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An outsider's view

Why does a German guy who lives in Brussels comment on the Irish referendum from Dublin?

Answer to the No-siders:
Sorry, but your vote also affects my life, wherever I live in the EU. We tried hard to get referendums in other EU member states, but eventually you're the only ones who will have a say on this treaty.

Answer to the yes-siders:
If you are in favour of Lisbon you are voting for more interference from bigger countries, for more harmonisation across the EU and less influence of small states. So you better get used to listening and learning from the big guys.

Yours

Thomas Rupp

co-ordinator
European Referendum Campaign

thomas(at)erc2.org


Previous Rants

Referendum campaign leaves muddied waters - But the Irish people do not need foreigners to be threaten by. Read more

No vote will paralyse European elites - These guys couldn't care less about the people. Read more

Please do not believe in purgatory scenarios - Ratification by parliament nowadays does not mean that the decisions are necessarily backed by the people. Read more

If in doubt: Follow your feelings! - If nobody explains the treaty to you in a way you canunderstand it: Just follow your feelings. Read more

Were's the beef? I only see chicken. - About the lack of a real debate in the Irish referendum. Read more


Go Back

The day before the vote

Dublin, 11 June 2008

Today it is the last day on which newspapers are allowed to report on the referendum campaign. So it was interesting to see, what were their last messages. I counted the articles and photos in the Irish Times, Irish Examiner and Irish Independent which give the stage to the yes or no side. The features for the yes side summed up to 20 against 10 for the no side. The main messages of the Yes side are: If we do not vote yes it will be a disaster for Ireland and we will be an embarrassment for Europe. And the no-campaign is accused to be “dishonest” and to have invented false arguments against the treaty to deliberately confuse the debate.

I attended the last official press conference by the Peoples Movement. A senator, a former Dublin mayor and a member of Parliament were speaking (among others) but today there was no single word about their reasonable arguments in any of the Irish newspapers. So on the one side the media claims the no side were a bunch of loonies, on the other side they refuse to give the reasonable voices some space in the papers. Instead they publish every crazy statement they could find made by some obscure no-campaigners to discredit the whole no-campaign. I follow this now since two weeks and I am really tired about it.

In general you can say the media promotes Declan Ganley as the leader of the No Campaign which is far from the truth. In my opinion he did a very good job by providing mostly reasonable arguments and dealt well with the permanent attacks against his person. Apart from Ganley Sinn Fein is identified as a main no-player. This is because many Irish citizens obviously have resentments against this party. The message is clear: “The mysterious millionaire and Sinn Fein with their former links to the IRA, these are the people who want you to vote no. And all the reasonable, decent people the whole establishment all the big parties urge you to say yes to Lisbon.”

Yesterday's debate on RTE1 Prime Time with Pat Cox and Mendez de Vigo MEP for yes and Patricia McKenna and Jens-Peter Bonde MEP for the no was a disaster. In my opinion deVigo came across as incredibly arrogant and patronising. Cox and deVigo interrupted Bonde in every single point he wanted to make. They tried to ridicule and confuse him while he was speaking.

I think all the Irish citizens who still are confused about the treaty – and I am sure that is the majority of them – will make their decision based on the question whom they can trust. Tomorrow the polling stations will be open from 7 am to 10 pm. The result will be announced on Friday afternoon. Whatever will be the result, I think many people will be happy that it's over soon.

© Democracy International www.democracy-international.org