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 The Lisbon Debate Continues

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PostSubject: Re: The Lisbon Debate Continues   Sat Jun 14, 2008 10:29 pm

Quote :
The No vote is anything but an annoying skirmish - and I thought I'd made that quite clear, apologies if I haven't - because it will require an about-turn in the ethics of the EU as subscribed to by each member state should some or all member states decide to 'go on.' That's bigger than Lisbon by far, imho

Entirely agree. And yet it's exactly what is now being discussed and planned - an about turn with open disregard for the ethics you refer to.
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PostSubject: Re: The Lisbon Debate Continues   Sat Jun 14, 2008 11:18 pm

Kate P wrote:
You don't understand me rightly. I don't say that the unanimity rule can be ignored, rather my point is that, as with the Constitution, we may not be the only country not to ratify the document. In which case, we won't be the sole scapegoat. It may well be that the other nations will continue to ratify - others may not bother, just as we didn't with the Constitution.

In terms of 'going on,' if Ireland is not the only country behind Lisbon, then the 'going on' process will hit another obstacle. Apart from that, it will require some grand degree of agreement among states who previously decided that unanimity was the only basis for such decisions as this, to change their perspective to allow for 'going on' (and I still don't know what that's meant to mean) without Ireland. To do so would be a grave and far reaching undertaking which would fundamentally alter the ethos of the Union. So there are practical and ideological considerations to be borne in mind.

The No vote is anything but an annoying skirmish - and I thought I'd made that quite clear, apologies if I haven't - because it will require an about-turn in the ethics of the EU as subscribed to by each member state should some or all member states decide to 'go on.' That's bigger than Lisbon by far, imho.

Indeed, but a "two-tier" or "two-speed" Europe has often been mooted - usually in the context of the British being awkward. It would represent a huge change, certainly, which is why it has always been backed away from before. However, it has always been part of the dialogue of options - and it was formalised in the "enhanced cooperation" mechanism.
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PostSubject: Re: The Lisbon Debate Continues   Sat Jun 14, 2008 11:34 pm

Doesn't enhanced co-operation require Lisbon to be ratified before it is fully formalised, and if this is the case, aren't we back to QE2 in the bathtub scenario - nothing will happen on this in a hurry?
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PostSubject: Re: The Lisbon Debate Continues   Sat Jun 14, 2008 11:42 pm

I think there is a de facto Nordic block now.
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PostSubject: Re: The Lisbon Debate Continues   Sun Jun 15, 2008 12:18 am

Kate P wrote:
Doesn't enhanced co-operation require Lisbon to be ratified before it is fully formalised, and if this is the case, aren't we back to QE2 in the bathtub scenario - nothing will happen on this in a hurry?

No - in fact Lisbon increases the necessary group from 8 to 9. Enhanced cooperation was fully formed in the Nice Treaty.
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PostSubject: Re: The Lisbon Debate Continues   Sun Jun 15, 2008 12:56 am

That's worth knowing - thanks.

That ties in then with the concluding paragraph of the editorial/opinion piece in today's

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

which suggests that the best way forward is perhaps through diversity, rather than an approach that keeps all countries heading in the one direction and at the same speed.

Quote :
Der quasi-natürlichen Tendenz zu Brüsseler Zentralismus stünde dann ein Modell gegenüber, das den Bürokraten viel Mühe machen, dem aber die Mehrheit der Europäer zustimmen würde: das der europäischen Vielfalt.
'There is a model that stands in opposition to the quasi-natural tendency towards Brussels centralism, one that will create a lot of work for beaurocrats but with the majority of Europeans would agree; that of European diversity.'
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PostSubject: Re: The Lisbon Debate Continues   Sun Jun 15, 2008 1:02 am

Kate P wrote:
Doesn't enhanced co-operation require Lisbon to be ratified before it is fully formalised, and if this is the case, aren't we back to QE2 in the bathtub scenario - nothing will happen on this in a hurry?

But, in effect, there already exists enhanced co-operation. The €uro, Schengen, the Axis of 3(Britain, Germany and France acting in concert dealing with Iran) and so on are examples of areas where some countries, on the basis of mutual agreement and consensus, "go on". Perhaps after Lisbon there will be a profusion of similar relationships and multi-layered agreements.
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PostSubject: Re: The Lisbon Debate Continues   Sun Jun 15, 2008 1:09 am

I have a notion that this is one of those things I'll have to do some reading and research on before I start forming opinions.

Suggestions from those in the know would be greatly appreciated.

Hmmm.

I see your post there now, Ard Taoiseach and my initial response is that it makes sense in principle.. but...

I still don't like the idea of military alliances under the EU banner and I'm not sure how manageable e-c will be for citizens who won't be sure what rules apply from state to state as opposed to on an EU wide basis. Having said that, considering all the protocols, opt outs and the alliances you mention which are current, maybe it really doesn't matter once each country can get on with doing what works for its own people.

I'd be concerned too that it might go against the very great strength of the Union by creating divides where so much work has been done over the decades to eliminate divides. In other words, block against block. Is that likely?

But those are just initial reactions. I'd like to inform myself a bit better before I actually form an opinion on the damn thing.
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PostSubject: Re: The Lisbon Debate Continues   Sun Jun 15, 2008 11:08 am

Kate P wrote:
I have a notion that this is one of those things I'll have to do some reading and research on before I start forming opinions.

Suggestions from those in the know would be greatly appreciated.

Hmmm.

I see your post there now, Ard Taoiseach and my initial response is that it makes sense in principle.. but...

I still don't like the idea of military alliances under the EU banner and I'm not sure how manageable e-c will be for citizens who won't be sure what rules apply from state to state as opposed to on an EU wide basis. Having said that, considering all the protocols, opt outs and the alliances you mention which are current, maybe it really doesn't matter once each country can get on with doing what works for its own people.

I'd be concerned too that it might go against the very great strength of the Union by creating divides where so much work has been done over the decades to eliminate divides. In other words, block against block. Is that likely?

But those are just initial reactions. I'd like to inform myself a bit better before I actually form an opinion on the damn thing.

But isn't all this ex post facto? You've just formed an opinion and voted No - presumably in anticipation of the consequences of the No vote winning? The most obvious and straightforward conclusion is that the EU carries on as it is. This vote plainly means that the Treaty cannot proceed to ratification because of the rule of unanimity. This simple fact of EU law is inconvenient to the objectives of Lisbon Treaty supporters and while I sympathise with them in certain way for their loss, the outcome of the vote can't be fudged or put to one side - as is now being braznely discussed on this and other fora - with a lot of blandishment about stuff that is actually irelevant to what the law says. The same simple argument defeats it all. To wit:

So many countries have ratified the treaty, we can't turn back the clock
The rule of unanimity means that you were jolly silly to go ahead until it had been established that there was unanimity.
Perhaps we could have a two tier Europe?
Not if it means that some states ratify the Treaty and others do not because of the need for unanimity

And so forth. It all comes back to the same point - or at least it should if the matter is to be kept within the law.

The real issue for discussion imho is the searing arrogance of the drafters and promoters of this Treaty. They did it in the full knowledge that it would be opposed if put to a vote, which it duly has been in the one place where it could not be railroaded through. If there is division in this, then I don't think it is vertical inter-state division that is the problem but something much more dangerous: a horizontal division between the ruled and the rulers of the EU. If the latter cannot carry the former with them better - or rather if they don't respect their wishes better than they do at present, the prospects for a properly democratic, peacefully functiong EU are pretty dim.
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PostSubject: Re: The Lisbon Debate Continues   Sun Jun 15, 2008 3:31 pm

Quote :
But isn't all this ex post facto? You've just formed an opinion and voted No - presumably in anticipation of the consequences of the No vote winning?

Only in the most general sense, Aragon; in other words a No to Lisbon allows for a time the retention of the status quo - and of course the implementation of remaining elements of Nice. I can't and could not predict what the next steps would be and would have been foolish in the extreme to base a vote on anything more longterm than that.

Quote :
The most obvious and straightforward conclusion is that the EU carries on as it is.

Not indefinitely, Aragon. That is frankly impractical and unrealistic.

Quote :
This vote plainly means that the Treaty cannot proceed to ratification because of the rule of unanimity.


In its present form, no. But it will be interesting to see whether other countries ratify the current treaty themselves or not and for what reasons - all of which which will have equally interesting implications for how Ireland is viewed within the EU. There is a Europe-wide debate underway now that goes way beyond the mere ratification of Lisbon.

Quote :
This simple fact of EU law is inconvenient to the objectives of Lisbon Treaty supporters and while I sympathise with them in certain way for their loss, the outcome of the vote can't be fudged or put to one side - as is now being braznely discussed on this and other fora - with a lot of blandishment about stuff that is actually irelevant to what the law says.


The Lisbon Treaty as it stands and with its current requirements for ratification, would seem to be dead. That doesn't mean that the elements within it are buried forever. Nor does it mean that the EU needs to stagnate in a pool of its own inaction for an indeterminate period of time. My understanding is that the Treaty is a step in the EU process, not a destination.

Quote :
The same simple argument defeats it all. To wit: So many countries have ratified the treaty, we can't turn back the clock
The rule of unanimity means that you were jolly silly to go ahead until it had been established that there was unanimity.
Perhaps we could have a two tier Europe?
Not if it means that some states ratify the Treaty and others do not because of the need for unanimity

I don't see how a treaty which to a large extent deals with the workings of the Union could be effectively adopted under enhanced co-operation, so I'm not sure how a two-tier Europe would work practically in that sense.

However, breaking down elements of the treaty to allow enhanced co-operation in particular areas - such as military progression or climate change or energy security could well happen, I imagine (and stand to be corrected) if those areas are dealt with separately. In its entirety and under current criteria, the Lisbon treaty as it stands cannot be imposed upon us, nor can it be adopted in its current form without us.

Quote :
The real issue for discussion imho is the searing arrogance of the drafters and promoters of this Treaty. They did it in the full knowledge that it would be opposed if put to a vote, which it duly has been in the one place where it could not be railroaded through. If there is division in this, then I don't think it is vertical inter-state division that is the problem but something much more dangerous: a horizontal division between the ruled and the rulers of the EU.


There is nothing new in this argument Aragon. After reading some of the German editorials last night, I'm in no doubt that across Europe there is an awareness now if never before of this schism.


Quote :
If the latter cannot carry the former with them better - or rather if they don't respect their wishes better than they do at present, the prospects for a properly democratic, peacefully functiong EU are pretty dim.

No one would disagree with that. But reaching that conclusion is far easier than figuring out what comes next as a result of that knowledge. I think the next couple of months will see serious contemplation within Europe of the issue of democracy and representation and it will encourage voters, politicians and beaurocrats to consider their position.

This is going to take time and I am not going to be riled by one-line quotes from European leaders one way or another. I'm ashamed enough that I got caught out by that rhetoric in the lead-up to this referendum and make no bones about the fact that I will be more measured about my consideration of where Europe goes next. Leaving time to allow the implications of Ireland's no vote to sink in, for other countries to come to their own decisions regarding their individual ratification and to allow next week's and subsequent meetings to take place in Europe will give a broader understanding of where we are after the summer. I'm happy to consider and discuss the merits and demerits of the possible options in the meantime.
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PostSubject: Re: The Lisbon Debate Continues   Sun Jun 15, 2008 5:01 pm

If nothing else, we have reopened the debate about whether keeping everyone on board is more important than going forward.

However, a good number of the institutional changes are in Nice already, so those can come into force regardless. The various areas that were moved from unanimity to QMV under Lisbon can either be taken forward under enhanced cooperation, or, more likely, taken forward on the understanding that vetoes will not be used.

The ratification remains important as a statement of commitment either way.
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PostSubject: Re: The Lisbon Debate Continues   Sun Jun 15, 2008 6:27 pm

ibis wrote:
If nothing else, we have reopened the debate about whether keeping everyone on board is more important than going forward.

Going forwards towards what?
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PostSubject: Re: The Lisbon Debate Continues   Sun Jun 15, 2008 7:35 pm

arnaudherve wrote:
ibis wrote:
If nothing else, we have reopened the debate about whether keeping everyone on board is more important than going forward.

Going forwards towards what?

Well, in this case, going forward to what is represented by Lisbon. I appreciate one can claim that surely that has been rejected, but:



...I'm afraid that's not at all obvious. Particularly since the whole No margin is about the same size as the "protest against the Government" vote.
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PostSubject: Re: The Lisbon Debate Continues   Sun Jun 15, 2008 8:22 pm

ibis wrote:
... taken forward on the understanding that vetoes will not be used....

ibis, if the whole thing goes ahead (ie where 26 nations continue forward because unamity was inconvenient) do you not feel that vetoes are dead, or at best irrelevent? Under the treaty, it cannot take effect without all 27 agreeing. Europe is (apparently) trying to circumvent this, the vetoes are no different.

If you feel that the vetoes still have value, then how do you suggest we do not end up exactly were we are now should we ever have the temerity to use one unilaterily.

At best they are now opt outs.
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PostSubject: Re: The Lisbon Debate Continues   Sun Jun 15, 2008 8:44 pm

MikeW wrote:
ibis wrote:
... taken forward on the understanding that vetoes will not be used....

ibis, if the whole thing goes ahead (ie where 26 nations continue forward because unamity was inconvenient) do you not feel that vetoes are dead, or at best irrelevent? Under the treaty, it cannot take effect without all 27 agreeing. Europe is (apparently) trying to circumvent this, the vetoes are no different.

If you feel that the vetoes still have value, then how do you suggest we do not end up exactly were we are now should we ever have the temerity to use one unilaterily.

At best they are now opt outs.

I agree MikeW. The reflex of Merkel and Sarkozy, whatever the outcome, was a pure power reflex without regard to legality or all the talk of equality between nations that Lisbon is wrapped up in.

The UK has been obliged to acknowledge that the Treaty can't go on without Ireland. The issue of Merkel and Sarkozy's reaction is far more informative about "where we were going" than anything said by either the Yes or No campaign

We have a project in which it is very widely acknowledged that ciitizens do not want an EU which is a federal state and a globalised military power, but that is where it is going. If that was the only problem it would not be so bad, as that could be fought out within the EU. But the add on is that the democratic structures are not there to allow citizen participation in any way comparable to that of the current nation states.

Ibis's graph is very reassuring in that the main reasons for the No were rational and important reasons. There is a white noise on the radio and in the newspapers today trying to discredit the No vote and put this crunch down to bad campaigning by the Yes side. That is all pretty irrelevant. If people had to vote again, I wonder if the "big nations would have too much power" line would be bigger/

Unless Barroso, Merkel and Sarkozy back down and apologise, how can any State in the EU trust them to abide by Treaties and EU law again?


Last edited by cactus flower on Sun Jun 15, 2008 8:56 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Clarification)
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PostSubject: Re: The Lisbon Debate Continues   Sun Jun 15, 2008 9:01 pm

I've been reading the German papers again today for Lisbon commentary and the diversity between the comments of the opinion/editorial writers and the quoted references from politicians couldn't be more stark.

The politicians are suggesting various plans that essentially exclude Ireland whereas commentators are looking at how the No vote has to provoke Europe to look again at the widening gap between the politicans' desires for further centralisation and the people's desire for more ...devolution, I suppose.

In any case the mood outside of politics is not for a further look at Lisbon but a deeper look at the EU and where it's going.
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PostSubject: Re: The Lisbon Debate Continues   Sun Jun 15, 2008 9:35 pm

Aragon said:

Quote :
The most obvious and straightforward conclusion is that the EU carries on as it is.

Kate P said
Not indefinitely, Aragon. That is frankly impractical and unrealistic.

I don't mean that the EU should do nothing but that Lisbon cannot and should not be implemented. The issues need to be worked on in a more measured way and the wishes of the citizens of member states properly respected in any future cooperative agreements.

Aragon wrote:

Quote :
This vote plainly means that the Treaty cannot proceed to ratification because of the rule of unanimity.


Kate P wrote:
In its present form, no. But it will be interesting to see whether other countries ratify the current treaty themselves or not and for what reasons - all of which which will have equally interesting implications for how Ireland is viewed within the EU. There is a Europe-wide debate underway now that goes way beyond the mere ratification of Lisbon.

But that debate is being conducted exclusively among the institutions of the EU. No other citizen bloc has been or is likely to be consulted. Therefore the debate, while it may be interesting, will be invalid due to its lack of mandate - especially so considering the overwhelming influence on it of those elements of the EU that are not democratically appointed. Ratification by individual member states would be contrary to the rule of unanimity. The EU leadership should issue an immediate statement to the effect that ratification should not proceed.

Aragon said:

Quote :
This simple fact of EU law is inconvenient to the objectives of Lisbon Treaty supporters and while I sympathise with them in certain way for their loss, the outcome of the vote can't be fudged or put to one side - as is now being braznely discussed on this and other fora - with a lot of blandishment about stuff that is actually irelevant to what the law says.


Kate P said:
The Lisbon Treaty as it stands and with its current requirements for ratification, would seem to be dead. That doesn't mean that the elements within it are buried forever. Nor does it mean that the EU needs to stagnate in a pool of its own inaction for an indeterminate period of time. My understanding is that the Treaty is a step in the EU process, not a destination.

The Lisbon Treaty legally speaking is definitely dead. I suspect however that attempts will be made to stitch its corpse back together again as a sort of legislative Frankenstein (only not as nice as he was) and that it will return to haunt us one illegal or duplicitous way or another. I agree with what you say otherwise on this point. There is a need for meaningful consultation on the various elements and to ascertain which of them are capable of generating sufficient public permission for implementation individually or collectively. But there are many elements of the Treaty that will never have a democratic mandate.

Aragon wrote:

Quote :
The same simple argument defeats it all. To wit: So many countries have ratified the treaty, we can't turn back the clock
The rule of unanimity means that you were jolly silly to go ahead until it had been established that there was unanimity.
Perhaps we could have a two tier Europe?
Not if it means that some states ratify the Treaty and others do not because of the need for unanimity

Kate P wrote:
I don't see how a treaty which to a large extent deals with the workings of the Union could be effectively adopted under enhanced co-operation, so I'm not sure how a two-tier Europe would work practically in that sense.

I think its impossible too because it would be illegal to attempt it.

Kate P wrote:
However, breaking down elements of the treaty to allow enhanced co-operation in particular areas - such as military progression or climate change or energy security could well happen, I imagine (and stand to be corrected) if those areas are dealt with separately. In its entirety and under current criteria, the Lisbon treaty as it stands cannot be imposed upon us, nor can it be adopted in its current form without us.

Totally agree

Aragon wrote:
Quote :
The real issue for discussion imho is the searing arrogance of the drafters and promoters of this Treaty. They did it in the full knowledge that it would be opposed if put to a vote, which it duly has been in the one place where it could not be railroaded through. If there is division in this, then I don't think it is vertical inter-state division that is the problem but something much more dangerous: a horizontal division between the ruled and the rulers of the EU.


Kate P wrote:
There is nothing new in this argument Aragon. After reading some of the German editorials last night, I'm in no doubt that across Europe there is an awareness now if never before of this schism.

There is nothing original in what anyone is saying on this thread Kate and I certainly made no claim to that effect so your point is kind of superfluous. Smile

Aragon wrote:

Quote :
If the latter cannot carry the former with them better - or rather if they don't respect their wishes better than they do at present, the prospects for a properly democratic, peacefully functiong EU are pretty dim.

Kate P said:
No one would disagree with that. But reaching that conclusion is far easier than figuring out what comes next as a result of that knowledge. I think the next couple of months will see serious contemplation within Europe of the issue of democracy and representation and it will encourage voters, politicians and beaurocrats to consider their position.

I sincerely hope you are right that the EU establishment will reflect. Voters however cannot consider their position meaningfully in the absence of an opportunity to vote in referenda. Without that possibility, they might as well be whistiling in the wind, as it were.

Kate P wrote:
This is going to take time and I am not going to be riled by one-line quotes from European leaders one way or another.

I don't suppose anybody has any design on provoking you personally about this. As to quotes from leaders, they are significant evidence of what those people intended by this legislation. In a court of law, they would be concrete evidence, at least. Dismissing them because you think they are presented to rile you is an odd way to regard them and certainly has noting to do with any reliance I've made on them. Perhaps I have misunderstood your meaning here.

Kate P wrote:
I'm ashamed enough that I got caught out by that rhetoric in the lead-up to this referendum and make no bones about the fact that I will be more measured about my consideration of where Europe goes next.

So you regret the way you voted? Today's Sindo is going all out to make the children feel they have been especially naughty for not doing what the grown ups told them to do.

Kate P wrote:
Leaving time to allow the implications of Ireland's no vote to sink in, for other countries to come to their own decisions regarding their individual ratification and to allow next week's and subsequent meetings to take place in Europe will give a broader understanding of where we are after the summer. I'm happy to consider and discuss the merits and demerits of the possible options in the meantime.

That's a constructive approach. What should also be seriously reconsidered is the way it was attempted to foist this Treaty on us, the way it was drafted and the refusal of mainstream parties and media to pay even marginal respect to the legitimate reasons that so many well motivated and intelligent people voted no.


Last edited by Aragon on Sun Jun 15, 2008 9:49 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: The Lisbon Debate Continues   Sun Jun 15, 2008 9:43 pm

Kate P wrote:
I've been reading the German papers again today for Lisbon commentary and the diversity between the comments of the opinion/editorial writers and the quoted references from politicians couldn't be more stark.

The politicians are suggesting various plans that essentially exclude Ireland whereas commentators are looking at how the No vote has to provoke Europe to look again at the widening gap between the politicans' desires for further centralisation and the people's desire for more ...devolution, I suppose.

In any case the mood outside of politics is not for a further look at Lisbon but a deeper look at the EU and where it's going.

Very interesting.

This is the divide. Everyone knows it exists. Our vote expressed it. Will the pols now tackle it, even at the expense of their own comfort?
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PostSubject: Re: The Lisbon Debate Continues   Sun Jun 15, 2008 9:47 pm

I'm inclined to agree with Arnaudherve that we need to be communicating with fora in other EU countries to tell them the truth, the best we can, about what has happened here and what we think, and to ask for support.
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PostSubject: Re: The Lisbon Debate Continues   Sun Jun 15, 2008 9:50 pm

Helium Three wrote:
Kate P wrote:
I've been reading the German papers again today for Lisbon commentary and the diversity between the comments of the opinion/editorial writers and the quoted references from politicians couldn't be more stark.

The politicians are suggesting various plans that essentially exclude Ireland whereas commentators are looking at how the No vote has to provoke Europe to look again at the widening gap between the politicans' desires for further centralisation and the people's desire for more ...devolution, I suppose.

In any case the mood outside of politics is not for a further look at Lisbon but a deeper look at the EU and where it's going.

Very interesting.

This is the divide. Everyone knows it exists. Our vote expressed it. Will the pols now tackle it, even at the expense of their own comfort?

A vision flashed though my brain of those space shuttle launches where after the initial launch, the little bit (governments and beurocrats) goes flying off into space and the big bit - the rest of us crunch back to the ground.

They are running a very big risk of disaffection on a very large scale.
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PostSubject: Re: The Lisbon Debate Continues   Sun Jun 15, 2008 11:12 pm

MikeW wrote:
ibis wrote:
... taken forward on the understanding that vetoes will not be used....

ibis, if the whole thing goes ahead (ie where 26 nations continue forward because unamity was inconvenient) do you not feel that vetoes are dead, or at best irrelevent? Under the treaty, it cannot take effect without all 27 agreeing. Europe is (apparently) trying to circumvent this, the vetoes are no different.

If you feel that the vetoes still have value, then how do you suggest we do not end up exactly were we are now should we ever have the temerity to use one unilaterily.

At best they are now opt outs.

To claim that the Irish electorate voting down Lisbon is the equivalent of the Irish government using a Council veto doesn't even begin to pass muster.

There is a huge difference between Ireland saying "we do not want what you want" to the whole EU roadmap (which is what we've just done), and saying it on some specific point of negotiation.

To go back to the club analogy, it's the difference between saying "I don't think this should be a gambling club" and "I veto the idea of lowering the house margin on the craps table".
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PostSubject: Re: The Lisbon Debate Continues   Sun Jun 15, 2008 11:41 pm

"To go back to the club analogy, it's the difference between saying "I
don't think this should be a gambling club" and "I veto the idea of
lowering the house margin on the craps table"."

And knowing either way that it doesn't matter what they want, even if there is a cast iron agreement that the limit cannot be lowered with them saying so, there is apparently nothing stopping the others saying no, and dropping it anyway.
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PostSubject: Re: The Lisbon Debate Continues   Mon Jun 16, 2008 12:40 am

Quote :
Kate P wrote:
I'm ashamed enough that I got caught out by that rhetoric in the lead-up to this referendum and make no bones about the fact that I will be more measured about my consideration of where Europe goes next.

Aragon wrote: So you regret the way you voted? Today's Sindo is going all out to make the children feel they have been especially naughty for not doing what the grown ups told them to do.

That's not what I said - I certainly don't regret the way I voted but that doesn't mean that I won't learn from mistakes early on where I paid too much attention to isolated quotes from d'Estaing et al without reading into the context. I'm reluctant to do that again.

I've heard a lot of people - usually SF and Libertas repeating lines over and over again to make them part of the popular consciousness but without context and explanation, a quote is pretty meaningless. And without some solid argument and evidence to back up its relevance, it's worthless.

Somebody recently rattled out a list of quotes the other night during a tv debate as if they were some kind of proof of something. I don't feel they fuelled any meaningful discussion. It bothers me because when teaching I spent years telling students that a quote proves nothing and still I got carried away by them in the early days of this debate.

That they are presented to me personally to rile me personally is also not the point I was making. Rather, it seems to me that whether it's on the yes or No side, using soundbites as the lonely and unsupported plank on which to build an argument can only be done in a deliberately provocative and empty way.

As to whether they'd be taken as evidence in a court of law, well, you know the law better than I do. But I imagine that any state solicitor would require something more than an isolated quotation upon which to build a prosecution. And certainly no judge would convict on the basis of a one or two line statement alone.
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PostSubject: Re: The Lisbon Debate Continues   Mon Jun 16, 2008 2:13 am

MikeW wrote:
"To go back to the club analogy, it's the difference between saying "I
don't think this should be a gambling club" and "I veto the idea of
lowering the house margin on the craps table"."

And knowing either way that it doesn't matter what they want, even if there is a cast iron agreement that the limit cannot be lowered with them saying so, there is apparently nothing stopping the others saying no, and dropping it anyway.

That is not something that has happened at all, though. At this stage any claim that they are ignoring our "veto" is premature. If you believed that ratification would immediately halt, you were mistaken - our vote was our vote, not anybody else's.

Further, I drew the original distinction for good reason. A disagreement with the aims and purpose of the club is completely different from disagreements on decisions within the club. The latter should raise no question-marks about whether you and the club suit each other - the former does.

Frankly, at this point I would favour a referendum on EU membership.
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PostSubject: Re: The Lisbon Debate Continues   Mon Jun 16, 2008 2:30 am

ibis wrote:
MikeW wrote:
"To go back to the club analogy, it's the difference between saying "I
don't think this should be a gambling club" and "I veto the idea of
lowering the house margin on the craps table"."

And knowing either way that it doesn't matter what they want, even if there is a cast iron agreement that the limit cannot be lowered with them saying so, there is apparently nothing stopping the others saying no, and dropping it anyway.

That is not something that has happened at all, though. At this stage any claim that they are ignoring our "veto" is premature. If you believed that ratification would immediately halt, you were mistaken - our vote was our vote, not anybody else's.

Further, I drew the original distinction for good reason. A disagreement with the aims and purpose of the club is completely different from disagreements on decisions within the club. The latter should raise no question-marks about whether you and the club suit each other - the former does.

Frankly, at this point I would favour a referendum on EU membership.

It would pass easily. BUT it would also stimulate an important conversation about what the EU is. And without wanting to tell other countries what to do, I think all EU countries should decide now what the EU is to be and all decide if they want to be on board.

BTW, my comments above are on based on them pushing Lisbon through in some fashion. Though I would hold that the intent is certainly present.
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PostSubject: Re: The Lisbon Debate Continues   

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The Lisbon Debate Continues
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