Ireland votes ‘No’! - Rejoice! Rejoice! Rejoice!
Interestingly, rural and working-class people voted ‘No’ in considerably higher numbers than the professional middle class, and even the arch-Europhile Bertie Ahern's own constituency turned in a resounding ‘No’. He is probably now regretting his resignation. The Fine Gael sex advertisements backfired spectacularly, just as Cranmer thought they would, with the constituency of its leader, Enda Kenny, producing a firm 60-40 ‘No’ vote.
Various reasons are already being adduced for the failure of the ‘Yes’ campaign – a low turn-out, political sleaze, and (the old chestnut) ‘many voters seem to have voted No for the simple reason that they did not understand the treaty’.
But while the fireworks and bonfires are burning in celebration, and Mr Fawkes is ladling champagne down his throat, let us not forget that we have been here before.
Denmark rejected the Maastricht Treaty, but this was deemed to be the wrong answer, and so the Danish people had to be asked again (and again) before they produced the correct answer. Belgium suspended democracy altogether in order to impose treaties and qualify for EMU by decree. And the brave and noble Irish dared to reject the Treaty of Nice, only to find that they too had given the wrong answer and so had to be asked again.
Plan B exists and it always has.
Every single provision within the Treaty of Lisbon will proceed apace, for many of them were already doing so even before the Treaty had been ratified by any national parliament. We already have Eurojust, a Human Rights Agency, a European Armaments Agency, an External Borders Agency, and a developing worldwide diplomatic corps complete with EU embassies. There is now no legal basis for these, and so they should all be disbanded. But they shall not be.
Already, there is talk of a ‘bridging mechanism’ to accommodate Ireland’s ‘No’ while the rest march on inexorably and proceed unhindered towards creating a Europe which is a ‘brighter, fairer, equal place to work and to live.’
This is indeed government by divine right, and the infallible assertions of teleology are grotesque and offensive to all true democrats.