Monday, 16 June 2008

Lisbon - crying over spilt milk

As far as I can see there were 3 reasons promoted for voting no to Lisbon

1. We could not understand the treaty
Our statutes are full of legislation which joe citizen would not understand. Legal documents are, because of the requirement to be unambiguous, quite complex to read. We pay our negotiators to ensure that they understand the detail and that it is not contrary to our national interest. We clearly dont trust them...

2. There is a better deal to be done (a.k.a the government and mainstream politicians cannot be trusted)
Over 90% of the representatives which we, the Irish electorate, voted into the Dail last year favoured a Yes vote in the referendum. However, when they said that this was the best available deal - we chose to believe Sinn Fein and other fringe organisations who took diametrically opposed views and interpretations of the treaty. Somebody was undoubtedly lying and misinforming the public during the debates on this treaty - the electorate seem to have decided that the same people we elected just a year ago were no longer to be trusted, a profoundly depressing conclusion.

3. We can't let foreigners run our country (a.k.a Europe can't be trusted)
They were all out to get us - those EU "Bullies". I mean what have they ever done for us? ....apart from the roads and infrastructure investment? ....access to a huge common market? Sustained peace in Europe for nearly 70 years? While I do not subscribe to the view that we should be brow-beaten to accept any deal because we have benefited from Europe in the past I do believe that Ireland will benefit from a more efficient European executive in the future.

So where do we go from here? - it is clear that the EU is perceived as a remote bureaucracy without a strong identity. It will certainly remain an inefficient bureaucracy in the absence of the reform package in the Lisbon Treaty. The challenge for the EU is to connect with it's citizens. It must reach out to it's regions and deliver strong leadership so that we can share and subscribe to a vision for Europe and so that we can compete with China, Russia and the US. I hope that M. Sarkhozy, and his like, who have arrogantly dismissed the democratic decision of the Irish people will put their efforts into promoting the credibility of the EU rather than undermining the democratic principles that are supposed to underpin it.

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