Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Lisbon igNOrance

I generally try not to write about political matters here, as there are people far more talented and interested than I catering to such needs, and it wouldn’t quite gel with the other content on here. Regardless, I present you with this old news. Irish readers will have to forgive me for how broken down things are, but there might be yanks reading!

Last Thursday, the people of Ireland voted on whether the Lisbon Treaty would be ratified; a document that outlines how the European Union is going to conduct its bureaucratic undertakings now that it’s grown to a bloated 27 member states. Out of all 27, Ireland was the only country that handled things in a democratic fashion.

The people of Ireland responded with a great deal of confusion. “Why ask us?” They pondered aloud. “What’s this about? Why wasn’t anybody else asked?” That’s where their inquisitiveness ended. Despite the vast majority of politicians assuring the good people that the treaty was something that would benefit the entire of the European Union, the Irish were more compelled by the claims of tinfoil-hat wearing independents who simply made shit up.

After getting caught up in the hype, and deciding I needed some information, I read about the treaty, and kept track of all the things that I was concerned about, all the things I was happy about, and all the things I was ‘meh’ about. I determined that the only think remarkable about the Lisbon Treaty was how such an unremarkable document could drum up such intense controversy, given all the ‘meh’s on my page of notes.

One of the worst things about the referendum was talking to people about it in the weeks up to it. Nobody seemed to feel any shame in expressing their ignorance, and even tried to present this ignorance as a valid reason for voting “no”! These were the same people who didn’t read the concise information pamphlets sent out by the neutral Referendum Commission, which had a strong TV, radio, and web presence.

I present to you a product of this paranoia: on the day of voting, I got into my car and drove to the end of my village to find that somebody had spraypainted “NO” onto the road four times in fifteen metres. Five miles down the road I saw the same thing.

Here's the video, complete with rockin' soundtrack (that'll be promptly removed, more than likely), recorded from my phone (hence the assy quality).

It’s a shame that the treaty wasn’t ratified, so we could retrospectively laugh at the prophecies of the new Ireland, in which all the men have been drafted to the European Army and sent to battle the US, all businesses have been taxed out of existence, and the footpaths can’t be seen for all the aborted foetuses that litter the streetscapes.

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