Without question, Ireland is the most centrally controlled, secretive and corrupt country in the EU.
It is therefore hilarious to witness politicians, various commentators and a disturbing number of journalists attack those who ran campaigns opposing the Lisbon Treaty referendum on the basis that, somehow, they were acting undemocratically.
The reality is that it is the politicians and much of the media who pose a threat to democracy by their absolute refusal to accept the democratic will of the people.
Declan Ganley, in particular, has been singled out and portrayed as the Devil Incarnate himself if we are to believe what these so called defenders of democracy think.
At the weekend we saw these defenders of democracy ban Irish media from attending a press briefing given by the Czech president Vaclav Klaus and Declan Ganley.
There is no difference whatsoever between this act of media suppression and similar bans imposed by the former Soviet Union. Not a murmur of protest was heard from the National Union of Journalists.
Here’s how RTE reporter, Sean Whelan, presumably himself a member of the NUJ, reported this piece of state media censorship (Link not available).
“President Klaus gave a briefing to Czech journalists but Irish officials wouldn’t let the Irish media in. It’s unusual not to have media access to a visiting head of state but then it’s unusual for a visiting head of state to be opposed to the Lisbon Treaty.”
Whelan’s view (or perhaps the view of somebody higher up in RTEs news department) seems to be that only visiting heads of state that are in full agreement with government policies will be allowed full media exposure.
Dissenters will be strictly monitored and their views censured by government agents, just like they are in China and other communist countries.
Minister of State, Conor Lenihan is also very worried about the threat to democracy by people who take it into their heads to act democratically. Here’s what he had to say on Today FM yesterday.
“There is an issue around Lisbon that does affect our democracy in one very serious way.
What’s happening is that people who were part of the loose alliance of groups that opposed Lisbon are now being accorded the same status as for instance Lucinda (Creighton FG) and Alex (White Lab) here who are actually quite different, they’re elected representatives.
But one of the issues now is that even in media picking and choosing of panels they’re now being given equal status which I think is somewhat suspect.”
“But there’s a really profound issue here because the people and parties that supported Lisbon represent the democratic will of the people of Ireland yet now we have people who have never being elected, who don’t put themselves before the electorate, yet come out at the time of referendums and campaign.”
Ok, Conor Lenihan is not the brightest but even he should realise that it is the main political parties in the country with massive support from mainstream media that are challenging the democratic will of the people, not those who successfully campaigned for a No vote.
The show’s presenter, Sam Smyth, who I presume is also a member of the NUJ, made no challenge whatsoever to Lenihan’s claim that only elected politicians should be allowed to campaign on political matters.
Clearly, Smyth is a Yes man.
Dept. of Foreign Affairs