I don't know what it is that makes me dislike Richard Corbett MEP so very, very much. It's not his EUphilia as such, since there are other EUphiles whom I can get on with. Perhaps it's Corbett's face: it makes him look like a deeply smug, unpleasant, aggressive little shit.
Anyway, you will recall that your humble Devil blogged about the Irish Referendum Amendment that was voted down. Now Corbett has decided that this needs a response. [Quoted in full.]
Following my comments of yesterday, yet another myth has been drawn to my attention. This time it is that the European Parliament voted not to respect the results of an Irish referendum on the Lisbon treaty.
The parliament did, of course, reject an amendment to add to my own report evaluating the treaty, a paragrapph calling for it to respect the result of the Irish referendum, but it did so (1) because this goes without saying as the Treaty can only come into force if it is ratified by every Member State and (2) it was inappropriate to refer only to Ireland as it is every county's decision that has to be respected, not just Ireland's.
The authors of the amendment knew it would be rejected for those reasons, but tabled it anyway simply to be able to misuse its rejection and to make their absurd claim. It's known as manipulation.
Thanks to correspondant Part-Timer, who sent me this link to a post on Roger Helmer's blog in which, amongst other things, he apologises for his abstention in that vote.
During the parliament’s February Strasbourg session, we voted the Corbett report on the Lisbon Treaty (aka the Renamed EU Constitution). There was an amendment that simply said “This house will recognise the outcome of the Irish Referendum” (which takes place soon). The amendment was overwhelmingly voted down. (OK. I put my hand up. I abstained. It was simply an error, and I greatly regret it).
In a meeting of the Constitutional Affairs Committee yesterday, we were discussing the poor turnout in Euro-elections, and the apparent voter disengagement from the European project. Irish MEP Kathy Sinnott pointed out that we could hardly expect Irish voters to engage with the EU when we had just voted against respecting the result of the Irish Referendum. Corbett was apoplectic, shouting “No we didn’t” (I was shouting “Yes you did”) and insisting on making a point of order in response. His explanation was about the most extraordinary piece of self-serving sophistry that I have heard in nearly nine years in the parliament (and I’ve heard a lot!).
We weren’t voting to reject the outcome of the Irish referendum, he said. Not at all. We were merely voting not to put that wording into the text of the report. And why did we not want to put those words in the report? Why, said Corbett, because “It is self-evident that this parliament would respect the outcome of any national referendum—not just Ireland”.
Temper, temper, Mr Corbett. I know that you just can't wait to get your grubby little hands on a bit more power, but do try to stop that mask of civility from slipping.
I have rarely seen an MEP dig himself an elephant-trap, and fall into it quite so quickly. Self-evident, is it? The European parliament was quite happy to reject the Danish referendum on Maastricht (1992); the Irish Referendum on the Nice Treaty (2000); and most spectacularly the French and Dutch referendum results on the EU Constitution in 2005. Self-evident that we respect the result of national referenda, Richard? No. It’s self-evident that we don’t.
To be quite fucking blunt about it, I would loathe being in the same country as Corbett, let alone the same room as him: I might completely lose it. What a good thing it is that he doesn't live in this country then, instead preferring the cultural delights of Antwerp.