Friday, October 2, 2009

Democracy at Work

I was once told by a Catholic theologian that God gave us freedom so that we could obey him in the best possible way. To do anything else is an abuse of His great gift.

Today the Irish will vote on the Lisbon Treaty for the second time, having got it wrong the first time. In the eyes of our masters in Brussels, the purpose of democracy is so that we can spontaneously agree with them and tell them how wonderful they are. Anything else is an abuse and means we must be put in our place.

There have been many occasions over the years when the EU has been unable to prevent referendums. With the collaboration of national governments it has developed a successful strategy of ignoring them or rerunning them until the right answer is given, which is then set in stone. The Irish themselves were told to vote again when they rejected the Nice treaty.

The Lisbon treaty is a deliberately complicated rehash of the Constitution, and it looks like what it is, the sort of mess that only a committee of bureauctrats who speak two dozen different languages and have no interest in, or even knowledge of, the people they claim to act on behalf of could possibly come up with. It is a hideous, unworkable mess, in which everyone has inserted their own favourite aspirations and desires and principles, with no regard whatsoever to practicalities, contradictions, realities or the will of the electorates.

Even if it were desirable in theory, it is utterly unworkable, but that doesn't bother them. The main purpose of the treaty is to create more and more important jobs to which national politicians who have become unelectable or embarassing to their national parties, and who know where the bodies are buried, can be appointed so that they can take vast sums of our money and pretend to be important. I have been saying for years, and shall continue to bore people by saying, that Tony Blair has had his eye on the job of President of Europe since before he became Prime Minister, and he needs this treaty to make it possible.

It is worth remembering that the Spanish and the Luxemburgers approved the Constitutional treaty in referenda in their countries. They were not asked to vote again on the Lisbon treaty because 'it's basically the same thing.' The French and the Dutch, who rejected it, were not allowed to vote again on Lisbon because 'it's completely different, not something that requires popular approval at all. Their rejection was ignored. The reason France and Holland voted in the first place was to give a veneer of democracy to the ratification process by holding referenda in a few 'safe ' countries which could be relied on to give the right answer. That trick backfired and it was decided not to allow the people to make any dcisions ever again, as they could not be trusted. They couldn't get around the Irish constitution, however, a problem which the Lisbon treaty takes care to solve.

Many things provided for in the Lisbon treaty are already being enacted, and it is almost certain that, even were the Irish to reject the treaty again, or the Czech President refuse to complete ratification, or David Cameron keep his promise, the things that matter to Brussels will be implemented anyway. The rest will, in any case, be largely ignored whatever happens.

Thos who rule us, in Westminister and Brussels, know we don't want them to do the great majority of the things they do. They know this very well, which is why they have made certain over the years that they don't have to listen to us. Today in Ireland democracy and freedom will once more be mocked.

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