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From NO to maybe on Lisbon

by Frank Schnittger Wed Aug 27th, 2008 at 10:34:09 PM EST

The Irish Independent, the largest circulation daily in Ireland has published my Letter to the Editor which seeks to map out a way forward on the Lisbon Treaty rejection conundrum.  The letter is written with "swing voters" in mind and thus repeats, though not necessarily endorses, a lot of popular conceptions about the Treaty which gave rise to the no vote.

Give Lisbon to Supreme Court - Letters, Opinion - Independent.ie

Minister Dick Roche's call for a re-run of the Lisbon referendum risks inflaming anti-EU sentiment in Ireland still further, as it underlines the perceived elitist and undemocratic nature of the European project in the eyes of many 'No' voters.

These could well be joined by many 'Yes' voters from the last referendum if an increasingly embattled and unpopular government is not seen to have dealt with the issues arising from the last vote effectively.

These issues include:

1. An amendment to the treaty enabling the restoration of a permanent EU Commissioner from each member state.

2. A series of protocols clarifying the impact, if any, of the treaty on Ireland's neutrality, commitments to joint EU defence and security cooperation, social/moral legislation such as abortion and civil partnerships, and the concerns on religious freedom as expressed by Cardinal Brady.

3. A further road map to address the perceived "democratic deficit" within the EU, including increased powers for the directly elected European Parliament and a clarification of the role of the new post of President of the European Council as defined in the treaty.

4. If necessary, the Government should seek an authoritative ruling from the Supreme Court as to precisely which aspects of the Lisbon Treaty change our Constitution, and thus require ratification by referendum -- so that all the disinformation, confusion and lack of clarity which characterised the last referendum can be resolved. The people deserve to be given a clear choice, not some woolly and confusing document capable of multiple interpretations.

Let the highest Constitutional authority in the land -- the Supreme Court -- clarify precisely what impact the treaty has on our Constitution, and then let the people decide whether they want it or not.


Two things have happened recently in the ongoing debate in Ireland.

  1. Firstly, the Minister for EU Affairs, Dick Roche's "personal view" that a second referendum may be required has been met with a predictable chorus of complaints along the lines of "which part of NO does he not understand?"  There is a very real danger that a few people who voted YES last time around would vote no in any repeat referendum in protest at a perceived bullying by the political establishment to do the bidding of a perceived undemocratic political elite.

  2.  Secondly, Cardinal Brady, the most senior Catholic churchman in Ireland has suggested that part of the rejection of the Lisbon Treaty may have been caused by a sense that the European Project is being increasingly driven by secular values, hostile to Christianity, and thus a cause of alienation between the EU and many of its citizens.

This has drawn a hostile response from many correspondents who argue that the European project is unavoidably secular and pluralistic and cannot embody the doctrinal beliefs of any one religious tradition. Nevertheless, many traditional Catholics do see the EU becoming more and more of a political (as opposed to an economic) Union, and expect their polity to take their religious views on board. My LTE seeks to acknowledge the reality of some of these concerns but also to narrow the debate to a very few specifics:

  1. The one Commissioner per country issue which probably can be renegotiated without unraveling the whole Treaty ratification process in other countries.

  2.  Some protocols (specific to Ireland) which rule out many of the more outlandish interpretations placed on the Treaty by NO campaigners.  

  3.  Acknowledging that there is a major concern about the democratic deficit within the EU (which may not be entirely addressed by the Lisbon Treaty) and agreeing to set out a process by which that perceived deficit may be addressed in the future. This will require agreement by the European Council to a road map for future further democratisation of the EU - in as yet not very precisely specified ways.

  4. But most importantly, to narrow the scope of any future referendum to those specific aspects which change the Constitution of Ireland, and which thus require a specific referendum for those changes to be ratified.

Para. 4 above is the most problematic.  The mechanism for doing so would be for the Government to pass parliamentary legislation ratifying the Treaty and then ask the President to refer the legislation to the Supreme Court to test its constitutionality prior to signature.  Such a referral is not without precedent and has the effect of rendering the legislation immune to subsequent constitutional challenge if it is found to be constitutional.

Arguably this should have been done in the first place, but it is very difficult to do so now, because the Government will be accused of attempting to bypass the will of the people.  The Government will have to be very explicit that it is adopting this procedure only as a means of obtaining an authoritative judgment on what the impact of the Lisbon Treaty actually is, and thus dispel much of the scaremongering and extraneous issues which characterized the first Referendum campaign.

The rationale for this process could run somewhat as follows:

  1. The detailed opinion survey research the Government has commissioned to find out why people voted No will find, surprise, surprise, that many people felt they didn't fully understand the Treaty and others voted against it for contradictory reasons.  Thus much greater clarity is needed to enable the people to make an informed decision on the Treaty.

  2. The Electoral Commission which was supposed to provide people with an authoritative  interpretation of the Treaty clearly didn't dispel many concerns and much confusion as to what the Treaty actually meant.

  3. Under the Constitution, the Supreme Court is the final arbiter of what the Law or a Treaty means, and so the Supreme Court should be asked to decide precisely what impact, if any, the Treaty has on the Constitution, and thus what constitutional amendment would be required to render it constitutional.

  4. Any subsequent referendum would be limited to whatever specific amendment the Supreme Court rules is required to render the Treaty Constitutional - and would not therefor be anything like the last referendum, which asked the People to approve the Treaty as a whole.  The Government can therefore claim that the people are not being asked to vote on the same question a second time and that the second vote is on an altogether more limited, clearer, and more precisely worded amendment.


So what are the pitfalls in this strategy?  Firstly, the Government called a Referendum the first time around because the Attorney General (its Principal Legal Adviser) advised that the Treaty would e vulnerable to constitutional challenge if it were ratified without one.  The precise nature of his legal advice has not been published, but it is possible that he was being over cautious, and that the Supreme Court might find that there was no need for a referendum in the first place.  The President could then simply sign the legislation, and the Treaty will have been ratified by parliamentary vote.

This is probably a nightmare scenario for the Cowen Government, because then they truly can be accused of bypassing the popular will by ratifying the Treaty by Parliament against the expressed will of the people.  The Government (and any allied opposition parties) could expect to lose a lot of seats to Sinn Fein et al at the next general (and European) elections for flouting the popular will.

However let us suppose, for the moment, that the Attorney General was correct, and that the Supreme Court finds, perhaps on some rather arcane and technical point, that the Treaty does require a very specific Constitutional amendment for it to be ratified.

The referendum campaign can then be confined to that specific  issue and all other issues ruled irrelevant to the debate.   Or can they?  My view is that the various NO parties and campaign groups will continue to voice more generalised political objections to the Treaty and the European project as a whole.

This is where Cowen then turns the vote into a referendum on our membership of the EU as a whole.  Do we want to be part of the project or don't we?  If he can succeed in turning a second vote into a plebiscite on our continued membership of the "inner circle" of the EU project he will still win.

However much the NO side will whinge and whine that they are really pro-EU (many are not) and that they are only opposing specific negative developments within the EU, they will not be able to make that case based on a limited technical amendment to the Constitution.  That amendment will have to be argued on its merits.

There is no doubt that, whatever way this cookie crumbles, Cowen and some of the opposition parties (who supported the yes VOTE) are going to take an electoral hit for the mess we now find ourselves in.  However Cowen can justifiably claim that a major reason for the defeat of the referendum was that there was genuine confusion and uncertainty about its precise meaning.  He can hardly be blamed for taking steps to clarify its precise impact on our Constitution in the most authoritative manner possible.

Those who oppose the Treaty for political reason - regardless of its constitutional impact - and against the expressed will of 26 other Member Governments - will then be exposed as anti-EU project per se, and on that basis they cannot win in Ireland - whatever Cardinal Brady, Sinn Fein, American financed neo-cons, and Tory Eurosceptics might say.

The question is whether Cowen will have the courage to take this approach.  He is cautious and conservative by nature and has much to lose - he was unanimously elected leader of the dominant ruling party in Ireland. No matter what happens, his political honeymoon as Taoiseach has come to an abrupt end.


You need to spend more time thinking about this from a perspective that does not pre-suppose a positive view of the EU.

This is where Cowen then turns the vote into a referendum on our membership of the EU as a whole.  Do we want to be part of the project or don't we?  If he can succeed in turning a second vote into a plebiscite on our continued membership of the "inner circle" of the EU project he will still win.

This is the weak link in your otherwise reasonable plan. Claiming it is a "referendum on our membership" can be easily dismissed as a campaigning ploy unless it is actually a referendum on membership. And if it is, then you had better be willing to accept the consequences of defeat in the (admittedly unlikely) event that it occurs.

There were no obvious negative consequences to voting No the last time. The fact is that the No campaign was factually correct in saying that a voting no was a vote for the status quo (Nice rather than Lisbon). The damage to Ireland's interests that you highlighted in other diaries is the loss of "political capital" behind the scenes - easily presented as "bullying' if one is so inclined.

The problem with Ireland's vote is not the No as such, but the dog-in-the-manger aspect of that no. If a second referendum is held, then the no option should remove this aspect - meaning that Ireland opts out but that the rest of Europe is given permission to proceed. You have to be prepared to risk losing something in the event of a second no. However, be aware that, unless you opt for the nuclear option (voting no = withdrawal from the EU), it is likely that any "limited-withdrawal" associated with a No vote would be presented by some as "getting all the benefits and none of the liabilities" of membership.

The question is how many people would be prepared to campaign on such an argument? Despite all the cash of Libertas, the real danger is "Sinn Fein", which for those who are unaware translates as "ourselves alone". I may be wrong, but I suspect Sinn Fein would be perfectly happy with a provincial backward-looking Ireland so long as they were kings of that Ireland. Don't dismiss the "better to rule in Hell than serve in Heaven" mentality.

by det on Thu Aug 28th, 2008 at 02:49:29 AM EST
Actually, I have a thought. Don't hold a second referendum on approving Lisbon. Hold a referendum on allowing the rest of the EU to proceed without Ireland. In this case:

Voting Yes = We confirm that we opt out, but we permit the rest to proceed without us.
Voting No = No, actually we have changed our minds and want to ratify the Lisbon treaty.

As a minimum, at least it forces Libertas into reprinting all of its campaign material again :-).

And no, I don't have the faintest clue how this could be arranged with respect to number of commissioners, MEPs, etc.

by det on Thu Aug 28th, 2008 at 03:04:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
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

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Aug 28th, 2008 at 04:26:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course, for the other 26 governments to say explicitly what they are going to do with enhanced cooperation if Ireland opts out kinda requires that they agree on what they're going to do if Ireland opts out.

In practise, I suspect that that some governments (none named, none forgotten) would be quite happy to open the Lisbon can of worms again and see if they could get a better deal.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Aug 28th, 2008 at 05:46:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think ANY Government wants to re-open that can of worms again because they know how difficult it was to get agreement (and ratification) last time around.  

Even the Irish Government doesn't want to do this - with the possible exception of the Commissioner issue which is probably simple and ring fenced and equitable enough for it to be ring-fenced from contaminating any other issue - but even this change would require unanimous agreement and re-ratification - something Governments might be prepared to do to save the Treaty - always presuming this whole process is closed off before the Tories or any other more Eurosceptic Government gets into power anywhere.

If the Tories get in before the Treaty is fully ratified and comes into force, all bets are probably off anyway.

How to handle an EU with 26 Lisbon and one Nice member is indeed a mind boggling task - something I am sure all would like to avoid - if not for Irelnd's sake, then to avoid creating a very difficult precedent which might one day effect them.

Vote McCain for war without gain

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Aug 28th, 2008 at 06:40:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
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.

You are on a loser here, if not this time then later on down the road. The problem with the Crotty decision, or more precisely with the manner in which Irish governments have decided to interpret it, is that it is a time bomb. With each successive referendum you add some latent hostility from the "you mean we have to vote AGAIN? Will it ever stop?" attitude. Then you have the accusation that no answer except the "right" answer will be accepted and "they" will keep coming back until you give "right' answer. What this results in is an accumulation of bile. Given the previous Nice referenda, my initial thought was that the No campaign was starting out with the advantage. That is what makes the complacency of the Yes campaign so frustrating - they should have seen this coming.

You are absolutely correct to say an referendum would not be required to implement an "Ireland-opts-out" scenario. But holding a second Lisbon-approval referendum backed by the perceived threat of what will happen if you vote No again is just way too easy to present as "bullying". Even if the electorate reverses the vote, you will have just accumulated more bile and next time you will have an even steeper hill to climb. Any consequences that flow from a second No should just as naturally flow from the initial No - otherwise the "threat" is a new addition. The fact that the electorate was not aware or may have been deceived on this point is neither here-nor-there. They voted; the consequences should follow even if those consequences were not recognized.

Now I absolutely do not want the Irish government to follow a course that begins to exclude Ireland. I think it would be bad for the EU and a disaster for Ireland. That is why I am only half in jest when I propose reversing the question. The logic is that the Irish government negotiates the terms of its exclusion, then it says "Ok people, this is what you have voted for, are you SURE you want to do this?". To my mind it is a far easier referendum to market. You are not asking the same question so much as looking for confirmation. The rational is that even though the confirmation is not required, the consequences that flow from the initial vote are so potentially damaging to the national interest that the government feels obliged to seek that confirmation before proceeding. The fact that the No campaign would not simply be able to dust off their generic "Don't be bullied - Vote No"/"If you don't know - Vote No" posters would just be an added bonus. The down-side is that the electorate may say "Yes, we are sure" and then the course is set.

And you are welcome regarding my other response. Anyone willing to fight the good fight deserves whatever little input I can give.

by det on Thu Aug 28th, 2008 at 07:53:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure I agree with your "accumulation of bile" theory with respect to the EU.  There have always been opponents of the EU  and a degree of nationalism is there either overt or below the surface in all EU members.  This time we have them a critical mass by posing a spectacularly inappropriate Referendum question which required an understanding of a 300 page document that even many political leaders have not read.  We often buy stuff without reading the fine print, but that's not generally a good principal to amend your constitution on.

I'm also not sure that the reverse psychology of posing a referendum question that you want to lose is a good idea.  I don't think anyone campaigned on the basis of wanting to be excluded from anything (even if that is what they privately wanted) but rather under the illusion that the current status quo is tenable indefinitely until such time as someone (e.g. Sinn Fein) can negotiate a better deal for Ireland.

The political and legal question here (under existing international law and Treaty obligations) is whether Ireland  can stop the 26 other members proceeding to implement aspects of Lisbon by joint agreement under the Nice enhanced cooperation provisions and with Ireland effectively opting out. Certainly it makes a mockery of the NO camps protestations that they are supporting European democracy by preventing the settled will of 26 democratic Governments being implemented.

We insist on the Unionists sharing power with Sinn Fein in the North.  The EU is also a power-sharing agreement between 27 Governments which depends on good relationships and good will being maintained.  People understand this.  Once it is clear that there is no question of a significant re-negotiation of the Treaty - then people will have to decide whether sticking to our Nice status quo is worth the cost of pissing of the other 26 Members.  Given that people barely understand the difference between Nice and Lisbon in the first place, that should be a no brainer..

Vote McCain for war without gain

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Aug 28th, 2008 at 04:30:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for this very thoughtful response.


You need to spend more time thinking about this from a perspective that does not pre-suppose a positive view of the EU.

All surveys show that that the vast majority of Irish people take a very positive view of our membership and saw the Lisbon referendum (as you say) as a no-risk way of keeping things the same as opposed to voting against the EU.

The many contradictory strands of the No campaign all claimed to support the EU (they couldn't afford not to) but then proceeded to support anti-EU positions which far exceeded anything in Lisbon itself.

*. Libertas adopted a British style Eurosceptic approach arguing for an economic rather than a political Union together with populist waffle about a lack of direct democracy which doesn't exist anywhere outside Switzerland

*. COIR opposed the liberalising agenda of EU human rights based social and employment legislation from a traditionalist Catholic background (without identifying it explicitly as such)

*. Left-wing opponents criticised the EU for its lack of intervention in Irish affairs - the environment, social legislation, economic equality etc. - a position directly contradictory to all the above

*. Sinn Fein did what they always did in Northern Ireland - overnegotiate so much that agreement breaks down - and then have to come back later and accept a lesser deal.  Far from being able to negotiate a better deal from the EU by our rejection, we have hugely damaged our negotiating position.  This is slowly being understood more generally.

*.  Traditional Nationalists would oppose the loss of national Sovereignty embodied in the EU forgetting that that was primarily conceded in 1973 and that all treaties involve a loss/sharing of "sovereignty" in that sense.

My "strategy" - as you put it - would expose the actually rather limited nature of what Lisbon is really about.  Those that continued to oppose it (as all the above undoubtedly would) would be exposed as opposing not just Lisbon and its limited impact on Ireland, but many much broader aspects of the EU itself such as the liberalising, human rights based, social, environmental, consumer, and regulatory frameworks associated with a much larger economy/polity.

It would also highlight the fact that all these reforms were achieved in partnership with, and because of the support of our fellow members of the EU - a support which we are putting in jeopardy by undermining the expressed will of 26 member Governments (and effectively supporting the sometimes tiny opposition party opposition to Lisbon in those member states).  Do you make friends with your partner Governments by questioning their legitimacy and supporting their adversaries in their domestic politics?

Whether we like it or not, a second Referendum would be a referendum on our continued membership of the "top tier" or "inner circle" of the EU.  Some - a very few - actually want this, believing that this would allow Ireland to return to conservative catholic/rural/local community/xenophobic values - and rejecting the liberalising, secularising, cosmopolitan, globalising trends they associate with modernity and the EU.

But they would be a small minority - less than 25% of the electorate -and the exposure of the NO position as leading towards such an outcome would force the remainder of the NO vote to abstain or even change their minds.

Vote McCain for war without gain

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Aug 28th, 2008 at 04:05:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If Ireland obtains to keep its commissioner, I'll start a campaign to obtain a commissioner for the Rhône-Alpes Region! After all, we are more than 6 million...

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Thu Aug 28th, 2008 at 07:47:31 AM EST
Blame Napoleon or Parisian imperialism - but you guys gave up your rights to Sovereignty a long time ago.  If you want access to our 200 mile fishing zone - you have to allow us to keep out commissioner - and, as a special bonus, we will allow France to keep their's as well....

Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Aug 28th, 2008 at 11:12:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
you guys gave up your rights to Sovereignty a long time ago

Oh, come on, that is not irreversible if history is any guide.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 28th, 2008 at 11:17:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, clearly that's impossible. Undermining French sovereignty and territorial integrity like that would be illegal under international law. OTOH, if one of those nasty Trotskyists wins the next presidential election...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Aug 28th, 2008 at 12:01:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In any case, this is a problem internal to France for you guys to resolve amongst yourselves.  By all means have an agreement to Rotate the French Commissioner through the regions  - or even that the Lyonaise aristocracy should have the rights of succession.  In any case, as we all know, the Commissioner is there to serve the EU as a whole and not represent their country.  We have given you Charlie McCreevy to help run your economy and Ryanair to fill your airspace...  Please be grateful

Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Aug 28th, 2008 at 03:24:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You have just become a Euro-sceptic: The Irish Independent: Letters
by det on Fri Aug 29th, 2008 at 04:34:57 AM EST
Thanks.  I had missed that letter. I really hate the Irish Independent website - its so hard to find stuff and search often doesn't work.

I tried to keep the letter as neutral as possible in order to appeal to "swing voters" - I seem to have succeeded in confusing this YES voter in any case!

Lisbon not 'elitist or undemocratic' - Letters, Opinion - Independent.ie

Frank SchnittGer's demands (Letters, August 27) in relation to the Lisbon Treaty epitomise the self-contradictory attitude of much of the opposition to Lisbon.

On the one hand he says he wants to underline "the perceived elitist and undemocratic nature of the European project".

On the other hand he wants "increased powers for the directly elected European Parliament".

Does he not realise that by increasing the power of "the directly elected European Parliament" he is taking power away from the equally directly elected Irish Dail and is weakening the influence of the parliaments of other small countries?

Frank Schnittger should realise that when 27 democratically elected governments spend seven years negotiating a treaty it is neither "elitist nor undemocratic".



Where did I say Lisbon not 'elitist or undemocratic' - Letters, Opinion - Independent.ie

he says he wants to underline "the perceived elitist and undemocratic nature of the European project".

Indeed I criticised Minister Dick Roche for doing so!!!


Such is the price of fame!

Vote McCain for war without gain

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Aug 29th, 2008 at 05:28:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am excoriated by A. Leavy from Sutton (Letters 29th Aug) for wanting to " underline the perceived elitist and undemocratic nature of the European project" whereas in fact I was criticising Minister Dick Roche for running the risk of doing so!!!  (Letter 27th. Aug).  Far from opposing Lisbon, as she alleges, I argued strongly for the Treaty as any perusal of my website  http://www.eurotrib.com/user/Frank%20Schnittger/diary will confirm.

However if the YES side doesn't learn from the mistakes of the Referendum campaign and the manner in which the Treaty was presented, there is no prospect of any positive outcome to this debacle. YES voters would be well advised to listen and read more carefully what NO voters and others are saying before adopting a hectoring tone and misrepresenting what they are saying.

The rest of my letter set out what needed to be done if the concerns of NO voters where to be taken on board and if there was to be any prospect of a successful outcome to our current stand-off with the other Member Government of the EU.  

The EU is a political Union and power sharing arrangement run in partnership with 26 other democratically elected Governments and for Libertas, Coir, and Sinn Fein to seek to undermine their democratic legitimacy by claiming to better represent their peoples views on the future of Europe is hardly the best way to maintain friendships and influence people.

Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Aug 29th, 2008 at 06:01:37 AM EST

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