Thursday, 10 July 2008

No second referendum in Ireland?

Daniel Hannan, British MEP, reports in his blog after having listened to French president Sarkozy in the European Parliament:
I'm more and more certain that there won't be a second referendum in Ireland. I've just been in the chamber of the European Parliament, listening to Nicolas Sarkozy (and resisting the juvenile impulse to shout levez-vous when the diminutive president rose to speak).

[...]

I can't prove it, of course. I am inferring as much from Sarko's body language and tone as from his words.

I would join Daniel's prediction that there won't be a second referendum in Ireland.

For two reasons: First, this would undermine the credibility of the ratification process. The issue has been much more politicised than in the past and a second referendum would attain too much political attention. And second, politics will be looking for a much secure solution than a referendum. Why? - A second "No!" would be much more disastrous and there is quite a risk that this could happen.

2 comments:

Desmond O'Toole said...

Hi Julien - as to your comment about there being no second referendum in Ireland. It may be legally possible for the Irish government to ratify the Treaty through the Oireachtas (Parliament) but it would be politically almost impossible. The government is already suffering severe problems becasue of the recession that is looming in Ireland with massive cutbacks planned in public spending. It is almost inconceivable that the Taoiseach (Premier), Brian Cowen, would take risks with his electoral support by wilfully ignoring the Irish vote and pressing on with ratification without asking the people a second time.

I would charaterise the Irish government as arrogant, incompetent and lazy. But they are not stupid. There would be a meltdown in support for the government and severe damage done to the EU if the Irish government tried to ratify Lisbon without a second referendum.

Regards ... Desmond O'Toole.
PES Activists Dublin.

Julien Frisch said...

Hi Desmond,

thanks for your comment! I appreciate these insights. And I suppose that you might be right.

What I wanted to say is that IF the Irish government wants to find a solution to ratify the Lisbon Treaty or to allow the rest of the Union to go ahead (which is pretty unlikely) this will most probably not be through a repeated referendum but through some back-door politics that are less risky than a referendum that might bring a second "No".

However, taking into account your comment, the probability that there will be any positive move by the Irish seems very unlikely to me. Either the government loses support by agreeing to Lisbon through non-popular tactics, or it has to find rather implausible reasons for a second referendum.

Both seem politically very damaging to the government's credibility (which according to your assessment is already very low ;-) )...