WARNING: Contains Politics

I have read both the referendum text and the treaty text for the Fiscal Stability Treaty Referendum. I did have to go over the treaty text a few times to get the meaning of it, because it's written in Diplomatic, which is an archaic language not used by real people.

I agree, broadly, with the general intent of the treaty. I think that encouraging governments to work on bringing the economies of their countries into good order is a good idea.

However, there is a point on which the treaty and I part ways. That is the imposition of penalties when the provisions are not met, except in a set of fuzzily defined circumstances. That is, in short, not helpful; it is not a positive contribution to the situation. The fact that the "exceptional circumstances" are not well defined in the treaty, instead referring to the "revised Stability and Growth Pact", and has the clause "provided that the temporary deviation of the Contracting Party concerned does not endanger fiscal sustainability in the medium-term". That latter bit is, frankly, horseshit, because it requires predicting the economic future, which economists have recently demonstrated to be impossible. But I also reckon there have to be some conditions on this, or governments will ignore the provisions.

Then, there's the bit where the Treaty itself is being looked upon by the current Irish government as being orders for austerity. The Treaty does not say that. It says nothing about the economy of a Contracting Party should be brought in line with the Treaty terms. If it can be done by painting the government pink and making them walk the plank, then that's fine. I am uneasy that the current government will use the Treaty as an excuse to do things which are not required by it. I'm pretty sure this is in line with previous behaviour of this government, and the one before it, and frankly, I've seen sod all difference. But that's an issue with this government, not the Treaty.

So, my conclusion, having actually read the material, looked up the details, etc, is that I will vote 'Yes' on the day. This is not without reservation, and I can clearly see the arguments for a 'No' vote. But it comes down to this: it moves a little more sovereignty toward Europe and away from our government, and I think that's good. The current government, like the previous one, and the one before that, stretching back in an apparently unbroken line to 1922, are not fit to rule. I see no reason to respect fiscal sovereignty in this country; we've demonstrated we're not able for it.

Vote Yes, and take power away from the Dáil.
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