Sunday, June 15, 2008

Ireland Tries Vox Clamantis in Deserto

On Friday, Ireland held a referendum on a new treaty -- the so-called Lisbon treaty -- defining the role of the European Union. The treaty was soundly defeated by Ireland's voters, 53.4 to 46.6. This "should" doom the implementation of the treaty, which had to be ratified by all countries.

A couple observations. One, this significant event has hardly been picked up at all in the US mainstream media (hence my "voice crying in the wilderness"). Why the lack of attention? I suspect it has to do with the fact that the mainstream European governments do not really want to talk about it, hence the media is not picking up on it. It is a very substantial event.

Second, related, set of observations. This latest attempt by the European Union to pass a new treaty follows the defeat by French and Dutch voters in 2005 of the even more aggressive new constitution. This time, the new treaty was structured so that it needed only be approved by existing governments, not directly by the voters...except in little Ireland (less than 1% of the EU's voters). One could view this in different ways. One could say that the treaty is simply too complicated to be considered by voters, and therefore it should only be voted on by elected ministers and representatives. My preferred view is to say that the EU officials tried an end-run around the EU's voters, and almost got away with it. They know that citizens are doubtful of the benefits of a larger European government and prefer a regime that maintains autonomy and cultures. From a political choice viewpoint, a large group of beneficiaries of the EU treaty would be, guess who -- government officials. So if you leave the voting to government officials, should we doubt that the treaty will pass? But if you let the folks vote who will pay for the expansion of government, you get the Irish outcome.

It is interesting to see the machinations already beginning to find a way to implement the treaty even with the Irish veto. This just proves why voters should be distrustful of the EU regime: voters reject a treaty TWICE now, yet the bureaucrats, convinced that they are right, just keep moving forward.

Vox Clamantis in Deserto.

No comments: