The Irish have been allowed what the rest of the Europeans have been denied: a chance to speak their mind on the EU Constitutional Treaty, now re-styled as the Lissabon Treaty. And they took it, with a decisive no vote, just as the French and Dutch voters did before their governments decided it was best not to ask them.
According to the rules this should mean that the treaty is dead and buried. But, with this being the European Union, this is not so. Calls for a new referendum have already been made, and from Brussels all we can hear is “We will continue forward!”. Stubborn, stupid and undemocratic.
The treaty itself was not particularly desirable, making the decision process smoother and expanding power at the European level, meaning more bureaucracy, more regulations and more government. Not at all what the EU should be about, and quite opposite to the fundamentally good ideas of a common market and free movement of people and goods. And, importantly, it is not what the European citizens seem to want, and when they get a chance to influence the project they resist it, often voting against further expansion of Union authorities.
In spite of this temporary victory, the Brussels effort will surely continue, and I would be surprised if the constitutional treaty will remain in its resting place for very long.