I wonder if in years to come we will look back on this point in history as the moment when Irish politics finally descended irretrievably into infantilism and lowest common denominator bullshit.
Ireland goes to the polls on Friday charged with making a decision that absolutely no-one seems to understand the ramifications of. It's very hard to when the people who are paid good money to do so seem incapable of anything other than lies and mud-slinging. Posters everywhere scream that the minimum wage could be cut to €1.84 if this treaty is allowed to pass. This always seemed unlikely and is, apparently, completely untrue. So why has it been allowed to stay on virtually every lamp-post in the country? Imagine I put up posters all over the country with a supposed fact like, say:
'IT IS WELL-KNOWN THAT BERTIE AHERN IS AN ENTHUSIASTIC PARTICIPANT IN DOMESTIC ABUSE. MANY PEOPLE WILL ATTEST TO HAVING SEEN CELIA LARKIN IN HOSPITAL AFTER HE BATTERED HER.'
My posters would be taken down pretty quickly, I'd imagine, and if anyone knew it was me who did them then I'd find myself in a bit of bother. This despite my fact being true, as far as I know. Yet a massive amount of misinformation is plastered absolutely everywhere right now. 'YES FOR JOBS', sounds massively disingenuous on Fianna Fáil's part, as there is really nothing there to suggest that more jobs would be created if we pass the treaty. 'We can't save the environment alone,' urge the Green Party, who apparently believe that passing the treaty is akin to shouting "Earth! Fire! Wind! Water! Heart!" and summoning Captain Planet. But even He couldn't take pollution down to zero at this stage.
Then there's Jim Corr. I think we all knew, deep down, that touring the world with three ridiculously good-looking girls, all of whom are your sisters, would be enough to send a man crazy. But it hasn't manifested itself in old Jimbo getting whacked off his tits on mushrooms and attempting to snog Ryan Tubridy live on TV, as we'd all hoped. Nope, Jim has gradually turned into a full-blown conspiracy theorist with a fine line in paranoia that'd make even David Icke blush:
You will meet people as I do occasionaly (sic.) who are unable to grasp the reality of what's going on. You may even meet them amongst family and friends but don't get frustrated, It is understandably inconceivable for some people to contemplate that some governments at the behest of their globalist puppeteers could be staging terrorist attacks against their own populations, particularly for people whose reality doesn't extend beyond the television set, which is being used highly effectively sometimes as a Weapon of Mass Deception.
Jim has been "studying the New World Order", apparently, and is now running a website that can liberate us all. Step One is voting No to Lisbon, don't you know. I think I prefer it when has-been popstars try to make it as reality TV show judges.
I voted no last time round, simply because I wasn't happy with the way the treaty had been explained to the public. The wording on the ballot paper asks if you agree with the proposal to alter our constitution in order to ratify the treaty. I was undecided until the very last minute, when I realised that I couldn't possibly agree with the proposal, because I couldn't for the life of me understand what the treaty meant in real terms, and therefore couldn't honestly agree to accept it. So although I wasn't necessarily dead against the Lisbon Treaty, I felt perfectly comfortable saying I disagreed with a proposal to accept it at that particular juncture.
But I helped to spawn a monster. The rest of my family had all voted Yes, and gave me constant earfuls (mostly playful, though not all) about my unwavering support for Declan Ganley and Mary-Lou McDonald. Sadly, these two festering pustules both treated the success of the No campaign as a personal victory. Both were, mercifully, soundly told to fuck off by most of the population when they tried to get elected to the European Parliament earlier this year. But they're back again, duplicitous and obnoxious as ever, still making it all about them. This time round they may just turn out to be the Yes campaign's deadliest weapon, as there can't be many people left who have any sort of stomach for them.
It gets complicated, though. One argument for voting Yes that is often put forward is that "all the major parties are for it, so it must be fine." I remain unconvinced by this, as it only means that one or two heads in each party have decided on their policy, and that all the other plods have to toe the line if they know which side their bread is buttered on. Many of our public representatives, I think it has been proven lately, are a corrupt and venal bunch, who know exactly how to get what they want. I hope I don't sound as though I'm sneaking into Jim Corr territory if I say that I honestly don't trust any of them, and find any claims they make to be looking out for the public's best interests to be suspect at best.
So how will I vote (or will I vote?) on Friday? Fuck knows.