trouble in paradise – where are the women and what are they doing?

Europe is wrestling with a crisis of confidence, they say, but my concern is that the post-Irish Lisbon referendum rhetoric echoes too closely Russia’s antics of ‘managed democracy.’ Suddenly Ireland is the scapegoat for ruining the dazzling future of Europe when the rest of us didn’t even get to vote. The Irish have had it before: if you vote wrong, they ram it down your throats second time to get it right. This was the previous treaty, Nice, in 2001-02. It seems that Sarkozy’s and his acolytes’ memory is very short and selective (as political memory always is) as nobody seems to link the Irish rejection to the French and Dutch rejection of the Lisbon treaty’s forerunner three years ago. The German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeir said after the Irish vote: “We’re sticking firmly to our goal of putting this treaty into effect.” Is there a difference between a refusal to accept a defeat in Europe and Zimbabwe? When did this kind of selective, Machiavellian democracy become the norm and politics-as-usual in every part of the globe?

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