Friday, June 13, 2008

A vote against Europe is a vote for capitalism...and a vote for socialism

The Irish, following in the footsteps of the French and Dutch a few years earlier, have rejected the Lisbon Treaty – essentially the EU Constitution in not so many words. The process strikes me as totally antidemocratic – the Dutch and French rejected it last time, so their governments didn't put it up for popular vote, and Ireland was the only country in the 27-member supranational union to put the vote to the people. But anyway, what interested me the most is how different groups lobbied against the proposal for seemingly contradictory reasons. The pro-business ad-hoc anti-treaty group Libertas fought for a no vote by warning of "inflexible regulation," "back doors to increased taxes," and fears of Brussels meddling with FDI, while the leftist/nationalist Sinn Féin party argued against the treaty with socialist arguments like:

Sinn Féin today claimed the Lisbon treaty would have serious consequences for Irish public services by advancing the liberalisation of that sector.

Speaking at Leinster House, Sinn Féin health spokesman Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said there was a “clear desire” within the European Commission and many EU governments to open members’ markets in public services such as health and education to competition.

He warned there were “clear consequences” when such public services are opened up to competition.

“Treating health care or education as commodities to be traded on the market creates inequalities in access to public services. . . . Opening public services to competition actively undermines universal access to healthcare, and forces reliance on private insurance.”

Mr Ó Caoláin said such liberalisation puts downward pressure on wages.

“It also undermines the long term viability of the public sector, as the private sector cherry picks the most “profitable” sectors, thus undermining vital revenue streams through which the public sector subsidies the unprofitable sectors.”

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