I was delighted to write for the Guardian’s live blog on the Euro Crisis this week, discussing Ireland’s referendum on the Fiscal Compact Treaty.
On Thursday evening, I wrote about how I voted and why:
I’m euro-skeptic at the best of times, but now, in the worst of times, I don’t think I have the option. I voted no to Lisbon the first time, trying to slow the process of Europe. I was brow-beaten into a ‘yes’ the second time. This time I voted yes with full certainty. We’re in need. It’s a painful reality, but come Monday I don’t want to be looking under the couch cushions for punt coins.
So I’m quite anxious about tomorrow’s results and frustrated by the low turnout, as well as by the government’s failure to properly inform people. It’s left them vulnerable to the outrageously sensationalist attacks of the no campaign.
Many of us are disgusted by the cowboys on the other side of the fence; the rabble-rousing, summoning Ireland’s children to her flag and horribly misrepresenting European leaders. When one side is portraying the blood being squeezed out of Ireland’s veins, “stability and growth” seem like paltry responses, but those are the realities. Giving the finger to Europe, bankers and anyone else in the crossfire is tempting, but dangerously irresponsible.
Then, on Friday my reaction to the decisive ‘yes’ vote:
Colour me relieved. For the sake of Irish stability and (albeit distant) growth, it was necessary for the referendum to be carried. It’s good to see that the loudness of the no campaign was disproportionate to its level of support.
However, I don’t think that the coalition should chalk this up as a victory. The government campaign showed the same electoral complacency that characterized the previous two/four European referenda and we’re lucky that that didn’t decide the result.
The last few weeks have shown the deep divisions between different sectors of Irish society. The range of results across urban constituencies reflect a dissatisfaction with austerity politics in working class communities. Today’s ‘yes’ buys time, but doesn’t resolve the underlying issues.