Bitching Brew

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


Yes, I'm still alive. It's been a decade since I lived without internet access; it's really beginning to grate now. The offline world certainly has its advantages, but the handicaps of living in a telecoms black hole are considerable. I miss Skype, messengers and blogging too much. Even e-mailing is tough: my workplace blocks all web-based e-mail. Besides, the job is too time-consuming to afford me much opportunity. All this calculation and negotiation.... bleurgh. If I got as little as 0.01% commission on the current deal, I'd be a very happy man, but 'tis not to be. (OK, very happy is an exaggeration, but I'd still get two great holidays out of it.)

I read, wrote and argued a lot about the Lisbon Treaty, and am very irritated I couldn't blog about it. Sadly, it wasn't feasible, but my arguments probably influenced more votes than the blog would have! There weren't many people in Ireland (or Europe) who read that thing, let alone the pre- and post-amendment versions of the Treaty of Rome and the Treaty on European Union. Among the little band that did, even fewer had read the abortive Constitutional Treaty, and compared the equivalent passages in Lisbon. I studied more than enough of the European Union (law, institutions, history, economics and politics) to make sense of the unwieldy beast behind the referendum proposal. So yes, I'm quite annoyed I couldn't write about it. It's not often that I'll be one of the thousand most informed people in the country about a critical vote. Still, my arguments may have strongly influenced as many as... five people. Ahem. (Yes - that's more than my blog would have.)

Once I'd finished my second reading, my objections had proceeded from individual articles to the entire document. Enough of this intergovernmental-federal mishmash; I refuse to devolve power without accountability. Either Europe reverts to a weakly united group of sovereign states, or it moves toward a federal system with each layer of government directly accountable to its citizens. The EU is no Soviet Union, but it has strayed too far from the liberal, republican and democratic principles its members espouse.

I voted No with a clear mind, and I've never felt happier with my vote. (Also, it's nice to be part of the majority for once.) Should (or when) our great leaders move to circumvent the vote, neither this blog nor this citizen will be silent. I've written commentaries on a couple of articles largely ignored in the debate; they'd be the first pieces to appear.

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