The other side of Lisbon

October 1, 2009 § Leave a comment

The other side of Lisbon

My latest blog at Presseurop.eu
Father_Jack_1
In Catholic societies, bible study is discouraged as a species of Protestant intellectualism. It’s almost inevitable therefore that in holy Ireland the government of Brian Cowen and associated “business leaders” with their “assertive” campaign have not promoted any close readings of the Lisbon Treaty lest the electorate be led astray by their own minds. Failure to say yes shall lead the EU to break off into two lumps one faster than the other and the ECB shall rethink of financial aid to the struggling Irish economy. This is like unto the priests threatening perpetual darkness if the faith is not properly embraced.

Even when they tire of dark prophecies as how we shall be written out of the book of the EU, Lisbonites on a less apocalyptic note assert that 35 years of membership have been good for us. A fair point, but by doing so they are suggesting that on Friday we are being asked to accept or decline membership of the union. This either reflects that they have so internalised the systematic bullying and isolating manoeuvres enacted against Ireland, and now on the Czech Republic, that they believe this to be the case. Else they are just being manipulative. The vote, it must be remembered, is on the Treaty alone. To suggest otherwise, as a priest might say, is immoral.

The soberest defenders of the Lisbon faith say that it streamlines EU institutions, gives some powers to the Strasbourg parliament in exchange for concessions on national sovereignty, creates a single five year EU president and High Representative on Foreign Affairs. But it seems amazing to this ardent Euro-federalist that 269 pages of post-modern meta-text on a far longer EU constitution, are necessary to frame such simple and agreeable notions. Read full article…

Was St Patrick for or against the EU?

September 21, 2009 § 1 Comment

My latest Presseurop blog.

Less than twstpatrick1o weeks to go before Ireland votes on the Lisbon Treaty, the Irish press is awash with Yes editorials. With little left to be said beyond sleep-inducing reassurances as how the fraught text will not compromise national taxation, anti-abortion laws and the continued presence of an “Irish” commissioner in Brussels, the tone is inevitably taking a shrill turn. Not without some light entertainment value. Leading the attack is columnist Kevin Myers, who declares that he would rather be governed “by a parcel of fork-tongued Euro-reptiles” than our home-grown “inept and unrepentant thieves”. Given the state of the Irish economy, Myers might be right in condemning the narrow assumption that Irishmen best serve Irish interests, but until reptiles have faces, people will always prefer to be led by their own species, even if it means ruin. Being recognizable, they’re still accountable, or would at least seem so.

On the No side, Vincent Browne’s GBH job on the treaty has been a gift to the No camp which continues to claim that the treaty will compromise our neutrality. Browne points out that a single European foreign policy would have had Ireland involved “up to the gills” in the 2003 Gulf War. This sounds fair enough, until you remember that Ireland in all its little fishness was complicit in the Gulf War anyway. Our so-called neutrality never prevented US warplanes from refuelling at Shannon airport, nor, as it’s suspected, serving as stopovers for extraordinary rendition flights. Until we live in a society that isn’t dominated by war and spoliation, Ireland will always be swimming alongside great sharks. Its neutrality has always been a fiction. Read on…

Vote 1916 for a better Europe

September 7, 2009 § Leave a comment

Coir 1My latest blog at Presseurop.

A new poster by anti-Lisbon Treaty group Coir with portraits of James Connolly, Patrick Pearse and Thomas Clarke, three of the executed leaders of the 1916 Easter rebellion against British rule, accompanied by the slogan “They won your freedom, don’t throw it away” has Ireland’s pro-Lisbon establishment in a patriotic lather. Former Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Garret Fitzgerald has accused the organization, a spin-off of anti-abortion group SPUC, of seeking “to abuse the memory…of our 1916 leaders…in aid of their own xenophobic campaign.” Tremulously noting that his father fought alongside these enemies of British imperialism, he writes “…my father spoke of the need to go beyond securing political independence from Britain by forging closer links with the rest of Europe.”

He is echoed by Eoin Ryan, a former minister of Fianna Fail, Ireland’s ruling party, who has declared “outrageous” a hypothesis aired by Nigel Farage, the outgoing leader of British eurosceptic party Ukip, that the men and women who took part in the Easter rebellion would have been against the treaty. “…our revolutionary heroes…believed passionately in Ireland as a European nation that would belong to strong international bodies,” he says, not before summoning up the memory of his grandfather, also present at Dublin’s General Post Office (GPO), the rebels’ HQ, in 1916. Read on…

Did Sarkozy convince the Irish?

July 22, 2008 § Leave a comment

I was also talking about Nicolas Sarkozy’s visit in English, a few studios away. Did Sarkozy convince the Irish that they were fools, that they should come into the fold? I’m not sure. Did Sarkozy hold Brian Cowen’s head down a toilet and tell him to get his act together? This is entirely possible. Watch it here

The Irish are not fun loving goblins

June 28, 2008 § Leave a comment

In the wake of the Irish rejection of the Lisbon Treaty, I wrote this article for Spiked On-line.

“Having lived in France much of my adult life, I constantly come across two clichés about the Irish, which on several occasions have led me to say ‘I’m English’ or ‘I’m Texan’ to avoid a stream of condescending gush about what me and my compatriots are supposed to be.” More here…

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