I don’t know what to think about the fiscal treaty referendum. Let me be honest and admit that.
I just don’t know.
Every commentator I listen to seems to be making a good case, except of course the politicians, who are all untrustworthy. There’s no point listening to any of them, on the right, the left or the middle. Forget them. Instead of listening to bluster, waffle and bullying, I’m trying to hear what’s being said by intelligent people who know what they’re talking about, but still it’s hard to make a decision.
The fiscal treaty referendum is a classic example of a dilemma, even though most people don’t know what a dilemma is. If you ask most people, they’ll tell you a dilemma is a difficult decision, but that’s not correct. A dilemma is a much more exquisite torture. A dilemma is a choice between two unacceptable options, and there’s only one way to resolve it: decide which choice you hate less.
That’s what it comes down to with this vote. You hate one outcome and you hate the other.
I haven’t quite made my mind up yet which I hate more and which I hate less.
Constantin Gurdgiev, an economist whose views I respect, has described the treaty as a fiscal suicide pact, following a monetary straitjacket. He argues that this referendum represents an opportunity to finally stand up against the German monolith and threaten to collapse the whole Euro edifice which the Irish state should never have been required to support on its own. But what would happen if the Eurozone collapsed?
I can see his point. It enraged me that the ECB forced our politicians to issue that pernicious blanket guarantee back in 2008, and it enraged me even more that they lay down and accepted their instructions from Frankfurt.
Karl Whelan, on the other hand, another respected commentator, argues that by voting no, we would cut ourselves off from any future emergency funding from the European Stability Mechanism which will be launched in July. We won’t necessarily need any money from this fund, but then again, we might.
Whelan says that he’ll reluctantly vote yes, and that’s the nature of a classic dilemma. No matter what choice you make, it will be a reluctant one.
Meanwhile, the public sentiment across Europe changes, with the Dutch, one of the few remaining Triple-A countries, rebelling against austerity, and the French president-in-waiting, Francois Hollande, making ominous noises. Maybe Ireland should be pragmatic and postpone the referendum until the bigger global players have settled down, or maybe Enda is under orders to hold it as quickly as possible. Who can tell?
I’ll have to think about this a lot more before deciding, but I’ll be making my decision based on logic, not political posturing of the sort engaged in by both sides at the moment.
One thing I will not be doing is voting against it because Fianna Fáil think it’s a good idea. And I won’t be voting yes because Sinn Féin think it’s bad.
Now is not the time for irrational stupidity. This is a time when we need to be mature and to vote based on our rational logical assessment of the situation, if we’re capable of such a thing. And if we’re not able to be rational and logical, , maybe we’d be better off not voting.