Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A referendum on the Lisbon treaty - in Ireland

Don't worry, I am not going to revisit the Liberal Democrats' recent traumas over the subject.

But there is going to be referendum on Lisbon in the Irish Republic. And according to the Sunday Business Post the Yes side of the question may be in trouble:

Public opinion has moved sharply against the Lisbon Treaty, with the Yes side now enjoying only a slender lead, according to the latest Sunday Business Post/Red C monthly tracking poll.

Support for the treaty has fallen from 43 per cent in February to 35 per cent today among those entitled to vote in the referendum. Those opposed to the treaty have increased from 24 per cent to 31 per cent. The number of undecided voters remains almost unchanged, at 34 per cent.

With seven weeks remaining until the expected polling date, incoming taoiseach Brian Cowen, the government and the broader Yes campaign face a difficult struggle to regain the initiative.

A posting by Mick Fealty on the Daily Telegraph Brassneck blog suggests some of the reasons for this. The only mainstream party on the No side is Sinn Fein but, says Fealty, most of the intellectual capital for that camp is being made by the Galway-based think tank Libertas.

It points out that the new constitutional settlement will see Ireland's influence reduced and there are fears that the country will be forced to change its economic policies in the cause of tax harmonisation.

Interestingly, there is an article in the current Liberator by Tim Pascall which describes similar fears in the Netherlands.

And that is why I have always been less keen on the European project than most Liberals. For that project is all about harmonisation and rationalisation, whereas I believe the Liberal Democrats should be the party of the local and the particular.

Nor does it help the European cause in Britain that we have been left as spectators of someone else's referendum, waiting to see our fate decided.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The longer this goes on, the more nervous the Irish government will be. If Irish voters really think their country is under threat, the Lisbon Treaty will get shot down.