Wednesday, 25 June 2008

When NO means Maybe

In the almost two weeks since the Lisbon No vote I've been meaning to write about my own reaction to the result as well as the (almost universal) hysterical response from 'Official Ireland' but I just never got around to it. There seems to be no end of things I could say about it as every time its mentioned on radio or TV I think "I must post about that" and so, two weeks later, here goes.

The first thing I'd like to say is that most of my peers voted YES and where appalled by my NO vote. As a matter of fact I went to the pub after work on the day off the result (Friday 13th) and ended up in a wide ranging and lengthy discussion on the treaty. "Europe has been good for us so far, so why not trust them again? (or indeed, why mistrust them now?)" was the main argument and I have to say, it's a pretty good one. I didn't and don't think it is, in itself, a good reason for voting YES but I can appreciate how it might be seen as one.

The reason I voted NO was the lack of democracy in the E.U. (as I posted earlier) but this was mainly met with curious stares and shoulder shrugs. The fact that we where voting for something twice rejected just wasn't important. I suggested that we will be made to vote again but this time the threats will be more overt and the treaty will be passed - everyone agreed. Not democratic, I'd say. More shrugs and stares.

Since that night politician's and pundits have been qualifying the NO. "It wasn't really a NO", "The people didn't understand", "It wasn't a large NO", "It was an unfair NO", "we can't decide for all Europe", "The NO wasn't democratic, we are less that 1% of the population of Europe, it's wrong to hold them back", "The NO side are right-wingers and liars", "we shouldn't let the people decide important issues like this" ... I could go on.

Our NO vote has not been respected and hardly anyone cares.
I'm glad I voted NO, it actually meant something this time but its looking likely that it was last meaning vote any European citizen will get.