You're certainly forgiven if you've give up trying to follow the Irish vote on the Treaty of Lisbon. In fact, it's been anything but easy to follow for several reasons. A recent article in the Irish Sunday Business Post offers some simple answers to some uneasy questions.
Why are European treaty votes so difficult to follow? Well, for starters, they never seem to cover a single issue but rather a hodge-podge of issues.
More confusing is the tendency of Europeans to protest any votes or treaty for reasons that often have nothing to do with the actual content of the treaty before them. For example, you might find a treaty dealing with the number of hours one can legally work per day in the EU attracts the wrath of fishermen protesting port fees.
In this particular case, what is important for employees across Europe is whether the EU will continue to be a social Europe or adopt a more liberal (European definition, please) stance. For American readers, the term liberal in Europe refers to a more market-oriented approach, similar to one advocated by Republicans in the US.
This may well have been a top concern for Irish voters who were decidedly against the treaty, which deals yet another embarrassing rebuke of EU legislation. Where the EU goes from here remains to be seen, but it's suffered quite a few black eyes in recent years and could stand to get back to winning ways.