In last year?s Irish Lisbon Treaty referendum, turnout was 53.1%, with 53.4% voting No and 46.6% voting yes.
That?s 862,415 No voters ? 28.3% of the Irish electorate, and just 0.17% of the EU?s population ? holding up the ratification of a complex document that was the result of the best part of seven years? worth of detailed negotiations between the governments of 27 states.
First of all I want to thank those of you who expressed condolences on the death of my mother. It is very much appreciated. It has been a difficult time lately but I have been able to spend time with my extended family, of course mourning her death but also reflecting on and enjoying memories of my mother?s life. She was close to 90 years old and had lived life to the full and, although death is always hard to deal with, I know she died as she would have wished ? quickly, painlessly and with her friends.
Now that Ireland has approved of the Lisbon Treaty by referendum and will soon have ratified, the immediate attention is going to be on the presidents of Poland and the Czech Republic. However, even eurosceptic blogger and UK Indepence Party spokesperson Gawain Towler does not see a prospect of the treaty being delayed long enough for a future Tory government to put it to a referendum.
When all the Irish Lisbon 2009 referendum votes have been counted, the outcome is clear: Yes 67.1 per cent (1,214,268 votes), against 32.9 per cent (594,606 No votes). The swing to the Yes side was massive, 20.53 per cent.
Guy Verhofstadt, ALDE group leader in the European Parliament, commenting from Brussels on the outcome of the second Irish referendum on the Lisbon Treaty said:
“Today is a beautiful day for Europe. With the Irish YES, all the citizens of Europe, directly or indirectly, said YES to the Lisbon Treaty. Today is the first day of a new future for Europe, united, democratic, effective and strong. ”
Have you ever wondered at the lack of basic knowledge about the European Union in Britain? Have you ever been surprised at the ridiculous assertions by many British anti-EU activists?
The Murdoch press is hardly the only reason for this depressing state, but its active lowering of standards can hardly be ignored.
If the Irish have voted Yes in the yesterday?s Lisbon 2009 referendum, as pundits are suggesting, the EU Treaty of Lisbon will be fully legitimate: approved in all 27 member states of the European Union (despite the need for formal ratification by Polish President Lech Kaczynski and a decision by the Czech Constitutional Court before the signature of President Vaclav Klaus).
Today is a key inflection point in determining whether the EU will be looking forwards or backwards over the next few months. Irish voters will have had their second run at approving the Lisbon Treaty by referendum. The count begins at 0800 GMT and it?ll be worth checking the Irish Election blog for early word of the ?tallies? (informal survey of ballots as they are sorted) as well as general reaction to the result. There?s some possibility of anti-climactic process if the tallies or a reliable exit poll signal a clear Yes margin early on but there have probably been a few sleepless nights in government circles nonetheless. Assuming a Yes vote, there will be 3 issues worth watching:
There are many, many good arguments to be used against the EU. Scores of them, in fact. In places it?s massively inefficient. In places there are strong indications of what seems like systemic corruption. Some of the policies it has introduced have been hugely harmful to both people and the planet.