Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Lisbon Treaty

I've been asked - like, actually, seriously asked - for my opinion on the forthcoming Lisbon Treaty referendum in Ireland, by three separate people now (and jokingly by half a dozen more). So here goes - this was originally a comment on someone else's blog, edited here for usefulness.

It's a treaty, so of course it's complicated. It's a treaty which is catering to special circumstances of 27 participant countries, so of course it's even more complicated. Nobody else is having a referendum about it, because everyone else in Europe has real governments, and constitutions that aren't made of 19th century wishes and conservative horse glue.

I've read the Referendum Commission's leaflet, and done some more research. It's pretty much unreservedly useful, and should go straight ahead. They've even made special provision for us in the various military aspects.

There are two referenda we actually need to have:

On that excises all the nonsense about neutrality - at the moment, we're hanging onto it for historical romance and a feeling of "ah, sure, who'd invade us anyway" - and

One that leaves us with a situation where the government can do what we're paying them to do, instead of spending ludicrous amounts of money asking the whole damn voting population about a multi-hundred-page treaty. It's closer to democracy in the proper sense of the word, but until it's all online - and everyone has access to it - it's not practical in terms of cost.

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