Saturday, June 14, 2008

Irresistible force - the referendum - has met immoveable object - the need for every EU member state to ratify the Lisbon Treaty.
- Jonny Dymond, BBC

Hang on a moment- let's re-write that:

Irresistible force- EU politicians' desire to integrate- has met immoveable object- the unwillingness of the popular vote to lose its distinctive voice.

I think my version's better, because it deals with what the Irish vote actually represents: resistance to unwanted political leveraging. How many popular votes do we have to sit through before we're allowed to say that? (how many popular votes will we be allowed to sit through? As few as possible, methinks)

The BBC's desire to frame the debate inside its favoured assumptions- the inevitability of EU integration, with the increasing of power at the centre and discounting of traditional national distinctions- trumps fair reportage almost every time.

Jonny Dymond gives some fine examples of this.

He says „the wonkiest minds in Europe were speculating as to how the European Union could dig itself out of the Ireland-shaped hole“

The issue for the peoples of Europe is not particularly „wonky“, its a matter of self-determination, appropriate local governance etc. Dymond states (probably quite accurately) the considerations of the Irish- „abortion, neutrality, tax sovereignty, military conscription, the loss of an Irish commissioner, the deregulation of the taxi trade“ - but fails to make the obvious connection; all these points embody those things that people want their own government of their own nation to decide. The peoples' project is very simple indeed put in those terms.

Dymond doesn't get it though, but says instead „Amending the Lisbon Treaty to encompass those objections would challenge even the mightiest Euro-minds.“

Look, whose side is he on that he can't make the obvious connection instead of lamenting from the perspective of the EU?

He talks of a „bewildering array of objections“ when in fact they all boil down to the concern that local needs will be overrun by the concerns of grand powers- it's the age-old call of democratic enfranchisement.

Dymond is besotted by the power game and cannot see the social reality: „there are serious players that want the changes laid out in the Treaty and will not give them up without a fight at the say-so of fewer than a million stroppy Irish voters

He may consider such language to be ironic, but he elsewhere gives no sign that he senses a rationality in the electorate.

When Dymond says that Irish voters „are not dumb“ you sense he thinks he is being balanced. Does he ever allow for the idea that it's the „serious players“ who are dumb? Now that would be a kind of balance- and its so routinely absent from the BBC regarding the „colleagues“ in Europe, as it is indeed about all polticians everywhere. He who pays the piper calls the tune, as they say.

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