Why Kevin Myers will be voting Yes in Lisbon 2

4 July, 2009

A defeatist tone from Kevin Myers in a  recent piece in the Irish Independent.  Basically, while previously he opposed the significant transfer of power to central institutions in the EU that the Lisbon Treaty would facilitate, he is now so depressed at the performance of our politicians and civil servants that he thinks it would be better if they exercised even less power than they currently do.  Hence he wants to throw the baby out with the bathwater and vote “Yes”. 

“…. one very good reason to say ‘No’ to Lisbon in the next referendum was the mendacious argument which was repeated yet again over the weekend by the ‘Yes’ camp: That to vote ‘No’ is to say no to the EU. Because, you see, it’s always good to defeat those who advance their cause with a lie. ……. The ‘No’ camp merely wanted to steer the EU in a different direction from that intended by our lords and master in the Commission, and those other EU organisations whose structures and modus operandi are as transparent and accountable as the Dragon’s Inner Sanctum of the Manchu Imperial Court. However, I now believe that the reason to vote ‘Yes’ this autumn is the same as the one to vote ‘No’ the last time; it is that Lisbon means a dilution of national sovereignty. For who can now doubt, after what we’ve seen from our public sector — our civil-service trade unions, our politicians and most recently, our judges — even as the depression cleared out the private sector like a combine harvester moving over a Saskatchewan wheat-plain, that the less political power these short-sighted, morally-inert and self-centred wastrels have, the better?”

I don’t subscribe to the view that we are incapable of managing our own affairs; there is no reason to believe that the appalling mismanagement evidenced by the Bertie Ahern Government cannot be improved upon, and by a wide margin.  It will take time to change the ethos and management systems, but I think it can be done.  So I don’t agree with Kevin Myers that our salvation lies in reducing the power of the Irish people and the Oireachtas in favour of Brussels. 

But having voted No last time out, I’m still not sure how I’ll vote this time.  I am very much against transferring more power to Brussels, at least the way its current structures operate,  but the dilemma is that a No vote will be interpreted the wrong way.  We could therefore face problems and resentment at the official EU level, and suffer accordingly.  So there could be adverse consequences from a No vote which, however unfair and unwarranted, would be real enough.  I am finding it hard to balance this danger against what I believe to be the right course of action.


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