Sinn Fein to lead the No Campaign – but will the message change?

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Sinn Fein have, as expected, come out against the Fiscal Treaty and aim to lead the No campaign in the upcoming referendum. They claim that  passing the referendum on the fiscal treaty will seriously undermine Irish sovereignty. But is that not what they said during Lisbon? Or Nice? Or Maastricht? or any treaty on the European Union that I remember anyway.

Stephen Collins writing in yesterday’s Irish Times points out that the No side have come out with many slogans in past referendums but have any of them come true? He quotes Tainiste Eamonn Gilmore speaking as at the Forum on Europe back in 2008.

Ireland had not been reduced to a province of a European empire; conscription had not been introduced for young Irish men and women; Ireland had not been forced to join any imperialist wars; the nation’s population had not collapsed; Irish culture had not become a thing of the past; trade union rights had not been abolished; abortion and euthanasia had not been introduced; and religious freedom was not suppressed.

“All of these firm fear-inducing predictions were made again and again, and every one was proved to be groundless and inaccurate. They are being made again today by the same individuals, and they are just as unfounded and misleading,” said Gilmore.

The latest claims are of course saying that this treaty will outlaw Keynesian economics as well as undermine our sovereignty. But are they right? Will the treaty do that?

I don’t think so. A cursory reading of the treaty, which is readable thankfully, shows that is highly unlikely that either of those claims are true.

Of course what this means is that the Yes campaign have to be quick to knock down false claims by the no side. But when issues like sovereignty are brought up, it is very hard to argue  it. Abstract ideas like sovereignty are debates suited to philosophical debates rather then the doorsteps and streets of a referendum campaign.

The sooner the referendum campaign starts the better!

Author: Stephen

Cork born and bred, proud European and Irishman. Involved in many organisations and politics. Also writes for and UCC Express.

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