Ah Lisbon Treaty, I hardly knew you.
And there lies the problem. I am blogging late at night, still uncertain as to what way I will vote when the polls open in a few hours but determined to exercise my franchise - as I have always done since I turned 18.
The debate has been raging over at Darren's blog for a while now and he has done a good job of explaining what exactly the treaty is about. Yet he makes the point, and I have to agree with him on this, that we don't really have any idea how the changes the treaty will bring about are going to affect Ireland in the long-term. Or even what exactly the changes really mean.
I find it hard to trust a thing that comes out of the mouth of Brian Cowen or Enda Kenny, so I don't subscribe to the the view that we should vote Yes because "all the major parties are saying we should". The idea that "we owe Europe" doesn't hold much water with me either, as I don't hink this country signed up to Europe in the first place safe in the knowledge that in later years we would have to bend over and do what it likes.
I have extremely little tolerance for Sinn Fein and if I ever have the misfortune to meet Mary Lou MacDonald I won't turn my back on her for a second. That woman would sell her grandmother's one remaining good hip if she thought it would benefit her politically in any small way. At the start of the Iraq War Sinn Fein did their best to hijack the anti-war movement to their own ends and it sickened me. SF should not be allowed to comment on issues of war or neutrality in order to avoid a serious outbreak of racial abuse upon kettles by pots.
That slimy little bugger Declan Ganley of Libertas is not much better. I don't like to stoop to the level of mentioning his accent but I will say that I suspect he has spent a sizeable portion of his life outside this country he claims to be so concerned for. His agenda is also purely about business and protecting his own neck and that of American businesses. talking of America, their military appears to be about to help him become a billionaire. Which is nice.
So, I don't trust any of the major palyers in htis debate, and I imagine I'm not alone. Who do I trust? Well, Tony Gregory, David Norris and Joe Higgins don't like it and I've always respected their opinions. Yet my lack of understanding of what will happen if we accept the treaty has the flip side of not understanding what exactly will happen if we reject it. I suspect the government will foist it on us again (probably without any changes to it) and again until it is accepted. It is virtually inevitable that we will accept this thing eventually.
I am now in the unenviable position of not having a notion which way I should vote. So I ask, 'Is spoiling my vote a responsible course of action in this situation?' I don't want to do it, but when I really don't know how to vote it seems the best thing to do. Of course, not turning up would seem the obvious solution, but I wonder whether spoiling your vote really does make a point to the government, as I have heard some suggest it does. True, if I wrote a long, articulate and pointed missive to Brian Cowen on my voting slip he would never receive it, but spoilt votes are counted and announced. Hence we always hear figures about how many people voted for Dustin or Mr. Tayto in general elections. Imagine if there was the highest total of spoilt votes ever in today's referendum. Would that not say something to the major parties and the anti-treaty groups about how people feel about the way we've been informed?
I'm gonna sleep on it now, but I've a feeling I might just be a spoilt brat later.