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Decision on the Lisbon Treaty Debate.
02-10-2009 2:28pmBusiness & Finance Moderators, Entertainment Moderators Posts: 32,387 Mod ✭✭✭✭Join Date:Posts: 29920
This was a hard decision to make, partly because the timing was tight. (We had sent out several requests to debate to all the major campaigns on both sides and despite several positive responses, when the time came it would appear that "live debates" in writing are too fraught with danger for either side to involve themselves with.)
However those who did step up did a terrific job of fact based debating and the three judges (Dav, Darragh, and I) had a hard time chosing which side had performed the best.
In the interests of fairness we did not communicate with each other during deliberations and wrote our findings independantly.
To put you out of your suspense, we have found in favour of the No side of the debate. The individual judgements are below.
This debate was one of the most substantive and informed I have seen on any referendum ever. In that regard I thank the debaters for their earnest participation and their obvious research into the topic at hand. More then anything else it has reaffirmed my long held and sorely fought for belief that the internet has a crucial role to play in democracy.
To the debate at hand; I would be pro-europe in my outlook, as much because my experience has been that Europe is a saner place to look for governance then our own morally corrupt politicos. I'll stop there for fear of ranting, suffice it to say that I would be a weakly-inclined Yes voter.
To synopsise the debate, I feel FutureTaoiseach did an outstanding job for the No side. While his wall-of-words approach lost him points in my book (I value brevity and clarity), I felt he did the necessary legwork and put points that went unanswered (the Paragraph 7 opt-out of Clause 51 for example). Sparks43, while I understand was hampered by internet connection, opened with a polemic against europe's actions in the past which seemed to have little to do with this treaty specifically, drawing a weak sort of correlation of "they haven't been good before, vote against them now", though he redeemed himself somewhat in later posts. Smegmars Adolf Hitler comparisons had me reaching for the scroll button and won him no points with me at all. Again weak similarities were drawn and extrapolated on. Not good debating technique in my book. Later posts by him made better points but crucially, did not reference the treaty directly to support them. I wasnt sure if RandonName2 was taking to me or asking questions of himself!
The Yes side were more uniform in their quality of debate, Blitzkrieg leading a strong defence against FutureTaoiseach, but both BK and Nesf were too reactive in their posts where more team organisation might have seen one counter while another flank him with new points and to drive the debate in the direction they chose. Scofflaw was unfortunately delayed and forced to follow FT's style of a wall of words, neutralising a strong debater for the Yes camp. Prior experience tells me that Scofflaw is a superb debater and I feel that we may have rushed this too much and cost the debate his contribution.
So, in summation, I remain a weakly "Yes" voter but feel a greater doubt about that position then before. It was a very close run thing and while it should be noted that the Yes team were a man down though and that I disagree with the overall No position, I think the No team must nudge ahead based on the debate at hand.
Thank you gentlemen for your time and your considerable research. I am considerably more enlightened as a result.
I think the No's have it.
FutureTaoiseach and Blitzkriegs interchanges made for some good, but tough reading. I feel FT came out on top by showing examples where the ECJ has made decisions more favourable to itself and examples where people have warned against this and how it needs closer monitoring. Blitzkrieg has for me, effectly refuted his points in relation to 35%/4 member states opposing moves they don't favour.
The talk of the majority of people being against this is difficult to quantify for me as are mostly anecdotal claims that politicians only act in their own interest and I feel that Nesf and Blitz countered these points well and won that exchange.
The arguements from Sparks43 in relation to fishermen were refuted, but I don't think beaten by Blitz. Sparks43 could have provided some facts and figures, but doesn't seem to have and so looses points in the over-all debate because of that. Smegmar has, for me, added little to the debate.
RandomName2 - made some interesting opening points about us signing up to an Economic Agreement which have been very effectively countered and beaten by the logical conclusions of Scofflaw's post. His talk of the majority of Europeans being against this was well addressed by Blitz through analysis of the past events that lead these nations to where they currently think. The findings that the Dutch and French governments didn't feel there was a constitutional need to have a referendum are interesting as it's only subsequent pan-European nay-sayers to Lisbon which have (in my mind) frightened the populaces in many countries into saying no with scare-tactics.
Overall though, I judge the Nos to have come out on top of this debate. The absense of sink and Scofflaw has been unfortunate - I think we may have had a different outcome with more input from them.
It's been good and I certainly found it informative. I'm not sure if it's going to heavily influence my own thoughts (I'm more in favour of Yes mostly because Ireland has benefitted massively in terms of economics and culture from being a part of the EU and saying no to this sends a message that we don't want to be involved anymore when I can't see any clear reason not to be).
In what's been a horrendously complicated, intricate and drawn out campaign by both sides of the argument publically, where, due to the nature of the Treaty, there have been no easy "This is why you should vote yes or no" answers, firstly can I commend both Boards.ie sides on their skill in making this debate legible and interesting.
Some interesting and educative points have been made. I must particularly commend FutureTaoiseach and Blitzkrieg for their commitment and skill in posting, though all of the posts were of ridiculously high quality.
To me the entire debate comes down to this
"Should we vote yes/no and if so, why?"
I believe that the No side on this debate gave us plenty of reasons to vote No. They did so referencing fact, written statements, sources and time and particular cases. While, to me, the Yes side rebuffed and argued against the No side, they provided few compelling reasons to vote yes other than "it will make us stronger within Europe" and the like, which has not been proven to be fact, as the only way we'd see this is to be part of it.
There is no doubt there have been benefits to our participation in the EU, but I feel the Yes side's reliance in this debate on what our Government has said weakens the argument somewhat. I'd like to have seen more "This is why it will benefit us" points, something I don't think I've seen.
So, it's the no side for me. That or Atari Jaguar.
In summation, thank you all for your involvement and for showing that a reasoned and researched debate is not only possible but crucial.