#EUREF: Souveraineté ou survie du déluge?

FitzJamesHorse was in Dublin yesterday. His description of the way the yes camp (by his lights, ‘the establishment’) for Referendum on the Fiscal Compact as a Hobson’s Choice”:

The legacy for European democracies is that their politcians have actually managed to restrict REAL CHOICE. In Ireland for example, no mainstream political party has been articulating the “No” case…it has fallen to Sinn Féin …..still somewhere between the margins and the mainstream……to rail against the notion of Austerity and loss of Sovreignty…..rather than to make a “reasonable” argument. The Irish Electorate are presented with a choice between Reason and Romance………Pragmatism and Gesture.

I’d disagree only to the extent that it applies to the government parties. In actual fact, this restriction of choice is an illusion. As pointed out here before, no one in Europe needs Ireland to signup to this treaty to make it work.

Ireland can reject the terms, and perhaps look for ‘a better deal’ on bank debt by September. It’s simply a matter of whether you think that’s a gamble worth taking. Or even that poor fiscal control is something that will help Ireland gain future traction in the bond markets.

Micheal Martin and Fianna Fail have had much more time to prepare to this referendum (in inverse proportion to the little time they spent preparing for Lisbon I)… And has he has repeatedly said, the reasons for Yes are much more limited than the government is claiming… That’s not even to say that the prospects for the success of it ultimate objects far from certain…

But it’s already clear that this is neither a common nor garden, nor even strictly speaking an EU problem; despite the fact that the Euro was very much part of the centralising agenda laid down by those at the heart of the pan European project.

As we saw in the case of David Cameron’s ‘veto’ it was less a veto, than a signal to the wider world, that he was getting his country involved in a situation in which the main protagonists were doing little other than watching their own backs.

Germany and France have continued to carry on their own sweet way. It’s notable too that Brussels has barely been involved in any of these matters. Tony Connolly, who is generally solidly fixed in Brussels has been flitting between Berlin, Paris and Athens. He may be seeing even more of Madrid and Rome before this is over.

For all Herr Schauble’s references to the democratic checks and balances of the Commission and the European Parliament the time has long since past when Irish journalists began to wonder what on earth those 12 Irish MEPs are doing over there right now.

David McWilliams’ prediction that the strain of holding north and south together will be too much for Germany is not unreasonable…

As Stephen Kinsella notes there are other pressure points (namely Spain) which could extend and upscale Ireland’s economic problems, not least by beginning to suggest that Ms Legarde’s umbrella is nowhere near big enough to damn back the markets

In other words, there is a process afoot that will be driven by sheer pragmatism, possibly even sheer terror… avant le deluge… and a drowning man’s instinct for survival…

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty