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17 September 2009 Edition

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Vote ‘Yes’ for all the puppy dogs, pig-tails and playtime in the park


With special guest Pat Cox

SO as to facilitate a more honest debate on the Lisbon Treaty, this week the Julia Carney Column will be written by Pat Cox, head of Ireland for Europe. Julia will return next week.

I’d like to tell you about Jack.
Jack’s a cute little Jack Russell terrier. Susie and Maeve, the two darling pig-tailed twin little girls who look after Jack, picked the name as soon as they heard what breed of dog he is. Their parents rescued Jack from a pound. He had been badly hurt by his previous owners. When first they took him home he used to cower in the corner. He was afraid to let himself be hugged or even petted.
But with care, attention, kindness and a lot of love, the doggy joy returned to Jack. He was up and about, running and jumping and joining in the chasing games all the kids liked to play, barking happily.
Jack likes playing frisbee, running around in the garden with the girls and chasing the cat. The girls always have lots of fun when they play with Jack and at night they snuggle up to him in bed, shrieking with laughter when his wet, cold nose brushes against them.
Silly old Jack!
And if you vote No to Lisbon, Jack will be thrown into a combine harvester.
You see, without the European Union we wouldn’t have dogs, or cute pig-tailed little girls, or parents. European Directives, for example, are what specified the exact dimensions, weight and shape (round) of frisbees.

MANY of you don’t remember what Europe was like before the European Union (or the EEC as it was then) was formed. Europe was a dark and a terrible place, full of nightmarish creatures who crawled from the forests at night to gorge themselves on the flesh of our ancestors.
Our ancestors were enslaved in mines buried deep under the Earth where they worked until they dropped dead of exhaustion. Millions of us died. Hundreds of millions starved. Our suffering and agony was as excruciating as it seemed never-ending.
There was no playing chasing games in the park, I can tell you. No bedtime stories from Mummy while we snuggled under the sheets with Jack and a hot mug of cocoa. No singing songs with Daddy on trips in the car.
Then a small group of career civil servants, economists and politicians (with cockroaches the only other species able survive alongside humanity in those dark days) did something very, very clever.
They came together and drafted a treaty that would break down trade barriers, stimulate economic integration and, once the fiscal parameters were right, create a single currency and a European Central Bank.
And lo, the sun came out from under the clouds. Our ancestors were freed from the mines, allowing many of them to begin careers in the financial services sector. Flowers bloomed, children laughed, musicians grinned as they practised their instruments and the ladies got out their prettiest dresses to dance for the young men of the village.
Oh, to have been alive at that time, my friends.

BUT if the Lisbon Treaty is rejected, we lose everything. Darkness will fall across the land yet again and we will be back to cowering in our simple mud huts, feeding on roots and leaves and worshipping curiously-shaped pieces of wood. Like the Welsh... only cleaner.
And we might as well throw Jack in the combine harvester to spare him the suffering. You don’t want Jack to live in a world like that, do you, mister? A world of incalculable heartache and misery?
But there is another way, a way we can make sure that Jack lives on. That he can play with Susie and Maeve and all the other cute children of south Dublin professionals. By voting Yes on 2 October you can secure the future for puppies and lollipops, for princesses with beautiful long blonde hair and for smiling, happy peasants working merrily in the fields.
It will be a lovely world. Full of joy and happiness and joy and happiness and more joy. Lots and lots of joy and happiness.
And if you don’t believe us, why not ask old Jack.
“Woof! Woof!”
Ho-ho-ho. Oh, Jack, you old rascal, I couldn’t have put it better myself.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1