Thanks to Irish for Democracy Chance

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID BYRNE

THE rejection of the Lisbon Treaty by the Irish electorate represents much more than just an awkward and ungrateful act on the part of the citizenry of a country which has moved from one of Western Europe's poorest to most prosperous during its membership of the European Union.

Let me put my own cards down. If I had been a voting Irish citizen, which with two Irish grandparents and an Irish passport-holding father I could have been, then I would have voted no and campaigned for a no vote.

At the same time I firmly believe that Europe's future in the 21st Century should be as a democratic federal state based not on nation states but on regions of roughly equal size.

So why am I delighted that the Irish stuck one to Europe's political elites? For two reasons: first, because the whole process surrounding the Lisbon Treaty, and the proposed European constitution before it, has been profoundly undemocratic.

And second, because of the underlying free market agenda of those self-same undemocratic political elites. In relation to the constitution and the treaty, they decided what would be good for us and determined that we would have it whether we wanted it or not.

Given the chance, with the treaty in Ireland and previously with the constitution in France and the Netherlands, we, the citizens of Europe said firmly no. Why on earth did we do that?

It is pretty plain that Europeans as a whole recognise that one of the political objectives of the founders of the union, the prevention of war in Europe, is a thoroughly good thing and we are all for it. In general, we recognise the economic benefits of a free market - customs union, in effect - for goods in the private sector.

And when the pound becomes worth one euro, which given the imbecilic mismanagement of our economy by both major parties since the 1980s to favour speculation over production, won't be long coming, then we Brits will probably accept entry into the Euro zone.

The answer is that we don't trust these people, we don't trust politicians in general and we are deeply suspicious of all the devil in the details. The European Union is so undemocratic that if it applied to join itself it wouldn't be allowed. …

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