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The statement by the Minister for Finance that a no vote in the referendum on the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union will force him to introduce a harsher budget than is his present intention is little more than an attempt to bully the electorate to deliver the “right decision”.
However, it also suggests that the Government believes that, as a result of its economic policy, it will be forced to seek a second bailout. No wonder Mr Noonan has adopted the persona of schoolyard bully.
While Mr Noonan’s threat may be the most blatant, he is far from being alone in the schoolyard.
To date, the only argument put forward by the yes side is that things will get worse if we vote no. I have yet to hear or read one positive reason to vote in favour of this treaty.
Mr Noonan’s threat of dire consequences if we decide to reject the treaty harks back to David Lloyd George’s threat of “terrible and immediate war” if the Irish delegation refused to sign the Anglo-Irish Treaty.
The constitution is the basic law of this state. Any changes to that constitution should be as a result of a free exercise of the sovereign will of the Irish people. A vote made under duress belittles the referendum process and indeed the constitution.
Mr Noonan’s threat is typical of a political class which believes that they know best. A political class that doesn’t really trust the people to make the “right decision”.
This is the same political class that knew best about the bank guarantee which was without doubt one of the most costly errors in the history of this state.
MMr Noonan may claim that it was the previous government which gave that bank guarantee, however, Fine Gael supported its passage through the Oireachtas.
They were wrong then and they may be wrong again regarding this treaty. Or is the Irish political class infallible?
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