The Lisbon Treaty will in all likelihood be rejected. That’s what the latest Irish Times/MRBI poll shows, and these polls have been consistently accurate in the past.
I don’t have a problem with a NO vote, even though I’ve said here that I intend to vote YES. It isn’t the kind of referendum that will lead to deep-seated animosity like some of the abortion referenda we went through over the years. It’s a political decision.
However, I’d be interested to know what’s driving people to vote No. Very few people I spoke to have read the proposed text of the treaty, and that’s not surprising, because it’s ridiculously convoluted and impenetrable. I spent a long and painful time going through it, and had to undergo the tender interrogations of fellow bloggers as a consequence, but I don’t mind that. It goes with the territory.
I think the reason the electorate will vote against the proposal is very simple. People said No! I’m not going to vote for something I don’t understand.
They’re right. Why should they?
The government made a complete shit of organising this, and ironically, in the process showed us why we need to embrace Europe more strongly. In this little island, we have an authoritarian mentality that would be anathema to the liberal European ethos. We have a health service without human compassion. We have a police force without two brain cells to knock together. We have a paralysed public service and a hidebound, self-serving political caste without education, vision or understanding. If anything ever illustrated why we need a better way, it has to be the failure of this government to respect the people’s intelligence and present them with a coherent proposal. We need to adopt the mainland European way if we’re ever to escape from our parochial, corrupt little bubble.
It took me a long time to decide I was voting Yes and I certainly won’t demonise people for voting No. That’s a perfectly valid political position to take, but it’s a pity that some people in the No camp couldn’t have been a bit more temperate.
We had lunatics from the extreme Catholic Right forming an alliance with contractors to the US military all urging a No vote. We had untruths combined with hard facts. We had solid research mingled with plain lies. We had fear-mongering and manipulation by Youth Defence side by side with principled objectors. We had Sinn Féin killers warning us about war.
And then we had citizens deeply concerned that we were going to hand democratic power to a Brussels-based bureaucratic cabal. I respect that worry and I can understand it.
The people who most disappointed me were some fellow bloggers who chose to personalise it all. That’s a pity. After all, I wasn’t too far from a No vote myself, but on balance I decided a Yes vote was probably the better choice.
In the end, all you can do is your conscientious best. We’re not superhuman.