Once More into the Breach on Lisbon
Deaglán de Bréadún
Given the number of bad weeks he has had since becoming Taoiseach, it was about time for Brian Cowen to have a good one. He got his guarantees and his protocols on the Lisbon Treaty and even managed to convey the impression of a little “Brit-bashing” along the way.
Did Brian really put Brown in his box in Brussels? (Photograph by Frank Miller from May 2008 at Stormont)
Those of us who have been observing the political scene for a long time are generally rather sceptical about scenarios such as “Brian puts Gordon in his place and successfully resists pressure from the ancient foe in a prime display of Irish sovereignty”.
But one can nevertheless hear the local councillors around the country introducing “Brian Cowen, the Taoiseach who stood up for the interests of this country against the British”.
It won’t do him one bit of harm in the Fianna Fáil heartlands (badly-depleted as they are at the moment) and, in the unlikely event that Prime Minister Brown gets to hear about it, he will probably shrug it off with a weary smile. He knows how the game is played and, anyway, has much more to think about these days.
There seems to be a general consensus that Lisbon is a shoo-in, barring accidents. It would be my contention that the No side didn’t win the last referendum, the Yes side lost it. Likewise with Nice One.
Laziness, ineptitude, incompetence, what is it about European referendums that they bring out the worst in the political establishment? Can it be that our political system has been so corrupted by dynastic droits de seigneur and command management that the powers-that-be have lost the ability to persuade the people of the rightness of a single proposition such as, “What’s good for the EU is good for Ireland”?
Declan Ganley is off the pitch and presumably Libertas along with him. The farmers will be strongly urged by proponents of the Treaty not to play politics this time. Likewise elements of the trade union movement.
So, my prediction is that the Yes side will probably win in October but, if they don’t, it will be entirely their own fault.