Monday, September 28, 2009

Lies, damn lies and statistics

As we approach the final few days of the Lisbon Mark 2 campaign it is fair to say that the debate has seen its share of lies, damn lies and statistics. If we are to believe everyone on both sides Lisbon is about Job creation and job losses, economic recovery and economic ruin, strengthening democracy and ending democracy as we know it. The first casualty of this campaign was truth. Some on the fringes of the no campaign say that if Lisbon is passed the Minimum wage will be reduced to less then €1.80 (lie), conscription will be introduced (lie), abortion will be legalised (lie) and our elderly will be the victims of euthanasia (lie). On the other hand Fianna Fáil and their friends in Fine Gael and Labour tell us that if we accept Lisbon it will mean jobs (lie), investment (lie), will lead to economic recovery (lie), we keep our permanent commissioner (lie), our neutrality is protected (lie) and that workers rights are strengthened (lie).

So now it is up to the people to decide. It is going to be a difficult task for people to sift through the spin and the lies. Supporters of the treaty have very skilfully turned the referendum into a vote on the economy and recovery rather then on what we are actually voting on – the treaty. Equally groups on the fringes of the no side have brought issues into the campaign which have nothing at all to do with the treaty. When people go to the polls on Friday they will be asked to vote on one thing and one thing only – the Lisbon Treaty. The only question that people should really ask themselves is whether or not they believe Lisbon is good or bad for Ireland. All of the bogus issues should be left outside the polling booth. This will be difficult but if we are to do ourselves justice we must pass judgement on what we are being asked to judge – the treaty.

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