Updated: 12/05/17 : 06:03:26
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Vote and debate would help us on Europe

By Eugene McGloin
Political Editor

MAY 10th 1972 we voted to join the Common Market, or the EEC as it was then known in its teenage years.

This day 45 years ago we had finished counting our referendum votes and ballots and the outcome was crystal clear, ie Ireland In. 

We? 'We' does not include the vast majority of people in Ireland, those who have since then voted on fifty-five national ballot papers. 

That's thirteen general elections, eight elections to the European Parliament, four Presidential polls, plus circa thirty referenda since. 

Many of the people who voted in all 55 elections did not, were not allowed, vote in the May 1972 ballot to join -- or not join -- the Common Market.

They (and I) were then too young then at eighteen; in the words of Barry McGuire's great protest song we were ''old enough to kill but not for voting.''

We should maybe have that ballot now. In my 64th year I would like -- just ONCE -- to have a national debate and get a first voting paper on European membership.

All the opinion polls consistently express our overwhelming support for being members of the EC, as it now known in its 60th year.

Private Fears

Our powers that be, which includes media, are of course fearful of such debates and such votes.

Their private fear(s) are founded in the fact that so many majorities have whittled away in various referenda, once the debate gets under way. 

The McKenna judgement in the Supreme Court means that voters would, theoretically anyway, get equal information on the merits and demerits of the case for and against Europe.

Ho. Ho. Ho. The guaranteed one-sided nature of media, national and regional, would set at nought that theory of equal space for opposing arguments.

Red Tape

We had a European head honcho in the Dail yesterday, Thursday.

He is handsomely paid to represent the EC to us as a Perpetual Shining Light, without which we would all live in an age of darkness. Maybe. 

The impression was given yesterday of how 'hard' and 'soft' 'Brexit' would work. 

The distinct impression is of reams and reams of red tape, all caused by 'Brexit.'

Surely no institution in Irish lives governs in red tape as much the EC itself does. 

There is no evidence of real EC reforms afoot, though those who ride the Gravy Train keep talking of the need for, eh, ''root and branch'' reform.

Methuselah himself will be in middle age, living his life backways, before there is any real reform in European ways.

But you would need the don himself, Don Corleone -- the boss of bosses -- in your family tree to fund a fight against any of Europe's juggernaut of bureaucracy. 

Curtails, Chokes

I'm pro-European, not that you might guess that from the foregoing. 

But the bureaucracy is remote from its citizenry; that fact, more than any other, curtails and chokes enthusiasms we have for expressions of 'European identity.'

Surely, we would be stronger and not weaker to have a debate and vote any time.