Monday, 5 October 2009

Ireland votes on Lisbon treaty

Ireland has voted to approve the Lisbon Treaty in the re-run of the referendum that led to the treaty's rejection last year.

In a vote tainted by irregularities and illegalities - such as blatant breaches of Irish referendum rules requiring balanced media coverage and no public money to be used for either side - the result this time was a 67% 'Yes' vote.

While it's hard to believe that the Irish people voted 'Yes' based on the idea that the economy would suffer further if they refused to give the EU even more governing powers, that seems to be exactly what a majority has been bullied into doing.

The pro-Lisbon
camp promised a 'Yes' vote would mean more jobs and economic recovery - the relevance of either outcome to the Lisbon Treaty having been dismissed by even the Irish Referendum Commission.

If these promises fail to materialize - for example, if Irish unemployment continues to rise after this 'Yes' vote - it will be clear beyond doubt that the 'Yes' camp has misled people.

In all likelihood, the only jobs the Lisbon Treaty will create will be in Brussels for yet more former politicians and more legions of attendant bureaucrats taking up new positions in the various EU agencies and bodies the treaty introduces.

That further needless financial burden on the backs of Europe's taxpayers will only delay economic recovery, not hasten it.

Imbalanced campaign

That the 'Yes' camp ran a fundamentally dishonest campaign appears to be widely accepted.

As ever, their chief strategy was to make a deliberate conflation between the implications of EU membership and those of the Lisbon Treaty, and claiming falsely that a 'No' would put Ireland's economic links to other EU member countries at risk.

The last thing the 'Yes' camp wanted to discuss was the the treaty itself and whether it is really necessary for yet more political decisions to be transferred to Brussels.

Whether, for example, it is necessary for the EU to have a full-time President, Foreign Minister, its own diplomatic service, or for Ireland to give up a large slice of its influence over EU decisions.

'No' outspent

This strategy was particularly potent at the present time, when Ireland's economic troubles have worsened considerably since the last Lisbon Treaty referendum.

The inaccurate representation of what the referendum was about by the 'Yes' camp was then rammed home by outspending the 'No' side more than ten times over.

In particular, serious legal questions must now be asked about the role played by the European Commission - a direct beneficiary of the result - which used millions of pounds of public money to influence the outcome in their favour.

The myth still perpetuated by a few starry-eyed EU luvvies that the Commission is the benign 'civil service' element of the EU structure must now be permanently marked 'busted'.

Wrong path

With this vote, Ireland has stepped into the worst of all worlds.

None of the promises made by the 'Yes' side can or will be delivered.

Millions of potential friends among ordinary people across Europe who would have liked to reject this treaty, had they been given a say, have been lost.

Respect will not even be forthcoming from EU political elites, who will most likely be chuckling behind Ireland's back in amazement that their economic scaremongering and shabby trick of empty declarations has actually worked.

Democracy tag team

The baton of halting the onward march of an illegitimate EU State now falls to the lone figure of Vaclav Klaus - President of the Czech Republic.

But even if it passes his final hurdles, the underhand way in which this treaty has been forced through has served to further erode faith in the EU project among those who uphold democratic principles.

Disquiet about how the EU and its backward-looking supporters amongst Europe's governing class have conspired to deceive people about their intentions and deny people a say on their actions will echo long into the future - long after this particular event is forgotten.

Today, EU elites may well celebrate another step towards this extra level being built on the EU's already lofty powers.

But it has been achieved at the cost of further crumbling the foundations of the EU's legitimacy.

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