Some of the media’s analysis as to what lay behind Irelands no vote against the Lisbon Treaty was pretty thin gruel. Even pro EU progressives seem to have completely lost the plot, one prominent commentator claimed those devious Shinners and their colleagues in the No campaign acted in the most clever way when they advised voters, “If you have not read or understood the treaty it would be safer to vote ‘No’.
Why such advise should be regarded a clever, code for underhanded I fear, is beyond me as it is the standard advice solicitors give their clients, “if you have failed to understand a document or are yet to read it, on no account put your moniker upon it.”
Another commentator compared the No vote as the equivalent of blowing up a train as it was about to come into the station, when it was nothing of the sort. The EU has chugged along without the Lisbon Treat for decades and there is absolutely no reason why it should not carry on doing so, although it might help if the European political elite cease acting like arrogant lemmings who appear determined to bring the whole house down.
As to what comes next, well sadly if history is anything to go by, we have a good idea what the Commission will do, they will attempt to get the Treaty through by sleight of hand. This was sign-posted when the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, on hearing the Irish Referendum had been lost, immediately went into Daily Mail speak and starting prattling about having to shelve plans to implement more effective policies on climate change, energy, security, immigration, justice and the fight against crime. Thus having failed to get the treaty through by bureaucratic means alone, due to those troublesome Celts on the fringes of the EU, Barroso and his unelected Gauleiter’s are attempting to brow beat it through by putting on the frighteners,
Not one of the Prime Ministers of the EU’s twenty-seven nation States have stepped up to the plate and declared enough! the Lisbon Treaty is dead. Perhaps they have conveniently forgotten that this is due to the Treaty having failed the criteria they themselves set, which in itself typifies the ever increasing gap between Europe’s political elite and those they govern.
What the people of the Union want is an end to the likes of the European Constitution and the Lisbon Treaty, which in reality were little more than political and economic wish-lists from the European elite. The EU, with 27 member states has reached the stage when its people are no longer prepared to give carte-blanche to its political leaders without a clear and precise system of democratic accountability in place.
The European Commission are making decisions which impact upon the lives of approximately 495.5 million people, yet we have no say in appointing these people nor do with have the means to recall them if they cock up or over step their remit. Let alone put an arm-lock on how the Commission spends our hard eared taxes. [The EU audit has not been signed off for the last thirteen years] *
This democratic deficit is at the heart of peoples discontent with the EU, for example many people feel that they should have had a say when the EU was enlarged from 15 to 25 and then 27 nation States. If one considers both the economic and social consequences of this enlargement it is difficult to argue against this point of view.
Never the less in my judgement despite an underlining feeling of discontent with the EU, not only do a majority of its population still support the Union, but most accept, if the democratic deficit can be overcome, it will move in an evolutionary manner to become the United States of Europe.
Thus the failure of Europe’s politicians to sort out the European Unions democratic deficit is by far the greatest issue of the day, for unless this deficit is corrected the Union will be unable to move forward and effectively tackle the problems that Europe undoubtedly faces, such as climate change, the need to put people before profit, how to build a social Europe and its relationships with the USA and the emerging super powers in the far east, plus countless other secondary issues.
What is needed is a treaty/constitution that centers on democratic accountability, whether the EU supports neo liberal economics or privatization of public services will be up to the politicians whom the electorate of the EU place in power. The current unelected Commission have no mandate to set in stone the future direction of the EU’s economic and social policies, as they attempted to do with the Lisbon Treaty; and when they did the Irish electorate, like the French and Dutch before them, sensed they were over stepping their remit, hence their rejection of the Lisbon Treaty
Perhaps if the current generation of EU politicians understood their job is to serve the people, not the best interest of powerful economic forces, then they just might, by way of the ballot box, get a democratic constitution passed into law. If they fail to recognize this fact and carry on as they are, the people of Europe will rightly or wrongly decide their best interest is served by the nation state.