Those on the ‘Yes’ side in the Lisbon Treaty campaign have spent the last two weeks telling voters that the treaty is merely a tidying up exercise, an attempt to make the European Union ‘fit for purpose’.
They have resorted to cheap name-calling, dismissing the ‘NO’ campaign as ‘liars’, ‘nutters’, ‘loo-las’ and ‘ultra nationalists’. However the feedback from the campaign suggests that the ‘Yes’ camp is clearly losing the argument. Voters have taken the time to listen to the arguments and are clearly concerned that the provisions within the Treaty will further undermine workers rights, diminish the last vestiges of the State’s neutrality, enhance the democratic deficit at the heart of European decision making and leave public services open to the market.
The ‘Yes’ side is clearly worried and has resorted to in-fighting and threats to the electorate about the alleged consequences of voting No. Over the last number of days and clearly in response to the feedback they have been receiving, Fianna Fáil leader, Brian Cowen and Fine Gael leader, Enda Kenny have been squabbling as to which party is most committed to the ‘Yes’ campaign. When not fighting amongst each other they have resorted to issuing threats to the voters.
The latest contributor to enter the fray is the Green Party Minister for Energy, Communication and Natural Resources Éamonn Ryan, who has warned of ‘EU chaos’ if the Treaty is lost. Furthermore he has suggested that it “would be very damaging to the interests of this country if we don’t ratify the Treaty.”
éirígí spokesperson Daithí Mac An Mháistír this morning slammed the Ministers comments.
“It is clear that some in the Green Party are learning fast from their masters in Fianna Fáil however, I along with many others find Mr. Ryan’s comments difficult to take seriously given his party’s record of opposing European treaties in the past.
“What is worrying in the Minister’s comments is the distinct lack of respect being shown for democracy. The fact of the matter is that the people of the Netherlands and France have already rejected the EU Constitution. As punishment for daring to defy the European political establishment they have been denied a vote this time. The people of the 26 counties are being asked to decide the future on behalf of 400million people across Europe.
“We are being presented with a re-hash of the earlier Constitution and it is clear from the feedback we are getting on the ground that people, once armed with the facts, are ready to reject this treaty too. I challenge Mr. Ryan and his party to publicly declare they will stand by the decision of the people in this referendum.
The threats of the ‘Yes’ side will be seen for what they are; a flailing, desperate attempt to bully people into delivering the establishments view of the ‘right’ vote.”
Notwithstanding claims by the ‘Yes’ side that there is little interest amongst the public in the issues contained within the Treaty, it is clear from canvassing carried out by éirígí and others that voters are willing to engage in the debate.
People on the doorsteps are justifiably angry about the rising food and energy costs, which are hitting the lowest paid hardest, the continued emasculation of the Health Service and the failure of the government to provide public housing to those most in need.
They are also deeply concerned about the future direction of Europe. It is becoming increasingly clear as the campaign progresses that people do not want a federal, militarised Europe that puts the interests of big business before the half a billion human beings living throughout the continent.
Mac an Mhaistír urged voters not be bullied and to make every effort to get to polling stations and vote NO,
“I call on people to stand firm in the face of threats from the ‘Yes’ side. It is important that we deliver a message to those in power that the people will not be bullied. It is simply against the interests of the people of Europe to support this Treaty. The Irish people have the opportunity to send a powerful message to the European establishment that democracy, neutrality, and workers’ rights are not for sale. I urge them to use it on June 12th.”
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