Mark Mardell’s blog at the BBC has spoken a lot in the last few days about the aftermath of the Irish “No” vote on the Lisbon Treaty.
The overarching theme of most of Europe seems to be one of bewildered surprise. I am somewhat surprised myself: surprised that they are all surprised. The whole Lisbon process seemed, to me at least, designed to fail. With so many countries needing to decide, some of them by plebiscite, and the need for all of them to agree it was almost inevitable that someone would vote “No” eventually. That it was the Irish, who have managed to profit handsomely from the EU, who made it fall at the first hurdle, is faintly amusing, but it should not obscure some important points about some of the issues they have with the whole European project.
The Irish “No” vote was a fairly loose alliance of people , who wanted a the vote for a number of different reasons. This means that there wasn’t a single, overriding objection to the Treaty in general. However, there are a number of objection, which Mardell discusses in hi latest blog post (as I write) any or all of which might have rumblings in Ireland.
Quite sensibly, everyone is waiting for the dust to settle, hence the four month period set aside to let the everyone decide what to do. now,if other nations choose to say no during this time, it makes the Irish position a little easier: the Treaty will not be tenable and everyone goes back to the drawing board, as they must. There may, if there are no other dissenters (seemingly unlikely now the Irish have broken ranks, though possible), be a more limited set of options:
- The treaty goes ahead without Ireland. This does not seem likely to me, because this introduces the “two-speed Europe” no one wants. And if others do the same, we get a split. Not good.
- The Irish are asked to vote again. This is more likely, but just as doomed to failure. The likely reaction from the Irish would be an understandable “Didn’t you understand feckin’ NO the first time, y’eejits?” and an even bigger vote against, Leaving egg on the faces of all concerned.
Neither of these options look particularly appealing, do they? It can only mean one thing: Lisbon is dead in the water and we must hope that other member nations finish it off before its death becomes too protracted. Even those of us who are not Europhobes are starting to believe that the aching desire of the so-called “Eurocrats” for Lisbon’s implementation seems more than just a little needy and desperate.
And now today, on July 1, the Poles have finally put the boot in too, with thier President Kaczynski saying that they see no point in ratifying now the Irish have said no.
Lisbon is now deader than a dead thing. Back to the drawing board guys.