All the newspapers today (well, yesterday, when I started writing this) are spouting off about the Lisbon treaty, about the “landslide” YES vote in Ireland. And about the “great day” for Europe.
Well it isn’t a “great day” for anything; in fact it was a tragic day that demonstrates the staggering failure of democracy in Europe.
Do you non-Irish know what the Lisbon treaty is about? Probably not, because your government took away your option to vote on it, and simply voted for you instead.
I don’t know what it was about either, and I even read some of the election pamphlets in Ireland a few weeks ago. But I still don’t know very much.
You can see that nobody had an idea what is involved when both the Yes and No sides presented almost identical arguements as to why we should vote for them. And the reasons that weren’t identical were innane – “we will be left outside Europe” and so on.
The biggest scare tactic used was the threat of removal of aid for the Irish economy and Irish banks. Basically – “Vote Yes or risk your country going under”. Nice.
To promote the passage of the treaty, the Irish were given some “guarantees” – or, if you prefer, bribes – to convince them to go ahead and vote yes. Among these was the provision for the Irish state to continue pissing all over women’s rights and continue the Catholic Church backed ban on abortion.
So now, with this Yes vote, the Irish have a legal guarantee that Europe will not interfere in the question of allowing Irish women the right to choose what to do with their own bodies.
So in what way is this a “great day” for anything? Simply throwing a referendum at the people again and again until you get the answer you want, calling it “final” and then never bringing it up again?
The actualy turnover was 57% and 67% or so of them voted yes, meaning that about 40% of the Irish electorate said “Yes”, hardly a landslide, as the press are saying.
If the Irish had said “Yes” on the first attempt, would there have been another vote in case they had changed their minds and now wanted to vote “No”? You bet you arse there wouldn’t.
And if Ireland was truly was a democracy, then there would be one referendum more, and they would take the best out of the 3 results. And that ain’t going to happen, is it?
So don’t worry, nothing actually changed on October 3rd – the power in Europe still rests with the same people, and they will continue to get what they want in the same ways as before, despite their record of being very very wrong, so many times.
Yes, a great day for Europe indeed.