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Why Ireland Voted No.

by Frank Schnittger Tue Jun 17th, 2008 at 06:48:25 PM EST

We're starting to get some slightly harder data on why Ireland voted no in the referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.  A telephone poll of 2000 people taken over the week-end and commissioned by the European Commission in conjunction with the Taoiseach's office has found that:

  1. Three quarters of people who voted No in the referendum on the Lisbon Treaty believed that the text could be renegotiated later by the Government - but just 40% of yes voters thought the same

  2. Three quarters of No voters also believe that rejecting the treaty would have no impact on the Irish economy. Of the YES voters, 55 per cent thought that rejecting the Lisbon treaty would hurt the Irish economy and 67 per cent believed that a no vote would weaken Ireland's influence within the EU

  3. 80 per cent of No voters support Irish membership of the EU


  1. When asked to give a single reason for voting No, some 40 per cent of people replied that they didn't understand the treaty. A fifth of respondents said they voted No to protect Irish identity while 17 per cent of respondents said they didn't trust politicians or Government policies.  Other reasons cited for voting No where to protect Irish neutrality (10 per cent), to keep an Irish EU Commissioner (10 per cent) and to protect the tax system (8 per cent)

  2. A majority of women voted No while a majority of men voted Yes.

  3.  Young people between the age of 15 and 29 voted against the treaty by a factor of two to one, a finding that is labelled as "very serious" in an explanation of the result prepared for European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso.  This explanation concludes that the "no side" in the referendum campaign saw little negative fall out from their vote. "It's almost risk-free," notes the paper

  4. When asked what the No vote would mean in the future: 84 per cent of people said it would keep Ireland's tax system; 83 per cent said it would keep Irish neutrality; 77 per cent said the Government would renegotiate; 60 per cent said the Nice treaty would remain in place; and 59 per cent said that Irish decisions on abortion, euthanasia and gay marriage would prevail.

  5. The paper says that most people who abstained from voting in the referendum said they needed more information.

  6. A more comprehensive analysis of the results will probably be published by the Commission later this week

The bottom line seems to be that No voters are predominantly young and female, support EU membership, don't expect a NO vote to have serious negative consequences, expect the Treaty to be re-negotiated, voted no because they didn't understand the treaty or wanted to protect Ireland's identity and didn't trust the politicians.  Lesser issues included neutrality, tax, loss of the Commissioner, and control over moral issues.

The poll confirms my suspicions that age was a critical factor in the vote, with younger voters taking the EU for granted, feeling they didn't understand what the Treaty meant and wanting to give the political classes a shot across the bows.

If the poll is accurate, then renegotiating and re-voting on the Treaty shouldn't be as controversial a course of action as it was for Nice II.  People more or less expect that to happen anyway.  

What is critical is that there is a much more comprehensive information campaign and that a number of very simply worded and direct protocols are added emphasising that the Treaty has no impact on Ireland's Neutrality, Taxation system, and control over moral issues.

None of this should be a problem for Ireland's EU partners, and so this referendum result could yet turn out to have been no more than a storm in a teacup and a temporary set back.

However I would caution against these results being taken too literally.  Having secured a famous victory, the NO side are not going to concede the high ground too easily.  The issues have a way of changing even as the initial stated issues are addressed and resolved.

Expect the NO campaigners to hold out for retaining the Commissioner full time - which would require a re-ratification of the Treaty in those countries that have already ratified it - probably not a deal breaker - but also more difficult changes such as the reduction in Ireland's voting strength in the weighted majority voting system - which would unravel the whole deal.

They will also seek to put pressure on the Government on a whole range of totally extraneous issues - cutbacks in CAP subventions, Fishing quotas, fuel prices, employment issues, health services etc.  This will now become a vote of confidence issue for the Government as a whole. and everyone with a grudge or a bee in their bonnet about something will somehow want to use this as a reason for threatening to vote no precisely because they know the Government is desperate to secure a Yes vote.

The process for arriving at a decision on the best way forward, for marketing the protocols and opt-outs added to the Treaty, and for presenting the whole package as a considered response to a searching analysis by the Irish Government of the reasons for the no vote - and not some capitulation to foreign pressure - will be critical in securing popular acceptance that a second poll is justified, and that a more positive outcome will likely be secured.

This essentially political task plays to the strengths of the new Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, and it will be the defining task for his premiership.  Timing will be critical, and particularly events at the Mahon Tribunal - where Bertie Ahern's evidence has become the subject of general incredulity and mirth - need to have receded from the public consciousness.

Any time this year for a new referendum will probably be too soon.  However I could see a package emerging whereby the referendum will be put to the people a second time simultaneously with the European Parliament Elections next year.  

If the European Parliament where also given a special role to produce a road map for the future post Lisbon development of the EU - in particular addressing such popular concerns as accountability, transparency and a greater degree of democratic control - then the sting could also be taken out of the popular discontent with those issues.

I could see a situation where the Government could win that referendum, but also take a hammering from Sinn Fein et al in the European Parliament elections. The Irish electorate are quite good at making discriminating choices:  using the European Parliament elections to register their protest at the Government but letting the Lisbon Treaty pass - having made their point.

The question is, can the rest of the EU wait that long, and can other EU leaders keep their patience and not appear to be disrespectful to the Irish electorate and bullying towards the Irish Government.  If not, then they might as well go back to the drawing board.  Irish people do not respond well to threats.

On balance, I am a lot more hopeful that this will turn out to be but a temporary setback in the development of the EU.  It will also force a greater re-appraisal of what needs to be done before further enlargement can take place.  British Eurosceptics who hope that the Irish vote will be their launchpad for a reversal of the EU project will find few allies within Ireland.  If anything, a stronger and more coherent EU could emerge from the experience.  

Certainly, it is to be hoped, that the Irish Government and EU Council will never again put such a poorly drafted and explained document before the Irish people.  If they want to re-energise the EU project, they are going to have to become much better at re-connecting that project with ordinary citizens throughout the EU. The next European Parliament elections will be key to this. Up until now the European Parliament has appeared to be only barely relevant to the whole process. This has got to change, and it has got to start harnessing more of the energies of EU citizens to the EU project.

Display:
I have read about this poll before and I must say that this is really encouraging. But I think this time one should not simply hope for a yes but have plan to implement necessary changes (using the possibility for enhanced cooperation given by the Nice Treaty) even if the Irish reject Lisbon again.
by rz on Tue Jun 17th, 2008 at 07:11:01 PM EST
I agree - there needs to be a plan C and it is no harm that the Irish electorate will see that the EU will move on without them if they vote no again.  The perception that there is no downside to a no vote must be changed.

However there is a fine line between doing this and appearing to threaten or bully the Irish electorate.  Thus how this is handled, and the language used by those promoting it will be critical.

"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 Tue Jun 17th, 2008 at 07:19:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How do we correct for errors in self-reporting here?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jun 18th, 2008 at 02:32:46 AM EST
Do you expect a systematic bias?

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 Wed Jun 18th, 2008 at 02:44:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Either politically incorrect fears about foreigners taking jobs or silliness like voting no to show the politicians who's boss aren't likely to be reported as such. You could argue they're covered in categories above, I suppose.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jun 18th, 2008 at 02:58:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would have a reasonable degree of confidence in the results given that 2000 is quite a large sample (normally c. 1000) and should allow for quite a lot of statistically significant analysis of sub groups (e.g. Yes and No voters, regions, age groups, genders) within the poll.

Normally I don't like telephone polls all that much, but in this case it may actually have helped to reduce "interviewer bias" caused by not wanting to appear politically incorrect or ignorant in front of a (usually well dressed women) interviewer.

The results themselves don't suggest any reticence about saying (e.g. don't understand it) and when Commissioner McCreevy and Taoiseach Cowen admitted to not having fully read it - it set a pretty low standard for what was required or expected of people.

What I don't know - from the sketchy media reports available to date - is what actual questions were asked, and how open ended they were.  E.g. were people asked about "foreigners taking their jobs" as an issue, or would they have had to spontaneously come up with that answer.  In other words the question often suggests or prompts for an answer, and so the methodology is critical to what outcomes you get.  

The questions asked would also be a very useful indicator of what the Commission wanted to find out.


"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 Wed Jun 18th, 2008 at 03:24:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sample size doesn't mean anything if the questions and options are screwed up.  Were they just asking people to give an open opinion, or were they having them choose from a set of options to explain their vote?  Example of the latter:

"Did you vote (yes/no) because of (a or b or c or d or e)?"

If the questions were presented like the above (it sounds like they were), Colman's right.  The poll might be shit.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Jun 18th, 2008 at 07:50:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is quite a well developed polling industry in Ireland with a generally good reputation for accurate results.  There is little reason to think the Commission would want to skew the results - which are in any case unflattering for them.  I presume the research brief was to allow respondents to volunteer their reasons, and failing that to offer some options - perhaps with a bias to getting some actionable data - i.e. stuff the political system can actually address - not  "my mammy voted no so I did..." etc.

However until the full survey report is published we can only surmise.

"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 Wed Jun 18th, 2008 at 08:20:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Young people between the age of 15 and 29 voted against the treaty by a factor of two to one

Young people between the ages of 15 and 17 voted?

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 Wed Jun 18th, 2008 at 02:44:28 AM EST
This is repeated in today's paper so I presume it's not a typo.  Perhaps the sample included people as young as 15 - in which case it is not a sample taken from the electoral register - and depended on people self-reporting their age over the phone.  Perhaps the 15-29 category is just a standard category for such surveys and the Commission wanted this survey to be consistent with a standard survey series.

Either way it is obviously incorrect to refer to the sample as voters - as it also included abstainers.  The piece in the Irish Times was very sloppily written which is why I re-wrote it rather than simply publishing a big quote from 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 Wed Jun 18th, 2008 at 03:29:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I presume it's just the standard age categories for Eurostat...

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 Wed Jun 18th, 2008 at 05:15:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
77 per cent said the Government would renegotiate; 60 per cent said the Nice treaty would remain in place

You know, as long as you have more than 2% of cynics (Lisbon will go ahead without renegotiation) even among the ones who think the government will renegotiate, a majority believe Nice will remain in place.

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 Wed Jun 18th, 2008 at 02:52:59 AM EST
The bottom line seems to be that No voters are predominantly young and female, support EU membership, don't expect a NO vote to have serious negative consequences, expect the Treaty to be re-negotiated but still fail to pass, voted no because they didn't understand the treaty or wanted to protect Ireland's identity and didn't trust the politicians.  Lesser issues included neutrality, tax, loss of the Commissioner, and control over moral issues.

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 Wed Jun 18th, 2008 at 02:55:05 AM EST
Obviously there will be a significant No vote in any re-run no matter how well the stated grievances of the NO voters are addressed - some on principle because they object to having to vote on the same issue twice.

However I don't get the sense from these numbers that there is a huge antipathy to the EU per se, or Ireland playing an active role in it.  80% of of NO voters support Ireland's membership of the EU.

This is emphatically not a Eurosceptic vote, and the more crowing they hear from Tory Eurosceptics and Catholic fundamentalists at the vote the more dis-inclined they will be to vote No in the future.

Marie here has articulated the left/green component of the no vote, and they actually want more active EU intervention in Irish affairs.  I wouldn't underestimate the degree to which some voted No for a whole raft of reasons which boil down to "the government/politicians/EU" aren't doing enough to solve issue X - even where this has nothing to do with the Treaty itself.  I note that ireland.com - The Irish Times - Wed, Jun 18, 2008 - EU agrees emergency aid package for fishing industry

THE EUROPEAN Commission agreed an emergency aid package for fishermen yesterday to help offset the recent dramatic rise in oil prices.

So the bribery has begun!

This means that every country will start to want to vote No a few times in order to get more bang for its bucks....

"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 Wed Jun 18th, 2008 at 03:46:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I was just pointing out that 60% thought the Nice Treaty would remain in force...

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 Wed Jun 18th, 2008 at 05:13:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yep, but do they know what Nice entails?  I think it would be more accurate to describe that vote as a vote for the status quo - thinking that a No vote changes nothing.  However if it inspires a nicean twin speed EU they will be disappointed, won't they?  Part of the trick of winning this the next time around is to be much clearer about the downside attaching to a no 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 Wed Jun 18th, 2008 at 08:27:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Say I give you a closed envelope containing a cheque.

Now I come back and ask you whether you'd like to trade the old envelope for a new one. The new one contains more money. Honest.

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 Wed Jun 18th, 2008 at 08:40:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
All depends on whether I trust you....  

But what is contained in the original envelope will become much clearer to everyone as the EU continues to evolve - perhaps on a twin track basis - and people realise they are losing their commissioner anyway - and the economy continues to slide - and Croatians complain at the Irish shutting the door on them - and the EU fails to respond effectively to all manner of global crises - and...and...

So what is Ireland getting for a halving of it's relative weighted majority voting weight? ... remind me ... maybe this NO vote is not such a bad idea after 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 Wed Jun 18th, 2008 at 09:29:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe next time around the EU will try the Penrose method for qualified majority voting...

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 Wed Jun 18th, 2008 at 10:32:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the square root of half nothing? - Only Poland wants 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 Wed Jun 18th, 2008 at 11:07:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Interestingly, according to wikipedia the voting weights under the treaty of Nice are approximately the same as the Penrose weights, already.

I can think of two reasonable motives why nobody wanted it: one, they were sick of the delays in the ratification of the treaties over voting rights (which is why the EU-15 didn't manage to ratify in time and Poland got a say in the first place); nobody likes the Polish twins.

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 Wed Jun 18th, 2008 at 11:15:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Can be added to the ET jargonary, along with PNing and strange goings-on in Malta. ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Jun 18th, 2008 at 11:25:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
is that why the Twin Track approach is so unpopular?

"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 Wed Jun 18th, 2008 at 11:36:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
'Send in the clones...'

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Jun 18th, 2008 at 11:38:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank, I'm sure you didn't mean to suggest this-
if one looks for a group such as you describe- a group who adhere to these "predominant" positions, they probably wouldn't fill a large pub.
One could say, "These issues were often cited by the "no" voters," or the like, but the idea that there is a group like this is misleading.

The single issue that stands out as most common (but still not predominant) is the fact that the "no" voters didn't understand the thing.

Same with the constitution. It was a brain twister to read it. Bad idea. To then prepare another pretty impenetrable document to repair the first unreadable document suggests just how far out of touch the creators are with the real world, and how elitist.

People resent being asked to evaluate a document written in wonk.
And for those who think you must write in wonk to be a "serious person",

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

So there.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Thu Jun 19th, 2008 at 07:52:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

Aren't the consequences of that statement seem to be rather far away from the intentions of the original framers?

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jun 19th, 2008 at 07:59:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed- but not the point. The point is that one can write critically important ideas in simple, elegant prose.
What subsequent generations do with the ideas cannot, at least, be ascribed to their failing to understand them.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Thu Jun 19th, 2008 at 08:08:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Given the range of "interpretations" put forward by the No camp for the Lisbon Treaty, what do you think they'd do with a collection of vague statements, exactly?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jun 19th, 2008 at 08:22:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
geezer in Paris:
People resent being asked to evaluate a document written in wonk.
Which is why Hamilton and his pals had to write 77 Federalist Papers over a period of 10 months in order to convince the New York State Legislature (not the people: there was no referendum) to approve 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 Thu Jun 19th, 2008 at 08:08:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Charter for fundamental rights is as simple and direct as you can get - and also quite short - yet few people seem to have read it.  

Rome, Maastricht, Nice - are all very complex documents - as all international Treaties tend to be.  The problem is that international treaties are between states - not citizens - and are intended primarily to stop international lawyers and diplomats from pulling them apart. The Lisbon Treaty begins the process of assigning direct rights to EU citizens - in some senses creates that concept for the first time - but it is still primarily an inter-state treaty based on an inter-governmental agreement between 27 governments painstakingly negotiated over many years.  How could it not be complex?

Having said all that, Lisbon took things too far - and I agree it should never have been put to a plebiscite in its current form.

But that is what we have now got - and a few protocols or codicils spelling out in simple language that it does not effect Ireland's Neutrality, corporate tax system, abortion legislation etc. is the best we can do to fix it.

Personally I think the NO voters were waiting in the long grass to give the government a bloody nose for all manner of reasons - many justified - and will want to see Cowen suffer and squirm for a while.  After a suitable period of governmental penance the Treaty will be passed and everyone will be wondering what all the fuss was about.  People sign commercial agreements without reading the small print all the time.  The central issue is trust - and the Government has some ground to make up to earn it back.

"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 19th, 2008 at 08:44:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
John Banville (El País, Thursday June 12, 2008) said in an interview: "Rather than Eurosceptics, we are Euroignorants". And this happens not only in Ireland.

http://www.elpais.com/articulo/internacional/euroescepticos/somos/euroignorantes/elpepiint/20080612e lpepiint_2/Tes

by PerCLupi on Thu Jun 19th, 2008 at 10:25:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Rome, Maastricht, Nice - are all very complex documents - as all international Treaties tend to be.  The problem is that international treaties are between states - not citizens - and are intended primarily to stop international lawyers and diplomats from pulling them apart. The Lisbon Treaty begins the process of assigning direct rights to EU citizens - in some senses creates that concept for the first time - but it is still primarily an inter-state treaty based on an inter-governmental agreement between 27 governments painstakingly negotiated over many years.  How could it not be complex?"

What becomes incredibly complex-and often necessarily so- is the legaleze that renders operant a principle.
If the principle, however, is written in Wonk, the battle is lost from the start.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Fri Jun 27th, 2008 at 06:29:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think this is written in wonk. Do you mind quoting some examples?

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 27th, 2008 at 06:32:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree it is reasonably straightforward for someone capable of reading legal documents - as this has to be.  However many just wnat to know how this is different to what was agreed before, and here they got many confusing messages,  I doubt whether 0.1 % of voters had even read a significant portion of the Teraty - never mind all of it.  They made their decision based on a huge range of factors - daily expanded on in the letters pages of the national press - very very few of which related to anything in the actual text of the Treaty itself.

Regretably it was all about how the Treaty was emotionally "packaged" that determined it's sales, and nothing intrinsic to the product itself.

This is a familiar phenomenon in marketing.  Very few people can tell, in blind tastings, a £50 bottle of whiskey from a £15 bottle - but most will declare the former to e superior if they can see which bottle it came from.

What makes this result so remarkable is how LITTLE support the key NO campaign brands have - less than 10% in national elections - and how embarrassed many no voters are to be associated with them.

It therefor takes a very strong negative emotional impulse to overcome so much negative branding and still convince people to "buy" the NO vote campaign product.  A lot of this appears to be a oartially suppressed atavistic nationalism, a religious fundamentalism, and a reactionary political response to political liberalism, social pluralism/secularism and economic uncertainty.   Very little has to do with any opposition to the EU per se - much less with the actual Treaty text itself.

We need to understand these factors much better, and disassociate them from the Lisbon Treaty itself, if we are to have any chance of securing a more positive outcome 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 27th, 2008 at 12:57:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
See nanne's last two diaries.

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 27th, 2008 at 02:15:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is a familiar phenomenon in marketing.  Very few people can tell, in blind tastings, a £50 bottle of whiskey from a £15 bottle - but most will declare the former to e superior if they can see which bottle it came from.

I had a flatmate set up a similar test, between a €15 and a €35 bottle, trying to prove this theory - and he was the only one out of four who thought the lower priced bottle was better. It wasn't all that hard...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misčres

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sat Jun 28th, 2008 at 05:45:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was on a whisky appreciation course - attended by distillery managers and marketing types.  None were statistically much better than random in selecting the higher priced liquid - out of dozens of paired tastings.  Some couldn't even identify that some samples were brandy rather than whisky

"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 28th, 2008 at 07:21:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd say it is much harder to differentiate between the €35 and the €70 bottle than between the €15 and the €35 bottles.

And marketing and managerial types are not the people I'd go to for taste.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misčres

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sun Jun 29th, 2008 at 08:36:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll have to dig out the research, but bottle etiquettes are highly influential in beverage choice. This is true of all products that are purchased before they are sensorily sampled. And the label will further influence the experience enjoyment or otherwise of the product. So if you believe something is good, then you will more likely experience it as good.

There are certain purchasing decision that can be influenced by imperceptible (to the average buyer) changes in colours, fonts, shapes etc. With the instant feedback of supermarket sales today, for instance, the neighbouring of the same product in two subtly different packaging versions can measure the effect on purchasing fairly accurately. But naturally these changes are also tested with consumer groups at the design stage.

Playing 'classical' background music in a restaurant, for instance, encourages diners to choose more expensive wines and leave larger tips.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Jun 28th, 2008 at 07:44:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Traditional" rather than modern pub design encourages the purchasing og Guinness rather than lagers 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 29th, 2008 at 05:55:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am not saying right or wrong, since we all use these subtle signals in our daily lives.

But I am saying that most people are unaware that technology has turned such signalling into a science way way behind the use of candlelight for a romantic evening (though candlelight is a primitive in this branch of communication) ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Jun 29th, 2008 at 07:02:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
beyond, not behind

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Jun 29th, 2008 at 07:02:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Expect the NO campaigners to hold out for retaining the Commissioner full time - which would require a re-ratification of the Treaty in those countries that have already ratified it

The Treaty of Lisbon provides for one commissioner per member state until 2014, so that issue can be punted forward.

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 Wed Jun 18th, 2008 at 02:57:58 AM EST
A joint Council political declaration to review this issue - or to ask the EP to review this issue - before any reduction takes place might be enough to cover that 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 Wed Jun 18th, 2008 at 08:28:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This should be enough to persuade some Nationalist no voters that maybe it wasn't such a good idea to vote no....

ireland.com - Breaking News - DUP, Eurosceptics welcome No vote

New Northern Ireland Environment Minister Sammy Wilson of the DUP has welcomed Ireland's No vote in the Lisbon referendum.

"I have no doubt that if we [the United Kingdom] were given the opportunity to have our say, the UK would have voted as the Republic of Ireland has. Unfortunately we were robbed of our promised chance to let Europe know what we actually think of this treaty."

"The people of the United Kingdom were not given the opportunity to have their say on the Lisbon treaty, despite the fact that all parties had promised in their manifestos to hold a referendum."

The result sent a very strong message to leaders in Europe that the European Constitution was dead, Mr Wilson said.

But he predicted EU leaders would try to resurrect the treaty by tweaking it enough so people would be fooled into thinking that it was a different document.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage said the only people to have a public voice on the treaty had "kicked it into the long grass".

He went on: "I suspect that the EU extremists will simply try to ignore it." He said the process of the treaty through the House of Lords next week had now to be halted "because the project now has no legitimacy".

Tory peer Lord Tebbit commented: "Perhaps now both the European Union and the British Government will understand that wherever the treaty or the constitution have been put to the people, the people have rejected it.

"If Brown wants to ratify the Treaty, despite the Irish vote, he should hold a referendum here, and as far as the EU is concerned, it should now understand that the people of Europe are not prepared to go farther and deeper into the process of creating a European state," he added.

But Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies said the European Union would "muddle on" despite the rejection.

"At its heart, the EU is simply a mechanism that allows 27 countries with shared values to work together. The process is slow, confused, and occasionally shambolic, but it is the best we have."



"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 Wed Jun 18th, 2008 at 09:41:24 AM EST
If there was any doubt as to the value of--indeed the essential need for-- the EU, the fact that the Euro has been a hugely important refuge, and a force for economic stability should lay those doubts to rest. But it will not. If the euroskeptics refuse to see that, I think they will never change. Move on, but write intelligible documents that do not need an interpreter to comprehend.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Thu Jun 19th, 2008 at 08:02:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
geezer in Paris:
Move on, but write intelligible documents that do not need an interpreter to comprehend.
The more I read of the treaties the less I agree that applies to 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 Thu Jun 19th, 2008 at 08:12:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They should have provided a consolidated version of the treaty earlier.
by rz on Thu Jun 19th, 2008 at 08:29:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
yea, but in fairness, not everyone operates with your bandwidth.  I'm down to my last synapses.

"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 19th, 2008 at 08:31:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But the problem is that a lot of people still blame the Euro for inflation. I was arguing with someone in Vienna a few weeks ago about this, explaining that even though the Euro might have been responsible for price increases initially, we would be experiencing much bigger price increases these days with a weak currency like the dollar. She then asked me if I was an economist.... That's what we have to deal with.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Thu Jun 19th, 2008 at 09:42:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Euro can't be responsible for inflation since the ECB keeps the currency as strong as they can.

Now, that the Ecofin is not doing enough to coordinate fiscal or industrial policy across the Eurozone to prevent asymmetric shocks is another matter.

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 19th, 2008 at 10:14:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Exactly. My point was that even though this should be so obvious so as not to even need stating, this is not clear to a lot of people. If they get something as basic as this wrong, how can we expect them to understand the treaty?
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Thu Jun 19th, 2008 at 10:32:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Who was it that said that 50% of the population have an IQ below 100?

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 19th, 2008 at 10:33:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Even worse, 50% of people have below average IQs!!!

Interest rates and inflation where anything up to 15% in the days Ireland had its own currency and our central bank didn't have the resources to fend of multi-billion currency speculators.  One of the main reasons for the celtic tiger was currency stability and low interest rates.

However there is a perception that formerly very cheap countries like Ireland, spain and Greece have caught up with formerly expensive countries - which I think is true - but that is due to their rapid growth - not the Euro per se - although perhaps indirectly, in that the Euro also helped the rapid growth.

What people forget is that most incomes - aside perhaps from some pensioners - have increased even more.

"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 19th, 2008 at 11:15:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank Schnittger:
One of the main reasons for the celtic tiger was currency stability and low interest rates.
I thought the Celtic Tiger predated the Euro (1999). Or was the European exchange rate mechanism enough to stabilize the Irish Pound?

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 19th, 2008 at 11:18:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It was.  Ireland - unlike the UK never strayed outside its EMS band.

"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 19th, 2008 at 12:57:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The IQ model assumes a Gaussian IQ distribution with a mean of 100. Both median and average IQ are thus 100 by definition.

- Jake

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

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Jun 20th, 2008 at 03:30:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks, Jake.  And people who don't understand the absurdity of saying that half the population have a below average IQ are going to understand Gaussian distributions?  Are those the gaseous emissions you get from not knowing your onions?

"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 20th, 2008 at 04:08:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry :-P

The difference between median and mean is a hobby horse of mine. It is not self-evident that half the population is below average in any given statistic. Bill Gates walks into a bar and all that... And this is a case of what you don't know being able to hurt you - and hurt you badly - because it means that people can pass off means where they should be using medians. Such as when describing incomes across different countries...

- Jake

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

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Jun 20th, 2008 at 05:10:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I appreciate the distinction, and averages and aggregate numbers have been used to hide all manner of income redistributions within Societies - as described by the Anglo disease series.

"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 20th, 2008 at 07:29:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the absurdity of saying that half the population have a below average IQ

What absurdity?

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 20th, 2008 at 06:02:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The most important thing I saw was: 80% of No voters support the EU.

Clearly this means that the European Union will live on and the concept of integration is, as stated, TAKEN FOR GRANTED.  That is a success.  The young voters of Ireland (and likely the rest of Western Europe's young will agree) understand that the EU is real, will continue and is THEIR GOVERNMENT.  Thus they want it to be shaped in a manner they direct.

The Lisbon Treaty was not written for the people.  It was deliberately obtuse.  It smells of someone trying to pull wool over eyes.  It offers nothing to the young Irish.  Add the cynical way in which it was being pushed (only Ireland allows the people to actually vote, last time they voted other countries said No of course)

What is so hard to understand here?

As for the "Nice Treaty will not continue" aspect well that sounds a bit like extortion and I'd say the "young Irish females" just called your bluff.

by paving on Wed Jun 18th, 2008 at 02:03:02 PM EST
I don't think anyone is saying Nice will not continue.  However Nice contains mechanisms for "enhanced cooperation" which allows for the development of a "two speed" Europe where some counties opt to develop cooperation/integration at a faster rate.  Most No voters don't appear to be aware of 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 Wed Jun 18th, 2008 at 02:17:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
frank you've falling into the trap of suggesting we're neutral again
by lostexpectation on Thu Jun 19th, 2008 at 03:35:33 PM EST
Who me? Where?  When?  I don't even know what we're supposed to be neutral on.  WW2? The Cold War? Iraq?  Rendition flights?  Chad?  Darfur? The European Football Championships?  Have you ever seen an Irishman neutral on anything after a few jars?  I'm neutral on apathy myself:  I don't even care about apathy anymore...

"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 19th, 2008 at 04:59:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
great reply...
by lostexpectation on Sun Jun 22nd, 2008 at 04:53:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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