Friday 24 April 2009

Young, Irish & Pro-Lisbon? Welcome to Generation Yes

A new pro-Lisbon group has launched in Ireland today, and surprisingly it's a youth-orientated group. During the first Lisbon referendum, the age group with the highest percentage of No voters was the 25 to 34 age group.

Which is why it's interesting to see the emergence of a grass-roots, pro-Lisbon organization, which is seemingly willing to really make the case for the Lisbon Treaty:

"Mr Byrne, a member of the Green party, says the campaign is “all just friends of ours” who were frustrated by the failure of politicians to properly explain the treaty the last time or to campaign effectively, so they decided “we’ll do it ourselves”. He noted that they recently started a Facebook page and have more than 800 members. “I think Declan Ganley only has about 100” he says of the Libertas anti-treaty campaigner."

Generation Yes has it's own website, Bebo and Facebook pages, and is on Twitter. On it's website it provides bullet-points on the Lisbon Treaty along with references to the relevant Treaty article for those who want to check things out in detail. I especially like the committment to referencing all points that they make - it will be good to lend the Yes side some authority by campaigning on practical changes rather than just vague benefits. Of course, there is the danger that the debate could get bogged down in too much detail, but I doubt that would happen for very long on the streets (or even on TV debates if they get there).

Its director is the former president of Trinity's student union, Andrew Burn. It is not funded by the Irish Government or the EU, but is looking for donations to help with its campaign, and plans on raising money through events such as table quizzes.

I'm really happy to see a grass-roots pro-Lisbon movement like this come together, and I hope they'll be able to make a great contribution to the debate in Ireland.


  1. Refreshingly grass roots to expect the campaign to cost a few thousand euros, when the allegedly "grass roots" Libertas seems to spend millions in acquisition of candidates, activists, parties (or fractions of such) and various forms of advertising.

    During the last days I have seen heavier web advertising by Libertas than all the other parties, European and national level, put together.

    I wonder where the money is coming from.

  2. As students your time would be better spent studying for your examinations. One fundamental point you missed about the Lisbon referendum is that it has been rejected by the Irish people.
    Still you continue to bully us into another vote on this issue.Democracy my foot! We now had a stronger voice than ever in Europe but if we had voted yes we would be an unheard voice and it is doubtful if the other 26 countries would even know where we were.
    As for Libertas, who cares where the money comes from as long as it is not the taxpayers money. Voting "NO" again is the only way to tell the politicians what you think of supporting and bailing out the banks, speculators and builders at our expense. If you are an earner you will have good reason to get at the established political parties when you see the fall in your take home pay.
    Use every opportunity to vent your anger.

  3. Though I am a student, I've only just heard about Generation Yes, and I'm not a member. (And one of my exams will be on European law, so an interest in the subject is not necessarily a waste of time...).

    The Lisbon Treaty was rejected by the Lisbon Treaty, but the question is what to do next, and how to address concerns of the people and meet the challenges that the EU faces. The EU needs reform to deal effectively with its increased membership. The Lisbon Treaty is a grand bargain between the member states, and represents a finely balanced compromise. It is far, far from perfect, but there are necessary reforms that the Treaty will make.

    So there will clearly be problems to address and there are positions to which some member states are wedded. Renegoitation from scratch is an option, but why take up so much time and money if the concerns raised can be addressed with amendments? If a bill in parliament has some unpopular aspects, it is not thrown out and a largely similar one drawn up from scratch, with all the time and effort involved (hardly productive) - no, bills are amended, and then, if parliament accepts, it is passed.

    The rhetoric of the No side was rejecting the Treaty to get a better deal. Why can't these amendments represent a better deal? The question, and the value of the amendments should at the very least be debated and judged by the public, and a referendum provides that opportunity.

    Where the money is coming from for Libertas does matter - we should be concerned with the money dealings of all political parties. Having said that, Libertas has many huge holes in its platform, and can be far better dealt with by the Yes side with good solid argument, instead of focusing on Ganley's non-party connections.

    And finally, I am very scepitcal of the value of using "every opportunity to vent your anger". If the issue is the Lisbon Treaty, then your vote should be on the Lisbon Treaty issue. Otherwise you undermine the very value of the referendum and the result. It seems strange to me to assert the indisputable result of the last referendum, when in the same breath you call on people to vote against the establishment/recession policies when the referendum is about something else entirely. A No result will not return money from the banks, and it will not dissolve the establishment. It is exactly sentiments like this which undermine the credibility of referenda, or open up referenda to doubt, which is a pity.

  4. Anonymous,

    Please, go on giving vent to rage and bile, but do not imagine that the conduct of European or domestic affairs improves as a result.

    As far as I am able to see, your tone is more bullying than that of Eurocentric or the active and positive students this blog post informs us about.

    Your 'carte blanche' to corporate and other particular interests to fund political parties and campaigns (as long as the taxpayers pay nothing directly) is interesting, to say the least.

    Perhaps you are unaware of the fact that Libertas is campaigning on a platform of openness and accountability - for others.