Those Ungrateful Bastards!

Normally I really like Roger Cohen’s columns but today’s, “The EU in an Irish bog,” is atrocious. He buys hook, line and sink into the rediculous argument that because the Irish have benefitted significantly from EU membership their No vote is dumb, crass, ungrateful, etc, etc. He even says their voting was ‘unconscionable’! I hate this attitude towards politics, as it reduces people’s options to the ‘right choice’ or being guilty of false consciousness.

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2 Responses to Those Ungrateful Bastards!

  1. Of course Roger Cohen is entitled to that opinion. Ireland ends up joining the EU, decided primarily by the politicians elected by the people and charged to represent the general opinion of those very people, on a bed of promises of money. The EU then turns ireland into a very rich country virtually overnight, and ireland ‘repays’ this by pissing in the pool (letting big businesses get away with almost no taxes, making every big business move their head office to ireland, souring the economy of other EU states a bit), and then when the people are allowed to express their opinion on the EU directly, they say ‘no thanks!’.

    Epic fail by the irish government about informing their population, and epic fail by the EU by so thoroughly fucking up direct democracy, *TWICE* now. You can’t just ask people: “EU, Yes/No?” and expect a happy happy joy joy answer. You have to break it down into meaningful bits and pieces. I’m not sure what makes Joe Schmoe Irish vote no, and that’s the point – the votes are useless without knowing specifics. Back when the Netherlands voted on a EU issue, the majority of nay-voters voted no as a statement that they did not want Turkey to become part of the EU, and to a lesser extent, wanted to voice their dissatisfaction with the enormous bureaucratic waste of Brussels and Strassbourg.

    The actual thing being voted on was not in any way related to either Turkey joining the EU or reducing bureaucratic waste. The politicians were able to dodge the Turkey and the waste issue because the poll wasn’t officially about that, even if every joe on the street gladly and loudly said so, but at the same time the notion that the vote was tainted somehow because people used it as a sounding board was a good excuse to pass that law anyway. That’s the criminal neglect you should get pissed off about, not some journalist who has seen a significant amount of tax money flow out of his country towards another, successfully, and then get a slap in the face when the very people that enjoy his hard earned cash dare to say that in retrospect they don’t want it.

  2. Peter says:

    Yes, Cohen is entitled to his opinion, as are Irish voters. ;-)

    I think you’re completely wrong to say Ireland has ‘pissed in the pool’. The whole ‘social dumping’ argument is a tenuous one at best.

    You also imply that Irish politicians had decided all the past treaties. While they definitely negotiated Ireland’s role in them, Irish voters have voted on all treaties except for the Single European Act. As for why the Irish (and the Danes) vote no, I argued in my Masters thesis that it was because they felt the loss of political sovereignty outweighed any economic advantages. I seem to have lost the file, but if I can dig up my thesis I’ll post it on this site. Anyway, the point I want to make is that a no vote is not against EU membership but new EU developments. Too often the hysterical EU defenders, Cohen included, draw this false connection.

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