Monday, June 16, 2008

Ireland 1, Europe Nill

And I'm not talking football:
Irish voters tore up the European Union’s blueprint for the future yesterday in a dramatic and decisive rejection of the Lisbon treaty.

The result leaves Brussels’ plans to streamline EU power – creating a president and foreign minister and reducing the influence for smaller countries such as Ireland – in tatters.
The final tally was 53.2 % "no"/46.4 % "yes". So Euro-crats are in a Grade 1 crisis.

Yet, we've seen this movie before: Hans-Gert Pöttering, the president of the EU parliament, wants to mandate the treaty by threat or exclusion:
The rejection of the Treaty text by one European Union country cannot mean that the ratifications which have already been carried out by 18 EU countries become invalid. The ratifications in the other EU Member States must be respected just as much as the Irish vote. For that reason, the ratification process must continue in those Member States which have not yet ratified.

For its part, the Irish Government together with its European partners will now be required to make proposals as to how to proceed from here. The Summit of Heads of State and Government to be held next week in Brussels will have to address the situation after the Irish referendum and will offer the Irish Government an opportunity to take stock and put forward proposals.
One problem: the treaty does not become effective unless ratified by all member states. So France and Germany are urging a re-vote. That's exactly the tactic Euro-crats chose when Ireland's electorate rejected the Nice treaty in 2001.

The more fundamental objection to such a scheme is that the Irish results represent the will of the people, and the Irish "No" vote is surprisingly popular among ordinary Europeans. But that is little more than a speed-bump in Brussels: "When the Euro-elite wants something, 'no' is considered a temporary answer, 'yes' a permanent one." Ironic that the Union encompassing Athens and Runnymede still suffers from a "democracy deficit."


OBloodyHell said...

"When the Euro-elite wants something, 'no' is considered a temporary answer, 'yes' a permanent one."

Sorry, nothing uniquely Euro about that one -- that's a quality of modern politicos across The West (probably around the world, but at least The West).

The City of Gainesville, in FL, has tried repeatedly to annex this one section of the county for the last fifteen years. Every few years, they push an option before the people, always telling them how "joining the city will actually lower taxes". Yeah, right. Adding an additional level of government is going to lower taxes. Uh-huh. Sure.

And every single time the voters have said "no". But, as you say, "no" is a temporary thing. "Yes" is the only permanent answer.

I think if they do it one more time I'm going to start a petition to put something on the ballot that will STOP them from trying it for not less than 10 years.

In a similar way, the county has been trying to jack up the local Sales Tax for themselves. Many, many years ago, the State of Florida passed a bill allowing for a "local option tax" -- they would allow each county to vote/decide if they would increase their sales tax by a penny, said money to go to the associated county's revenues. When it went around, all of like 4 out of 60-ish counties passed it.

Translated: They said 'no'!

That, of course, SHOULD put it to bed, but no... these are politicos with dollar bills waving before their faces. They are and have been drooling ever since like a rabid pack of Pavlov's dogs offered the finest sirloins while listening to Tubular Bells...

First, the state then modified the law, which allowed the county commissions to decide on their own to pass the tax. Needless to say, the counties each started proceedings to do exactly that. The electorate, however, made it pretty clear that, having told them NO, they weren't in a mood to be overridden. The vehemence of the NO was sufficient to put a rather bold-faced period on the end of those proceedings.

That, of course, SHOULD put it to bed, but no...

So -- our local county commissioners, bless their black, evil, avaricious little hearts, have been trying relentlessly, every couple of years, to get this past the people.

Their first maneuver was to try and sell it as a means to expand park services. "Midnight basketball" -- i.e., they would keep facilities open and lights on for longer hours. Mind you, we were told that this was ONLY going to be spent on enhancements, NOT on existing infrastructure... and if you believed that, then you probably plan to vote for Obama. After it was defeated, the most prominent county commissioner supporting it actually had the cojones to come on TV that evening and SAY that "the parks were in such a state of disrepair, they'd let them slide, they were so certain it would pass... They didn't know where the money was going to come from noooooooowwwww...."

In symbols:
#$%^#%^^$%&$%&$%&$E^#$^@$%^&$^@&$%&@#$%^&$^&*@$%^*%^*&%#^*%^&*&@$%&$&#%^*@%^&$%&%$^&%^*%^^$&$@ %$^&%^%#^&*%&$^&^*%

And having now been told THREE TIMES -- NO! -- That, of course, SHOULD put it to bed, but ohhhhh, no...

They tried no less than three MORE times to get it passed -- each time on a different hook -- "paying for better mass transit", for example.

And each time, it got shot down.

But the seventh time, well, some bright boy tried it this way -- "pay for the new courthouse", a fixed time period, only two years, with an automatic end to the tax... and it passed.


And, of course, that got people used to paying it, so when THAT time was up, they were open to a new, 1/2 cent tax, that goes towards "uninsured medical needs" -- some of the money goes to pay for unpaid, uninsured ER services (I'll kind of accept that as at least not going into the county's pocket) -- but another huge chunk of money goes to the county for providing low-level medical services for the uninsured.

The fun part about that is that they only have had a couple hundred people sign up to use said services (out of 250,000 residents) despite the fact that they are getting, IIRC, something like 13 million a year from this.

Gee -- I wonder what happens to the excess?

And somehow, the local news agencies don't seem to have any interest in digging into that... Are we surprised? Of course not!


Assistant Village Idiot said...

OBH - they eventually win because the people who have jobs eventually have to go do them, leaving the field of battle abandoned.

Gainesville - an old friend lives there. It sounds like you are in the area. I will have to see both of you if I ever get down there.

OBloodyHell said...

> OBH - they eventually win because the people who have jobs eventually have to go do them, leaving the field of battle abandoned.

The regular "churn" of students is relevant, but they really never vote locally (plus, oddly enough, they always seem to schedule the voting days when students are likely to be out of town, whereever possible).

There are enough non-students here that it's just more a matter of trying to roll the dice with the vote to get things passed when the sensible ones don't show up.