Lisbon 2 in Autumn '09?

The Telegraph are saying this is the likely day for our second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. I must say, I like the name of the briefing paper: The Solution to the Irish Problem

An internal EU briefing paper, entitled The Solution to the Irish Problem, predicts that Dublin will accede to the re-run at a meeting of Europe’s leaders on October 15.

Ireland has been under French and German pressure to hold a second vote and Autumn 2009 has emerged as the favoured date among officials and diplomats ahead of the European Union summit on the future of the Lisbon Treaty next month.

Ireland has refused to deny that a second referendum could occur, following the ‘No’ vote in June.

The document has been written by an influential group of French officials, called Le Amis du Traite de Lisbonne or Friends of the Lisbon Treaty.

According to the briefing, a second Irish vote will follow a guarantee that Ireland will not lose its European Commissioner and “declarations” on neutrality, abortion and taxation – all issues that dominated the Irish campaign.

“The second Irish referendum could take place, on this new basis, during Autumn 2009, pushing back the coming into force of the Treaty of Lisbon until 2010,” says the document.

The text, by a senior European official called Jean-Guy Giraud, who is based in Paris, is widely regarded as reflecting the view in France, current holder of the EU’s rotating presidency.

Other EU officials have confirmed that next year’s Autumn referendum fixture is gaining ground in informal and formal talks between diplomats ahead of the summit next month.

“This date is the one being mentioned in discussions,” said a source.

Ireland’s referendum rejection on June 12 means that the Lisbon Treaty can not enter into force until all the EU’s 27 countries have ratified it.

The Economist on the referendum

This is not to say that everything in the treaty is bad. It would have improved the institutional machinery in Brussels, sorted out a muddle in foreign-policy making and brought in a fairer system of voting by EU members. But these are not the sorts of changes to set voters alight. And in truth, few EU governments or institutions are genuine enthusiasts for the treaty as such (Germany, which would gain voting weight, and the European Parliament, which would win extra powers, are two exceptions). Most simply wanted to get it out of the way and move on to issues more interesting than the institutional navel-gazing that has preoccupied the EU for too long.

After the Irish no, that is precisely what they should now do. The treaty should be buried so that the EU can focus on more urgent matters, such as energy, climate change, immigration, dealing with Russia and the EU’s own expansion. It is disingenuous to claim, as some do, that without Lisbon no further enlargement is possible. Each applicant needs an accession treaty that can include the institutional changes, such as new voting weights or extra parliamentary seats.

Needless to say, many of Europe’s leaders will instead look for ingenious ways to ignore or reverse the Irish decision. But to come up with a few declarations or protocols and ask the Irish to vote again would not just be contemptuous of democracy: the turnout and margin of defeat also suggest that it might fail. Nor can Ireland, legally or morally, be excluded from the EU. Attempts by diehards to forge a core group of countries that builds a United States of Europe would also founder because, outside Belgium and Luxembourg, there is no longer a serious appetite for a federal Europe.

Ireland is a small country, to be sure. But the EU is an inter-governmental organisation that needs a consensus to proceed. It is bogus to claim that 1m voters are thwarting the will of 495m Europeans by blocking this treaty. Referendums would have been lost in many other countries had their people been given a say. Voters have thrice said no to this mess of pottage. It is time their verdict was respected.

Agreed. The Treaty is dead.

John Waters fucks up – again

Sigh. An awful rant today from Mr Waters. Will he ever learn?

A survey of 2,000 voters conducted by the European Commission immediately after the vote revealed that more than 70 per cent of those who voted No believed the treaty could easily be renegotiated.

This poll also found that many people who did not understand the treaty voted No; that the overwhelming majority of women voted No; that young people voted No by a margin of two to one; and that immigration (ie, xenophobic sentiment) was a significant factor in the No vote.

The entire basis for his argument is in EC poll that the Irish Times reported on Wednesday:

Why did you vote no? (only one option)

Dont understand /not familiar 40%

Protect Irish identity 20%

Dont trust politicians/Govt policies 17%

Protect neutrality 10%

Keep commissioner 10%

Protect tax system 8%

Which as Dublin Opinion reported, is equal to 105%. Waters also says: “that young people voted No by a margin of two to one”. Yet his own paper reported:

Young people between the age of 15 and 29 voted against the treaty by a factor of two to one, a finding that is labelled as “very serious” in an explanation of the referendum result prepared for commission president José Manuel Barroso.

Very serious indeed, Mr Barroso. Especially since people below the age of 18 can’t vote. And very serious too for Mr Waters.

There is a reason why children are prohibited from voting, and this goes also to the heart of why adults are expected to treat the franchise with solemnity.

Oh the irony.

It is a comfort that these iron men who built this society were not around to witness this latest exercise in self-regarding ignorance by the most pampered, narcissistic and vacuous generation ever to enter an Irish polling booth.

Cough. Are these the 15-17 year olds? From a Commission poll that posed a question that couldn’t have given a negative answer about the direction of Europe itself?

His best line is arguing that the Lisbon Treaty referendum is:

arguably the most disgraceful episode in the history of Irish democratic procedures.

Here’s the thing Mr Waters. Let’s imagine we had voted yes. And let’s imagine the ratio of yes to no was exactly reversed, the turnout was the same, and the campaigns were identical.

Would you be arguing now that it was a great day for Irish democracy that we voted for a proposal we did not understand? Would you be lamenting the yes voters for not understanding the treaty? Would you cast aside their democratic will and call for a revote on your assumption, on the basis of a poll conducted by a vested interest and given to the media via the Taoiseach’s office, that the yes side simply did not understand the treaty?