So as Ireland votes 'yes' to Lisbon treaty, our 1000 years of history ends like this
In a result greeted with relief in Downing Street and dismay in the Tory Party, more than two-thirds of the Irish electorate voted Yes in the country’s second referendum on the treaty.
The ballot followed a frantic campaign by pro-Europeans to reverse Ireland’s overwhelming No vote last year. Now, only Poland and the Czech Republic of the EU’s 27 countries have yet to approve it.
Critics say the treaty, which aims to ‘streamline’ EU institutions to mimic the functions of a nation state, represents the biggest threat to British sovereignty since the invasion of William the Conqueror in 1066.
Tony Blair is strongly tipped to be anointed as the new European President, possibly within weeks, creating a headache for David Cameron as he heads to Manchester for his party conference.
The Conservative leader says a Tory Government would hold a British referendum on the treaty if it had not been fully ratified when the party came to power, but refuses to be drawn on what its position would be if the treaty was already in force.
Mr Cameron is acutely aware of the party’s past infighting over Europe, and having a powerful British figure such as Mr Blair in charge of the EU is likely to make any battle even more bloody.
‘If the treaty is ratified in all member states, we have repeatedly said we would not let
matters rest there,’ Mr Cameron said yesterday.
‘But we have one policy at a time and we will set out how we would proceed in those circumstances if, and only if, they happen.’
The decision of the Irish electorate, producing a 67.1 per cent Yes vote, was welcomed by Gordon Brown. ‘The treaty is good for the UK and good for Europe,’ he said.
‘We can now work together to focus on the issues that matter most to Europeans – a sustained economic recovery, security, tackling global poverty and action on climate change.’
Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party, said: ‘This represents the biggest threat to our sovereignty since 1066.
'With this treaty, we become part of an EU state and all our laws become subservient to a court in Luxembourg. The British people must have a referendum on this momentous threat to our future.’
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso hailed the decision as ‘a great day for Ireland and for Europe’.
Countering accusations from the No campaign of unfair EU interference in a national referendum, Mr Barroso insisted: ‘I am pleased that the EC helped in putting impartial and accurate information at the disposal of the Irish people.’
Frightened for their jobs, no longer confident in their ability to govern themselves, the Irish finally surrender to Europe. But at least they were allowed a vote...By Peter Hitchens
So, out of the smog of dishonesty that has long concealed it, we at last see the true shape of the thing that threatens us.
A great grey Tower of Babel reaches up into the sky over Europe, lopsided, full of cracks and likely to collapse in the fullness of time. But unlike the mythical original, it is complete – even though its builders neither understand nor particularly like each other.
The new European State finally exists and has given itself life – life of a rather Frankenstein sort, but life all the same.
It no longer needs to ask the permission of its member states to act. Ireland, for instance, will no longer be able even to hold a referendum on increased EU central powers.
It has what is called a ‘legal personality’, so will not need to make future changes by treaty but by acting as the superstate it now is.
Increasingly, the provinces of Europe, which until today were countries, will need its
permission to exist at all.
That passport you hold is not British, but European. You are a European citizen. British Embassies abroad are European Embassies – as they already show by flying the EU’s meaningless and tasteless blue and yellow dishcloth.
Shouldn’t somebody have pointed out that in the recent history of the Continent, yellow stars call up only one dismal image, the mass murder of Europe’s Jews?
Anthony Blair, who wrecked his own political party and irreparably damaged Britain in the pursuit of global ideals, is considered a fit person to be the appointed President of this strange new superpower, precisely because he is unfit to lead his own country.
David Cameron claims that he is somehow able to exempt Britain from all these forces by holding a referendum on a treaty this country has already ratified.
But what will he do if we vote ‘No’? Does he think we are not subject to the forces that have compelled Ireland to hold the poll again?
Amid all the fuss about London’s grandiose new Supreme Court, nobody has seen fit to mention that Britain’s real Supreme Court, the European Court of Justice – now sits in Luxembourg.
For most of its members, accustomed to dictatorship, partition, subjugation, occupation, invasion and domination by bigger neighbours, this sort of thing will be familiar. In many ways it will be preferable.
In living memory, their frontier posts were demolished by sneering soldiers and their capitals forced to watch parades of other people’s tanks.
Now, the same frontier barriers are dismantled by unequal treaties, and their currencies replaced by the euro. Nobody dies, though much is lost.
For Britain, Europe’s oldest continuously independent sovereign state, it
is entirely different. It is the end of 1,000 years of history, as predicted by the Labour leader Hugh Gaitskell as long ago as 1962.
What about Ireland, which still lovingly and proudly preserves the bullet marks on Dublin buildings from the Easter Rising against British rule in 1916? How strange that the last gasp of national sovereignty should happen in this odd, quiet way on a wet and windy morning, here of all places.
With a national sigh of resignation, the Irish people have said not so much ‘Yes!’ as ‘Oh, very well then, if you absolutely insist’ to their absorption in the strangest empire the world has ever seen.
It is a realm without a throne, ruled by stifling regulation and dull secret committees rather than by a crowned despot. It is supposedly a club of happy equals but actually dominated by a single great power – Germany – whose importance nobody dares to mention, precisely because it is so important.
It is fitting, in a way, that it should be Ireland, which long defined itself as a nation of rebels against its mighty neighbour, that should have held out to the end.
This was never because Ireland’s current generation of leaders wanted
a fight. On the contrary, the Irish political class sprawls luxuriously on great cushions of Euro-money and have long enjoyed their status as the favoured pet of Brussels.
It is only because of the Republic’s cunningly drafted and thrillingly fair constitution that the people of Ireland have been allowed to vote on the matter at all.
And I think it true to say that the first vote, when they said ‘No’ 15 months ago, expressed the real opinion of the Irish people, who have never liked being pushed around by outsiders.
Remember that they did so in spite of the fact that the entire political establishment and the huge bulk of the Irish media were hot for a ‘Yes’ vote.
Rather enjoyably, but quite consistently, the anti-British militants of Sinn Fein were among the few organisations who argued for ‘No’.
After all, why go to such lengths to expel the British Crown, only to end up as a remote and bought-off province under the Crown of Charlemagne?
At least the British, for all their faults, were actually interested in Ireland, share a language and a culture and much of their history.
In the EU, Ireland – no longer a Tiger – takes its place alongside Slovenia and Lithuania as a quirky, minor possession on the damp and unvisited fringes of the Continent, with almost no voting power.
Shorn – as it is now – of its ability to get in the way, it may find that the flow of subsidies will become much thinner in years to come.
The ‘Yes’ campaign has been based, blatantly, on a call to cling to nurse, for fear of finding something even worse. And with reason. Ireland’s economic crisis is so bad that they envy Britain’s relatively solvent state.
Without EU help, they would be worse off than Iceland. And they know it.
Even with EU help, the public sector is unsustainable, overspending by £20billion a year, and the private sector shrivelling in the blast of bankruptcy and negative equity.
Last week, when Marks & Spencer advertised in Dublin for short-term Christmas staff, an enormous queue of respectable, well-dressed and quietly desperate people formed outside the hiring office.
Slogans such as ‘Vote Yes for jobs’, plastered all over the city, conceal
a deeper message that Ireland no longer believes two things.
One, it no longer believes that it can govern its own economy and take responsibility for ensuring its own people have jobs; and two, it no longer values its independence so highly that it is prepared to suffer for it – as it certainly was in the thin, cold pinched days of the Twenties and Thirties.
The ideal of a very Irish, very Catholic state, proudly separate and honestly poor, no longer appeals in the era of Sex And The City.
I suspect a lot of people share the view of Fionnuala Maher, who told the Irish Times that she remembered Ireland before it joined the EU in 1973. ‘It was a terrible place,’ she said. ‘If we don’t have Europe, we don’t have a bloody hope.’
For such people, the EU is completely identified with the personal liberation and individualism that in Britain is linked with the Sixties cultural revolution.
That may be a mistake. The ascent of the EU happened to coincide with several decades of unheard-of prosperity and growth. But the EU did not cause that prosperity, though it claims to have done so.
It was based on American Marshall Aid and helped along by American and British willingness to spend heavily on defending Europe against the USSR, while most of the EU nations kept their military budgets small.
The EU also cannot guarantee that Europe’s prosperity will go on forever. With so many member nations, many of them devastated by decades of Marxist misrule, its capacity to hand out subsidies is running out.
The credit crisis has not finished yet, Western Europe is fast running out of its own energy supplies and the shift of economic power to the Far East is speeding up, not stopping.
The European nations have not worked out how to deal with the enormous Muslim minorities which they have encouraged to settle on their territory and which increasingly demand the right to live according to their traditions.
Nor can they stop the slide of the manufacturing industry towards the regions where labour is cheapest.
Germany, still in a sort of post-traumatic shock over the cost of absorbing the Communist East, may not forever be willing to share a currency – and so a joint bank account – with the poorer and less well-run nations of the Eurozone.
The remnants of Yugoslavia are turning out to be much harder to absorb than anyone thought. Russia, sick of being pushed around, has made it aggressively clear that it wants no more Western interference along its borders, and will bite hard if crossed. Turkey, fobbed off for decades with promises of membership, may turn very nasty indeed if – as is likely – the pledge is broken.
The moment of political unity, schemed for since the Rome Treaty in 1957, comes just as all the old problems of the European Continent, economic, political, religious and social, begin to re-emerge in new and tricky shapes.
We in Britain, like Ireland, have constantly been warned that by staying out we would miss the European train – always depicted as a luxury express bound for a pleasant destination and more or less under our control.
Now, as the whistle blows, the doors are locked and the Eurotrain at last jolts out of the station, we look around us and see threadbare seats and through grimy windows glimpse an unfamiliar and unpleasant landscape, and when we ask where we are going, the crew tell us that from now on, that is their business, not ours.
Article from: DailyMail.co.uk