There’s no doubt about it and the only reason it’s been forgotten about is because of worse mistakes being made in the meantime - but everyone really messed up with the whole Lisbon situation.
So, just like everything else in life, we must do it all over again until we get it right. But this time the Government, and the opposition mind you, have a little trick up their sleeves: determination. See, this time last year we were all flying pretty high. I remember the day of the vote well. A sunny day in June, and anyone I came into contact with was fairly annoyed in general. No one knew why they were told to vote yes. It was the arrogant “just do it and don’t ask any questions” attitude from the political parties that turned out the no voters. Even the over- enthusiastic no campaigners, who, let’s face it, usually make everyone else turn in the opposite direction, were more appealing than the yes campaigners.
There was a serious backlash for the Government. People were furious that money could be wasted on a referendum so flippantly without producing a serious non-biased campaign. Even a serious and informative yes campaign would have done. But we got nothing. No one said that explaining European bureaucracy would be easy, but that’s why the guys in Brussels get paid the big bucks, to deconstruct bureaucracy.
I got the little postcard in the letter box promptly on Wednesday, the day the Government announced October 2 for Lisbon II. It states that, “The Government, after discussions with all EU member states, has ensured that when the Irish people vote on the Lisobon Treaty later this year, it will come with additional legal guarantees and assurances to address their main concerns.
“It has been confirmed by the EU that:
Ireland, and all other member states, will keep a Commissioner;
Ireland will remain in control of its own tax rates;
Irish neutrality will not be affected - no conscription, no defence alliance;
Ireland retains control of sensitive ethical issues such as abortion;
Worker’ rights and public services are valued and protected in Ireland and across the EU.”
Sounds good doesn’t it? They’ve even created a lovely little website about the Lisbon Treaty (www.lisbontreaty.ie ) which does a fairly good job at explaining the whole situation.
It has sections about legal guarantees and assurances, questions answered, related documents, and, wait for it, the Lisbon Treaty explained.
Now I wonder why couldn’t they have just done that in the first place?