Friday, June 13, 2008

The final referendum results

Melancholicus offers his apologies to those readers from outside the European Union, and to those who couldn’t care less about the Lisbon Treaty, but for those who have borne with him thus far there is now some good news. This (barring a radical change of political circumstances) will be his final post on Lisbon, after which we can all go home for the weekend. Melancholicus will begin posting once again on more interesting matters early next week.

Results are now in from the last of the undeclared constituencies and, as was apparent even from early this morning, Ireland has rejected the Lisbon Treaty and thrown a spanner into the works of the European Union. The EU constitution, resurrected after a fashion in the articles of Lisbon, is now well and truly dead. The French and the Dutch three years ago voted not in vain.

It’s all over now, and we can go happily back to our business now that the bugbear has been brought down. There will of course be a great deal of soul-searching in the days and weeks to come; our political leaders will be asking themselves what they did wrong, and agonising over the result like a championship team that came within a hair’s breadth of winning the cup final but was pipped at the last. Just wait and see how long it will be until the various factions within the Yes campaign begin apportioning blame among their fellows, if they have not begun this political blood-sport already. The commissars, frothing with ill-concealed fury, have already begun their snarling at the disobedient Irish electorate, but we will bear their opprobrium patiently; they can snarl all they like, but that won’t change the fact that we have shot down their sneaky attempt to overmaster us. There are rumours that some states may attempt to ratify the Treaty anyway; this seems to contradict what we were told by both Brussels and by our political leaders, to the end that the Treaty cannot go into effect unless ratified by all 27 states together.

In any case this is a setback for the commissars, but not the end of the road. If the reader remembers, the Irish electorate rejected the Treaty of Nice in a similar referendum in 2001, whereupon the referendum was put to us again — and passed — the following year. Melancholicus suspects that after a discreet interval, when the hubbub has died down, a second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty will be offered to the Irish electorate — and whether they will say No a second time remains to be seen.

Now, for the record, here are the results from the last five constituencies outside Dublin:

Meath West: No (55.5% to 44.5%)
Laois/Offaly: Yes (56% to 44%)
Cork North-West: No (53.9% to 46.1%)
Cork South-West: No (55.6% to 44.4%)
Cork East: No (57% to 43%)

And the last three Dublin constituencies:

Dublin North-Central: Yes (50.6% to 49.4%)
Dublin North-East: No (56.8% to 43.2%)
Dublin North-West: No (63.6% to 36.4%)

And that all looks fairly decisive. Only four constituencies outside Dublin voted Yes overall; the result in a fifth was a dead heat. Everywhere else the No vote was clear. Even in the capital, the greatest hope of the Yes campaign, seven of the twelve Dublin constituencies rejected the Treaty. Melancholicus would actually have lost the bet referred to in the previous post, as Laois/Offaly was the last constituency to declare (and it voted Yes, it being the Taoiseach’s constituency).

What a disaster for the Irish government! What a disaster for the commissars!

But how good for Ireland, and for the people of Europe!

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