Monday, September 29, 2008

Going after Ganley

I liked Matt Cooper's column on Declan Ganley and the campaign against him. Cooper sums up why what's being done to Ganley is wrong.

First he nails the nationality slur.
It cannot be denied that Ganley was born of Irish parents, that he was schooled in Galway and that, as an adult, he has lived there for many years. He even entertained many Fianna Fail figures in his home. To attempt to deny his Irish identity is an insult to Irish people who have emigrated, and to the children of those who emigrated, especially when they came back to live in this country.
Then he got to the actual core issue – did Ganley use Yankee dollars to 'buy' the 'No' result in the Lisbon referendum?
It may well be that Ganley is at the forefront of a giant American conspiracy and has taken people for fools. But his detractors seem to have missed the point wilfully. It wasn’t Ganley’s money — or where he got it from — that won the day for the No campaign. It was the failure of the Yes campaign — in other words almost the entire political, business and media establishment — to convince the Irish electorate that the benefits of ratifying the Lisbon treaty outweighed the downsides.
Yup. It wasn't Ganley who 'won the day', but the establishment that lost it. And they lost simply because a majority of the people didn't trust them.

For this reason, the current strategy strikes me as extremely risky for the 'Yes' side. Rather than engage with Ganley as a civilized member 'of the opposition' they're going for him as if he's some form of enemy agent, a duplicitous traitor.

I don't know, maybe this will work, but if all these accusations turn out to be groundless (or never anything more than conspiracy theory) will this help overturn the 'No' vote? No, but it could convince some of those who voted 'Yes' that there is actually something dangerous to this whole process, that the forces of Europa will crush you if you dare oppose them. That's not how to win trust.