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The Word on the Week

Disappearing Democracy

It seemed such a good idea after two world wars fought mainly on European soil that the States of Europe should get together. But peace comes at a price and anyone working out the maths could see the day coming when, with a population of less that 1% of the whole, this Republic’s voice would become a whisper. What was perhaps less clear was the extent to which our nation’s statehood would be diluted. The answer is hard to find in the 287 pages of legal jargon which comprise the Treaty. Perhaps it’s an unfair comparison but the USA was founded on a constitution 7 pages long! There is some truth in the suggestion that the treaty was designed not to be read by voters but by lawyers. The democratic deficit was seen when, despite the French and Dutch voters’ rejection of the Constitution in 2005, they were denied any say on the Lisbon Treaty – which is reckoned to be virtually identical to the rejected Constitution. Because it was ‘only’ a treaty, it was directly ratified by both countries’ governments. Indeed Ireland stands alone in Europe because it has a Constitution which cannot be altered without the consent of the people. A YES vote by Ireland would make our Constitution subservient to post-Lisbon European laws. This would effectively signal the end of a Constitution which has served us well in protecting our values through a turbulent era.  Perhaps this is inevitable as the EU has a tradition of disregarding inconvenient referendum results, but we should be aware of what we are leaving behind. Our Constitution with its Trinitarian introduction and particular reference to the person and deity of the Lord Jesus Christ indicates where its values lie. The Treaty makes no reference to our Christian heritage. The proposed legislation does not recognise the basic sinfulness of man and the measures for holding those in power accountable are far from adequate. If we are to cede our sovereignty we should hold out for a better system than the present unintelligible mess.