Monday, June 16, 2008

Lisbon Vote- A View From Britain

Many thanks for all the messages of support that have been sent to "Unrepentant Communist" both in the comments box and by email , from readers concerning the recent vote by the people of Ireland to reject the neo-liberal agenda and military commitments which this Treaty sought to provide as the foundation stone of the 'New EU' . Since the vote in Ireland , the forces of reaction in the media and political establishment have been having a collective Apoplectic fit of rage and contempt at the people for having the temerity to choose 'NO' when asked if they wanted to amend their own Constitution .

The question which is looming in many peoples minds now, is that if the referendum was a genuine exercise in democracy, why is there such a huge fallout of threat, recrimination, and political craw thumping over the outcome? It seems to me that what is being revealed is that the EU's political elites ably assisted by their counterparts here in Ireland were in fact only going through what they considered to be a rubber stamping exercise, the assent of the people of Ireland being a foregone conclusion, with all their plans and castles in the sky so advanced that in effect it is the people who are being castigated as the 'party poopers'. Sorry, excuse me for being naive, but I thought that government and the unelected bureaucrats of the EU were meant to be the servants of the people, and not vice versa. I am reproducing below a post from a friend in Britain who makes some salient points about this whole issue.

"Well done to the Irish people and most of all to Gabriel & his many colleagues who worked very hard for this magnificent No vote. Sinn Fein in particular fought an excellent campaign. It seems that the party is recovering well from its disappointment in the general election and is able to voice the concerns of the people, especially the working class, about the way that your country- & the EU as a whole- is heading: towards neo-liberalism and, as the developments of the last week have revealed, towards militarism.Millions of other people in Europe have similar concerns, and are very pleased at the referendum result. Now, I want to add this. Thanks to the constitution of the Republic of Ireland, and to the efforts of the late great Raymond Crotty, the people of the 26 Counties were in the privileged position of having the choice to accept or reject the Lisbon Treaty. Having decided to reject, you have elected yourselves into an even more important position, that of potentially being key players in determining what happens next.Sinn Fein, I believe, is taking absolutely the correct stance in arguing that Ireland should seize the initiative and propose lines of renegotiation towards an acceptable EU treaty, one that will safeguard Ireland's voice in Europe, protect its neutrality, and allow the advance of workers' rights and public services.The French & German governments are currently plotting to sideline Ireland and circumvent its democratic decision of June 12th. Gordon Brown has his own problems and the UK is unlikely to be able to take a lead. The Irish government appears to be in a shell-shocked shambles and does not know what to do. I'm a foreigner, though a fellow EU citizen, and it's not for me to tell the Irish what to do. But, for what it's worth, my advice would be this: build on the June 12th victory, prove that it was a constructive statement about the direction of Europe and not an act of vandalism or UK-style euroskepticism, and support Sinn Fein in striving for a better deal- not just IN Europe, but FOR Europe.Best wishes, Noah"


Jim Haughey said...

Noah is wrong to say that renegotiation is the "correct position". There is nothing to renegotiate and I wish Sinn Fein would get away from this wishy washy position. Republicans and socialists have constantly opposed everything to come out of Brussels since we joined in 1973 and we should continue to do so. This is not because we are xenophobes (by the way why do we have to do this apologetic defensive thing when we're criticising the EU?!!) but because we cannot achieve our goals within the framework of the EU. The entire project stands counter to what we aim for.

If Sinn Fein are serious about a socialist republic I would like to knwo precisely how they propose to achieve that goals while remaining inside the EU. If they think they'll do it by making a few tweaks with Brown and Sarkozy to old treaties then they are frankly stupid.

I am in favour of eventual withdrawal from the EU. If I say that out loud in public currently I'd be laughed at, but then who would have thought 10 years ago that out of all the countries in Europe it would have been us to reject TWO EU treaties in the past number of years!!

Think big.

Anonymous said...

Think bigger.

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