« Home | On the media's response to Davis and the Sun's ent... » | Davis deserves and needs support. » | Breaking a habit of a lifetime. » | I love a free country. » | Brown should not just be humiliated, he must be hu... » | The real Broken Britain. » | The Dorries deficit. » | Terrorists have personalities too! » | 42 days: the Murdoch press not speaking with one v... » | Barack knows. » 

Saturday, June 14, 2008 

The luck of the Irish.

We are then back where we started. The only people to be offered a referendum, and only then because Ireland's own constitution demands it, and they make the wise decision to reject it, and on a remarkably high turnout as well of 53.1%. Little wonder then that rest of Europe has rushed to decide to completely ignore the only direct democratic will of the people on the matter.

As Nosemonkey writes, don't even begin to imagine that this is the final downfall of the EU constitution, or the Lisbon treaty as few bother to call it; it's already showed that it's the veritable Rasputin of convoluted, indecipherable legal documents. For those of us who favour the European Union but are exasperated at how utterly useless those in government and outside of it are at winning far larger public support for it, this is the best possible outcome.

Ignore the nonsense emanating from the UKIP tendency of how this was a vote against greater integration, primarily it was a vote against something which only judges, bureaucrats and lawyers can understand and a vote against the politicians who didn't even attempt to help those voting understand. Someone said you'd have to be mad to attempt to read it, let alone understand it, and they'd be right. Enough people struggle with a book like Vernon God Little, let alone something which you could break windows with were you to throw it. If you don't understand it, vote no. Who could possibly argue with such basic logic, or blame them for doing so?

It matters little that some of the other reasons why the constitution were opposed were either imaginary or scaremongering, mainly because that's exactly how the Irish government played it too, as did the other EU politicians who bothered to comment. As so often happens when something involves the EU, if you don't do as you're told, threats must be involved. Hence there was no real case made for why the European Union has been such a boon for Ireland, and that the constitution, for all its faults, is for the moment the only way forward; instead it bordered on the we must support this, but we can't really be bothered making the cause for why. Just get along to the polling station and do the right thing, OK?

Now that the wretched thing has been defeated yet again, it would be nice if instead of going through the same ritual as before, i.e. coming up with a document 95% the same but which really is different, honest, trust us, which was only always going to end in tears, the EU sat back and considered for a moment where it's gone so wrong. Not just is there such a monumental democratic deficit, there's also so little room for consultation with those outside the inner circle of politicians that everyone, with more than a little justice, sees it as a monolithic, unaccountable and completely out of touch bureaucracy that fundamentally cannot be trusted and which can't even get its accounts signed off.

The only thing that is going to save it, and get any constitution accepted by almost any population outside the mainly pro-Europe central European nations is root and branch reform from the bottom up. Strict, complete limits need to be set down that make crystal clear where EU power begins and independent nation state power begins. It needs to be decided whether we want a "social" Europe, the foremost reason why the constitution was originally rejected by the French and Dutch and one of the factors in Ireland, of the kind envisioned in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, or one where free trade and movement takes precedent, as the Peter Mandelson-types support. Most fundamentally of all, each nation state should be directly asked in a referendum whether it wants to remain in the EU at all. Let's have a proper debate on the benefits and the downsides, as free from fabrication, innuendo and the bullshit which goes hand in hand with coverage of Europe in the right-wing tabloids as possible, and make a decision for at least the next generation. Perhaps then we might start to get either the Europe we need - or the Europe we deserve.

Labels: , , , ,

Share |

Lawyers and judges CAN'T understand it (or lots of other EU laws for that matter). Just see the amount of cases that are referred to the European Court of Justice for instance...

Your post encapsulates exactly what is wrong with the EU. I consider myself fairly well-up on current affairs, but about the EU I know virtually nothing. We are asked to elect people to the European Parliament but what exactly do they do, how much power do they have? The proposed new EU President and Foreign Secretary - will they be elected or will they be failed politicians a la Kinnock / Mandelson etc? The Press are useless - the Mail, Sun et al feed us stupid scare stories about the banning of bendy cucumbers, patio heaters, etc (which always turn out to be rubbish), while the broadsheets don't really give much insight either. The only anti-EU politicians are right-wing outfits such as UKIP and Tories to the right of their party.

The fact is the Irish were asked to vote on a treaty which no-one seems to have read. People tend to be afraid of that of which they know little. If a vote were held in the UK I would vote "no" - purely because NO-ONE has the gumption to explain what it is all about. Why should I support it? The EU is a remote, centralised, bureaucratic mess, a gravy-train, a repository of failed politicians, completely out of touch with the people it's meant to represent. If the EU were to realise this and try to rectify the situation then we could at last have a decent debate on the European Union - but I won't hold my breath.

Most fundamentally of all, each nation state should be directly asked in a referendum whether it wants to remain in the EU at all.

I can't see this happening in the UK anytime soon, because those in power know very well what the response would be, i.e. a resounding no.

Post a Comment

Links to this post

Create a Link