Posts Tagged ‘Kevin Myers

07
Sep
09

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.