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The Irish vote 'Yes'

Gavin Hewitt | 11:56 UK time, Saturday, 3 October 2009

Vote count in Dublin, 3 Oct 09The Irish have voted "Yes" to the Lisbon Treaty at the second attempt. The Irish government has said it looks like a convincing win. It was a view echoed by the leading campaigner for a "No" vote, Declan Ganley. He said "of course I am disappointed but this is a convincing win".

The scale of the expected victory is important to Brussels. If the win had been "narrow" it would have allowed those who are against the treaty to say that once again a significant number of voters had indicated a lack of faith in where the EU was heading. There will be huge relief in Brussels and most European capitals. A significant hurdle on the road to adopting new rules to run the EU has been crossed.

Attention immediately will switch to the two remaining countries that have not signed the treaty. Poland is expected to move very quickly and could even ratify it over the next few days. The remaining stumbling block is the Czech Republic. A complaint has been filed with the Czech Constitutional Court that the treaty violates their constitution because it lays the foundation for a superstate. Some say the court will rule on the complaint within three weeks. If it does, then perhaps as soon as the end of the month the EU will begin filling the new key posts, like the President of the European Council and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs. A senior Czech official has warned, however, that it would be counter-productive to bully Prague into moving quickly.

Attention now will also move to Britain. With the Irish having voted "Yes" David Cameron is sure to be asked once again what would be his policy if the Lisbon Treaty had been ratified by the time he took power next May, if he won the election. At present all he has said is that he would hold a referendum if any of the EU countries still hadn't ratified it. What he has not made clear is precisely what will happen if the treay is a done deal. Many both inside and outside the party will be keen to know his plans. In the short term I would expect him to play for time by saying he will wait to see what the Czech court decides.

The other decision relates to the post of President of the European Council. As I wrote yesterday, Tony Blair has emerged as favourite for this role. Already the Tories are making clear their unease at having Tony Blair as the most important face of the EU. These objections could, potentially, derail his chances if he becomes too controversial a figure.

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  • 1. At 1:03pm on 03 Oct 2009, ephialtes wrote:

    But of course the Tories have marginalised themselves already by leaving the mainstream centre-right bloc in the Parliament in favour of a bunch of anti-EU wingnuts. Who, from the big opinion formers in the Parliament or Council, will care about their unease at Tony Blair's appointment?

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  • 2. At 1:27pm on 03 Oct 2009, ootoph wrote:

    But with external interference from Brussels and Irish taxpayers' money being used to support the Yes vote, how does the legality of the result stand up in Irish law? Maybe a challenge could delay the acceptance of the result until our own General Election (which can't come soon enough) and our own opportunity for a referendum becomes due.

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  • 3. At 1:35pm on 03 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Nothing ever really changes. The American colonists were not listened to by the British government and so they fought a war to throw them out. That was 233 years ago. The British government will not listen to the remaining people it rules over on that skewered isle, that plessed blot the mew-cay because it is afraid that what they have to say might not be what it wants to hear. Clearly there is no democracy in Britain and there never was. The government does not conform its actions to the will of the people because it does not trust them to know what is in their own best interest, it is elitist to the core, and they like a herd of sheep meekly accept what they are told will happen to them. How can anyone admire such lack of spine, such subservience to an arbitrary authority which can impose anything it wills and get away with it? The normal reaction to such voluntary servitude I think is one of contempt. Fortunately for the lucky few who have the means and the foresight, the exit door is still open...for the time being. For the rest, they're trapped like rats in a cage.

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  • 4. At 1:36pm on 03 Oct 2009, phoenix wrote:

    Ive just gone down the road to buy some cakes and a beer. Ill be following the comments to see the europhobe. comments come in. This will so amusing.

    Squeal piggys squeal!

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  • 5. At 1:47pm on 03 Oct 2009, nevercouldchooseagoodname wrote:

    Thanks irish friends for remembering where you belong and who truly has always cared for you; I never doubt that you would have made the right choice.
    VIVA IRLANDA, VIVA EUROPA!

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  • 6. At 1:53pm on 03 Oct 2009, Mathiasen wrote:

    I suggest we take one thing at a time.
    According to the reports from Ireland a convincing number of the Irish referendum voters have voted yes. Those of us, who consider the European integration a most meaningful thing, are happy about this result.
    We now expect the Polish president to sign the treaty before long and when that has happened, we have a couple of questions to the Czech President.

    In Germany it is our national day and we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the German unity today. I will have a dinner, and I will celebrate the Irish result too.
    It is a good day for the European continent.

    J. Mathiasen, Berlin

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  • 7. At 1:54pm on 03 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    One consolation for the Irish, having gotten it right this time, they will be spared the necessity of voting a third, a fourth, or a fiftieth time until they do.

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  • 8. At 1:58pm on 03 Oct 2009, Jamie Taylor wrote:

    Finally some common sense; at least the cold light of day (and the lack of money in their pockets) forced the Irish to see sense and look at the larger picture rather than just their own perochial needs.

    ..the Tories will be spitting blood - and Angela Merkel will be smugly working out her strategy with her centre right allies whilst Cameron and his cronies must be asking themselves why they allowed themselves to turn their back on the decision makers in Europe in favour of a nasty little grouping of Holocaust deniers, homophobes and racists.

    ...roll on President Blair...

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  • 9. At 2:15pm on 03 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "Angela Merkel will be smugly working out her strategy"

    Brits have been ruled under the thumbs of Saxons and Normans in the past. History merely repeats itself. Nothing changes. It's what the UK's government wants.

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  • 10. At 2:38pm on 03 Oct 2009, EthanThorn wrote:

    Just wanted to say Thank You Ireland!!!

    Can't help but echo aco_69's comment:


    VIVA IRLANDA, VIVA EUROPA!

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  • 11. At 2:42pm on 03 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #9 - MarcusAureliusII

    If you had posted that the Welsh, Scots and Irish ". . have been ruled under the thumbs of Saxons and Normans in the past", I may have been tempted to agree with you but the Brits?

    The English are mainly Saxons and Normans Marcus.

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  • 12. At 2:47pm on 03 Oct 2009, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    1. At 1:03pm on 03 Oct 2009, Anthony Zacharzewski wrote:

    But of course the Tories have marginalised themselves already by leaving the mainstream centre-right bloc in the Parliament in favour of a bunch of anti-EU wingnuts. Who, from the big opinion formers in the Parliament or Council, will care about their unease at Tony Blair's appointment?

    Thank you! Yet another name to add to the list of insults from "EU"-lovers. We've had "dinosaurs, Sun readers, odious, boys who didn't make prefect, BNP in blazers and many others I have already forgotten.

    "Who, from the big opinion formers in the Parliament or Council, will care about their unease at Tony Blair's appointment?"

    These people don't care what anybody outside their anti-democratic conspiracy thinks.

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  • 13. At 2:48pm on 03 Oct 2009, ThirstyGargoyle wrote:

    I'm not convinced any attempt to claim interference would really stand, not least because there are serious arguments against the McKenna judgement; after all, why should a government be hamstrung in trying to advocate to the people who had elected it that they ought to ratify a treaty they have negotiated and signed up to? And isn't there an obligation to get the truth out there, to actually explain what the treaty is about? Aren't people entitled to be told that by voting for Lisbon they'd be voting for a simpler and more transparent Union?

    For what it's worth, it's significant that the 'no' vote this time out looks like being about 20% of the electorate, just like in the Maastricht, Amsterdam, Nice I, and Nice II referendums.

    It rose massively to 28% at Lisbon I, but that figure was hugely inflated by 11% of the no voters having deliberately voted no only because they didn't understand the treaty and felt the government had not explained it to them, with large numbers of the remainder having voted as a protest vote against the government or against things that weren't in the treaty.

    Under these circumstances, a fresh campaign was surely justified, and a new attempt at explaining things, clarifying matters, and allaying concerns. The result seems to have been that the 'no' vote is back to its stable 20%. It seems that no matter what happens, one out of every five voters will always vote against EU integration, enlargement, and reform.

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  • 14. At 2:48pm on 03 Oct 2009, WhiteEnglishProud wrote:

    In some respects this is good news it now means that only a party offering the UK and in or out option of the U.S.E (as today it becomes) will be elected next summer Cameon needs to step up and promise this otherwise his domestic support is going to fall apart.

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  • 15. At 2:56pm on 03 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    On the substantive issue - the Irish 'Yes' vote - while euroscepticism is not simply going to go away on the European mainland, there will be a perception that the battle is more or less over and that the integrationists have carried the day.

    I suspect that, in the coming months - assuming that Lisbon does now go ahead - pressure will be mounting of those countries with specific opt-outs to negotiate them away. I am not sure how credible a new council president is going to be who comes from a political environment which has set it's face against open borders and the single currency. If, as Gavin suggests, the Tories might be tempted to spoil Tony Blair's party, where does that leave them as regards the European project as a whole? Cameron has to declare one way or the other and soon.

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  • 16. At 2:59pm on 03 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    threnodious;

    "The English are mainly Saxons and Normans Marcus."

    I'm no expert on the history of Britain but from what I recall....it wasn't always that way. Weren't they invaders who took control?

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  • 17. At 3:02pm on 03 Oct 2009, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    70% of Brits wanted to vote NO. We didn't get that vote so the "EU" is illegitimate.

    54% do not want Blair as president.

    Anti-democratic "EU"-lovers do not care. It is time to make them care and to make them wish they had listened.

    It is time to try to destroy the "EU" from the inside.

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  • 18. At 3:06pm on 03 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #14 - WhiteEnglishProud

    Agreed. All the more reason for the Tories to get off the fence and get their hands dirty.

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  • 19. At 3:15pm on 03 Oct 2009, spinspamspun wrote:

    Sad day !

    A recycled Tony Bliar on his way to be Euro President !!!

    Next job after that ?
    Tony 4 Pope ?

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  • 20. At 3:19pm on 03 Oct 2009, wirralwesleyan wrote:

    Really pleased the Irish vote was a yes. British business will be pleased as pulling out of the EU would be a disaster for jobs in the UK. Something the 'England for ever' brigade seem to forget about when they want to pull out of Europe.
    The economy is now global and like it or not the economic future for the UK outside of Europe would be really grim. Those of you who think its bad now under Brown will have a surprise coming -the current mess would be nothing if Cameron goes it alone out of the EU -investment would desert the UK in its billions. We need to be sensible and fight our corner in Europe -maybe the tories could start by joining the main right of centre block again. As Cameron will find out there is more to Government than clever PR -that's for opposition parties

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  • 21. At 3:21pm on 03 Oct 2009, extremesense wrote:

    #16 MarcusAureliusII

    Shhhhhh, us English get very upset if you suggest we were conquered at any time in history..... besides, we 'won' the Second World War - remember?????

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  • 22. At 3:29pm on 03 Oct 2009, extremesense wrote:

    Congratulations to the Irish, almost certainly the right decision.

    Meanwhile, in cold wet windy Britain we can look forward to be ruled by a party that pushed itself into the arms of extreme right wingers.

    Just to set the record straight regarding the Latvian Fatherland & Freedom Party, although the Lettish Legion (Latvian SS) was partly formed of conscripts, it was also made up of willing volunteers.

    For anyone who's interested in the history of World War II, the volunteers swore allegiance to the Fuhrer and they did commit appalling crimes against Jews, gypsies, Russian civilians and that's why the annual march celebrating their part fighting against us (the allies) is banned in Latvia. For info on just how 'innocent' the Lettish Legion were, check out the Simon Wiesenthal Centre.

    I guess the Conservatives must have studied some different world wars.

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  • 23. At 3:30pm on 03 Oct 2009, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    The Irish referendum may be Dunkirk. It just brings the "EU"-Dictatorship nearer to its Stalingrad.

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  • 24. At 3:41pm on 03 Oct 2009, WhiteEnglishProud wrote:

    extremesense wrote:
    #16 MarcusAureliusII

    Shhhhhh, us English get very upset if you suggest we were conquered at any time in history..... besides, we 'won' the Second World War - remember?????

    Really? Are history makes us what we are! And yes your right Britain did win the second World War with considerable help from our Allies most notably the U.S.A and Russia but not forgetting the rest of the British Empire and the French resistance among others.

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  • 25. At 3:43pm on 03 Oct 2009, CComment wrote:

    A strange take on democracy where you hold yearly polls, browbeating and blackmailing the electorate until you get the result you want. Will there be regular annual polls in Ireland from now on to confirm that they want to stay in the Lisbon Treaty ? Caledonian Comment

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  • 26. At 3:44pm on 03 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    extremenonsense;

    Britain lost WWII. Chamberlain surrendered to Hitler, remember? But Hitler wouldn't take yes for an answer. He bombed Britain anyway. Neither would the US allow Britain to surrender. How selfish of us. Had we simply let European history run its course, we would not have had to fight to keep Britain from surrendering to the USSR. I don't think anyone in America cares anymore if Britain wants to surrender, this time to the EUSSR. Three strikes and you're out. Britain will be ruled by a foreign despotism. And as we know, absolute power corrupts absolutely. When the EU government policies fail, it will not tolerate dissent, it will become no different from Communist China or any other dictatorship.

    In a way I have to admire the Russians. For all their flaws, like Americans, they would have fought until the last one of them was dead before they would accept something like this to happening to them. If they are going to be ruled by a tyrant, it will be their own home grown tyrant, not one imposed on them from the outside. And they don't surrender. How grateful I am that Vlad Putin won't be the EU President. Tickle-Me Tony will be a far easier competitor for us, no challenge at all really. Even Jacques Chirac's "vicious" Maltese terrier Sumo would have been more trouble than a toy poodle. I don't think the tail will be wagging the dog again.

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  • 27. At 3:45pm on 03 Oct 2009, extremesense wrote:

    #18 threnodio

    What? Conservatives get their hands dirty? You must be joking, it might ruin their perfect manicures!

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  • 28. At 3:57pm on 03 Oct 2009, extremesense wrote:

    #26 MarcusAureliusII

    Sorry, I was being sarcastic, I didn't realise such obvious sarcasm would be lost on you. You must be American.

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  • 29. At 4:06pm on 03 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    extremenonsense;

    Yes, some of us here out in the colonies that populate the outer orbits of the English speaking galaxy are not too sharp, not well read, not too well educated. It's all we can do to tie our shoelaces in the moring. That is why we are so grateful to native Americans who invented moccasins which don't have shoelaces. We can barely chew gum and walk at the same time so don't expect us to comprehend your subtle sarcasm, it's completely lost on us.

    There hasn't been any discussion of why the Irish changed their minds this time. Do you think they were convinced that the objections they had the last time were of no real concern anymore, do you think they decided to stop fighting the tide, or was there some other reason?

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  • 30. At 4:07pm on 03 Oct 2009, Seraphim wrote:

    Marcus I am not an expert either but does the native population of America like to be ruled by Normans and Saxons? Hypocrit!

    Looks like this blogg is in no way representative considering how many people said they would vote no here and how many voted yes yesterday.

    Well let's see what the Poles and Mr. Klaus do now and if Mr Cameron is put in any position to do something or if the Czechs save him from asking the Brits a question which could result into more problems for him.

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  • 31. At 4:14pm on 03 Oct 2009, David wrote:

    On the post..."squeal piggys squeal" and MAII's post..saying "what have pigs ever done to you?"

    Have you ever heard the myth (?) that pigs are decendents of men (from Atlantis?)

    I love that one...explains why in earlier societies it was a...faux pas...to eat a pig. :)

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  • 32. At 4:15pm on 03 Oct 2009, extremesense wrote:

    #29 MarcusAureliusII

    Apparently, it's because the Irish are financially dependent on the EU. Especially now that their country is more of a Gaelic kitten (as opposed to a tiger), they've realised they couldn't afford to say 'no'.

    Anecdotally, I saw some Irish voters interviewed and have some Irish friends who told me that their hearts said 'no' but their heads said 'yes'.

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  • 33. At 4:22pm on 03 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #29 - MarcusAureliusII

    'There hasn't been any discussion of why the Irish changed their minds this time.'

    You can discuss that one until you are blue in the face. Some think that the 'No' turnout last time was mainly due to people protesting because they either felt the issues were not explained or that they were misled.

    Personally, I doubt this. The last time, the Irish property bubble had not burst and the country was gliding along on the surface of massive borrowing on over priced real estate. This time, they are viewing it from the bottom of a recession. It may be lovely coasting around on your own on a calm sea but it gets pretty bloody scary in a force eight gale.

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  • 34. At 4:39pm on 03 Oct 2009, sonbinor39 wrote:

    Cameron has to come clean over Europe. Voters are entitled to know where the party stands and what it plans to do. The time for carefully chosen words that can mean whatever you want them to mean, has passed.

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  • 35. At 4:43pm on 03 Oct 2009, WhiteEnglishProud wrote:

    Best of three anyone? So now its one all when's the third and deciding referedum? maybe we could wait until the economic situation normalises so that the Irish can judge it on its merits and not be force to vote for it via fear?

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  • 36. At 4:46pm on 03 Oct 2009, Benefactor wrote:

    #17 SuffolkBoy2

    70% of Brits wanted to vote NO. We didn't get that vote so the "EU" is illegitimate.

    54% do not want Blair as president.

    Anti-democratic "EU"-lovers do not care. It is time to make them care and to make them wish they had listened.

    It is time to try to destroy the "EU" from the inside.

    -----------------------------------------------------------

    Chop chop then, get to it and stop wasting time on this blog. You've got a transnational organization to destroy, make sure to drag me to the gallows as well, all EU-lovers are traitors and dissenting opinions to yours are not to be tolerated.

    -----------------------------------------------------------

    #29 MarcusAureliusII

    There hasn't been any discussion of why the Irish changed their minds this time. Do you think they were convinced that the objections they had the last time were of no real concern anymore, do you think they decided to stop fighting the tide, or was there some other reason?

    ----------------------------------------------------------

    You've not looked then Marcus, the Irish had fears over neutrality, abortion taxation and the loss of their commissioner, as well as dissatisfaction with their current government and a lack of information about the treaty. The EU has given legally binding guarantees over the Irish areas of concern, not that they were mentioned or affected by the treaty, and a much more informative campaign was run this time. The Irish national government is not something the EU has the power to do anything about thankfully. In light of these developments Irish turnout has been higher and a resounding Yes has been delivered.

    Of course the average Europhobe won't accept that, they will accept nothing but a No vote, the once strong willed saviors of Europe that the Irish were being portrayed as by UKIP and the like will now be painted as mindless sheep gullibly fooled into creating a superstate by the evil shadowy "Eurocrats".

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  • 37. At 4:51pm on 03 Oct 2009, ChrisTheGuitarist wrote:

    So a basket-case economy, that in it's decade of revival had always relied on handouts from the EU, now gets into serious fiscal deep water and goes looking for more handouts from the EU to bail them out. So a yes vote. What was the surprise?

    If you take a look at the Irish voting on big issues, it always seems to vote for its own agenda - let's vote to get in - it will help us get out of decades of poverty, keep Eastern Europe out - they'll dilute what's on offer to us, let's vote the Treaty down because we feel confident now that we're all rich - ooah! - lets get in deeper and look for help now we're bankrupt.

    The real surprise is that the people of Europe put up with all this political manouvering.

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  • 38. At 4:55pm on 03 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #35 - WhiteEnglishProud

    Good plan. What about engineering a draw for the third one so that we can have a penalty shoot-out after extra time?

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  • 39. At 5:06pm on 03 Oct 2009, TomNightingale wrote:

    I'll laugh my pants off if Europe now makes Ireland a net contributor instead of a benificiary. They'll need money from somewhere to bribe the Poles and Czechs.

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  • 40. At 5:07pm on 03 Oct 2009, Seraphim wrote:

    A third vote won't make much sense. Now it seems as if more citizens in Ireland seem to know what Lisbon is about - you can't change that again.

    Plus non of the europhobes here will accept a 2 - 1 in favour of Lisbon anyway - you will still claim that voting more than once is undemocratic.

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  • 41. At 5:20pm on 03 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    I'm still puzzled. The Irish weren't voting on leaving the EU, only on the Constitution or whatever it's called this week. Wouldn't they still have gotten subsidies from British taxpayers even if they'd voted no?

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  • 42. At 5:32pm on 03 Oct 2009, I am not a number wrote:

    #35. "the Irish can judge it on its merits and not be force to vote for it via fear?"

    Don't forget the Irish voted No out of fear as well. Fear of an European army, fear of the EU legalizing abortion and euthanasia, fear of losing their identity. Nothing which has to do with the Lisbon treaty.

    I have a sneaking suspicion that an average Irishman still has no idea what's in the treaty, even though they voted twice on it.

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  • 43. At 5:43pm on 03 Oct 2009, Zydeco wrote:

    33. At 4:22pm on 03 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:
    #29 - MarcusAureliusII

    'There hasn't been any discussion of why the Irish changed their minds this time.
    *************************************************
    As a very good friend of mine from Dublin said "What's the point of saying no if we've only going to have to to vote again next year"

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  • 44. At 5:54pm on 03 Oct 2009, findegorgorito wrote:

    MarcusAureliusII

    I think you will fine that the "story" about Britannia was written by the Romans who manage to go all the way up to New Castle and Carlyle where the Adrian wall is. Decadence force them to leave Britannia. Then came new invaders and yeah it's all a bit complicated but it is all in your language 30% pure Latin, a bit of French which happens to be latin as well, a lot of Frisian and German and then the Scots, Irish and Welsh clinging to their lost identity as much as they can...

    About the USSR, I think you will also find that the most despicable Tyrant the Russians had was actually from Georgia; Stalin.

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  • 45. At 5:58pm on 03 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Somnambular;

    "Cameron has to come clean over Europe. Voters are entitled to know where the party stands and what it plans to do."

    The distinct whiff of "sellout" can be detected wafting across the ocean even this far away. I'm betting they'll cave in. Payback for Megrahi. Poetic justice.

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  • 46. At 5:59pm on 03 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #41 - MarcusAureliusII

    It's an interesting question. The problem from the point of view of the other 26 is that Lisbon requires unanimity to come into force (which, by the way, is why the other 26 did not give their electorate a chance to vote on it) so a 'No' vote would have blown the whole project out of the water. Given how long it has taken to get Lisbon moving properly, a return to the drawing board would have meant another decade or so of quibbling while Europe staggered on using the provisions of Nice.

    Whether this would have had an effect on the way the EU cake is sliced up is doubtful but, by casting a long shadow over the future, it would have created a period of instability and undoubtedly some resentment.

    It is especially interesting in the light of Merkel's resounding victory last week in Germany, the way in which the French and Italians seem willing to put up with their respective leaders' moments of silliness, the support for the centre right in the recent EU parliamentary election and the probable hammering that is waiting for Gordon Brown next spring. There seems to be a longing for stability after the economic madness of recent times. The sense of it being safer as a little fish in a big pond than the other way round probably has a lot to do with it. After all, those who were talking about the 'Celtic Tiger' eceonomies not so long ago do look rather silly now.

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  • 47. At 6:13pm on 03 Oct 2009, cobber1234 wrote:

    There seems to be a lot of antipathy towards Europe here. Yes we do vote for our own agenda but is that a surprise in a small country who the EU has certainly been good to?
    We also have a strong sense of belonging to the EU and a far more positive attitude to it than Eurosceptic Britain. If Cameron had any real courage he would go for the nuclear option - In or Out, rather than trying to engage in populist attempts to unpick what has already been agreed or ratified. It might even do away with all this tiresome deficit of democracy, destroy it from the inside blather. In all honesty what is the point of being part of something people appear to intensely loathe?

    Incidentally the involvement of Farrage and UKIP was welcomed by the Yes side. Much as we have grown up, the spectre of the "old enemy" being involved certainly was used to swing some votes.

    @Zydeco
    There has been no discussion but there should be. there was none pre-Lisbon 1. That took place afterwards.

    As for the "No till we say yes", well that's pure laziness,dishonest and a complete lack of understanding of the EU, how it works and what has changed in the meantime. Your friend strikes me as a NO voter irrespective and would have been far more honest in saying that than making up silly soundbytes to disguise their inability/refusal to address the core issues. It's also petulant and childish and I just hope we don't have the result of a really crucial constitutional change, like Children's Rights riding on that that type of errant foolishness.

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  • 48. At 6:25pm on 03 Oct 2009, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    "36. At 4:46pm on 03 Oct 2009, Benefactor wrote:

    #17 SuffolkBoy2

    70% of Brits wanted to vote NO. We didn't get that vote so the "EU" is illegitimate.

    54% do not want Blair as president.

    Anti-democratic "EU"-lovers do not care. It is time to make them care and to make them wish they had listened.

    It is time to try to destroy the "EU" from the inside.

    -----------------------------------------------------------

    Chop chop then, get to it and stop wasting time on this blog. You've got a transnational organization to destroy, make sure to drag me to the gallows as well, all EU-lovers are traitors and dissenting opinions to yours are not to be tolerated."

    SB2: That is a really stupid comment. I have absolutely no desire to drag anybody to the gallows.

    Please post here any evidence you have that could suggest I could want to do that.

    "dissenting opinions to yours are not to be tolerated." Again a really stupid comment. Please produce evidence that I wish to ban opinions other than my own

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  • 49. At 6:37pm on 03 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    threnodious;

    The decision to require unanimous consent of all members was a lure to reassure Europeans that no one would be forced into something unless everyone agreed to it. The inventors of the plot believed that Europeans would never vote against something so self evidently in their own interest as the EU superstate, especially when it was delivered in small incremental dosages. Europeans have deluded themselves into believing that their leaders represent the will of the majority and act in the best interests of their nation. They've overlooks their corruptness and that their votes actually are cast for what is in their own best personal interest and their nation's interest be damned. You expect that of Neal Kinnock, Tony Blair, and Gordon Brown but it comes as a shock to Brits to learn David Cameron is no different.

    Of course newcomers who will get a free handout will have large majorities of their populations vote yes. No risk in a public vote there. But in older more affluent member states nobody can be sure. The French people voted NO on the constitution much to many people's surprise. It's a mistake their government will never allow to happen again. Part of the problem for the ruling Eurocrats is that the desire to expand rapidly supervenes the need to wait until prospective members meet all of the economic and even political criteria to be equal members. There's the old European mentality at work, the larger it is, the better it is. A380, Millenium Dome, and also the EU. It's already larger in population and GDP than America, now it just needs is enough new members to surpass China and India in population and Russia in geographical size. Antarctica would do both for them...if penguins counted as people.

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  • 50. At 6:43pm on 03 Oct 2009, frenchderek wrote:

    For the europhobes: I read that a Czech legal spokesman reckons anything from weeks to months for the constitutional case to be resolved (one way or the other). Even then, according to The Daily Mail (so my newspaper, here in France tells me), Cameron has written to President Klaus, urging him to hold off any potential signature until after the next UK elections. Now that's what I call democracy!

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  • 51. At 6:46pm on 03 Oct 2009, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    Just noted Gavin's blog, nice to have the Euroblog back in place.

    I just have to say that I'm delighted on the result of the second vote for the Lisbon Treaty. For sure the treaty will now go on and we will finally have much needed reforms to the functioning of the union.

    When looking in retrospective of the Irish vote on the treaty, I do have say that I was a good thing that it was voted twice. Why? Well before the second vote Ireland got assurances on issues regarding states rights, including taxation, neutrality and moral issues, and this was a good thing. What we in the EU miss is a clearly defined policy and philosophy regarding rights of the states. Yes, the EU treaties do touch these issues, but there is no clearly defined document to go back in regards of these issues.

    As the EU is not yet a de-jure federation, things like states rights have to be touched in some point of time as not doing so will make sure that with every new treaty regarding the union we will see the same play happen again, an initial no vote because of not knowing or being scared of the new treaty and second vote with assurances giving the vote that was wanted. This cycle should be braked by forming a better policy and a document regarding states rights in the EU.

    Anyway, a step has been made for the future and that is good thing.

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  • 52. At 6:50pm on 03 Oct 2009, jwilliams1990 wrote:

    Once again this result, and the reaction from unelected Prime Minister Brown shows his unbelieveable hypocricy. First of all, he always talks about giving power to communities throughout the country, to do what THE PEOPLE want to do. However, what he is infact doing is centralising power in Brussels, so the power he is giving to the people allows the people to do what EUROCRATS want them to do, and draw red lines over with their wasteful marker pens whatever is to their distaste.

    Furthermore, Britain now (for another 9 months or so) has an UNELECTED Prime Minister, and an UNELECTED set of commissioners in Belgium making rules WE DON'T WANT!! Straight Bananas, metrification, dropping the Pound, inevitably joining Schengen, loss of incandescent lights...I could go on...

    I thought the Irish would be our saviours - and I was right (once). The Irish are sensible people, they know when something ruins the country, and Ireland (for those who haven't been) is a beautiful country. In my opinion, the Irish have today voted for destroying their country, changing what makes it beautiful into what makes it EXACTLY the same as continental Europe. And then there is us in Britain...we, commanded by this current government, steam rollers law after law after law which is thrown upon them by the Eurocrats in Brussels - and our country is being destroyed by these stupids laws! I would love to urge Mr Brown to give power to the people, and start by giving power to the people IN THE COUNTRY, and then in local communities.

    To everyone who supports the European "project", I would love to say many things. Firstly, the excuse for the European Union was for trade and industry in the 1950s, and to prevent war. We need trade, but with the United Nations around, and Nato, and other international organisations, why make the continent the same everywhere when we have the United Nations which would stop anythig, were it to happen. And finally, people, remember this day...the beginning of the end for the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Poland, Sweden, Greece etc etc... The world of tomorrow, say hello to the United States of Europe, I don't like it one bit.

    Well done Ireland, you have destroyed each individual nation.
    Please Czech Republic, have some common sense and stop the Treaty!

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  • 53. At 6:55pm on 03 Oct 2009, Zydeco wrote:

    47. At 6:13pm on 03 Oct 2009, cobber123 wrote:


    @Zydeco
    There has been no discussion but there should be. there was none pre-Lisbon 1. That took place afterwards.

    As for the "No till we say yes", well that's pure laziness,dishonest and a complete lack of understanding of the EU, how it works and what has changed in the meantime. Your friend strikes me as a NO voter irrespective and would have been far more honest in saying that than making up silly soundbytes to disguise their inability/refusal to address the core issues. It's also petulant and childish and I just hope we don't have the result of a really crucial constitutional change, like Children's Rights riding on that that type of errant foolishness.
    *****************************************
    You are correct in thinking my friend is a 'NO' voter but he is also a prctical man. He is fully aware that what the EU wants the EU gets. I must say that vhis view was shared my several others. It had been made quite plain that a 'NO' vote would have resulted in yet another ballot in the future so therefore there was no point in voting other than 'YES'
    With all due respect your comment that 'As for the "No till we say yes", well that's pure laziness,dishonest and a complete lack of understanding of the EU, how it works and what has changed in the meantime.' is naive.
    To me and many others, it demonstrates just how dictatorial the EU intends to be. No question of vote as your concience dictates but as we tell you. With the introduction of the EU Constitution (lets call it what it really is) this attitude will become more obvious.
    As I said on a previous blog, the EU will eventually be the sole governing body in Europe. National Governments will be redundant.

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  • 54. At 6:57pm on 03 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "Anti-democratic "EU"-lovers do not care. It is time to make them care and to make them wish they had listened."

    You're wasting your breath SuffolkBoy2. Europe not only doesn't have democracy, it doesn't even know what real democracy is. It's not just the outcome, it's the process. Take for example the heated debate going on in the US over health care. It is important to all Americans. It affects 16% of the economy. It affects the welfare of every citizen. The debate is raucus, messy, accuastions, lies, and a lot more on both sides. That's the way real democracy works. No matter how it comes out, it will have been discussed in what passes here for a national debate. The debate itself is an integral and indespensable part of democracy. But important as that is to a nation, it pales in comparison to who will make the laws, iterpret the laws, have a voice in changing the laws that controls its life. That goes to the very core of how people are governed. And in Europe there really is no debate. Take the French (yes please take the French.) They voted no on the constitution but when they were circumvented by Chirac and now Sarkozy by not being allowed to vote on Lisbon, did they take to the streets? Did they start to march, strike, riot, when their right to determine their own fate was taken away from them? Not at all, they passively accepted it the way the British have. In the US there would be a second American Revolution. The government wouldn't think of trying it because it knows millions of Americans would take up arms against it. That is reason enough for people living in a democracy to have a right to bear arms...to protect themselves from an incipient dictatorship right from the beginning. Europeans in contrast to American lie helpless, prostrate in the face of the dictators who rule over them.

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  • 55. At 6:59pm on 03 Oct 2009, Benefactor wrote:

    #48 SuffolkBoy2

    "That is a really stupid comment. I have absolutely no desire to drag anybody to the gallows.

    Please post here any evidence you have that could suggest I could want to do that.

    "dissenting opinions to yours are not to be tolerated." Again a really stupid comment. Please produce evidence that I wish to ban opinions other than my own"

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Don't make comments like "Time to bring down the EU from the inside" & "make them wish they had listened" and then call my comments stupid.

    I don't care to provide any evidence of your character because A. I don't know you and B. it was simply an silly exaggeration based on your silly comments, I don't seriously believe you would drag anyone off to the gallows, just like I don't seriously believe that your going to have any role in "bringing down" the EU.

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  • 56. At 7:03pm on 03 Oct 2009, Zydeco wrote:

    51. At 6:46pm on 03 Oct 2009, Jukka_Rohila wrote:

    ......When looking in retrospective of the Irish vote on the treaty, I do have say that I was a good thing that it was voted twice. Why? Well before the second vote Ireland got assurances on issues regarding states rights, including taxation, neutrality and moral issues, and this was a good thing. What we in the EU miss is a clearly defined policy and philosophy regarding rights of the states.
    *************************************************

    If the 'assurances' given to Ireland in order to win the vote are so sacrosant, why have they not been attached to the Treaty. Very much like the UKs 'red line' items, they are there for ballot winning purposes only. Clauses written into the Treaty make it quite clear that both the Irish assurances and the UK red lines can be withdrawn, over-ridden or ignored.

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  • 57. At 7:06pm on 03 Oct 2009, Hugh Morley wrote:

    We are stronger together than we are apart. Instead of clinging desperately to outdated notions of national sovereignty, we should look to the EU as a means to increase our standing in the world at a time when Europe's position is under threat. What is more powerful - 27 nation states or a single federation of 500 million people in the largest economy in the world? The answer is fairly obvious.

    We should work to force the EU to be more democratic rather than simply abolish it. The idea of a united Europe is a noble one that has much relevance for our future, and I think that we should try and better the EU than simply give up on it. Yes, it does have non-democratic elements to it, but the Lisbon Treaty actually removes some power from those elements and gives it to the Parliament and Council - the former is directly elected and the latter is comprised of the leaders of Europe's nations. On top of that, the UK still has opt-outs on pretty much everything. Lisbon is good for the UK, it remains to be seen whether it will be good for the rest of the union, but I still think that it will provide a more democratic and fairer framework for us to work on within Europe.

    To finish, I guess I could sum up my views by saying that I believe that our future lies within Europe, but we have to force change within the system of the EU and fight for pan-European democracy.

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  • 58. At 7:14pm on 03 Oct 2009, Zydeco wrote:

    If the European project is so good and beneficial for all in Europe, why won't Governments put it to the vote in the respective Countries so that the populace can confirm their leaders view?

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  • 59. At 7:20pm on 03 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #50 - frenchderek

    Being of a cynical nature, I treat with a certain scepticism what the Mail has to say but was outraged to read your post and went in search of something to confirm it and found this piece in The Times. While it stops short of saying that Cameron has tried to get Klaus to play spoiler, it is clear there is truth in the idea that Cameron is playing fast and loose on the European question and dangling a big carrot in front of Klaus. If so, he has climbed into the gutter with the people he seeks to replace and does a grave disservice to the nation and his party.

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  • 60. At 7:26pm on 03 Oct 2009, Benefactor wrote:

    # 56 Zydeco

    If the 'assurances' given to Ireland in order to win the vote are so sacrosant, why have they not been attached to the Treaty. Very much like the UKs 'red line' items, they are there for ballot winning purposes only. Clauses written into the Treaty make it quite clear that both the Irish assurances and the UK red lines can be withdrawn, over-ridden or ignored.

    ----------------------------------------------------------

    Well, as I've mentioned before, these concerns are not actually in the Lisbon treaty, so there is nothing their to amend. Also, altering the treaty text itself would mean that everyone would have to ratify it again as it would be a different treaty.
    Assuming that legally binding means something different to what I think it does and the EU does just ignore the Irish assurances and the British "red lines" then their is always the option of leaving the EU. Nobody forces anyone to be a member.

    Just out of interest, can you find these clauses you mention?

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  • 61. At 7:38pm on 03 Oct 2009, lagedor wrote:

    The only nation that had an opportunity to set the European experiment straight has let itself be shied into submission. A sad day for Ireland, a sad day for Europe's future. As today's economic circumstances are begging for a smaller and more local scale of organization, instead, developments will now slide irrevocably into the opposite direction.
    Power will bleed from national centres and feed the megalomanic visions of the unaccountable bureaucracy. Now, it will take at least another decade before mutual strains and economic hardships will cause this leviathan, that is the EU, to flounder and fall apart but by then, it will be too late to turn the tide.

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  • 62. At 7:46pm on 03 Oct 2009, Zydeco wrote:

    60. At 7:26pm on 03 Oct 2009, Benefactor wrote:
    # 56 Zydeco

    If the 'assurances' given to Ireland in order to win the vote are so sacrosant, why have they not been attached to the Treaty. Very much like the UKs 'red line' items, they are there for ballot winning purposes only. Clauses written into the Treaty make it quite clear that both the Irish assurances and the UK red lines can be withdrawn, over-ridden or ignored.

    ----------------------------------------------------------

    Well, as I've mentioned before, these concerns are not actually in the Lisbon treaty, so there is nothing their to amend. Also, altering the treaty text itself would mean that everyone would have to ratify it again as it would be a different treaty.
    Assuming that legally binding means something different to what I think it does and the EU does just ignore the Irish assurances and the British "red lines" then their is always the option of leaving the EU. Nobody forces anyone to be a member.

    Just out of interest, can you find these clauses you mention?
    *********************

    In its simplest form, Country X could object to Country Y having certain exceptions and privileges not available to others. Put to the vote, under majority voting such privileges could be removed. That's not to say would be done, but I would consider it unsafe territory on which to base the handing over of governance of your Country to Europe.

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  • 63. At 7:47pm on 03 Oct 2009, cobber1234 wrote:

    @ Zydeco
    You are correct in thinking my friend is a 'NO' voter but he is also a prctical man. He is fully aware that what the EU wants the EU gets. I must say that vhis view was shared my several others. It had been made quite plain that a 'NO' vote would have resulted in yet another ballot in the future so therefore there was no point in voting other than 'YES'
    With all due respect your comment that 'As for the "No till we say yes", well that's pure laziness,dishonest and a complete lack of understanding of the EU, how it works and what has changed in the meantime.' is naive.
    To me and many others, it demonstrates just how dictatorial the EU intends to be. No question of vote as your concience dictates but as we tell you. With the introduction of the EU Constitution (lets call it what it really is) this attitude will become more obvious.
    As I said on a previous blog, the EU will eventually be the sole governing body in Europe. National Governments will be redundant.
    ----------------------------
    It demonstrates nothing of the sort. The EU regularly adds protocols and guarantees to treaties. None of this incidentally had anything to do with the treaty we voted on. The "dictatorial" EU provided legal guarantees to satisfy the Irish concerns, which will become law the next time we vote, most likely on Croatian accession. So no, there is no naivety on my part just a difference in perspective.

    There has always been an anti-EU vote anyway in Ireland like any other EU country. Even in 1972 when we joined 20% voted against. It is suggested that the core anti-EU vote is between 25% and 30%. By the looks of thing your friend appears to have settled into that.

    Unlike your friend I did actually read most of the treaty and any other documentation that I could find, to come to my decision.
    Now if you friend had a conscience he too would have had reviewed the evidence rather than planting his feet. I am guessing that your own knowledge of referenda in Ireland is down to your friend and exclusively related to EU referenda. I am also guessing that your friend has not been involved with many referenda EU or otherwise.

    Meanwhile we are where we are. The treaty has been all but ratified in all 27 countries. The Poles are certain to sign and Klaus will be dragged screaming to do so is there anything positive to come out of Britain? As I said earlier Cameron could go for the nuclear option or will Britain continue to be "bad" Europeans and complain about everything the EU does. My own feeling is that the question of what modern Britain stands for and where it wants to be in the EU.

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  • 64. At 7:55pm on 03 Oct 2009, maud-winds wrote:

    If the EU elects a new post called president of the European Counsil and fills the post by Halloween, what will happen by Nov. Friday the 13th? Oh, My! Follow the yellow brick road?

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  • 65. At 7:58pm on 03 Oct 2009, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To Zydeco (56) and Benefactor (60):

    "On 12 December 2008 the Taoiseach, Brian Cowen confirmed that a second referendum would be held, after an EU leaders summit agreed to keep one Commissioner per member state and to incorporate legally binding guarantees on abortion, taxation and military neutrality in the Croatian Accession Treaty.[106]"
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lisbon_Treaty#Ireland


    To Zydeco (56):

    When the Constitutional treaty was being drafted, and later when it was transformed into the Lisbon Treaty, the main emphasis was getting the EU to function better: to make decision making more efficient, to add more transparency and to make the union more democratic, etc.. At that time in my honest opinion it wasn't time to discuss philosophical tenets regarding states and the union as making the EU to function was a bigger matter of concern. I would also say that there was no view that states rights, or clarification of states rights, was a matter of importance to the people.

    Now as we have gotten the Lisbon Treaty being accepted in the Ireland and the important reforms to the EU are done, the emphasis goes and has to go from making the EU more functional to address issues such as states rights and philosophies on how the real practical EU integration is build up on. The thing is that the EU is transforming more and more to federation and as it nears that, it is more and more important to make clear definitions on the relationship of the states and the federation.

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  • 66. At 7:59pm on 03 Oct 2009, maud-winds wrote:

    We're off to see the wizard, the wonderful wizard of oz. Rules, what are the rules? The rules are filled with poppies !

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  • 67. At 8:10pm on 03 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    If the assurances that were given to the Irish were comparable to the "red lines" the British got, they've bought a pig in a poke. Anyone read the red lines? I did. Over 40 pages of wading through legalise it was very hard to understand. But tenacity paid off and when I did, it was clear these were not opt outs at all but 5 year deferrals after which the UK would comply with all provisions of the Constitution or face limitless punitive fines imposed by an EU tribunal on which it would have no representation. Selling them to the British public as "opt outs" was just one more lie you can credit to Tony Blair's regime.

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  • 68. At 8:15pm on 03 Oct 2009, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    In regards the discussion on what will or what could Cameron do...

    The factor X is the United States. Reuters has already reported that the USA is pushing to form a G4 group whose members would be the USA, Japan, China and the EU. In essence if the USA is now seeking to play ball with the EU instead of directly negotiating with its largest members, then Cameron would be taking a big risk to torpedo the Lisbon Treaty.

    In essence, if Cameron would pull the rug under the Lisbon Treaty, leading either to UK to seek a special relationship with the EU, or it becoming politically isolated inside the Union, in a world were the USA is conducting business with the EU directly, UK would greatly loose influence as it wouldn't be in the G4 and inside the EU the continental countries would dictate the European position under the G4.

    From my point of view, the Tories and David Cameron are playing a risky gambit on their isolationist views regarding the EU, they may have to either to make 180 degree turn or risk loosing in the next general elections as I really don't think that the electorate would want more isolationism from the EU in a world were countries like the USA deals directly with the EU and not with the UK.

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  • 69. At 8:47pm on 03 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #68 - Jukka_Rohila

    Unfortunately, there is a considerable body of evidence to suggest that this is precisely what a significant proportion of those polled want. Add to that those who think the the EU is irrelevant to them, those who either don't know or don't care and those who think that other questions are far more important and you have a recipe for a huge eurosceptic backlash.

    Cameron is all too well aware of this and is not going to let complicated things like the good of the nation or the right thing to do get in the way of his expected election victory. But he is not stupid and he knows perfectly well that, like it or not, Britain needs the EU one way or the other, far more badly than it needs Britain. So if he rides to power on the back of a tide of euroscepticism, he knows he will have to back peddle as fast as possible when he gets into power. On the other hand, if he accepts Lisbon as a done deal, he will lose votes to UKIP and he will not pick up Labour eurosceptic votes and may get squeezed.

    This is why he is putting off stating a clear policy for as long as possible and he would love it if either the Czech Constitutional Court drag the process out or Klaus keeps finding excuses not to sign the instrument until after the UK election. I have posted elsewhere that the election will not be lost or won on the European issue unless it is forced onto the agenda. Both Labour and the Tories therefore have a vested interest in keeping it off the agenda for as long as possible leaving the LibDems and the nationalists as the only real European parties with no chance of winning.

    In fact, if it were not so fundamentally dishonest, you could almost congratulate them for their good politics.

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  • 70. At 8:48pm on 03 Oct 2009, David wrote:

    All of I've got to say is how has one's life changed because of the EU--positively or negatively?

    Can anyone say that people are less intelligent or less productive or less happy now that the EU has been formed.

    Is the world any safer? Are we all going to benefit or will it only benefit the 1 percent of the rich?

    I do not know, but I do know that people are appoplexic/raging (sp. is wrong, im sure) about it one way or another.

    What, please tell me, is wrong with integration....are cultures being destroyed, is capitalism rampant with corruption, there? I do not believe in world government, but I do believe that Europe's integration has brought peace, not by America...

    in Europe. Russia is probably much more concerned about Europe than it is about America, now-a-days. The fear of America is mainly from people concerned about it's bullying of small nations and "getting away with it" ...well not really...

    One can bully small nations (in the short term)...I do know that it's true.

    It may be one reason that the European idea is so important to many Europeans. If it weren't for the EU, for instance, correct me if I'm wrong,

    But isn't the Palestinian question still alive because of Europe? Wouldn't Israel have dealt with this question much more brutally if the European Union hadn't existed (excuse me, Israel defenders and apologists)

    Hasn't Europe saved Iran and North Korea from similar wars? By saying no to participating or investing in other wars? Hasn't this saved America from true bankruptcy?

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  • 71. At 10:27pm on 03 Oct 2009, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To threnodio (69):

    I'm not totally sure that the European issue couldn't become the key deciding factor to the end result of the elections. In essence there is also another scenario than the victory of either Tories or the Labour party, there is a possibility that Tories and Labour will have close tie.

    If Labour and Tories have a tie, and the LibDems either increase or at least hold their current position, then there is possibility of there being a coalition government in the UK. For example the 1992 elections were quite a close tie, but at that time there was no strong third party to be king makers. In a situation were there is a tie, it will be a liability for the Tories to have a strong eurosceptic side and an party leader that is ambivalent about Europe, thus I don't see a coalition between Tories and LibDems as likely as coalition between the Labours and LibDems, as LibDems are quite strongly pro-Europe party.

    The other thing is that the elections are already partly about the Europe thanks to stand of Tories and David Cameron. In essence, they have brought the issue up, and what ever they will say or not say will turn against them especially if the Labour party won't make a stand but only with LibDems haunt the Tories on playing either the ambivalence card or blame them for isolationism.

    I would say that whatever the choice for Tories is, they are only loosing on not defining a clear policy. Of course as you said before, other more real issues will affect elections more, but if both Tories and Labour make a good campaign they can end in a tie, and in that situation the eurosceptism will come to haunt the Tories.

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  • 72. At 10:58pm on 03 Oct 2009, JamesStGeorge wrote:

    Just roll on the EU dissolution war, the way all European Empires end. Lets get it over with and put the lying gasping political elites back in their box yet again. I am past caring about playing by bent cheats rules. Please get to it soon so I can enjoy helping.

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  • 73. At 11:47pm on 03 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    sB;

    You are mistaken;

    "What, please tell me, is wrong with integration....are cultures being destroyed, is capitalism rampant with corruption, there? I do not believe in world government, but I do believe that Europe's integration has brought peace, not by America..."

    The mass migration between countries has resulted in radical demographic shifts quickly. One day Britain woke up to the fact that there were 650,000 Poles living legally in Britain when the government had expected 25,000. With all of Britain's plumbing leaks fixed, capital spending in Britain down, and spending in Poland up, there's been a sudden reverse migration. But I'll be you could still get some damned fine kielbasa in Britain that you couldn't before the Poles came to town. Far more sinister is the fact that once illegal migrants manage to get into the EU where borders are weakest, they easily move between countries making a bee-line for the UK where they get the best treatment. They see the UK as paradise found. It's one more proof that the UK government does not represent the people because if they had their way, the UK would become the least attractive place in the EU to be an illegal migrant instead of the most attractive place.

    There is no doubt that Brussels is even more corrupt than Paris, London, and Berlin. Hard to believe but true. The reason the French and German governments were against the invasion of Iraq was...friends of people in high places were making a lot of profit out of illegally circumventing the UN sanctions. Even some in the British parliament were suspected by some in our government but you can't say who here or you will be deleted. The UK government has blocked an investigation by its own justice department into 2 billion in bribes paid to Saudi princes in return for defense contracts awarded to UK suppliers. And you're wrong about the UN or integration or anything except America keeping the peace in Europe since WWII. They had a UN before WWII called the League of Nations and it didn't work. It still doesn't work. The name of the organization has nothing to do with that, its basic concept was naive and badly flawed. And peace was being kept in Europe by America even before there was an EU and after the EU while it was still only a trading bloc. Whom do you think prevented a re-match of WWI by attacking Serbia ten years ago?

    "Russia is probably much more concerned about Europe than it is about America, now-a-days. The fear of America is mainly from people concerned about it's bullying of small nations and "getting away with it" ...well not really..."

    According to a recent book written by a KGB defector, the US is seen by Russia as their number one enemy, NATO is number two, and China is number three. It's always good to have a foreign enemy to blame for your home grown problems and deflect public attention from your failure to solve them. Russia has more than its share of problems. Too bad for its people that it will need to rely on its "enemies" to help fix them.

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  • 74. At 04:20am on 04 Oct 2009, Bob Ryan wrote:

    Being old enough to remember the vote to join the EC I remember the strength of the anti EC lobby. They made then the case that we would become the united states of europe, that it was an unelected quango etc etc. As the British public absorbed the arguments it recognised that it was far more important to be part of this project than to continue our post war decline to oblivion. It also became transparently obvious that the EC was a dynamic body which had aspirations built into its founding treaties to achieve a high degree of integration. We knew that at the time and that's what we voted for - to claim otherwise is a travesty of history. Then, as now, there is a body of opinion in this country that believes that we have a future out of the EU, that if we withdrew the rest of Europe would allow us to carry on taking the benefit and not contribute. This 'the champagne would keep flowing' argument is quite bogus, we would not have equal access to European markets, our goods would be subject to tarrifs, inward investment would dry up and we would revert to what were: a snobby island of little englanders, soaked in our (mostly) imagined past glories, fortified by our stiff upper lips, basking in our prejudices. Is that really what we want for our grandchildren?

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  • 75. At 04:54am on 04 Oct 2009, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    Gavin Hewitt:

    I am glad, that the Irish voted yes....


    ~Dennis Junior~

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  • 76. At 05:29am on 04 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    TheCaptainGoesDownWithHisShipBob1

    Rubbish!

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  • 77. At 06:42am on 04 Oct 2009, Bob Ryan wrote:

    Sadly, the cry of 'rubbish' from MarcusAureliusII is the same cry that is heard when anyone's world view is challenged. It is not an answer - the European issue is too important to be trivialised. On this blog there have been good arguments and bad. Some have reflected a knowledge of what happened in the past and others a view of history distorted by their current prejudices. We had a vote on this issue, it was a decisive vote in favour of joining, and as someone who listened and took part, I know that all of the current arguments were endlessly debated. I was aware then as I am now that the preamble to the Treaty of Rome contained the words that member states were "determined to lay the foundations of an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe". That was the vision we signed up to - it reflected a desire to move Britain and Europe away from the nationalism that made the 20th Century one of the bloodiest in our history. Margaret Thatcher in 1987 signed Britain into the Single European Market the preamble of which following the 1957 Treaty of Rome restated the vision of an economic, monetary, social and political union. It may be that there were people who voted in the 1975 referendum who were swayed by the rhetoric of one side or the other, it may be that many did not inform themselves as well as they should have done, but one thing is clear: the vote at 67% in favour was clear and decisive. I for one have no desire to rerun the debate 35 years later - we are in. Let's cut the nonsense and make the commitment and the contribution which will make it work in our favour rather than being the naysayers of Europe.

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  • 78. At 09:36am on 04 Oct 2009, pciii wrote:

    CaptainBob, I'm not sure which bit of your statement old Sparky was rubbishing, but I'd have to disagree with this bit:
    "We knew that at the time and that's what we voted for"

    Now my disagreement has a few caveats - having not been born at the time, but the message I get from a lot of the people who were, is that the EU does not sufficiently resemble what they thought they were voting for.

    I of course am free to complain at will having not voted on it myself (the nearest chance I get is to vote for various 'different' or extreme parties come election time).

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  • 79. At 10:44am on 04 Oct 2009, Bob Ryan wrote:

    Your response paulcrossleyiii I can respect. The problem with referenda is that they never settle an argument as is clear in the current case. The polling evidence at the time suggested that there were two diametrically opposed camps who pretty much cancelled one another out. In the middle was a very large group of people who took notice of the issue when the campaign got under way - and it was an exhausting and exhaustive campaign. A substantial part of the labour party and many ministers were against it. Some were very vocal and I remember Tony Benn raising the issues that are now aired. The Conservatives, were almost wholly for it and of course claim and counter claim were made. However, the British voters recognised the gravity of the issues and came to their decision and we were in - or so we thought.
    Those of us who were for it hoped that the result would bring about a new future but as we moved through the 80's it became clear that politically Britain was being left behind - not because of some fiendish Franco-German conspiracy but simply that the 1980's government would not engage with the institutions of Europe and shape their development. The ideals shaping Europe did not gain traction and as the issue became so politicised the hope that the UK would become a core member slipped further away. But, make no mistake, it has been the viscious anti-Europeanism of elements of the Conservative Party that have helped to make it unelectable and alienate it from the substantial business support that it needs to win elections.
    The model of European governance that we now have does need reform - with the accession of Eastern Europe into the union the structures that supported a membership of 12 will not support where it is now. I do not buy into all the nonsense about corruption and gravvy-training - its no more corrupt than the UK parliament. However, we do need to buy in and buy in big - otherwise we can never change it. We need to change it by working with the institutions of Europe through our own. Referenda are not the way our political systems operate. We have developed a much emulated system of representative democracy which we need to inject into Europe by boosting the strength, rather than undermining, the European parliament.
    If Cameron does win the next election and with the help of the Czech president destabilises this treaty then we really will be marginalised. I have no doubt some deal will be put together to patch it all up - but we will have won a pyhrric victory.

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  • 80. At 12:44pm on 04 Oct 2009, Scotch Git wrote:

    #74

    I, too, am old enough to remember the vote. Bottom line, Heath lied through his teeth. We were told it was a trade agreement, nothing more.

    For my response to your #74 see #76

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  • 81. At 1:11pm on 04 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #79 - CaptainBob1

    I agree with you basic premise but would take issue with one point. The problem with referenda in the UK is that they do not sit comfortably with the principle of parliamentary sovereignty. The argument is simply that if parliament is sovereign, it cannot be bound by the outcome of a referendum making it little more than an exercise in testing public opinion.

    In the referendum of 1975 because of the deep divisions within the government, Harold Wilson suspended the doctrine of collective cabinet responsibility to allow ministers to campaign for whichever side of the argument they favoured. Of course, the European Communities Act 1972 was already law so when the referendum returned a 'yes' result, there was no need for legislation so the way parliament would have reacted had it been necessary was never tested.

    Fast forward 35 years. Lisbon is already law. The only limits to it taking immediate effect are events taking place outside the UK. The Irish question is now resolved leaving Polish ratification and Czech legal objections as the only remaining obstacles. One of two things will now happen. Either the Czechs will hold everything up long enough for the UK to have an election first (highly unlikely - see next thread) or Cameron (assuming he wins) will inherit a done deal.

    What does he do? He either accepts that events have overtaken him and plods on trying to renegotiate piecemeal or he invites the public to a referendum which is entirely different. This time, he would be asking them to vote for or against a motion which would lead not only to the repeal of existing legislation but the scrapping of a solemn and binding international treaty. This is totally unprecedented and, unless a mechanism can be found to circumvent parliamentary sovereignty, it still does not address the issue of how parliament would deal with a result it did not like. What happens, for example, if the Tories win the next election on the basis of a manifesto across a whole raft of policies then set about their referendum only to find that the nationalists, LibDems, rump Labour and the rest persuade the people that, actually, Lisbon is in their best interests? How does a eurosceptic parliament deal with a 'yes' vote? How do they deal with a resounding 'no' vote in England and a 'yes' vote in Scotland, Wales and NI? Whatever happens in England, the Tories are on a hiding to nothing in the other three countries so what happens to theit Unionist credentials if they are forced to promote England's position in defiance of the other three nations where they have no power base?

    No - I am afraid this is a non-starter. The Tories must either accept that Lisbon is done and dusted or come right out in opposition to the EU project but accept in the process that they have become an English - not a British - party. Anything else - I say again - is fundamentally dishonest.

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  • 82. At 1:29pm on 04 Oct 2009, pciii wrote:

    Bob, thanks for the reasoned response. I think that broadly, we are in agreement over what direction we would like to see the UK take within the EU. That is to say that, fundamentally, the EU makes sense for the UK, and if we're going to be involved we should look to make the most of our position. I also certainly don't want to vote in referendums every six months (that said, I haven't voted in a single referendum, or had the opportunity to do so, in my 10+ years of voting).

    On the flipside of the above are certain unpalatable problems.

    The first is that I sense that much of the British public do feel unrepresented on this issue and do want to vote. Whether or not we agree with the possible outcome of that vote should be irrelevant.

    The second one is that the UK had the ideal opportunity to 'buy-in' big. An enthusiastic Labour Government with a massive majority, loved the world over. What happened? Well I guess the short (flippant) answer would be that Blair blew it for the chance to be the USA's lap dog. Before that happened (and before the Conservatives left power) we weren't the most liked people in Europe. Afterwards there was sometimes open hostility.

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  • 83. At 2:56pm on 04 Oct 2009, busby2 wrote:

    threnodio post 81

    You make a number of assumptions based on the view that the English view differs from the Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish which have no basis in fact.

    David Cameron has a number of options open to him if the Lisbon Treaty is done and dusted by the time he takes office next year.

    The Irish voted Yes on the basis of guarantees that will be written into the accession treaty for Croatia - in other words the Irish were persuaded to vote Yes this time on guarantees that were not in the Treaty, an act of huge dishonesty on the part of the Yes camp.

    This hands David Cameron an immense opportunity to wreak havoc on the Lisbon Treaty by refusing to agree to the addition of the protocol covering the Irish guarantees, and therefore block the entry of Croatia, unless there is a quid pro quo in the Croatia accession treaty that gives GB guarantees that protect our interests and sovereignty. He should also tie this to also receiving a very substantial and permanent discount on our net contribution to the EU.






    There is no reason whatsoever for David Cameron to agree to this

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  • 84. At 3:59pm on 04 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #83 - busby2

    With respect, I made no assumptions - I posed a hypothetical question - what if?

    However, your point about the Croatian accession treaty is well made. I would have thought that the chances of all the chapters being closed down and a treaty initialled before May were quite slim so I accept that possibility. Don't you think, however, that telling the other 26 to renegotiate Lisbon or forget about Croatian accession would be pushing even his luck a bit too far?

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  • 85. At 00:01am on 05 Oct 2009, busby2 wrote:

    threnodio

    My point about the Croatian treaty is that there are still options available to David Cameron if the Lisbon treaty is ratified before the next General Election.
    He could use the opportunity to win opt outs from Lisbon, just like the Irish have, and why not? He won't win many friends that way but them I don't think we have that many friends in Europe anyway! Each country looks after their own interests. Cameron's job is to get the best deal for Great Britain and he will win more respect and achieve far more by being difficult. De Gaulle found that worked very well for him and for France.

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