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The day before the vote

The day before the vote


Today it is the last day on which newspapers are allowed to report on the referendum campaign. So it was interesting to see, what were their last messages. I counted the articles and photos in the Irish Times, Irish Examiner and Irish Independent which give the stage to the yes or no side. The features for the yes side summed up to 20 against 10 for the no side. The main messages of the Yes side are: If we do not vote yes it will be a disaster for Ireland and we will be an embarrassment for Europe. And the no-campaign is accused to be “dishonest” and to have invented false arguments against the treaty to deliberately confuse the debate.

I attended the last official press conference by the Peoples Movement. A senator, a former Dublin mayor and a member of Parliament were speaking (among others) but today there was no single word about their reasonable arguments in any of the Irish newspapers. So on the one side the media claims the no side were a bunch of loonies, on the other side they refuse to give the reasonable voices some space in the papers. Instead they publish every crazy statement they could find made by some obscure no-campaigners to discredit the whole no-campaign. I follow this now since two weeks and I am really tired about it.

In general you can say the media promotes Declan Ganley as the leader of the No Campaign which is far from the truth. In my opinion he did a very good job by providing mostly reasonable arguments and dealt well with the permanent attacks against his person. Apart from Ganley Sinn Fein is identified as a main no-player. This is because many Irish citizens obviously have resentments against this party. The message is clear: “The mysterious millionaire and Sinn Fein with their former links to the IRA, these are the people who want you to vote no. And all the reasonable, decent people the whole establishment all the big parties urge you to say yes to Lisbon.”

Yesterday's debate on RTE1 Prime Time with Pat Cox and Mendez de Vigo MEP for yes and Patricia McKenna and Jens-Peter Bonde MEP for the no was a disaster. In my opinion deVigo came across as incredibly arrogant and patronising. Cox and deVigo interrupted Bonde in every single point he wanted to make. They tried to ridicule and confuse him while he was speaking.

I think all the Irish citizens who still are confused about the treaty – and I am sure that is the majority of them – will make their decision based on the question whom they can trust. Tomorrow the polling stations will be open from 7 am to 10 pm. The result will be announced on Friday afternoon. Whatever will be the result, I think many people will be happy that it's over soon.

 Text by Thomas Rupp

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