Seven Days

By | June 8, 2008

I took part in Seven Days today, the BBC Radio Ulster show which was being broadcast from Dublin today – a special on the Lisbon Treaty. (It’s the awful BBC iplayer though!)

Pat Carey, FF Government Whip (no relation) and John McGuirk from Libertas were on too. I thoroughly enjoyed the debate. I went gung ho in favour of the treaty and with Pat Carey also pro-Treaty I thought John McGuirk did a great job fending us off. He was also funny when we started to get teary eyed over the prospect of President Obama.

On the way to the Buswell’s I listened to the Marian Finucane show on RTE and what fun they had! Dermot Ahern was passionate! and got stuck into Eamon Dunphy, who considered getting morally outraged, though Gemma Hussey put manners on him (“Oh come off it Eamon”). Well worth listening back to. Also worth listening to was that Petrol Resources fellow, David whathisname. He explained why oil prices spiked last week and what the future might hold. It was most interesting.

I am off to the US in the morning and sadly leaving the debate behind me.

I really hope this treaty is passed. Europe has done great things for us, but an EU of 27 needs to work better and faster. Dermot Ahern gave a great example on RTE about how the current procedures prevented EU forces from entering Chad for months after the decision had been taken to intervene. People complain that we are ceding sovereignty to Brussels. Bring it on I say. Whether its equality issues, competition ones, the environment or trade, the EU beats up our government to introduce progress and positive change.

Look at it like this:

In favour, FF, FG, Labour, The Greens, IBEC, ICTU, the IFA, and good old Suds.
Against: Sinn Fein, Joe Higgins ( I love you Joe but you’re wrong on this one), nutter far right conservatives.

C’mon!!!!! Do the right thing!

25 thoughts on “Seven Days

  1. P O'Neill

    The trouble with the Chad example is that it’s very easy to turn around as an example of how Irish troops could get drawn into the foreign policy adventures of the big countries. Is Chad a peacekeeping operation or an attempt to keep a French-backed government in power? We’ll find out the first time that the force encounters rebels posing no threat no refugees but heading straight to Ndjamena.

  2. B

    Looks like I can’t vote no. FF did their usual thing with the register and took my family off yet again. We have not moved in 24 years and yet they still fart around with the register.

    Yea. Everyone go out and vote out democracy. Its too complicated anyway and we are far better off if we don’t have to vote again. And lets remember kids vote YES or else. You can have democracy as long as it is not for anything important!

    Exercising your democratic right to make a decision 400 million other people don’t get to vote on.

  3. sarahisjustwrong

    Sarah

    Your simplistic outlook misses the whole point of why people need to vote no. You keep using arguments that are simply out of date with the current reality.

    The real issue with this treaty is that the EU and it’s political structures have been out of date and out of touch with people for many years. The EU was expanded way too quickly and far too many countries not suitable to join did when it was not right for the EU. Had we kept it small for a good deal longer then it would have been far more effective and in touch with people on the ground.

    That means we should get to know and trust our partners before we jump into a contract with them. The Eastern European nations could have been given special friendly relations with the EU and wait till the people had become used to democracy and the values that the EU is supposed to stand for.

    That would have taken a lot longer than we would like but would have been better in the long run. And yes I am saying that Eastern Europeans are less democratic [a lot less] because it has been alien to them for so long. Just imagine Ireland in the 50s or even 60s, we were politically and socially quite backward as are many of the current ex soviet satellites [though they are far more advanced than we were]

    We now live with the consequences.One example is the mass chaotic inward migration which has been just a sleeping, creeping disaster for Ireland. On Friday in the Irish times it was reported that 90 percent of all jobs created in Ireland were filled by foreign citizens! Just think about that- 90 percent!

    In any other country that would be a national disgrace and alarm bells would have been going off long before now. But make no mistake we cannot blame foreigners for this we must blame the sheer greed of Irish people combined with the whole politically correct multicultural agenda which will be the ruination of many nations all over the west.

    Even in the UK a special report by the house of commons found that overall when you add up all the hidden costs immigration does less good than bad for the country.

    After NICE we were told that immigration would not be a problem and the numbers coming here were under rated by factors that were outlandish, making a mockery of the government and any ideas people had about mass inward immigration.

    No problem with having immigrants so long as it is managed and controlled for the best interests of the nation as a whole, but that was not done.

    The point is that things were being moved from above downwards and not the other way around. People have lost any connection with the EU and what it is about. We should have been able to absorb the other countries slowly and at a later date, as more and more connections were made from the ground up all in an evolving and natural way. However the EU somewhere along the line has been hijacked by Eurocrats and big business interests,
    becoming like a steamroller train pushing aside anything that gets in it’s way. Lisbon is just more of the same. Having had the consitution rejected by the dutch and the french we see it repackaged by as a treaty [it is about 96 percent the very same thing!] and people all over Europe denied the right to vote on it – except here in Ireland, which is partly why it is so vital that people vote no. Doing the right thing for Europe is to say no.

    Thereafter we can force the governments to bring the EU close to the people.

    “Europe has done great things for us,”
    I agree! So why does that mean voting no for a specific treaty is bad? There is no connection between saying your pro EU and voting yes. Being Pro EU to me means voting no!

    “In favour, FF, FG, Labour, The Greens, IBEC, ICTU, the IFA, and good old Suds.”

    Well there is a perfect reason to vote no if ever there was one! I wouldn’t trust any of these groups.

    Finally you mention Pat Carey, well thank goodness he is not related as he is one of the most dangerous and insidious politicians I have ever seen. He is a very sinister figure ineed, comes across as genteel and polite but actually is a very dangerous man with some very dangerous ideas and instincts. This the same plonker who actually suggested that prepaid phones should be banned among other anti civil rights and civil liberty notions he has floating around in his head.

  4. Tomaltach

    sarahisjustwrong,
    You spent a lot of energy there talking about enlargement. The enlargement has happened and it was an overwhelming success. It has been transformative for Eastern Europe and on the whole the rest has benifited enormously. In any case, Lisbon is not about yes or no to enlargement, that is now a reality.

    Doing the right thing for Europe is to say no. Thereafter we can force the governments to bring the EU close to the people.

    Lisbon does bring the EU closer to the people, and in a way that matches the political reality of getting agreement from 27 members. Lisbon offers a significant enhancement of democracy in the EU. It strikes the right balance in improving EU democracy gradually. Gradual is best. A dramatic change would be Eu wide voting – but that would instantly end the intergovernmental nature of the EU and give rise to a more federal, unitary state where Ireland’s power and influence would be damaged. It is better for us that the EU remains a hybrid of supranational and intergovernmental.

    In favour, FF, FG, Labour, The Greens, IBEC, ICTU, the IFA, and good old Suds….Well there is a perfect reason to vote no if ever there was one.

    Right! The political parties mentioned here represent the vast bulk of the Irish electorate. They were chosen by us. That is democracy. You cannot have it both ways. Here too are the organisations which speak for a huge chunk of our business community and a huge chunk of our workforce and our farmers. Reject their voice also. Right. You have a very peculiar notion of democratic representation. No matter how legitimate you reject any voice that doesn’t feed your narrow, destructive prejudices.

    It will indeed be sad, not in terms of the EU or Ireland’s place in it, but in terms of our democracy, if voices like yours drown out those which are based on reason, not fear, and those whose roots lie in democratic soil, not in the vile sess pit of paranoia and prejudice.

  5. Electron

    Sarahisjustwrong, I totally agree that the top down approach is ludicrous – it’s a throw back to imperial times – ” it’s not for you to reason why, but for you to do or/and die”. We’re so far apart in standards and attitudes that a forced integration could be disastrous. There’s obviously a sense of panic about the whole arrangement, with the U.S. is on the wane, China and India on the steep section of a rising curve, the future for a fragmented Europe doesn’t look too bright. Forcing this Treaty/Constitution through by deceitful means is indicative of the desperation at the top. There is no simple answer to the problem – perhaps if Germany had won the war, it would have been solved – while that doesn’t go down well, it may be what it would actually take.
    Example of difference in attitudes – the French are French and will always be so – they believe that they’re a civilisation or two above us – on the ground some were surprised to hear that we actually had a standing army and according to the Sunday Business Post they think that we’re bunch of “freeloaders” – nice partners wouldn’t you say! – We should stay as we are – our trade with Europe is good on present terms, so why fix it!

  6. Andrew Lawlor

    Well said, Tomaltacht.

    I don’t know where this fear of inwaerd migration on relation to the Lisbon treaty has suddenly come from. Just this morning two colleagues have told me they are voting no becauise they don’t want Turkey in the EU!

    Isn’t it interesting how the most hysterical and xenophopic voices are always anonymous. Try linking through from sarahisjustwrong’s comments and you will find yourself right back here. Brave and honourable activists sniping from the shadows.

    On a pedantic point, however…

    ‘Here too are the organisations which speak for a huge chunk of our business community and a huge chunk of our workforce… … and our farmers.’

    …are farmers not workers too?

  7. Tomaltach

    Andrew,
    Yes, but they are different, probably most of them are owners of their business. So they are a kind of businessman more than a worker in the normal sense. But of course they work! Politicians, CEOs, GPs — all work! Workers in a narrow sense but with a profoundly different set of interests than what I might call ordinary workers!

  8. An Fear Bolg

    A lot of opposition to Lisbon is based on immigration and xenophobia. We need to acknowledge this.

    Anyway, here’s one for a laugh: http://www.eiregobrach.ie

    Never heard of these people before, but was handed a leafet of their’s at Connolly Station on Friday. Look at their list of reasons for voting no (Ireland will be abolished!). Genuinely crazy; truly scary.

  9. Electron

    “Gradual is best. A dramatic change would be EU wide voting – but that would instantly end the intergovernmental nature of the EU and give rise to a more federal, unitary state where Ireland’s power and influence would be damaged. It is better for us that the EU remains a hybrid of supranational and intergovernmental.”

    “Right! The political parties mentioned here represent the vast bulk of the Irish electorate. They were chosen by us. That is democracy. You cannot have it both ways.”

    Where is the logic between these two statements? – Are you a democrat or an opportunist?
    You want to have it both ways – democracy for us and screw the others – dream on!

  10. Tomaltach

    You want to have it both ways – democracy for us and screw the others – dream on!. Not screw the others. My point is that I argue for a retention of the strength of intergovernmentalism in the Union. That doesn’t screw the others. It leaves them in the same situation as ourselves. Sitting around a table thrashing out a compromise which will enhance our shared objectives without steamrolling small, peripheral members. “The others” are well able to look out for themselves. We should unashamedly look out for our own medium and long term interests. I believe that happens to mean us being pro-active members of the Union and making clever use of the political capital that we amass along the way. That leads to only one answer on Thursday, an emphatic Yes.

  11. Electron

    “Lisbon does bring the EU closer to the people, and in a way that matches the political reality of getting agreement from 27 members. Lisbon offers a significant enhancement of democracy in the EU. It strikes the right balance in improving EU democracy gradually.”

    I agree 100% that EU democracy is not in our interest, either now or in the long term. The problem that I’ve got with Lisbon is the handing over of powers that could be used against us in the long term. As Kathy Sinnott put it last night – the EU establishment doesn’t know, at this point, what type the structure this new legal entity will eventually evolve into – it will be a combination of agreements and court decisions. I don’t know about you, but I find that too much of a risk for us. They should give us a clear map as to where we’re they intend taking us – if it’s down the road to full democracy, it could be disastrous. I say, stall the project until we get clarity.

  12. Tomaltach

    It is true, Electron, that the interpretation of the text of the treaties may be altered over time, in particular by the ECJ. But this is true of every legal text. It’s true when our Oireachtas enacts a piece of legislation, it’s true when we amend our consitution. It is not possible to have certainty about how future courts (or society in general) will view certain provisions. The best can be done is to be as precise as possible and put in safeguards. But nothing can be certain. A demand for certainty guarantees deadlock, now and forever. The legislating is now done. It was done by those we chose to vet it. The negotiating is over, it’s time to decide.

  13. Electron

    “It is not possible to have certainty about how future courts (or society in general) will view certain provisions.”

    This is the core of the problem – a leap of faith. As for myself, I take calculated risks in business and wild punts on horses, but I can’t do the former and wont do the latter on something as important as our future – sorry!

  14. Tomaltach

    You, Electron, will strive for certainty, and you will end up with nothing. We cannot tie down the future 100%. That is life.

  15. Electron

    Tomaltach, I said that I can take calculated risks – 100% = zero risk. Why can’t the government give us some odds – they’re big into adjectives, but very shy on figures.

  16. Tomaltach

    Electron,
    Can you remember the last time any government anywhere in the world gave such impossible figures? Your demand for numbers here illustrates how vast and unbridgeable is the gap between many in the No camp and that thing we call political reality.

  17. B

    I am voting NO because democracy is more important than keeping the unelected suits in Brussels from throwing their toys out of the pram.

    Threats from Biffo, Inda or Labour won’t work on me. They will just harden me from NO to NO F**king way!

    Democracy is messy and inconvenient and getting rid of it now would be a kick in the face for those who fought for it and paid for it with their lives.

    I am pro Europe and pro Democracy. How can we lecture China and Burma when we got rid of it in Europe?

    And yes voters please tell me EXACTLY what you are voting yes to? And I mean specifics. Line by line specifics.

  18. Darren Prior

    The Trotskyite Socialist Party are wrong on most things.

  19. Rrank Fyan

    So 90 percent of jobs created in 2008 being filled by foreigners is a success for integration? And then by saying this people are accused of all sorts of things. No I don’t want Turkey to join the EU EVER! So why am I not entitled to this view without being labeled xenophobic or worse?

    This is the standard way people are silenced nowadays, while then there is the assertion that democracy is working fine because all sorts of groups and politicians who all have vested interests and agendas dictate to the people what way they should vote and the amount of scaremongering from the yes side is incredible. There is simply no getting away from the fact that all the other countries are not giving their PEOPLE a direct say AND THAT IS WHAT a democratic deficit is all about!

    Play it safe – just say no!

    Thereafter we can gradually build towards more and more intergartion

  20. pete

    >Against: Sinn Fein, Joe Higgins ( I love you Joe but you’re wrong on this one), nutter far right conservatives.

    Didn’t Brian Cowen say that it was the “looney left” who were against the treaty?

  21. Darren Prior

    I knew Joe Higgins as I canvassed for him for the EE in 2004. I thought that he would do embarrasingly bad in that election and I didn’t think that he deserved that so I canvassed for him although I did not join the party.

    I am not gay but I can understand why women can find him attractive. He has a lot of charisma and can be funny and he is not afraid of attacking FF. He also has a lovely head of white hair which is attractive on a man. White (not grey) hair is cool as far as I am concerned. Again I am not gay.

    However, there is the public Joe and there is the private Joe. Anyone who knows Higgins knows that he is actually an extremely nilihistic person most of the time. He seems the opposite as he gets burst of energy that would make one think that he is an all-round interesting person.

    There is a HUGE cultural dichotomy between Higgins and virtually all of his party (in Dublin anyway). Higgins is educated , can be funny, charismatic and educated.

    The average member of the party is the pits.

    I know from experience that what Joan Burton said about them in an article in Village in 2005 is true.

    “Joan Burton is less amenable to Joe Higgins’ persuasion. “I don’t like that whole Militant strain : I think it’s more of a sect than a political party. I find his brand of Trotskyism very unattractive, very sterile and incompatible with a developing society. It’s a very exclusive organisation, a small group rather than a big party : it has tight control exercises, little room for differing opinion.”

    The more you find out about what the Trots are like the more you loathe them. I don’t expect anyone here to want a crash course on what they are like but if anyone does I will post up some links that are worth reading for anyone interested in Irish (albeit fringe and largely Dublin) politics.

  22. Pingback: A Yes Campaigner Who Didn’t Suck | Richard Delevan

  23. thepeoplehavespoken

    The PEOPLE have spoken!

    It is clear that when you have almost all the political parties and major interests group telling you to vote yes then the only sensible thing to do is to vote NO!

    And for the smart alek that misses the point here – it is this;

    A Whole class of people [the establishment = politicians and those with direct vested interests] the ruling classes if you like, have tried to hoodwink Irish people and bully them into voting yes by all manner of silly scaremongering.

    Having witnessed not merely a CHANGE but rather a complete TRANSFORMATION in their country Irish people have at last awakened to the down sides of such rapid and uncontrolled transformation.

    One only has to look at last Fridays Irish times to see how screwed up Ireland has become. The a headline in the business section reported that 90 percent of jobs created last year went to non Irish people.

    The Euro vision song contest also provides a good indicator for Ireland, namely that Ireland has been lost and swamped by the new EU states,who should not have been allowed to be part of the EU for a good few years more. That they have, has opened up Ireland to hordes of foreigners and this in addition to the vast numbers of non EU citizens coming here, which all points to a society built on exploitation and in equality.

    Before we get so close with other states we should have go know them and assimilate them into the EU gradually and from the ground up not top down.

  24. Darren J. Prior

    As a note I should say that my above description of the Trots as being the pits describes their average leader and not the average member of the party- who is alright.

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