The Lisbon Treaty: Too long; didn't read

My vote has been cast. I voted no to the Lisbon Treaty half an hour ago in Blarney. Why? It wasn’t to be aligned with Sinn Fein or the Socialist Party who I’d never vote for. It wasn’t because I wanted to piss off Brian Cowen and the main parties. It was partly because I didn’t know who to believe.

Both sides of the Treaty made wild claims. There were the usual dire warnings that Ireland would suffer badly if we rejected the Treaty, there was the extreme claims of the No side. Abortion, the death penalty, armies marching to their deaths. Who’s half truths and exaggerations do you want to believe? What are their biases?
The first “debate” I heard about the Treaty was over a month ago. A TD and a representative from Libertas were on Today FM to fight for their corners. Boy did they fight! Within minutes there was a slagging match with mud and names flying. Accusations were made, and I didn’t learn a thing about this important treaty.

I was almost convinced to vote yes a few days ago. All the resources of the Government couldn’t convince me but The Spoofer’s Guide to the Treaty, written by Jason O’Mahony, a PD candidate, almost did. Even that was too long however, and I only read the first few pages before I had to leave the computer and attend to the baby. Like most people, I simply don’t have time to read and digest everything about the Treaty. Top that off with the with half truths and exaggerations I mentioned above and it became even more difficult.

I know it’s my own fault for not reading the 400 odd pages of the Treaty and being ignorant, but I won’t sign my name to a contract I haven’t read. The Spoofer’s Guide is probably the equivalent of the Readers Digest version of the Treaty but even that was too long. I blame life for getting in the way. tl; dr (thanks Matt!)

I wonder will the Irish Government rerun the referendum if the Irish Population vote no?

Some links I read, and some I commented on:

Images from Lolmartin created by Frank based on an idea by Walter.

Author: Donncha

Donncha Ó Caoimh is a software developer at Automattic and WordPress plugin developer. He posts photos at In Photos and can also be found on Google+ and Twitter.

26 thoughts on “The Lisbon Treaty: Too long; didn't read”

  1. Can I just ask, does this mean you will reject any future EU treaty because of its length?

    The way I see it its an international treaty to cover vast amounts of policy/procedure; how could it ever be “easy and short”. It couldn’t.

    If you voted No because you won’t sign something you never read, does that mean you will always reject these things?

  2. Looks like it’s going to be close – as of 7am turnout of 40% being reported (right on the button of what is good for the no / good for the yes votes).

    On a serious note, if you ever run out of Jazz singers to name the wordpress releases after, you could always name them after the various EU Referendums …

  3. If you don’t understand something I would have said the proper stance is not to vote.

    There is only so much that groups like the referendum commission can do to get people informed. Ultimately at the end of the day the onus is on you to find out what it is about. If for whatever reason you can’t do so they I think voting “No” isn’t really the right thing to do.

  4. Roosta – no, of course I won’t reject all future referendums.

    SK – no, I disagree. I have a right and a responsibility to vote. I’m not completely ignorant of what the Treaty is about and what I learnt, that both sides lie and exaggerate, made it very difficult to decide how to vote.

    Inertia is an awful thing, but the status quo is safer than the uncertain.

  5. The no vote is not necessarily the status quo, if anything a yes vote is. A no result would stop the treaty in its tracks (since all member states must pass it), while a yes result will continue Europe on its way.

    If undecided, or uneducated, then perhaps a spoit vote would be better than a vote on either side, because although you mightn’t understand the implications of a yes vote, can you honestly say you also understand the full implications of a no vote?

  6. Sam – no, of course I didn’t, but neither did I understand the full consequences of a yes vote.

    Listening to the coverage today, many people are in the same boat.

  7. But if you dont understand either, than how can you justify a vote for either?

    One of the no slogans that got to me was Ms. Sinnott saying you wouldnt sign a contact without reading it. Well i wouldnt reject a contract without reading it either.

    That said though I totally agree with you on the lack of knowledge thing, if the result is no then its totally down to the yes campaigns poor ability to get the reasons for voting yes across.

  8. Biggest reason I could see to vote no was the bullying.. that’s really it, there were no ‘gotchas’ in the treaty and everyone seems to be so paranoid to think that everyone would be out to get ireland and we’d be shagged if we voted yes.

    For anything to go through, 15 countries needed to agree, so its not like 2-3 big countries could band together and push things through..

    I don’t get why anyone’d vote no.. tax, military (ireland could vito anything they didnt like), abortion etc. all ‘no’ propaganda

    Ireland doesnt have a commissioner for a period of time .. so what! the commissioners aren’t really meant to be country orientated and its not like germany/france are in the same boat.. sheesh

  9. What swung it for me was the actual constitutional ammendment;

    “No provision of this Constitution invalidates laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by the State that are necessitated by the obligations of membership of the European Union referred to in subsection 10° of this section, or prevents laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by the said European Union or by institutions thereof, or by bodies competent under the treaties referred to in this section, from having the force of law in the State.”

    which to me is totally unacceptable.

  10. Many thanks to the Irish for being the voice of millions of EU citizens who voices were shut down!

    Luis Sarmento
    Porto, Portugal

  11. John – you have clearly not read the Constitution in over 30 years, since that exact phrasing is how EU law has been given supremacy over Irish law since Ireland joined the EEC. It is not unique to the Lisbon Treaty. I suppose a little ignorance is enough to vote no.

  12. Political power should be handled as close to the people as possible and whenever that’s an option, by the people themselves.

    The Lisbon Treaty seems to be the complete contrary to this approach.

    I’d outright reject it too — but I’m in Canada, so…

  13. Pingback: The Lisbon Laws
  14. Message about Lisbon treaty:

    Lisbon treaty seems to be totally strange and deleting democracy or human rights?

    I’ve read an article which states that police gets rights to shoot people in some situations.

    These kind of things are totalitarian politics.

    It also propably stops right to go on strike.

    And all this in whole Europe…

    It is sad to notice that all other countries have accepted this treaty, but many governments have not even given people chance to vote about it.

    Irish government has given you this right,…anyway it is really strange that Ireland maybe votes again about this, and only after few months?(or 2009?)

    EU elite needs this YES, and they have ordered new voting?

    If this is true it shows how horrible secret elite rules EU, and what can we expect from the future?
    Lisbon treaty is basicly giving ‘Gestapo’-laws to EU-government, if needed?

    And they seem to need those laws fast?

    Vote NO, and save the world?

    F.ex. in many european countries media and politicians has almost 100% ignored discussions about this subject, and people are not even aware about whole thing?

    It is also good to remember that USA has now similar ‘mertial laws’ there, after 11th september 2001… ?

    EU security officials decide about all security matters of whole EU?

    Also there is some things which makes it very difficult for normal people to complain and get things corrected if there is wrongful handlings?

    I hope I am wrong, but this whole thing , and how it has been handled seems really wrong? And it is not a democratic way to handle politics.?

    Also small countries lose power
    because there will be less EP-representatives?

    ps. this message may include errors.

    -Tore Toivicco

Leave a Reply