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Referendum campaign leaves muddied waters

Referendum campaign leaves muddied waters


The Irishmen "would be the first victims" if they voted "no" on Thursday, in the referendum on the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty. This would cause a "gigantic incomprehension" said the French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner today at radio RTL. [The Irish] "benefited from it more than the others" he underlined. "Everyone will ratify it. It would be very, very embarrassing if one cannot count on the Irishmen, who counted a lot on Europe" (Le Figaro, 9 June 2008).

That sounds like a threat to me. A threat towards the Irish people, not to follow reasonable arguments but just to rubber-stamp a treaty which could possibly be not in their best interest. This may be common practice in many national parliaments where the deputies ratified the treaty without knowing it. But in a referendum the people really want to know what they are voting for (or against).

And this threat was made by the French Foreign Minister, a man who represents the European elites and does not even respect the verdict of his own people. I actually think that this behaviour - the disregard of the referendum results in France and Holland - much more then anything else caused a lot of “incomprehension” among ordinary people who up to this point still believed that they would live in a democracy.

But the Irish people do not need foreigners to be threaten by. Their domestic elites do a good job already. Let me quote some headlines displayed today at the Irish Times: "Vote will decide state's future progress, says Cowen" - "No vote will take Ireland 'down uncertain route'" - "No vote would precipitate a major European crises" - "Vote no for fear. Vote yes for hope. The choice is ours."

Today's 12 o'clock news on RTE1 opened with the statement: Prime Minister Brian Cowen were told by mislead citizens that they were told by a no campaigner their sons must enrol in a European army if the Lisbon Treaty would pass. What kind of journalism allows to open a main news show of the state TV with such a statement? It can only have one purpose: To discredit the no campaign.

Tomorrow will be the last day on which the TV is allowed to deal with Lisbon. The final TV debate will be Prime Time on RTE1. And the final combatants are going to be the former president of the European Parliament Pat Cox and Italian Green MEP Monica Frassoni for the yes-side and Patrcicia McKenna and Danish MEP Jens-Peter Bonde for the no-side.

The printing press will still report on Wednesday the last day before the fate of the Lisbon Treaty aka EU Constitution will be decided a second time.

 Text by Thomas Rupp

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