Brian Cowen’s been in office for a fortnight so let’s see what Biffo’s been up to. First in a multi-part series.
He went on the record recently saying that it was a bit rich of Lisbon Treaty opponents to call the treaty in particular or the EU in general “anti-democratic” when they themselves lacked a “democratic mandate”. Seems Brian (not untypically for a representative) can’t imagine any form of democracy that isn’t representative democracy. If the mandate he and his mates have (votes from last year’s general election) amount to an endorsement of the Lisbon Treaty then it is a very vague one at most.
One key difference between anti-Lisbonites and the EU, which Biffo ignored, is that Libertas, or whomever, aren’t levying taxes on me or making rules which bind me or other citizens. They’re just voicing an opinion. What’s the Tea Shack worried about? Is he really arguing that you need to be a TD to legitimately express an opinion in public on an issue?
The anti-Treaty campaigns (as distinct from anti-Treaty parties like Sinn Fein) aren’t such bad examples of democratic bodies since all their members signed up because of their express agreement with that side of the argument and their funding comes from those who again expressly agree with the opinion or at least with it being aired.
On the other hand, Cowen has applied the whip in the severest manner to his own party to force not only support for the treaty but active campaigning for a yes vote out of Fianna Failers. And government and party money has needless to say flowed into the Yes campaigns although not every party member or donor or taxpayer is necessarily a supporter of the referendum. Funny thing, democracy. Maybe if the Bri Man finishes reading the Treaty cover to cover he’ll find some positive reasons in favour of it to focus on instead of warning the public off the No Side, who are, it should be noted, a motley enough crew and no strangers to the odd bit of rampant hyperbole themselves.
We all had great craic overhearing Brian telling his right-hand Mary (Coughlan that is) in the Dail and under his breath to knock some heads together and get those “fuckers” from the National Consumer Agency in. For a nice cup of tea and a chat presumably. Our fella has truly stepped into the realm of major world leaders now that he’s had his very own “Yo, Blair!” moment.