The latest poll shows a huge swing against the Lisbon Treaty.
What is significant is not so much the gap between the two sides [5%], so much as the swing against the Treaty [22%]. This is a massive blow to the government, who have staked their reputation in Europe on securing a Yes vote.
But in my opinion, this is where they have failed. They failed to realise the lack of reputation they have at home.
For the last decade, Ireland has gone through a period of unprecedented growth. The coffers were overflowing. The economy was incredibly healthy. Ireland had won the lottery.
Now that the boom is over, we should be basking in the afterglow. Instead of which, we have an economy that is in a shambles. Our health service has all but collapsed. Our educational system is still struggling in leaky prefabricated buildings and dilapidated schools. We have a crime rate that is appalling and the elderly and special needs are left to fend for themselves.
Brian Cowen, Enda Kenny and the rest of the government have the arrogance to assume that we will vote Yes, simply because they tell us to. They don’t give any coherent explanation. They don’t even try to convince us. They sit back and expect us to do as we are told. “Trust us, and vote Yes,” they say. “Why should we trust you? Fuck off,” is the reply.
I have listened, and I have read. I have tried to understand.
Why should I vote Yes?
Because look at how good Europe has been to us in the past? What has that got to do with the price of ammunition?
Because it is merely tidying what is already there? If that’s all there is to it, then why the huge fuss?
Because if we don’t, we will be thrown out of Europe? Bollox.
Because if we don’t, Europe will hate us? No they won’t. They’ll have a few things to say about our politicians though!
Look at the people who are advocating a No vote? OK. So Sinn Fein and Libertas have dubious connections? So what? I have nothing whatsoever to do with them. Voting No doesn’t make me a gun runner. I can think for myself thanks.
Why should I vote No?
Because by voting yes, I will be placing European law above the Irish Constitution. I will be signing away any rights I have as an individual, and will be relying on my government to decide for me. Never again will my opinion be sought on European matters. In theory, Europe could decide next year to scrap the Treaty and bring in a new constitution that is alien to my national identity, and I only have the government to protect me? Hah!
Because there is a lot to the Treaty that I don’t understand, and I don’t put my name to any document unless I understand fully its ramifications. As far as I can understand the document, there are a lot of ‘guarantees’ in there that can be changed by a later majority vote. And we are actually diminishing our standing and voting power?
Because the Nice Treaty was rejected by France and Holland. Lisbon is 95% of the Nice Treaty, and France and Holland are being denied the right to vote this time. The Crotty case guaranteed our right to vote on European matters, and this is why we are the only country with a right to have our say. By agreeing to the Treaty, we will be abolishing that right, and we will be in the same situation as France and Holland – at the mercy of our government.
Because the European Union was originally set up as an economic community, to allow for free trade within Europe. That was fair enough, but Europe has now gone way beyond mere economics. This is all about the ultimate creation of a single European entity, where Ireland will be merely an island off the west coast. We will be ruled from Brussels by people we have never heard of. Our government might be a shower of ignorant, incompetent, useless bastards, but they are our shower of ignorant, incompetent, useless bastards.
Because I have more than a gut feeling there there is hell of a lot more behind this treaty than we are being told. I trust my guts.
Because no one has given me a single coherent explanation as to why I should vote Yes.
In the next week, we are going to be bombarded with scare tactics and false promises.
If we vote Yes, we will instantly solve all our unemployment problems, and will enter another era of unparalleled prosperity.
If we vote No, Ireland will be thrown out of the EU, and nobody will ever talk to us again.
I don’t know what crap they will dream up, but if they haven’t come up with a coherent argument by now, it’s going to get dirty.
We live in “interesting” times.