In today's Sunday Business Post, page n38, Vincent Browne says that neither side is coming clean on the fiscal treaty.
Fine Gael and Labour should drop their embarrassing claims that the Treaty is about investment, jobs, growth and stability. Browne says that the strongest argument for voting Yes is that we need to persuade the Germans to "bear the main burden for the rescue."
He says that Sinn Fein and the ULA should stop banging on about "savage cuts" and "protecting oligarchs" as it isn't relevant. He says that the budget has to be cut (although, ideally, by protecting the poorer sections of the population).
The reason he says that we should vote No, is "to call a halt to the neoliberal drums" - of market liberalisation, growing inequality, less job security and rights for workers, and wage cuts for the low paid. He says
A heroic gesture, with a handy escape route there, just in case..."All of this is in train anyway, via the Maastrich Treaty, the Stability and Growth Pact and the "Six Pack" through all of which we sleepwalked.
But now we have awakened to appreciate the enormity of the permanent surrender of sovereignty, with everylasting supervision of our budgets, economic policy and our competitiveness, we need to call a halt. Not just on our own behalf, but on behalf of the peoples of Europe whose governments - in complicity with the EU - have contrived to deny them a direct part in these decisions.
Actually, it won't be a halt - for our voting No won't stop it - but even though all we can do is fire a feeble shot across the bow, it will echo around Europe, and, in the turmoil that is surely to come, it may have some resonance.
Of course, if that doesn't work, we can always vote again on the treaty...."
Browne is right to draw attention to the permanence of the Treaty. Most of the arguments, for and against, are being posed in terms of the current phase of the economic crisis, and how we may, or may not, borrow more money in a year's time.
This Treaty, once signed, opens the door to parts of our economy being quite deliberately decimated by governments unfriendly to our interests. Permanently.