Archive for June 9th, 2008

Fleet Of Ear

It’s rare that I listen to a record for the first time and get blown away. The new Fleet Foxes album is one such occasion. Just finishing listening to it now: this is the best record I’ve heard in ages, an instant classic.

Yes: You Can

My fellow Europeans. I was thinking. I am going to vote No in this referendum, and I am not going to read any more of the literature on the subject. But if anyone can give me a convincing reason -not based on things like ‘Vote Yes or wake up in an icy bath minus a kidney’- for voting Yes, I will vote Yes. This is therefore an opportunity to double your vote, or have one, if you aren’t an Irish citizen. Alternatively, you may wish me not to vote. Convince me, and I will not vote. This isn’t a competition with a guaranteed winner, by the way. That is, if I’m not convinced, I will make up my own mind. I won’t cast my vote in favour of the most convincing reason if it isn’t sufficient to persuade me.

Some hints follow, though you may think that the stellar force of your argument may do away with the need to consider these.

I would be most convinced by arguments showing how a Yes vote will lead on the whole to less centralisation of power in the state and greater control for each person over their own productive life. I would be least persuaded by Ireland Uber Alles arguments (it’s in the national interest), or ones based on demystification of perceived No talking points. Nor would I be persuaded by arguments based on the consequences of voting No, as in ‘if you don’t, then this (global environmental disaster/heinous cross-border crime/oil shock/unexpected kidney removal) will happen’, since what we are talking about is institutional reform and not a set of emergency measures. Likewise, making the case for polishing turds (the EU is presently undemocratic, but this will make it more democratic) may prove futile.

Also, in general, arguments based on the potential for greater quantities of a given abstract concept (more effectiveness, more efficiency, more democracy) won’t convince unless they can demonstrate that their application will in fact lead to meaningful results. So it won’t do to say that the EU will be more democratic because of, say, the citizens initiative and the modified role of the European Parilament. You’d have to show me that this would have a significant positive impact in terms of the way people live, and that it is not purely cosmetic given the present character of the European Union.

If no-one responds, I will assume that I am right to vote no. And I’ll be down the polling station on Thursday with a maniacal laugh.

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June 2008
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