The original post is getting old (and with 90 comments too much to scroll through!) though those interested should read them as there are most enlightening.
However, I thought I’d start a fresh thread with news that the highly knowledgeable if alarmingly tall Alan Dukes got back to me with regard to a query someone made about Joe Higgins’ point that Lisbon allowed for the mandatory privatisation of public services. Dukes says:
“Joe Higgins claims that the Lisbon Treaty provisions on services mean that Member States have to open up all service markets to competition from imports (from other Member States). He claims that this means that private operators can thereby get into service markets in health, education and other public services. He goes on then to say that this means that we would be forced to allow privatisation in these sectors.
He overlooked the fact that the Treaty provides that Member States can make exceptions in the case of public services. I understand that he agreed, on a Prime Time programme with Lucinda Creighton on Thursday, that the exception is there, but he did not understand its significance.
The actual position is that each Member State can make its own decisions about whether or not to open up public service sectors to competition from other Member States. There is no compulsion involved.
Here, for example, the Government has already allowed private sector participation in the provision of health services, in the form of private hospitals and now with the co-location of private hospitals on public hospital campuses. This has been an independent position of the Irish Government.
There is already a substantial element of private participation in the education sector (e.g. Griffith College, a multiplicity of grind schools at second level, etc.). Once again, the decision to allow these was a sovereign decision of the Irish Government and the Lisbon Treaty would not affect it one way or the other.
In general, Joe Higgins misinterprets the Treaty, either inadvertently or deliberately.
It is worth noting that the Referendum Commission has confirmed
(a) that the Irish veto on tax matters (or, more accurately, the requirement of unanimity in any decisions on tax matters) remains, and
(b) the Lisbon Treaty does not prejudice Irish neutrality.
These two declarations are significant in themselves and also because they confirm that elements on the “NO” side are either misreading or misrepresenting provisions of the Treaty.”
I see The Irish Times continues to push the FF line that a defeat of the Treaty will be Fine Gael’s fault. If the “loo-las” vote No to smite the government, is that really Enda Kenny’s fault, or the bully boy, ignorant, alienating tactics of the FF leadership?