The latest nation-wide opinion poll shows a dramatic swing against the Lisbon Treaty, with the 'Yes' side leading by only 6% when undecided voters are excluded.
The Red C poll in today's edition of the Sunday Business Post has been welcomed by anti-Lisbon campaigners, while the Irish government says the result was "disappointing, but not entirely surprising".
Up to now, opinion polls had suggested a two-to-one majority in favour of the treaty.
The poll for the Sunday Business Post says that among those entitled to vote, 35% are backing the Lisbon Treaty, a fall of 8% since the last poll two months ago.
31% are opposed to the treaty, an increase of 7%, while 34% - more than one third of voters - do not know what to make of it and are yet undecided.
When those undecideds are excluded, the 'Yes' side leads by 53% to 47%, a very narrow margin with seven weeks to go to polling.
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern had confirmed officially during the week that the Referendum on the Lisbon Treaty will be held on Thursday, June 12th. Today, after hearing of the new Red C poll, he said that it "would be disastrous" if the Lisbon Treaty would be defeated. Well, yes, it would be - but only for him, since that would end his hopes of ever becoming the new permanent President of the EU. For Ireland as a country and for every Irish person it would be positive and give us in fact more influence in the political process if the treaty is defeated.
Less scientifically controlled polls are even more in favour of a 'No' vote. On an anti-European website I saw today only 11% were for the treaty, while 83% were against, with 4% undecided and 1% who had no opinion.
On this site I also have a poll running with the same question (and it is still open). So far 25% of my readers are for the treaty and 62% against it, while 4% "don't know" and 2% "don't care".
The new Red C poll, as well as the less sophisticated one from this site, reflect clearly the growing unease of many Irish people with the way the new treaty is being pushed and almost forced on Irish people by the major parties and their politicians, with no proper explanations and with the full text of the very important document not available to every voter in the country.
Not long ago our government has sent a copy of the "Rules of the Road" to every household in Ireland, including all houses where there is no car and no-one who drives. Now the government is sending a second booklet to every house, in order to inform us about national "Emergency Planning", with scenarios that will never happen and some that are so unrealistic that they can only be described as pure fiction, or even science fiction.
However, the government does not send a copy of the Lisbon Treaty to every household in Ireland, and for a good reason. Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has given the President of the EU Commission, José Manuel Barroso (right, with his friend Bertie), the promise that "Ireland will deliver", so the last thing the government wants is that people will read - and perhaps even understand - the Lisbon Treaty. If they would read and understand the treaty, it would be clear to them that Ireland is losing out in every part of it, giving up rights and entitlements that the nation has had so far. But in order to please the large member states - especially Germany, France and Britain, whose share of influence will grow over-proportionally - our government and the two largest opposition parties are willing to sell out the little share Ireland still has in the EU.
At present, the voting power of Ireland in the European Council (where the 27 member states meet and discuss all important matters) is 2%, which is not much, but simply reflects our size in comparison to the other members. Under the Lisbon Treaty the voting power of Ireland would be reduced by almost two-thirds to a mere 0.8%, which means that we would in future have really no say at all and just sit in the Council as a kind of superflous room decoration.
The Lisbon Treaty would also take away our right to have a permanent EU Commissioner, and we would agree to have no Commissioner for every five years within a cycle of fifteen years. And to shrink our already meager influence even further, we would also lose one of our MEPs, reducing the number of people we elect to the European Parliament from currently 13 (in the Republic) to 12. (There are also two Irish MEPs elected in the North.)
And these are only the most significant points of the treaty. There are a lot more, way too many to list them all here. But having read the text of the Lisbon Treaty - as far as it is available to ordinary people without paying the extortionist sum of € 42 that is charged for a complete copy - I have found not one positive change for Ireland. In fact, the whole treaty is geared to increase the power of the large member states, while the smaller ones - and not only Ireland - are reduced in their influence and participation. It also opens the doors of the union wide for all sorts of privatisation, including in the areas of health, public services and education.
According to the Red C poll, the change in opinion is particularly marked among Ireland's farmers, who seem to have woken up just in time to recognise the damage that the Lisbon Treaty and various options it gives the (unelected) EU Commission in regards to international negotiations will do to them and their businesses.
IFA President Padraig Walshe said this was not surprising as his members are very worried about the position being taken in the World Trade talks by British EU Commissioner (for Trade) Peter Mandelson (left).
Well, at present Mr. Mandelson can talk as much as he likes, the decisions are still made by all member states together.
If a majority of Irish people would vote for the Lisbon Treaty, these safeguards are no longer in place and the EU Commission could do whatever they like, with no democratic control or any mechanism to stop them.
In history it has so far happened only once that a whole nation voted voluntarily and willingly for the total abolition of a democratic republic (as they had it between 1919 and 1933) and the introduction of a dictatorship with absolute powers. This nation was Germany, and the year was 1933. The rest, as they say, is history. The German nation has been paying for their mistake ever since, still is, and will be most likely for several more centuries.
We Irish have lived under foreign rule for 750 years, and partly because we were too divided into tribes in the late 12th century, so we were not able to offer proper armed resistance against the invading Normans. And again - the rest is history.
After centuries of suffering and struggle, we achieved limited autonomy 86 years ago. And only 59 years ago we became a fully independent sovereign republic. Has that been too much for the Irish nation? Too much freedom and decision-making? Well, if you want to go back into a state of national hibernation with others deciding what happens and telling us what we can do and what not, then vote for the Lisbon Treaty.
If you, however, like Ireland's freedom, independence and opportunities, and want to keep them also for the future, then there is only one way to vote in the up-coming referendum: No.
Dick Roche (right), wrecker of the Skryne Valley, fool of Beijing and now Minister for European Affairs, said a political campaign will get underway once the referendum bill is through the Oireachtas, and that it is all "very much to play for". Oh yes, Mr. Roche, there is very much to play for. Our all future and happiness, to start with. And as things are looking now, it is possible to defeat you and the Lisbon Treaty (and with it all the selfish and arrogant politicians who want to talk us into voting for it). Let's do it!
The Emerald Islander