Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Lisbon Pole Axed?

Interesting news that the Polish PM has indicated he'll not ratify the Lisbon treaty because it's "pointless", and he's right for once.

Lech Kaczynski, whose twin brother is also a leading Polish politician, made the statement on the same day that France took over the Presidency of the EU. He stated concerns that to ratify the treaty despite Ireland's recent public rejection would undermine the spirit of unity among the member states.

The treaty requires all 26 states to ratify the treaty for it to be valid but the mood among the higher echelons certainly appears to be that the Irish failed their exam. There were lots of accusations that voters didn't know what the issues were, that they didn't know what was in the treaty et al - as if they'd have cared if the vote had gone the other way!

As an aside, if you don't understand a treaty it's perfectly reasonable to vote against adopting in case it has problems you can't know. If the yes side were so worried about the unwashed millions not understanding the treaty it might have been wise for them to emulate the no campaign and discuss it.

What none of the yes side seem prepared to admit is that the no campaign had a better campaign and it certainly does not look to me as if the yes campaign had done its utmost to explain the detail to voters if their posters are anything to go by. Unless I'm missing the subtle implication of what the left melon might mean about ongoing European integration.

With ads like these no wonder the more liberal younger generation voted overwhelming against the backward, condescending chauvinism of the Irish elites. It was very much a case of the respectable classes against the uppity masses, every major party supported the treaty, with Sein Fein being the most mainstream political voice against.

This in part is why there was so much wailing and gnashing of teeth. The political classes just could not understand the ungrateful children who went against their wishes. It's almost as if they did not represent and define the politics of those they pretend to represent. Mick Hall described their pathetic excuses as a "pretty thin gruel" because for all their bluster they simply don't get why their pet project is so unpalatable to so many people.

There were many no voices, as this research indicates (pdf), although it's clear that the higher up the class ladder you climb the more likely you were to feel that you had some vested interest in the treaty. Women, the young and the unemployed were particularly opposed to the treaty but by far the biggest "no" demographic was manual workers with 74% opposed to 26% for. The more you look into it the clearer the picture becomes one where some feel society works for them, and some who experience it as a force that acts against their interests.

The EU monolith might have elections connected to it, but it feels far from democratic. This feeling of disenfranchisement can't be written off as ignorance of the issue - because people *know* they're disenfranchised - which would make it an even uglier irony if their decision was taken away from them.

The pressure to push on with the project and take it back to the Irish people with a school matronly "now try this one again" is palpable and that is what's behind the attempt to get the other nations to sign up - to isolate and punish Ireland - and precisely why we should oppose those who'd ride rough shod over the voice of the Irish people.

The cruel fact is that the refusal to ratify the Lisbon treaty does not jeopardise the union, it simply humiliates those who are normal untouchable and unaccountable. It mocks their plans and discards them as so much trash - that's why these elites are in such a huff. Not because the EU is threatened, which is an utterly spurious piece of reasoning, but because we don't like them.

I guess the Irish hurt their feelings. Never mind chaps, worse things happen at sea.

This post was part of the "suggest a topic season"

1 comment:

mish said...

I heard a good quip about this (I think on the news quiz). Something along the lines of:

The EU wants the irish to vote a second time, and this time to vote the right way, so that the EU can get on with business such as criticising Mugabe for re-running elections when the result didn't go the way he wanted ...