Maman Poulet | Clucking away crookedly through media, politics and life

This Woman is saying Yes to Lisbon again

September 29th, 2009 · 6 Comments · Lisbon, Personal

It’s probably no surprise to read that I’m a Yes voter. I voted Yes to Lisbon the last time and I’m voting Yes again – this time with a lot more passion and understanding and conviction.

This time I’ve been more incensed by the lies being told by the No side, by the poor campaigns run by the Yes side including the ‘Civil Society’ groups.  (One of the groups which I would exclude from this criticism is Generation Yes who didn’t do a bad job at all with very little money  from my very external viewpoint but more plaudits and pastings of the campaign after Saturday.)  Now I just want it all to be over because it does nothing for anyone.

This is because I feel Lisbon/the Reform Treaty is not really as  important as all this fuss that is be being made of it  – Nice and accession were the important decisions – the fall of the Berlin wall and everything after that has meant that the European Union needs better ways of working.

If you still have a stomach for Lisbon related material Nick McGinley explores many reasons for voting Yes and details lots of the intricacies nobody really understands because they a) can’t be bothered or/and b) have not had them presented to them in a readable manner. 100 Reasons to Vote Yes is probably not for everyone but I’m grateful it pokes fun at some of the stances taken by both sides during Lisbon I whilst explaining why people should vote Yes in Lisbon II.  I won’t hold the fact that Michael O’Leary’s handing out copies deter me from this mention 😉 Back to my own fairly uninformed thoughts…

What is being presented in this reform is not perfect, but I wish I was in the position of other EU citizens and let the Government, the commission and the parliament elected get on with things.  My vote for politicians on their European policy should be what counts.   That said the government’s unobserved and un-monitored  cap in hand to Brussels looking for those guarantees infuriates me.  Again the requirement for the Government to legislate for the X case is ignored as some pointless further guarantee is made on a lack of interference by the EU on right to life. (We’ve had that for 17 years already.)

We’re not going to be waging war on anyone or losing our so called neutrality. We have a responsibility, as small as a country we are, to make sure massacres and human rights violations throughout the world don’t go unchecked and that our voice along with other EU members are heard in both peace keeping and peace enforcing.

That as small as a country we are is important to reflect on also.  All this stuff about how a No vote will stop things and get the whole reform process started again.  Absolute rubbish.  The quality of the debate being held in Ireland on EU membership and the future of the Union is an embarrassment. The racism and intolerance that has crept into the opposition arguments is also of great concern.

I despair at the lack of understanding about the European Union and the way it works.  This lack of political education and presentation has allowed the No side gain un-deserved traction for their Chicken Licken arguments.  The parochial nature of Irish Politics is also to blame for this.

The reasons I have some understanding about the European Union maybe is because I have needed it’s institutions to progress in life be it

  • the programmes sponsored by the European Social Fund which supported and trained me when for years I could not gain regular employment,
  • funding for organisations and programmes that Irish governments would not fund due to discrimination and intolerance,
  • equality in terms of pay and social welfare entitlements,
  • freedom to travel,
  • safety in terms of consumer issues and product standards,
  • transport assistance at Airports that is universal in standard and quality so far (it’s fecking amazing what an EU directive has done to my quality of life as a disabled person in getting in and out of this country in the last year. )
  • and on and on and on

There are more EU Directives to come that will improve the lives of myself and others – the unemployed, ‘underprivileged’, and coalface workers that Patricia McKenna says are not represented in the Yes side.  I’m a coalface worker voting Yes and I think there lots of us about.  The cuts in services and recession related issues are not the EU’s fault and it’s pure folly to try and link the fears of people affected to Lisbon.  The No side feast on the lack of information and the insularity and fear that many express due to the actions of government and effects of the collapse of the economy?

I won’t go on anymore.  I wish that in future when Treaties are being negotiated and reforms proposed that we have active dialogue and interest. That when the Oireachtas debates EU policy and legislation that those doing the debating are informed participants, the matters are reported in all forms of media and that groups representing those affected are prepared for debate and are consulted.  I’m looking forward to the navel gazing stopping and insularity ending, I doubt it will happen. If as I hope there is a majority Yes vote on Friday I’d rather we don’t close the book but actually learn something about how we are to progress our membership of the European Union in the future.

Tin hat on.

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