Saturday, June 14, 2008

Bronach ataimid- a bad day's work

Rarely have I felt as depressed as I do today by a political decision. After three weeks of postering canvassing texting blogging and harrassing I have to reflect on the will of the Irish people. As a democrat I will defend the right of the people to make what I consider to be a disastrous mistake but I really am at a loss as to what will happen next.
There is a flippancy and even a bit of arrogance in our presuming that 'they'll put it right' and that we'll get another chance to prove ourselves 'Good Europeans' but I get the feeling watching EU leaders over the past 24 hours that we may have tested their patience once too often.
As a socialist and trade unionist I am appalled that Irish workers have given Margaret Thatcher and the European right the biggest political victory of this generation. The Social Charter has been the holy grail of the left and European Trade Union movement for all my adult and took twenty years to make it into the laws of Union. I hope Jack O' Connor, SIPTU and the so-called left-wingers in Sinn Fein and the Socialist party can find a way of explaining to my children how they talked their way out of the best list of workers rights ever secured for our community.
The ball is now in our court however and a few important questions now need to be answered:
1. Do we really want to be part of the EU or not. Being so while thinking we can reject complex treaties painstakingly negotiated by all the national Governments including our own doesn't sit well with that assertion.
2. What does democracy mean to us? The idea that we must uniquely insist on holding referenda every few years on complex agreements and reject them because 'I don't understand it' is puzzling to the citizens of the 26 other democracies who gave their elected Governments the right to interpret the treaty as being in their best interests. Are their politicians better or more trustworthy than ours? I for one am fed up of listening to people condemning our politicians yet walking out blindly as they did a year ago and putting them back into office.

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