|What I'm told the Stability Treaty is about|
Stability. That word has now become the bane of my life. I read it in a book last week. I'm not sure in what context. It had nothing to do with the "Stability" Treaty though, I can assure you. It just perturbed me. It was a reflex action, I sensed a speech coming on about "stability" and "stability mechanism" and "austerity". I gagged. A bilious feeling erupted in my stomach. I couldn't take it. After weeks of wall-to-wall coverage my body rejected even the mere notion of the Stability Treaty. In true stereotypically ignorant 21st century adolescent spirit, I just don't care any more. I really don't.
And it's not as if I didn't try. Lord knows I did. Two weeks ago I was all set to register, I even acquired the sufficient forms and had them stamped in my local Garda Station. Being an avowed lefty and a staunch opponent of the government, I was firmly in the No camp. I fervently dislike this Government and their austere policies with a fiery zeal and I wanted to help give 'em a bloody nose.
The fact that they had opted to christen this treaty the "Stability Treaty" really grated my cheese as well. Twas a masterstroke of ambiguous public relations, I mean, it's hard to say no to "stability", innit? I wanted to. I don't like stability anyway. It's far too mundane and boring. "If the Blueshirts and their Labour lapdogs had named it the 'Anarchy Treaty' I might have gone for it", I thought to myself. Anarchy's not everyone's cup of tea but at least it's a bit of a laugh.
So, if I was all set to emphatically reject the Fiscal Compact, what put me off? People did, that's who. You know them self-righteous blobs of meat? Them. I grew tired of the debates. I grew tired of the late-night sparring contests on Vincent Browne. I grew tired of the campaign posters, both 'Yes' and 'No' posters, which visually pollute every town in the country. I grew tired of the myriad of pompous, dull tweets by gormless eejits on Twitter.
It wasn't just the folk from the 'Yes' side that put me off the whole campaign, though they did have more than a helping hand in it, the 'No' side helped swing me towards fence-sitting also. The 'Yes' side's campaigning though has been wonderfully vague and manipulative. All they talk about is "stability" and "recovery". They insist on repeating those two words like they're going out of style or the dictionary or whatever happens to old, unused words. Well, the Blueshirts have anyway.
Indeed, I have noticed that the 'Yes' side's posters are a lot more ambiguous this time around than way back yonder in 2009 when Lisbon II was on the cards. Back then, the main parties employed some more risqué posters and catchphrases. Who could forget the picture of a scantily clad man lasciviously pulling down the waistband of his boxer shorts with "ENLARGE YOUR OPPORTUNITIES: VOTE YES" or the equally raunchy picture of a woman clasping two large eggs by her bosoms with the subtly provocative caption "INCREASE YOUR PROSPECTS: VOTES YES" plastered across the front of it? Ah yes, those were the glory days of manipulative campaign posters as back then, Fine Gael weren't despised by over half of the country. They had free rein, now people are less receptive to their jocular campaigning.
"For a Working Ireland" is the catchphrase FG have adopted for this campaign and, like much of their campaigning, it's wonderfully vague. Posters with the catchphrase in Irish have also been commissioned and those ones state "Don fhostaíocht in Éirinn" which literally translated means "For employment in Ireland". Gaeilgóir Blueshirts more optimistic or a simple case of lost in translation? You decide.
The 'No' side have also been incredibly annoying. It's not that I don't believe and support what they're saying, I mostly do, it's just their campaign has been a bit of a mess. From enlisting the help of English crackpot Nigel Farage to hopelessly dodging questions on the ESM, it's been a bit of a farce (I don't understand the ESM either but I ain't a politician). Indeed, their insistence on referring to the treaty as the "Austerity Treaty" smacks of childishness too. The Government employed some grade A propaganda (For propaganda read "Bullshit") in naming it the "Stability Treaty" but why not be the bigger man and just refer to its original name, the Fiscal Compact? "Fiscal Compact" has no real misleading or disingenuous connotations to it.
And then there's the celebrity campaigners. Oh Lord give me mercy. Famous personalities such as Brian Cody, Sharon Shannon, Denis Hickie and Pat Gilroy have been throwing their weight behind a 'Yes' vote while prominent figures in business such as Norah Casey (who appeared on last night's atrocious edition of The Frontline) and Michael O'Leary have also been calling on the Irish people to ratify the treaty. They need to go. Pronto. Cody and Shannon were afforded ads in newspapers by the Alliance for Ireland. Why should we listen to them? What knowledge do they have that we don't? One's a musician and one's a hurling manager.
Then there's Michael O'Leary, part-time CEO of Ryanair, full-time gobshite who today succinctly branded 'No' voters a "bunch of idiots and lunatics". Remember now, this is the same odious little turd who pushed for a 'Yes' vote in Lisbon II and claimed that the 'No' side in that campaign (More or less the same people on the 'No' side in this campaign) were "unemployable fucking headbangers". Never one to mince his derogatory and inflammatory words is Mr. O'Leary. If anything, his entry into the campaign for a 'Yes' vote to the Stability Treaty will deter would-be 'Yes' voters as O'Leary has the same standing as Bono amongst the Irish people - he's hated.
I'm told I should feel privileged to have a right to vote and that I should do my utmost to use it as "millions of people the world over don't have no vote" and "people died for my vote". Yeah, thanks for the guilt trip pals. If I thought I was voting for something meaningful, something tangible I might bother my arse voting. But I don't and I won't.
I've come to the conclusion that I really don't care which way this treaty goes. If I had to choose, I'd choose 'No' but I don't think my Thursday will be ruined if Ireland elects to vote 'Yes'. You're probably reading this thinking, "Huh, typical student. Doesn't care about his country or how it's run or what happens to it...." but you'd be wrong. I do care about my country, I've tried to care about this poxy treaty. It's just a little too political for my liking. For if real change ever comes to this country, it won't be from the ballot box.