Yes, Bonnie, that was disgraceful about 'the poorest nation in Europe when we joined'. Our political masters kept on hammering away at 'look at all the great stuff Ireland got from the EU'. Yes, we did benefit, but there was also some give: look at our fisheries. We gave up fishing rights to huge stretches of national waters, that are now estimated to have been worth billions. Agriculture has also been decimated here.
There were lots of reasons to vote No
1. The rest of Europe wasn't being given a chance to vote either way, and the wishes of the French and Dutch were being ignored. No 'treaty' that claims to lay the basis for a more democratic and transparent Europe could dare to be introduced in such a way.
2. As usual a highly complex legalistic document, which was in fact a series of amendments to other legalistic documents, was aggressively pushed on us by our over beraing leaders as late in the day as possible (toi minimise the chances of people actually reading it and debating it)
3. If you don't understand something, it doesn't make sense to sign up to it.
4. Nonetheless there was plenty that could be understood quite clearly in the treaty:
a. a further shift of power from soveriegn governemnts to an unelected and undemocratic Commission.
b. Loss of our own commisioner for 2 out of every 3 years - for what, in return?
c. A move to qualified majority voting that would see Ireland's vote reduced in Europe - again, for what in return?
Some people say the last point is only fair, given comparative sizes of EU populations. Perhaps, but that belies the thinking of Europe as a federation rather than an association of sovereign independent states.
d. A bigger push to increase privatisation and reduce 'distortion of the markets' that will eventually see more and more basic services in private hands (for profit) and an abandonment of any concept of a state providing for its people. Of course no doubt we'll still be expected to pay income tax!
5. The bullying tones of our leaders and EU leaders - all that dark muttering about 'consequences' for voting the wrong way. Who the **** do they think they are? Are we supposed to be the serfs, just going through a charade of rubber stamping what they tell us to?
6. All the main parties - except Sinn Fein, well done to them - banded together for a Yes vote. Amazing how they can all throw their weight in behind something when it's important enough to them. Pity that the health system and rampant inflation are so way down on their scale of priorities.
7. I was really disgusted by all the smear camapaigning that went on against the main organistaion with the money to campaign for a No vote: Libertas. The main party politicians used clever rhetoric to suggest the money was coming from the US to prevent a united Europe: "I won't say the CIA is behind it..." (nonetheless I've planted the idea in your head). They spent more time cribbing about where did Libertas get their money than explaining what was so bloody good about the Lisbon treaty. This, ironically from a party whose ex-leader's recent explanation for the large amounts of cash he kept in a shoe box in his cupboard because he didn't trust the banks, was that he had had a couple of lucky bets on the horses (I kid you not).
8. For all of these reasons and more they got a well-deserved kick up the ass. They seem to regard this country as a personal fiefdom to be run at their whim under a system of 'surrender and regrant' from Europe. we have a word here to describe them: SHONEENS. If you are ever visiting here and you happen to see one, please do me the favour of shouting it at them as you pass by.
Well done to all who voted No. But watch out for Lisbon, part II!