Friday, June 13, 2008

I voted

I voted yesterday and in the end my fonal decision was made on the way to the polling station. For a long time during the campaign I was on the No side, though as I found out more information and listened to the arguments I gradually drifted to undecided.

Both side were saying "vote for us or bad things will happen". It was like someone asking you would you rather have your left leg or your right arm cut off. Neither please. Personally I would have prefered if this constitution and treaty had never been proposed. However it was and it seemed that we were stuck with making a decision.

It came down to the people involved. Who did I trust more? The Yes campaign had the support of most mainstream groups while the No
campaign had too many groups I feel I disagree with most of the time.

Finally in a funny way it came down to Brian Cowan V's Bertie Ahern. I think Cowan is more likely to fight for Irelands interests in Europe than Ahern who always seemed to want to compromise and seemed to have one eye on a job on Europe do didnt want to upset anyone. Had Bertie still been Taoiseach I might have voted No since I would not have trusted that Bertie was not putting Europe ahead of Ireland.

So I voted yes. It felt like the best choice, the one that had fewer downsides. Its sad that my decision came down to that, though listening to the tallies I may have been in the minority.


Steffino said...

hi there, i’m from germany and i’m interessted in getting some statements for your motivation to say ‘no’ (or ‘yes’) to the eu treaty.

i’m glad the irish people said ‘no’ just as we in germany didn’t have a chance to say anything..

Declan said...

Personally I voted yes. I believed it was the best option when given two bad choices. Be inside an increasingly unanswerable and and intrusive union that benefits the country while hoping our politicians will continue to fight on our behalf or be in the second tier of that union where we will have no say but still suffer from decisions made by the big super nations like France and Germany.

In the end I was in the minority. Most Irish people decided they did not understand the treaty, did not like the direction Europe was heading or, on many cases, believed the propoganda from the extreme fanatics on the No side who said if we voted yes, conscription would be introduced, abortion would be allowed and even that children older than 3 would have microchips embedded in them (hard to believe but while i didnt see them apparently some posters outside Dublin said that).

Now we must hope that our politicians put pressure on other EU nations to hold referendums as well. No one else gets a vote and that is undemocratic. If we are the only people to vote No we can be ignored or bullied. If other Nations vote No then perhaps the EU will be forced to listen

Steffino said...

france and the netherlands alrady said 'no' to nearly the same thing - but it was ignored as the irish vote will be in some way

Remy said...

French people were stupid to vote No (I know what I'm talking about, I'm French...). At the moment of the vote, the governement was really unpopular, the No was against Président Chirac and not directly against the Treaty.

I am disappointed with the Irish vote, becauce if Europe wants to be strong, altogether, we need a common treaty. Of course, you will lose some benefits, but this is part of the deal: think and act together, for a better Europe.

nicola-t said...

You say "Personally I would have prefered if this constitution and treaty had never been proposed" but how can that be possible?

With the EU taking on so many new member states, particularly those with large populations, reform of the EU institutions is a necessity and that's what both the constitution and the treaty were about.

What alternative is there?

I don't understand the idea of the EU being undemocratic - the Parliament is directly elected and the Council is made of national goverment ministers who are elected and the Commission is made of people appointed by the elected government. This treaty was giving more power to the Parliament, it was decreasing the maximum number of MEP and increasing the minimum number so that larger states would be less dominant. By not adopting this treaty it means there will be less MEPs (732 vs. 750) and there aren't the changes in the max and min...

Anyway whatever, it's done now...

Declan said...

The more I think about it the more I come to the belief that the main problem with the treaty is that it tries to cover too many things in one. This is a result of being based on a constitution.

The EUs own website breaks the treaty down into 4 sections
1) A more democratic and transparent Europe
2) A more efficient Europe
3) A Europe of rights and values, freedom, solidarity and security,
4) Europe as an actor on the global stage

Prehaps if the treaty had been presented as 4 treaties covering each of those sections then at least 3/4 of it may have been passed. Most people who voted no probably only voted no on issues covered by one or two sections, those sections depending on their own personal persectives.

Wrapping the treaty up into 1 just sums up what many people think of Europe. A large monolith impacting peoples lives without them understanding what or why is going on.

There is a statistic, I dont know how true it is but I'd believe its in the ball park, that around 80% of Irish legislation comes from Europe. We have 166 TDs. We have 13 MEPs. I have met talked with and even had a drink or two with many TDs. I have only met one of my local MEPs, once, and that was when he was a TD. If there is an issue I need to raise with my local TD I can go to their weekly clinic. The only MEP I regularly heard or saw on TV before the referendum was campaigning on issues in Northern Ireland not Dublin.

All in all Europe does need reform, but I think we should be taking it one step at a time.

nicola-t said...

My main comment on that would be this...

If it's true that 80% of Irish legislation comes from the EU then I'd say that has a hell of a lot more to say about the Irish Govt than is does about the EU...

As for the accessibility thing - I've never tried to contact a TD or an MEP but the MEP phone numbers and addresses seem easy enough to find... Either way I would have imagined it would be easier to get a TD over an MEP... after all MEPs are there for European issues not local. issues...

I'm not sure that 4 different treaties on different sections will work. I don't believe that most people voted no because there was something in particular they disagreed with. If they did they are certainly keeping quiet about what it might be... I'm sure some people voted no because of some of the lies on taxation and militarisation that are going around but it would appear that most people voted no because they didn't understand it.

I don't think 4 treaties will work because I think the Irish are a contrary bunch and if you split it into 4 you'll just get the argument that "We've already rejected all of this and you're just repackaging it again".

For it to pass people will want to hear that it has been renegotiated in a tangiable way... saying something like now XXX will continue to be covered by unanimity rather than QMV as was previously proposed won't be enough - They'll have to let everyone keep their commissioner or something...

I hate Irish politics... I actually moved here to study politics but the longer I live here the apathetic I grow... I really do think the govt. here is an absolute disgrace - being able to have a pint in a pub with a TD or go to a weekly clinic is bo----ks if they do nothing about what they hear and if 80% of the legislation -is- coming from the EU then that just proves it.

I apologise Dec, I should have stayed off the blog comments... I've tried to keep it fairly un-ranting.

I'll leave it with this - so the EU is a monolith impacting on people's lives with legislation - what EU legislation has been passed in Ireland that people have a problem with?