REFERENDUM RESULTS CONFOUND PUNDITS
Early indications from around the country are that the Lisbon Treaty will be defeated in the referendum with a resounding NO vote.
If the trend continues, it will be an amazing result. The three major political parties Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour went on an all out blitz of postering and propaganda to ensure a Yes vote. Also supporting were the two minor Government parties - the Greens and Progressive Democrats. The only political party against was Sinn Féin. The anti-war movement, left radical groups, and right radical groups aso opposed. Libertas, new on the block, was one of the latter.
At 11.20 RTE announced that it appears that only three constituencies in the country have the appearance of having a Yes majority. The final result might be 55% to 45%.
The unexpected No vote will be interpreted in many ways - a No to an unexplained and almost unreadable treaty, anger with an arrogance of power, dismay with obfuscation, annoyance at the partiality of much of the mainstream media and a genuine suspicion on the part of the man and woman in the street that "this crowd" are up to no good.
The Irish Commissioner in Europe, Charles McGreevey, while supporting Lisbon, admitted that he had not read it and that anyone who did must be insane. The hint of forcing Ireland to increase military spending did not go down well.
There are sore losers on the Pat Kenny show already - including Pat himself - who usuaually can hide his anger and disappointment better than he is doing today. An avid No campaigner, Patricia McKenna, who broke ranks with her party leaders, is especially singled out for attack.
But the result appears, even while they speak, to be a NO verdict from the Irish people. This, in spite of reports (at noon) that there may be a chance, although a very slender one, of a Yes victory.
Whatever the outcome, those who tell us so often that "the people have spoken" after they patch together a Coalition of losers, must accept the democratic will of the people. This time, not as in an election, the people will have spoken.