|The beer garden at the Stout Bar|
in Rathmines, Dublin returns to nature.
There is probably a good case for putting limits on the deficits our politicians run up in their desperation to buy votes and power. Thanks to the Croke Park Agreement we will almost certainly need more massive loans just to keep the country running. Until we replace the cronyism and incompetence of Irish and EU politics with a new model of participative governance, we’re screwed.
|The once-buzzing Odeon Bar in Dublin now|
However, the Fiscal Compact, as hurriedly agreed by a European leadership that has shown itself incapable of dealing with the debt crisis from the start, is a further step away from democracy. It will bring into force the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), a body which was dreamt up without the participation of the European Parliament and which will call the shots when any Eurozone economy needs to be rescued. The Governors of the ESM are appointed by Eurozone Governments and “shall enjoy immunity from every form of judicial process”.
While I don’t believe that Angela Merkel wants to become the dictator of the Eurozone, I will not vote in favour of a half-baked sop to the money markets which could yet lead us into a totalitarian nightmare. And all to save a currency, by using the same big stick to threaten the diverse member states, from broken Greece to smug Germany to basket case Ireland.
|Homeless person sleeps outside vacant office block on|
Dublin's prime St Stephen's Green
But the ‘one size fits all’ solution to the Euromess doesn’t work, because each of the 17 member states makes their own economic policy, but the currency is controlled in Frankfurt. In hindsight, this is such a stupid idea, doomed to fail. While the Irish politicians bleat pathetically about protecting Ireland’s status as a tax haven for US multinationals - as if this was the most important thing in the world - they know full well that closer tax harmonisation and eventual Frankfurt control of the Irish economy is the only way to save the euro. Politicians lie, this we know. But we have such short memories (maybe something to do with the Nazi-inspired fluoride in the Irish water supply?).
Crucially, the numbers don’t add up for Ireland. The Fiscal Compact demands that we can only overspend by 0.5% of the national income. It is conservatively estimated that Ireland will be overspending by 3.75% in 2015. In 2008, it was 13.2%. Further, the new rules will demand that the national debt cannot be more than 60% of the size of the economy. This is the clincher. In 2011, Government debt stood at €119 billion, 107% of the (shrinking) economy. This is predicted to rise to 119% by 2013 and, if NAMA debt is included (it isn’t thanks to the ECB allowing us to cook the books!), it’s already at €153 billion, or 137%. Jesus Christ, I have a headache.
|If Fianna Fail say Vote Yes then the only sensible thing to do|
is Vote No.
Meanwhile both Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen, the architects of Ireland’s demise, earn pensions of over €150,000 per year. A no vote is the only sane vote. We must bring the whole crazy debt show down.
Gary J Byrnes, 23 May 2012
|The fact that Munch's The Scream recently|
sold for $120 million illustrates how arseways
the global economy has become.