Lisbon Treaty is dead. Get over it.

Terrific editorial in this week’s Economist.

Europe’s political leaders react to these unwelcome expressions of popular will in three depressingly familiar stages. First they declare portentously that the European club is in deep “crisis” and unable to function. Next, even though treaties have to be ratified by all members to take effect, they put the onus of finding a solution on the country that has said no. Last, they start to hint that the voters in question should think again, and threaten that a second rejection may force the recalcitrant country to leave the EU. The sole exception to this three-stage process was the Franco-Dutch no in 2005. Then, after two years of debate the politicians hit on the cynical wheeze of writing the constitution’s main elements into the incomprehensible Lisbon treaty, with the deliberate aim of avoiding the need to consult Europe’s voters directly again.

Now the Irish, the only people in the EU to be offered a referendum on Lisbon, have shot down even this wheeze. And as EU leaders gathered for a Brussels summit, after The Economist went to press, most had duly embarked on their usual three-stage reaction, all the while promising to “respect” the outcome of the Irish referendum—by which they mean to look for a way round it (see article). Some have had the gall to argue, with a straight face, that Lisbon must be brought into effect despite the Irish no because it will make the EU more democratic. This is Brussels’s equivalent of a doctor saying that the operation was a success, but the patient died. In truth, it is the Lisbon treaty that should be allowed to die…