The hope hidden in uncertainty

To be sure...

You’d like to think it must have made some sense at the time, all those weeks ago when the various PR flaks for the Yes side decided that ‘Stability’ and ‘Certainty’ would be the keynotes for their campaign.

But really, even way back in faraway March or April, how could anyone have gazed around Europe at all those countries whose ratification of the treaty was allegedly assured and decided, “Yes, that’s what it is: ‘Certainty’. What countries who are safely inside this mechanism are getting is absolute Certainty that everything is going to be just fine. Happy days, Spain, Italy and Greece and all the rest - you’ve got Certainty. I only hope we have the good sense to vote Yes and join you.”

Even now it’s hard for them to admit that Certainty is not one of the options in this referendum, because it appears to be the only thing they’ve got. (Why they don’t just say “Vote Yes for Prudence”? It must sound like a weak, feminine word compared to IBEC’s manly three Cs. And they’re never going to come clean and say “Vote Yes for Fear”.)

The Irish Times sheds crocodile tears about the “deep and worrying class divide” on the treaty. But its editorial at the weekend was fundamentally satisfied, since as Warren Buffet pertinently and quotably said: “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

Even Buffet’s class can’t honestly claim to be winning Certainty in the current situation and the Irish referendum. But it is gaining power, in what is by now nameable as classic Shock Doctrine manner.

As for the rest of us, we’ve got to forget Certainty, and approach this referendum with some other words in mind, words like freedom, solidarity, equality. Maybe even uncertainty. The typically snappy headline on Monday’s Irish Times front page may have stumbled into an unintended truth: “Kenny says No vote would lead to unwanted uncertainty”. If it is really possible to have “wanted uncertainty”, then right now I know which uncertainty I want: ours, not theirs, an uncertainty with possibilities for a new direction, new coalitions, new internationalism.

Uncertainty does after all contain hope hidden in its folds, not just fear. {jathumbnailoff}

Image top: konradfoerstner.