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IT must be with unconscious irony that posters urging a Yes vote inform us ‘It’s Your Choice – Vote Yes’.
In other words, vote any way you want as long as it’s Yes.
I will be voting No – again – and there are at least three reasons. First, the treaty is an amendment to the European constitution which remains the ultimate aim of the process.
I read through the original and found it hopelessly ambivalent in places. It was clear to me that sections will end up being thrashed out in the EU court to establish exactly how they should be interpreted. In other words, I am being asked to agree to something with implications that will remain unclear until after the decision is made.
A second substantial issue is that the treaty seems driven by big business and pushes for far greater privatisation of services and a free market. It is argued that this is a good thing. I disagree.
While the public sector may at times seem inefficient or unaccountable compared to the private, the solution is not more privatisation but more efficiency and accountability.
The whole point of having elected representatives and local authorities is to ensure the people who inhabit that particular country – or corner of a country – get the best possible use of the resources and quality of life the country has to offer. They are there to serve the people, whereas private companies are there to enrich their shareholder, not always in the interest of the national welfare.
A third reason is the manner in which the whole process is being conducted. Most populations in Europe have been denied a voice on one of the most significant steps Europe may take. One has to ask why?
The legal framework in some countries meant that a referendum wasn’t a legal necessity but still morality and openness called for a real choice to be given to the people who would be obliged to live under the new arrangements should the treaty come into force.
It is no secret that some governments decided that no referendum would be held once they’d seen the French and Dutch vote No. If people weren’t going to be good little citizens and rubber stamp the decisions made for them over their heads, then they were to be allowed no say at all. Yes, I want to be “at the heart of Europe” – indeed I already am – but not one with totalitarian tendencies. This may prove to be my last chance to do something about it democratically.
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