The Irish referendum


Ireland's Lisbon Treaty vote puts the spotlight on the Czech Republic's ratification and David Cameron's UK referendum promise

Well, it just goes to show that the European Union has no problem getting people to vote for it, as long as they are bankrupt. When Ireland was looking OK, it voted No. Wrong answer, so it had to vote again. Now it's bust, it has fallen sobbing into the arms of the subsidy providers. Britain joined in 1973, and the East European states twenty years later, for just the same reasons. They were suffering a deep economic malady and thought it might be cured, like scrofula, simply by touching.

Now it's down to the Czech Republic. I cannot imagine that its robustly free-market and Euro-sceptic President, Vaclav Klaus, will be in any hurry for his country to ratify the Lisbon Treaty. He's already taken a stand against it. If he can hold out until May 2010, he knows that there will probably be a change in government in the UK, and that the Conservatives have promised a referendum if the Czechs haven't already decided. So he can let the UK take all the flack that will surely come from Brussels (and Paris). I think both of us could live happily with that.

Dr Butler's book The Rotten State of Britain is now in paperback.