I was out for dinner with some of my former spymates last Saturday. One of the people there is involved in a campaign against the Lisbon Treaty, and was talking about it with the rest of us. By her own admission, she was rather boring us. At the time I though, well, the Lisbon Treaty is boring, what do you expect? In retrospect, though, it struck me that if a group of former and current International Relations students are not interested in discussing the Lisbon Treaty, then who is?
From that, let me segue into a link to an article appearing on the website of the Dublin Review of Books: 'Battling the Beast of Brussels', by Tony Brown, brought to my attention in a blog post by Nicholas Whyte. Tony Brown is involved with the Institute of European Affairs, a think-tank that promotes the cause of European integration.
Even if you are not that engaged with the Lisbon Treaty, you may be aware that Ireland will shortly be having a referendum on it. Brown's article looks at the people who are campaigning in Ireland for a vote against the treaty. He points out that they are largely the same people and institutions that have campaigned against every previous EU treaty, and that on Lisbon they are making the same outlandish claims that they made in every previous case – that the treaty will lead to the creation of an EU super-army, or that it will lead to enforced abortions, or to the end of neutrality, or to everything being privatised, or to mass impoverishment, and so on. That this did not happen last time seems not to cause any embarrassment to those who said they would, nor does it prevent them being predicted again the next time an EU treaty comes up for ratification.