Why send three yes-men to Europe?

IT’S hard to beat the Europhiles for sheer brazen arrogance but they have outdone themselves again.

Ever since the Nice Treaty was turned down by the people, we’ve been hearing how the EU is really a people-driven entity and how concerned the empire builders are to have the man-in-the-street’s consent.

The EU is so concerned about the future of the EU that it has convened a European Convention. This convention will be responsible for drafting a European Constitution.

(There’s a lot a capital letters there so it’s very important.)

Anyway, it is important. A total of 105 delegates from around Europe will make up the convention and Ireland will have three delegates.

And, yes, you’ve guessed it. All three delegates from Ireland are pro-Nice. How do you like that?

Not even the pretence of proportionality. Based on the result of the referendum, two out of the three delegates should have been anti-Nice. That might have been too much to hope for. But one would have been nice. (That’s nice not Nice.)

The three delegates, for the record, are Ray McSharry, John Bruton and Proinsias De Rossa. Three splendid chaps for sure, but incapable of articulating the views of a large proportion of the Irish electorate.

This simply cannot be right. It’s a stitch-up but it’s also a stitch-up not confined to Ireland. According to a Danish euroskeptic, less than 10 of the delegates will be anti-integration.

Given that 49 per cent of the French electorate voted against the Maastricht Treaty, that the Danish only voted for that treaty at a second go and that Ireland alone allowed a democratic vote on the Nice Treaty (and rejected it), the claim by Europe’s political establishment that they seek popular consent is clearly a pack of lies.

Furthermore, the National Forum on Europe, which has been touring the country, has been exposed as a charade. A pointless exercise in political soft-pedalling in order to dissipate opposition to the Nice Treaty.

The unfortunate thing about all this is that it appeared the EU was finally taking on board much of the views of the opponents of integration. The rejection of Nice in the only referendum held in the EU was a shock to the system. If you couldn’t get Nice past the Irish then it was seen that the EU was in big trouble, as Ireland has no euroskeptic past.

At the summit in Laeken, the assembled prime ministers issued the Laeken Declaration, a very refreshing document, which outlined many of the areas in which the EU was out of touch with its citizens.

One of the areas raised, interestingly, was the replacement of the Nice Treaty and the other three treaties that lay the basis for the union. Not much confidence in Nice there!

The Laeken Declaration set up the European Convention to consider the future of the EU with respect to democratic accountability, subsidiarity and citizen’s involvement.

And now the convention has been revealed as a fix.

Perhaps they should have gone the whole hog and had the delegates elected democratically instead of them being appointed by their political friends.

The central task of the convention will be to draft a European constitution. I think the idea of a constitution is excellent as it offers the citizens a clear picture of what the EU should be about and what it should have responsibility for. I now fear that the draft constitution will be fatally flawed because those who draft it do not fairly represent the people of Europe.

Before the end of this year, the Government (of whatever colour) will hold a new referendum on the Nice Treaty. It is vital for the interests of the people of Europe, both inside and outside the union, that the Nice Treaty be rejected again.

If we are going to have a constitution then let’s see it before we consent to further integration. Let’s not consent to a political fix.

As Well As That. . .

Listen to us now – ditch the change

I HAVE yet to hear anyone say anything positive about the 1 cent and 2 cent coins – they are a bloody nuisance. So this is a good chance for the Government to listen to the people regarding European affairs.

Simply withdraw these coins from circulation and round all prices to the nearest 5 cent. There may be a small inflationary bounce but this would be offset by all the retailers having to round down their prices from €9.99, €14.99 and €23.99 to €9.95, €14.95 and €23.95, and so on.

Finland decided not to use the 1 cent and 2 cent coins from the beginning so there’s no legal or practical problem about getting rid of them. So let’s have some action.

No vote – I had to work

I DIDN’T get to vote in the Abortion referendum. I was working. I feel bitter and twisted about this.

Who came up with the polling hours? Why could the polls not open at 7am or even 6am? Why not leave them open until 10pm?

A large number of workers were disenfranchised. This has got to be sorted out in time for the general election.