Friday, 6 March 2009

Lib Dem pledge to bully Ireland over Lisbon

A vote for the Liberal Democrats at the European Parliament elections on 4 June is a vote to bully the Irish people into reversing their clear 'No' vote to the Lisbon Treaty.

That's the message being sent today by Graham Watson MEP, according to this article in the Irish Times.

As the leader of the Liberal group in the European Parliament, Watson has pledged "to help fund a major campaign in favour of the Lisbon Treaty" when the Irish government calls a second referendum, which is expected in the autumn.

Expressing his group's support for the Irish government and EU elite plan to ignore the previous referendum result and make the Irish people vote a second time on the same treaty, Mr Watson said "It would be our great pleasure to support Fianna Fáil if they wanted us to, either in the referendum campaign in the autumn or any other campaign".

Watson tops the Liberal Democrat list of candidates for the South-West of England euro-constituency, which covers Bristol, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire, Devon and Cornwall, and which also includes Gibraltar.

Credibility chasm

In the article, Mr Watson also rehearses the inevitable scare-mongering that a second 'No' vote to the Lisbon Treaty would force Ireland to leave the EU - a line so weak that its lack of credibility is far more likely to be a hindrance to securing a 'Yes' vote in any referendum than a help.

"It is very difficult to see any country being able to stay in if they have had two Nos from the people," he burbles.
Not so difficult for anyone who has read the EU treaty, however.

The reality is that if the Lisbon Treaty is not ratified by every single EU member country, it doesn't become law, and the EU continues to exist - and every country continues to be a member of the EU - on the basis of the current, post-Nice, treaty.

That contains no clause under which a member country can be thrown out of the EU.

Any decision as to the extent of Ireland's participation in the European Union after a second 'No' vote will be entirely down to the Irish government.

Unless Watson is revealing that it is the position of Irish Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, that he will take Ireland out of the EU altogether if there is a second 'No' vote, then Watson is either blowing smoke or exposing his ignorance.

Time for change

In truth, a second 'No' to the Lisbon Treaty from Ireland would be a welcome earthquake for the entire EU structure as we know it today. And Ireland would be far from alone in administering that much-needed shake of the foundations.

Not only has the Polish president said that he will not sign the Lisbon Treaty into law until Ireland has settled its position, but the president of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus, has expressed a similar stance.

The treaty also looks set to remain an outstanding issue in Germany for some months yet, while its impact on the German constitution is studied by that country's constitutional court.

What's more, by May 2010 a Conservative government may be in power in Britain with the policy of rescinding Britain's ratification of the treaty if it has not yet been approved by every other EU member country.

But before the events of the autumn and spring 2010 unfold, Graham Watson perhaps ought to be more concerned about how popular his support for bullying the Irish people into reversing their already clearly expressed view on the Lisbon Treaty is going to be with South West voters, come the elections on 4 June.


Anonymous said...

Not likely to go down well with the Irish, I think.

But let's not point that out to him.

Open Europe blog team said...

Good post