The Great Debate UK
The EU show is back on the road. Sixteen months after Irish voters brought the European Union's tortured process of institutional reform to a juddering halt by voting "No" to the Lisbon treaty, the same electorate has turned out in larger numbers to say "Yes" by a two-thirds majority.
This is an immense relief for the EU's leadership. After three lost referendums in France, the Netherlands and Ireland, and a record low turnout in this year's European Parliament elections, the democratic legitimacy of the European integration process was increasingly open to question. The Irish vote will not completely silence those doubts. Opponents are already accusing the EU of have bullied the Irish into voting again on the same text, and of blackmailing them with economic disaster if they did not vote the right way this time.
Try this for size from a British Euro-sceptic, Lorraine Mullally of the Open Europe think-tank:
This is a sad day for democracy in Europe. The Lisbon Treaty transfers huge new powers to the EU and away from ordinary people and national parliaments. EU elites will be popping the champagne and slapping each other on the back for managing to bully Ireland in to reversing its first verdict on this undemocratic Treaty. But most ordinary people around Europe will not welcome this news, as they were never given a chance to have their say on the Treaty. We should all be deeply worried about the way in which EU leaders have gone about forcing this Treaty on us. Polls show that the majority of people across Europe want to be consulted on major transfers of power such as this - but politicians in Brussels aren't interested in what the people want.