I know it’s taken a while, but I think I’m just about ready to weigh in on the treaty referendum that looms in front of us like the man in latex gloves at customs. Later this year, all of you of voting age that are registered, bothered, and sober enough to find your polling station will be asked once again to decide whether you believe the Republic should approve a pair of European treaties. Two, I hear you ask? Correct, at least as far as the posters have told me (DISCLAIMER : I assume that every poster is telling the truth). For those of you who are confused, here’s the rundown on both
1. THE STABILITY TREATY
The nice men from Fine Gael, Labour, And Fianna Fail are all loudly in favour of something they call the stability treaty. Apparently, it’s very important if you need a job, or like jobs, or don’t want to lose your job, or haven’t had a job for a while. It’s also crucial for Europe to not implode into a Swiss-generated black hole. Do you like Europe? Of course you do, all your best holidays were there! All the good wars happened there! All your stuff is there! Why wouldn’t you vote yes for poor sick Europe to become stable? Think of the continent as a rickety old ladder. The nice men from Fine Gael say that the stability treaty is like a pair of strong hands, holding the ladder in place so we can all climb to the sweet, sweet joy of employment and German money. Hurrah! Stability! Jobs! German money! What’s not to love, you lunatic fringe-heads? How DARE you think of voting no to stability? Don’t you love your kids? Don’t you want them to be stable? With jobs? And German money? Jobs? Stability? Europe? YES! Surely If Fianna Fail, Fine Gael AND Labour (i.e. everyone that all of our parents voted for) agree it must be a good thing, right?
2. THE AUSTERITY TREATY
What’s this? Smaller, less prominent poster by small parties? Lets give them a look, shall we? Who could POSSIBLY be so negative, so contrarian, so against everything that they don’t like German money? You guessed it. Sinn Fein and the Socialists. I saw one in Limerick the other day that said “No to bin charges, no to water charges, no to the treaty”. Bin charges? The Germans want to tax our bins? And our water? DAMN THEM! I like the part where they pay for the roads and things, but taxes? No WAY am I voting for this austerity business! Take responsibility for our finances? Give something back? NOT ON MY WATCH YOU NAZI BASTARDS! YOU’LL TAKE OUR COMMISSIONER BUT YOU’LL NEVER TAKE OUR FREEDOM! ANGIE CAN’T HAVE THE WEST! BACK OFF BRUSSELS!
Confused yet? I’m not surprised. There is in fact, only one treaty. Despite my best efforts, I reckon none of us will find the option to vote yes to handouts and no to taxes. It’s a shame too, as I’m sure we’d all like to keep the Deutschmarks flowing without any cost. Then again, wake the fuck up. Here’s a couple of facts that have become abundantly clear over the past fortnight. Here comes the politics part – concentrate.
First and foremost, the complete polarisation of the campaigns by both sides shows just how unwilling both camps are to even acknowledge the middle ground. They’re talking to us as if we’re simple children, easily won over with shiny pictures and screaming, Murdoch-style lies disguised as headlines. Our current government is so full of shit that it’s started to dribble all over our streets and television screens in nice, easily-digested morsels. The only thing arguably more ridiculous than the “yes to Europe, every time” crew is the “no to Europe, Ireland must be free from both foreign interference and actual reality” gang. Nobody’s actually weighing the damned rag on its merits. Seeing as that’s unlikely to happen on this blog or anywhere else in Irish life, it might be worth looking at the political fallout of our national decision. The truth is that elsewhere in Europe, this treaty is looking less and less likely to actually happen in its current incarnation. For those of you that missed it, France elected a socialist president last week whose platform was largely “no more austerity, lots more renegotiating with Germany”. Ok, so that’s France. One of the big players. Germany? Currently holding off on approving the treaty, because they’d rather not get in a row with the new man in France (AND THAT’S FINE DONT FIGHT WITH FRANCE GERMANY AND FRANCE SHOULD BE FRIENDS PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE BE FRIENDS). Greece may or may not vote in some socialists in a few weeks as well, and overall by the time we hit the dog days we could be looking at a crop of newly-elected European leaders. Leaders who got elected by kicking against the kind of measures that this treaty will undoubtedly mean for smaller (i.e. poorer) Eurozone states. Should we vote no just because nobody else is voting yes? Actually, why the fuck not? It’s a lose-lose for emperor Kenny to back this thing. If he wins, he gets to be the EU leader most willing to trade freedom over his national budget in return for a dead treaty. If he loses, its a massively embarrassing blow to a government that’s already lost the shine they had on election results night. Chances are his boss, UberChancellor Angie, will probably tell him a loss would be more convenient so she doesn’t have to tell him off publicly. On the other hand, there’s nothing more satisfying in the world than Sinn Fein not getting their way. Ideally, I’d be all for Europe and taking fiscal responsibility for the fucking MESS we’ve left ourselves in (this means you, anyone why ever cast any preference for any Fianna Fail TD or councillor, Including Willie O Dea), but this time, with no chance of this treaty surviving anyway, I’m going to break the habit of a lifetime and vote no on a European treaty.
As a quiet finishing note for those of you that got this far, fuck Sinn Fein and fuck the nationalists. Our independence as a nation has never brought us anything more than incompetent self-governance, complete reliance on bigger countries, and decades of grief and violence. Want a truly independent Ireland? Good call. Wanna see how it turns out? Ask Cuba.
Vote no, because there’s absolutely no reason to vote yes.