Today’s Lisbon treaty discussion on Liveline was interesting.  Had it been informative it might have been worthwhile.  The main contributors were DJ Carey, Ben Dunne, Sinead O’Connor and Meabh Binchey.  Apparently these were some of the names that came up when Liveline asked its listeners who they would like to hear give their views on the treaty.  So, when the good people of Ireland, the wonderfully erudite and informed fans of Joe Duffy want some advice on a vital change to our hallowed constitution to whom do they turn.  A former hurler, a former grocer, a pop star priestess and an internationally best selling novelist.

According to O’Connor most of us are too busy trying to feed ourselves or raise our kids to figure out what the treaty is all about.  She thinks that we should postpone the vote until the dullards who make up the electorate can get up to speed on this thing.  That could take years.  She tells us later in the discussion that ‘…the devil is your best friend.’  So vote no, then.

DJ, believed by many to have political ambitions, nicely toes the party line and calls for a yes vote, saying that while he doesn’t really understand the treaty he trusts the politicians to steer him on the right path.  Blah, blah, blah.

Meabh takes a very europhile view of the debate, saying that Europe has been great for us and we should stay on the great big euro bus. So vote yes.

Dunne, as usual, is just hilarious.  Having told us that he does not understand the treaty he then tells us of his great intelligence.  So if Ben ‘Einstien’ Dunne can’t understand it, what chance do the rest of us have?

The most interesting part of the discussion was the apparent revelation that Ben Dunne is suffering from Stockholm Syndrome.  Twice today he leapt to the defence of Sinn Fein.  Yes, the same Sinn Fein whose private army, the IRA, kidnapped Dunne back in 1981.

Later, over dinner, the subject of Dunne’s kidnap came up and the idea was put forward that it was Charlie Haughey who secured his release.  This resulted in great mirth as we imagined the scene out at Kinsealy when Charlie learned that his greatest benefactor was in a spot of bother.

Within minutes Charlies, in a panic, has the IRA Chief of Staff on the phone.

‘Any chance you’d let Ben go?’

‘No f**cking way.’

‘Ah, go on.  I’ve spoken to Don Tidey.  He says you can have Maurice Pratt instead.’

The Questions & Answers Lisbon Special was great fun too.  One thing that was clear was that Enda won’t be leader of Fine Gael at  the next election.  Everybody, including Declan Ganley, wiped the floor with him.  He had to be rescued so many times by John Bowman that it was laughable.

Having watched Mary Lou McDonald tonight, it is clear that if she had joined Fianna Fail instead of Sinn Fein she would be snapping at Mary Coughlan’s heels.  Whatever about her politics, she is a shrewd operator who can hold her own with the best of them.

 A nice point from a member of the audience, who were all invited, interested parties, about the no side of the panel.  One of them (Sinn Fein) terribly concerned about US war planes passing through Shannon and the other (Declan Ganley) trying to get his gear onto them.

Micháel Martin batted well for the government while the Cóir representative accused the yes camp of being an ignorant shower who shouted and booed every time a no campaigner tried to make a point, before going on herself to try to shout down Enda when he attempted to answer her question.

So plenty of accusations of lying, plenty of booing and hissing and a complete disaster for Enda, especially when he revived his cringe inducing, wounded Catholic persona in response to a question about abortion.

Anyway, this correspondent has now made up his mind about how he will cast his vote.

(Note: Must stop referring to myself in the third person.  Far too remeniscent of Liam Lawlor!)

I have consumed the debate voraciously over the last couple of weeks and have done my best to be as informed as possible, (unlike Sinead and Ben), and unless Sarkozy and Merkel run naked down O’Connell Street in the next 48 hours screaming ‘You fools, you fools.  We have you now.  You will sell your soul to a war-mongering, baby-murdering, tax-plundering, European cesspit of pure evil!!,’ I will, like Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally, be screaming…….

YES, YES, YES! OH GOD, YES!

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