September 28, 2009

Say Yes, then sort out our own mess

Posted in International Economy · 168 comments ·
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Last weekend, Jim O’Hara, the no-nonsense boss of Intel in Ireland, suggested to me that one way to think about the Lisbon vote was through the prism of Monty Python’s brilliant “what have the Romans ever done for us?” sketch.

In The Life of Brian, the army council of the People’s Front of Judea are sitting in a dingy room planning to kidnap Pilate’s wife. John Cleese, the chief freedom fighter, asks rhetorically, in an effort to inspire his troops ahead of the future dastardly acts: “What have the Romans ever done for us?” Hilariously, the assembled would-be assassins reply: “‘Well . . . there’s the aqueduct, the sanitation, the roads, the public baths, education . . .” And so on, and so on.

When we think of the Lisbon Treaty, sometimes it serves to focus the mind if we pose the same question: “what have the Europeans ever done for us’’. This is particularly pertinent when we hear about the threat of a European army and the like.

Certain elements of the No campaign are trying to paint the EU as a threatening empire that is intent on taking away our freedom. Similarly, some on the Yes side are implying that the EU, and the EU alone, has been responsible for all our economic progress in the past 25 years.

Neither of these arguments is entirely accurate – there was a lot more going on economically than was the case in the EU.

All the poor EU countries did not grow at the rate we did because there are unique domestic factors, as well as other significant ones, at play.

The No side has put forward arguments which serve to paint the EU as some kind of ogre. We’ve seen images of the foetus and Israel’s bombing of the Gaza Strip, as well as fallacious arguments about the minimum wage in a political union whose DNA is ‘left of centre’ and where workers’ rights and union membership are a given.

So neither side is being accurate, but that’s the nature of referendums. Such is the opinion of the government that a prominent member of the Yes campaign told me that they were thinking of running a poster which simply stated: ‘Vote Yes now, get the government later’. What do you think of that one?

Let’s go back to the People’s Liberation Front of Judea and ask: what have the Europeans ever done for us?

Well, there’s the money, the roads, the schools, the labour legislation, the free trade area, the opportunities, the “gateway to Europe’’ argument which served us well when we were trying to host multinationals, the farm subsidies . . . and so on, and so on. It’s impossible to deny that the balance sheet has been stacked in our favour, and if the EU is now trying to tinker with its structure (which, after 40 years, has outgrown its usefulness),why shouldn’t it?

If we take the tinkering analogy a bit further, it strikes me that the EU is getting the builders in with the Lisbon Treaty. It is fixing the plumbing to make the house operate better. This is stressful. Surveys suggest that doing up the house is one of the most stressful things you can do. So the fear over the Lisbon Treaty is like the natural anxiety we have the night before the builders come to knock down the old bathroom and put in a new one. What will it look like? How much hassle will it be?

Will there be dust everywhere? These are the kinds of questions we ask ourselves.

Does the house need new plumbing and, if it does, what will happen to the old way of doing things? I was just getting fond of the old immersion when we’ve decided to rip it out. Weren’t you?

If we can see beyond the pain of the builders, we should try to see what the house will look like. Sometimes, with renovations, the most lasting impressions are none at all. After a day or two, the place feels the same; once the smell of paint evaporates, it feels as if the extension or the new plumbing has always been there.

When we stand back, the impact of a Yes vote in Lisbon will be the same. We will continue. The slow progression of the EU- and Ireland’s membership of it – does appear to be in our best interests. It is now part of what we have become politically. It appears logical to continue down this road because, socially, the EU has been at the vanguard of moving legislation in a more open and tolerant direction in the past few decades.

Economically, it is a plus to be a member of a huge entity. (Although there are some serious reservations about being in a currency union when our main trading partners, Britain and the US, are not. If you doubt this, just ask yourself why are our shoppers voting with their feet in the North?) The issue of the currency is a separate one. You can still be a full member of the EU without adopting the euro – just like Denmark, Sweden, Britain, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and the three Baltic republics.

Maybe the Yes campaign shouldn’t overplay it. For example, it is hard to buy the ‘heart of Europe’ description of a small island at the edge of the Atlantic. We are not geographically or politically at the heart of Europe and, financially, we are very much out on the limb of Europe. But we are part of the EU and that is, from a strategic point of view on how we position the country, the best option.

So, on balance, I believe that we should just get on with it. I wish the arguments were stronger, but they are not. If we vote Yes, we continue along the path we have been on for the last 40 years. But none of the problems go away. We still have to sort out the banks (this column favours letting them go bust and starting again), and get the economy moving by taking little positive steps, rather than waiting for the big bang that will save us.

More than any other time in recent history, we have to sort out our own mess.

The EU will neither accelerate nor decelerate this process. It is up to each one of us to do something positive. The Lisbon Treaty should be passed, even if only for the simple fact that it is now a distraction to the real business of getting people back to work. Let’s just vote Yes – and then go for it.


  1. Transparency :
    It is clear to me that this article is obviously written by a D4 resident and with that mindset only.So on this fine line on the sand in Dalkey I part from .
    The Treaty of Lisbon 2 will be a broken promise to be followed by a new wave of Plantation just as exactly happened when the Treaty of Limerick was broken and all the best in Ireland left and resided abroad.Both treaties devised by D4 redidents .Our vulnerability is raw now and will be after the referendum but a No vote does not deny us our dignity and our land / resources given rights and a #No vote allows us to walk tall in our country and not to feel as a foreigner in our own country.
    The Sunday papers proliferated with articles from all the top journalists advocating a Yes vote .Was this a provocation planned in freemasonry style? Sunday was a sad day in Irish Journalism and some of their respected peers.
    The film ‘Greyzone’ I am reminded of when the Germans deceived the ordinary jews into the chambers using other corrupted jews to do their dirty job.

  2. liam

    Good luck to you all, I’m staying right out of this one.

  3. Malcolm McClure

    Me too. Sub.

  4. seejay

    Oh dear. Lock up your sturdy children, the Illuminati are coming to ravish your happy maidens and to overrun your homesteads. Our dignity, land and resources have been subjugated by decades of negligent, corrupt and incompetent government which the wise people of this Fair Isle have seen fit to reelect year after year. Europe has and will continue to be a mostly positive influence on this State. I wish the same could be said for the real conspirators in this drama.

  5. idij

    The Lisbon treaty is about the future of the EU, not it’s past.

    We are under no obligation to vote yes to a coup d’etat by a bunch of bureaucrats.

  6. tony_murphy

    Europe has being good for Ireland – it’s being good for me. I got a 3rd level qualification thanks to Europe. I am grateful. I would be picking spuds now if it was not for Europe – instead I’m a professional with a good job.

    The EURO has being a disaster for Ireland. The UK is surviving the recession better because Sterling loses value and people keep their jobs.

    The problem with Europe now is that the agenda is being set by big business. It’s not quality of live that’s important, it’s money. Lisbon will make it easier for big business to push their interests at the expense of ordinary people. The credit crunch is a result of big business taking control like this.

    The immigration policy of Europe also needs to be addressed. Is there not a plan to spread asylum seekers throughout Europe? Somali pirates and the likes will end up in Ireland if I’m right.

    And what is going to happen with Turkey? Europe had christian values, but these values are being eroded and Europe does nothing to stop this. It is too politically correct.

    Lisbon also creates a European President. Tony Blair is a front runner. What impact has he had on the world in the past decade? Surely a NO vote is a serious consideration to stop the likes of him taking power.

    Defence is another issue. Does it allow for pre-emptive strikes like what happened in Iraq? Is Lisbon good for European arms companies?

    Morally, a no to Lisbon is the right thing to do. Financially it probably is not

    • G

      If Tony Blair is elected President of Europe then those doubting Thomas’ will know how true power works, again unelected – appointed by members of the elite, people he has more in common with than the people of Tumbridge Wells or inner city Newcastle!

  7. econarchist

    Quote:
    “We still have to sort out the banks (this column favours letting them go bust and starting again), and get the economy moving by taking little positive steps, rather than waiting for the big bang that will save us.

    More than any other time in recent history, we have to sort out our own mess.

    The EU will neither accelerate nor decelerate this process.”

    Unfortunately the EU will decelerate the process of recovery. Where do you think the money for NAMA will come from? Not from any sane private investors, but from the ECB. It’s the same borrowing of huge amounts of Euros that got Ireland into the mess in the first place.

    Ireland doesn’t have any real future if its only plan is to rely on outside forces like the EU or on multinational companies like Intel (who will move to Eastern Europe just like Dell as soon as they get a better deal). Ireland’s only hope is in indigeneous industries that create products other than houses that nobody wants to buy.

    The EU, just like the multinational companies, have been a positive force overall so far. But our decision on the Lisbon Treaty should be based on what’s in the Lisbon Treaty, and not what the EU will do to us if we vote No or on what they will do for us if we vote Yes. Ireland needs to lose that inferiority complex.

  8. Deco

    The Treaty of Lisbon is a political document. Therefore it derves to be analyzed as a political document. Unfortunately (once again), this has not happened-except at the margins of the debate. In effect, the debate has completely malfunctioned. In fact the debate is of a lower quality than before – with all sorts of nonsense entering the debate. In fact it has descended into a complete farce. It has been one continual insult to the electorate. It seems to me that the debate has never really occurred. Instead we get a continual series of hard sell efforts. We have in effect become a totally advertising driven society.

    The one thing which we are not supposed to do, is to go and access the Treaty, and read it for ourselves. We are not supposed to apply our own judgement.

    There have been so many stupid analogies and fairytales thrown at us, that I realise that there is an inherent assumption that we are to be all treated like children. We are patronised to the extreme.

    In fact, it seems a momentum has been created by the Yes side, that has people believing that it is a show of sophistication to know all about it, without actually trying to see what is in it. This is utterly stupid. You are supposed to sign a contract, not read the details and believe a government body which issues a few short sentences and says “so now you know”.

    The quality of the debate this time is absurd. There is nothing wrong with trying to read the Treaty, and coming the conclusions that it contains a lot of stuff that should never be written into law. It is in effect a massive straightjacket for five hundred people. It is not something minor that can be regarded as a whim that can be forgotten about on Saturday morning. This is a damn serious issue. And it is expecially serious, because it is a self amending treaty.

    I am reminded of the quotation from Benjamin Franklin –
    “Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.” It seems to strike right at the heart of the entire FF argument.

    David – I dissent. And Rome was a “success” only at the point of a sword. Rome also represented 800 years of technological stagnation. Basically whatever was invented in 250BC was the height of everything that followed. (And most of that was borrowed from the independent anarchic Greek City states). Too much authority and you get stagnation. I think that technology has brought people together in a way, that authority never will.

    Authority is not the panacea for flaws of the human condition – in fact, authority is a tool that exposes the flaws of the human condition with dire consequences. And European History is all about suffering as a result of failed authority models, which went out of control, and existed for their own sake. And verified the old maxim “The Road to Hell is paved with Good Intentions”.

    The less authority, the more dynamism, the more freedom, and the better the intellectual state of our society, and other European societies.

    The whole episode has revealed the elements in society who want to dumb down the level of intellectual discourse in society.

  9. Deco

    Sorry – an important correction – “It is in effect a massive straightjacket for five hundred million people. “.

    I should add – and most of them are never to be consented on the matter. Instead politicians, most of whom have read the Treaty will do the consenting for all for them. The Dail consented to taking over Anglo Irish Bank, and that would never have received the consent of the people either. And we know who would have been the wisest means of making that decision. Of course the EU Commission backed the Dail in it’s actions all of the way on Anglo and on NAMA.

  10. Thermus B. Airgetinin

    And here was I thinking David was one of us. On the yes vote argument, David is asking us to employ the “carrot and stick” method of doing things, as in… Hell we’re in the shit anyway, what have we got to lose, vote yes to make them happy and maybe they’ll throw us a few crumbs from the banqueting table, something good might come out of it for us in the long run. Thats how they get their policies adopted. One british politician recently said catastrophies were ideal opportunities to release bad news or to get unpopular policies through. While we are all struggling to survive the biggest financial meltdown in this states history, we are being asked to place in order of importance whether we should agree to spend more on arms and munitions so that we can help defend our “partners” in the new structures of an unelected elitist carve up, or should we be more concerned about where we’re going to be living next week after the bailiffs have evicted us from our homes. Get real David. Look at the result free marketeering and globalisation had on the unfortunate peoples of Indonesia, policies as preached by our EU masters and “coming to a venue near you soon” Referring to our future prosperity, our straw chewing, pig- on-the-lead politicians assure us that this is the only way to go, the only show in town, the right thing to do… is that not some shower telling us what the right thing to do is? On their track record alone should we not do exactly the opposite to what they say? Under instruction from the paymasters of Brussels to secure the right result (or else?), we have been threatened by our own politicians with isolation, political and economic stagnation, a pariah among nations, their predictions as to Irelands future well being has never been accurate not even within a beagles gowl of reality so why should we be prepared to listen to their guff now? I have great respect for you,re opinions David, but you are an economist, you,re job entails looking at money in a light ordinary punters aren’t easily capable of understanding. Money to you is a tool which if handled properly makes your world go around a little sweeter, whereas to people like me, money is the lifeblood of my and my family’s existence the shortage of which leads to hardship and unhappiness. The whole of Ireland is in the midst of hardship and unhappiness and in that respect, the lisbon treaty is going to be as helpful to us as a third tit on a nun. As Mo Mowlam once famously said to Ian Paisley “what fucking part of No don’t you understand”? I hope the lisbon referendum receives the same answer. And heres one result of our committment to our “partners” in the EU scheme of things. The Celtic Tiger roars and Poland responds by sending her “tired her poor her huddled masses yearning to breathe free” to do all the “menial jobs” that the “Irish didn’t want to do” (thats what was being pushed down our throats anyway)… fast forward to the present day… Dell pulls out of Ireland with the loss of 4000 highly skilled Irish jobs, the EU gives Poland a multi-million euro grant to set up a factory for … wait for it… you ‘ve got it… Dell. Theres loyalty for you… thats akin to inviting someone over to dinner and them shitting in the hall on their way out… but hey… they enriched our culture(and a lot of our crime statistics too) Do you think the lisburn treaty is going to make any difference to or for our wellbeing? Vote yes? I’d rather be shot in the head!

  11. wills

    David,

    you end article on “lets just vote yes and then go for it.”

    Oh dear. MMmm, So, you want Lisbon ‘cos, ‘we should just get on with it, cos, on balance EU in your viewpoint has been at the vanguard moving legislation in a more open and tolerant direction’, and, ‘lisbon is really just plumbing fixtures’ much needed for our house.

    OK, i go back too your appearance on ‘late, late show’ and ryan turbidy’s remark on the farmleigh week end out and how it’s all a bit “airy fairy” the whole idea, that, culture, will put Ireland ‘back in the game’. And your response to turbidy’s remark was rather dismissive and ho hum.

    And, i do not like to post this david, but this article on lisbon is veering into ‘wishful thinking’ even magical thinking that sure we’re all going in this direction anyway so you know let’s put up some new wall paper and make the best of it.

    This is ‘airy fairy’ this analysis, even moreso meandering essay. David, jumping out of the article you generalise on both camps advocacy. i’m not in favour of Lisbon, but i do concede proponents of lisbon, certain persons have articulated clear concise points, and declan ganley has always stuck to plumbing nuts and bolts on lisbon and given very precise argument on voting no, albeit concise political science based argument with little economic flavour, he still makes very sound points.

    I reckon the wind may be out of your sails and all i can say is, jump on here and blog with us and iron out some of this airy fairyness, go for it,..

    Metaphor wise, i see lisbon, using Dr strangelove, and the vested interests are in the bunker and are now hatching plans to go down the mineshaft and lisbon is just another furthering of building bureaucracy to preserve special interests as they drive us all closer to the precipice of doom in their obsession with remaining in control and at the top and rich rich rich for ever more, this is the world we are in, and it’s now outed itself through the bailouts panto worldwide, the facts are now on the table, the world economy is run by elites who are robbing from the printing press and willing to sacrifice the commonwealth and common good if their power is threatened and lisbon is all about beefing their defenses around their bunker.

  12. Philip

    This is shock doctrine in action. Perceived financial survival drives the debate. If you think being outside the pale being cheesed off with Leinster House is bad, wait until you get a load of the Brussels inefficiencies. Ireland will find its real place in the queue in the next few years and only the informed (a la D4) will be the only beneficiaries and thro’ their merciful intercessions, you may benefit as well. And why? It’s very simple – bigger bureacracies just are more inefficient. 27 countries all milling around?! So you outsource the lot to a big corporate like IBM or someone like that and they just do what they do best…execute process.

    Anyway, I think it matters not anymore. The notion of nationstate is on the way out. We are entering a new period of peace and harmonisation by virtue of corporate compliance. Democracy will be the suggestion box and sucess will be based on citizen certification status. Mavericks will be treated.

    Yes is a-comin atcha! May as well suck in and get used to it. I take heart from the fact that all governemnts are generally incompetent and long may it stay that way. Be good to your family & community – the rest is generally secondary anyway.

    • wills

      philip, what happens when you are been forced to take a vaccination against your will, when you are been arrested and thrown in jail for refusing to let your child be injected with it.

      • Philip

        And the citizens will treat yoiu like a leper. Happens already. Try starting a business with climbing a ladder to clean windows. It’s illegal. It’s all a case of qualification credentials over experience, certification credentials over competence. Note the little twist there that’ll render the so called competency clauses null and void….I can see Michael Martin saying…well you know fellow citzens..our european colleagues are now certified competent to EU standard 1BIE/7C to change all our laws…so we are ok. ok?

      • Philip

        I have not answerd your question…In the case of a vaccination, I suspect I will follow the recommendations of my GP. If it’s a case of line up outside the EU Vacc Van in your area…by then we are looking at a situation where the GP and all the laws behind them will have been eliminated – and for that to happen, you are into rebellion territory. No, I think any Vaccinations or chipm implants we get, we’ll be jumping up and down becasue of recommendations. Force is very old fashioned and wasteful.

    • G

      Precisely, well said, shock doctrine indeed, take the medicine or suffer the consequences!!!

      A very merry Democracy (in Ireland & Europe) we have! Power has exposed its naked face of aggression and bullying, send it back into the abyss from whence it came, vote No!

  13. MK1

    Hi David,

    I sense your “Yes” is half-hearted at best. The thing about Lisbon-II is that it is being portrayed as the “only game in town”. Now where did we hear that one before????

    There are many untruths being told by both ‘sides’. Those that claim that being a part of EU and we should continue in it is a reason to vote Yes are being completely disingenuous. And who is saying that only our most senior “representative”, An Taoiseach!

    Lisbon II is not a referedum on whether we want to be in Europe or not? The latter is clearly a Yes (and for me in the euro although you think sometimes we would be better out of the euro).

    Its deciding what type of Europe we want to be in. Do we want an EU where the people have more of a say, where the minorties are protected? If we do, we should vote No. Indeed, why is it that only 4.5 million are given a vote on it at all?

    Whats galling to any democrat is that we are voting on it again. The treaty has not changed. The guarantees are not worth anything legally and are at best promises.

    Would Lisbon-II create a more efficient EU bureaucracy? Maybe, but its fairly inefficent now. Does Lisbon-II make it better for small countries like ours? No, not with QMV and re-jigged country votes.

    We may be seen as the troublesome Irish and indeed we have are scaremongered into giving the ‘correct’ answer. People are speaking about the goodwill, the nudge, nudge wink-wink unwritten shakehanded deals that are done in the corridors of Brussels and the bars.

    Ireland indeed has been a helpful participant in the EU project as the UK has dragged its heels. But we the EU already at 29 nations, perhaps a pause in breath is a more wise choice than to blindingly continue with the project because we are told to do so.

    Make up your own mind ….. but DO VOTE!

    MK1

    • mcsean2163

      Mk1,

      Delighted to hear someone else mention QMV. I had pretty much decided to vote yes the last time but decided to read the treaty before going to the polling booth. I was shocked to see the reduction of QMV, I couldn’t believe I had never heard it in any of the debates or from the government.

      The no side seem a little bonkers but surely this reduction in QMV deserves intelligent discussion.

    • Democrats galled by too much democracy! Reads like an Onion headline.

      Unfortunately Lisbon 2 will affect our standing with may other European countries. We may find ourselves outside the core of Europe, or in a two-speed Europe along with our old friends the British. Then watch for the resurgence of southern Irish Unionism!

      It may be unpalatable to be faced with such a choice, but some countries in Europe will proceed with further integration whether we like it or not. Our choice is about where we want to be. It is not bullying, or coercion. If Brian Cowen had declared the last result the final word, the EU would have accepted it.

      A country of 4 million people can’t hold up the whole project: it is an interesting example of that curious suspicious Irish narcissism that we would think it could.

      So choose: in or out.

  14. Afternoon all,

    Yes you are probably right the article reveals a half-heated and weary “yes”. My problem is I don’t believe either side and therefore have concluded that I will vote as I’ve done on all EU referendums which has always been pro-European, possibly on the basis that I’m not much enamored with the various wagons in the No camp. David

    • wills

      Hi David. Thanks for jumping in and given the blog a roll. Watched the video link, cbc chat show, and thanks for putting the link up to it.

      Can i say off the bat, most of us if not all of us on here debating, mulling, your articles hold your efforts in high esteem. In fact, can i say, you are talking truth too power and it’s full of courage. Your on your own out there going for it and where the first too call a spade a spade on the bubble 3/4 years ago, when it was at it’s most toughest to do so. I recall getting into it with my pops 4 years ago over sunday dinner and it ended in a serious argument and non communication for a year after.

      My pops had fallen for the allure of easy riches using property as the way to do it and i had to stand my ground and give voice to my thoughts and it turned into a generational thing ‘cos i’m around 40, so i’m all to well aware of the mood back then on this island and how out of control crazy the lust for profit became.

      I digress,. on the Lisbon debate,.. and your underwhelmed position going forward,.

      Surely ganley’s points on the loss of political power too brussels is good point. One can’t be too cautious in transferring political power across to a center of power that will only become more bulky and lumbering in bureaucracy in the coming years.

      A nation should do all it can to preserve its political power going forward and use it to function as a democracy for the benefit of all citizens. Lisbon merely dilutes this hope down incrementally and turns over liberty in favour for collectivism.

    • G

      What the hell does ‘pro-european’ mean? I am pro-european but I am not pro-Lisbon, this treaty is a disgrace and an afront to the democratic process. The EU will have an appointed not elected President and Commissioners, decision making has been removed from the people and is confined in the hands of a few political players and their corporate backers, the EU is moving in a fundamentally undemocratic direction, the parliament is a mere talking shop, military adventurism will increase via individual states and NATO, and eventually a European army, this impacts on our nationhood (which is only 80 years old and we are already signing away decision making and state independence to bureaucrats and officials in Brussels), the No campaign has been as absurd as the Yes campaign, look to your own judgement and common sense, what is being offered is not the Europe I want, let the peoples of Europe decide, they know where this project is going wrong, put the Treaty to a referendum in Germany, France, the Netherlands and see the people reject it because they are taking the neoliberal lash, if you see yourself as a serious commentator David you can’t expect other people to take you seriously with what you have written ‘lets just get on with it’, or ‘I am pro-Europe’, this doesn’t rise above the level of absurd.

      • Fergal73

        “Disgrace” and an “affront”. Let’s keep the emotive language out of it.

        What excatly is wrong with a European army? If Ireland were to be invaded by some foreign power, do you think the Irish Army and the FCA could fight back? We depend on the British already for assistance on Atlantic rescue missions. Do you think we should all sing “imagine” and disband all armies? Wonderful idea, but as long as someone has an army that might fight against us, we should have any army that should fight for us. What if there had been no army to protect against Nazi Germany? Do you think Hitler woudl have said “oh, teh irish, they were neutral, we’ll leave them alone’?

        As organizations get bigger, organizational structures must change.

        Without Europe, would Ireland have the roads, the export markets or the inward investment? When we do things for ourselves we end up with light rail lines that don’t meet up, we have blood tribunals, beef tribunals, planning tribunals and no-one gets punished. Before Europe a woman had to retire on getting married!

        So what if the Irish state is 80 years old and not 800? How should that influence us? We’ve had 80 years of self rule and we’ve been exporting people for generations? Is there a chance that we might do better in a more controlled environment? Might Europe have prevented CJH amassing his fortune? Might Europe somehow have spotted our corrupt planning system and prevented the bubble from even starting. All that re-zoning in the late 90′s and early 2000′s brought ireland to a point where we have enough land zoned until 2050, with some counties as long as 2070!

        Looking at the quality of our electorate, do we really want to keep the power in the hands of the people who sang “Arise and Follow Charlie” and re-elected Bertie and the rest with proven corruption?

        The problem with a total democracy, where everyone votes on every issue is that it is too unwieldy. As organizatiosn grow, they need organizational change. So we have central goivernment, where we elect a government to make most of the decisions on our behalf. It is clear the Irish electorate have a history of electing governments who act not in teh nation’s best interest – FF govt’s of DeValera, Haughey, Ahern and I think we may have to include Cowen too.

        If I could vote, I would vote Yes, because the Irish electorate have a history of failure and Europe might be a force to protect ourselves from ourselves. I can;t vote, because I emigrated in 2004 because FF inflated a property bubble that meant I was not willing to pay far over the top for accomodation.

        • G

          @ Fergal73

          “The problem with a total democracy, where everyone votes on every issue is that it is too unwieldy.”

          This made we laugh – in essence, the problem with democracy is democracy.

          In reality, we need more of it, we need democractic systems in the workplace, not a hierarchial system of orders from unelected/unnominated individuals, who more often than not, are not up to the job, we need more democracy on the street corner, in the shop, around the kitchen table, we need our politicians to do as we say and not the other way around, we need or votes to be respected, not re-run under a barrage of threats, intimitation and bullying, that is a fascist Europe, the kind of fascist Europe you touched on in your Hitler comments.

          As for invasion, I think it inappropriate, who is going to invade Europe with its nuclear arsenal and standing armies, the Russians? The African hoardes? Martians – lets get real here, we need less militarisation, not more, and European countries should be sanctioned for selling arms to developing countries, which nearly every European country including Ireland is involved in, turn the spears in ploughs, end the gun!

          Our neutrality is in tatters, let us at least save what little is left, I doubt Micheal Martin would smiling as much if the Russians decided to refuel in Shannon for an invasion of, say, lets pick a poor, defenseless country, big Western powers like that, makes them feel more powerful, and helps them get over the ‘Vietnam syndrome’, so roll and the globe, and……………finger on…….. Guatemala, nor would Russian special forces be allowed to sip Arthur’s brew or buy teddy bears in Duty Free – but double standards in global politics are nothing new, I digress.

          The issue is the Lisbon Treaty – the Treaty and the manner in which it has been handled is an afront to the democratic process and to all Europeans, by which I mean the average citizen who isn’t getting a look-in precisely because power is centralised in parliaments who don’t work for their people, they worked for the vested interests and for money.

          The Lisbon Treaty in the so called drive for efficiency etc is nonsense, it is simply a way of centralising power in the unelected hands of the few, and is about undermining working peoples’ rights, job security and marginalising populations.

          It is not the Europe I imagined or wanted to see and neither is it about the EU asphalt or by-passes, all countries benefitted and contributed to the EU.

          This is about the Treaty and the Lisbon Treaty is not a good deal for so called ‘ordinary’ people, my view is reaffirmed when I see big business and MNCs who have a solid reputation for treating people like crap in the race downwards backing this legislation which is quite obviously in their interests.

          NO to the economic threats, NO to the post-colonial harassement, NO to fascist, elitist, corporate Europe! NO to selling out! NO, NO, NO.

          • G

            That ain’t wishy washy Will, I ain’t fudging any argument nor sitting on the fence!

          • When you have picked your rattle up of the floor, perhaps you might explain how Lisbon’s decentralising trends (legislative role for national parliaments before legisation is put through the European process; role for citizen petitions; mechanism for exiting the Union), and its drive for greater transparency (making the Council meetings public) are about “centralising power in the unelected hands of the few, and is about undermining working peoples’ rights, job security and marginalising populations.”

            Or do you get everything from the Telegraph?

          • Fergal73

            G: I doubt there’s many people who woudl disagree with the basic premise that some people need to be ‘in charge’ / lead. Every person cannot be involved in every decision. Every society has a leader, from small tribal pygmy villages to the largest nations on earth.

            Militarisation – you say it yourself – we are dependent on Europe’s armies. Your position is that we don’t need to be part of the European army, since they will defend us anyway. Fair enough as an economic argument, but don;t present it as a moral high ground. One might as well say that one is environmentally friendly because one’s house and garden are clean, ignoring the fact that the rubbish produced is full of disposable batteries, non-degradable plastics and ends up in a landfill.
            Looking back on Irish history – before we joined the EU, women had to retire from civil service jobs when they got married. We (Irish elected governments) forced generations to emigrate through our political policies of the 40′s – 90′s, we turned a blind eye to the Magdalene laundries, the child abuse in state funded religious schools, we presided over a corrupt planning system, the list goes on. A guiding hand from Europe woudl be beneficial. What has Europe done for us? Roads / Equal Rights – (still working towards that one) / relative currency stability / opened up a bigger market for Irish companies.

            The race downwards? Hang-on. Lets go back to 1970. Most families were 0 or 1 car families, 0 or 1 television households, washing done by hand, foreign holidays were the preserve of the wealthy. Roll forwards to 2009. Familes are 1 or car households, 1 – 3 tvs, virtually no-one hand washes anymore and holidaying in the Canaries can be cheaper than in Kilkee. If this is the race downwards, let’s continue racing.

  15. mcsean2163

    Amazing! This has to be a new low for David.

    A discussion of the Lisbon treaty which discusses nothing to do with the treaty and compares Ireland to the protagonists of Monty Python. In fact the only reason to vote yes seems to be money. Where does it stop? If someone were to offer us money to kill someone would we vote yes (taken to the extreme)?

    David does not seem to be aware that we are also Europeans being in the same continental plate. What have we done for ourselves as Europeans? Where do we want the EC to go as Irish European is a good question, imho.

    I am undecided but very worried about the reduction of QMV from 85% to 55%. This is my only concern and I believe that it does not respect the soverignity of the member countries. I believe that instead of a state of nations we will become a nation of states with this reduction. The worst case scenario being a fractured Europe driven by a slender majority and an eventual collapse of the EU.

    I believe this is what should be discussed and it is indeed an insulting article to the Irish people that David has written.

    • I don’t think that the scenario you outline: “a fractured Europe driven by a slender majority”, is a likely outcome. The most probably eventuality is that power blocs will emerge within Europe (no doubt overlapping), and that smaller states will gang up on the larger ones to exact concessions.

      This is of course, all very adversarial and healthy. I’m looking forward to seeing the telecasts of the Council’s deliberations, and the opinions of national parliaments on European legislation. It will all be out in the open post-Lisbon!

  16. David Mc Williams – your words are a welcome .
    I am not enamoured by what I see in the ‘No’ camp either and I am happy to vote ‘No’ still ..Should there be a ‘No’ victory this does not eliminate the parties of FF FG Lab etc and all the elected politicians and either way Irish Politicians will know how to fight to represent their people and the same ‘free people’ after a ‘No’ vote will know and will receive a better political value in return instead.
    We must not confuse ‘the raw accounting and financial mess ‘ with our liberties and freedom of expression and our given land and resources rights .I am pro EU and always have and I voted yes in the Nice referendum .The Lisbon Treaty referendum is a very very different matter and a yes vote is liken to taking free money and sarcrificing our freedom and loosing the value of that money as well.The yes vote is a loose loose loose scenario and no win .
    Not having a respectible political party in the mainstream of Irish Politics on the No side is proof how the schemming EU politics works and it’s bullying tactics but that does not really mean their political followers agree with their party leadership mantra to vote yes.In fact were they to have a secret vote it would be interesting to see how wide they differ within.
    A vote No restores the quality of Irish Politics and remove Cowen forever.

  17. David,

    If you look into how the EU is run, the MEPs are puppets. Can you tell me exactly what a councillor does in the EU parliament? Why is the Lisbon treaty written in a language nobody understands other than specialised lawyers?

    In article 52, the treaty allows the previous articles to be over ruled. Muslims will be allowed to sexually touch girls, without vaginal penetration and this will be legal in the eyes of EU law. The death penalty will be brought back, the EU will be split up into military regions for some strange reason. Want more reasons to vote no?

    EU law will take precedence over Irish law, meaning our low taxation can be changed to become ‘strandarised’ throughout the EU if the French get their way. Why wouldn’t they if they can get away with it? How will that help create jobs, please explain.

    Its obvious, Britain, France and the US, along with their allies are going to invade Iran. They now have the excuse to do so and if this treaty goes through Irish men and will have to fight in such wars in the future and our constitution cannot protect against this.

    The EU has become like the Soviet Union, the word soviet means council. The true decisions are made behind closed doors, not by MEPs or our MPs, they have no real powers.

    I know this is hard to believe, but do some research and you will soon see. If you need some keywords and links, let me know and I’ll pass them over to you.

    BTW, Generation Game was one of the best books I’ve ever read. I read it within days, literally couldn’t leave it down. You certainly have your head screwed on and I wish you were minister for finance. We need intelligent people, with their heads screwed on like you to get us out of this almost disaster.

    Regards,

    Sean

    • Fergal73

      Sean “Muslims will be allowed to sexually touch girls, without vaginal penetration and this will be legal in the eyes of EU law.”
      I think you should clarify. One 15 year old making out with another 15 year old is hardly shocking, Muslim, Athiest or Christian.

      The death penalty? Fine by me. How about starting with the fine young men who shot the bouncer or the rugby player in Limerick? How about Marc Detreaux in Belgium. Fine by me.

      Tax standardization. You are factually incorrect.

      War: If Irish men and women choose to join an army, then they are soldiers and follow their orders. This goes for British Army, French Foreign Legion or some future “European Army”. As long as there is no conscription, I see no difficulty with this principle. If war in Iran is justified “they have an excuse”, what’s your problem?

      Language lesson: “Fianna Fail” means “Soldiers of Destiny”. So what?

      • So you argument is that its okay for men to touch kids, of any age? Its ok for people to face the death penalty? What happens if further evidence comes to light and it turns out that individual was innocent all along? Its happen in the US, several times. That’s the major flaw with the death penalty. Its less expansive to keep to keep convicts behind bars for life, than face the death penalty.

        I think you’ll find, I’m correct on the stanardisation of taxation. Just read article 52 in the Lisbon Treaty.

        If you think its okay for our defense force, I stress DEFENSE force to go invade other nations illegally that’s up to you but I’m not going to put up with that attitude and I’m certain the vast majority of this nation won’t either.

        As for Fianna Fail, I never voted for them so they do not represent me. So what’s your point exactly?

        • You clown. We have an opt-out on taxation, and our soldiers cannot be sent into action without the Dáil’s consent.

          At least inform yourself before ranting.

        • Fergal73

          Sean – you said it would be OK for Muslims to “sexually touch girls”. It be educational for you to realise that there are 15 year old Muslims of both sexes. Do I have a rpoblem with a 15 year old Muslim making out with a 15 year-old Muslim / Christian / Buddhist / Athiest? No. Read your own writing.

          Is it OK for people to face the death penalty? In my opinion “yes”. Jeffrey Dahmer springs to mind, as do Marc Detreaux or Myra Hindley. The point is that I believe there is nothing wrong in principle with the death penalty. The problem is having a system whereby it is only used in exceptional and circumstances where the evidence is without doubt and the crime sufficiently serious. Imagine a case where a murder is caught on video tape, the weapon is found with fingerprints of the person shown on the video tape, the bullet matches the gun and the murderer never disputes the charge. Depending on the motivation for the murder – (self defense?), I’m OK with the death penalty being considered.

          As for our ‘defense forces’. They are a joke. We can’t defend ourselves. We would need European or American forces to defend us. See kirghiz’s comments for your other points.

          You gave a little language lesson on the meaning of Soviet. I gave a little language lesson on the meaning of Fianna Fail. My point is that the language lesson is irrelevant.

  18. severelyltd

    David, that was a disappointing article devoid of true analysis and objectivity, gut feeling doesn’t cut it for me. I understand your sentiment but you smudged the article towards the yes side. I voted NO and will do so again. Why? I have never been given a reason to Vote Yes that wasn’t hypothetical scaremongering. This treaty is nothing but an endorsement of the corrupt politics of Fianna fail the banking system and state run media. The ECB has got this system on a lifeline until we vote yes. That is more than enough reason for me to Vote NO again. I’ll also be voting for the people of Europe that didn’t get a vote. If this was such a great deal then every citizen of Europe should have been given a vote in true democratic fashion. Would that not have brought our nations closer together? then again Charlie McCreevy did say that 95% of Europeans would vote against it given the chance. On the 2nd of October the indifferent won’t Vote, the yes side will be apathetic and the 53.4% that voted no will be pissed off that they’re democratic decision was not respected. Savour your Yes vote David because if Lisbon passes it will be the last Vote of any consequence held in this country. Some things are more important than than money, remember that.

  19. Thermus B. Airgetinin

    Nail on the head my son, nail on the head!!

  20. David, I have to agree with fellow bloggers here regarding this article.
    Sure looking at it from one angle we are shooting ourselves in the foot as without the E.C. our still unfinished road network would not be here along with the other benefits we have gained from membership.
    But voting yes just to appease the ECB is a bad move also.
    Maybe by voting no and pissing off the body politic we will have the IMF in here sooner and then we can begin sorting out the mess F.F. have gotten us into.
    Our saving grace at the moment is the fact that we are using the Euro , if we had our own currency we would six months ago have had the IMF already here !

    • Ruairi

      I agree overall BrendanW but the snapshot view of our currency position isn’t all-encompassing enough.

      Its BECAUSE we were in the Euro that we got to borrow all of this money. Its only right and fair now (or at least self-serving) that we get to use it as a release valve. had we our own currency originally, we would not have reached these dizzy heights of debts and the ones we had could be battled by using a devalued currency to make some gains in international competitiveness.

      Its all about seeing opportunities in crisis. A McGyver mindset. David has run with this theme many times. The fact that the opportunities sought do not benefit most of us points to protection of the few. Or else incompetence.

      A machievelli mindset or a !myJesus! mindset…….

      Can someone please do a Strongbow on it (Liam Carroll, what have ya to lse bucko) and invite the IMF in? Plenty of empty castles for the invadin hoors ;-)

    • Ruairi

      I agree overall BrendanW but the snapshot view of our currency position isn’t all-encompassing enough.

      Its BECAUSE we were in the Euro that we got to borrow all of this money. Its only right and fair now (or at least self-serving) that we get to use it as a release valve. had we our own currency originally, we would not have reached these dizzy heights of debts and the ones we had could be battled by using a devalued currency to make some gains in international competitiveness.

      Its all about seeing opportunities in crisis. A McGyver mindset. David has run with this theme many times. The fact that the opportunities sought do not benefit most of us points to protection of the few. Or else incompetence.

      A machievelli mindset or a !myJesus! mindset…….

      Can someone please do a Strongbow on it (Liam Carroll, what have ya to lse bucko) and invite the IMF in? Plenty of empty castles for the invadin h**rs ;-)

  21. G

    We should just get on with it?

    The basis for making international agreements that will effect how this country and the entire European Union is run, is that what the corporates recommend?

    David you have lost all perspective, you seemed to be writing popular material for a while, but have slipped back into D4 land………

    This article has finished it for me, your positions are clear, they are not good ones so adios!

    • wills

      G, hold up there for a second before you ride out of this town,…. DAvid’s conceded in his post his article is wishy washy, so, he is stepping aside a little to take stock and straighten his views out a little and takes quite a bit of gumption to get on here and declare himself addled and directionless over an issue. chr1st know’s you wouldn’t see any of the jackasses in the dail or business or anywhere else fessing up like that.

      I reckon he is de throning himself from some sort of elevated state he fears he is landed himself in and is bursting his own bubble perhaps and indirectly putting his hand up and declaring ignorance on this and so be it., thats his next move and the plot continues too unfold and maybe we don’t know the full story here with this thing….?!

      • G

        Wills, you seem to know David pretty well, but this is too serious an issue to be wishy washy on, if you ain’t sure then don’t write it and certainly don’t call for a willy nilly ‘Yes’ vote, such a move is very damaging to McWilliams’ credibility, I simple cannot take him seriously after this, I can’t afford the luxury of being wishy washy in my job, I demand the same standards, probably more so, of people who put themselves forward in the public domain as commentators or ‘economists’ – whatever the hell those labels mean, I am head bean counter or biscuit collector, sorry Wills put have to pull on this issue, drives me bananas as time is precious and there are a million and one things to read elsewhere, I have to pull people on disinformation or so called wishy washy nonsense, we are either serious about this stuff or we are down the pub.

        • wills

          G, i agree on all counts of your post, and usually do. Never met Dmcw, merely applying some of my psychoanalysis expertise and hoping for the best. Hoping for the best ‘cos i’m on the same frequency your on G. I’m just looking at dmcw’s past performance and he is always ‘going for it’, and has put the brakes on as of last few weeks which in fairness i was first to shout out. Maybe we all should give him the benefit of the doubt for 15 mins and gauge where he is going out of the next article or two. I totally agree there are other forums to visit and not enough time and i figure at this stage this is significantly relevant and chr1st know’s i hope dmcw is not bottling out or come under some type of chilling effect.

  22. The Irish should fix their own broken political and governance systems before lecturing other Europeans.

    Besides that home truth it’s good that the end of the once perennial threat and often the reality of war can be banked and people who have security of employment or income can afford to quibble about the Lisbon Treaty from their armchairs – - in my opinion, it’s a very selfish attitude.

    Ireland remains a very conservative country with British structures largely intact including the Victorian culture of secrecy.

    A week hardly goes by without another example of the buck stops nowhere system: if it’s not a financial regulator getting a big payoff for negligence, it’s another agency chief getting a gold-plated payoff for such indulgences as €600,000 spent on producing a TV advertisement that was never used….and so the litany could go on.

    Social advances in the country have invariably come from the EU.

    Wealthy journalists who have never sold a bean overseas or lived there, egg on others who presumably are not part of the tens of thousands on the dole who are victims of Irish misgovernance.

    The EEC would not have come about if petty people could not see the value of compromise.

    In 1972, maybe the then governments of the six members should have been petty and without vision by putting the admission of Ireland and the support of their taxpayers to a vote?

    There is not always virtue in a plebiscite unless one is a supporter of capital punishment.

    More here: http://www.finfacts.com/irishfinancenews/article_1017812.shtml

    As for the anti-euro argument, it’s fanciful indeed to think that Irish central bankers would have stood up to reckless politicians during an international credit boom and have avoided Iceland’s fate, which had its own currency.

    Iceland’s current policy rate is 12%; Ireland’s is 1%.

    The argument about the US and UK being the biggest trading partners, wrongly assumes that US firms in general transfer overseas earnings back to their parent companies.

    There is a simple point about the euro. Membership of a common currency area is incompatible with casino economics.

    Wouldn’t it be a nice world if we all could have our cake and eat it!

    More here: http://www.finfacts.ie/irishfinancenews/Irish_2/article_1017822_printer.shtml

    There is never perfection in multilateralism.

    So quibblers can always find some issue to moan about. Wars have started on such pedantry.

    26 of 27 countries agreed a compromise after years of haggling. Anyone who would claim that more years of discussion would generate goodwill for Ireland from the likes of Merkel or Sarkozy is naive.

    We would be the toast of the Tories and UKIP – - and maybe a talking shop like the Commonwealth would be better to our liking.

    Finally, why are the Irish so tolerant of mediocrity at home?

    • mcsean2163

      MH,

      As I understand it your points are:

      1. “A week hardly goes by without another example of the buck stops nowhere system”

      This has nothing to do with the Lisbon treaty. In fact the self same politicans and bureaucrats are advocating a yes vote.

      2. “Social advances in the country have invariably come from the EU.”

      A sweeping and meaningless statement. We are part of the EU so can we then say that social advances are coming from ourselves?

      3. “The EEC would not have come about if petty people could not see the value of compromise.”

      The european economic community was concerned with economies. The Lisbon treaty is different. It’s like talking about people who agreed to help an old lady and those who agreed to bash her, (extreme example). They are different things.

      4. Iceland’s current policy rate is 12%; Ireland’s is 1%.

      Ideally Ireland rate would be much higher so we could inflate away our public service expenditure, wage cuts by stealth, no strikes.

      5. “26 of 27 countries agreed a compromise after years of haggling. ”

      True. So maybe we should vote yes and maybe we shouldn’t. What is strange is that we are the only country voting on what is a very important treaty.

      • “In fact the self same politicans and bureaucrats are advocating a yes vote.”

        This is just a rehash of the other side’s argument: the crazies and kneecappers want you to vote No… nothing to see here.

        It is not a sweeping and meaningless statement to attribute social advances to the EU: real social laws have been brought into this country because of our obligations, your cute illogic aside.

        “What is strange is that we are the only country voting on what is a very important treaty.”

        This is the lie that won’t die. Spain did vote (overwhelmingly) in favour. Luxembourg did too (stop sniggering at the back). Each country has to ratify the treaty in its own way. Our way is a referendum, so that’s what we do. Germany has a fear of referenda because of their extensive use by the Nazis.

        Part of the nice thing about Europe is the diversity of its political systems. Ironic that you who bitch and moan about EU homogenization would impose an Irish constitutional requirement on everyone else!

        • wills

          We did vote, and it was a resounding NO.

          • And we will vote again on Friday. Nothing wrong with voting a few times. Remember this, though: the decision to re-hold the referendum was an internal Irish matter. If our government had decided that the last referendum was the final word, they could have said so, and it would be been accepted.

            Given what was reveled in the post-referendum polls though, I think a re-run was justified.

    • Deco

      MH – You have made a few interesting points – and I would like to follow on from these.

      Not all the social change in Ireland came from Europe. In fact most of it did not. As the saying went ‘ There was no sex in Ireland before Television’ (though that in itself was a massive exaggeration). An awful lot of it came from Britain in the 1960s. And an awful lot came from Hollywood going back to the 1950s. And there were negative social developments as well as positive social developments.There is a mantra that is repeated that all the changes were positive. I disagree. Along the way people became more arrogant, proud, selfish, lazy, and dishonest. The concepts of community and neighbourliness are both in serious trouble. This seems to be brushed aside. Social change is a very complex issue.

      { Ireland remains a very conservative country with British structures largely intact including the Victorian culture of secrecy. }
      I agree concerning the British culture of secrecy, but I am young enough to tell you that Ireland is not a conservative society – in fact Ireland is one of the most liberal societies in Europe. It changed in a short space of time, but it is very clear to see. The Victorian authority mentality means that there is a complete mismatch – making us slighty Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde like.

      A lot of positive changes came from the European unity movement. (this is more accurate that the term “Europe”). They came because there was a serious effort to make Europe a success. It was hard work that made these improvements. This is simply about doing the right thing to make sure that the next step is correct in this regard.

      We need to examine what exactly the Treaty will do for us (that is Ireland and Europe going forward). The political and business establishment sees it entirely in transactional terms. This is absurd. I do not think that the political leaders might a proper effort at this. Instead there was the usual horse-trading. All right there will be negotiations. But there was no concept of inspiration like in 1956 or 1973 or the Euro. In fact this is the biggest difference between this and previous EU steps.

      Iceland’s economy is recovering from it’s collapse. Iceland has had deflation. It has walked away from a lot of debt. Gordon Brown tried to stick it in the same category as Iran and North Korea, and looked extreme. Our economy is living beyond it’s means and is continuing to leverage up, instead of leverage down. (And we have to leverage down to get out of this mess). The bank gaurantee prevented Ireland from going into an Icelandic situation – and without the ECB the bank gaurantee would have been a joke. But the ECB is politically nuetral and is supposed to be completely disconnected from this mess. The difference between Ireland and Iceland today is that Iceland was forced to get honest with itself – we are still avoiding that honesty. Until we get that honest, there will be no recovery.

      { Membership of a common currency area is incompatible with casino economics.}. I wish that were the case. And maybe now it might become the case. I agree with the sentiment. But the D4 Banks and the Spanish equivalent have behaved like gamblers, and been allowed to get away lightly.

      A big issue is made of our Commissioner. But why ? Most of the time we send unsuitable commisioners on a jolly to Brussels. The behaviour of national governments in selecting commisioners tells us that they are using it in a multiple of incorrect manner options. They are not taking it seriously. Maybe we might be better off without a Commisioner on a continual basis – we might provide capable candidates.

      The real problem is that we need a system that accounts for useless politicians. We cannot afford to have a system that assumes that the politicians know what they are doing. Because as the last thirty months have proven, most of the time they have now idea what they are doing, and absolutely no concept of their consequences. The USA survived Dubya and other wasters, thanks to the US Constitution (though Dubya did his best to nueter the US Constitution and Magna Carta also).

      Why is it never considered that it Lisbon fails, that the European movement might actually try and make a better effort at reform than this clumsy effort with loads of little bits in there to suit everybody. This is not about ending European Cooperation – this is about getting it right. It is not stumbling blindly into something that will not work, or which must be accompanied by a “carrot and stick” hard sell to get it through.

      Some good points raised from you in starting a discussion.

      • MaxKeiser

        I have to agree with all of the comments above.

        David McW. simply got it wrong this time.

        RE: Deco’s comments:
        Iceland is now better off than Ireland, German bank says

        http://ftalphaville.ft.com/blog/2009/09/28/74301/iceland-is-now-better-off-than-ireland-german-bank-says/

      • Hmmm.

        I can’t agree that Ireland is one of the most liberal societies in Europe. My extensive experience of four other western European societies leads me to think that we are socially very conservative, except among the very young, and that our political system (dominated as it is by two paternalistic reactionary parties) is currently incapable of expressing this youthful liberalism.

        I’m afraid also that many of our social laws did come from Europe, whatever about British TV. If we’re talking about facts as opposed to vague social perceptions, the EU did drag us kicking and screaming out of the Middle Ages.

        I often wonder where the extreme bile about the EU comes from among many of the blogerati. References to the USSR, Nazi Germany and so forth are almost too ironic to bear. Germany elects its president in a similar way to the proposal in the LT: does this make Germany fascist/communist?

        • wills

          kirghiz, i think Deco’s idea of liberalism is related too lack of moral direction and restraint peculiar to irish people in abundance and so resulting in liberal, loose and feckless liberal,.. could be wrong though.

  23. martino

    Does anyone know what would happen if the Referendum is passed on Friday and somewhere down the line all the worst fears of the No campaign come to pass and Ireland decides to abrogate the treaty. Could we do this? Would we be free to leave or would they send in the European Army to sort us out. No kidding, I’m curios at this prospect.

  24. Alan42

    Lisbon ? i thought it was about builders ? That was a really bad half assed article .

  25. Tim

    MK1
    Hello, Sir.

    I agree with you on this. I have nothing to add to what you have written. You have said all that needs to be said.

    I will not waste people’s’ time by re-stating.

    Read what MK1 said, folks; then make your own mind up.

  26. Tim

    wills, that is the best that I can do: I agree with MK1 on this.

    I cannot claim to express my opinion in a better fashion than that.

    Goto.

      • jim

        SSSSHHH dont say anything but I think that massive elephant in the room is starting to make His move.He’s not waiting for the Dail vote (undemocratic elephant?).Elephant in room does’nt give a toss about getting credit flowing in Economy,He’s decided to take 18 mth holiday.You never heard this from Me but I think Treasury Holdings are the owners of His new cage.Questions for you “who did Anglo give 3.5 billion in PRIVATE loans to” and for the clincher who got the 51.4 million loan from Anglo in the Isle of Man. http://trueeconomics.blogspot.com/2009/09/economics-28092009-anglo-moving-staff.html.Wills you and I will remain vigilent while all these other distractions are playing out.wink wink.

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    • jim

      Book Me in for a private appointment with Jessica,My finances need purification.On second thoughts maybe Seanie Fitz needs Her more that Me.Also Neary,Hurley,Sheehy,Goggin,Drumm,Molloy……..She’s going to be one busy girl.Maybe I could float Her on the fooootsie.

  28. Josey

    I urge everyone to watch the film “the soviet story”.

    Let us be brave again, let’s not buckle to pressure or guilt. Prove Yeats wrong about romantic Ireland and let a new era of Saints and Scholers shine.

    Remember we saved Europa once before, we’ll always be her spiritual heart.

    “Fág an bealach”

    Eirinn go brath!!!

    • Deco

      Josey – I intend to watch the film “Soviet Story”.

      I recommend everybody to watch the film “Good Bye Lenin”. It is about the fall of the Iron Curtain, and the way that a family in East Germany suddenly find out that the entire system is has been a fraud for decades. And for the sake of one sick family member they have to keep up the pretence that the old regime is still in existence. Suddenly you get an insight into deception, a phony regime, freedom, and the entire game of controlling people’s thoughts, and containing their natural tendencies with an ideology. Afterwards, I realised that RTE was a joke. And I realised that even in the West, the media is providing all sorts of reassurances to people to keep them in a state of belief in the system. There were many humourous angles to the film. It is an education in the effort to sustain a belief system.

      The only time I seen it on RTE, it was shown at 1 O’Clock in the morning. Obviously RTE will show it, as long as nobody is in a position to watch it : )

      • G

        that’s the modus operandi, bury the good programmes late in the schedule, keep the people droned down with Eastenders and Fair City, otherwise you may get a call from a certain Ambassador who may threaten to remove the good old MNCs……………..terrible to inform the people, you must keep them misinformed, mindless consumers…………..

  29. Tim

    Folks, It is difficult to remain awake;
    to stay alert;

    We MUST remain so.

    We have to challenge everything that is thrown at us.

    There are people trying to wear us down. We must keep going.

    Let’s keep at it!

  30. Count Down – Already we are experiencing increased visual Collective Deception and Corporate Bullying by Irish journalist, professional associations ,Ryanair, and desperate politicians eager to restrain the Electorate ‘to think’. This is a national class act shackling every Irish Ankle they come close to within their propaganda roar including their employment .
    Soon Irish Freedom will be LOST and in a manner that happened without resistant that only can be described as a ‘coupe deceit a l’Irlandaise’.
    This confusion among the electorate will certainly secure a yes vote win .
    So what happens next ?The Financial Mess has not gone away neither have the bad banks or the cost cutting programmes by the government or the IMF and ECB .In fact we are left with bigger problems and we have sold all our silver cards for nothing. Our freedom is lost .We have no choices .German and French Agenda takes priority over ours and Ireland is a second fiddle .The German and French have their own problems and their solutions will be paid from the losses the Irish gave away.
    Denial by the Electorate that they have lost prevails indefinately until Cowen resigns and Berti is made T-Shock and more revelations come to play that up to now have been concealed in a political nuclear waste dump deep inside Merrion Square.
    When that moment arrives its too late to seek another referendum because we are forbidden not to just like all of Europe have .We are then prisoners in our own country and all our politicians have left with their big golden balls playing in the sands where ever they can find a santuary.
    European Politicians enact new laws to transfer unwanted civilians to an island to stop their erosion of their own culture and contain it out of sight and mind .Military engagements commence and Shannon Estuary is earmarked to be the center of the new Atlantic Stategic Alliance with new Military Airports and Navel Bases under control from Brussels .
    A Change a Great Change a terrible beauty is born .Welcome to ‘Albania sur Atlantique ‘.

    • tony_murphy

      totally agree

      the cold and rain of ireland is a nice place for people to settle in

    • We were Albania-on-Atlantic once, before we joined the EEC in 1973.

      • wills

        EEC not european economic superstate.

        • OK, but we can’t expect the EU to be tailored to our satisfaction! We did accept all of the successor treaties, either by Dáil vote or referendum. If the EEC has become an economic superstate, surely that is testament to its success?

          Remember also that joining the EEC in 1973 meant changing several of our social laws, including getting rid of the marriage ban. The idea that a simple common market has morphed into a social project with the Lisbon Treaty doesn’t stand up: Europe has always had a social/cultural dimension.

          • wills

            Treaty of Rome is an economic treaty. LIsbon is a collectivist treaty. The change occurred gradually after NIce treaty. Politics has been overtaken by vested interests / neo liberal contagion and is underway infecting the original EEC hope for the future with oligarchy special interest pinky and the brain masterplans to squeeze the world into a one world government using the EEC vehicle to drive it through and you know what, they are fanatics and are going to be denied their re invented perverse idea’s on democracy and engineered social control, denied by free thinking pro europeans who are still in touch with the original idea of what free markets and free trade is all about.

  31. sorry for a few mis spelt words – never checked

  32. If we vote Yes, we continue along the path we have been on for the last 40 years.
    ————————————————–
    (((Comment quote: ”a #No vote allows us to walk tall in our country and not to feel as a foreigner in our own country.” Great!)))
    ———————————-
    STAND UP to the business clique who put us where we are in the first place. Don’t be bullied! …. Or talked into it all over again. You know what has happened; see it for what it is for goodness sake,and say No No No No No No No No No No No No!!!!!!!!

    That says it all.
    David I’ve always know you were a yes man at the back of it all.
    You advocate change, but your impute to maintain the status quo by keeping business in charge spells it out clearly: you’re right of center; similar to the “loads of money” culture of Thatcher/Regan started in the 80’s.
    I thought it was absolutely clear it failed.
    I listened to the LATE LATE where Sir scoffed at government (any government) incapable of running anything. That’s very true, but that does not qualify people who have profit as a bottom line anymore capable, in fact I would have thought less so.
    All I have experienced in the past about business is that it creates more wealth not alone by profit, but paying less tax (in fact none at all in a lot of cases) by paying less in wages, and jobs are indeed creted by people who have to take two, and tree jobs to make ends meet; their taxes paying for all the amenities the wealthy get for nothing. Crime goes up, jails (private naturally) are built— basically more thugs (security) are hired to keep the low-wage earners (the poor ) in their position.

  33. DH

    People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

    • Deco

      DH – well said. They only thing they are afraid of, is us finding out how useless they are. They engage in one PR stunt after another. We do not get intelligent decision making from Kildare Street – all we get is PR stunts.

  34. cozzy121

    Voted no the last time, even voted for Joe Higgins in the European elections, but can’t bring myself to vote no this time. Ireland is back to being the beggar of the eu again. And as any good beggar knows, you don’t make waves, you just sit down, keep quiet and hope some better-governed eu member will drop a few pence into the begging bowl, “for the nurses & teaches, you see”. You never know, we might get the odd warm cup of tea sometime.

    • Deco

      Cozzy121 – Joe Higgins does ask very important questions, even if the answers he provides are a bit extreme.

      I listened to Richard Boyd Barrett this morning on the radio, and I realised that there might actually be hope for this political system of this country. None of the nonsense you hear from Labour Party, or the hardline stuff of Joe Higgins. Just a more accurate diagnosis of the state of society than exists anywhere else on the left. Common Sense instead of ideology/nonsense.
      RBB is advocating a No Vote.

  35. (just for email follow-up

  36. wills

    On NAMA, this link provides evidence the banks are returning to casino capitalism, this time though in the full knowledge they will always be bailed out forevermore.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/09/28/derivatives-bailed-out-ba_n_300420.html

    • G

      Wills, I am active on other sites, if you can send me an email address I will direct you to a few informative, outside the Irish bubble things, some you may be aware of, others you may not. I reserved my suspicions, interviews with Sachs, Kissinger et al, I kept my judgement, might have sat on the fence a bit actually because I didn’t know the guy, but the article on Jack Welch and then this, I’m sorry but I know where this is leading and where it is coming from and I don’t want any part of it, the corporate structure is a fascist one and it is fast destroying this beautiful planet while simultaneously crushing the human spirit. Watched Michael Moore’s Roger and Me last night and the issue around GM in Flint Michigan. 30,000 people lost their jobs, probably closer to 150,000 because related businesses shut shop, according to Moore, GM closed 11 plants and opened 11 plants in Mexico, paying Mexican workers 50 cents per hour, while , management dined like kings and awarded themselves multi-million dollar bonuses for these ‘profit making decisions’. One of Moore’s buddies was fired and rehired 5 times and eventually cracked under the pressure and stress and ended up in a psychiatric unit, that is the neoliberal, no regard for the ‘externalities’ or human consequences of so called business decisions, I don’t believe society should function like that, there must be another way.

      To imply or dress it up that Welch and his Cork origins played a role seems like fantasy from the outer solar system……………..hence my ire.

      Incidentally, Moore made Roger and Me in 1989 but his story is as relevant if not more so today than it was cutting edge then.

      Watch this interesting interview with Moore about his new movie Capitalism: A Love Story on Democracy Now – I recommend everyone, including David should go see it and take the lessons on board, and quit with the sycophancy, don’t mean to personalise, but it infuriates because I have seen the consequences of neoliberalism in Africa and Central America and it ain’t apple pie, thats for sure.

      http://www.democracynow.org/2009/9/24/after_20_years_of_filmmaking_on

      Also check out Oliver Stone’s ‘South of the Border’

      Wills, I appreciate your mild mannered approach, its just the reality I have seen and written about boils my blood, no time for fudging, it is a sign of luxury, comfort and blindness.

      • G

        For instance, from public to private and the human consequences, but you won’t read this in the Corporate balance sheet

        http://www.independent.ie/world-news/europe/phone-operator-hit-by-24th-suicide-1899358.html

      • wills

        G, appreciate links, and will try reach you email wise. Fully concur on the breakdown and am hoping, perhaps against hope, DMcW is one of the truthers who keep with the score, keep with the hard facts, keep with the toughness of the reality faced and keeps going, god know’s irelands showing a poor hand on the truther, there was a time back in the eighties when it looked more promising, the numbers fell off though come the reality of lifes challenges but anyhow’s one thing is certain,………………………… “I was cured all right” (riddle)

  37. Why do we need these banks? Lets get rid of all of them and start from scratch, just the same as the US needs to abolish the federal reserve. That way we won’t be in debt and inflation won’t exist. Also, if need be get out of the EMU, devalue our currency again.

    • Philip

      You cannot ignore international debt. It’s a small world now.

      Also, no bank in Europe can be seen to fail. It would dominoe and demolish the whole system. No one knows what would happen – It would destroy the whole financial system. That;s why we are being given funny money.

      I think it’ll blow anyway. A yes vote will change nothing. No merely is a recognition that the world has changed and Lisbon needs to reflect this.

    • wills

      through out the life cycle of empire the fiat money system ends up printed out of existence and the money system returns too gold. These times are now upon us and the world order / central banking system owners are trying too avert the return too gold and ship in a new idea to keep with the fiat money system for as long as they can get away with doung so.

      Hence, sean, why the banks keep chugging along, the oligarchs behind them keeping the control on the money system by hook or crook.

    • Not our debt, the banks debt. Can you explain to me why we need them? Even David said they should be abolished over a given period of time. As wills has pointed out, the world order have the ability to print money, not our governments.

      The US dollar used to be backed by silver, now its simply worthless. Any nation that decides to operate in a different currency faces the consequences by the US. It seems the EU is now run by the same crooks. They have literally, all the money in the world and can do what they want. So lets get rid of their banks and setup our own.

  38. Philip

    Lisbon simply does not reflect the the scale at which business is conducted. Scale has alarmingly grown as a result of the leveraging effects of new methods and technologies. Scale has made many of the laws for engagement irrelevant and naively our business leaders believe they are being clever. Technology allows locally decontextualised laws to prevail to the detriment of the populations (e.g. outsourcing to places which are cheaper becasue in the end…the remote laws allow it).

    There is a looney belief the world is an endless resource as a result of boundless human invention. Plausable idea if time is on your side. The reality is we are running out of time and we are allowing business as usual laws to prevail. It”s the equivalent of assuming we can invent a parachute when you get kicked off a cliff.

  39. gquinn

    I’m voting “NO” in the Lisbon treaty because I’m proud to be Irish and I’m proud to have a country that I can call home and it also makes sense.

  40. Czech senators opposed to the EU’s Lisbon Treaty have filed a new complaint against it with the country’s constitutional court.
    Say No.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8281098.stm

  41. Tim

    Folks, I am going to watch this now:

    http://www.davidmcwilliams.ie/2009/09/28/david-tommy-on-the-hour

    Just spotted the link from a tweet by DMcW.

  42. Titanic Moment Arrives at a Ryanair Terminal Near U:

    ‘Yes’ Vote is liken to the moment immediately before it sunk , the Stern ( front ) rose high before it fell forever.

    ‘No’ Vote is liken to the moment immediately before it sunk those in the life boats were saved.

  43. MaxKeiser

    Can I just remind anyone who is undecided about Lisbon II of the EU’s reaction to Lisbon I :

    Which was “How dare you!”

    Europe suffers a marked Democratic defecate & increasing remoteness from the people.

    No means no, it’s (legally) shoddy in the extreme (& very Irish) to ask for a re-run of the treaty.

    No one lost a job in France nor in Holland, nor do we think them any less European by voting NON to the EU Constitution, nor did they loose any Foreign Direct Investment…

    Did any one ask them to vote again?
    No. They re-wrote the Constitution.

    NO MEANS NO!

    DON’T BE BULLIED (nor worn down)

  44. Tim

    Oooooh! DMcW speaking VERY straight truth on that link above:

    He calls what the bankers and developers did a “coup d’etat”;

    He explains that NAMA is a mechanism to give us the bill for the debts of only 2000 developers, nine of whom used over €70 billion of debt.

    I am re-thinking my opinion expressed re some of your views about David on the Late Late that night. If he had said then what he says in this link, he would have detonated a megatonne bomb!

  45. wills

    Bloggers

    DmcW called it out on NAMA on this show he left a link too yesterday.

    The truthbomb went off right under everyones nose., on f’n Aurthurs day, he called it out for what NAMA is, on the link he left in.

  46. Joshua Tree – After the ‘Yes’ vote is into law we can sing ‘what am I looking for’ …because like before, we will have then again morphed into ‘Lepracauns’…only this time we wont be living in a faery bush instead we will be inside a Toxic Bank donating our blood to 2,000 reviving skeletals

    • Deco

      John Allen – your comment is something that captures the stupidity of government policy the best.

      We are all to be sucked dry, so that a collection of well placed, insider idiots continue to live as parasites of the entire society.

  47. Deco

    Three politicians have been reported missing in the run -up to the Lisbon 2.0

    i) Dick Roche
    ii) Martin Cullen
    iii) Noel Dempsey.

    I thought that Dick Roche would have a lot say about this, after all he is the minister responsible for this area, and he was the only member of the Irish government who stayed sober through the entire negotiation process – but Minister Roche is conspicuous by his absence.

    What is Martin Cullen minister for these days, apart from abusing the Army’s helicopters ? Cullen has said absolutely nothing about the Lisbon Treaty – maybe he has not finished reading it. Would the real Martin Cullen please stand up…please stand up…please stand up….

    And Minister Dempsey – supposedly tipped to be Ireland’s EU Commisioner, before BIFFO did the math and realised he could not let go any more TDs from his government. And Pat Cox seen an opportunity of a handy number with a massive pension, real power etc.. Apparently Cox also functioned as a lobbyist in his EP days. Unbelievable. Democracy at a price, and only when you can saturate the population with guilt, lies, deceit, fear and outlandish promises. And anybody who questions this is outside ‘normal’ politics.

    Only for poor old Raymond Crotty, none of us would be any the wiser.

    • G

      I worked in Brussels when Cox was EP parliament President. There was a function to celebrate Ireland holding the presidency of the Union or something, Cox said a few words and thank Diageo a hundred times for supplying the drinks. Cowen was standing next to him, I think he was foreign minister at the time, with a belly, dandruff on his suit and half a pint of Guinness in hand, he said something virtually unintelligble, and the Germans and French were just looking at each other trying to work out things, it was a disgrace from top to bottom, never forget that night. Of course Cox is angling for some kind of job, they’ll create some kind of position in time if they haven’t done so already, name of the game!

      Thank God for the likes of Raymond Crotty, one of the greatest of unsung heroes, for its the like of Cox and others who seek the microphone, its the Crotty’s who leave a real legacy.

      • wills

        G, Deco, cox was on kenny’s radio show in the window of ARNOTTS. A charade. The public were fenced back 20 feet to stunt any truthers heckling out reality into the mic’s.

        The set up itself was farce. They interviewed jim corr (who is now on msg with the NWO) on the street. THus he was regulated to the nut category through the clever RTE stroke doing a vox pop.

        • G

          saw that, all around the table etc but some seeking to enlighten others seeking to enrich themselves, a lot a stake when a ship is sinking and your interests are more challenged, including that block of student apartments in old Angleterre, grubby, unseemly and I hope the Irish contrary to the Irish Times poll last Saturday, respond in some shape or form, if they re-elect or support FF then we will know that we are a nation of talkers who baulk at radical action to amend the situation………………action not words needed now.

    • Tim

      Deco, I must be a little circumspect here (for reasons that I believe you will already know), but I am one of Dick Roche’s constituents.

      I meet him often. He is not “missing”; he is “side-lined”.

      Though expert in his knowledge of all things European, (and the only member of the “Yes” side who I have seen quote the treaty and its articles) he is perceived as the most arrogant of all FF politicians and, so, he boosts the “No” side every time he speaks.

      An Taoiseach knows this.

      They do not like each-other. Certain things that you have alluded to were confirmed to me, personally, a number of years ago (even at 4pm, with phone-calls to one future Taoiseach).

      You are correct when you say that Dick “was the only member of the Irish government who stayed sober through the entire negotiation process”.

  48. Deco

    David – concerning the Monty Python sketch – it also possible to say “What did the Brits do for us ? ”
    Railways, canals, roads, harbours, lighthouses, Fine Georgian buildings, “Arthur” (originally an English product), the Abbeys of Killkenny, Wellington, various writers etc….

    And still we could not wait to get free of them. And we were overrepresented in the British Parlaiment, and Britain was number 1 in the world when we decided that we wanted out. I think it has to do with an appropriate level of authority more than anything else.

    • wills

      Deco,

      ‘we decided that we wanted out’………..

      We never ‘got out’ though, did we. We kept the central banking system, hired the main expert from USA, at the time, one of the guns for hire with expertise in the running of ‘the FED’ / nothing to do with the USA gov, but a privately owned central bank, brought ‘em over, he got things going this side, plugged us back up with the city of London and bob’s your uncle, our economy was back on line with the hidden power infrastructure calling the shots from the inside out.

  49. MaxKeiser

    David Mc W. really cutting loose on that link vs. The Late Late Show.

    Is it possible the Government shafted him after Farmleigh?

    • wills

      Brilliant, everyone must watch this appearance, spread the word max, get the word out, and let the people know,.. NAMA IS A COUP D’ETAT IN SLOW MOTION and it must be STOPPED.

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