Saturday 19 July 2008

Will the real Mr Ganley please stand up?

If you try to describe the messages of Declan Ganley of the Libertas Institute in US American terms, you would end up with two different versions.

Before the Irish referendum to reject the EU Lisbon Treaty, Mr Ganley sounded like the Anti-Federalists or the secessionist Confederate States.

One month later, at the Heritage Foundation in the USA, Mr Ganley resembled Madison, Hamilton and Jay in the Federalist Papers or Abraham Lincoln in face of the rebellion.


There is finally an update on Libertas’ home page ‘Libertas accepts invitation to meet Sarkozy’ (18 July 2008):

The message seems to straddle these contradictory positions.

On the one hand: Declan Ganley is offended by the prospect of Ireland having to vote again. Sarkozy has a democratic responsibility to respect the will of the Irish people. The Lisbon Treaty is dead. He will be asking Sarkozy to accept that the Irish people have rejected the Lisbon Treaty.

On the other hand: Declan Ganley wants Europe to be strong, prosperous and democratically legitimate.


With the post ending with the statement that Libertas will not participate in any debate on the Lisbon Treaty, Libertas leaves everything hanging in the air.

More – much more – is needed on how to bridge the gap.

What does a strong, prosperous and democratically legitimate Europe look like?

How is it going to be accomplished?

How is Libertas going to contribute?

Where is Ganley’s blueprint?


It is time for the real Mr Ganley to stand up.

Ralf Grahn


  1. Ganley wants a democratic decision about Europe - from the Irish people. He will try to persuade them of his viewpoint, and the Irish government and media will oppose him...and a few other governments, media and bloggers across the continent, such as Grahnlaw.

    Unlike the EU he will abide by the decision of the Irish people.

    Grahlaw like the EU will only be happy with a YES to Lisbon.

    Ganley and Grahnlaw will find that Irish euroscepticism will exceed the level it achieved during the recent referendum, for two reasons - the growing collapse of confidence in the Irish economy, caused by the property market and continuing high Euro interest rates and exchange rates - and the total arrogance of Sarkozy and the eurocrats who demand the electoral outcomes they desire.

  2. As I have said again and again, this is about keeping the European Union from the foreign policy and defense tools it needs to be independent of the United States. This is about the United States, its primacy in Europe and the "special relationship."

    And - again, most Irish that voted "no" did so for lack of information or for diverse reasons. There was a lot of disinformation - and that's why there was a "no" vote. There was no other reason - and no other reasons should be accepted. Also - why is Ireland now deciding for the rest of Europe?! How selfish and arrogant! Ireland voted for Ireland (and for American conservatives), and that is the only acceptable, and democratic result!

    God bless Sarkozy! He is doing the right think in defending the interests of most of the Member States in Europe!

    As far as the contextualizing this in the fashion of "fighting for freedom" and as the struggle of America's founding fathers. This is to rally American support against the European Union that is being spoken in language and terms that American conservatives understand: either the Cold War or the American Revolution. The only thing they want is defeat of the Lisbon Treaty, and nothing else.

    Let's get ready to be called "communists," tyrants," "Nazis," and the like, as well as a threat to "freedom and liberty." I'm ready to present a message of self determination for European nations in especially the area of defense and security.

    "Such as Grahnlaw..." well you can add me to this is a fight for the whole world, not just Europe.

  3. Tapestry,

    Declan Ganely has been too vague, and he seems to combine opposing views.

    I would like to give him the benefit of the doubt.

    He needs to clarify his positions and to build a coherent message, especially with a view to the possibility that Libertas is going to field candidates in the coming European elections.

    As you know, my aim is a strong, prosperous and democratic European Union, much beyond the Lisbon Treaty.

  4. ESLaPorte,

    As I said in my previous reply, I would like to give Declan Ganley the benefit of the doubt.

    Guilt by association is not enough.

    Declan Ganley and Libertas need to come clean on what they really want, i.e. a credible blueprint for a strong and democratic Europe.

  5. Oh, another thing...Another possible reason for targeting the Lisbon Treaty is the other things it contains, like the European Convention of Human Rights. Also, take a look at the codification of social issues, like combating social exclusion and the like. (I do believe that Britain has opt-outs from the social stuff).

    Two, American Conservatives are known for their global opposition to human rights. This is also about attacking European welfare states, since both thatcher and Reagan were responsible for dismantling the social safety nets in their respective countries...

    Three, unlike most international treaties, European treaties have a court in Luxemburg to "enforce" them - and, the Treaties are above , I believe, national law and constitutions. In fact, unless I'm mistaken, Community law is above national law too.

    Most folks know Andrew Moravcsik for his work on European integration. But - there is a site out of Princeton U. that has Andrew Moravcsik papers. Check out THE PARADOX OF U.S. HUMAN RIGHTS POLICY - Andrew Moravcsik (especially page 11, where there is a discussion "Popular Sovereignty and Local Government"
    Andrew Moravcsik's other papers and works...

  6. Why Declan Ganley and Libertas?
    Doesn't Ireland have a government?
    Is this not a government affair, or are Declan Ganley and Libertas now "the Irish governemnt?"

  7. Your aims are not shared by the people of Europe. What other options do you offer in your list of desirable futures?

    Can you only imagine one future, as I suspect? Or would you permit the people of Europe to choose not to share in the single outcome that you desire?

    If you will not permit them to freely choose, you have to refrain from calling the future for Europe that you advocate on your blog and elsewhere, democratic.

    Britain was deceived. We were promised a referendum by Gordon Brown. He signed Lisbon and deposited the Treaty on the sly at Rome this week without a referendum being held. He is a political criminal, and traitor to his countrymen, 85% of whom wanted a referendum.

    The ratification is democratically invalid, and will not be regarded as complete by me and millions of others like me, who are now living in a non-democratic country.

    The re-obtaining of our democracy and our freedom justifies the taking of any action necessary including violent means, as we had to do to win the war.

    Democracy cannot be crushed by theft and deception, any more than it can be crushed by warfare and militarism. It will not die.

    Those who try to steal it, however, face an uncertain future. They have abandoned the standards of civilization. They have forsaken the norms of democratic behaviour, whereby people will not resort to violence to pursue their political objectives. By lying and deceiving they are now endangering lives.

    The Irish have demonstrated a willingness to murder to maintain their freedom and their dignity in their struggles with Britain.

    What is to say that the same outcome will now result with Europe, which is not willing to listen and wishes to treat Irish people like dumb second class citizens, who are too stupid to understand the superiority of their European masters.

    I suspect it the European masters who are too dumb to understand the ferocity and the detrmination of free peoples to remain free.

  8. ESLaPorte,

    We already know what the Irish government wanted in principle: the Lisbon Treaty it signed and even campaigned for.

    You, I and Declan Ganley have more or less well founded opinions about the Treaty of Lisbon and the future of European integration.

    I happen to be interested to know more about the Europe Declan Ganley and Libertas want to build, especially because of the apparent contradictions between the different messages.

    For all who want to see the Lisbon Treaty enter into force, as well as those who oppose it, I think it is interesting to know what the 'better deal for Ireland and Europe' looks like.

    The 'no' side won, after all.

    The eventuality of a second referendum can hardly be planned for without knowing more about the forces at play.

  9. Tapestry,

    Neither you anti-Europeans nor the national EU leaders have offered the citizens of the European Union real EU level democracy yet, so you may be quite right in that a majority of citizens is unprepared for the prospect.

    But in my view, a democratic EU Constitution should be offered, explained and put to a pan-European referendum, which would require a double majority of citizens and states to enter into force among the states where the electorates have approved the Constitution.

    This means that the anti-EU populations would be free from the EU 'yoke'.

    A democratic EU could well manage with a fairly short and readable Constitution, because the voters would regularly elect the European Parliament and decide the politcal hue and programme of the politically responsible government.

    Representative democracy in itself is not novel or hard to understand. Only the EU level would be new.

    I am astonished if you are not jumping with joy at the prospect of a democratic European Union, with the opportunities it would give you to finally 'save' your country from its grips.

  10. The Irish need out of the Euro to drop their interest rates and lower their rate of exchange. They are so heavily indebted after years with inappropriately low interest rates that their financial institutions are at risk, not to mention the future of their virtuous economy.

    The ECB is unwilling to help them, so they would be advised to quit the Euro as soon as they can.

  11. Tapestry,

    Perhaps you would like to take a look at the comments by Anonymous on the post European Union: Economic and monetary policy.

  12. I'd be delighted. Where is the comment?

    I remember the pre-European Union. It was possible to find out from your MP what government policy was, and influence decisions. Now the ruled are not even heard, but crushed. The people in control imagine all their tidy little jobs being successful, when in fact there is a growing tsunami of economic disaster crashing down on the small countries who cannot influence EU monetary management.

    They will be able to deal with it much better by separation.

    Britain has massive debts courtesy of our useless Lisbon-loving prime minister. But we have our own currency and will be able to adapt our monetary policy. Pity Ireland and Spain.

  13. Tapestry,

    If I understood your question correctly, you asked where the comments by Anonymous are.

  14. As I am the anonymous mentioned, I should say that the level of public debt in Ireland is the next lowest in the EU after Luxembourg. Unfortunately, this is not true of private debt which has ballooned on the back of a building bubble driven by unsuitably low interst rates - for Ireland - within the Euro Area.

    Ireland is now teetering on the verge of a recession because of policy errors by the Irish government which have nothing to do with the euro other than that it provided a temptation that could not be resisted. The same applies to Spain.

    The Irish are also major property investors abroad and enjoy the pleasure of buying property with an appreciating euro, especially in the US (I do not know about the UK).

    Could I recommend that all participants read the interview with Jean-Claude Trichet in the Irish Times of 18 July. under 'business' and title "our primary goal is to maintain price stability". It is a tour de force.

    I also suggest that we collectively try to avoid schadenfreude as all developed countries are, with the possible exception of Germany domestically (but not externally because of the amount of dud sub-prime mortgages sold to German banks)
    in the same boat.

    Gordon Brown and his five tests for joining the euro have lost all credibility since Northern Rock, the first run on a British bank in over a century. The Yanks may be used to this but not British depositors. The irony is that, reputedly, had the bank had lines of credit open to the ECB through its Irish subsidiary, the run might never have happened.

    The euro is now a fact and succeeds because it is accepted and is accepted because it succeeds; the paradox of money.

    The argument for Ireland leaving the euro is that competitiveness can be recovered by devaluation. But this is fool's gold. As Harold Wilson famously said after one UK devaluation "the pound in your pocket remains unchanged". Evident rubbish for UK consumers as the devalued pound pushs the cost of living through the roof.

    Time for a rethink by the UK. Jump in, the euro water is lovely. In fact, it is almost below freezing but the advantages of being in ultimately far outweigh those of being out.

    On the defence issue, Ireland has been de facto under the NATO umbrella since NATO was founded without paying a cent. The Irish population like it that way. There was no conscription in Ireland during the First World War when Ireland was still (a reluctant) part of the UK. The then Home Rule leader (i.e. seeking a limited form of home rule within the UK) John Redmond asked Irishment to volunteer which they did in their thousands and returned in 1918 to be forgotten. The Irish Easter Rising had begun in 1916, to be followed by a Civil War from which the two main parties in Ireland, Fine Gael and Fianna Fail (on the losing side) emerged.

    Ireland stayed 'neutral' during the Second World War (indeed, the cataclysm was called "The Emergency") but many thousands again served in British forces.

    The definition of neutrality is a definition of a country's geography and the immediate threats to its security. Ireland is well served in this respect and its electorate knows it. One of the issues confronting the government in terms of holding a second referendum is how, precisely, to respond to the desire of the electorate to be removed from the tug-of-war being debated in this blog.

  15. Tapestry, return to the old power politics order?

    We saw what murderous nationalism did to Europe - incldding reciently in the Balkans.

    That's the future you want for Europe?

    Ask the Serbs, who used to be known for their murderous nationalism just a few years ago what future they'd like. The Serbs now understand the choice they really want ...
    read the 2006 Constitution

  16. Anonymous,

    Yes, your tip about the interview with Jean-Claude Trichet was a good one (especially since short excerpts reported in various media highlighted a few sentences out of context).

    Your concluding remarks are interesting. The world looks different if you long for an Arcadian idyll, or if you try to grapple with the challenges of the real world outside.

  17. ESLaPorte,

    You are right in that the squabbling between EU member states and the relative ineffectiveness of the European Union still leave us with a positive balance within the EU and in its neighbourhood, when we compare it with the bad old days of intra-European power politics.

    But can the European project succeed in the 21st century on the basis of a mixture of functionalism, supranationalism and intergovernmentalism without handing the keys to the citizens?


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