An unelected person spouting off their personal opinions is not something I can complain about, I suppose, since I do the very same thing quite regularly in a variety of forums.
But Declan Ganley is back, and the Sunday Business Post have given him a platform to talk about the European Fiscal/Stability/Austerity Treaty. (That link may or may not work – the Sunday Business Post is normally behind a paywall, but Ganley tweeted a link – http://t.co/LCLjdenr – which brought me to the article).
Ganley, of course, is the businessman with ties to the American military, and the founder of Libertas – the pan-European euroskeptic party that managed to get only a single candidate elected in the last European elections. And there was some controversy over bills being paid. Ganley himself failed to get elected, but being unelected has never stopped him from getting regular high-profile spots in the media, be it print or radio. The rest of us make do with blogs… In any case, courtesy of politics.ie, we find that Libertas is back, and it’s campaigning for a ‘No’ vote in the Fiscal/Stability/Austerity Treaty.
Ganley’s SBP article is a two-parter. We can safely ignore the first half, which is blog-standard rhetoric. The second half is more interesting, setting out his stall for why we should vote ‘No’, alongside his vision for a renewed, more democratic, more accountable EU. Euroskeptic stuff, it’s not – or at least it doesn’t read that way. (Though bear in mind it’s early on a Sunday and I’m only on my second coffee). A lot of it makes sense – again, on a first read. And I’m pro-Europe. He makes some good points on the treaty. For instance, I’d be interested in hearing a rebuttal to his questioning of Article 32, which states:
“The ESM, its property, funding and assets, wherever located and by whomsoever held, shall enjoy immunity from every form of judicial process except to the extent that the ESM expressly waives its immunity for the purpose of any proceedings or by the terms of any contract, including the documentation of the funding instruments.”
Total immunity from prosecution? What’s up with that?
A feature of the last few referenda has been that, for me at least, you could only tell which way to vote by seeing who was saying ‘Vote No!’. Because while there may have been merits to both sides, all of the loons seemed to gather on one side – the ‘No’ camp. And then you’d vote the other way.
The ‘No’ campaign seems to be kicking off in earnest. Paul Murphy MEP is somehow tying in water and household charges to the treaty (why?), and SF are saying to vote No because that’s consistent with their position on every EU treaty ever. But some of Ganley’s arguments actually make sense. In the meantime, the ‘Yes’ campaign seems to consist entirely of posters saying to vote ‘Yes’, but not really saying why. Oh, and both sides accuse the other of bullying.
Okay, the polls say the ‘Yes’ campaign is winning, but it needs to persuade people to actually go out and vote. I’ve received no reason to do so, so far, apart from a vague “Er, cheaper loans? When we look for a second bailout. Which we absolutely, categorically do not need! Because the Troika say we’re on track.” Though I must say the idea of enshrining into law the basic concept of “Thou shalt not spend recklessly beyond your means as if ye were a Fianna Fáil politician buying an election” does kind of appeal.
All of which leaves me with another two weeks to make my mind up, I suppose…