Is the Lisbon Treaty a con? — 18 Comments

  1. I’m generally staying away from the topic, as I have no vote in referenda (being a brit). But it really does smell of “Dahnt fass abaht the small print lahve, juss sign ‘ere….”

    I’ve bought cars off enough dodgy people in my time to smell a fish.

  2. Thrifty – My thoughts exactly. “Look. Don’t bother reading it. Just trust us. And if you don’t say yes, we won’t be invited to any more parties.”

  3. Exactly! If it is all so good and in our best interest, then why is it so hard to understand? Something is rotten in the state of….well….Europe!

  4. I’ve tried my best to understand it all, but I really don’t get it despite all I’ve read. For that reason, and the fact that we are the only ones in Europe getting to vote on it, I will be voting No.

  5. Darren – Congratulations on your last couple of posts. I have been doing a lot of research on my own behalf and cannot find any conclusive arguments. I have to steer clear of all Government related arguments, as how can you trust a group who have described all dissenters as ‘loo-lahs’ to give an unbiased report?

    It was in the course of my research that I found the quotes that I reported at the beginning of my post. They alone would be enough to give me grave concerns.

  6. Le Craic – Unfortunately, the result is probably a foregone conclusion. We are a nation of sheep and the majority will vote Yes, simply because they have been told to. Add to that, the notion being implied by the Government, that we’ll be ‘kicked out’ if we vote No…….

  7. sounds like Michael Moore has another documentary/ film in his midst…

  8. The central figure in the negotiation of the rejected EU Constitution (Giscard d’Estaing)admitting that the content is no different, and that the reason for it now being called a Treaty is to head off referenda in other EU countries. We also have Irish politicians trampling on the wishes of the peoples of France and the Netherlands, and asking us to assist them and the other 26 governments in doing so. Even if you leave aside the merits or demerits you believe are contained in the contents of the Treaty, it cannot be credibly denied that if this treaty is ratified in Ireland, it will mark a serious erosion of wider European democracy. It will have set a precedent whereby nations can have sovereignty ceded to supranational EU institutions not merely without the expressed-consent – but against their expressed refusal of this consent. When taken against that background, the largely symbolic ‘powers’ of 9 national parliaments to give non-binding advice that proposed EU legislation be withdrawn, and the much-vaunted ‘Citizens Initiative’ of 1 million signatures to ask the same – again non-binding – are exposed for the pig-in-a-poke that they are. The only answer can be a firm “No”.

  9. The scaremongering is what gets me as well. And I am afraid you are right with the foregone conclusion assessment. The sheep have it, the last general election showed that.

  10. Thrifty,

    Being a Brit, I have been refused votes in previous referendums, but the Constitution says that anyone entitled to vote in elections for Dail Eireann may vote in a referendum.

    I am baffled as I know I’ve been entitled to vote in General Elections since a constitutional amendment in the 90s

  11. Future Taoiseach – Is this Biffo I’m writing to? Wow! One of the many reasons I feel we should vote No is as a protest on behalf of the rest of Europe. The EU is supposed to be a democratic institution, so how come we are the only ones voting? I would have a shrewd guess that the other member states would like a say, and it is up to us to make sure they have it.

    Le Craic – If people voted with their brains instead of their ears, we would have a completely different country.

  12. It’s a legal document, and a legal document is always going to be confusing. Particularly one which aims to amend pre-existing documents – as you say, the idea is to simplify and streamline the EU, and the way to do that is to modify the documents that define the EU.

    With all due respect, there are just as many sheep on both sides of the divide. The way the No camp is conducting itself is disgusting – they’re preying on paranoia and knee-jerk reactions rather than trying to help people understand what’s going on. On the other hand it doesn’t seem like the government learned much from the Nice treaty, when they just sat back and presumed things would go their way.

    The problem is that we’re talking about global economics, a fractured, continent-wide bureacracy and reams of complex international law. Very, very few people are in a position to fully understand all of it and without a properly-run referendum campaign people are going to fall into one or other camp almost arbitrarily (largely along lines of “I trust the government” vs “I don’t trust the government”). Which just leads to all kinds of shrillness and hysteria and makes it all the harder to gain a proper consensus on any issue, big or small.

  13. Emordino – Why should a legal document always be confusing?

    I agree that it is boiling down to ‘I trust/don’t trust the government’. We are supposed to rely on them for an impartial explanation of things. In a democracy, it is their moral duty to provide both sides of the argument in a clear and concise manner.

    However, when they kick off their campaign by calling all dissenters ‘Loo-lahs’ then it is clear that we aren’t going to get a sensible response from them.

    It it comes down to a case of trust, then I freely admit I wouldn’t trust the government to give me the right time of day. All we get are lies, deviousness and hypocrisy.

    I don’t trust the government one squat.

    With regard to the shrillness and hysteria, I have to disagree with you. Have I been shrill or hysterical? I have tried my best to get a clear picture, but all I get is obfuscation, smoke and daggers.

  14. Legal documents are confusing because… well, ironically, so there’s as little confusion as possible. Ambiguity is something to be avoided, so the language is incredibly formal and relies heavily on precisely-defined jargon. I don’t mean to imply that they should be confusing just for the sake of it, but I understand why they’re confusing – especially in a case like this, where we’re not talking about a single document but rather about amendments to several pre-existing documents.

    I agree that the information should be presented clearly to the public. That’s why the “plain speak” versions that have been prepared – both officially and by third parties such as Darren Byrne – are so important.

    Re: shrillness and hysteria, I didn’t mean to imply you were engaging in any such conduct. Unless I’m very much mistaken, your general attitude to the government is that they’re entirely unstrustworthy and therefore we have to constantly hound them to keep them in line. The attitude of many dissenters in my generation is that the government is entirely untrustworthy and therefore must be burned to the ground with great prejudice. The standard of debate is degrading horrendously and sides are becoming more and more polarised.

    So the hysteria is something I see on the horizon rather than imminently here. Alex Jones is a harbinger of doom as far as I’m concerned, and it pains me greatly to see the likes of We Are Change Ireland sinking to his level of rhetoric and even getting his endorsement.

    Edit: I want to make it clear that I’m not trying to argue for or against the treaty. I just want to point out that we seem to be sliding towards the same kind of simplistic, ultra-partisan model of political discourse that’s choking American culture to death, and that worries me.

  15. The thing I love about all this confusion is when you see placards up from IBEC, when did they become a polictal party.

    From what I can gather this is basically the same treaty that we voted on in the last referendum which we gave a resounding no to, so why do we have to vote on it again this time with even less info then the last one?

    I have read the literature and like so many others cannot get to grips with what the hell I am voting for. Also it scares me that all the major parties want a yes vote, wheres the opposition oh yea forgot sinn fein, they seem to be the only ones out there canvassing for a no vote which is also worrying.

    I would not be at all suprised if it goes through, maybe not in Dublin, but in the remainder of the country, but I also would not be shocked if the turn out is low.

    Why are we voting for it when others dont have to? I believe that has to do with the fact our constitution has to change which according to Irish law has to go to a referendum.

  16. The reason why we are the only ones having a referendum is yes, because of the structure of our constitution (and we have an unusual number of referendums anyway) but also because the treaty is ratified in other countries by their parliaments.

    It’s the principle of representative democracy – it’s not like people in other countries are being completely deprived of a voice. And the fact that the majority of our representatives in the Dail support the treaty, is in itself an indication.

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