Lisbon Essay (10): Ireland’s opportunity to kill Lisbon in the water..

Nigel Farage of UKIP has spent a lot of the last week trying to make up for something of deficit in credible speakers on the No side of the Argument. The UKIP leader here argues that the Irish people wider responsibilities than just their own futures. With less than 1% of the European Union’s population Ireland is only country that’s allowed a free vote on whether Lisbon goes ahead or not, and offers substantial evidence that a second No vote would effectively kill it off for good. If Ireland says no, then the UK will follow suit and Lisbon is dead.

By Nigel Farage

The second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty is, of course entirely an Irish matter. Any intervention from a foreigner, particular a foreigner of a peculiarly ‘home-counties’ disposition, pin-striped and so on, English type to boot must be a disaster for any partisan of either side. Or so the Irish media promoted myth goes.

So why the devil am I getting involved? What on earth am I doing popping up on RTÉ, skewering (well something like that according to commentators on politics.ie) Dick Roche in debate in Dublin and talking to the various Irish mainstream press.

I am still waiting for a call from the Skibbereen Eagle, but I can assure you that if they were to call I would be happy to talk to them.

Because the idea that what happens in Ireland is of interest to nobody else is just not true. Firstly the proverbial luck of the Irish means that on October the 2nd they will not just be voting on their own future as a nation, but also as proxies for half a billion Europeans.

According to the latest figures, the Republic currently makes up less than 1% of the population of the EU. As the only country where the people have a say about the way in which we will all be governed each and every vote posted next month can be multiplied a hundredfold.

Think about that. 99% of the population of this EU, this prison of nations have been effectively disenfranchised. And they, and we and I look toward Ireland as a beacon of hope.

Remember that Ireland has acted as our saviour before. It was Ireland that kept alive the standard of Western civilisation whilst all else was crushed under the barbarian yoke. So the burden placed upon the country is one that it is well equipped to take up.

And what a burden. Brian Cowen spoke last week about rather menacing “consequences”. Though he did not spell them out he vaguely referred to further loans from the ECB and the money market being under threat.

Then there was Margot Wallstrom, self described “propaganda Commissioner” in Dublin on Friday making people’s flesh creep with references to Iceland’s economic collapse.

The employers federation IBEC are claiming that exports will collapse if there is a ‘No’ vote. Even Seamus Heaney weighed in this weekend, “will have lost ourselves in the modern world”, Europe he said was “more than a bureaucracy, it’s an ideal”.

What patent twaddle. All those threats, all those pious niceties were thrown around last time and they were as meaningless then as they are now.

Has Ireland been discriminated against? No, of course not. Perhaps we can forgive the laureates’ idealism. But the rest of them are downright dishonest.

A counter viewpoint to these heralds of doom can be seen in the FT where one of their key European commentators, a true EU believer Wolfgang Munchau, only yesterday:

“Last year, after a first referendum produced an overwhelming No, I argued in a series of columns that a definite rejection of the treaty would effectively strike that country off the political and economic map. I no longer believe that to be the case. If the Irish vote No, I now believe it will be the end of the treaty, not of Ireland”.

So the people of Ireland should be of good heart. The wave of gratitude across the continent that followed the previous rejection was palpable. Oh, no, not in the political classes, the one’s who talk of a ‘post-democratic society’, no they will be livid, but amongst the peoples of Europe. My post box last year is a testament to that.

But of course a ‘No’ vote would not just a moral victory, a ‘damn you all we will do what we believe to be right for ourselves’, and none shall gainsay us’ an attitude of mind well shared this side of the Irish sea, but also of enormous an immediate practical import.

If Ireland votes ‘No’, then the UK will have the chance to vote, and we know that she will vote ‘No’. And if that happens then the cloistered Eurocrats, the head in the sky idealists, and the invisible political elite that have the temerity to tell us what is in our best interest, rather than allowing us to speak for ourselves will have to address the key issue facing our continent.

What is it that the people want? Because, from all accounts, and nearly all fair votes, the current EU is surely not it.

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  • Only Asking.

    Excellent. These essays on Lisbon have been worth the read.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Nige has a point and a bit flattery wont go amiss about our proud record of saving Western civilisation once before* – but there is now a feeling set in amongst the Plain People of Ireland that as the country is crucified by debt that we need to keep our European friends sweet and as the old saying goes – nows not the time to be making enemies. Ireland to vote massively in favour and UKIP will have to fight it out in the shires with the Tories.

    *Excellent program on same last night on BBC Norn Iron.

  • Mick Fealty

    Link Sammy?

  • Big Maggie

    I love the way Nigel set up his own straw man and knocked it down. Of course Ireland’s vote means a lot to Europe; why else inter alia did Brussels call Biffo to account?

    Good article though. I especially liked his swipe at “the invisible political elite that have the temerity to tell us what is in our best interest”. We can’t be reminded enough about them—and their big-business buddies.

  • Mack

    I agree – excellent show :-

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00kt9v9

    The Irony of a Synod of the Church in England (founded by Irish missionaries) choosing Rome over the independent Irish Church…

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Mick,

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00ktrby/How_the_Celts_Saved_Britain_Salvation/

    Previous one – which I have not seen yet on there too.

  • He argues that the EU citizens are disenfranchised but let’s examine our own backyard:
    At General Election if two candidates stand; Mr Orange and Ms Green, and one gets 51% of the vote, it is that person who is sent to Parliament to represent that constituency, including the 49% who did not vote for that candidate. If three or more candidates stand the likelihood of the candidate splitting the vote thus allowing Mrs Blue through is increased. This pattern is repeated and presto Parliament represents the minority of the State. Welcome to democracy or as Jefferson said its ‘nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.’
    If and when the Lisbon Treaty is ratified at least the EU Parliament will be given more power and that is elected directly by the citizens. If not then any State can leave subject to her own constitutional requirements.

  • John McCabe

    The last thing the Irish should be doing is worrying about a “duty” to everyone else in Europe who is against this treaty. That battle should be fought by them within their own countries. The Irish should do what they think is right for Ireland whether they are voting for or against.

  • I think Nigel will find that Margot Wallstrom is not a “self described “propaganda Commissioner”” – it’s him that calls her that. Also I seriously doubt that she made anyone’s flesh creep on her recent trip to Dublin, Athlone and Drogheda and if Nigel can’t recognise a tabloid sub-editor’s headline when he sees one then he’s in the wrong business. What she said about Iceland was that it’s an advantage to be part of the euro area. So far, the European countries worst hit, and which have had to be bailed out by the IMF, have been non-euro-zone countries such as Hungary, Iceland, Latvia and Romania. And the crisis has driven Iceland to seek refuge within the euro area as soon as possible by applying this summer to join the EU.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Mack,

    Off topic. Yes it was full of nice little ironies – my only problem with it was the lack of detail – he said thing like they introduced stone buildings and writing but didnt really give any examples – except for the stupendous Book of Kells. I have to say the ‘superior’ magic of the Christians, he kept referring to I found a bit puzzling.

    On Topic. Perhaps we should send the link to the boy Nige and tell him we are too busy trying to save our own country at the moment but if Western Civilisation needs saving at some point in the future to not hestitate to get back to us.

  • As a no voter I wish UKIP would stay out of this. They shouldn’t play into the hands of the yes side who want to exploit traditional Irish suspicion of Britain to attack the no side as some kind of outside interference.

  • Greenflag

    ‘a true EU believer Wolfgang Munchau, only yesterday:’

    Even German ‘true believers’ can get it wrong .

    “Last year, after a first referendum produced an overwhelming No, I argued in a series of columns that a definite rejection of the treaty would effectively strike that country off the political and economic map.”

    ?????

    What overwhelming NO vote ? I recall that barely half the total electorate voted and that the NO’s defeated the YES vote by 1 or 2 % approx. Overall much less than a third of the electorate voted NO.

    Wolfgang has a great memory for forgetting . I think he gets ‘lost’ when it comes to matters Irish .

  • I’m not a big fan of Nige, but I found this a dam good piece, I cannot get my head around ‘Sammy’s’ take on Lisbon, as what it amounts to is bowing to threats of the EU money supply being cut off.

    Voting ‘yes’ will embolden those who wish to see a post democracy EU, voting ‘no’ will firmly sit them on their arses and back to the drawing board they must go. True, Ireland’s mainstream politicians have allowed themselves to be bullied by Brussels into calling a second referendum. No surprise there then.

    No matter how the ‘yes campaign’ wish to spin this referendum, it is all about democratic accountability and the will of the people.

    As to Lisbon giving more power to the EU parliament thus it must be supported, hogwash, I thought Ireland did away with a monarchy in 1922. There is no point in electing MEPs if they in turn cannot occupy the top EU posts, all of which are to be appointed and this will be set in stone if Lisbon is approved.

    What this will mean in reality is the UK will gain the presidency, in all probability it will be the war criminal, HRH Blair, and Germany the Foreign Ministry.

    So much for Irish sovereignty not being on the table.

  • Joe, (9)
    I was there when she said it, with her normal self deprecating smile of course, but she said it all right.

  • Joe Hennon

    Gawain – if you mean you were there when she described herself as ‘propaganda Commissioner’ then I can only assume your excellent sense for sarcasm temporarily deserted you. If you mean you were there when she commented on Iceland to the Evening Herald then you must have mastered some dark arts since that was done by phone from her car…

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Mickhall,

    we could be begging from these feckers in a few weeks – jabbering on about principle is all fine and dandy when you are financially independent but we exist and survive under the protection of the EU economic umbrella.

    If you for instance thought your boss was a complete tosser and you knew you could not find a job elsewhere and he asked you wash his arse* then you probably would reluctlanty go and get the sponge if your family’s economic survival depended on it.

    Keep your powder dry and fight the feckers at a time of our own choosing.

    *currently outlawed under EU law.

  • martin Davies

    one of the reasons Nigel Farage went to your country was to lend his support to the ‘NO’ campaign, as the media had been ‘nobbled’ by the EU you would have only heard the YES side of the story,

  • Greenflag

    In WW2 -the Irish Free State helped England by staying neutral and supplying food and volunteers for the armed forces and labour for the war industries .

    This time around we can help England by voting YES and by trying to persuade our neighbours that the Euro is the way forward for the British economy.

    Even the financial elite in the UK know that joining the Euro is ‘inevitable ‘

    Just a few weeks ago both the British and Dutch finally made a financial settlement with the Icelanders with the latter having to cough up almost 30,000 dollars per capita to British ‘investors ‘ as a result of the worldwide economic collapse triggered by the Lehman mess .

    Of course when you read the detail of the ‘settlement ‘ the Brits & Dutch being nice neighbours to the Icelander’s have postponed the payback to their institutions from Iceland for seven years ?? and then the payment must be made in full at the end of a further 8 years .

    BY then of course the Icelanders will be in the Euro Zone . Presumably both the Dutch and British prefer to be paid in Euros or perhaps in blood but certainly not in Icelandic kroners .

    Makes one wonder why the banking and financial services fraternity are not pushing for a return to human slavery instead of waiting years for their capital ?

  • Mick Fealty

    No one so far has made an Irish case that the EU has enhanced freedom and sovereignty, though tomorrow’s essay will in some limited terms argue just that.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Mick,

    “No one so far has made an Irish case that the EU has enhanced freedom and sovereignty”

    Well thats because it would be a nonsense to do so – it just keeps a roof over or heads.

  • PeterS

    Don’t let Nigel being English taint your views of his comments, he is not Cromwell.

    Listen to what he says and make your own decision, do what is right for Ireland.

    I doubt that signing away all your freedoms, forever, to the unelected EU is the right way forward for any right thinking nation.

  • Neville Bagnall

    There is always a lot of talk about how we need to stand up for the rights of other EU citizens, etc.

    I have some appreciation of the fact that the decision we are making has a huge impact for every other country, just as the decision in the UK parliament has a huge impact.

    However at the end of the day the decision has to be made, in the final analysis, on what is in Irelands interest.

    But for what its worth, where this family of Treaties has been put to the peoples of Europe the decision is not as clear cut as some make out:


    For Against
    Spa 10,804,464 2,428,409 Constitution Yes
    Fra 12,806,394 15,450,279 Constitution No
    Neth 2,940,730 4,705,685 Constitution No
    Lux 123,601 97,116 Constitution Yes
    Ire 752,451 862,415 Lisbon 1 No

    Total 27,427,640 23,543,904

  • Neville Bagnall

    By the way, those figures put the lie to Charlie McCreevy’s oft-repeated quote. After only 10% of returns, 5.5% of all Europeans have already voted yes.

    Whatever about the rights and wrongs of referenda versus parliamentary ratification, suggesting we need to vote no for everyone else is ill-informed at best.

  • Mick Fealty

    Sammy,

    Could you run that up into an argument (you know you want to)… ?

  • Nope Joe I had not inveigled myself into her car, that I think is your job… Anyhow, it was at a previous event, when she described herself as such, the exact comment,

    “Hello, I am Margot Wallstrom, you can call me the Commissioner for Propaganda, but my officail title is the Vice President of the Commission…..”

    It was all very smiley, and I am sure she was taking the piss.

  • Mick F

    The reason why no one has made an Irish case that the EU has enhanced freedom and sovereignty is because it is not relevant, if the yes campaign are going down this road they will be openly declaring that these ‘democratic and societal gains’ will be under threat if Lisbon falls, which would be nothing less than an attempt at Blackmail. No Mick that one is not going to run as it would open a can of worms, although it does show the yes camp is getting touchy.

    Make no mistake if this treaty falls, life will be the same on the day after the referendum, as it had been on the day before it. Far to many people are sitting in Brussels earning three times the wage they would get back home.

    No one is going to wreck this particular EU ship from within. If it falls it will be due to the crass stupidity of the EU political elite and bureaucracy, who by holding this referendum have proved they hold the people of the EU in contempt and people will only eat so much shit.

    After all we have learnt over the last year or so, any voter who consciously gives a politician high office without first making them face the electorate, should go out side and shoot themselves, as they are a real danger to their families and the rest of us and are stamping all over hundreds of years of democratic struggle.

    Think it through, you are offering a free walk to high office to people who were party to this recession. Tell me, how much excreta poured on ones head is enough?

  • The character of a body changes substantially when the rules the body operates under changes from requiring full consensus to only partial consensus. This may have been “forced” by the difficulty of finding a lowest common denominator among 27+ nations, but my answer to that is that makes expansion the problem, not unanimity.

    The rush to govern from Letterkenny to Ankara imperils the European project, in part because the Eurocrats demand homogenisation and cannot allow a natural series of deeper intra-EU co-operations on a voluntary basis (“Enhanced Co-operation”) as permitted by the Nice Treaty (actually Amsterdam originally, but in an inflexible way).

    A multi-speed Europe is actually a good thing as long as everyone is permitted to join the top speed – but it has never got off the ground, with a race to ever more IGCs and Treaties instead – why?

  • Dave

    They won’t say “so long” and they sure as hell won’t say “thanks for all the fish.” The EU and the Irish government have refused to release the figures for the value fishing stock extracted from Irish territorial waters since we joined Common Fisheries Policy but the fishing industry puts the value at anywhere from 120 to 200 billion. That, by the way, is the unprocessed value. The processed value is substantially higher.

    In 2006, according to European Parliament statistics, 5.3 million tonnes of fish in ‘European’ waters were taken from Irish territorial waters.

    What the EU don’t tell you is that 44% of the total of 5.3 million tonnes was extracted from Irish territorial waters. The Irish fishing industry was only allowed a quota 4% of Ireland’s fish by the EU, so other EU states were gifted 40% of it (2.13 million tonnes). According to European Parliament statistics, this had an import value of €2.8/kg or €2800 per tonne.

    That gives a value of €5,964 million (€5.96 billion) worth of fishing stock that Ireland gave away in 2006. The processed value of this fish would be in the region of 10 to 40 times higher, so the loss to the Irish economy is substantial (even discounting a processed value multiplier).

    In addition, the EU imported fish with a value of €17.298 billion in 2006, so there is very strong demand for a product that Ireland is simply giving away..

    The EU has decimated the Irish economy, decimated the Irish fishing industry and Tim Pat Coogan explains why this was allowed to happen:.

    [i]One answer might well be: “All of the above.” But a more fundamental cause goes back to that conversation I had with Brian Lenihan (the present Minister for Finance’s father) back in the 60s when Ireland was planning to enter the European Economic Community ( EEC) as it was then known. The conversation occurred during an interview I was conducting with the junior Minister – that status should have given me a clue – on the prospects for developing the vast untapped fisheries potential of the Irish coastline.

    Brian, a pleasant man, interrupted me suddenly to ask “Tim Pat! Do you know how many whole time and part time farmers there are in this country?”

    I did not know exactly but he rattled off the answer correct to a decimal point (around a quarter million, as I remember). Then he asked me did I know how many whole time and part time fishermen there were in the country. “including lobster men, currachmen, and the teacher who goes out in the summer night with a net after a few salmon?”

    Again I could not reply with certainty but Brian could again answer with pin point accuracy, something just over 9,000 as I recall. “That”, he continued, “would hardly elect one Fianna Fail TD on the first count in a five seater. Now do you get me?”

    I did. What he was telling me in effect was that the farming lobby had political clout, the fishermen did not and that in the forthcoming Brussels EEC negotiations the mackerel would be traded off against the bullock.[/i]

  • Dave

    Belated typo & sense-making: “In 2006, according to European Parliament statistics, 5.3 million tonnes of fish in ‘European’ waters were taken from Irish [i]’European'[/i] territorial waters.”

  • Mark

    You make a good point about unanimity and your last paragraph is spot on.

    The problem I have with many of those who are calling for a yes vote is their willingness to accept a far lower democratic threshold for the EU then they would nationally.

    Name me a single mainstream politician in the Yes camp who would accept an unelected Taoiseach or Foreign Minister, yet that is what they are in effect demanding people do when they vote yes in this referendum.

  • Big Maggie

    When Ireland votes “no” again we can watch with keen interest as Britain tries to extricate herself from the rich-man’s club that is the EU.

    The British people want Lisbon even less than the Irish, but their masters didn’t give them the opportunity to choose.

    “Britons never never never shall be slaves”? One wonders.

  • Christy

    The EU is an empire right? It isn’t fully fledged yet but it is up & running. They make up the laws & we can only trust them to do the right thing by us. That sounds like master & servant to me. Who are “WE” anyway? Are we who we think we are nations? Do the bosses see us collectively the same way as we see ourselves? I bet you they see all us EU nations THEIR way & will do whatever it takes to make it their way!I say no to federal Europe the whole debacle was a cynical plot from the outset. Also considering the bosses global economy has fallen flat on it’s face now is not the time to be pushing on with this arrogant enterprise.

  • Wilde Rover

    Neville Bagnall,

    “But for what its worth, where this family of Treaties has been put to the peoples of Europe the decision is not as clear cut as some make out:”

    You seem to be contradicting a point you made in an earlier thread. Europe is, at least for now, a collection of sovereign states, not a federal entity.

    The data you show is three for and two against.

  • Wilde Rover

    Of course, the above should be three against and two for.

  • Joe Hennon

    indeed she was taking the piss Gawain…

  • ConorF

    As an Irishman I find UKIP’s intervention in the Irish debate to be interesting and entirely characteristic of that group’s anti-EU ethos.

    I do not particularly mind that a foreign party is active here (unlike some voices who found their mere presence to be offensive). In fact Nige’s rather patronising tone when he compliments us is so stereotypically English that it’s almost comical. He could not be more of a cliche if he was wearing a bowler hat.

    UKIP’s intervention reveals more about their own neuroses than it does about Europe. The visceral, atavistic distrust of all things European is revealing. Perhaps Ireland is spared the same paranoia because we do not have the same hankering after a lost Empire or reduction in global prestige as the neighbours do; hence we do not chain ourselves to railings in defence of miles, ounces, and a Queen’s head on a coin.

    However I do see UKIP’s intervention as cynical and opportunistic. UKIP’s focus is not the Lisbon Treaty, nor indeed is it the welfare of Ireland. It’s goal is to achieve the UK’s withdrawal from the EU entirely; it’s points on the details of the Lisbon Treaty are just expedient. I would always question the leadership of any party that can only identify itself in terms of what it is against.

    Were Ireland to vote on ‘Europe – in or out?’ the response would be overwhelmingly to stay in. Europe has been very good to us, and we to it. It is a powerful coalition of nation states which has lead directly to a sharp rise in economic and social conditions for all Irish people; it has allowed us to act cohesively on issues such as social justice and the environment in ways that we could never have done on our own. It is also, as others have noted, the most successful peace process in history.

    We have heard arguments like UKIP’s at every juncture since (and even before) accession in 1973. They have been wrong every single time, and nothing in their 2009 incarnation has changed.

    Campaign away, my dear old chap. Your protestations are a boon to the Yes campaign, your thinly-veiled jingoism is a good source of light relief, and your activities provide me with excellent source material for gentle ribbing of a couple of good pals and colleagues of mine who happen to be British. You are embarrassing them no end, but we Paddies don’t mind at all…

    Conor

  • William

    Mickhall,

    You ask “Name me a single mainstream politician in the Yes camp who would accept an unelected Taoiseach or Foreign Minister, yet that is what they are in effect demanding people do when they vote yes in this referendum.”

    In fact under the Irish consitution the only ministeral positions which mush be elected is the Taoiseach or finance minister, The Taoiseach can in fact give any other ministeral position to who ever he wants, it makes no difference if they are elected or not (he only needs to appoint them to the senate first).

    So there is nothing stopping an unelected Foreign minister in Ireland…. other than trying to keep members of his party happy.

  • William

    If UKIP wants the UK to leave the EU it should be hoping for a yes vote!!!

    Lisbon allows a country to leave, but the current treaties don’t.

  • William,

    Stop prevaricating and attempting to spin my question away, if you are unable to name a yes camp member who would accept an unelected foreign minister better to keep quiet.

    You know only to well that the Taoiseach, the leader of the opposition and LP would never publicly advocate an unelected Irish President, or foreign minister. Yet this is what they are demanding the Irish people do in this referendum EU wise.

    What a bunch of hypocrites.

  • Dave

    “What a bunch of hypocrites.”

    Some of the hypocrisy is actually funny. For example, the government demanding that “foreigners” stay out of Irish affairs while simultaneously is conspiring to surrender control of Irish affairs to foreigners.

  • Andrew Shanks

    What seems to be being left out of the discussion is that the Lisbon Treaty is a self-amending treaty, which means:-

    1. if the Irish vote “Yes” then neither they, nor any other part of the EU, will be offered another referendum again… Lisbon is the last referendum. All future moves towards a single nation state will pass through on the nod amongst the political elite.

    2. Any deals/agreements to get the Irish people to vote Yes are worthless. Power will have gone from the Irish Parliament, and from the Irish electorate, as an independent electorate, forever.

  • Dave

    More or less, Andrew Shanks. Due to a decision of the Irish Supreme Court in Crotty v. An Taoiseach, the Irish people will still have the right to a referendum if any proposed derogation of sovereignty via the self-amending clause is inconsistent with the treaty. The problem being that nothing could be held by the Irish Supreme Court to be inconsistent with “the original scope and objectives of the Treaties.”

  • William

    Mickhall,

    It is not undemocratic to have an indirectly elected positions.

    “Stop prevaricating and attempting to spin my question away, if you are unable to name a yes camp member who would accept an unelected foreign minister better to keep quiet.”

    I am not prevaricating and spinning your question away. All I am pointing out that having indirectly elected / appointed positions is not unique to the EU.

    “You know only to well that the Taoiseach, the leader of the opposition and LP would never publicly advocate an unelected Irish President, or foreign minister. ”

    You are wrong, as our President Mary McAleese in her current term is unelected (in the same way that the EU forign minister will be after Lisbon).

  • BigAl

    I don’t think the Irish will trust a spokesman from UKIP whilst the map on the UKIP homepage has the Republic of Ireland in the same colour as the UK. Seperate country you know. At least acknowledge it.

  • Dave

    William, what would it matter if the EU regime was elected? There is no European demos, and it would still not be elected by Ireland. Indeed, that part of it that is elected will only see 0.8% of its members elected from Ireland. Now if you think that a nation having 0.8% power to determine its own rugulations in a foreign parliment when it should have 100% in its own parliment is democracy, then I can only shake my head at such a degraded understanding of what a democracy is.

    In regard to the House of Lords and the Irish version of it, Seanad Éireann, these people may not be directly elected but they are in office, unlike the EU regime, to represent the national interest of the national parliment, i.e. a real demos.

  • William

    The proposed “High Representative for Foreign affairs” is the combining of two existing commission jobs and doesn’t give any new posers to the commission over and above what they already have.

    As the High representative for foreign affairs, is also a commissioner who will be appointed by elected governments. That position is just as democratic as our President Mary McAleese and the senators (who can be ministers) who are likewise appointed by the elected government.

  • william

    The EU commision is there to represent the EU interests and not that of any member. I don’t see it as any more or less democratic that Seanad Éireann.

    “Indeed, that part of it that is elected will only see 0.8% of its members elected from Ireland. Now if you think that a nation having 0.8% power to determine its own rugulations in a foreign parliment when it should have 100% in its own parliment is democracy”

    If Irelands population is about 0.8% of the total, then it is by definition is democratic…. It would be undemocratic for Ireland to have a larger share…. Whether it is a good or bad for Ireland is an totally different argument.

  • William

    I am not totally happy with the way the EU democracy operates but in many ways it is no worse than what exists in Ireland.

    To see full democracy i would like to see the policy and law making powers removed from the council of ministers (representing the governments) and the commission, to the European parliment. However I’m not sure that this would be good for small countries such as Ireland.

  • William,

    Like it or not we are basically being told the EU is the future, and myself I have few major problems with that as long as we go about the job properly. Yet the best they can come up with is the worst of the national democratic architecture, much of which was first put in place in the early 20th century. I would argue most people have come to believe, in both the UK and Ireland, that unelected second parliamentary chambers are well past there sell by date, as too are unelected heads of state.

    Think fairly about this, come on, it is not much of an argument now is it, as it amounts to accepting second best. It is not as if the commission/whoever have been short of time to set right the EUs democratic deficit.

    What the national mainstream political leaderships want, no matter what country they come from, is to mascaraed as ultra democrats, whilst setting in stone the most reactionary structures for the EU, the only beneficiaries of which are the very same politicos, as this second best option allows them to act like the tight political cabal they undoubtedly are, and maintain the EU’s power in their grubby and incompetent hands.

    William, why do you set your democratic bar so low. What is wrong with one citizen one vote?

    Vote no before it is to late.

  • Nigel has made a fundamental error coming to use Ireland as a laboratory to test his UK GE campaign. He fundamntally mis-reads the Irish mind and his cheesey spin is going down like a lead balloon with the electorate. His leaflet’s outrageous manipulation of the Deputy Leader ofthe Labour Party’s comments as indeed his deliberate misrepressentation of Labour court judgements on pay rates is seriously damaging the no camp to such an extent that the Libertas leader has asked him to withdraw from the campaign according to the website he quotes politics.ie.
    It’s not my business what way the UK goes on Lisbon and it’s none of yours how my republic votes.

  • David Bushby

    I was recently on the south coast of Ireland, Dunmore East to be exact and there met a wonderful Irish patriot. She felt grossly insulted by having to vote again on the constitution/Treaty of Lisbon. “I voted NO the first time and will do so again.”

    She knew only too well that the bureaucrats in Brussels never take NO for an answer and will keep repeating referendums until they get the answer they are looking for or just proceed anyway. She was furious.

  • William

    Mickhall,

    “William, why do you set your democratic bar so low. What is wrong with one citizen one vote?”

    Nothing, and I never suggested there was anything wrong with it. However depending on the voting system one citizen one vote, doesn’t always mean which ever party gets the most votes gets in. Which is why I like the Irish PR system more than the UK first past the post.

    In one of my previous posts I say that I would like more pan-european voting and power shifted from the commision and council of ministers to the European Parilament.

    However the comission will be there whether you vote yes or no, it is a little irrelevant as to which way you vote.

    I am going to vote yes for a few reasons, one of which is that some power gets shifted to the EU parliament. While the result will not be perfect, it is an improvement.

  • UKIP SHOULD JUST GO HOME – GANLEY

    The United Kingdom Independence Party should pack up its tent and go home, Libertas Leader Declan Ganley said this evening.

    Mr. Ganley said that the intervention of the party was “every bit as unwelcome as the parade of Brussels mandarins that will be wheeled out over the coming weeks to lecture the Irish people”

    “We all know that a “Yes” to Lisbon will give the UK more of a say in our affairs – and we may well get a British President of the EU speaking on behalf of Irish people throughout the world – but this interference is unwarranted, unwelcome, unhelpful, and unnecessary” Mr. Ganley said.

    “The Irish people showed the world in the first vote that they are not sheep, and will not be bullied. Mr. Farage’s intentions in arriving to these shores are known only to himself, but we do not need a foreign political party to tell us that our politicians are a bunch of arrogant clowns who won’t take no for an answer. We know it already, thanks very much”.
    Ends

  • I am going to vote yes for a few reasons, one of which is that some power gets shifted to the EU parliament.

    William

    Fair enough, that is your right, I just feel in todays world, with all the mistakes the current generation of UK and Irish mainstream politicians have made, it will do them, and us no harm if they are pulled up short. I believe a no vote is the best way to let them know, the electorate are no longer prepared to give them a blank cheque.

    One of the major problems in recent years in both Ireland and the UK, is there has been no parliamentary opposition worthy of the name. This is highlighted by the fact that all three mainstream Irish political party’s, as far as Lisbon is concerned, sing from the same hymn book. The same is true on the economic crises and in the UK also Afghanistan and MP’s expense fiddles.

    Thus in my view as I have said above, it is up to the Irish electorate to pull the political elite up short and Lisbon gives them a golden and one off opportunity to do this and express their disapproval of the political elite.

    Best regards

    Mick

  • William

    Mick,

    I agree that the Irish and UK governments have made a mess and the opposition is even more hopeless…. However voting against Lisbon won’t make any difference to them at all, they will be still in a job. I want to get FF where it will really hurt, in a general election.

    As General de Gaulle once said, in a referendum answers are given to questions that were not asked

    A friend spotted an anti-UKIP banner…. the UK interference party 🙂

  • Seán

    UKIP needs to stay out of it. A leaflet drop in Ireland will result in more people viting yes. Are they crazy? Yes it has an impact on every European nation, but just because the UK isnt a very good democracy in that it doesnt give its people a vote, doesnt mean you should interfere. We will vote in Irelands interest. Whether yes or no. But seriously!? the UKIP dropping leaflets here will only help rubbish the NO compaign of the Socalist’s here. They are not right wing, they have nothing in common. People who dont know which way to vote will see a UKIP leaflet, there lies and that will discredit their valid no campaign. Muppets

  • Anne Smith UK ex-Pat – Irish family

    PLEASE PLEASE – Lovely Ireland – do NOT be misled or intimidated by threats from the EU.

    You will NOT be ‘penalised’ or ‘ostracised’ by the EU if you have the courage to vote NO on the LisCon Treaty.

    Vote NO – you will be a candle blowing in the wind for the freedoms of the rest of the peoples of the EUSSR who have not been given a vote.

    Were the EU ‘elites’ to ‘punish’ Eire the way it seems to have been threatening to do so – that’s not going to make them look fair, or unbiased or democratic is it ? And it would NOT happen.

    Vote No to the LisCon Treaty – and all that happens is that the EU will continue along its juggernaut way – but WITHOUT taking any more power or rights away from citizens of sovereign states.

    The EUSSR is corrupt; the accounts haven’t been signed off for 14 years – where’s all the money gone. Eire is in financial problems BECAUSE of the EU; when your interest rates should have risen to halt inflation your Government could NOT do so because you were in the Euro (Mickey Mouse0 money. Had you retained your own currency the financial problems you have at the moment would be less…….

    As a strong and independent nation I do not understand how you have allowed yourselves to be brain-washed into thinking that everything in the EUSSR is fine – IT IS NOT. iT’S CORRUPT, AND IS LED BY CROOKS – WHO WANT OUR MONEY, WHO WANT TO CONTROL US, AND WHO WANT TO DENY US FREEDOM OF SPEECH.

    Your MPs and MEPs will have to vow an OATH of allegience to the EUSSR FIRSt – Above their loyalty to their country – the EUSSR comes first. Smacks of an act of Treachery and Treason and a Traitor.

    Please Eire – SAVE DEMOCRACY FOR ALL THE CITIZENS OF EUROPE – Be Brave – Vote NO – stand up to the corrupt ‘elites’ in Brussels.

  • William

    Anne,

    Your argument that Irish people should vote no for the others in Europe who have not been given a vote is very strange for reasons:

    1 – Why should Irish people vote any other way other than what is best for Ireland? Be it for or against.
    2 – We are not being asked to vote on our views on the democratic process (or otherwise) in other countries such as the UK.
    3 – As Ireland’s population makes up about 1% of the EU total. The argument that we should vote for the other 99%, is the most undemocratic argument I have ever heard. Especially as the counties of the other 99% through their democratic process have come out in favour of Lisbon.
    4 – More people voted for the Lisbon and the similar EU constitution proposal, than against. So the logical conclusion of your argument is we should vote yes as that is what the people of Europe want.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Anne,

    technical points first – best to refer to Ireland as Ireland not Eire and we are also very familiar with the written word and do not need unecessary capitalisation to understand English.

    Secondly, if you belive the EU is corrupt and all round bad-dogs you cannot then also argue that ” that’s not going to make them look fair, or unbiased or democratic is it ? And it would NOT happen.”

    Thridly, most people in Ireland will vote for Europe becasue they (correctly) percieve that we cannot afford not to maximise our influence at a time we desperately need all the powerful friends we can get.

    Fourthly, your best bet at scuppering Lisbon(which in itelsf would not be a bad thing if some else did it) is to concentrate on pushing the arguement in Britian where the mad-dog-crazy-right-wing of the Tories and UKIP seem to think that Britian is beter than everyone else.

  • Dave

    Why does the UKIP have to fight for British democracy in Ireland? Simples (as a certain meerkat would say): it is because they, in common with 26 of the EU’s 27 Member States, are not allowed to fight for British democracy in the UK. If the EU demanded that the people of all of its Member States had an absolute right to either approve or disapprove of a document that alters their fundamental constitutional, political, civil, human, and national rights rather than declaring these the peoples’ fundamental rights where to be determined by the state (and not by the people), then they would have allowed the people to ratify by referendums in all 27 Member State rather than actively discourage the Member States from doing so.

    Those who now protest about “foreigners” having an advisory input into Irish affairs are those who are conspiring to transfer sovereign control of Irish affairs to foreigners. In addition, these muppets make no protest when Europhile “foreigners” such as Lech Walesa campaign in Ireland to promote a Yes vote. Clearly then, their actual agenda is censorship of the No campaign. That censorship is in line with their contempt for democracy as evident in their support for the Lisbon treaty.

  • EUSSR? Please remind me which member states of the European Union are Soviet Socialist Republics?