not what you appeared to be saying…