Yesterday we had a chance to applaud Declan Ganley's speech at the Open Europe meeting. He was the hero of Ireland's NO vote to the Lisbon Treaty. There are some who think we should have criticized him for the reasons stated below. This it seems to us is part of the wierd perfectionism - political but quasi-religious in its conception - that makes every man or woman who is not a saint a sinner. It is also part of the deadly divisiveness that has made a huge EU-sceptic community in Britain unable to unite and defeat the anti-democratic supporters of the EU.
We rejoice in Ganley and the Irish. As we noted in our report, he unequivocally stated that "The European project will continue to run aground if they ignore democracy, accountability and transparency".
Now if the European project were democratic, accountable and transparent, the EU would not look and act the way it does or be the threat it is. Every nation would retain its sovereignty and laws; EU bureaucrats would have to find jobs in the private sector; and there would be no EU MEPs, corrupt or otherwise. The sovereign nations of Europe would work together, democratically and constitutionally, whenever their citizens found it beneficial to do so. There would be far fewer government mandates and far more individual and community initiatives.
Ganley has been called "muddled" because he described himself as "an enthusiastic pro-European". A man with business across Europe is hardly likely to be anti-European. Nor are we anti-European when we travel in Europe or meet European friends or trade with Europe. Clearly Ganley does not like the EU as presently constructed, and it is to be hoped that when he discovers that the EU will not listen to the voice of the Irish, he will gird himself for the next great battle to utterly deconstruct the EU.
In the meantime let us be glad that one country out of twenty-seven said NO. Let us be glad that one man gave his time, money and superior organizational ability to achieve the close to impossible. And let us work together, for as Robert Grosseteste observed in the 13th century and Ben Franklin in the 18th, and as is true today, "United we stand, divided we fall."