Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Tomorrow's referendum

So the media moratorium has finally arrived. Tomorrow I get to go to the polling station and vote on the fiscal compact/stability treaty/austerity treaty and I am going to tick the No box on the ballot paper. I have stayed out of this campaign for all sorts of reasons, limiting my contributions to a few tweets here and there and arguments in the pub over a few pints.
It feels strange to have a vote and to not have knocked on a single door. Even during the Presidential, despite moving house and having a 7 month pregnant wife to look after, I managed to get out for a few canvassing sessions. But for the compact I couldn't bring myself to doing it. Canvassing on this topic would either be an exercise in 20 second glib soundbites that are inaccurate at best and false at worst, or require spending half an hour at each house explaining the full consequences of a yes or no vote and discussing the actual text of the treaty.
The problem is that the media coverage of the referendum has also descended into the former. Both sides playing the soundbite and the ad-hominem rather than debating the contents of the treaty and the grand picture of the Eurozone we would like to see in the future. Personally, I am quite in favour of the European project, leaning towards the federalist end of the spectrum. But it needs to be full federalism, not the half way house we currently have. But that seems unlikely to happen, or be proposed by any of the current political leadership across the EU, so we need to find another solution to our current crisis but the Compact and the ESM are not the silver bullet we are all waiting for.
I'm assuming the vote will be carried by about a 60-40 margin and in a year's time we'll be right back in another crisis, with Spain having sucked most of the money out of the ESM. I hope I'm wrong.

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