I AM a racist. I am a xenophobe. I am a crank. I am a leftist, green, pinko, populist, right-wing, conservative, anti-immigrant, anti-Slav, isolationist, apologist for a 1950s confessional Irish state…shinner.
How do I know these things about myself? Because the Yes side say so.
Apparently it isn’t possible to be a well adjusted individual and opposed to the Nice Treaty at the same time. The dispensation offered under Nice is soooooooo good that you have to have a personality disorder not to want it.
This is a sort of gulag strategy. The Soviets used to claim that the Soviet system was perfect so that any dissidents must have been insane. Consequently, they locked them up in psychiatric hospitals in Siberia.
Our masters can’t physically do the same with us (I’m sure they’d love to) so they have invented an intellectual gulag to which opponents are consigned.
It seems that fear of losing again has driven the Yes side to abandon any form of rational debate in favour of blackening their opponents.
And fear is the defining emotion.
In normal Irish politics it is possible for a very small number of people to set the agenda. A group of 200 or so politicians, media people, academics, business leaders and civil service managers have a grip on the decision-making process in this country. The golden circle.
This is facilitated through our system of representative democracy. The 166 members of the Dail are not independent representatives of the people. They do what they are told by their party bosses. The party bosses in turn make up policy with reference to a very small number of people.
When was the last time that anything serious was decided at an Ard Fheis? I don’t know why genuine people bother to turn up at these events simply to allow themselves to cheer on policies decided by someone else.
The referendum is a completely different animal. In the referendum the electorate is out of control. The electorate can’t be bought off by a deal done or a ‘you scratch my back’ stroke.
The electorate is not influenced by the latest opinion column or the conclusions of dinner-party chat.
This is real democracy. This is why the Yes side is terrorised by opinion led by those outside the golden circle consensus.
In the rest of Europe, the political classes didn’t dare subject Nice to a referendum. They know that their own pro-integration sentiments are hugely out of line with the views of the general population. They don’t want the people interfering with their empire building.
Here in Ireland over 90% of Dail deputies are in favour of Nice. All the national papers are in favour. The employers and unions are in favour. The golden circle is closing ranks. They know that they represent barely 50% of the people on this issue.
So they rubbish their opponents. But their real fear is the loss of power.
Ireland, and Europe, badly needs for these people to lose power. If Nice is defeated it will be a blow, however small, for wider participation in democracy.
People shouldn’t spurn the opportunity.
As well as that…
Those black and red posters
I THINK the Yes campaign will alienate with their overkill. And so too will the No to Nice crowd with their fatuous You Will Lose posters.
I suppose there’s no chance of anyone using their intelligence in this campaign.
Very short memories
THE Yes side has embarked on a crusade to ascribe Irish economic success solely to our membership of the European Union.
They say, for example, that it was the EU that ended emigration in Ireland. This assertion is completely at odds with the facts.
I finished college in the mid-1980s and I headed abroad. Of my generation, practically everyone I know emigrated at some time during the ‘80s.
The fact is that emigration during the late ‘80s was the worst at any time since independence apart from the ‘50s. Worse than the ‘30s or ‘40s when people were practically starving.
I should point out that this happened while we were members of the EU.
The truth is, though, that the EU didn’t cause the Irish economic crisis of the 1980s any more than it was responsible for the economic boom of the 1990s.
The EU just doesn’t have that type of influence.