by Frank Schnittger
Thu Jun 5th, 2008 at 09:50:36 AM EST
What follows is the text of my Letter to the Editor of the Irish Times. As they are unlikely to publish it I will offer it here for your edification even though it doesn't say much that will be new to our erudite readership. All comments welcome.
Madam - The EU and its predecessors were set up to end a succession of wars between the major powers of Europe and to rebuild their shattered economies after World War II. It continued by admitting more peripheral European countries like Ireland and helping them to grow their grossly underdeveloped economies through a whole range of imaginative administration measures such as the Common Agricultural Policy and various regional, infrastructural and cohesion funds. It enabled the unification of Europe in the aftermath of the Cold War. It has helped to manage, contain, and sometimes even resolve severe regional tensions in the Middle East, the Balkans, and, much closer to home, in Northern Ireland. In all of this it has been extraordinarily successful and has helped to create unprecedented prosperity and peace in Europe and on this island.
Now all the 27 Governments of its member countries have asked us to do our bit to help the EU perform more effectively and efficiently in a world with a whole new range of challenges - wars in the middle east, global warming, peak oil, mass food shortages, and human rights violations world wide. And what is our response? We whinge about a neutrality that never was and which we have ourselves flouted through rendition flights through Shannon. We whine about the complexity of the document as if the unification of Europe could be anything but a difficult and complex process. We claim to be teaching our fellow members to be more democratic by voting against a Treaty against the expressed wishes of all their democratically elected governments. We complain we will have less influence in a Union of 27 members than we had in a Community of 15. We claim the Lisbon Treaty will allow greater immorality to be imported into Ireland when we managed to achieve the mass abuse of children all on our own.
Promoted by Colman - it's not an unfair summary of most of the No campaign, in my view.
[editor's note, by Migeru] Fold inserted here for the Front Page
And who are these people who warn of all of these terrible things? Sinn Fein - with a wonderful track record of promoting human rights on this island? A collection of Nationalists and Socialists who have opposed every EU Treaty that ever was - including our very entry into the European Community? A wealthy businessman with close links to the US security establishment which opposes the development of the EU because it may challenge US hegemony? A ragbag collection of moral and religious fundamentalists whose spiritual predecessors have opposed every aspect of the modernisation of Ireland - from equal rights for women, children, gays, and religious minorities to compassionate attempts to deal with poverty, healthcare, (Mother and Child Scheme), marital breakdown, family planning and the development of human rights generally?
Someone once defined Chutzpah as the act of a person who murdered his parents and pleads for compassion on the grounds that he is now an orphan. I will say this for the opponents of the Lisbon Treaty. They have some nerve! What good have they brought to this country and to the world by comparison? We badly need a much more effective EU to provide greater leadership to the world. The Lisbon Treaty may be criticized that it does not do enough to achieve this, but it provides so much more than the reactionary nihilism of its opponents. What Charter of Fundamental Rights have they ever offered us? Let us ratify the Lisbon Treaty and move on to even greater things.