Lisbon Treaty -- Yes or No?
I've been planning for weeks now to blip something to do with the referendum here. We have to adopt a constitutional amendment before the government are free to ratify the Lisbon Treaty, and voting took place today. Posters are all over the place, and have been for a good while now. All the main political parties are behind a Yes vote, with the No campaign in the hands of Sinn Féin and various ad hoc interest groups. Most notable among these is an organisation called Libertas, which is fronted by a businessman nobody heard of before. I was interested to hear one of he guys in my music group say after our session last week that this crowd are part of a US-led and US-funded conspiracy to de-stabilise the EU. Mind you, he also rather illogically said that the fact that Sinn Féin in the No camp was enough to make him vote Yes even if he wasn't going to already.
Some of the slogans appearing on the posters which are defacing every pole in sight are pretty childish, really ('Good for Ireland, Good for Europe' sort of thing), so it came as a pleasant surprise to see an original approach added to the mix. I was stopped at traffic lights at Butt Bridge when I saw the 'turkey' one, so I whipped out the camera and recorded the moment through the windscreen of the car (hence the poor quality). The reference, of course, is to the fact that televoting led to Ireland being represented at the recent Eurovision Song Contest by Dustin the Turkey -- a puppet.
Personally, I'm all in favour of an EU constitution, but I'm not happy with bringing the failed one in the back door by way of tinkering with existing treaties. I'm also not keen on the wording of our own constitutional amendment (much too specific to be enshrined in our Constitution -- constitutions should be about fundamental principles, with specifics left to legislation). I'm not keen on the fact that our government negotiated opt-outs from some of the more-worth-while social aspects of the treaty changes and have included references to these opt-outs within the constitutional amendment. I'm not keen on certain aspects of the proposed changes to the treaties, especially when it comes to the dilution of the say which smaller countries have, but more generally also those aspects which enshrine free-market economic theory into the EU's core legislation (indeed, the whole thrust of the EU's direction towards being suited too heavily to the advantage of big-clout global corporations concerns me deeply).
So, after all that, it'll come as no surprise when i say that I voted No.