A flabbergasted European Union has for the past 12 months been telling Ireland that the "No" they returned in the referendum of 2008 was not "their final answer". Today the EU announced that concessions had been granted to the Irish in areas covering military neutrality, taxes and abortion. Or in political terms: the voters of Ireland have been offered a bribe to vote 'yes' so that the planned federalization of Europe can continue unabated. As for the rest of the European nations who have already ratified the treaty, there are no special favours or opt-out areas on offer.
If a single 'no' to a EU treaty can grant you negotiable policy areas imagine what the UK could have achieved had we been able to express ourselves freely and openly on how we felt towards the EU and the Lisbon Treaty. But this quite clearly shows that there are areas of public policy that have once again been handed over meekly by parliament to the control of Brussels/Strasbourg. If the Irish felt those areas were of national importance and are enough to swing the vote to a 'yes' what are we going to regret losing control over?
Rather than continuing the charade of European elections every 5 years, with an ever-decreasing turnout, we should finally hold the referendum that has been continually promised us. We are now 36 years into a partnership with our neighbours which has hardly ever been beneficial. Thirty-four years have passed since we last held this contract to account, it is time for a re-assessment especially in light of what Ireland have protected and what we no longer have control over. In the meantime we shall have to hope that the Irish see past the bribery and realize that there is no benefit to further integration. Should they vote 'no' it could finally open the door to a referendum in this country.