Many politicians, pundits and critics could not have predicted the fallout from the Irish rejection of the Lisbon Treaty on June 12th . After the results were announced, there were literally moments of silence where the entire of Europe sat still in confusion about what to do next. The next EU President Nicolas Sarkozy is forced to pick up the pieces however who is to blame is the silent question on many people’s minds.
I personally blame the Irish Government for the lack of money put into an effort to inform the citizenry about the crux of the treaty and what it meant for all the people of Ireland, just not the people in Dublin. I wrote about the scene before the proposed referendum on June 11th and true to my prediction, the people of Ireland voted no. If the Government and the EU had poured enough money into informing every single person in Ireland, I would safely take the bet that the majority of the people would have voted yes.
Part of the problem was the state-funded media channel RTE was ambiguous as ever about explaining what the Lisbon Treaty meant for Ireland. We have the folks over at the Wise Up Journal contending that RTE was trying to sell the treaty to the people of Ireland:
For an organisation that promotes itself as fair, balanced and owned by the Irish People, a question we must ask is, are RTE really fair and balanced, or is that just a marketing campaign designed to hide the fact that most of the coverage is distorted and one sided?
Then we have the Fine Gael MEP Mr. Mitchell stating that the RTE coverage was unfair and even called for an investigation into the role of the State broadcaster in its coverage of the Lisbon Treaty. I believe RTE fell into the typical media role of trying to provide both sides of the story but in doing so, it confused a lot of the people that were trying to figure out what the treaty was about. RTE should not be blamed for this but having watched RTE on a few occasions, I believe they lack transparency in terms of which side of the political divide they lean towards.
I still support the Lisbon Treaty but I feel a little sorry for President Sarkozy who is going to have a very hard time at the helm of the EU and France in trying to figure out what to do next, certainly blaming Ireland isn’t going to work but hopefully he won’t stress out too much…