Last night on TV we had the first of leaders debates leading up to the election. I'll come back to that in another article but it reminded me of the heated Lisbon debates during both votes. I vaguely remembered at the time having listened to the politicians try to drown each other out on radio and TV that I penned a sketch to amuse myself.
So this morning I dug around my hard disk and found it. Its significance today is to show that nothing changes when politicians are forced out under the public limelight. For the purposes of this skit I speculated that the Irish would vote "No' to Lisbon a second time and the Fianna Fail coalition would be bullied by Europe to run yet another referendum until we got the right answer. So the spin doctors in the Government suggest running the vote on Christmas Day to ensure nobody votes.
See what you think:
The Scene: RTE TV Primetime Programme on the topic of the Lisbon Referendum re-run
Hosted by: Mark Little
Guests include: Michael Martin (FF), Dick Roche (FF), Enda Kenny (FG) , Olivia Mitchell (FG) , Eamon Gilmore (Labour), Mary Lou McDonald (Sinn Fein), Declan Ganly (Libertas).
Mark Little: Hello & Good Evening. The Government yesterday announced the date for the third Referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. Dick Roche, isn't it a bit unusual to be holding a referendum on Christmas Day ?
Dick Roche: Let me very clear about this Mark. This Government is determined to remain at the centre of Europe. It is only with a coherent strategy and a clear road forward and in the context of a wider Europe, with Ireland at it's centre, that the true dynamic of the Irish people will really become clear and the forces of terrorism, the left, the UK unionists and that crowd over there, will be cast off to ……
Mark Little: Yes, yes Minister, but Christmas Day ?
Michael Martin: Actually Mark, I'd like to answer that. I think it's very clear to everybody now that Christmas Day is a family day, mostly spent at home. While this Government supports the family and indeed, let me say this, our record on family support is second to none. This Government has committed millions to protect the sacred nature of the family as the primary and core unit of the economy and in fact, since 1995, we have repeatedly ploughed billions into initiatives that entrench ….
Mark Little: Yes, yes Minister, but Christmas Day ?
Michael Martin: Exactly Mark. The “family day”. But let's be fair about this. It is a family day all over Europe. Indeed, since the introduction of the smoking ban in Ireland, we led the way on that in the world, and ever since then, and let everybody be clear about this, Ireland has made families throughout Europe safer. There are literally billions of Europeans alive today that would have died in agony if I had not bravely confronted the publicans and other vested …..
Mark Little: Right …. right yes Minister. Ahem, Mary Lou, your party has consistently opposed Lisbon. However, your party leader, Gerry Adams, has indicated that Sinn Fein's coffers are running on empty due to the Lisbon campaigns you have been forced to run already this year. Does this mean that your party will not be a major player this time round.
Mary Lou: Well Mark, I believe …..
Enda Kenny (sweating & twitching): That's completely untrue and you know it Mary. The Irish people know that your party, believe in nothing but murder and terror. You have consistently voted against Europe and against the Irish people. You represent no-one but yourselves and under a Fine Gael Government you'd all be behind bars where you deserve to be. It would be no ….
Mark Little: Please Deputy Kenny, could we stick with the Lisbon debate. I'd like to return to the topic of a referendum on Christmas Day. Olivia Mitchell ?
Olivia Mitchell: Mark, this is just another example of this bungling Government which is both morally bankrupt and responsible for the rip-off culture we are all suffering from now. They are seeking to privatise the Health Service in some wily-nily attempt to ……
Mark Little: Please people, I must ask everyone to stick to the subject in hand. We are facing our third Referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, the previous two having been voted down and this latest one has been set for Christmas Day. Can I return to you Minister Roche and ask, why a third referendum, and why on Christmas Day ?
Dick Roche: I'm glad you asked me that Mark. It is clear that the Irish Nation has spoken and we respect that. Indeed it is a reflection of just how deeply Fianna Fail respect the electorate, in these challenging times, and make no mistake Mark, these are challenging times. We are facing threats from abroad that are not of our own making and the people know, that in hard times when the chips are down, you can rely on the Fianna Fail party to see us through to a bright future where young people will have secure jobs, safe in the knowledge that, and let me be clear about this …….
Enda Kenny (sweating & twitching even more): That's a lot of balderdash and you know it. Our young people have been priced out of the housing markets by your developer friends, the education system is in crisis and ……… and, the IRA Army Council is still there …… they have not gone away you know.
Michael Martin: This is typical of the opposition. Every year their support has been falling by 189%, year on year, plus or minus three, and let me say this, there would have no smoking ban if Fine Gael had their way …….
Noisy rumpus breaks out ……
Mark Little: Please folks, could we just get back to the referendum. Declan Ganly, your Libertas organisation has been vocal in its opposition to the last referendum, which you won decisively. Do you now oppose the holding of a third vote ?
Eamon Gilmore (chuckling): It might be more interesting for your viewers if you asked him how much he has spent on it Mark and just where he got that money.
Chorus of guffaws ….
Declan Ganly: I'll answer that in a moment. Firstly, I see no reason at all to ask the Irish people to vote again ….
Dick Roche: That's just scare mongering. The whinging ‘no side’ have lied repeatedly and completely mislead the Irish people. The veto IS secure and, let me be clear about this, everyone will be a winner in Europe. Do Irish people want to be cast out of Europe, do we want to return to the days of joblessness, of hunger and unrest, to the dark times, before Fianna Fail, when famine stalked the land. No is the answer …… er, I mean yes to Lisbon is the actual answer. Let me say this, in my long and distinguished career in Europe, indeed, at the centre of Europe, I can put my hand on my heart and say …….
Mark Little looks to the producer for help.
Roche contd: ………. that without the structural funds, the intervention scheme, the, the, the lavish traveling expenses ahem …… But now, just let me give you an example. At a recent cocktail party at the Danish Embassy in Brussels, the Polish Prime Minister and myself were discussing important world affairs when, out of the blue, he said to me, "you Irish politic ….. aah, Irish people have done really well from Europe". Do we really want to throw all that away, are we mad.
Michael Martin: Of course, Dick is absolutely right. Since we joined the EU, every Irish person has benefitted to the tune of €981,742.00 each, according to the best experts I could find. A further €800 billion was spent on health this year alone, including the smoking ban and, let me be clear about this, we led the way on that one. Hardly a day goes by that I am not contacted by …
Mark Little: Now, I really must insist that we return to the point. Can I return to you Declan Ganly. Isn't it a little strange to hold a referendum of Christmas Day of all days ?
Dick Roche: You see, again and again, just like the last time and the time before, the media spotlight is constantly on the no crowd. There's an imbalance in the media towards that side. We demand fair play on this matter, and I have made it clear in the past …..
Michael Martin: Clearly he has.
Dick contd: … that all we are seeking is fair play. The record of this Government in house building, our commitment to health, the new roads ……. and just let me say this, when has the no side ever built a new road ?
Eamon Gilmore: Much as I hate to agree with Minister Roche, it's clear that Sinn Fein would prefer to blow up a hospital than build one (gloats at his own genius).
Mary Lou: But ….
Enda Kenny (shaking uncontrolably): She has a cheek to say ‘but’ after 30 years of death and destruction. Fine Gael says "get tough now and butt out" and no mistaking it.
Mark Little: OK, OK. Can we just return to the Christmas Day thing. Now Taoiseach Brian Cowen is quoted as saying …..
Michael Martin: Again Mark, that comment was taken completely out of context. What Brian Cowen meant was that the last referendum was completely hi-jacked by the lies and deception of the no side. We were shouted down the last time and, I want to be clear about this, we will not be shouted down this time around. In 2004, when I introduced legislation on the banning of smoking in public places, I was shouted down as well and only for my determination and uncanny will to succeed ……..
Mark Little (in a rage): For God's sake, can anyone tell us why we are having a shagging third referendum on ratifying a poxy treaty that we have rejected twice already and why in the name of Jesus we are holding that f@%king vote on Christmas day ?
Stunned silence. The guests look bewildered at each other. Finally ……
Dick Roche: I'm glad you asked that Mark. Let me just say this and I want to absolutely clear about it ……..
Mark Little: aaaaAAAAAgHHHHHH ………..