Thursday, December 18, 2008

We're too small ...

That's the gist of Ivan Yates's column this morning. Too small for anyone in the EU to really take our complaints with Lisbon seriously. Just too small.
While they respect our sovereignty and right to self-determination, this has not extended to allowing one of the smallest and most peripheral states to dictate to the rest of Europe how EU procedures should be reformed.

They are not prepared to reopen the ratification process of the treaty within their own respective states. They are unwilling to revisit their parliaments or electorates with an additional protocol — let alone alter the treaty. Some may argue that our Government didn't try hard enough. Whether this is true or not, it is wholly irrelevant because we now have to face the collective reality of "no renegotiation".
I admire that honesty and believe there's a lot of truth in it. Look, the pro-EU forces in Brussels and in the various EU capitals were more than happy to engage in a bit of trickery - basically changing the title on the EU Constitution - to override the French & Dutch 'No' votes in 2005. That they'd have little patience with us is hardly news.

At least Yates is willing to admit the full truth; many on the 'Yes' side are not. We have no say. Not really. Not in how the rules are made. All we get to decide is whether we agree with the new rules whenever they're changed or we can leave. That's it.

Yates continues his pro-Lison argument saying that these treaty referendums are not the place to take out your frustrations on the government. That's true.
A constant characteristic in the vox pops of no voters was a "whatever you're having yourself" disenchantment. If you were fed up due to the smoking ban, drink driving rules, economic recession, Dustin's Eurovision defeat, fishing and farming woes, taxation system, health cuts or tribunal revelations — you found the referendum a suitable repository for your angst.
However, he's wrong about fishing & farming woes. Those two industries can obviously point to EU rules and regulations as having an impact on their profitability. That means those who are interested in farming and/or fishing are right to take an interest in the Lisbon Treaty and to make a case for or against.

I also believe that someone who is opposed to taxation laws being changed to mirror those in France or Germany can be at least concerned about the increasing centralization of power in Brussels. It defies belief that we can keep integrating - not just our economies, but almost all aspects of governing - without some equalization* in the tax laws. And, as Yates notes, when the big boys decide the time has come for forcing the tax laws to be essentially consistent throughout the EU, again, we'll have little say in how those new rules are written. We can agree or we can leave.

* Equalization is not the word I was looking for, but it didn't come to me.