About 2 week ago I blogged that I thought Lisbon was slipping away and that defeat was likely and that a general election would follow as indeed would a leadership contest in Fianna Fail. Given the recovery in public support for the Treaty that scenario now looks less likely although the Yes camp aren’t out of the woods yet. So where has it all changed? Well a number of things have happened. Firstly the left opposition to the treaty have once again been outflanked by the far right. Coir’s attention grabbing posters claiming that the minimum wage will drop to €1.84, along with the arrival in Ireland of the libertarian UKIP has gone down like a lead balloon. The constantly grating clever dick accent of Nigel Farage has not connected with, to quote Joe Higgins, “the ordinary working class man and woman”. The reality is that Farage cares very little about Ireland and what it does rather he’s more interested in raising his profile in Britain as he’s coincidently announced he’s to break the traditional moratorium on challenging the House of Common’s speaker because he, Bercow, is on the left of the Tory Party.
Now another home counties accent has re-joined the fray, the sinister Cockney tribesman Declan Ganley. Ganley is a man with his past in a closet. Famously he retired from politics after being heavily defeated in the European elections. Ganley queried the count and when he was granted a re-count after he claimed a wheelie bin full of his votes disappeared, the result saw his actual vote drop as Labour votes were found in his pile. Ganley claims to have been an adviser to a Baltic state where Ministers subsequently claimed they’d never heard of him! His company Rivada boasts on its board retired US generals. Rivada has extensive contracts with the US Military for communications systems. His party Libertas is a private company. In the European Elections he won just 1 of the 100 seats they’d targeted. He’s not the only US military contractor to oppose Lisbon, but he’s the most vocal. Youtube footage shows him hiding a US flag before an interview with a German channel. I suppose it’s a case of an old Tory hiding Old Glory!
Labour MEP Nessa Childers was canvassing with us since I last blogged on the issue. The response to the canvas is very positive in Wexford. Wexford voted no in June 2008 by a margin of about 7%. If the canvas is suggesting now more voters in a constituency like Wexford and if this swing is being reflected nationally then I believe that the treaty can now pass. Wexford is a typical bell weather constituency in this referendum. If there is a swing to Yes in Wexford and it is replicated all over the country then I believe that Lisbon will pass. However if Marx could declare that it was too early to pronounce on the French Revolution 70 years after the event, then I’m more than entitled to warn against what could happen between now and polling day.
Coir hijacked the internationalist James Connolly to suggest he'd have backed their narrow reactionary campaign. Coir are anti-woman and it shows an ignorance of history to suggest that Connolly was such.
The Yes campaign has sharpened its focus, the red herrings on QMV, self amending treaty, neutrality, abortion, conscription, workers rights etc that surfaced the last time have been nailed. The real fear is that public opposition to the government’s NAMA proposal will galvanise some voters to vote against their better interests as they’ve had enough of the shambles. That’s understandable but voters had that chance last June. There are some things more important than Cowen and Co and this one of them!