I’m voting No ’cause Lisbon won’t sort out that rattling sound in my engine

With the Lisbon II campaign officially under way, it’s been interesting to see who’s been crying for a no vote, and why. First off, there are a lot of empty seats at the back. Amazingly, the bauld Ganley has seemingly kept his promise to stay out of it should Libertas do badly in the European elections. I didn’t expect that. I thought we’d have every media outlet in the country saturated with his opinions (if perhaps through proxies). Perhaps working with Libertas really was a miserable experience for all involved.

Also marked by his absence this time around is Kevin Myers. Not a word has he devoted to Lisbon in his Indo column; odd given is highly vocal objections last year. I don’t recall all his arguments, but I happen to know his main objection was the possibility of Turkey (ie, a Muslim country) joining the EU. I know this because he told me so in conversation (I interviewed him for my thesis). Now he didn’t say it was ok to quote him on this, but he didn’t indicate he was speaking off the record either so I assume he doesn’t mind me repeating it here. Given recent tirades against immigration, one must assume he hasn’t changed his mind. There’s time for him to speak up yet.

Other no-shows include Ulick, seemingly rendered too shy in the presence of Sinn Féin supporters. As such, the campaign for a No vote has been largely left to the Shinners, those wicked cunts in Cóir and Joe Higgins’ socialists. There are others of course, such as Unite breaking ranks with their fellow trade-unions, but for the sake of clarity let’s say these three are the golden trinity of naysayers. Of these Joe appears to have adopted the mantle of the No side’s grandmaster. Last year he was waxing lyrical about Europe’s military industrial complex. I saw him at a public debate in Trim with Ganley and Dick Roche and a few other vested interests. When it was Joe’s turn to speak he banged on with is best Jim Larkin impression, shoutin’ and roarin’ like a mad thing about profits made by European arms manufacturers, and getting only nervous sideway-glances in response. This time his argument is more measured, complaining that anti-worker rulings by the European Court of Justice will be copper-fastened under the treaty.

His claim seems to have formed the No side’s central argument. And honestly, I don’t have the wherewithal to challenge it. I’ll allow more learned men to fight this case. However, I must challenge Higgins’ apparent concern that “the reality is that Lisbon grants no new rights for workers”. Why would it? We might as well complain that it doesn’t say anything about fighting pollution, it doesn’t control John O’Donoghue’s spending, and it doesn’t force a videogame company to release Duke Nukem Forover. The Lisbon treaty’s charge is surely the numerous organs of the EU, ensuring they work efficiently together. It is these organs that ensure workers rights, and Lisbon facilities that. Now we can complain about ideology and ECJ rulings ‘til the cows come home, but if we take the EU as a whole I think most will agree Irish workers have benefited from it.

5 Responses to “I’m voting No ’cause Lisbon won’t sort out that rattling sound in my engine”

  1. 1 Cian
    September 8, 2009 at 10:00 am

    Nice to see that instead of engaging with arguments you decided to use slur, spin and jokes. Lovely.

    I think what you missed is the fact that there have been a lot of people (Labour, the Charter Group, Siptu etc) who have claimed that Lisbon will improve workers rights, and mean that the recent anti-worker ECJ judgements will be reversed. Joe is simply pointing out that: 1) they are lying – it won’t improve workers’ rights, and 2) infact, it will copperfasten and prop-up those recent ECJ judgements.

    • 2 The Unemployed Blog
      September 8, 2009 at 2:15 pm

      Truth be told, Cian, you’ll find very little engaging with the No side’s arguments on this blog. Most of the your side’s points are designed to misinform and scare people. This was certianly the case last year and it’s shaping up to be true again this time around. History has shown that addressing such arguments only serves to sully the debate. It is my opinion that such arguments can only be regarded with slurs, spin and jokes.

      Now I do not include Joe Higgins in this. His point about workers is reasonable and deserves attention, even if I disagree (I believe I expressed this in my post). I was going to offer an explaination of the bodies you say are lying, but I figure that’s not my job (they’re well able to take care of themselves), but I will say this: throwing around labels like “neo-liberal” does not automatically defeat opposing arguments, and if you want me to believe the entire EU project is pro-business and anti-worker, you’ll need a lot more than three rulings by the ECJ to convince me.

  2. September 9, 2009 at 11:58 am

    I happened to be at a conference about the Lisbon Treaty yesterday where I got to read the entire Lisbon white paper in it’s entirety. First of all, there is nothing in it about a €1.84 minimum wage. The country’s current stance on abortion, neutrality and corporate taxation are allayed completely nailed down in this treaty, and everyone would know this had they read it. So either the No side is deliberately distorting the facts or they’re massively incorrect in their claims.

    One of the more interesting things that I found though, was that the little cluster of Coir supporters when pressed on the legitimacy of their organizations claims said that “people outside the church on Sunday said that voting Yes would mean that my grandkids couldn’t go to a catholic school and that because God was being removed from European legislation it was only a matter of time before abortion is forced on the country.”

  3. September 10, 2009 at 11:10 am

    The only positives that I can draw from the day (bar the excellent sandwiches) was that the majority of people there who came in thinking they would vote no, went away saying they would vote yes.

    It’s the virulence of the lies that gets me. It’s gotten to the stage where it’s nearly easier to think about what WON’T the No side say to bullshit people into voting no.

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