Hooray for Ireland: the Lisbon Treaty

Topics: Democracy
18 Jun 2008

From: Ervan Darnell

The political elites in the EU again tried to smuggle in a stronger
central government. Only the Irish stopped them, and the reason is
telling: only in Ireland did it have to be put to a popular vote instead
of being rammed through by politicians seeking to increase their
authority. In particular, Ireland has recently enjoyed a huge increase
in the standard of living due to being more free market in their tax and
regulatory policy. The EU has already tried to get Ireland to raise
their 10% business tax so as not to siphon off business from the rest of
the over-regulated and over-taxed EU (and to cease making it obvious how
bad their high-tax and high-regulation policies are). Ireland said "no".
Bully for the Irish. I don't know how much this figured into the Lisbon
Treaty vote, but the article below suggests at least some.

This is great case study of the ratchet, the same bad idea is
continually presented in every more disingenuous form until it somehow
passes, but once it does, there is no backing out. I don't know it for
sure, but I suspect the Lisbon treaty has no withdrawal/secession
clause. It speaks to the arrogance of the political class.

Relevant excerpts from the Economist:
> The Lisbon treaty is complex[...]It also sweeps away national vetoes
> in some important areas of policy,[...] Expect some EU politicians to
> demand that the Irish vote a second time on the treaty (and this time
> get their vote “right”). That has been done before: the Irish were
> asked to vote again after they rejected the Nice treaty in 2001, and
> obliged with a yes vote the following year. [...] More important, the
> Lisbon treaty’s claims to democratic legitimacy are already
> threadbare. The Lisbon text is a reworking of an earlier attempt to
> create a constitution for the EU. That grandiose project was killed
> off by votes against it in twin referendums in 2005, in France and the
> Netherlands. It was no accident that Lisbon was a hard text to read:
> EU leaders were to be heard crowing last year that they had made it
> “unintelligible” in order to smuggle it past voters. The Lisbon treaty
> was specifically designed to be passed by the less risky route of
> parliamentary votes. [...] Unfortunately for its fans, Ireland has to
> hold referendums on any treaty that amends its constitution. In the
> end, it was the only country in the block to hold a popular vote on
> the text. [...] The yes camp amounted to the entire Irish political
> establishment: the only parliamentary party to oppose Lisbon was the
> nationalists of Sinn Fein.
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