If any one doubts that the Irish working classes have been at the fore in their opposition to the Lisbon Treaty, they need only look at how adjoining constituencies in Dublin voted. Dublin South – mainly middle-class – 62.9% Yes, 37.1% No, Dublin South-West – which has a majority of working-class people voted 65.1%- No, 34.9%-Yes
It is hardly surprising that on this issue there is such a clear class divide, for unlike a section of the middle classes who still have their snouts in the EU gravy train, although how much longer this will last is any ones guess. The Irish working classes have gained least over the last few years from EU membership and in the main are firmly set against the privatization and neo liberal economics and globalization that are enshrined in the Lisbon Treaty; and which is designed to trump and replace the social Europe that would have benefited a majority of EU citizens and not just Capital and the economically rich minority.
Of course the real reason the Irish political establishment failed to gain a majority for the Lisbon Treaty was that during the campaign they were unwilling to explain the fine detail of the Treaty. This was not because it was to complex for ordinary folk, as the arrogant buggers claimed, but because they understood clearly had they done so they would have opened up a can of worms about what lay behind this wretched document, and even more people would have voted no.
Their arrogance as Ireland enters a recession smacked of desperation, as in the current political climate few people were liable to trust the very same politicians who have helped create the current economic mess and ever widening gap between the rich and economically poor. Thus the majority of the Irish electorate trusted their instincts and voted No, having decided that you cannot make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, no matter how many times the leaders of Fianna Fáil, Fianna Gael, Labour Party, Green Party and Progressive Democrats said you could.
The NO vote against the Lisbon Treaty, confirms there is strong opposition amongst the EU citizenry regarding the democratic deficit, undemocratic methodology and neo-liberal economics upon which the EU is now being built.
The NO vote in Ireland, along with the French and Dutch NO votes against the previous constitutional treaty, should not be seen as a No against the European Union, but a radical criticism of the current policies and as support for an alternative idea of a social and democratic Europe in which people come before profit.
As the European Left Party said in a recent document, ‘there needs to be a new democratic process involving all European citizens. New contents are necessary; social and civil rights, policies of peace, cohesion and ecology, as well as civil values, which inspire the construction of Europe. And it is crucial that the people can express themselves on a new framework through a European wide referendum.’
The contract between the EU and its people needs to be completely re-negotiated, as to does the Commissions methodology. Lets hope the Irish peoples rejection of Lisbon is the first step down this road. Yes, to a social Europe and lets have no more of these grubby documents which are nothing more than an EU constitution by the back door.