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Will Ireland Reject the EU Reform Treaty?

by Frank Schnittger Tue Dec 18th, 2007 at 04:50:09 PM EST

As avid readers of ET will know, Ireland is the only EU Member state to put the EU Reform Treaty to popular vote as part of its ratification process.  Given that all the other Member Governments have signed up to the Treaty, one can presume they will proceed to ratify it unless they lose the confidence of their respective Parliaments in the meantime.  

Ireland thus becomes the key focus of the popular debate, and ratification is anything but assured.  According to The Irish Times, TNS mrbi opinion poll. carried out in early November, support for the treaty has halved over the past two years.  Just 25 per cent of people say they will vote Yes to the EU Reform Treaty, while 13 per cent intend to vote No and a massive 62 per cent say they don't know or have no opinion.

In a comparable poll on the EU Constitutional Treaty in March 2005, 46 per cent said they would vote Yes as against 12 per cent who would vote No and 42 per cent who had no opinion. Given that the content of the two treaties is almost identical, the sharp drop in support for the treaty indicates that the referendum result could be very close.

In 2001 Irish voters rejected the Nice Treaty despite the fact that it was supported by all the major political parties.  A second referendum in 2002 reversed that vote after the insertion of a treaty clause underlining Irish neutrality.  However, the real difference between 2001 and 2002 was the turnout which increased from 34% in 2001 to 50% in 2002.  Given that the November opinion poll above showed that only 38% (= 25% for, 13% against) had made up their mind on how to vote, another low turnout is quite likely.

However, the main factor which may result in a low turnout (differentially damaging the yes vote) is the rapid decline in popularity of the Government led by Bertie Ahearn.  The same poll showed that Fianna Fáil (by far the largest Government Party) had suffered a big drop in support since the general election (down nine percentage points to 33 per cent), while Mr Ahern's satisfaction rating had declined by 15 percentage points to 43 per cent.


To outsiders this may seem strange.  Bertie Ahern is arguably Ireland's most successful Taoiseach ever.  A senior Minister for most of the time since 1987,  Prime Minister since 1997, he has succeeded in bringing the Northern Irish Peace Process to a successful conclusion ending a 30 year long civil insurgency/terrorist campaign, has presided over an almost three fold increase in Ireland's GDP, a doubling of employment, a reduction of unemployment from c. 15 to 5%, a reduction of National debt from c. 100% of GDP to c. 25%, , and has pioneered the negotiation of a series of "National Agreements" between the Government, Employers, The Trade Unions, Farmers, and the Voluntary/Community sector covering pay, taxation, social services etc. which are a model of consensus government of its kind.

In addition he has been quite influential (for a leader of a small country) at EU level in helping to broker inter-Governmental agreements on the EU Constitution and the Election of José Manuel Barroso as President of the EU Commission.  Apparently he could have had the job himself had he so wanted.

So why the fall in his popularity, and what effect may this have on the outcome of the referendum on the Reform Treaty?  Chiefly it is because of a series of revelations about his personal finances which have been uncovered by the Mahon tribunal enquiry into corruption in the public service.  The evidence itself at most suggests a somewhat retarded sense of the ethical standards that should apply to a senior minister, rather than any actual corruption per se, but it has had a very corrosive impact on his credibility and popularity with the electorate at large -  with three quarters of respondents to the above poll saying they did not find his evidence to the Tribunal credible.

Added to these difficulties, the last few months have seen a property market collapse and what seems like the final end of 15 years of the Celtic Tiger with future economic growth likely to halve from the 10 year average of  c. 6% p.a.  Somebody has to be to blame, and having basked in the sunshine, Ahern will also be most exposed to the rain.   Accepting a large pay increase which made him and his ministers better paid than their equivalents in many larger European Countries only compounded the problem. The public backlash is only looking for an opportunity to unleash itself, and the Reform Treaty referendum is unfortunately the first poll to heave into view.

The nascent political campaign to secure the ratification of the EU Reform Treaty is kicking off on all the notes I feared in my earlier Diaries on Is there such a thing as a European identity?
and Our European Identity

Letter writers to The Irish Times (regrettably requiring a paid subscription to access) have kicked off the debate with all the expected themes:

1)    EU Commissioner Charlie McCreevy's unfortunate statement that a failure to endorse the EU Constitution/Lisbon Treaty would make us the laughing stock of Europe.

2)    Bertie Ahern stating that an Irish rejection of the Lisbon Treaty would mean "we would cut ourselves apart from Europe" (December 14th).

3)    Allegations that the Treaty will compromise Ireland's (largely fictional) neutrality and force it to increase and integrate its (largely non-existent) defence forces with those of the EU - see initial rejection of Nice

4)    That the Reform Treaty should be rejected regardless of its content, because of the "arrogance and contempt" for the principle of subsidiarity and democracy implied in the EU Leaders joint decision to avoid popular Referendums wherever constitutionally possible.

5)    The fact that the Treaty is virtually unchanged from the "Constitution" already rejected by French and Dutch voters.  This is a sore point in Ireland, as many people were annoyed that the Nice Treaty was put to the electorate a second time, virtually unchanged after the first defeat, and the sense that the Elite will continue to try to force it through until the electorate come up with the right answer.

6)    The alleged sweeping under the carpet of Romania's human rights abuses by the EU Commission in order to facilitate a rushed and premature expansion of the EU

As against that, as recently as the March 2006 Eurobarometer Poll 56% of respondents in Ireland said that the European Union is going in the right direction as compared to a 39% average for the EU25 and 68% said that Ireland's membership of the EU was a good thing (vs. EU25 average of 49% good thing, 16% Bad thing).  (As an aside, "a good thing" view of one's country's membership of the EU is more likely to be held by men, younger people, more highly educated people, and those on the left of the political spectrum).

However, when asked which elements would be most helpful for the future of Europe, far more Irish people mention an extension of the Euro to all EU countries (48% vs. 26% EU25 average) than a common constitution (15% vs. a 25% EU average).  It seems thus that the Irish do not consider a common constitution (or the Reform Treaty) as being all that important for the future of Europe.

So to summarise:  All the evidence suggests that the Irish are still very positively disposed towards Europe, have however become very negatively disposed towards their own Government, and the debate on the treaty is currently being led by those who feel that Ireland's political elite and their European counterparts are engaged in an elite project to push through a poorly understood treaty that is not seen by most voters to be all that important to the future of Europe.

Unless pro-treaty voices and parties can articulate much more clearly why the treaty is needed, what it beneficial effects will be, and why the electorate should bother to turn out to vote for it, there is a real danger that we will see a repeat of Nice 2001 which will be much more difficult to reverse in the future.  We have one shot at getting this right.

Poll
The Reform Treaty should have included a provision that all future constitutional changes be:
. Ratified directly by all Member Governments 0%
. Ratified by Referenda in all Member Countries 10%
. Ratified by one pan-European Referendum 80%
. Ratified in whatever manner member countries decide (as at present) 10%

Votes: 10
Results | Other Polls
Display:
There's something laughable about calling those in charge in Ireland an "elite", isn't there?

I have a strong feeling this is going to be another clusterfuck: the idiotic statements from Ahern and McCreepy already indicate they don't know what they're doing.

I'm not even 100% sure that what's left of the treaty is worth passing - we'll have to work through the consolidated version at some stage. One is available here.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Dec 19th, 2007 at 02:48:13 AM EST
That has always been Ahern's key strength - his ability to portray himself as an ordinary man without any social or intellectual pretensions.  The image of him drinking his pint of Bass down at his local, anorak by his side, approachable by all, his marital life and personal finances in chaos - has always been one that many people can relate to and identify with - even if it is somewhat disconcerting in a Finance and Prime Minister.

In more recent times he has been seen as overplaying this hand and lost his usual keen sense of public relations.  His reference to his not having a state palace to live in (a la Sarkozy) in justication of his salary increase is perhaps the best example of this. To have accepted a €38K pay increase - greater than the average total wage - at the same time as calling for pay restraint from everyone else - and a budget which gave social welfare recipients less than one hundredth of this - was perhaps the last straw.

It all seems pretty petty stuff - and many have pointed out that CEOs of relatively small/unsuccessful companies receive more -  but it is precisely because he has built his career around this "ordinary Joe" persona that he is now paying the price in public disillusion.  

The cash "dig-outs" his "friends" gave him may have been little more than the ego gratification of those who like to think they are part of the inner circle, but the culture of close "cohabitation" between the building industry and Fianna Fail has had consequences for all to see - poor planning, poor building standards, poor infrastructural development, traffic gridlock and one of the largest carbon footprints in the world.

Ahern has many achievements to his credit, but his legacy is largely one of closing the book on the classic problems of the Irish State - Northern Ireland, unemployment, emigration, public debt and a moribund economy.  The new problems of population growth and aging, health care, climate change, peak oil, sustainable development will be for a new generation of leaders to resolve.  At least he had the foresight to include the Greens in government, when strictly speaking, he didn't have to.

For all his faults, his successors may look like pygmies in comparison

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Dec 19th, 2007 at 07:54:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Someone suggested recently that people manage to hold on to their sense of reality for 5-7 years before an exalted position erodes it ...
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Dec 19th, 2007 at 08:00:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Colman:
I'm not even 100% sure that what's left of the treaty is worth passing - we'll have to work through the consolidated version at some stage. One is available here.
I'm beginning to lean towards the opinion that it makes more sense to read the reform treaty itself than a consolidated version if one wants to decide whether the reform is worth it.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 19th, 2007 at 10:53:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Did you try reading it?
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Wed Dec 19th, 2007 at 05:36:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Some of it. It has to be read alongside the old version in order to make any sense, but at least that way you know what the reform treaty is changing. You may not like the result but you may agree it's better than the starting point.

Reading two consolidated versions side by side would also be a possibility.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 19th, 2007 at 05:47:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Two consolidated ones and the reform treaty - that consolidated version doesn't mark-up what was changed.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Dec 19th, 2007 at 05:55:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It would be fun to have a consolidated version written in track changes mode, I guess.

There's also a Spanish consolidated version, here.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Wed Dec 19th, 2007 at 06:12:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you're all very good and I'm extremely bored I might write a diary on the text, but it doesn't sound like a lot of fun.  I might see if I can dig out an Irish diplomat to give his unexpurgated view - privately.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Dec 19th, 2007 at 06:37:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That would be good (the diplomat part).
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Wed Dec 19th, 2007 at 06:42:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, a properly marked up consolidated version would be intelligible, relatively. The treaty by itself makes absolutely no sense I can see - I haven't looked at that consolidated version though.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Dec 19th, 2007 at 05:41:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
European Tribune - You mustn't understand - and further musings on the European project
The new EU reform treaty text was deliberately made unreadable for citizens to avoid calls for referendum, one of the central figures in the treaty drafting process has said.

Speaking at a meeting of the Centre for European Reform in London on Thursday (12 July) former Italian prime minister Giuliano Amato said: "They [EU leaders] decided that the document should be unreadable. If it is unreadable, it is not constitutional, that was the sort of perception".



A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Wed Dec 19th, 2007 at 11:07:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
i.e If you can understand the Treaty, we mustn't have written it clearly enough?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Dec 20th, 2007 at 05:04:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As Murphy's law would have it, a new Eurobarometer poll has just been published a day after I wrote the blog.  However it actually reinforces the point I made about the Irish being positively disposed to the EU.  The Figure of 68% of Irish people regarding the EU as "a good thing" quoted above actually goes up to 74% in the latest survey.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Dec 19th, 2007 at 08:04:05 AM EST
Mind you, the idiotic handling of the water bills for schools - which the government blamed on EU directives - isn't going to help, which I guess is why Dick Roche was being frustrated the other day.

(The problem seems to be that there is directive on water consumption, to which the government negotiated a derogation for domestic customers (because you can't charge for water here) and not for schools. They didn't increase their contributions to  primary school budgets to offset it, of course. The whole primary sector here is fucked up and archaic - the fiction is that they're privately run schools.)

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Dec 19th, 2007 at 08:20:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Being a secondary school Governor and member of the board of management I know all about it.  The Government are putting more and more legal and other obligations on voluntary people helping to run schools in their own time - and are not prepared to carry the costs or responsibilities of their own actions - the Dept of Ed is an absolute classic study in this regard.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Dec 19th, 2007 at 10:48:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You're in Ireland, right? Sounds just like being a Primary School Governor in England.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 19th, 2007 at 10:49:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yep.  The pity of it is that voluntarism is dying in Ireland partly as a consequence - and then we get all the guff from Ahern about "building communities, social capital etc."  Its mostly a civil service culture thing though - "maximise our power and budget and outsource all responsibility for actually running anything to gullible members of society who do it for free"

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Dec 19th, 2007 at 10:56:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank Schnittger:
As Murphy's law would have it, a new Eurobarometer poll has just been published a day after I wrote the blog.
This results advance contains the following remarkable result

with an interesting correlation table


We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 19th, 2007 at 11:08:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Can't say I am surprised in relation to Irish attitudes -  but would expect a more cynical attitude in the UK.

I think a key factor is how the EU fits into the National Narrative.  For the UK, membership of the EU is an admission that "Britania no longer rule the waves" and that Britain is now no more than one European power amongst many, including former hated (and defeated) adversaries like Spain, France and Germany.  It thus (in part) psychologically reverses the defeat of the Spanish Armada, Napoleon and Hitler

For Ireland the EU represents a chance to blur the boundary with Northern Ireland, to counter the chronic underdevelopment of the first 50 years of the state, and a chance to become part of a bigger, non oppressive, cosmopolitan whole that is not British!

Membership of the EU has a degree of equalisation about it.  Britain was equalised down, we were equalised up.  No wonder we are proud and Britain is somewhat hostile to it.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Dec 19th, 2007 at 12:15:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think that one conclusion we might take from this poll is that it is a bad idea to let the national government campaign for a European treaty. Make the Commission come over. They're more popular.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Wed Dec 19th, 2007 at 05:41:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nope.  The Irish Government may be a miserable, incompetent shower of wasters, but they'reour miserable, incompetent shower of wasters!!!!

No unelected foreign bureaucrat is going to tell a proud Irish voter how to vote no matter how clever, sophisticated and solicitous they may be.  

Merkel can come and say why Germany ratified and why Germany would like us to ratify, that's ok.  If she asks nicely, then we will be charmed to help out.

Brown - if he can figure out where Ireland is - will also be welcome especially if he comes over as Ireland thrash Scotland in Rugby.

Sarkozy will have to be kept well away from our President.  King Juan Carlos can come as long as he doesn't tell us to shut up.

Donald Tusk should come, as half his younger country men and women are over here at the moment.  I'm not sure how many will be entitled to vote though.

The Belgians should send over all their party leaders.  Bertie will soon sort them out and organise a Government for them.  In fact they could have him as their Prime Minister if they want....

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Dec 19th, 2007 at 06:32:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank Schnittger:
No unelected foreign bureaucrat is going to tell a proud Irish voter how to vote no matter how clever, sophisticated and solicitous they may be.  
Fair enough: send in the European Parliament.

According to the Eurobarometers, the EP is the best known and most trusted of the EU institutions.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 19th, 2007 at 06:35:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We have our own Euro parliamentarians. They tend not to be very influential back home and get very little media airtime.  The most vocal and telegenic is probably Sinn Fein's Mary Lou McDonald who will be campaigning against.  Sinn Fein were very disappointed with their last election performance.  This is their big chance to make it big and they will take full credit for the NO vote as all the other parties will be supporting a yes vote.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Dec 19th, 2007 at 06:47:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
John Gregory Flinn and Sam Young - I'm being blocked as a spammer from Timesonline so I hope you can pick up my response to your comments here.

 - you'll find it hard to find anyone with a clear definition of what Irish Neutrality actual is, other than a vague determination to maintain our independent right to do our own thing if and when we choose.  It began during WW2 because we couldn't bring ourselves to overtly support the Brits - although we did covertly - right down to providing the weather forecasts for the D Day landings.  

Nowadays "neutrality" is an issue in relation to rendition flights through Shannon, not joining NATO, etc., and some resistence to the EU developing a common defence and security policy.  It was the pre-text for having a second referendum on the Nice treaty, but less complacency and a higher turnout was the reason it was actually passed.  

I don't think it will be a huge issue this time around, its just a hook to motivate all the people who are appalled by the rendition flights into voting against the treaty, although the issues are actually unrelated, and if anything, the Treaty will enable a stronger, more coherent and concerted EU foreign policy emerging independently of the US.

Sam Young - I think that similar to Nice, a low turnout could lead to a no vote majority, but a high turnout will probably see it through.


Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Dec 19th, 2007 at 02:49:07 PM EST
3)    Allegations that the Treaty will compromise Ireland's (largely fictional) neutrality and force it to increase and integrate its (largely non-existent) defence forces with those of the EU - see initial rejection of Nice

Neutrality will not be compromised. There is a possibility for 'constructive abstention'.
5)    The fact that the Treaty is virtually unchanged from the "Constitution" already rejected by French and Danish voters.  This is a sore point in Ireland, as many people were annoyed that the Nice Treaty was put to the electorate a second time, virtually unchanged after the first defeat, and the sense that the Elite will continue to try to force it through until the electorate come up with the right answer.

How soon recent history is forgotten! It was not the Danish, but the Dutch.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Wed Dec 19th, 2007 at 07:40:02 PM EST
Apologies -you are of course correct

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Dec 19th, 2007 at 08:18:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Neutrality will not be compromised

Of course not, insofar as it means anything in the first place, but this is one of the leading anti- lies told in every referendum campaign I remember. We've been in NATO for twenty years by my count, and the country is full of nuclear weapons.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Dec 20th, 2007 at 04:11:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We've been in NATO for twenty years by my count, and the country is full of nuclear weapons.

Please explain!!!!

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Dec 20th, 2007 at 05:08:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, since we passed all the other treaties, which we were told would compromise neutrality and force us into nuclear NATO, we must be members now with nuclear weapons in the country. Simple logic.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Dec 20th, 2007 at 05:12:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
and the country has gone to the dogs with abortion, contraception, and divorce rife and people getting married in hotels, and women not looking after the children, who are running riot with drugs, and the internet is flooding the country with porn and there are no standards anymore and people should go back to the Church and its all the fault of them foreigners coming in and taking our children's jobs...

And Sinn Fein will have them back dancing at the cross-roads...

ergo vote NO.  Makes sense, doesn't it?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Dec 20th, 2007 at 05:40:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know how there are any children, what with all the abortion and contraception and gay sex.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Dec 20th, 2007 at 05:48:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
that gay people can now adopt. Doomed. doomed.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Dec 20th, 2007 at 07:51:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Its those loose French people who started the rot, and look where it got them - Sarkozy!

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Dec 20th, 2007 at 09:21:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am ignorant on the ramifications of Ireland reketing the EU treaty. If they do reject it ; does that mean its back to the drafting table as it was with the EU constitution after it was rejected ?
by An American in London on Thu Dec 20th, 2007 at 04:46:00 AM EST
Who knows? I suppose it depends on what the accepted narrative was for the rejection.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Dec 20th, 2007 at 05:03:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Last time an EU Treaty referendum was defeated (Nice) the Government addressed one of the arguments (Neutrality being compromised) of the no campaign by getting EU heads of Government in Seville to agree an extra protocol underlining neutrality.

However everybody knew that was not the real reason Nice was defeated in 2001.  The main reason was the incredible complacency of all the major parties who supported it and didn't bother to campaign.  The resulting 34% turnout and the fact that the NO campaign included a very motivated  disparate coalition of all kinds of Xenophobes resulted in a narrow defeat.

Most of the electorate was quite annoyed that they were asked to vote a second time on more or less the same Treaty, and if anything Anti sentiment actual increased in 2002.  However the higher turnout meant that the Government (and the major opposition parties) carried the day.

If Ireland is the ONLY country not to ratify, pressure to find some face saving formula will be intense - one that will not require all 26 OTHER EU Members to go through their ratification processes again as that would unravel the whole process.

I don't think the Government and main opposition parties will be as complacent this time around, and the Greens have switched camp and become part of Government.  However Sinn Fein is much stronger now and smarting after a disappointing performance in the last election.  This is their big chance to make a claim to the big time as they will claim the credit for ALL the No vote, even though No voters will vote no for a variety of often contradictory reasons.

The bottom line: enormous resources will be put behind a Yes vote.  There is enormous goodwill in Ireland towards the EU and that just needs to be harnessed.  For example, the Treaty should enable the emergence of a more coherent, concerted and stronger EU foreign policy that could end Rendition flights through Shannon and elsewhere in Europe.  The Government can't make this case (because they have allowed them to take place) but independent groups could.  I hope that is the tack the Labour Party will take.

If the Treaty IS defeated it is very difficult to map a way forward as the stratagem used in relation to Nice will hardly be credible a second time around. It will be like Deja view all over again, and hence my concluding line in the Blog - "we have one shot at getting this right".

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Dec 20th, 2007 at 05:27:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't forget that there is a huge reservoir of disdain for Sinn Fein, and they only get a few percentage points worth of support. The no campaign looks to be run by marginal groups and crazies with lots of funding from outside.

When is the referendum scheduled here? Early next year?  Is there time for FF to get rid of Bertie beforehand?

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Dec 20th, 2007 at 05:35:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Those who disdain Sinn Fein will vote yes in any case -if they bother to vote - but I do think Sinn Fein could pick up a lot of marginal, disillusioned and impressionable young voters and they do have good organisational skills.  The NO vote will also include a few old Nationalist and Socialist activists opposed to the EU on nationalistic and ant-capitalistic grounds.

I don't think the referendum has been scheduled yet but I would expect they might go for an early summer (May/June) vote to maximise turnout.  I will contact Dick Roche to find out.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Dec 20th, 2007 at 05:54:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If the Treaty is defeated in the only land holding a referendum, after the previous attempt to pass a similar packing - then labeled constitution - was defeat in referendums, I expect our so called political leaders to try a third time. They might even muddle the text some more.

The only way to know for sure is trying it...

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Dec 20th, 2007 at 03:26:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yep - it would all be quite funny if it weren't so serious....

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Dec 20th, 2007 at 05:26:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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