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Hold a referendum on allowing the rest of the EU to proceed without Ireland.
This doesn't require a referendum - merely a government decision not to oppose "enhanced cooperation" by others under Nice - something that may not be possible in any case. How can Ireland stop (say) Germany and France and a lot of other members agreeing to (say) enhanced security/military cooperation?
What the Government DOES need to do next time around is spell out what the rest of the EU WILL do if Lisbon is rejected a second time. Of course this will be presented by the NO campaign as bullying, but nobody is forcing Ireland to tag along.
Quite the reverse. The No campaigners are trying to bully 26 other democratic Governments into not doing what they have freely said they want to do. It would be helpful if the absurdity of this proposition were exposed by the other 26 member states jointly declaring that they will proceed with Lisbon on a multilateral "enhanced cooperation" basis without Ireland if Ireland CHOOSES to opt out - as it is perfectly entitled to do.
Thus there is no bullying - we can come to the party or stay at home as we choose. What we can't do is stop 26 other democracies from agreeing to work ever closer together.
(In practice such enhanced cooperation without Ireland would be extremely unwieldy. The Parliament/Commission/President of the Council would still be elected/appointed on the Nice basis and some business would be concluded on a Lisbon (without Ireland) basis whilst Ireland would be included in other business on a Nice basis. It would be a bit lie Russia being excluded from some G8/G7 meetings and not others with Ireland "stepping out" of certain meeting whist some decisions were taken by the Lisbon EU26 version 2.0.
The absurdities inherent in this would force a reappraisal on all sides but the divergence could become permanent if (say) Croatia were admitted into the Lisbon EU but not the Nice EU. Then you would have Ireland and Croatia swapping seats from time to time. It would be easy to spot which country is on the way out.
Vote McCain for war without gain
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