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The Votes That Really Matter

This is an important week for the politics and policy of Britain, but not for any reason connected to the froth of party conferences, prescription drugs or Sun editorials. The reasons lie across the sea in Ireland and across the channel in Germany, in the choices being made by voters there. Those votes can — and should — alter the choices and opportunities faced by Britain and, crucially, by its likely Conservative government.

Tomorrow a couple of million Irish voters will seal the fate of the Lisbon treaty, the document that hardly anyone has read and which will determine the powers and institutional structure of the European Union for at least the next decade. Having rejected the treaty in a referendum last year, the Irish are being sent back to the polls in order to give the right answer — from a European point of view — bribed to do so only by some “clarifications” about what the treaty will do and by a promise that Ireland can still send a Commissioner to do a non-job for plush pay in Brussels.

The whole charade should anger anyone who cares about democracy, and indeed about Europe. A constitutional exercise that when it began in 2001 was supposed to make the EU more democratic, transparent and comprehensible to its citizens is doing just the opposite.

And it's No, Nay, never, No, nay never no more ...


As we all know, the EU was never, from its very inception, meant to be democratic, transparent or accountable. It s anticedents stem from the fascist left, which having lost the pre-qualifying military-rounds of the mid-20th-century, felt still entitled to enter the political parts of the contest - which it is by way of winning, since ordinary humans find this sort of thing quite stultifying and thus pay little or no attention.

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