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Early voting brisk in the Irish Referendum on the Lisbon Treaty

by Frank Schnittger Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:04:01 AM EST

[Final Update by Frank at 17.30] The Lisbon Treaty has been rejected by Irish voters. A total of 53.4 per cent voted to reject the treaty, while 46.6 per cent voted in favour. All but seven constituencies rejected the treaty, with a total of 752,451 voting in favour of Lisbon and 862,415 votes against. Turnout was 53.1 per cent. The people have spoken - well er, 1.6 Million out of 400 Million.

Update [2008-6-13 10:4:1 by Colman]: Well, that's a no then.

Today is D-Day for the Lisbon Treaty - at least as far as popular endorsement is concerned - although it should be noted that many other countries have yet to ratify it.  Early voting has been brisk with turnouts of up to 25% reported in some constituencies by mid afternoon.  This should be good news for the YES campaign as a low turnout was generally feared to be the chief danger to a YES vote win.  

By way of comparison, the Nice referendum was first defeated in 2001 in a referendum with 35% turnout, and passed (with very minor amendment) a year later with a 50% turnout. However the NO side have run quite a high profile campaign this time around, and were generally regarded as the more motivated campaigners. So it would be unwise to draw the simple conclusion that a higher turnout automatically means that the YES vote will carry the day.

I will try to post more information on voting and results here as they become available - although I will be away for a few hours this evening.  Perhaps other inveterate poll watchers can pick up the slack!  Vote counting is entirely manual in Ireland (following a comical attempt to introduce computerised voting) and counting will not begin until tomorrow morning.  The counting usually takes all day, but trends should be apparent by mid-morning tomorrow if previous referendums are any guide.
Update [2008-6-12 17:58:38 by Colman]: Well, the reporting is pretty awful, but it looks like turnout was 40-50%, expected to be in the mid 40s. That should be positive for the Yes side, on previous experience, but previous experience doesn't go far with referendums ...

UPDATE at 2.10 AM by Frank. Paddy Power pays out early on a YES victory - see comment below

UPDATE at 10.45 AM by Frank. Early tally returns - based on very small samples - suggest a significant NO vote - possibly by as much as 60:40. This cannot be blamed on apathy or a low turnout. It marks a sea change in Irish politics as far as the EU is concerned.

Promoted by Colman


Turnouts in Irish referendum vary very widely depending on how important or controversial the issue:  Referenda on abortion and divorce attracted over 60% to the polls in the 1990'a whilst the Maastricht, Amsterdam, and Good Friday (Belfast) Agreements and a recent referendum on Citizenship attracted turnout in the high 50s.  However less controversial or technical amendments sometimes attract a turnout as low as 30%.  

I would expect the tightness of the vote, and the belated mobilisation of the mainstream parties to result in a c. 50% turnout this time around, but you never know.  Many people felt that the complex and opaque nature of the Lisbon Treaty made it very difficult to understand, and may vote NO or abstain in protest for that reason alone.  Constitutions should be relatively simple, intelligible, even stirring documents, and the sort of fudging that went into Lisbon is wholly inappropriate in that context.  This has allowed the NO campaign to make all sorts of ludicrous claims as to what passing the Treaty would entail, and the YES campaign has consequently been on the defensive throughout.

A recent High Court decision made it illegal for the Government to commit public funds to promoting any referendum which means that political patties were using their own resources to fight the campaign - funds they would far rather use to fund their own election campaigns!  However the "equal time and space" approach adopted by the media meant that all sorts of relatively obscure NO campaign groups achieved a prominence they would otherwise never achieve.  

I have lost count of the number of times I have heard Declan Ganly of Libertas interviewed in the media or quoted in the Press.  As his sole claim to fame is his wealth derived from largely Eastern European and US entrepreneurial activities and as neither he, nor his organisation has never stood in an Irish election, it seems to me that giving him a media prominence on a par with a major party leader seems wholly inappropriate.  He has never been a member of the EU Parliament or any EU institution, and yet his largely speculative views have been given parity with those who have a great deal of experience of how those institutions actually work.

Thus if this referendum is actually passed, it will have more to do with the nature of the opposition.  Many people may not wish to associate themselves with Sinn Fein, Libertas, Coir (a nebulous organisation made up of social conservatives who have previously opposed Divorce etc, in Ireland) and a plethora of small political parties and Union Leaders who have generally opposed all referenda on the EU.

This is not a good omen for Democracy within the EU.  Proposals should be debated and passed on their merits and not based on who is for and against.  I hope we never again see a referendum in Ireland on such a poorly drafted document.  It's time we had a real EU Constitution which actually articulates what the EU is about.

I will update the comments below with results as they emerge.

Poll
The Lisbon Treaty Should be ratified by all countries in the EU
. Yes 83%
. No 16%

Votes: 18
Results | Other Polls
Display:
I've also seen reports of low-turn out in working class areas and higher in   middle class areas, which sounds positive for yes.

However, RTÈ think turnout is slow.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jun 12th, 2008 at 02:40:53 PM EST
Weren't they supposed to have exit polls?  Or are the polls still open?

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Jun 12th, 2008 at 03:32:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Polls are open until 10pm GMT+1,
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jun 12th, 2008 at 03:37:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wow.  That's pretty late.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Jun 12th, 2008 at 03:39:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hmm, should I have voted no on account of the UK?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 12th, 2008 at 03:16:34 PM EST
Why?  Are you becoming a Tory Eurosceptic?

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jun 12th, 2008 at 06:46:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For a moment I forgot the eurosceptics should vote for the Lisbon Treaty because it contains a voluntary withdrawal cause.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 03:38:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was of the impression that Nice included that provision as well?

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 04:12:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The new treaty has an actual mechanism: I don't  believe Nice did.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 04:14:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That is correct.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 04:17:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I always found that discussion curious. The rules for withdrawal would be set by customary international law. Anyway, see wikipedia:

Denunciation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Article 42 of The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties states that "termination of a treaty, its denunciation or the withdrawal of a party, may take place only as a result of the application of the provisions of the treaty or of the present Convention"[1]. Article 56 states that if a treaty does not provide for denunciation, withdrawal, or termination, it is not subject to denunciation or withdrawal unless:

  • it is established that the parties intended to admit the possibility of denunciation or withdrawal; or
  • a right of denunciation or withdrawal may be implied by the nature of the treaty.

Any withdrawal under Article 56 requires 12 months' notice.

The Vienna Convention does not apply to all nations; the United States, for instance, is not a Party [2]. This makes it unclear exactly how much notice the U.S. must give when withdrawing from treaties lacking a termination clause. For example, on March 7, 2005, the U.S. announced that it was withdrawing from the Consular Convention's Optional Protocol Concerning the Compulsory Settlement of Disputes, a treaty that lacks a termination clause.


A treaty arranging membership in an organisation could have a naturally implied right of withdrawal.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 04:33:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Customary law is generally an entertaining little minefield.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 05:39:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but it is how law generally, and international law in particular, develops.  Treaties and Legislation are a process of formalising a consensus which forms through custom and practice.  There was and is nothing in law to prevent a country leaving the EU - except the opprobrium of its peers - and whatever influence they can bring to bear.  As always, power is the hidden hand behind many legal processes, balanced only by the fact that a law applied to the weak must (in theory) also be applied to the powerful.  Hence if the US legitimises  torture - the international community cannot really stop it.  What will stop it is a belated realisation in the US is that what goes around, comes around, and it will be in a much more difficult for the US to protect its citizens from torture elsewhere in the future.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 05:58:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks, I didn't know about the Law of Treaties.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 05:45:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here is a worrying development in Europe which indicates that it is actually far less democratic than its elites would like us common mortals to believe:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/2038813/European-Parliament-to-ban-Eurosceptic-g roups.html

Then we have the numerous referendums in which the people voted NO, only to be ignored. Of course, they were ignored because our political elites know what's best for us.

Then we have Kouchner's threat to the Irish that they'll become victims if they don't vote YES. Euro bullying from a Marxist, turned Trotskyst turned pro NATO Sarkozyst... nothing but an opportunist.

But really, what is Europe about if not business and international power-projecting?

by vladimir on Thu Jun 12th, 2008 at 03:31:45 PM EST
No, it's an international treaty organization.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 12th, 2008 at 03:41:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This sounds like very traditional push and shove you see in all parliaments between larger groups that want to keep control on things and smaller groups that want to be able to have influence.

It makes the European Parliament ... normal.

Using a Daily Telegraph article to criticize anything European is like using La Croix to criticize abortion.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Jun 12th, 2008 at 03:44:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The source of the article doesn't change the facts. The fact is that the European Parliament voted to do away with a vocal opposition - which runs contrary to democratic principles. It's done in other parliaments? So what. That doesn't make it any more democratic.

Remember 2005? Referendums in France and The Netherlands. The democratic vote is against Europe as presented by the political elites. Does the people's vote change anything? No.

So my conclusion that Europe doesn't stand for democracy. It stands for promoting business interests and projecting those interests internationally. Whether that's good or bad for European society is a different question altogether.

by vladimir on Thu Jun 12th, 2008 at 04:00:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Vladimir, the framing of the article is tendentious. Here are the first three paragraphs:
The European Union assembly's political establishment is pushing through changes that will silence dissidents by changing the rules allowing Euro-MPs to form political groupings.

Richard Corbett, a British Labour MEP, is leading the charge to cut the number of party political tendencies in the Parliament next year, a move that would dissolve UKIP's pan-European Eurosceptic "Independence and Democracy" grouping.

Under the rule change, the largest and msot pro-EU groups would tighten their grip on the Parliament's political agenda and keep control of lavish funding.

What is being proposed is to raise the minimum number of MEPs needed to form a parliamentary group.

It is true that with the recent increases in the total number of seats in the Parliament it makes sense to do this. What I personally have disagreed with for a long time is the fact that the non-inscrits (those MEPs who are not part of a group) face draconian limitations to their procedural rights (for instance compared with the Spanish parliament). The rules were written on purpose to encourage MEPs from different countries to form political groups.

There are eurosceptic parties already in EP parliamentary groups - for instance the one that includes the Polish Law and Justice  party and the Irish Fianna Fail.

You may remember with the accession of Romania and Bulgaria the xenophobic parties managed to form a group, which later dissolved when the number of countries represented in it dropped below the threshold. The EP plenary had an ovation when this was announced. I don't fault them.

The Torygraph is presenting fascist and xenophobic parties as eurosceptic and making it look like the new rules will be ideological. We have a [Torygraph Alert] for a reason.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 12th, 2008 at 04:19:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fianna Fail

Who aren't the slighest bit eurosceptic and find the group they're in somewhat embarassing, but they can't be in the same group as Fine Gael ...
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jun 12th, 2008 at 04:30:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They're also in the same group with fundamentalist Christian Kate Sinnott.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 12th, 2008 at 04:32:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yup. Embarrassing.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jun 12th, 2008 at 04:34:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The fundamental flaw of a rapidly expanding EU is that one country can block all progress on major issues.  This was acceptable when the EU consisted of 6-9-12-15 members with a high degree of economic convergence, but becomes unworkable in an EU of 27+ members.  4 Million Irish citizens blocking the expressed wishes of 27 Member Governments representing 400 Million people is not necessarily an ideal example of democracy.
vladimir:
It stands for promoting business interests and projecting those interests internationally

Far from being the representative of big business, the "EU elite" are actually bitterly opposed by US neo-cons, Liberal economic business interests and a plethora of xenophobic, nationalist and religious groups.  If the EU is projecting anything, it is a vision of a strong statist tradition regulating markets and promoting social, infrastructural, public service health care and education, and environmental goals were these might not otherwise we supported by a "privatise everything and let the markets decide" approach to public policy making.

If you think the EU is bad in terms of promoting a free market agenda, you should try living in the US.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jun 12th, 2008 at 07:00:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]

4 Million Irish citizens blocking the expressed wishes of 27 Member Governments representing 400 Million people is not necessarily an ideal example of democracy.

Its kinda funny that the Irish political landscape (with 1 exception Sinn Fein - correct me if I am wrong) is sooo Yes, and, its people is soooo... 50/50 (or so it seems at this time).

It makes me wonder if the other 400 million are being represented in their will by their Govs (which don't want to consult the said people - funny).

Do you think that here (I am UK based) the government represents the will of the majority on this issue?

I would say that your reasoning is a bit overstretched, to be honest.

Also I don't care that much if the "European elites" are a bunch of welfare saints as they seem to be pictured (I actually don't believe that - there is a good deal of "pro unregulated market" ones). They could be god on earth, but I want the decision power to be in the hands of citizens (even if citizens make mistakes - as opposed to those oh-so-fantastic elites).

I don't have an instrumental view of democracy, but a principled one: between a wise dictator(or "elites") and a stupid people I take my chances with the stupid people.

The problem here seems to be the transfer from national (read more democratic) governments and parliaments to a center that is for a big part unaccountable. Even if the treaty EU is more democratic than the EU before-treaty, there is still a transfer of power from states (more democratic at its core) to "Brussels".

Transfer all the power to the parliament (to which I vote), or to a commission chosen by the parliament (low level of indirection from votes) and, from my part, problem solved.

For now, I hope the Irish vote no. At least they (still) can vote.

PS - I could give a few examples of neoliberal decisions by the "European elites": tax competition on VAT and IRS. Deregulation/liberalization of markets (aviation - to which I agree, but that is besides the point, future liberalization of trains...)

by t-------------- on Thu Jun 12th, 2008 at 07:24:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think you miss my point.  I don't have a problem if a majority of EU member states or a majority of citizens vote for or against something, and the more such democracy, the better.  My problem is with the unanimity rule which requires that something major can only happen if it is unanimously supported by all members - which gets patently absurd the larger the EU grows.

What we have now in the EU is the risk of paralysis where a tiny minority - in this case 1% of the EU population - can block a proposal that is supported by the vast majority.  Sure - let France and the Netherlands vote against something - the weighted majority system would mean that a proposal could still pass if most of the other members supported it.

I don't see how more members - e.g. in the Balkans can be admitted into the EU until this changes.  I also don't see how the EU can become a significant balancing force to prevent the US neo-con political elite treating the world as their playground - until the EU has more effective leadership and decision making processes in place.

Most people who whine about the democratic deficit in the EU are also working actively to try to stop it becoming more democratic - because they don't want the EU at all.  And if that happens, the US and Global Capital will rule the world unhindered by any democratic sensibilities whatsoever.

For all it's faults, the EU is a lot better than the alternative - a lot of small and medium size countries being railroaded and ridden roughshod over by the US military industrial complex and by global capital.  And that is the real alternative to the EU which is currently on offer - not some idealised democratic nirvana.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jun 12th, 2008 at 07:48:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Then have an official explicit EU-wide referendum.

The EU is a confused political mess, and Lisbon hasn't helped this is any way. There's no clear sense of what the EU is, of what it's trying to be, or of why it might be a good thing for countries to belong to it.

There are plenty of hints and suggestions available for the few people who take an interest in EU politics, but they're not necessarily consistent. The Commission likes to doodle neoliberal economic schemes, the ECB largely supports that, the Parliament is more liberal and open.

None of this is obvious to outsiders, who seem to believe there's a single monolith called the EU, and it wants to eat their babies. So the bottom-up reality is that from the outside, the EU political process is almost completely opaque.

I'm sure it's possible to sell the EU project, but the EU pols seem to resent the idea that they should have to.

You can't run a power bloc like this. There's no point trying to expand indefinitely if the home populations aren't solidly supportive and enthusiastic.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 07:26:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
Then have an official explicit EU-wide referendum.
We have advocated this here, but we have also realised that setting up the EU in that way (or in any number of other ways) would require its own treaty and referendums. And the sovereigntist opposition would be much louder especially in small states because  agreements passed by a qualified majority of an EU-wide popular vote would be more legitimate.

Time for me to peddle my mini treaty again?

1. The EU bill of rights (Title II of the current treaty).
2. Union membership rules (Title  IX of the current treaty, including Article I-60 on Voluntary withdrawal from the Union)
3. The 2009 European Parliament will be a constitutional assembly
4. Referendum rules: The treaty shall be put to a vote by referendum simultaneously in all EU members states.

The result of the referendum will be binding if at least 50% of all EU citizens cast a valid vote in it.

The treaty shall come into force only if at least 50% of valid votes in a binding referendum support the treaty. In that case,

  • An EU member state shall be considered to have approved the treaty if it is supported by at least 50% of valid votes in that member state, and the number of valid votes in that member state is at least 50% of the eligible voters.
  • An EU member state where the treaty is not approved shall hold a second referendum within 5 years, with the choices being approval of the treaty or withdrawal from the EU according to the provisions of the treaty.
  • A transitory institutional regime shall apply as long as there are any remaining EU Member States which have not approved the treaty and have not yet held a second referendum.
This will have to pass by referendum or parliamentary vote in all member staes, won't it?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 07:41:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
Then have an official explicit EU-wide referendum.

The problem is that all 27 countries would have to unanimously agree to this as there is no constitutional basis for holding such a referendum at the moment.  And in a purely EU wide referendum the smaller countries would be swamped, and therefor wouldn't agree to it.  That is why we have a slow moving fudge - from unanimity to qualifies majority voting in more and more areas - the "qualified" majority being designed to ensure that larger countries can't railroad smaller ones, and that large majorities are required for changes.  This is an improvement on unanimity, but even that small change has now been rejected and vetoed by 1% of the EU population.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 07:43:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But that is the problem that needs to be solved and prevaricating around the bush (to quote Wallace) is not going to solve it.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 07:48:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, exactly. Lisbon is a not a solution to the problem of balancing national and EU sovereignty. It may have been designed that way, but it really isn't.

You can't have (our usual kind of) democracy without the appearance of an explicit mandate. People really don't like it if you try to take that away from them, no matter how irrelevant it is in practice.

So given that Lisbon has been crafted to avoid the need for a formal popular mandate, it was never going to be acceptable.

The silliness about chipping babies and drafting them into the EU Child Zombie Flesh-Eating Radioactive Army would have been background noise if Lisbon had had a solid populist foundation.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 08:14:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For a look at how solid the populist foundation of the EU is, you just have to look at the Commissioner's blogs.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 08:26:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Some of that might be solved with an EU wide double-majority referendum. I.e. to pass, it would require a popular majority across the EU, and would have to pass in a majority of the member states.

(Not that I think that would help bringing such a referendum about. No doubt it would still be hard to achieve unanimous agreement amongst the 27 nations. But an EU-wide referendum does not have to mean straight up or down majority popular vote. However, such a plan would run into trouble with the German constitution, which I believe disallows referenda.)

by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 08:44:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]

such democracy, the better.  My problem is with the unanimity rule which requires that something major can only happen if it is unanimously supported by all members - which gets patently absurd the larger the EU grows.

I agree with you totally. But this solution is far from optimal even in that respect. "Bullying" a country
will only create resentment. I actually think that a "multispeed" EU would be a better approach in that respect. So the UK wants to opt out of almost everything? Go ahead, but let others integrate more deeply if they want to.


I don't see how more members - e.g. in the Balkans can be admitted into the EU until this changes.

I would suggest that your beloved EU bureaucracy made a major blunder in expanding to 25 before changing the rules.


I also don't see how the EU can become a significant balancing force to prevent the US neo-con political elite treating the world as their playground - until the EU has more effective leadership and decision making processes in place.

The neocons have currently enough problems inside the US. And again, that idea that our beloved EU bureaucrats are a bunch of social democratic saints is something that I do take for granted. Actually the current EU commission president is the biggest neocon lap dog I could think off (I still remember of pictures of him, as prime minister of Portugal, in the Azores summit where the Iraq invasion was "legitimized").


Most people who whine about the democratic deficit in the EU are also working actively to try to stop it becoming more democratic - because they don't want the EU at all.  And if that happens, the US and Global Capital will rule the world unhindered by any democratic sensibilities whatsoever.

I respect your opinion, but I actually think it is the other way around: political power detached from the vote will more easy to be corrupted by money/media power. Direct voter accountability, (near) proportional parliament systems and control of campaign financing are cornerstones of assuring that political power will not be hijacked.


For all it's faults, the EU is a lot better than the alternative - a lot of small and medium size countries

Your argument that there are only 2 alternatives is flawed: Lisbon is not the only way to conceive the EU. Their are other alternatives to Lisbon. Had we had decent leadership, more sensible alternatives could have been purposed.


not some idealised democratic nirvana.

The "idealized democratic nirvana" that some of us are talking about is not idealized (it exists, see most of the EU nation states) and is not a nirvana (it has many flaws, but at least it is still reasonably democratic).

by t-------------- on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 08:38:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]

beloved EU bureaucrats are a bunch of social democratic saints is something that I do take for granted. Actually the current EU commission president is the biggest neocon lap dog I could

Sorry, I meant: "I do NOT take for granted"

by t-------------- on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 08:42:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
tiagoantao:

I would suggest that your beloved EU bureaucracy made a major blunder in expanding to 25 before changing the rules.

Put that down to a delay in agreeing to a final "Constitution" text due to Aznar's stalling on the Council voting weights issue.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 08:44:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Also, the too quick expansion blunder was one shared by the entire political class in the EU-15, with the "EU bureaucracy" (why do leftists repeat Tory Eurosceptic buzzwqords?) playing a relatively minor role: in the EU, the final word was the Council's, and expansion had to be approved by national parliaments.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 09:52:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I always find it remarkable how much the hard left take their "facts" and language from the Tory Eurosceptic right.  

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 09:59:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not to mention how they vote with them so often. Isn't it weird how the interests of the anti-military crowd line up so neatly with those of the US military-industrial crowd?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:02:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes and no: Both want Europe to not have independent military capabilities.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Jun 15th, 2008 at 07:08:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you mean the hard left in Ireland?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:20:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes - they seem to share a nationalist perspective with the UK Tories

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:25:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]

I always find it remarkable how much the hard left take their "facts" and language from the Tory Eurosceptic right.

Although I am far from being "hard left" (and thus cannot give an answer from that perspective), I have no problems in using Tory (or whatever) words if they seem to be an accurate description of reality.

I would actually invert the argument altogether: do you have any problems in using other people's keywords just because those people are "far away" from you? So casual agreement with the "other side" is a substantial (negative) argument for you?

by t-------------- on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:24:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have no problems using any words which describe reality as accurately as I can.  My point was that I believe the hard left in Ireland and the Tory right in the UK have a lot in common - including a shared belief in the primacy of the nation state above all else.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:28:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Personally, I do have a problem with that. Political buzzwords carry connotations built up with lots of propaganda. Especially when coming from the right, they don't describe reality; and even if there is a real problem, they shift focus on something else. "EU bureaucracy" is a perfect example.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:36:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
(For full disclosure: myself, I am a hard-leftist who is strongly pro-EU -as-principle but also strongly critical of the EU as it exists, and I do have some symphathy for fellow hard-leftists on a No-Lisbon platform.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:39:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's all about the narratives.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:41:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Agree. That would be an interesting discussion altogether.

But, from an intellectual perspective, I would argue that people sometimes refuse an argument just because it is made from the "other side". That doesn't seem healthy.

From a media/narrative perspective I see your point.

by t-------------- on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 11:00:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There certainly is a strong "pragmatist" "use the arguments that work" tradition in the French trotskyst hard left parties.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:30:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Far from being the representative of big business, the "EU elite" are actually bitterly opposed by US neo-cons, Liberal economic business interests and a plethora of xenophobic, nationalist and religious groups.

That American biznizmen are opposed to the EU does not in and of itself mean that the EU does not pander to bizniz. Just not the same bizniz as the US panders to.

Class solidarity has its limits, even for fatcats.

Now, if you want to argue that the EU is better at opposing oligarchic bizniz - whether in the forms of local robber barons or trans-national robber barons - than the individual member states, be my guest. I think that there is such a case to be made. But you haven't been making it lately.

The election results are in now. Can we snap out of campaign mode, please?

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 03:14:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That American biznizmen are opposed to the EU does not in and of itself mean that the EU does not pander to bizniz. Just not the same bizniz as the US panders to.

Very true. And countries can do it, too. Just the other day, we had the strange situation that Sarko and Merkel beat out a 'compromise' on car CO2 emission levels that is rather generous to (and was greeted by) carmakers, while the EU Commission wasn't amused.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 05:17:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
[Torygraph Alert] [Eurosceptic Alert]

This is a proposal by Richard Corbett (PSE) which has not yet passed. It is opposed by a lot of parties in the European Parliament.

Besides, the eurosceptics would not be banned. They would just require more Members of European Parliament to count as a group within the EP. Given that the EP has 785 members, a requirement of 30 MEPs would be a threshold of 3.8%.

I do oppose Corbett's proposal. But this is typical over the top reporting by the British press.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Thu Jun 12th, 2008 at 04:17:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As I mention in my parallel comment Independence and Democracy is an existing eurosceptic group which will not be affected by the rule change.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 12th, 2008 at 04:25:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I do not see a 3.8% threshold for forming a group as being unreasonable, and it is natural that the absolute number should increase as the size of the Parliament increases.  I also don't have a problem with the requirement that groups have members from a number of countries - so that debate doesn't crystallize around purely national boundaries.  I don't see why anyone other that the usual eurosceptics should get particularly worked up about this...

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jun 12th, 2008 at 07:04:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks, Frank! Keep us informed, please!

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Thu Jun 12th, 2008 at 03:36:22 PM EST

Vote counting is entirely manual in Ireland (following a comical attempt to introduce computerised voting)

Be glad it is manual.  At least you won't have to wonder about a Diebold style "program for victory," like we (may  have?) had in Ohio in the 2004 presidential election.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Jun 12th, 2008 at 03:41:40 PM EST
Yes, it was scrapped precisely because the system chosen couldn't provide a paper trail of votes and independently verifiable counting methods.  The economics of proving a lot of hardware for use once every few years also don't make sense.  

I'm all for computerisation of most things - particularly high volume, repetitive transactions, but voting is such an occasional thing, it doesn't make sense to build a complex and expensive system to accommodate it.  

Besides - the manual vote counting process is one of the great ceremonies of Irish politics and draws in a lot of people - counters, observers, party supporters etc. to create a party atmosphere - and often a lot of real tension.  I'm not one for spending time in a bookies office, but for many there is real entertainment value in watching democracy in action.  

We tamper with that spirit of sociability and participation at our peril.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jun 12th, 2008 at 07:14:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A NO would be terrible in many ways. Hope it goes through.

"If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles." Sun Tzu
by Turambar (sersguenda at hotmail com) on Thu Jun 12th, 2008 at 03:44:52 PM EST
European Tribune - Early voting brisk in the Irish Referendum on the Lisbon Treaty
Thus if this referendum is actually passed, it will have more to do with the nature of the opposition.  Many people may not wish to associate themselves with Sinn Fein, Libertas, Coir (a nebulous organisation made up of social conservatives who have previously opposed Divorce etc, in Ireland) and a plethora of small political parties and Union Leaders who have generally opposed all referenda on the EU.

This is not a good omen for Democracy within the EU.  Proposals should be debated and passed on their merits and not based on who is for and against.  I hope we never again see a referendum in Ireland on such a poorly drafted document.  It's time we had a real EU Constitution which actually articulates what the EU is about.


This is a bit overdrawn. The Irish referendum is not the only lens through which we should look at the Lisbon Treaty.

Democratic legitimation of the European Union has always suffered from the fact that there is low public understanding, low interest, and low participation. By making the voting weights in the Council more transparent and proportional (somewhere in 2014 or so) and by providing that the European Parliament elections will also determine the President of the Commission, the Lisbon treaty will likely lead to greater public involvement in the European Union, and might well make the EU more political. We'll see how it works out.

As for a Constitution, that has been tried (though it was not really much more of a constitution than the existing treaties). If I could get the kind of constitution that I would like, of course I would approve of trying again. But I don't know if that is possible, or if some Member States are always going to obstruct it for some obscure pretended reason because in reality they see a threat in a more smoothly functioning Union.

So, baby steps.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Thu Jun 12th, 2008 at 04:04:42 PM EST
nanne:
This is a bit overdrawn. The Irish referendum is not the only lens through which we should look at the Lisbon Treaty.

It is, however, the lens which matters right now - particularly if Lisbon is defeated.  If that happens it will not be because the Irish are anti-EU, but because they have a real problem with passing into their constitution a series of proposals to complex and opaque, that even the experts have difficulty in deciphering the exact meaning, intent, and effect of the document.

If anything, this unfortunate campaign has given a platform for every tendency hostile to the EU ideal and given very little concrete to those who support it to work with.  Ireland will probably be less pro-EU as a result of this unfortunate experience - even if the Treaty is ratified - because a degree of trust has been  lost, and a great deal of cynicism has been justified.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jun 12th, 2008 at 07:21:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ireland will probably be less pro-EU as a result of this unfortunate experience - even if the Treaty is ratified - because a degree of trust has been  lost, and a great deal of cynicism has been justified.

Exactly. Somehow the "marketing" of the EU must have really gone horribly wrong, if they can't sell a reform treaty even in a "eurofriendly" country like Ireland.

I think if referenda had been mandatory in every member country, and a "NO" would have meant immediate withdrawal of that member country, the local governments probably would have done a much better job in "selling" the treaty.

The problem is that nowadays nobody sees the huge advantages of an economic union anymore, because everybody has so gotten used to easy travel, business across country borders without exchange rates and tariffs and all those things. If Ireland would lose the economic advantages of membership from one day to the next, probably most of those Euroskeptics would be the ones to complain loudest of all ...

by rwe (roland.weede_NO@SPAM_gmx.net) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 12:15:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We've had long debates about that here. I guess we should dig out and/or summarise some of them.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 12:17:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
rwe:
If Ireland would lose the economic advantages of membership from one day to the next, probably most of those Euroskeptics would be the ones to complain loudest of all ...

Some would be quite happy to retreat to an older, more conservative, religious, monocultural and "pure" Ireland.  Some imagine the can secure more power and influence within the nation state than they can within the EU as a whole.  Some see the EU as part of the global capitalist conspiracy to take over the world. Some are "following the money" and ingratiating themselves with their US masters.  Most are just pandering to the frustrations that many people feel in a rapidly changing society.  The problem is there isn't a coherent set of "NO" issues which can be addressed, and therefore no obvious solution to the impasse in EU development.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 12:24:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I already suggested that the EU should just resort to bribery.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 12:25:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I know you're feeling grumpy, but in fairness many on the  NO side feel they have very real and deep grievances and won't be easily bought off.  What are you going to give them - cheap oil, Charlie McCreevy as a Commissioner for life, a ban on contraception?  Ask your relatives what it would take...

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 12:32:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I believe a pony is the going rate.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 01:02:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
you have cheap relatives....

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 01:30:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The EU has the good fortune that the American colonies didn't have when they decided to unite. Since King George is not breathing down Europe's neck, we have the opportunity to get it right the first time, rather than settling for a makeshift Constitution, which, although, serviceable, seems to be deeply flawed.
by unclejohn on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 04:22:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually George is breathing down Europe's neck.

Von überall könnte das Volk, Urbrut alles Undemokratischen, Zelle des Terrors, über die gewählten Hüter von Wachstum und Wohlstand® kommen. - flatter
by generic on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 04:36:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And we have just told him that he can safely ignore Europe as he goes on his next adventure - in Iran

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 08:19:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's a bit too much I think. Even if Lisbon had passed half our governments would still be staffed by loyal poodles. And they would have had to decide to confront the US on Iran.

Von überall könnte das Volk, Urbrut alles Undemokratischen, Zelle des Terrors, über die gewählten Hüter von Wachstum und Wohlstand® kommen. - flatter
by generic on Sat Jun 14th, 2008 at 07:54:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
[Eurosceptic Alert]

While looking at the Independence and Democracy group page, I found the following press release pertaining to the rumour about European defence which has been used by the no side in Ireland over the past week.

Independence and Democracy: MEP Kathy Sinnott calls on the French government to release the suppressed French white paper on defence (11/06/08)

Kathy Sinnott MEP, Ireland South today called upon the French Government to release their white paper on defence immediately. "It has been ready for release since May but the French government are withholding it until after the Irish referendum. It is clear from Mr. Lequiller's comments in their European Affairs Committee that the intention is to not release this publishable and very relevant document until after our referendum. To try and prevent a NO vote in Ireland."

She continued "It is reasonable for inquiring minds to wonder what is in this Paper that would delay its publication thus far and why it is thought to effect the chances of Lisbon passing on the 12th of June?"

Deputy Sinnott also rejected government obfuscation on the Lisbon Treaty's implications for Irish defence spending. When asked about defence expenditure on RTE's "Week in Politics" program on Sunday night, Minister Lenihan changed the subject and repeated the claim that our neutrality is protected under Lisbon. Minister O'Dea likewise says that the commitment from Lisbon should not mean extra expenditure.

Wikipedia: Kathy Sinnott
(born September 29, 1950 in Chicago, Illinois, USA) is a disability rights campaigner and politician representing Ireland. She is secretary of the Hope Project.

She stood successfully for election as a Member of the European Parliament for Ireland South in the 2004 European elections. She campaigned on disability and education issues, and to a lesser extent Euroscepticism and social conservatism, espousing much of the agenda of the Christian Right, particularly in regard to abortion.
She had stood before in the 2002 general election for a seat in Cork South Central, and narrowly missed out on the fifth and final seat to Fianna Fáil. Her subsequent attempt for a Senate seat also ended in defeat.



When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 12th, 2008 at 04:30:20 PM EST
I wouldn't over-estimate her significance.  She was a very committed worker for disability rights and was elected because this generally evokes a positive response in the Irish electorate, and because our single transferable vote multi-seat constituency system allows scope for one strong independent candidate to garner a lot of first, second and lower preference votes which don't go to the major parties or which don't transfer from one party to another when that party's candidate is eliminated.  Many people wouldn't be particularly aware of her ideological bent - she would be seen as a worthy independent candidate untainted by the establishment political parties.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jun 12th, 2008 at 07:28:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Today's front page lead in the Irish Times:
ireland.com - The Irish Times - Fri, Jun 13, 2008 - EU countries anxiously await today's outcome of referendum

THE RESULT of the Lisbon Treaty referendum will be declared this afternoon amid considerable concern in other European Union countries about the impact of the decision by Irish voters.

By the time polls closed at 10pm last night, around 50 per cent of the three million people registered to vote are understood to have cast their ballots.

Last night, the Yes camp expressed confidence that it would win, although those on the No side insisted that the result would be close.

Just before midnight, sources from the major parties said there appears to have been higher-than-expected turnout in key areas. In Dublin north-east 54 per cent of eligible citizens had voted, sources said. Other early turnout figures were: Waterford city 60 per cent, Dun Laoghaire 61 per cent, Co Clare 48 per cent, West Limerick 40 and Gorey and Greystones 55 per cent.

Polling stations in middle-class districts are known to have enjoyed high turnouts with one in Celbridge, Co Kildare, registering 50 per cent by 7pm, and parts of Co Wicklow reporting tournouts of 55 per cent by 9.30 pm

The French and German governments are expected to issue a joint statement later today once the Irish verdict is known. The outcome will be discussed by EU foreign ministers, including Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin, when they meet in Luxembourg on Monday.

Counting will begin at 9am today, although early tallies should give a clear indication of the likely final result by lunchtime - unless the gap between the two sides is very tight.

Results from each of the 43 constituencies will be notified as they are completed to the Dublin Castle referendum count headquarters and a final result should be complete between 3.30pm and 5pm.

If there is a difference between the Yes and No sides of fewer than 10,000 votes, there will be a total recount in all constituencies and a result declared by 9pm, the Department of the Environment has said.

Expressing confidence in a Yes outcome, Taoiseach Brian Cowen said as he cast his vote in Tullamore with his wife, Mary: "I've led it in the very best way I possibly could. I've done it from the front. I've gone all over the country. I've put the issues."

Insisting he had run "an honest campaign", he added: "I can safely say I don't think that was replicated on the other side, given the level of misrepresentation and worries that people were articulating to me."

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny, who voted in Castlebar, Co Mayo, said he believed that public opinion had changed in the last 10 days of the campaign.

Labour leader Eamon Gilmore, who voted in Shankill, Co Dublin, said questions about the conduct of the Yes campaign should be left "for tomorrow or for the postmortem".

Sinn Féin MEP Mary Lou McDonald said as she cast her vote that she believed today's count would be "very tight", adding that a No result would place "a huge responsibility" on the Government.

The founder of Libertas Declan Ganley, who campaigned for a No vote, voted with his wife Delia at Brierfield National School near Horseleap Cross in north Co Galway, near his home. Expressing a confidence that a No vote would send "a clear message to Brussels", he said: "Whatever the outcome, this is the voice of the Irish people speaking and it's a good day for democracy here in Ireland".

One of the country's leading bookmakers, Paddy Power, decided within minutes of the polls closing to pay out early to those who had bet that the Yes campaign would win.

We don't do exit polling on Referenda in Ireland, but if Paddy Power is paying out early on a yes victory, you can take it that it is odds on the Lisbon will be carried.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jun 12th, 2008 at 09:07:15 PM EST
RTÉ News: Referendum vote count under way

Ballot boxes are being opened around the country, and while it is far too early to be definitive, the Yes side are not too happy with the early indications.Advertisement

Working class areas of the capital are reported to be voting two to one against Lisbon, while the vote is more evenly split in middle class districts.

In Donegal North East, with 10% of boxes opened, not one has a Yes majority, while in Tipperary North, political sources are predicting that the result will be very close, and in Wicklow.

However, it is very early days, and these are only tallies rather than actual results.

If I can be a discordant voice, this level of working-class anxiety seems to signal more than the effect of the most shrill No campaigners.

The final official result is expected to be announced late this afternoon, but tallies from the 43 constituencies should give a good indication of the likely outcome late this morning.

Each constituency counts its own votes separately, and then sends the result to the Referendum Returning Officer in Dublin Castle, who will announce the overall result.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 05:30:01 AM EST
Shrill no campaigners are most likely to be effective with the working classes, as per usual. On top of that you have the fear of the oncoming economic downturn and the damage done by the following of the normal markets-first policies by the government.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 05:38:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
First tally returns - according to media reports - based on very small samples - suggest a significant NO victory.  Large majorities against in some constituents and no better than 50:50 in areas which might be expected to be supportive.  We live in interesting times...

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 05:40:15 AM EST
Especially Paddy Power.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 05:47:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm guessing small numbers of bets at low odds - it's PR for them, not real business.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 05:50:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yep - who was going to claim on their bet at midnight anyway?   Paddy Power is a publicity driven machine and everyone loves to see a bookie getting hammered.  However I suspect the amounts bet were very low, and publicity well worth it.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 06:02:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What's your gut feeling on the outcome? I've been expecting a no, and still am.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 06:04:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
See my update to main story above:
European Tribune - Early voting brisk in the Irish Referendum on the Lisbon Treaty
UPDATE at 10.45 AM by Frank. Early tally returns - based on very small samples - suggest a significant NO vote - possibly by as much as 60:40. This cannot be blamed on apathy or a low turnout. It marks a sea change in Irish politics as far as the EU is concerned.

Although samples are still small, and some areas are coming in with a YES majority, I can't see the overall trend being overturned at this stage.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 06:08:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ireland.com - Breaking News - Bookie admits blunder after Yes payout

Bookmaker Paddypower has admitted it made a mistake, after paying out more than €80,000 in bets on a Yes vote in the Lisbon Treaty referendum.

As polls closed at last night, the bookmaker made a decision to pay out punters who had backed a Yes vote after unofficial exit polls indicated a late surge in support for the treaty.

The blunder means the bookmaker will be forced to pay out over €180,000 in referendum bets.

In a statement, Paddy Power said: "Last night, there were rumours of an exit poll showing the Yes side in the lead and all the late betting suggested a swing in support for the treaty."

"It's an unlucky Friday 13th for Paddy Power but a lucky one for our punters," it added. 



"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 08:03:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It looks like a comprehensive no. Listening to tallys from all over the country on national radio and it's splitting average around 60% No and 40 % yes. The exception sofar is the Prime Ministers constituency.

Hey there IS an opposition in Ireland after all. This is a rejection of almost the entire political class in the country! The people just don't trust them.

by irishhead on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 06:09:20 AM EST
How much of the success of the no is down to ample funding from US sources, colour-revolution style?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 06:14:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
None at all: this is an honest rejection of lizard-man run pro-abortion, pro-tax, anti-business, pro-business, anti-neutrality conspiracists.

Or possibly it shows that US right-wing style disinformation and propaganda works nicely in Ireland, especially when backed up by the British media that dominates a large chunk of the market here.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 06:17:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Irishhead is right, though, the political class are a failure, and not only in Ireland.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 06:21:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Partially true. It's also true that democracy just doesn't work in the face of media control and manipulation: those parts of the media not controlled by the No camp have been manipulated by the "equal time" requirement - broadcasters are required to give the Yes and No sides equal time, which means in this case that a very small number of individuals had the opportunity to scatter whatever misinformation they felt like. Misinformation takes more time to debunk than it takes to spread, especially when it feeds into pre-existing biases.

The problem was that there were a dozen spurious reasons to vote No, and very few compelling ones to vote yes, and that the main political parties fumbled the whole thing anyway, have been fumbling the whole thing for a decade or more.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 06:28:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Colman:
the main political parties fumbled the whole thing anyway, have been fumbling the whole thing for a decade or more.
Europe-wide since at least 1995.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 06:32:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yup.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 06:32:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Colman:
It's also true that democracy just doesn't work in the face of media control and manipulation

Yep.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 07:29:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
i imagine the same sentence turned around_

media control and manipulation doesn't work in a democracy, redefining democracy a little perhaps!

simply giving un- or misinformed people a vote is not full democracy, methinks, and if people are allowed and encouraged to follow, observe, critique and participate more, (which is happening at a rapid rate), then politicians get away with spinning and psywarring, and the public are continually buying a pig in a poke.

an uninvolved electorate is a sign of luxury in a society, that things are going so (sink or) swimmingly in material terms that people cast but a shallow lookaround at the big wheels turning overhead.

in harder (and better informed) times, i think politicians will have to be a lot more real and accountable, cognitive dissonance is already at snapping point,recent world events making it ever more obvious how much we've been played for fools.

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Jun 14th, 2008 at 10:29:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
and if people are allowed and encouraged to follow, observe, critique and participate more,

oops, i meant until people...

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Jun 14th, 2008 at 10:36:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We have a Prime Minister now? Cool.

I do believe I'm going to puke listening to the spin the anti-EU side are going to put on this.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 06:15:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Onwards, enhanced cooperation soldiers!

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 06:20:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So you voted about your political class, rather than the EU?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 09:53:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Like the French non?

However, it could have been a vote against the entire EU political class that gave us this Treaty. Would that be more acceptable as a reason?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 09:57:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I actually know a guy who voted no in the French referendum because he thought that a EU ruled by treaties was preferable to one ruled by democracy ; and who was wary of sharing a democracy with the Poles (he had spent some time there)...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:01:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
a classic nationalist position.  we don't want them foreigners telling us what to do....

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:03:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Exactly. But not really a vote against the political class. Actually, I'd believe part of the no vote is helped by some trust in the political classes : there's disbelief in the possibility of actually breaking up the Union ; "they'll find a way to fix it" was part of his discourse.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:06:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Pretty much none of the No campaigners would admit to being anti-EU. In fact, "We can get a better deal" was explicitly part of the campaign. Many of them are, in fact, anti-EU on principle, but they couldn't say that.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:07:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"I suspect that many of them are, in fact, anti-EU on principle"
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:08:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
yep - if I'm going to be ruled by the ruling class I want it to be MY ruling class, not theirs....  There is also quite an authoritarian, anti-democratic streak in the make-up of many nationalists

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:09:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed, there was clearly an authoritarian streak in him (very annoyingly, as he was a flatmate). There is no perception of a EU ruling class which could build identification for those people.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:13:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In the absence of compelling reasons to vote yes any of a number of variously wacky reasons will push enough people to vote no.

So the problem is the lack of compelling reasons to vote yes. Just making life easier for the politicians when they want to make things happen in Brussels is not compelling for anyone other than the politicians.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:09:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks mig - so good you said it thrice - you trying to push this into the most commented threads hit list?

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:12:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Looks like getting there won't be all that hard. All ET activity (all four of us right now) is on this thread. (points and winks at his diary).

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:14:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Forget I said this - Migs comment above appeared triplicated on my screen, but the duplicates have now disappeared.  Is he a super-user or what!

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:18:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Before you go all paranoid, I note comments #160 and #162 exist and are yours, so there must have been no deleted comments - maybe your browser froze on scrolldown.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:27:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
(Or Mig deleted them before you posted #162.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:28:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or I must have deleted two comments before #160 was posted.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:29:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I knew you were a super-user with super powers operating at super speed.  That must be how you can comment simultaneously on 63 threads in 14 different languages and hold 4 nationalities all at the same time.  This is a twin speed blog, and the rest of us are on the slow lane...

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:36:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Now THAT has been my experience of Mig, too...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:51:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed, I saw his comment move around from above to below yours. Not the first time I noticed, too. (Compulsive ET addict, me ? Noooo !)

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:31:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reasons being given by NO voters for there vote include:

  1. Concern about jobs because of slump in building industry - and foreign workers taking them

  2. Concern that Irish people might be conscripted into a European Army

  3. Anger at government inaction at high fuel prices

  4. Loss of Commissioner and relative voting weight within EU

  5. Generalised concerned at a lack of democracy and accountability within the EU

  6. Anger at the fact that both Taoiseach Brian Cowen, and Commissioner Charlie McCreavey had admitted to not having read the Treaty

  7. Concern at a variety of comments by European leaders that the Treaty text had deliberately been drafted as abstrusely as possible.

  8. Harmonization of corporate taxation - was not as big an issue in predominately working class areas which voted NO by large majorities.

  9. Anger amongst farmers at extremely intrusive EU regulation

---------------

YES campaigners are blaming:

  1. The electoral commission for being too slow and conservative in explaining the Treaty provisions.  

  2. Scurrilous publications written by religious extremists and widely distributed at Catholic Church entrances - even though the Catholic Bishops distanced themselves from some of these.

  3. The very slow start to the YES campaign - interrupted by a lengthy interregnum between Ahern and Cowen.

  4.  Anybody and everybody except themselves


"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 06:28:41 AM EST
Which of those reasons for a No vote actually have anything to do with the Treaty?
 
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 06:35:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Isn't it funny. One country gets to vote on this and it goes down.

A lot of UK and european politicians have been on the radio here in the last while and this is the main point they keep making. If other states had referendums they too, like the french and dutch votes on the constitution, would vote against it.

They are still as I speak (I mean presenters on national broadcaster) shouting down no campaigners who point that out.

As for commenteer above who is saying that the media were biased towards a NO. That's a joke really. It was the exact opposite.

I was always against Nice and Lisbon because they are at least partially about forcing europewide competition in ancillary health and education services. All oppositional left groups campaigned on this basis.

by irishhead on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 06:42:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
irishhead:
As for commenteer above who is saying that the media were biased towards a NO. That's a joke really. It was the exact opposite.
I believe the Irish Times took no as its editorial position and would not publish pro-treaty op-eds.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 06:46:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sunday Times. Irish Times was pro, I think, but is a minority paper read mostly by the sort of people who are going to vote Yes anyway.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 06:48:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Irish Times was Pro-Treaty
Some details here:
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/87884

Hope they don't make us vote on it again like they did on Nice.

by irishhead on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 06:50:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I assume there are matching articles complaining about the Irish editions of the British papers campaigning for a No?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 06:53:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know about that. I'll look. But the left No campaigners were highly critical of those groups, LIBERTAS in particular, who were campaigning from a right perspective and had no problem questioning their motivations. It was not a case of my enemy's enemy is my friend.

This is interesting on that front: About the possibility that this was a colour revolution job: http://www.indymedia.ie/article/87311

by irishhead on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 06:59:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I did a couple of stories on the astroturfing as well.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 07:03:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Looks a very comprehensive piece on Libertas - I'll read it when I get a moment - the Irish Times refused to publish letters linking Ganly to the US security/defence establishment from myself and Colman

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 07:11:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Though they did do a piece later on about it.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 07:13:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Any chance of getting that sort of indymedia content cross-posted here?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 07:42:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Better to link to it when it's interesting. Most of the Indymedia stuff isn't, as far as I'm concerned.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 07:43:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What, they're too strident and we're serious people?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 07:56:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yup, that's just what I meant.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 08:05:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll make a point in future of posting summaries and links to the best indymedia ireland material with european relevance in future in the daily threads. Used to do some crossposting of stuff from there to here about the Shell/Statoil situation in Mayo and Hill of Tara issue.

Indymedia overall is a great resource for seeing what left campaigners are doing on the ground. There are sites in most European countries and they are very strong in south-america.

by irishhead on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 08:16:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You can do that in the daily Salon, in the Open Thread, or write a diary around quotes.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 08:23:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's a very good article, but I would say that, wouldn't I, being French.

Indymedia Ireland: Libertas: US Military Contractors Against Lisbon!

Firstly, from the above, it is clear that they do not hold the positions that Libertas has raised against Lisbon. They simply aren't pacifist, pro-lifer, fundamentalist democrats. It is also clear, from their willingness to use scaremongering about abortion and tax harmonisation, that they are trying to maximise the No vote and don't really care on what basis people reject the treaty. The use of arguments that are directly contradictory to one another is convincing evidence of this.

So, why are they trying to defeat Lisbon? Given their intimate relationship with the US intelligence and military community, it is reasonable to ask whether this might provide any clues to their underlying motives. And it proves to be a fairly fruitful avenue of enquiry. In order to properly understand the context, we must briefly touch upon the major strategic divide amongst the world's business and political elite on matters European.

To put it simply, there are two visions of European integration amongst the Western elite. One of them sees the EU as a common market, lacking any real political component beyond whatever is needed to keep the wheels of competition well-oiled and lacking any capacity for autonomous strategic action. The other vision is of a European super-state, with sovereignty over the member states and the ability to take collective and coherent military and strategic actions on the global stage.



When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 08:08:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
That's a very good article, but I would say that, wouldn't I, being French.

A Spaniard living in Britain who wants to be French?  So what have you got against being Irish?

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 08:25:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't want to be French, but those people on Atlantic Review think I am :-P

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 08:27:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
French is the new communism.  Ireland is the new 51st. state of the neo-con US world order.  I can see why you don't want to be Irish.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 08:32:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
French is the new communism

Interesting insight.

We need a neologism now :
What about "neocommie" ? maybe "neocomm" ?

by balbuz on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:27:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Neocom sounds good - sort of a polar opposite to the neo-cons.  Althusser lives!

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 08:27:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think a re-vote is on the cards really. Don't know what is.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 06:56:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nothing. Do you think the idiots at the Commission or Council had a plan B? This was plan C. And they already tried "Plan D".

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 06:58:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was always against Nice and Lisbon because they are at least partially about forcing europewide competition in ancillary health and education services. All oppositional left groups campaigned on this basis.

The fucking Irish electorate keep voting for governments including the PDs and the pro-market end of Fianna Fail. As if they need any bloody help from the EU in introducing "competition" into the health and education systems. Hell, judging by who they vote for, that's the democratically mandated thing to do. Even if it was true.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 06:46:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]

I was always against Nice and Lisbon because they are at least partially about forcing europewide competition in ancillary health and education services. All oppositional left groups campaigned on this basis.

They were wrong. There is no such "forcing."

The choice you get to vote on is: Lisbon or Nice. Not Lisbon or nothing.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 08:30:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or a two speed Europe - with Ireland struggling to make it into the fast lane - and paying a much higher prices for being allowed in there

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 08:35:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's not a third option, that is Nice.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 08:46:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I mean a much more explicitly two speed Europe.  Nice represents the default position (slow lane) for all EU members.  The new faster speed inner community will be driven by Germany, France, Spain? and Benelux

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 08:50:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What I mean is that the treaty brouhaha from 2002 to now has been a way to avoid having to break down and accept that a two-speed Europe is needed.

After the French, Dutch and Irish referenda the taboo on enhanced cooperation is lifted.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 08:53:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]

I mean a much more explicitly two speed Europe.  Nice represents the default position (slow lane) for all EU members.  The new faster speed inner community will be driven by Germany, France, Spain? and Benelux

I would argue that that is good (at least for the countries that will go ahead).

Not having to negotiate with, say the UK, will allow for compromises will less "anglo disease". A Benelux, France, Spain, Germany union as a bigger probability of having stronger social components.

Being optimist, maybe they will set up an example - in the long run - of a development model with less neocon/neolib elements on it.

I just hope that they stop trying to nuke democracy, but on that front I am not optimist at all.

by t-------------- on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 09:07:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Let's look at the rules on enhanced cooperation... From the Treaties:
TITLE V

PROVISIONS ON A COMMON FOREIGN AND SECURITY POLICY

...

Article 27a(8)

1.   Enhanced cooperation in any of the areas referred to in this title shall be aimed at safeguarding the values and serving the interests of the Union as a whole by asserting its identity as a coherent force on the international scene. It shall respect:

-

 

the principles, objectives, general guidelines and consistency of the common foreign and security policy and the decisions taken within the framework of that policy,

-

 

the powers of the European Community, and

-

 

consistency between all the Union's policies and its external activities.

2.   Articles 11 to 27 and Articles 27b to 28 shall apply to the enhanced cooperation provided for in this article, save as otherwise provided in Article 27c and Articles 43 to 45.

Article 27b(9)

Enhanced cooperation pursuant to this title shall relate to implementation of a joint action or a common position. It shall not relate to matters having military or defence implications.

Article 27c(10)

Member States which intend to establish enhanced cooperation between themselves under Article 27b shall address a request to the Council to that effect.

The request shall be forwarded to the Commission and, for information, to the European Parliament. The Commission shall give its opinion particularly on whether the enhanced cooperation proposed is consistent with Union policies. Authorisation shall be granted by the Council, acting in accordance with the second and third subparagraphs of Article 23(2) and in compliance with Articles 43 to 45.

Article 27d(11)

Without prejudice to the powers of the Presidency and of the Commission, the Secretary-General of the Council, High Representative for the common foreign and security policy, shall in particular ensure that the European Parliament and all members of the Council are kept fully informed of the implementation of enhanced cooperation in the field of the common foreign and security policy.

Article 27e(12)

Any Member State which wishes to participate in enhanced cooperation established in accordance with Article 27c shall notify its intention to the Council and inform the Commission. The Commission shall give an opinion to the Council within three months of the date of receipt of that notification. Within four months of the date of receipt of that notification, the Council shall take a decision on the request and on such specific arrangements as it may deem necessary. The decision shall be deemed to be taken unless the Council, acting by a qualified majority within the same period, decides to hold it in abeyance; in that case, the Council shall state the reasons for its decision and set a deadline for re-examining it.

For the purposes of this Article, the Council shall act by a qualified majority. The qualified majority shall be defined as the same proportion of the weighted votes and the same proportion of the number of the members of the Council concerned as those laid down in the third subparagraph of Article 23(2).

...

TITLE VI

PROVISIONS ON POLICE AND JUDICIAL COOPERATION IN CRIMINAL MATTERS

...

Article 40(16)

1.   Enhanced cooperation in any of the areas referred to in this title shall have the aim of enabling the Union to develop more rapidly into an area of freedom, security and justice, while respecting the powers of the European Community and the objectives laid down in this title.

2.   Articles 29 to 39 and Articles 40a to 41 shall apply to the enhanced cooperation provided for by this article, save as otherwise provided in Article 40a and in Articles 43 to 45.

3.   The provisions of the Treaty establishing the European Community concerning the powers of the Court of Justice and the exercise of those powers shall apply to this article and to Articles 40a and 40b.

Article 40a(17)

1.   Member States which intend to establish enhanced cooperation between themselves under Article 40 shall address a request to the Commission, which may submit a proposal to the Council to that effect. In the event of the Commission not submitting a proposal, it shall inform the Member States concerned of the reasons for not doing so. Those Member States may then submit an initiative to the Council designed to obtain authorisation for the enhanced cooperation concerned.

2.   The authorisation referred to in paragraph 1 shall be granted, in compliance with Articles 43 to 45, by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, on a proposal from the Commission or on the initiative of at least eight Member States, and after consulting the European Parliament. The votes of the members of the Council shall be weighted in accordance with Article 205(2) of the Treaty establishing the European Community.

A member of the Council may request that the matter be referred to the European Council. After that matter has been raised before the European Council, the Council may act in accordance with the first subparagraph of this paragraph.

Article 40b(18)

Any Member State which wishes to participate in enhanced cooperation established in accordance with Article 40a shall notify its intention to the Council and to the Commission, which shall give an opinion to the Council within three months of the date of receipt of that notification, possibly accompanied by a recommendation for such specific arrangements as it may deem necessary for that Member State to become a party to the cooperation in question. The Council shall take a decision on the request within four months of the date of receipt of that notification. The decision shall be deemed to be taken unless the Council, acting by a qualified majority within the same period, decides to hold it in abeyance; in that case, the Council shall state the reasons for its decision and set a deadline for re-examining it.

For the purposes of this Article, the Council shall act under the conditions set out in Article 44(1).

...

TITLE VII

PROVISIONS ON ENHANCED COOPERATION

Article 43(19)

Member States which intend to establish enhanced cooperation between themselves may make use of the institutions, procedures and mechanisms laid down by this Treaty and by the Treaty establishing the European Community provided that the proposed cooperation:

(a)

 

is aimed at furthering the objectives of the Union and of the Community, at protecting and serving their interests and at reinforcing their process of integration;

(b)

 

respects the said Treaties and the single institutional framework of the Union;

(c)

 

respects the acquis communautaire and the measures adopted under the other provisions of the said Treaties;

(d)

 

remains within the limits of the powers of the Union or of the Community and does not concern the areas which fall within the exclusive competence of the Community;

(e)

 

does not undermine the internal market as defined in Article 14(2) of the Treaty establishing the European Community, or the economic and social cohesion established in accordance with Title XVII of that Treaty;

(f)

 

does not constitute a barrier to or discrimination in trade between the Member States and does not distort competition between them;

(g)

 

involves a minimum of eight Member States;

(h)

 

respects the competences, rights and obligations of those Member States which do not participate therein;

(i)

 

does not affect the provisions of the Protocol integrating the Schengen acquis into the framework of the European Union;

(j)

 

is open to all the Member States, in accordance with Article 43b.

Article 43a(20)

Enhanced cooperation may be undertaken only as a last resort, when it has been established within the Council that the objectives of such cooperation cannot be attained within a reasonable period by applying the relevant provisions of the Treaties.

Article 43b(21)

When enhanced cooperation is being established, it shall be open to all Member States. It shall also be open to them at any time, in accordance with Articles 27e and 40b of this Treaty and with Article 11a of the Treaty establishing the European Community, subject to compliance with the basic decision and with the decisions taken within that framework. The Commission and the Member States participating in enhanced cooperation shall ensure that as many Member States as possible are encouraged to take part.

Article 44(22)

1.   For the purposes of the adoption of the acts and decisions necessary for the implementation of enhanced cooperation referred to in Article 43, the relevant institutional provisions of this Treaty and of the Treaty establishing the European Community shall apply. However, while all members of the Council shall be able to take part in the deliberations, only those representing Member States participating in enhanced cooperation shall take part in the adoption of decisions. The qualified majority shall be defined as the same proportion of the weighted votes and the same proportion of the number of the Council members concerned as laid down in Article 205(2) of the Treaty establishing the European Community, and in the second and third subparagraphs of Article 23(2) of this Treaty as regards enhanced cooperation established on the basis of Article 27c. Unanimity shall be constituted by only those Council members concerned.

Such acts and decisions shall not form part of the Union acquis.

2.   Member States shall apply, as far as they are concerned, the acts and decisions adopted for the implementation of the enhanced cooperation in which they participate. Such acts and decisions shall be binding only on those Member States which participate in such cooperation and, as appropriate, shall be directly applicable only in those States. Member States which do not participate in such cooperation shall not impede the implementation thereof by the participating Member States.

Article 44a(23)

Expenditure resulting from implementation of enhanced cooperation, other than administrative costs entailed for the institutions, shall be borne by the participating Member States, unless all members of the Council, acting unanimously after consulting the European Parliament, decide otherwise.

Article 45(24)

The Council and the Commission shall ensure the consistency of activities undertaken on the basis of this title and the consistency of such activities with the policies of the Union and the Community, and shall cooperate to that end.



When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 09:24:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Debatable. There's plenty of sovereigntist opposition to the EU in France. The Germans have issues with freedom of movement. If it did happen I wonder how the Poles would react. On the one hand they're pretty pro-EU integration, on the other hand that sentiment tends to be correlated with attachment to neo-liberal dogma.
by MarekNYC on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:05:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You need a qualified majority to approve an enhanced cooperation, and it must involve at least 8 states (would it be possible to have a vote authorising an enhanced cooperation by a state not intending to take part in it, at least initially?).

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: Voting in the Council of the European Union

To pass: Majority of countries (50% or 67%) and votes (74%) and population (62%)

...

The population requirement is almost always already implied by the condition on the number of votes. The rare exceptions to this happen in certain cases when a proposal is backed by exactly two of the five most populous member states but not including Germany, that is, two of France, UK, Italy and Spain, and by all or nearly all of the 22 other members.



When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:18:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hi Jerome

You're right. It does not roll back what has already happened (Nice) but the ongoing 'forcing' of privatisation part is correct. I researched it with a number of others in a lot of detail during the 2nd Nice referendum and our analysis was adopted by the Greens, Sinn Fein, Socialist Party and many Trade unionists during the campaign.

http://www.indymedia.ie/article133/?redirect=article133

Our viewpoint was systematically suppressed during that debate/referendum. I didn't have the heart to get involved this time round but am happy with the result and am now interested to see what ramifications it has for WTO trade negotiations.

This article is where I'm starting

https://www.indymedia.ie/article/87694

by irishhead on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 08:46:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But that stuff is in the Nice treaty, not in Lisbon, right?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 08:50:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hi C.

It's in Nice but the agenda is advanced significantly in Lisbon. Some subtle changes in the rewrite: The below is a short extract from my friends research: http://www.indymedia.ie/article/87694

It is very detailed but worth a read.

"The Lisbon Treaty: All Automatic Vetoes Gone

Having established that existing EU law, rules out the ability of Member States to veto and say no to international free-trade deals in goods, commercial aspects of intellectual property and all but five special services, what changes are proposed in the Lisbon treaty and now does it remove our existing no-quibble veto on international free-trade deals in Educational services, Health services, Social services, and, Cultural and Audiovisual services?

In Lisbon, that entire public services protection paragraph of the Nice treaty quoted above (Article 133(6)) starting "In this regard ...", is deleted. Gone is the `shared competence', gone is the `common accord' and gone is the `concluded jointly'. Indeed, if Lisbon is accepted, things could get `much more efficient' for the EU's ability to sign global free-trade agreements. The Lisbon treaty not only drops the automatic veto on the five special services areas, it changes the name of Article 133 (9) as follows:"

by irishhead on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 09:01:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Four by my count. One is true, the other one is false, and two are procedural and not to do with the treaty text.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 06:42:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not about the Treaty itself!  Almost nobody has read it anyway, and those who have don't understand it.  It is a generalised vote of no-confidence in "the powers that be" for any number of private and public reasons - chiefly to do with a darkening economic climate and a sense that the political system is screwing the little people.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 06:45:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Can you blame them?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 06:47:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 06:48:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am increasingly of the view that the era of "eurofudges" may be over and that the time has come for a much simpler and clearer statement of where the EU is going, and how it is to be governed.  Some member states may well reject this - the UK at least - and we will then have the reality of a two speed Europe.  The elites have taken this project as far as they can.  The next step can only be taken by the people of Europe themselves, and some hard choices may have to be made - with some countries getting off the bus if that is what they really want to do.

The Irish people were given a choice with no real downside - except perhaps the status quo - and no real upside either.  Nanne spoke of the EU progressing by bay steps.  It is time for the Baby to grow up and make some major decisions about future direction - and that will mean hard choices with real down and upsides attached to them.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 07:00:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank Schnittger:
I am increasingly of the view that the era of "eurofudges" may be over and that the time has come for a much simpler and clearer statement of where the EU is going, and how it is to be governed.

Is this a bad thing?

Who knows - if the statement were clear enough and positive enough, people might even vote for it.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 07:32:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think most would - and the UK and possibly some others wouldn't - and then the real fun and games would begin.  I doubt that any new two-speed proposal would be as favourable to smaller countries as Nice/Lisbon was.  Ireland's honeymoon is over.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 07:55:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Colman claimed the other day that most two-speed proposals would be of the kind that ireland would like to be part of.

I mean, you're in the Euro and you're not in Schengen only because of the open border agreement with the UK.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 08:01:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We would have no choice but to be part of the faster part - but our ability to negotiate terms favourable to a smaller country would be much less.  Few in Ireland seem to realise just what a good deal - at every level - we have gotten from the EU in the past.  This was always going to change - slowly - now it will change much faster.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 08:06:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you trust our current political elite to draft a clear, positive statement ?

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 08:09:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You know, I keep thinking the last time we had people capable of that was with Delors, Kohl, Mitterrand and Gonzalez, and that we owe them the 1992 Treaty on European Union.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 08:12:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And Mitterrand, at a low point of the PS's popularity, was able to get it through the French electorate, which was quite an impressive feat. At the time, the Gaullist right wing was still quite anti-EU.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 08:20:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The two-speed Europe will start today. Remember it's the French Presidency starting in July. The french have always been fans of l'Europe à géometrie variable.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 07:47:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reasons being given by NO voters for there vote include:
1. Concern about jobs because of slump in building industry - and foreign workers taking them
Not part of the treaty. Get out of the European Economic Area, then.
2. Concern that Irish people might be conscripted into a European Army
Unwarranted.
3. Anger at government inaction at high fuel prices
Irrelevant
4. Loss of Commissioner and relative voting weight within EU
Valid
5. Generalised concerned at a lack of democracy and accountability within the EU
The Treaty of Lisbon is an improvement.
6. Anger at the fact that both Taoiseach Brian Cowen, and Commissioner Charlie McCreavey had admitted to not having read the Treaty
Valid
7. Concern at a variety of comments by European leaders that the Treaty text had deliberately been drafted as abstrusely as possible.
Valid
8. Harmonization of corporate taxation - was not as big an issue in predominately working class areas which voted NO by large majorities.
Not part of the treaty. Form a blocking minority with the UK and a couple of other race-to-the-bottom countries
9. Anger amongst farmers at extremely intrusive EU regulation
Not part of the treaty. Have the Irish government form a negotiating block at the council.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 06:39:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Commisioner isn't a representative, so that one's only half-valid.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 06:41:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Still, it is an "Irish voice" at the College of Commissioners. It is an understandable concern and it is part of the treaty.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 06:44:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The current Irish voice is Charlie McCreepy, remember? Who wants him speaking for you?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 06:47:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Huh, don't vote for Fianna Fail, then.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 06:49:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I didn't. Believe me.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 06:51:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the decision to reduce the number of commissioners was crazy - it gave the No side a tangible stick with which to beat the yes side.  What's so wrong with having 27 or more commissioners?  Hell, there are more ministers in the Irish Government.  As the EU grows in depth as well as extent - with more competencies devolved to the Commission there will be ample work for them to do.  The saving in financial terms was in any case miniscule.  

If we do decide we need to have a second referendum, that is one concrete change that could be made to justify it - to give every country back "their" Commissioner - would be a popular move and could help to justify having a re-run in Ireland.  It could be presented as a positive outcome for the no side without disadvantaging anyone else in Europe.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 08:38:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The argument is that there is not enough significant work to provide to so many commissioners, but I would tend to agree with you that this should be outweighed by the politicla impact of countries not having "one of their own" in the Commission.

I'd support such a change as well.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Jun 15th, 2008 at 05:37:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Commissioners can always absorb some of the work of the Directors-General.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 15th, 2008 at 07:52:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]

    5. Generalised concerned at a lack of democracy and accountability within the EU

The Treaty of Lisbon is an improvement.

There is a "fallacy" here: You are comparing the EU before and after Lisbon, but that is not the correct comparison. You also have to factor in the loss of power of the nation states to the EU.

I have no love for the nation states, but they are arguably more democratic than the EU.

by t-------------- on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 08:54:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, they are not. The major source of "undemocracy" in the EU is the Council which represents the governments of the member states.

The Lisbon treaty expands the power of the Parliament and introduces citizen initiatives and citizen petitions, among other things.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 09:01:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]

No, they are not. The major source of "undemocracy" in the EU is the Council which represents the governments of the member states.

The Lisbon treaty expands the power of the Parliament and introduces citizen initiatives and citizen petitions, among other things.

Their might be (or not), a misunderstanding here. I am not saying that Lisbon is less democratic than before with regards to the EU.

What I am saying is that there is a transfer of power from nations (where "democracy rules") to the complex hoodge poodge of the EU (partially democratic, partially "distant from voters").

If you think the "Lisbon EU" is more democratic than composing nation states, then I think there is a real disagreement in interpretation (I don't see it that way).

PS - my Lisbon treaty knowledge is wikipedia based (not read it), but I have no reason to believe that that is insufficient (correct me if you think I am wrong)

by t-------------- on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 09:18:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Shouldn't
nations (where "democracy rules")

be

"nations" (where " "democracy" "rules" ")
?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 09:30:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Our ex-taoiseach Garret Fitzgerald now saying on national radio that the result of a referendum 'undermines representative democracy'. His reasoning being that people voted against the political establishment

Bizarre. Kind of scary really.

by irishhead on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 09:40:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, you know what "serious" people mean when they say Democracy is in crisis, right? They mean the plebes don't vote for the "right" things (or don't vote).

I don't think he's right, though. People tend to take any referendum as a confidence vote on the political establishment, and "representative" democracy is in a real crisis of legitimacy.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 09:49:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Strictly speaking, he is correct.  We only had a general election a year ago, and now the electorate votes down a proposal supported by over 90% of their elected representatives.  That is a crises for representative democracy - effectively a vote of no confidence in the political system.

What is the Government and opposition to do now that their chosen policy has been voted down?  Have another general election?  Allow Declan Ganly to take over?  Which of the many conflicting no campaign issues should it take up as new official Government policy?  Keeping the one commissioner per country rule is one of the few No campaign issues that actually relate to the Treaty itself, so that might be the place to start.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 08:48:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
tiagoantao:

What I am saying is that there is a transfer of power from nations (where "democracy rules") to the complex hoodge poodge of the EU (partially democratic, partially "distant from voters").

If you think the "Lisbon EU" is more democratic than composing nation states, then I think there is a real disagreement in interpretation

There is a real disagreement because you are not comparing like with like when you are comparing the Eu to its constituent member states.  By definition the EU is larger, more complex, and more distant from individual citizens - precisely because it is not made up of citizens, but of member states - with direct participation of citizens - bypassing member states - only coming in slowly via the directly elected EU parliament and direct citizen initiatives.

By rejecting Lisbon, the Irish electorate are essential saying they want it to stay that way - with more say for states and less direct say for citizens.  This will suit nationalists everywhere - and the those outside the EU who want it to remain an essentially weak and inchoate conglomerate of economies with little coherent, combined political power.

A better analogy would be with those workers who chose not to join a union and negotiate directly with their employers - in this case as represented by Global Capital.  Some will possibly be better off - but will workers (= member states) be better off as a whole - particularly the smaller weaker ones?

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 09:33:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
there is a transfer of power from nations (where "democracy rules") to the complex hoodge poodge of the EU (partially democratic, partially "distant from voters").

"Nations" themselves represent a complex hoodge poodge where power is transferred from lower levels of smaller territorial units.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:17:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Depends on the nation's history, though. French power has been centralised since at least Louis XIV... And can't it be said that Hungary evolved from a larger political unit ?

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:32:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The difference you make out is only in when the power was transferred. In France, it didn't stop with Louis XIV, I consider say the suppression of the Vendée Revolt as one step. Today - and what the irony: at the effect of the EU! -, in fact there is some reduction of central power because of the strengthening of the regions (say, to hit close to home, passenger services and trains are now financed and ordered by them).

The contraction of the territorial reach of the central power of the state of Hungary is something separate from the relationship of it and smaller units. (Prior to 1001 AD, we can't speak of real centralised power; in the Kingdom, there were a number of local autonomies later abolished; the Hungary part of Austria-Hungary was the union of multiple provinces of the Habsburg Empire; the once strong autonomy of the shires was progressively eliminated through the 19th and 20th century; the personal income tax share of local governments was reduced steadily to the benefit of the central government since 1990, etc.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:51:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It really depends on the country. France's first meeting with centralised states dates from 52 B.C., for example ; and centripetal and centrifugal have been in constant conflict ever since... Egypt has been centralised for much, much longer.

And in many nations, feodal and post-feodal autonomies where nominally, and often really, given by a central authority.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:57:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, part of it is that you talk of "France" as if there has been a continuity, while in fact these shifting centripetal and centrifugal tendencies acted in changing units with changing borders. (Think of the onetime German Imperial autonomy of Alsace cities, Lotharingia, Burgundy, intermittent French rule in Northhern Italy, areas English-held for much longer than the 100 Years War, Brittany, the kingdoms/fiefdoms of various German tribes prior to the Frank empire, the Gallic Empire break-off from the Roman Empire, etc.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 11:14:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course. But then, there's been a continuous French state in most of what is called "France" today since the Carolingians. And you don't mention the autonomous Guyana Indians tribes ... Hell, there are still at least three kings on French territory !

My larger point is that nations as confederations of smaller unit is not a given : France never was a union of region, but the kingdom of the strongest noble among the Franks, who decided to give autonomy and take it back ; and who conquered , lost and divided among sons, his land

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 11:21:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know the exact areas, but I'd estimate that Burgundy, Lotharingia, Alsace, Normandy, Brittany, Corsica, and Aquitania, if taken together, are more than half the territory of modern France. Around 1000 years ago and again at the time of Joan of Arc, central power of the King of France even reduced to not much more than Île-de-France.

Also, during feudalism, local fiefdoms often had more de-facto autonomy than modern confederated states (see again Burgundy), in France, it was done away with progressively only after the 100 Years War (peaking in Louis XIV's de-facto taking hostage of aristocracy by binding them in his own court).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 11:44:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Normandy and Aquitania were part of Francia Occidentalis since Charles the Bald and always recognised the nominal power of the King of France (except that at one point they disagreed on who was that king). De facto central power varied from very weak (gauls pre-Rome, barbarian invasions, merovingians, beginning of the Capetians around 1000, 100-years wars) and the very strong (Rome at its heyday, Charlemagne, Louis XIV, the 19th century). Choosing one of the points of centralisation of power as the formation of the French State is a bit abusive.

And Burgundy wasn't autonomous, it was pretty much independent until the middle of the second millenia, if I'm not mistaken.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 12:50:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Recognition of nominal power is just that. The origins of German federalism are in the Holy Roman Empire of German Nation, in which the Emperor often had only nominal power over the various kingdoms and duchies and lesser fiefdoms, what made a difference was the latter development of French absolutist centralisation vs. Holy Roman Empire disintegration in civil and religious wars.

You say "Choosing one of the points of centralisation of power as the formation of the French State is a bit abusive", but I thought that's my point! You are trying to connect the different past centres of power centralisation into a single coherent timeline.

Burgundy started out similarly to Aquitania: a duchy that made its own politics while nominally under the French king.

Duchy of Burgundy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

From these counties would emerge both the Duchy of Burgundy and the County of Burgundy, aided by the collapse of Carolingian centralism, and the division of the Frankish domains brought about by the Partition of Verdun in 843. In the midst of this confusion, Guerin, Count of Macon, attached himself to Charles the Bald... Guerin was rewarded for his services by the King ... by being granted the administration of the Counties of Chalon and Nevers, in which he was by custom expected to appoint Viscounts to rule as his deputies. As a vital military defender of the West Frankish border, Guerin was sometimes known by the Latin term for 'leader' - Dux, or Duke.

...Robert the Pious gave the territory to his younger son and namesake, Robert; and when Henry I, acceding in difficult circumstances, found it necessary to secure the loyalty of Robert of Burgundy, his brother, he further heightened the rights given to his brother. Robert was to be Duke of Burgundy; as ruler of the Duchy, he would "enjoy the freehold thereof", and have the right "to pass it on to his heirs"; the Duke would owe allegiance only to the crown of France...

...Finally, in the final months of John the Good's reign, Philip the Bold was established as Duke of Burgundy: the King secretly created his son as Duke on 6 September 1363 (in his dual role as Duke giving his own title to his child and as King sanctioning this change in leadership)...

By 1405, ... Burgundy - to follow the custom of giving the name of the Duchy to the much wider agglomeration assembled by the Dukes - stood less as a French fief, more as an independent state, and a major political player in European politics.

...The last two Dukes to directly rule the Duchy, Philip the Good and Charles the Bold, attempted to secure the independence of their Duchy from the French crown. The endeavour failed however; when Charles the Bold died in battle without sons, Louis XI of France declared the Duchy to have become extinct, and absorbed the territory into the French crown...

Had history turned out a little bit different, today Dijon would be a 'Burgundian'-speaking metropolis and Paris would speak English.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 06:00:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, but there was an "independent", separate Kingdom of Burgundy that was absorbed much earlier than I thought, by the Holy Roman Empire. And I was confusing that early kingdom (the second kingdom of Burgundy, too) and the later Duchy-trying-to-become-independent of Charles the Bold ; thinking the later was a successor state to the former.

And the problems with the English and the Burgundian was the same indeed, nobles becoming sovereigns in provinces not part of France. Dual homage was a major instability of feudal organisation.

There is a coherent time line for "Kingdom of the French" since at least Hugues Capet at least - the kingdom stayed in the same family ! That's the France "beyond the Rhone and Escaut" that indeed started with Charles the Bald, and which included the Duchy of Burgundy.

At no single points did the French provinces decide to join and form a French state ; the centralisation was imposed from the center, or from the outside in the case of the Roman Empire. I believe few states appeared thanks to actual voluntary delegations from their constituents ; centralisation was mostly forced from the center through political pressure or force of arms...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:49:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]

"Nations" themselves represent a complex hoodge poodge where power is transferred from lower levels of smaller territorial units.

Yes, but I (I in the sense of "I, the voter") know and can replace the prime minister of my country in a fairly straightforward way (or my MEPs, by the way).

Can you tell me how can I do that in a straightforward way with some of the political powers in the EU?

Maybe we could start by replacing the idea of the EU as a collection of nations with the idea of a collection of citizens... That point of view could help...

by t-------------- on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:39:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe we could start by replacing the idea of the EU as a collection of nations with the idea of a collection of citizens... That point of view could help...

Lovely idea. Now, how do we get there?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:42:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How do you get the nations to agree to dissolve themselves?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:45:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I suppose you are being sarcastic, but there are many ways, a simple example:

Give political EU power to a body directly elected by citizens, and only (mostly) to that.

Want some nation representation? Have a senate, American way. Equal nation representation, directly elected.

I don't think this is a "Summer night's dream".

by t-------------- on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:53:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Although I would bet that the narrative now will be "two speeds" EU. Which, depending on the framing, could be good or bad.
by t-------------- on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:55:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Two speeds" is the only way forward now, so it's an easy bet. Enhanced cooperation has been in the books for over a decade but they've been afraid to use it (Schengen and the Euro were developed in the 80's by the same people who brought you the EU itself at Maastricht).

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 11:05:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, they'll do another referendum here in the autumn.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 11:07:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think they can do a Nice II trick a second time around.  Nice I  was a 35% poll.  Lisbon is a 55% poll.  You're not going to turn that around so easily.  If anything the No vote will get bigger, because people will get REALLY pissed if they have to go through all this again

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 11:11:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There will need to be some substantial coda or change - which probably means re-ratification elsewhere - but they could do it. Don't forget that most of the No campaign have suggested that there would be a better deal available.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 11:14:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I predict November, personally.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 11:15:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But NONE of them have been able to articulate what a better deal would mean for them, and we know they are all coming from different places even if they did have an alternative concrete proposal on offer.  So what could the EU offer?  A guarantee not to microchip babies?  That will sway a lot of votes.  

I think it will be a carrot and stick approach myself.  A threat to exclude Ireland from a two speed Europe  should start the ball rolling

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 11:23:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, they were mostly lying, but that's not really important - they brought it up so a new referendum can be justified in those terms.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 11:26:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So what could the EU offer?  A guarantee not to microchip babies?

Actually, could you come up with a list of the specific things that the No camp was worried about, such as the chipping of babies? We could then put together a proposal to "amend" the Treaty.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 01:28:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My experience of negotiation leads me to think that you could address every single grievance with specific measures - and then they would come up with a new set of problems.  The problem is that although they claimed to want to negotiate a better deal for Ireland, they really wanted no deal at all.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 01:35:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's still worth trying, though.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 01:40:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but you're not negotiating with the advocacy groups, you're trying to convince the voters.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 01:50:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Exactly. And most of the demands are actually harmless to "address".


When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 01:53:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you want to convince voters you will have to come up a much simpler document that people feel they can understand.  You will also have to explain to them:

  1. what's in it for them
  2. What's in it for Ireland
  3. What's in it for Europe
  4. What's in it for the World

finally we will have to explain to them that the Murdoch/Ganly/McEvaddy media machines have a very different agenda to what is in their own best interest.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 01:57:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, you just have to come up with amendments that address their stated concerns.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 03:45:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Keeping a commissioner for each country is one of their few concerns which actually relates to the Treaty and which might not create a huge problem for other states if the Treaty was changed to allow this.  Can you think of others?

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 08:52:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, apparently there is some language in the treaty (as pointed out by irishhead) committing the member states to increasing their military capacity. Offer Ireland an opt-out.

The other issues are not in the treaty but could be:

  • To address the concern about the loss of jobs and the foreign workers: stronger language about "full employment" in the introductory part of the treaty
  • To address the concern about militarism: an opt-out from the defence component of the Common Foreign and Security Policy. If this means that the Irish Minister of Defence has to sit out all Council meetings, so be it.
  • Fuel prices: language about energy independence.
  • Democracy and Accountability: make the votes in the Council (if not the deliberation) public, by treaty. Also, it would be good if the EP published that damn report on expense account irregularities of MEPs.
  • Politicians haven't read the treaty: have the government publish an annotated version.
  • Treaty drafted abstrusively: annotated version.
  • Corporate taxation: [while I find that working class people are shooting themselves in the foot by opposing this] offer an opt-out if a clause from any EU fiscal policy: if this means Ireland's finance minister sits out ECOFIN meetings, so be it.
  • EU regulation of farming: offer an opt-out from the CAP.


When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 14th, 2008 at 03:31:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the last one. How do you opt out of the one fully integrated policy (and that was already integrated when Ireland joined)? Out of the rules? Out of the payment mechanisms?

And it's a huge can of worms.

The rest sounds like sensible ideas.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Jun 15th, 2008 at 05:42:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The last one is bollocks: most Irish farmers would starve to death without CAP.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sun Jun 15th, 2008 at 06:07:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The first one is bollocks, too: Ireland has been a nation of emigrants until 15 years ago. That's a perfect example of "I got mine, fuck you".

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 15th, 2008 at 07:50:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Do. not. get. me. started. Really.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sun Jun 15th, 2008 at 07:53:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The last few months have seen a huge and very sudden rise in unemployment due mainly to the collapse in the building industry.  This means that a lot of young working class guys with few qualifications for work outside building have suddenly gone from earning very good money to suddenly having very little to live on.  Those that have families and mortgages are screwed.  Those that got used to a high living, heavy drinking lifestyle are suffering withdrawals.  There is little culture of saving and investment for a rainy day because these guys didn't know life before the Celtic tiger.

So far the downturn has hardly effected middle class families at all - unless they are running their own business - so life goes on as normal for the majority and the political establishment just continues playing its usual games as if nothing is happening.  Some of the no vote, at least, was a protest vote against this disconnect.

The problem is that this problem will get a lot worse in the next few months, and unless the Cowen Government does something pretty dramatic about it, the level of anger and protest can only get worse.  I am hoping it doesn't develop into full blown racist xenophobia directed at the huge recent immigrant population living here and am relieved that so far, it hasn't.  However the Celtic Tiger cubs are growing up and now want to command their own prides, and some pretty nasty infighting could occur when there aren't enough jobs to go around.

Giving them history lessons on how the Irish, too, are a nation of emigrants isn't really going to help much - especially when those lessons are being given by the middle classes still sitting on record levels of income.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jun 15th, 2008 at 08:36:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Doesn't Ireland need any new railroads or other public infrastructure that the government could hire some of that unused construction manpower to build.

After all, if they are unemployed, then it means that nobody is benefiting from their skills.

(Cue Mig pulling out a Keynes quote :-P)

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Jun 15th, 2008 at 06:49:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course, if the Irish Government doesn't do this it's the fault of the Lisbon Treaty.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 15th, 2008 at 07:04:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In fairness the Irish Government has embarked on a huge multi-billion infrastructural development programme which will absorb a lot of the slack from the collapse of the private housing market.  

There have been some noises from Cowen to the effect that this may have to be scaled back because of a sharp downturn in tax revenues, but if ever there was a time and reason to hold your nerve and increase borrowing to fund a large infrastructural programme well this is it.

I can see the Unions pressing hard for this as part of the current social partnership talks - but they may have to pay in terms of pay moderation in order to get it.  

The other plus side of doing it now is that there has been huge price inflation in infrastructural projects because of the tight labour market (in the past) and - well - infrastructural bottlenecks.  So it should be possible to get a lot more done for the same money now that might have been possible a couple of years ago.

Huge money has been spent on infrastructure, health etc. - tripling expenditures of c. 10 years ago - the problem has been getting value for money for the invstment spent.  (Our metros cost many multiples per KM more than e.g. Madrid spent for comparable investment).  A lot of this is down to to inflation at a time of huge growth, but even more to very poor project management and decision making capabilities within the public service.  

For instance the M50 ring road motorway around Dublin handed even been completed when they had to start upgrading it from 4 lanes to 6 for multiples of the original cost.  Now they are going to spend hundreds of millions on an electronic tolling system when a few cent on the price of petrol would bring in the same extra revenue for zero incremental collection cost.

Every private sector company I know rubs its hands at the prospect of a public contract.  The initial tender price may have to be low - but the spec is always changed and then they can charge what they like.  100's of lawyers have become multi-millionaires from the Tribunals alone - work that in England would have been done by a judge and a couple of barristers in a matter of weeks.

The waste is spectacular and yet it is almost impossible to even raise the issue of poor management.  (The Irish Times has never published a letter of mine criticizing any aspect of the management of public projects/services).  This is why I am sometimes at odds with Jerome's paeans of praise to the French public service - if only some real accountability and management disciplines applied in Ireland.


"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jun 15th, 2008 at 07:41:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree.

There is only one way I can see the government being able to hold a "legitimate" second referendum. They could resign on the basis that the electorate have rejected there advocacy of Lisbon and hence that they can no longer presume to hold the electorate's confidence. They could then campaign during the general election on the basis of re-submitting the treaty. Presumably FF and FG would campaign on such a platform and also possibly Labour. It would be a gutsy move, with about zero percent probability of ever happening.

by det on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 05:13:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You could be on to something here.  A general election on this issue would wrong foot both Fine Gael and Labour (as they also supported the Treaty) at the cost of providing a huge boost to Sinn Fein who would be the only real opposition party.  However it would allow Cowen to present himself as a man of principle and convistion and stamp his leadership on the party and give him a mandate in his won right.

He would have a lot of work to do in explaining to the electorate that this is his and our only best option.  I was speaking to a senior civil servant this evening and he is convinced that the "turkey's have just voted for Christmas" and destroyed Ireland's standing in the corridors of power in the EU.  He has been at the sharp end of a lot of EU negotiations, and so he should know.

However Cowen is a very cautious man and I can see him risking his premiership in such a dramatic move.  This one ios going to take some time to sort out.   Expect the media to finally do some digging into Ganly and co.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 08:07:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
However Cowen is a very cautious man and I can see him risking his premiership in such a dramatic move.

Can? Can't?

This one ios going to take some time to sort out.   Expect the media to finally do some digging into Ganly and co.

Last night on the BBC, the "no" campaign was presented as consisting of LIBERTAS and LIBERTAS only. WIll he turn it into a political party?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 14th, 2008 at 03:09:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
sorry, can't.

I think he would be very stupid to try and would be hammered.  The progressive Democrats are the most comparable pro business pro US party and they have dropped down to 2% of the vote.  He was given a free ride because he wasn't a politician.  That would change overnight if he turned it into a political party.  I hope he does - his true level of support would quickly become apparent.

The BBC must be trying to spin this as "Ireland comes around to Britain's Euroscepticism" because there is no way he remotely compares to Sinn Fein in terms of potential political support.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jun 14th, 2008 at 05:39:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't mean how to theoretically construct it - though a US model is one of the worst ideas I can think of - I mean how to get there. What sequence of believable steps would you take? How do you get your wonderful idea ratified?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:55:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am just taking, from the US model, the Congress and Senate.

Never the dependency on private money for politics.

And the ideal, long term "congress" would be proportional - EU wide - single circle.

How to get there? First step: Have a treaty that reinforces the parliament (I know, Lisbon does that) and empties the non electable parts of the EU.

What I don't want to see is major policy decisions coming from unelected (or very indirectly elected) parts of the EU. Just that.

And things like tax competition, future train liberalization, come as far as I know (correct me if I am wrong) not from the European parliament but from either the commission or inter governmental agreements.

But, falling back to pragmatic reality, I would bet that the way now will be "two speeds". But lets see...

by t-------------- on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 11:13:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
tiagoantao:
How to get there? First step: Have a treaty that reinforces the parliament (I know, Lisbon does that) and empties the non electable parts of the EU.
How do you get the Council to agree to strip itself of power?
What I don't want to see is major policy decisions coming from unelected (or very indirectly elected) parts of the EU. Just that.
Because National Laws are shining examples of rational and just  policies and EU Directives are blockheaded. Right.
And things like tax competition, future train liberalization, come as far as I know (correct me if I am wrong) not from the European parliament but from either the commission or inter governmental agreements.
True, but how do you get the Council to give up their political power?

And, if you do that, how do you get the sovereigntist camp in each member state from voting no? They'de be very strong in a number of countries, actually in a majority I suspect (Ireland, UK, Scandinavia and most of the New Member States)

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 11:18:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]

    What I don't want to see is major policy decisions coming from unelected (or very indirectly elected) parts of the EU. Just that.

Because National Laws are shining examples of rational and just  policies and EU Directives are blockheaded. Right

My argument for democracy is not pragmatic but principled.

I am Portuguese, most of what can be called civilization in my country is normally the imposition of an EU directive (this is an exaggeration, but you get the point).

I am fully aware of the shortcomings of democracy. I normally am against the common/majority sense in my original country. But in the overall I cannot think of a better system (a topic for another discussion...).

by t-------------- on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 11:39:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
tiagoantao:
I am Portuguese, most of what can be called civilization in my country is normally the imposition of an EU directive (this is an exaggeration, but you get the point).
It may not be an exaggeration because the Enlightenment has been an elite project for the last 300 years. Progressive and potentially inclusive, but elite all the same.

The labour movement has been another powerful non-elite engine of progress.

Both seem to have fizzled out of late and a synthesis and revival would be a very good thing.

But the point is that a technocratic elite might be a good thing in a democratic arrangement.

In France, however, as I gather from Jerome's complaints, the technocratic elite has lost its public service ethos and been coopted into predatorial capitalism which is not a good thing. And as the EU Commission looks a lot like the French civil service, one should expect a similar shift there.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 11:49:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Exactly.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 06:53:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am just taking, from the US model, the Congress and Senate.

Never the dependency on private money for politics.

  1. The dependenccy on private money for politics, and the general bad state, arguably has stuctural reasons, too.

  2. As Migeru noted, there are other federal models around.

  3. Personally, I don't see much sense in a diretly elected Senate, when there are governments already. Either way, I would like to see the power of the body representing the federated territorial units reduced relative to the body representing all citizens of the federation.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 11:36:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, an unelected second-reading chamber helps protect the State from the influence of money. Case in point: if the House of Lords votes down 42-day detention it will be in part because Brown can't threaten the Lords with a snap election where they'd lose their seats, or engage in horse-trading on individual constituency demands.

So I am convinced that having two directly elected chambers is a waste. Spain's Senate definitely is useless as configured and I would much rather it be replaced with the Conference of Presidents.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 11:40:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I missed one line here: ... but I am not convinced that a unelected second chamber is a bad idea

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 11:55:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
tiagoantao:
I suppose you are being sarcastic, but there are many ways, a simple example:
He's pointing out that you need to get this coded into a treaty, agreed by the Council of the EU, and approved by all 27 member states. Good luck with steps 2 and 3, as we have seen.
Give political EU power to a body directly elected by citizens, and only (mostly) to that.
Define "political power". The EU already exist. Don't fetishize "directly elected": this is still a representative democracy.
Want some nation representation? Have a senate, American way. Equal nation representation, directly elected.
Don't fetishize the American Senate. We already have the Council, which is very much like the German Bundesrat, the Swiss Federal Council, or the Spanish (consultative) "Assembly of Presidents" (of Autonomous Communities).
I don't think this is a "Summer night's dream".
It is to think it'll be any easier to even get agreement to that at the EU Council.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 11:00:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The EU already exist

I mean the EP already exists.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 11:21:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, to not be negative, I would love to see an EU federalist reform via citizen's initiative rather than the work of a body drawn from national parliaments but hijacked by ol' Giscard. In fact, in that situation, the EU Council might feel pressed to play along.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 11:22:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Too bad the Lisbon Treaty and its right of Initiative didn't pass.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 11:23:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What I mean is that the (or a) Constitution/Reform/Lisbon Treaty itself would have a greater chance of being passed in referendums, would it be pushed by (would it be seen as owned by) a citizen's initiativew rather than the political class.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 05:17:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Does making the European Parliament draft it count?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 05:26:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you mean

Citizen's Initiative for new Constitution -> EP actually drafts it -> text goes through Council and Commission -> final draft goes to referendums, with citizen's initiative taking credit -> people approve,

or

EP initiates and drafts it -> text goes through Council and Commission -> final draft goes to referendums, with EP distinguishing itself from the "political class" (Counci, governments) and the "bureaucrats" (Commission) by taking credit -> people approve?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 06:12:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
More the second, thought I suspect you meant the first.

I don't think either is currently viable as things stand: the Irish just killed the right of petition though if someone gathered 1 million signatures I suppose it could still be made to happen.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 06:17:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I meant the first, and I meant an 'inofficial' but "making-waves" citizen's initiative, which itself could achieve the right of real Citizen's Initiative as part of a reform treaty people actually accept.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 06:29:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just to make sure you do not miss my humble ideas on how to use the EP election to transfer real power within the structure:
European Tribune - After Lisbon, using EP election to strenghten EP power
After Lisbon, using EP election to strenghten EP power

"If elected, I will not vote to elect an EP president unless the president in question agrees to hold an EP conference to draft the EPs proposal for a coherent constitution, to be approved by EU-wide common referenda before submitted to member state ratification"

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 Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 07:14:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here's how we should top Stop Blair!: draft our own EU Constitution & campaign for it!...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 06:31:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 06:43:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He's pointing out that you need to get this coded into a treaty, agreed by the Council of the EU, and approved by all 27 member states. Good luck with steps 2 and 3, as we have seen. [my emphasis]

Is there any reason under international law why a number of states could not decide to mutually and consensually annex each other and establish a bigger state? And is there any reason under international law that such a superstate could not withdraw from the EU unilaterally, either after or during formation?

If this superstate encompasses all of the EU sans a few objecting minor countries (UK, Cyprus, maybe Denmark. You all know The Usual Suspects), they might even be able to transfer most of the bureaucracy reasonably intact, if that is considered desirable.

How would this differ from amending the existing treaties to make the EU a federal state (apart, of course, from being a bit smaller)?

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Jun 15th, 2008 at 06:38:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it is quite feasible, within international law, for a number of current EU members states to agree (say) a joint constitution which binds them much closer together than the current EU does.  Non members of this elite club would only have a grievance if any of the elite club welshed on their commitments to them under existing EU treaties.  

However given that these are presumably mostly lesser commitments, and that the new elite arrangement is a superset of what the EU treaty obligations currently are - there might not actually be a problem except for hugely confusing arrangements which might be required to keep the entities separate  - e.g. two commissions serving some of the same countries but not all.

However the members of the elite club could also give notice of their intention to withdraw from the existing EU and nobody could stop them.  You would then have an elite club of x members - and a rump EU of 27-X members.  Pretty soon they would be accepted as nonsensical by all, and, depending on the size of X, one camp would fold its tent and either go independent or join the other.

Thus if the EP drafted a radical and simplified new constitution, and say 22 members signed up for it and gave notice of their intention to withdraw from the EU (classic edition), the other 5 would realistically have to either join up or go it alone.  Small countries like Ireland would have little choice but to join up.  Only bigger countries like UK/Sweden etc. might decide otherwise.  And everyone might decide a much more cohesive and democratic EU of say 25 members is better than a chaotic 27 member EU.

This may be the thinking behind the proposal that the Lisbon ratification process should continue.  At some point the Lisbon compliant members might simply threaten to leave the old EU and continue on their own - at which point Ireland would cave in and the UK might not - but I wouldn't be surprised if even the UK would cave in at the last moment amid loud accusations of blackmail etc.

The bottom line is that the EU is the only game in town and those who threaten it are playing with fire.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jun 15th, 2008 at 08:10:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In theory, by voting for your MEP, you could replace the Commission (and Lisbon would have further enhanced this power). In theory. In practice, the Parliament doesn't yet rattle power structures that much, last time, Parliament was content with a re-shuffling of the Commission.

Then agsain, the same goes for national politics: in theory, Colman could kick Ahern's bunch out of power. In theory, ThatBritGuy could kick Brown out of power, but as things stand other Brits will vote Cameron in. In theory, I could vote Orbán and Gyurcsány out in Hungary, except 95% of voters won't vote for anything but the two main parties. In theory, de Gondi could send Berlusconi into hot hell and vote in some leftist government without centrist blackmailers, but it never seems to work out.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:56:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hah! That is because me and my Bilderburg buddies run the world!

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 11:00:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Off-topic nitpick: I know yours was originated by Lasthorseman; but it annoys me how often English-speakers confuse "burg" ( = castle, walled town - see 'burgh' and 'borough') and "berg" ( = mountain), even if the old German root is the same.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 11:17:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
does the fact that I spelled it wrong prove I am not a member?

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 11:35:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, it proves you're trying to hide the fact!

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 11:52:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But at each point on the second paragraph you vote for or against people with actual names.

Most voters didn't know Barroso's name before 2004. (And don't know him even now)

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 11:12:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No one knew Gyurcsány prior to 2004, when he arose from nothing and then replaced the existing PM between elections. I doubt many in France knew Fillon before Sarko made him PM, for that matter.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 11:25:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But then Fillon isn't the person who actually leads the executive (and was quite a noted politician before 2007 ; the "unknown PM" we last had was Raffarin in 2002) ; and you did get to vote for or against Gyurcsány in the next election ; whereas nobody will ever really vote on Barroso.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 11:32:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Barroso is up for re-election after the EP elections next year. If we can change the EPP's relative majority...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 11:48:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is it the EPP who decided on Barroso, or the European council (with non-EPP Blair having a strong input on the decision) ?

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 12:51:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bertie Ahern brokered the deal in the Council

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 12:54:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The deal is now likely void because two of the "top four jobs" may not be there to divvy up.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 01:10:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes. But, purely in theory, the EP could decide to block him.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 06:01:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
More complete tallys (informal sample counts) are showing the YES vote doing better and winning in some constituencies - and in many urban and middle class areas.  It looks like it will be closer than 60:40 but the overall trend still seems to favour a NO majority.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 07:05:29 AM EST
Tallies indicate No victory in Lisbon vote
http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/breaking/2008/0613/breaking1.htm
by Dr Minorka on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 07:27:30 AM EST
For a good electorate map showing the first 4 constituencies to have declared formal results, go to http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/breaking/2008/0613/breaking1.htm

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 08:11:52 AM EST
currently 58:42% no with 7 largely western/rural constituencies declaring.  I would expect the gap to close somewhat as more eastern constituencies come in, but the NO side will still win by a clear margin.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 08:47:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And if it doesn't, they'll claim fraud and have a Shamrock Revolution demonstrating in Dublin.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 08:49:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Huge class disparities in voting patterns.  Middle class South Dublin 63: 37 YES, more working class South West Dublin 35:65 NO vote.

The has been a large increase in unemployment recently - mainly due to a collapse in the building industry.  This has left huge numbers of working class people fearing unemployment, whilst it has yet to effect the vast majority of middle class people at all.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 08:59:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Let's stop saying "fear of unemployment" is the only reason for the working classes to vote no. Another reason might simply be that the working classes, who by sociological nature are less involved in the political process, simply don't feel the EU is being built with them, for example. I'd think the middle classes would still vote yes even under unemployment threats, for example - for them the possibility to move to another part of the EU to find work is more realistic.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 09:42:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You're right. Some of it is religious fanaticism, some is racism, some is nationalism, some of it is sticking it to the man ...
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 09:47:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll point out I'm talking about my own relatives here.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 09:48:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Lisbon treaty was drafted thanks to Sarkozy who was pretty much elected thanks to nationalistic racists sticking it to what they saw as the man...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 09:59:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yup. We can't fix the European project until we fix national politics. How the fuck do we do that?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:00:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Proper MSM daring to hold politicians accountable both for national and European decisions would be a nice start, and isn't that what we're trying to work on ?

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:03:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
well you could start by sorting your relatives...:-)

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:04:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've tried. Turns out that slogans are immune to facts.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:05:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
with almost half of the constituencies reporting official counts now it's looking like a 45:55 NO vote with a uniformly high 50+% turnout averaging in the mid 50's.  This is no fluke result brought about by a poor turnout but a resounding rejection of a treaty virtually no one read or claimed to fully understand.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 09:21:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank Schnittger:
a resounding rejection of a treaty virtually no one read or claimed to fully understand.
And that is a bad thing?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 09:25:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No - in the sense that that is what popular democracy should be about, but the consequences could be very bad indeed...

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 09:42:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Despite the fact that the issue was not included in an Irish Times poll of no voters, the entire political establishment are busy spreading the meme, one after another on national radio, that the NO campaign made people believe that if there was a yes vote there would be conscription to an EU army!

All this on the strength of a single individual in a vox pop broadcast this morning on the radio.

I suppose it avoids them having to confront the fact that the population have every reason not to trust them on maintaining our neutrality.

Will this be the excuse for a re-run? Government ministers are refusing to rule a re-run out.

The Irish times poll results on reasons for voting no - which don't mention conscription! but do mention resentment at being told how to vote on something incomprehensible - are here:
http://www.ireland.com/focus/thelisbontreaty/analysis/polls/no.jpg

by irishhead on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:22:16 AM EST
Well, that's a spin on it, but it's at the core of the neutrality thing for  a lot of people.

I'm looking forward to the referendum on children's rights whenever it comes up. I'm thinking of founding my own personal think tank to campaign for a no vote on some spurious basis so that I can get lots of free time telling lies on TV. Maybe I'll become a traditional Catholic and argue that 14 is a suitable age for marriage or something.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:26:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
don't forget to get the US security establishment/fundy Christian right to fund you

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:30:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Some of the more radical Mormon sects might be a good bet.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:32:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Irish people did not like the fact that an airport here has played a part in the extraordinary rendition program and that Ireland was the main staging post in europe for the US military going to and fro from Iraq. There was huge popular opposition to that and no way to express it since.

The national elections were a joke in that regard as it was apparent to voters that no combination of parties would reverse the situation. After all the party that was most vocal in opposition to it - Greens - went into government without insisting on CIA planes passing through ireland being checked or on any change in the situation.

Maybe this is partially fallout from that. There is no trust on the part of a lot of people about there being a willingness to support neutrality in the political classes - and military neutrality is still a very popular notion in Ireland.

by irishhead on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:41:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh I give up.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:44:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The bit you forgot is that the EU or the Lisbon Treaty has bugger-all to do with military neutrality or lack thereof.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:47:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Doesn't matter. From the sounds of things it could have solved world hunger and brought peace to all mankind and a lot of people would still have voted against it.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:50:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The concept of Irish neutrality is even less well understood than the Lisbon Treaty.  At least the latter has a text you can attempt to read.  Where is the rulebook on Irish Neutrality?

Rule: 1.   Do what suits us when it suits us.

Rule 2.  Refer to rule 1.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:52:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not So IMHO. And sorry if I'm raising hackles but I think it is important that y'all know that there are people here that have really thought out their position in advance of voting no. Frank and Colman seem determined to see the no vote as completely knee-jerk, reactionary and an expression of the mobile vulgus.

This is an extract from: http://www.irishantiwar.org/node/189

"Irish participation in the Nordic Battlegroups was slipped through the Dail at midnight on July 4th 2006 after only a few hours of debate. Twelve TDs voted against - the Greens, Sinn Fein, 3 Independents and Joe Higgins. The Labour Party abstained! Referring to these Battlegroups, that hardly raised an eyebrow in Irish media circles, BBC correspondent Paul Reynolds stated: "The EU has quietly acquired what might be described as a standing army."

And now part of that "standing army" - including an Irish Battlegroup, but with a much greater French contingent - finds itself in the former French colony of Chad. We are all aware of the dangers that lie there, especially as France has over the past couple of years been supporting the President of Chad, a dictator, in his battles with rebels ( or will they soon be described as "terrorists"). The Irish troops are there to protect refugees, but the fear is they will be sucked into the bigger conflict between the rebels and the regime in Chad.

 What the human cost of our participation in this "standing army" remains unknown. But one thing is sure, the financial cost will be prohibitive. The Irish Defence Budget for 2008 is a whopping €1.078 billion. It is estimated €60 million of this will be used to fund our adventure in Chad. And if the authors of the Lisbon Treaty have their way Irish "defence" spending is certain to increase.  Article 28(3) of the Lisbon Treaty states: "Member States shall undertake progressively to improve their military capabilities". More money for warfare means less for health care."

by irishhead on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 11:17:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
irishhead:
Irish participation in the Nordic Battlegroups was slipped through the Dail at midnight on July 4th 2006 after only a few hours of debate.
But it's the EU that is undemocratic.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 11:20:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
it's a case of both/and rather than either/or imo :-)

(and sorry for posting last comment in wrong place - was replying to Frank (?) who said Lisbon had nothing to do with neutrality. What a thread eh! Is 200 comments long for here?

by irishhead on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 11:24:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's long, but not unusually.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 11:32:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, anyway, I don't think not passing Lisbon is going to kill the EU, otherwise I'd be more upset than I am. Give it 5 years.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 11:35:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Your experience of Ireland is privileged over ours. Naturally.

Of course there is an honest opposition, but I'm afraid it's a relatively small part of the electorate, or the debate wouldn't have been run in terms of lies and fear-mongering.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 11:21:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That is really the problem of the media here. They gave miles of space consistently to the astroturf outfit LIBERTAS, various right wing religous nationalistic groups, and largely sidelined left campaigners (who had an extremely coherent analysis). Yet again.

I assumed you lived in Ireland Colman. And I don't want to be coming across like I am in a position to know better than others interested in this issue. I like this site - usually lurk - and only stick my nose in when I think I have something to contribute that isn't being contributed already.

by irishhead on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 11:31:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Colman and Frank have been extremely on-the-ball on LIBERTAS.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 11:33:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You couldn't buy enough ads. Anyway, you're not serious.

Sorry, I'm grumpy today. Extra grumpy in fact.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 11:34:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You mean "serious"?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 11:36:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Yes"
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 11:39:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You're not "raising my hackles" and I don't doubt that there is a very coherent left wing  critique of Lisbon and the reasons for voting no.  I happen to disagree with it but lets not fight the merits of the Treaty all over again right now.

What did get my goat was the way in which a well funded front for two businessmen with close links to the US security establishment were able to get equal time and space to almost all the political parties with about 90% of the vote in all of our general elections.

We were bough for a couple of million quid and a clever appeal to nationalistic instincts.

However the Left element of the NO vote probably only accounted for perhaps 5% of the vote (I count Sinn Fein as more fascist than socialist) and the major portion of the no vote was made up of wildly disparate groups and reasons almost none of which had much to do with the Lisbon Treaty itself.

Don't get me wrong.  Ultimately the political establishment have got to take the responsibility for putting a very poorly drafted and explained proposal to the Irish people.  The days of blind trust (or when Fianna Fail could put a donkey on the ballot paper and still win) are long gone.

My big concern is not that things will not now change, but that they will (from an Irish perspective) change for the worse rather than the better as a consequence of this vote.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 11:53:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If that's a main reason, it doesn't make much sense to me. After all, what this means to me is that the Irish nation state fails to take its own sovereignity seriously, so there is nothing to protect by voting No.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 11:02:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You could turn this into an LTE about the results of the referendum.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:40:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I suppose it avoids them having to confront the fact that the population have every reason not to trust them on maintaining our neutrality.

Indeed. But the EU has nothing to do with that. (See: Shannon.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:33:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But the political groups asking them to vote yes DO.
by irishhead on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:45:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So it didn't matter what was in the Lisbon Treaty at all?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:47:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
touche.  But hey - the EU is big and we don't run it, so we must be against it.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:46:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well I'd imagine at the end of the day the reasons for a yes vote people had were just as confused and incoherent with a mix of left and right and blind trust involved.

A lot of FOLLOW LEADER LEADER going on there too and that is not always good.

The politicians are really really furious and the barely concealed contempt for the no vote is something to see at present.

by irishhead on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:52:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
barely concealed contempt for the no vote

If anything, they are hypocrites of high order.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 11:05:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
RTÉ News: Lisbon Treaty set to be rejected
With results in from 33 of the 43 constituencies, the Lisbon Treaty is being beaten by a margin of 53.7% to 46.3%.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:30:31 AM EST
Breaking Irish News, with Irish & World Breaking News Headlines - ireland.com
17:13 The Lisbon Treaty has been rejected by Irish voters sparking a crisis for plans to reform European Union structures. A total of 53.4 per cent voted to reject the treaty, while 46.6 per cent voted in favour. All but seven constituencies rejected the treaty, with a total of 752,451 voting in favour of Lisbon and 862,415 votes against. Turnout was 53.1 per cent.


"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 12:34:48 PM EST
Thanks guys, for making this a fun thread.  Whose going to write up the plans for post Lisbon?

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 12:55:38 PM EST
What plans?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 01:06:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Soon to be EU president 'Sarko' has some plans!

Lara Marlowe, a very respected irish Journalist (Irish Times) got some reaction from someone in paris who she said 'speaks for' sarko. She spoke about it on the radio in last little while.

I'll paraphrase: 'We are sure that the Irish government can put the treaty to the voters again and are in a position to do what it takes to got them to vote yes the next time'

Not very diplomatic to say the least!

by irishhead on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 01:22:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"we'll do what it takes to get them to vote yes" sounds ominous, I have to agree.


When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 01:29:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it is very important that the Irish Government comes up with a plan to address the issues arising from this referendum very quickly and take the lead on promoting it.   If the Irish electorate get the sense that something is being imposed from the outside they will simply vote NO again.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 08:56:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Feeling really grumpy this evening - a la Colman.  Thinking of sending the follow LTE of the Irate Times.  Any views?

So turkeys do indeed vote for Christmas.  Ireland has destroyed the one really good thing it had going for it at a time of growing global crisis - the goodwill of its European neighbours.  It is laughable for DANA ROSEMARY SCALLON to claim that she "represented the hundreds of millions of EU electorate who never got the chance to express a democratic vote" (Letters, June 14).  They have their own 26 democratically elected Governments to represent them - and don't need a collection of Irish Sinn Feiners and Me Feiners to tell them how to run their countries.

They will now also set about  continuing to the develop the EU without Ireland - if necessary as a "two speed" union with "variable geometry" as provided for by the rules on enhanced cooperation within the EU.  What this means, for the slow learners amongst us, is that they will now move on to develop the EU without the Eurosceptic Tories and Republicans on these Islands.   There will be no more successful pleadings for special treatment for Ireland North and south under the various EU development programmes.

If Sinn Fein thinks it can negotiate a better deal for Ireland, it had better turn to their new found friends in American business - Declan Ganly and Ulick McEvaddy who are very well connected with the US defense establishment indeed.  Perhaps they can negotiate a place for us as the 51st. state of the USA.

NB  Sinn Fein in Irish means "we ourselves" and highlights it's anti-colonialist roots.  "Me Feiners" is an Irish colloquialism for people who are only in it for themselves.   DANA ROSEMARY SCALLON is a former Eurovision winning singer (1970), a former MEP (1999 -2004) and a conservative catholic activist on social and moral issues.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 10:30:51 PM EST
Well, since you asked.

I have been thinking a bit on what narrative the no-referendums end up in, and it is nearly always "stupid people voting wrong". I do not think we want that, or rather I think that is hindering in building a common democratic EUrope. EU needs more, not less confidence in its people, do get the structures and the needed trust, that is necessary for a more democratic structure.

Who do we want to blame for this failure? I say the council, our national executives working in common, and doing a lousy job of it. Because we want to lessen the councils power.

So forget the referendum, it is over now. Blame the council in order to get better treaties in the future.

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 Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 11:17:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I know that is probably not the level of critique you wanted, because it calls for a whole different LTE. So as to this LTE it will probably turn out not constructive. For which I apologise.

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 Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 11:20:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here is a pitch (if you want one) on the blame the council-tune.

Blame the irish excutive government for failing in its part of the Councils duty to deliver a clear enough treaty that it can be widely understood and debated on its merits. Through that incompetence the door was left open for the US financed scare-mongers in Libertas, etc.

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 Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 11:45:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Also blame both the Irish government and the EU Commission for not publishing an annotated version of the treaty.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 14th, 2008 at 03:20:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Many thanks - A swedish kind of death and Mig - for the feedback - that is the kind of critique I wanted.  I was in a foul mood at 3.30 am!

Actually I'm not that interested in getting into blame games and want to point a way forward.  The "slow learners" bit was an ironic reference to Seamus Mallon's famous quote about the Good Friday Agreement being "Sunningdale for slow learners".  This was a caustic reference to Unionists taking 30 years to agree to power sharing which finally gave us peace.  I was trying to draw a parallel with the Republic - also taking some time to realise that you have to share power with Europe if you want to achieve peace and prosperity.

Obviously I need to make that reference more explicit,

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jun 14th, 2008 at 05:47:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Irish Electoral Commission - an independent body chaired by a Judge was charged with the responsibility of producing simple and authoritative explanations of what the Treaty did, and did not entail.  There are very mixed views on how ell it did that job, but a mechanism is already in place to address this issue.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jun 14th, 2008 at 12:57:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Venting is satisfying but ineffective.

I would tone it down and rebuild it along the following lines.

  • the no campaign has insisted that "we can get a better deal" but not said what a "better deal" would be
  • claim that just about the only issue given by the no campaign against the treaty which is germane to it is the loss of the Commissioner.
  • propose that Cowan take this as a vote of no confidence and call a snap election centering the campaign debate on EU issues rather than national issues since the first task of the new PM will have to renegotiate the treaty in the EU Council


When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 14th, 2008 at 03:19:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hi Frank,

I think the idea of a snap election is very interesting and the one thing that stands out in your letter / comments. It's not something I have heard floated in the media or papers here. All of your other points are being howled by similarly angry government members at Sinn Fein all over the radio today. I suggest putting a letter together around that as a central point woyuld be provocative. (I too think an election here would be a healthy thing at present if for different reasons)

I have to say that considering the Ganley/Libertas impact on the campaign - the well documented record of these people as US aligned - there is little discussion of that. The irish state is very 'Boston Not Berlin' still and I'd say is very much in a quandry - being attacked by astroturfers wotrking for a 'friend' who they have proved themselves unwilling to upset in any way in the past.

I was speaking to my dad too today (ex-pd)about the whole thing and we agreed that part of the vote is a total unease with a political class who are unwilling to straightforwardly explain the problems facing Ireland as the price of oil and food heads for the stratosphere and the building boom collapses, and, that the vote may be a harbinger of more serious political conflicts in the country in the coming period.

by irishhead on Sat Jun 14th, 2008 at 11:57:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
- with thanks for feedback and suggestions form Mig, Swede, and Irishhead

"So turkeys do indeed vote for Christmas,"  a senior civil servant of my acquaintance with extensive experience of the sharp end of  EU negotiations was moved to remark at the success of the NO campaign.  If Sinn Fein think they can negotiate a better deal, they had better link up with their new found friends in Libertas with their extensive links to the US security and military establishment.   We have a better chance of becoming the 51st. state of the USA than we have of getting a better deal from the EU.  We have destroyed the one really good thing we had going for us at a time of growing global crisis - the goodwill and support of our partners in Europe.  

It is laughable for DANA ROSEMARY SCALLON (Letters, June 14)  to claim that she "represented the hundreds of millions of EU electorate who never got the chance to express a democratic vote".  They have their own 26 democratically elected Governments to represent them - and these governments don't appreciate a collection of Irish Sinn Feiners and Me Feiners telling them how to run their countries.

They will now proceed to develop the EU as a "two speed" union with "variable geometry" as provided for by the rules on enhanced cooperation within the EU - if necessary, without the Eurosceptic Tories and Republicans on these islands .   Seamus Mallon once famously described the Good Friday Agreement as "Sunningdale for slow learners."  When will WE learn that we also have to share power if we want to live in mutual peace and prosperity with our neighbours?

Most of the reasons  given for voting NO have little to do with the Treaty itself.  However there is one provision which is unpopular even in other countries - the loss of a Commissioner by all countries, some of the time.  Perhaps our Taoiseach can propose to the European Council that this provision should be scrapped.  Other countries might also not be unduly concerned if Ireland sought an opt-out protocol on the Common Defense and Security Policy - we don't make a significant contribution anyway.

One thing is clear:  The NO vote was a vote of no confidence not only in the Government, but in our political system as a whole.  Brian Cowen needs to grasp the initiative - and fast - by making some concrete proposals to the European Council before their goodwill and support is entirely dissipated.  Failing that he should call a general election to seek a new popular mandate.  His existing mandate just went up in smoke or - to continue the metaphor employed by the senior civil servant - his goose is cooked...



"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jun 14th, 2008 at 12:54:08 PM EST
Other countries might also not be unduly concerned if Ireland sought an explicit opt-out protocol on the military or defence parts of the Common DefenseForeign and Security Policy - we don't make a significant contribution anyway.



When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 14th, 2008 at 01:03:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks.  What about the tone - still venting a bit much?  I must admit I'm trying to stir things up a bit....  although I don't really think such a long letter will be published in full, if at all.  I'm just trying to get my head around what I would like to say.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jun 14th, 2008 at 01:15:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What if you cut out the second paragraph entirely?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 14th, 2008 at 01:17:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I could soften the "laughable" to ironic or bizarre  - but that paragraph links to and quotes a previous letter - which improves chances of publication and attacks the central contention of the NO campaign that they were somehow being more democratic and European than the yes side.  It also highlights the central political/negotiating problem now facing Cowen - some very pissed off fellow council members.

I am trying to create a sense that the NO vote wasn't simply preserving the status quo - it does have a downside and we need to move quickly to repair that damage.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jun 14th, 2008 at 01:39:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Can you merge it with the first?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 14th, 2008 at 01:45:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Irish Times house style is for very short paragraphs - the first is already too long.

I have no doubt they would cut it - if they publish it at all - but it is hard to predict which bits they would cut - and so I might just leave the choice up to them.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jun 14th, 2008 at 01:59:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Okay, I just checked the consolidated version of the Lisbon Treaty for wordings.

There are mentions of a "common defence policy", but the treaty contains a specific section on a common security and defence policy within the common foreign and security policy.


When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 14th, 2008 at 01:35:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why don't you get a job as a researcher for EU policy makers - you're really good at this sort of stuff.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jun 14th, 2008 at 01:42:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It has been suggested that I enter the concours.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 14th, 2008 at 01:46:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think you should.  And get a doctorate in European politics while your at it.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jun 14th, 2008 at 01:56:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, and there are also scattered mentions of "military and defence implications", usually to prevent decisions authorised by articles from having those implications.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 14th, 2008 at 02:02:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
With thanks to all for making this the most commented thread ever on a very relevant topic - and not a snark in sight!  

The Irish Government is currently playing a very cagey "need time for reflection" game and trying to keep all options open - whilst being dutifully respectful towards the electoral outcome.

Other EU Governments have toned down the early "we'll carry on without the Irish" rhetoric and seem to be willing to give Cowen some time to come up with "an Irish solution to an Irish problem" (to quote a former Taoiseach, Charles Haughey).

Coming up with a viable solution will take all of Cowen considerable political skills.  Sinn Fein and Libertas have moved fast to maximise and consolidate their gains and Sinn Fein has asked for a meeting with Cowen to discuss their views on the way forward - as if they had "ownership" of the NO vote.

At the moment the NO side need to be careful not to overplay their hand.  They don't have much of an electoral mandate yet and many NO voters are embarrassed at the company they are now keeping.

For those interested I am also participating in a blog on Timesonline where Terry and the gang are spouting their usual neo-con or Eurocceptic bile at all things EU.  

Charles Bremner has published my post criticizing the Sunday Times for refusing to publish pro-Treaty articles by it's own correspondents (whilst acknowledging privately that it is against editorial policy).  This is a small example of the problems we are going to have getting a pro-EU narrative out there.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jun 16th, 2008 at 01:57:04 PM EST
Cowen considerable political skills

You did a pretty nice profile of Bertie Ahern on the occasion of his exit. Can I invite you to write a diary about Cowen's "considerable political skills"?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 16th, 2008 at 02:01:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think that would be premature.  It is remarkable that he has risen, unchallenged to be the unanimous choice of Fianna Fail to lead it - it's not as if there aren't enough egos in there.  But he hasn't really faced a national crisis like this before, so the jury is still out at a national level.   He seems to have a real talent for bringing people along with him - which is crucial in this context - but in terms of charisma, vision, or ideas  - he really isn't at the races.  I'm banking on him being able to form a new national consensus on th best way forward - a uniquely political task - but it can't happen very quickly.  I wonder will other EU leaders be able to keep their mouths shut that long?  The auguries point to a major cock-up - but he may just be able to pull it off.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jun 16th, 2008 at 03:44:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So you meant to say it will demand considerable political skills of Cowen?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 16th, 2008 at 04:34:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It wasn't his cock-up: Ahern left him holding the bag.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 16th, 2008 at 04:36:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The cock-up will most likely come from European leaders not being able to keep their mouths shut.  Cowen has done very well to unite Fianna Fail.  The question is can he re-unite the country - or at least the major part of it.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jun 16th, 2008 at 05:01:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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