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10 September 2009 Edition

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THE JULIA CARNEY COLUMN

Generation Yes’s Leon Trotsky whiplash over Lisbon

‘GENERATION YES’, a collection of smug baby activists from some of the pro-Lisbon political parties, is currently promoting a ‘lie-buster’ site against the more dubious claims of Cóir, who are now suggesting that the EU is going to execute Santa.
But Generation Yes have more in common with Cóir than they might like to think.
They recently launched a YouTube video arguing that the only way to start the fight against human trafficking was to vote for Lisbon. Start?
Ireland is a signatory to the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings. The Government has a ‘National Action Plan’ to fight trafficking. Last year the Dáil passed legislation to make human trafficking illegal in Ireland for the first time. Seems like a pretty good start to me.
More certainly needs to be done on victim support (a point made by Sinn Féin during the debate on the legislation) but there’s nothing about victim support in Lisbon. Passing or rejecting Lisbon won’t make a blind bit of difference to fighting the modern-day slave trade. Some people might think this was a little in poor taste, a little morally dubious perhaps to exploit an issue like this in the hope of guilting people into endorsing the treaty.
But, then again, it’s easy if you’re an organisation with a record of a fairly contemptuous attitude to women. In another Generation Yes YouTube video, called The Faces of No, they have a bash at parties and groups campaigning against the treaty. Fair enough. It’s childish but we’re dealing with children.
Anyway, they take a pop at the Socialist Party and in doing so show a picture of Trotsky, ideological father of Joe’s shock troops.
But here’s the thing: they doctor it.
They put a whip in Trotsky’s hand and then on the side of the picture insert an image of two naked women bent over, clearly about to be whipped.
(Full credit to blogger Hugh Green for catching it and showing the real picture.)
Generation Yes might not be honest but they’re certainly determined. You have to be to exploit the misery of raped, kidnapped, beaten and tortured women in the hope the grown-ups might give you a Dáil run next time.
By the way, if you’d like to know why doctoring pictures to show naked women being whipped is an honest way of arguing for a ‘Yes’ vote you can find out by emailing their press officer at [email protected] Thanks, Sharon.

IT’S not clear what Women for Europe would think of whipping women but we suspect they’d have something to say about it, especially if they were well-dressed.
This is another pro-Lisbon micro-group wandering around the margins of the campaign whose biggest achievement so far has been to unleash Nell McCafferty on an unsuspecting public as a pro-Lisbon advocate. Judging by her rambling performance on the Pat Kenny RTÉ Radio 1 show last Monday, it’s probably a move they already regret.
Anyway, Michael Parsons of The Irish Times attended one of their recent events in Kilkenny last week. Sadly, no one turned up to hear speakers that, according to Parsons, “looked like the board of governors of a posh Swiss finishing-school”.
He goes on:
“Ten ‘ordinary women’, who could have been styled by the Gloss magazine, presented reasons for voting ‘Yes’. A violinist serenaded proceedings with Dvorak and refreshments included cupcakes with icing spelling out ‘Women for Europe’.”
Violins?
Cupcakes?
Do these people want to be taken seriously?
Apparently not, actually, as the cupcake thing seems to be a running motif.
Pictures from the organisation’s Dublin launch show them posing for photographers with trays of cupcakes. Other pictures have them in pretty frocks and hats at the Dublin Horse Show, wearing on their heads what appear to be cardboard discs covered in purple crepe paper and 10 stars (why ten?). The purpose of this isn’t really clear and it’s so ridiculous looking I’d initially assumed someone had photoshopped them in but it seems deliberate.
It’s an EU campaign group run by the contestants in a D4 Lovely Girls competition.
Anyway, back to their flop of an event in Kilkenny...
Michael Parsons did something no other Irish journalist has done to date and, in doing so, may have put his livelihood as an Irish Times journalist at risk.
“Asked who was paying for the event, a spokeswoman said the group was ‘funded by voluntary contributions’ and that ‘people put money into the buckets at events’. Well, they didn’t. Not a single cent was visibly donated on Saturday.”
Where the Yes side is getting the money for the various Lisbon front groups it has set up is not a question the media – especially the fanatically pro-Lisbon Irish Times – has asked to date. The newspaper that sent journalists after Libertas’s funding during the last Lisbon campaign with suicide-bomber-like determination doesn’t seem all that bothered about who’s funding the plethora of Yes campaign groups.

FINALLY, a big shout out to Jason O’Mahony, whose spoof guide to the Lisbon Treaty had its failings pointed out to him by Eoin Ó Broin in this paper a fortnight ago.
Writing on his blog about the review, O’Mahony says:
“It’s critical, but not in a nasty way, but what surprised me was when I informed a few people on the Yes side. Slapped backs and ‘Well done!’ all around.
“Apparently it’s a badge of honour to get done over in An Phoblacht.”
Generation Yes and Women for Europe can stick the cheque in the post so.

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