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Irish Voters Reject Lisbon Treaty in a Victory for Democracy in Europe

Saturday, August 02, 2008 by: Gabriel Donohoe
Tags: political news, health news, Natural News

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(NewsTarget) On June 12th, 2008, Irish voters rejected the Lisbon Treaty by a large majority of 53.4% to 46.6%. This result is all the more incredible when one considers that all the main political parties, business groups, trade unions, and a national farming association presented a united front to campaign for a "Yes" vote. In fact, 160 out of the 166 members of the Irish parliament called on their constituents to vote "Yes".

But amazingly, the people said "No!"

This shows how far removed the politicians are from the concerns and wishes of their citizens. In Europe, as in the United States, politicians are more influenced by the vested interests of big business than doing what is right and proper for their voters. According to Patricia McKenna, a former Irish Green Party MEP (Member of the European Parliament), the "Yes" campaign was an unholy alliance fronted by some of the most incompetent politicians in Europe doing the bidding of Big Business and the EU Commission.

"This is a resounding victory on behalf of ordinary people across Europe over an out-of-touch and arrogant political elite," said Neil O'Brien, the director of Open Europe, a British group that opposes the Treaty.

Jill Bell, President of the Irish Association of Health Stores, said, "While not against the EU in principle, it is patently clear that Europe has not been good for the natural products industry, or for freedom of choice in healthcare. The Lisbon Treaty seems set to further facilitate erosion of individual rights and choices."

Ms. Bell went on to say, "The introduction of the Food Supplements Directive and the Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive is further evidence that, within the EU, trade regulations are drawn up to favour big business, at the expense of small enterprises."

"The future viability of health stores is seriously under threat as a direct result of EU regulation [whereby] the commercial regulatory environment is biased in favour of large corporations, looks set to continue, and even worsen, under this Treaty."

With all Europe's talk of democracy, Ireland was the only country of the 27 member states to allow a public referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. France and Holland rejected the European Constitution in referenda three years ago but the euro political elite got around that obstacle by tinkering with the Constitution document and re-presenting it, largely intact, as the Lisbon Treaty. The French and Dutch governments then promptly ratified the 'new' Treaty without going back to their peoples.

Why did Ireland vote "No"?

The Irish have never been Eurosceptics and most of the people wholeheartedly support the European Union. Therefore, their rejection of the Lisbon Treaty is all the more disconcerting. What is it that worries them about deeper integration into Europe? Why do they not believe the politicians when they say, "Trust us. It'll be all right"?

The Treaty itself, some 300 pages long, is unreadable and is utterly incomprehensible. Even the Irish Prime Minister, Brian Cowen, said he did not read it. Some say the text of the Treaty was written to be deliberately vague. One of its architects, former French President, Giscard d'Estaing, said that if people understood it they would vote against it.

Astonishingly, d'Estaing went on to say, "Public opinion will be led to adopt, without knowing it, the proposals that we dare not present to them directly... All the earlier proposals will be in the new text, but will be hidden and disguised in some way."

And current French president Nicolas Sarkozy said last November, "France was just ahead of all the other countries in voting 'No'. It would happen in all Member States if they have a referendum. There is a cleavage between people and governments... A referendum now would bring Europe into danger. There will be no Treaty if we had a referendum in France..."

The Belgian Foreign Minister, Karel de Gucht, was equally blunt when he said in June, 2007, "The aim of the Constitutional Treaty was to be more readable; the aim of this [Lisbon] Treaty is to be unreadable... The Constitution aimed to be clear, whereas this [Lisbon] Treaty had to be unclear. It is a success."

These are very strange comments coming from the heart of Europe, very sinister even. While one does not wish to talk about conspiracy theories one has to wonder what agenda lies at the heart of all this.

A leading advocator of the "No" vote, Declan Ganley, Founder of Libertas, said that people wanted to see a Europe that is democratic and accountable to all. "We can no longer continue to confer powers on a Brussels which does not listen to the people and ignores their expressed democratic will."

This rejection of the Treaty by Ireland, a small country representing only 1% of the EU's 490 million citizens, has created a storm in Europe. There have been both threats and praise from many quarters. Threats of isolation have come from people like the French Foreign Minister, Mr. Kouchner, but the citizens of many other countries whose governments denied them a right to vote have welcomed the Irish "No" vote and have congratulated Ireland for giving voice to the misgivings of tens of millions of people in Europe.

William Hague, the British Conservative Shadow Foreign Secretary, insisted that the British parliamentary ratification process must be stopped immediately. The Blair administration promised British voters a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty but Prime Minister Gordon Brown has reneged on this promise and is now in the process of ratifying the Treaty in the British Parliament.

"The Irish people have spoken," Hague said, "and they have made clear that they do not want a Treaty that takes so many powers from the countries of Europe and gives it to distant institutions in Brussels."

"Despite all the threats that have been made they have had the courage to make their own decision. They deserve Europe's admiration and congratulations."

At the moment, the ratification process is being challenged in the British courts by those who want a referendum.

The Irish, like the British and other citizenry within Europe, are reluctant to hand over complete power to a cold and distant elite ruling group in Brussels, many of whom are not elected and are unanswerable to the people. For instance, when the EU Vitamin Supplements Directive was first raised by the Commission over 400 million pieces of mail, e-mail, and faxes of protest were sent to Brussels. But these were ignored, brushed aside, and the initiative was passed into law. American readers will recall that it was just this type of legislation without representation that led to the Revolution in 1776.

It is obvious that Big Business is the true power in Europe and the wishes of the people are subservient to corporate profits. Just recently, it was proposed in the European Court of Justice that France should be fined 230,000 ($350,000) a day for not allowing GM crops to be released in the country. The threat to health was ignored in favour of the mega rich Biotech industry.

The administration in Brussels has long been dogged by charges of corruption, fraud, and mismanagement with something like 8 billion Euro being misappropriated every year. It was such charges of fraud and embezzlement that brought down Jacques Santer's European government in 1999. And today, such are the discrepancies in the figures that EU auditors have been unable to sign off accounts for the past 13 years. If that happened in private enterprise, directors would end up in jail.

This is the Europe into which our politicians want us to place all our trust. By rejecting Lisbon, Irish voters have proved to be more informed and astute than their own politicians. It seems that the more powers Brussels are given the more they will meddle in people's lives.

A good example is the already mentioned Food Supplements Directive. Brussels bureaucrats want vitamins and minerals reduced to their RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) levels, levels based on a 60 year-old study that was concerned more with borderline disease prevention than with optimal health. These levels are virtually worthless to keep people healthy.

Why bring in this Directive in the first place? High dose vitamins/minerals don't harm or kill people (unlike prescription drugs that kill thousands every week). In fact, many people depend on high dosages to maintain good health. For example, a smoker needs four times the RDA of Vitamin C to maintain the same levels in his blood as a non-smoker. And a woman suffering from severe premenstrual symptoms would need many times the RDA to alleviate her symptoms.

But the argument here is not about the efficacy of vitamins and minerals - it is about freedom of choice. And Brussels is refusing European citizens a basic right - Freedom to Choose. This law is bordering on fascism.

I can go down to my local corner shop or garage forecourt and buy enough paracetamol or other OTC (over-the-counter) drugs to kill myself. Or I can go to a liquor store and buy enough alcohol to damage my liver or even drink myself to death. And I can smoke 200 cigarettes a day if I have a mind to.

But what I won't be able to do is to buy enough Vitamin C to help me fight off the common cold.

Who benefits from this Directive? One must suspect Big Pharma. They are losing money to safe, natural alternatives to their toxic drugs and are using their immense muscle to get politicians and law-makers to clear out the competition for them. They have no interest whatsoever in people's health. Profit is their sole motivation.

And the Lisbon Treaty is just the vehicle to make them even more money.

The argument is only hotting up.

Watch this space.

About the author

Gabriel Donohoe is a writer, researcher, educator, and natural health therapist in Ireland. He can be reached at: [email protected]

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