Sunday, June 22, 2008

Lisbon 2?- How Irelands Elites Are Ganging Up Against the Irish People

The tenor of discussion following the rejection by the people of Ireland of the Lisbon Treaty has been one of recrimination and contempt directed by the elites of Dublin and Brussels at the temerity of the people to refuse to sanction their Lisbon Treaty.. It is obvious that the time has well and truly arrived where the quote of Bertolt Brecht used so often as a stick to attack the undemocratic aspects of the leadership of East Germany, can now be aptly applied to the strategy being cooked up between the Irish ruling elite and the EU ..."Would it not be easier, in that case for the government, to dissolve the people, and elect another?"

I am reproducing below in full this pithy and perceptive analysis of the current situation here in Ireland following the 'fall-out' of the Irish people voting decisively to vote No to the Lisbon Treaty, my thanks to Antony Coughlin and the National Platform for this revealing and thought provoking analysis.
* Taoiseach Brian Cowen and Minister Michael Martin give in to Franco-German and EU Commission pressure to permit the remaining Lisbon ratifications to continue, when they could have stopped these by saying that Ireland cannot and will not ratify the Lisbon Treaty, as the Irish people have rejected it.
* The Irish Government lines up with Brussels against the Irish people rather than stands by the people’s democratic decision of last week to defend it vis-a-vis Brussels - so as to bring about a 26/1 situation by year’s end with which to bludgeon Irish voters in a referendum re-run.
* Talk of “respecting” Ireland’s vote turns out in practice to be a cover for setting out to overturn it in a referendum re-run, with Brian Cowen’s, Michael Martin’s and Dick Roche’s full support - and behind a thick barrier of hypocrisy, spoofing and lies.
There are three principal lies Irish Government Ministers and the EU people are telling to hide their first steps towards preparing this Lisbon referendum re-run:
* LIE NO.1: That the nine EU States that have not yet ratified Lishon have a “right” to do so irrespective of the Irish No. There is no such right under either EU law or customary international law. Brian Cowen could stop any further ratifications by saying to his EU partners that he respects the Irish No, that because of that there is no question of trying to overturn it by re-running the referendum, and that therefore Lisbon is dead because Ireland cannot ratify it and there is no point any other ratifications continuing, for Lisbon cannot come into force unless all 27 ratify it. British Foreign Secretary David Milliband underlined this point last weekend when he said that it depended on Brian Cowen whether Lisbon was alive or dead.
* LIE No. 2: Minister Dick Roche was up to this usual spoofery on “Morning Ireland” at the end of last week when he attacked Patricia McKenna for saying that the French and Dutch Governments stopped further ratifications of the EU Constitution in 2005 after their peoples voted No in their referendums. Minister Roche said that Luxembourg held a referendum on this Treaty after the French and Dutch No and in his usual gentlemanly fashion accused Ms McKenna of “telling lies”. In fact, as the Minister is well aware, the Luxembourg referendum was held shortly after the French and Dutch referendums but BEFORE the French and Dutch Governments decided they would not re-run them, and therefore that they could not ratify the Constitutional Treaty - which led the remaining EU States, including Ireland, to abandon further ratifications at that time.
Messrs Cowen, Martin and Roche are spoofing like this, with their EU confreres helping them, to try to cover up the fact that the Irish Government is urging the nine remaining EU States to continue with their ratifications so as to bring about a 26/1 situation which can then be used to pressurise the Irish people to turn their No into a Yes in a second Lisbon referendum.
It is Messrs Cowen, Martin and Roche who are failing to “respect” the Irish people’s No vote by effectively telling the other EU States not to respect it either, but to continue with their ratifications. Why should the other EU States respect last Thursday’s referendum result when the Irish Government does not respect it, but sets out rather to subvert it, as they decided to do even while the voting tallies were being counted on Friday morning last?
Remember Foreign Minister Martin saying at luncthtime on the day of the count that “of course” the remaining ratifications would continue. Remember Commission President Barroso’s at his press conference held before the count was even finished, following a phone chat with Taoiseach Cowen, saying the same thing.
If Messrs Cowen, Martin and Roche had a scintilla of the political courage and statesmanship of the founder of their Party, they would be telling their EU counterparts that they had no alternative but to open up Lisbon and work out a better Treaty for Ireland, for Europe and for a more democratic EU, instead of the supranational EU Federation, with laws made on a population basis, which is what is on offer in Lisbon.
* LIE NO.3: That the other EU States can go ahead with the Lisbon Treaty provisions under the rules for “enhanced cooperation”. The barrack-room lawyers of the Irish media are speaking here. It is the enhanced cooperation rules of the EU Treaties as amended by the Nice Treaty that currently apply. It is nonsense to suggest that the enhanced cooperation provisions of one Treaty, viz. Nice, can be used to bring into force the far wider provisions of another Treaty, viz. Lisbon.
* NB: The number of EU Commissioners must be decided unanimously.Under the current Nice Treaty(Protocol on the enlargement of the EU, Article 4), a reduction in the number of Commissioners to fewer than the number of Member States must be decided unanimously in 2009. Under the Lisbon Treaty(Article 17.5 TEU) the number of Commissioners must be reduced by two-thirds from 2014, “unless the European Council, acting unanimously, decides to alter this number.”
At their next summit meeting in October or December the European Council of Prime Ministers and Presidents will make a “European decision” that when it comes to allocating EU Commissioners in 2014 in the post-Lisbon EU, Ireland and all Member States will be permitted to retain a permanent Commissioner, although in practice there may be senior and junior Commissioners. Because both the Nice and Lisbon Treaties lay down that arrangements for the Commission require unanimity, a commitment on these lines can be given without opening Lisbon.
Taoiseach Cowen will present this as a triumph for Irish diplomacy, while his EU colleagues will smile cynically to themselves. Then various Declarations will be given - to meet Irish concerns on company taxation, human rights, neutrality etc. - which will be tagged on to the Lisbon Treaty, but wll not alter a jot or tittle of its contents.
What threats or implicit threats will be needed to go with these promises? The most obvious one is that Irish voters will be told, as they were not told over the past months - that the Lisbon Treaty aims to establish a constitutionally new Federal Union and that the Irish must decide whether they want to be members of this or not, or do they want to keep the present EU as it stands under the Nice Treaty rules.
The other Member States still cannot ratify Lisbon and establish this new Union without Ireland’s agreement. But the hope will be that this mix of promises and implicit threats will suffice to overturn the Irish people’s No in Lisbon One and turn it into a Yes in Lisbon Two.
A peaceable democratic popular revolt in Ireland and across the EU is needed to prevent this happening and to prevent the anti-democratic Lisbon Treaty-cum EU-Constitution being clamped on most of the peoples of our continent.

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"

Friday, June 13, 2008


Early indications suggest that the Lisbon Treaty has been rejected by the people of Ireland. It appears that Sinn Féin have got a huge pro-NO vote out in working class areas. It also appears that despite the about turn by the IFA the rural areas have gone towards the NO vote too. The middle class urban areas are more evenly divided, but there are very few suggestions that where there is a YES that it is enough to counteract the overwhelming tide towards NO. Undoubtedly the unique pincer movement of a strong Sinn Féin campaign, and a strong Libertas campaign picking uip support for a NO vote from the right leaning middle classes. This is a great result for Ireland and for all of Europe, it is killing dead with a huge democratic vote the anti-democratic notions of the EU bureaucrats, whose plans for a European army, a pro-privatisation agenda, and the increasing trend towards greater centralisation is being rejected by the people of Ireland. It begs the question, as to why this democratic process was denied to the rest of the people of the EU member states, where the decision to commit to the Lisbon Treaty has been taken from the people and handed instead to the elites represented by their various national parliaments. Sinn Féin started preparations for this Treaty back in January with a huge effort being put into creating a solid cadre of members who were absolutely up to speed on the reasons why this Treaty was inimical to the interests of ordinary working people, that forward planning and effort towards the education of its members has paid off in swinging this vote.
The significance of this outcome should not be underestimated, the NO side in Ireland were pitted against ALL the other parties in the Dáil, Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Labour, and the Greens all called for a YES vote, as well as that the Irish media were overwhelmingly pro the YES campaign, and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) and the employers confederation IBEC also called for a 'Yes' vote. This outcome just shows that sometimes the people just know whats in their best interests, when they are fully informed by a committed and informed campaigning alliance of Sinn Féin, Libertas, and the other 'NO' campaigners...Its enough to give you hope.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


Opponents of the European Union's reform treaty have overtaken the "Yes" camp for the first time ahead of Ireland's referendum on the pact next week, a new opinion poll showed on Thursday.

Ireland is the only state planning a referendum on the treaty meaning that a country accounting for less than 1 percent of the bloc's 490 million population could derail a pact designed to streamline the running of a fast-expanding EU.

A TNS/mrbi poll to be published in Friday's Irish Times showed 35 percent of people surveyed intend to vote "No" in the June 12 ballot, more than double the 17 percent seen in the newspaper's last survey three weeks ago.

The opinion poll, details of which appeared on the Irish Times Web site in advance of publication on Friday, showed those planning to vote in favour of the treaty stood at 30 percent, down from 35 percent in the previous poll.

The proportion of undecided voters was 28 percent while 7 percent said they would not vote, according to the survey of 1,000 voters conducted throughout Ireland.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Lisbon...Who Says Theres No 'Plan B'?

Don't believe politicians who say there is no plan "B" if Ireland votes No to the Lisbon Treaty. There is, and it is being kept under wraps in Prague. A No campaign car in Dublin

The Czechs take over the rolling European Union presidency on 1 January 2009 - the very date that the Lisbon Treaty is due to come into effect. Depending on the result of the Irish referendum on 12 June, they could survey two very different scenarios.

That's why the Czech government has prepared two different papers on what the EU should do in the first half of next year - one based on life after Lisbon, the other, plan "B".
Fine Gael Yes campaign poster
Some of this is technical: if Lisbon lives, there will be a president of the council, be it Juncker or Blair or Rasmussen, so a smaller role for the Czech prime minister. If Lisbon dies, there will be a bigger role for him. Some ministerial councils that would change under Lisbon, would survive.

But the Czechs are also setting out a plan "B" for the political future. Whether it is to persuade the Irish to vote again, to rip up Lisbon, redesign it or forget it I don't yet know.

But perhaps, after the demise of the constitution, we are currently living through plan "B". Perhaps the Czech plan should be codenamed "C", with the possibility of an alphabet soup of alternatives lined up behind it.