Taking JL to task for his Lisbon post

It has taken me the rest of the week to get around to answering some of the reasons why JL Pagano has decided he is voting yes to the Lisbon Treaty on June 12th. This is not because I’ve been rocking in a paroxysm of rage in the corner with Ms 73man feeding me through a tube but because it has been that kind of week at work. I want to be as fair as I can to JL (unlike his commenter) so I am going to deal with each point individually:

Not a great start but here goes. Saying that the Treaty does not seem too bad on the face of it is the grossest example of book cover judging I’ve read in these parts for some time. If the Treaty is an attempt to tidy up the bureaucratic structures of an expanded Union then why was this not done in advance of admitting 10 new members in 2004? Surely 15 members needed as much bureaucratic housekeeping as 12 or even 7? Even Dick Roche states that this Treaty is 95% of the old Constitution which the French and Danish rejected in the last decade.

A truism if ever there was one. Ireland has also benefited from being a member of UEFA and don’t get me started with that shower. Voting No to a proposal by the EU governments does not represent biting the hand that feeds us because we accrued these benefits (massive agricultural subsidies, enormous pots of cash for roads and equality legislation that recognised women in the workplace) by virtue of our membership and are not dependent on us being ‘good Europeans’ – whatever that is. Poland and the nine other recent members are now the recipients of net gains that we got in the 70s and 80s – no problem there but that does not mean we should just lie back and think of Brussels when we offer ourselves up for Constitutional reform. Bitter pills and nasty medicine and all that.

Our right to reject something the rest of Europe never had an opportunity to vote on remains. JL says “I don’t remember hearing of any mass demonstrations on the streets of those countries suggesting the majority of people feel they’ve been hard done by”. I say well, that’s precisely why Irish citizens voting on it is all the more important. Without so much as a by your leave, the French Assembly met in session and gave it the once over – as their citizens protested outside about who undemocratic the process is. If all legislation and constitutional change was brought about in this way, we might as well not vote at all, in any election, local or national. I believe that the lack of protest only goes to show how disenfranchised people have become in recent decades with the uncontested ‘European project’. When the ‘governments’ of Europe met in 1815 in Vienna, they were no more democratic than what went on in Lisbon, December 2007.

What can be voted on unanimously and using a qualified majority can change if the Treaty jumps the Irish hurdle. Notice how the text in this link doesn’t even mention the word unanimity? Frankly I am not concerned by the whole Irish army partaking in ‘joint military exercises’ guff because we have seen the Irish army taking part in these exercises anyway in the Nordic Battle Group (fear them and their use of snow). I trust the Irish army (a force borne from colonial experience) enough to know when to take part and when not to. As part of the peace keeping role they’ve built up over 50 years, they’ve proven themselves to be able to do their jobs well. I would be concerned about the use of Irish troops in defending Europe’s resource interests outside of its borders though.

This point is so politically crude as to be almost unworthy of comment but for the record: I am no supporter of Declan Ganley’s Libertas and the neoliberal agenda Ganley favours. Libertas have every right to spend their money on glossy brochures and challenging Dick Roche on ineffectual, consensus-building radio interviews but aligning them with Sinn Fein, the SWP and JM Le Pen does them all a grave disservice. It is as if the elected interests’ votes do not count at all. I vote for Sinn Fein and the SWP so does my vote not count? One of the good things about democracy is that people have the right to be ‘wrong’. Anything else borders on totalitarianism.
I can see why JL finds this attractive and I often feel so alienated from the sterile and childish debate that passes for political discussion on this issue that staying away from Rathgar school on June 12th seems like a reasonable option. I always think though of the long queues outside South African polling stations in 1994 and get off my Western moral high ground. Voting No does not mean you are a bad European, that it would be a “disaster” for Ireland (now so often repeated that it will probably account for at least a 15% swing coming up to June) or that somehow our ability to shop in Aldi for cheap meat and beer would be revoked. Don’t be frightened into asking questions and raising doubts. Just remember that no government politician will ever come a-knocking on your door in the lead up to June 12th because they would rather bark at us from on how, like Dick ‘doberman’ Roche does.
That is all for now.
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8 thoughts on “Taking JL to task for his Lisbon post

  1. Well done 73man, I didn’t read the original post your talking about but you’ve done justice to some very interesting points in the EU Treaty controversy. Cheers!

  2. If my post was titled “Why I think 73man should vote yes”, then this post would make perfect sense. But it isn’t, so it doesn’t, at least not to me.

    Not that I don’t accept some of the counter-arguments made therein, but I don’t like the implication that I am somehow trying to frighten anyone into voting a particular way because that is just not the case, it’s not what I’m about, nor has it ever been.

    But just for the record and so that everyone is clear about the original text that prompted my being taken to task, my purpose was to outline MY OWN reasons for voting yes. End of.

    I’m sorry if people don’t agree, but there you go. This is why we have democracy, and this is why we have our own blogs.

    I struggled with the temptation to challenge all the unfounded implications you have taken from my post one by one, but I’ll make do with just the one to save time.

    I don’t like Dick Roche, never did and probably never will.

    Kind of the way I disapprove of America’s gun control, but if I wrote a post about it I wouldn’t expect someone to attack me for supposedly liking Michael Moore because he did a movie about it. I don’t like Michael Moore either.

    I do wish to apologise if my post frightened you, and I do respect you for outlining your reasons for voting “no” AND putting your name to them, albeit your blog one.

  3. Just a note to let you know that I’ll be exercising my right to reply over on my blog for the next couple of days, for what it’s worth.

  4. Caoimhin: happy to hear it provided some useful information.

    JL: looking forward to it. As for my name, try 73man.blogspot.com/2007/11/unfortunate-online-cognomina.html

  5. It is always deeply funny how the far left and far right join forces to defeat the center every time a Euro referendum comes up. The calls from interest groups and unions this time around prove that referendums in the Irish context are nothing more than an opportunity for every disaffected dimwit to think he is making a difference by marking his fat defiant ‘NO’. But it won’t be funny if we return such a vote next month.

  6. Excellent post 73.
    We have a choice and a voice and we should use it.We haven’t been provided with all of the facts by the government despite what Roche is crowing to the heavens but at least we haven’t been presented with a fait accomplis as the French have – all the more reason to hang onto our constitution.Its up to us to educate ourselves and make an intelligent choice.

  7. I’m writing you from Germany and we all hope you have success by stopping the EU Treaty! And I hope you can forgive my miserable English, too.

    We don’t have a right on a referendum and though our best wishes are with you and your campaigns. In all over Europe the people standing close to another for stopping this unholy thing called EU Treaty. We all know about the consequences and now it is time to build bridges between the people all over Europe.

    This is the Europe of the European People and not the Europe of the European Industry and Warlords.

    Here in Germany, Austira, Netherlands, Denmark, Norway and some other countries people go out on the streets for standing against our Governments.

    Take a look here: http://de.youtube.com/watch?v=5sIgyX0jeuI&feature=related

    Although there is a legal accusation against members of the German government, including chancellor Angela Merkel and president Köhler and others, because of high treason.
    That is because the government, incl. chancellor Merkel and all of her ministers, are handing over the national souvereignity of Germany to an undemocratic organisation calling itself the European Union.

    This governmental action is forbidden by the German Grundgesetz in several articles.

    High Treason in our law is defined as “ using violence to remove the democratic organisation of the state.” The Merkel Administration uses its power over the state media – and their associated private media corporations, such as Bertelsmann corporation , Springer Verlag and others – to silence the democratic opposition against the EU Treaty of Lisboa and to deconstruct the democratic German state and replacing it by a nondemocratic organisation serving economic interests of a few corporations only – but not the peoples interests and their legal democratic rights.
    The abuse of media power and the silencing of the legal opposition in the media of the state is, in the opinion of the informers of the state prosecutor, violence.

    In fact no country of the forthcoming EU totalitarism will have any significant or fundamental rights to reign itself through the will of the People. But the will of the people is the fundamental of every democracy. It is ignored by the EU and, as far as Germany is concerned, the German government, too. You can follow the links at the end of this text to read about the concerned laws and the charge because of high treason in Geman.

  8. A very good post. I understand JL is just posting his reasons for voting Yes, but these are similar reasons to many people and it’s worth showing that their is very little validity in their arguments.

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