jump to navigation

Game on… February 29, 2012

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
trackback

So, along with the household tax here is another issue to trouble the Coalition – the recognition that yes, despite all the fluff about it being otherwise, the fiscal treaty demands an Irish referendum. And that on the day when S&P announce that Greece is in selective default. Not a great time for the Eurozone, or indeed the Euro, which might account for its slide against the dollar.

Coincidentally, or not, Backroom in the Sunday Business Post this weekend had a number of interesting observations on the latest outcome to the Greek crisis. As s/he notes the Greek deal is simply insufficient unto the scale of the problem that state faces- national debt reaching 168 per cent of GDP next year. And no guarantee that the deal will be accepted by private sector lenders. But Backroom also notes the central aspect of this, that being that…

The EU has failed at every level. It was the EU which pushed the euro project that has turned into such a disaster. A leading German official privately confided to the Financial Times: “It seems to me that we have invented a machine from hell that we cannot turn off.”
In the face of the economic crisis which the euro has unleashed, the EU has repeatedly done too little too late, as it seems to hope that the problem will somehow go away by itself.
The EU Commission has allowed itself to be supplanted by France and Germany which seem now, contrary to EU treaty law, to be directing affairs.

For those who retain a degree of adherence to the European project as a concept and actuality it is that latter aspect which has been so deeply dispiriting. For the two states to assume a position of primus inter pares has mean the effective abandonment of the supposed aims of the Union. This was never meant, at the rhetorical level, to be a union where individual nation states could sideline the Commission and institutions. And even if that were accepted and acceptable, which it is not, there is little evidence that Germany and France have acted beyond their narrow national interests.

And it is this which one suspects is the reason for the bizarre analyses of the crises put forward by those explaining away their actions…

Instead of accepting the truth – that the euro reduced interest rates too much in periphery states and that this led to enormous debt, property and public sector bubbles in those states – the EU has preferred a comforting narrative of sinning spendthrifts on the periphery being rescued by unsullied savers in the core.

What is conveniently forgotten in many analyses is that the EU, and other international organisations such as the IMF and OECD, tended to a panglossian view of what was occurring economically and commercially on their watch in both the individual states and as regards the international regulatory systems during the 2000s.

That said I wonder if the following is entirely correct…

There are huge implications for Ireland’s political parties in the gradual change in the EU’s power, capacity and political attractiveness. With youth unemployment now hovering at around 50 per cent in Spain and Greece, the EU has been transformed from ally to enemy for the young.
In Ireland, the youth unemployment rate is 29 per cent. It is easy to see Ireland’s eurosceptic parties winning support at the expense of pro-EU parties.

Hmmm… Perhaps. They point to SF as capitalising on this attitude, but I don’t – to be honest – see SF as anywhere near as eurosceptic as it was. Euro-critical, surely. And that’s hardly an unusual position in these days. Interesting too how McDowell’s comments recently on new parties seemed to explicitly rule out euro-scepticism. And whether euro-scepticism as an immediate response to the crisis can be translated into a long lasting political strand in the society seems to me to be a very open question. Again, perhaps, but I’d be dubious.

I don’t have a clue what the outcome of the referendum will be, I wonder if our now enviable track record of running referendums twice on issues will make people less risk averse in terms of voting no, if only to discomfit our supposed ‘partners’ in Europe. But either way, good that whatever decision is taken on foot of it will have at least a tinge of democratic legitimation. The genuinely disturbing aspect of this is how unusual that is in some of the states at the centre of the crisis… Italy… Greece…

About these ads

Comments»

1. CL - February 29, 2012

If the referendum is passed, what constitutes the structural deficit will be a political decision made by right-wing ideological technocrats; economic policy is being further removed from democratic control

Like

2. irishelectionliterature - February 29, 2012

Have heard a varied few reasons to voting against so far, including a colleague who says he’s voting No as it would mean we’d have to “scrap Croke Park and cut Welfare”!

and then theres Johnny Fallons deluded piece “A Yes vote will give Coalition a renewed mandate … a No vote means a General Election”

http://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/johnny-fallon-a-yes-vote-will-give-coalition-a-renewed-mandate-a-no-vote-means-a-general-election-3034276.html

Like

EamonnCork - February 29, 2012

Johnny Fallon, whoever he is, is a deluded soul in general. He’s been writing articles in the Indo claiming that there’s an untapped reservoir of religious conservative voters FF should be appealing to. This theory was last heard in the run-up to the Presidential election when Phoenix suggested ad nauseam that Dana was going to do much better than everyone thought.

Like

Paddy M - February 29, 2012

There’s a difference between religious conservatism and voting for someone who seemed to be undergoing a public meltdown.

Like

EamonnCork - February 29, 2012

O Cuiv tried to play that card in the Donegal by-election and it didn’t do him much good either. I think the idea of a sizable silent rural constituency who’ll party like it’s 1983 if their religious funny bones are tickled in the correct calculating manner is fallacious.
On a purely unscientific and anecdotal note, I haven’t heard one person complain about this Vatican Embassy nonsense. I have, on the other hand, heard nothing but complaint about the septic tank issue on the very sensible basis that people foresee it leading to their having to fork out thousands of euros they don’t have. The household charge money, which most of them object to as well, is a drop in the ocean by comparison.
There is a rural electorate with particular concerns but I don’t Godbothering in the DaVid Quinn/Breda O’Brien mouls is one of those concerns. That spectre tends to be summoned up by politicians from the main parties to excuse their failure to pass social legislation e.g. gay marriage, abortion, they personally find distasteful.

Like

3. sonofstan - February 29, 2012

“null, void, invalid, iniquitous, unjust, damnable, reprobate, inane, empty of meaning and effect for all time”.

That was Pope Innocent X talking about the Treaty of Westphalia.

It could easily be applied to this pointless treaty – pointless because it will neither do what its advocates think or hope it will do (or pretend to think etc.) nor what its detractors fear.

The only semi-rational explanation is that we are being asked to support it as a sort of profession of faith: vote ‘yes’ to demonstrate that you still believe, despite all the evidence, in the ‘project’.

Like

mengdie - February 29, 2012

It’s vote ‘yes’ if you believe in jobs and investment, which is even more of a leap of faith than the Lisbon and Nice guff about about the EU as a project of peace, love and all things nice. And vote ‘no’ for the bogeyman, of course.

Like

EamonnCork - February 29, 2012

I think it’ll lose. I also think opinion polls will be crucial. If the first couple show that no has a chance of winning, it’ll embolden more people to vote no. The Profession of Faith theory is a good one Sos, I think the treaty will be sold very much along these lines, are we ‘mature enough’ to vote yes, have we ‘got past our old negativity in this day and age.’ It’s time to ‘grow up’ and vote yes. Those will be the dominant tropes.
And of course the ones about us ‘winning the respect of Europe’ and ‘showing we’re not like the Greeks and are willing to pay our way.’
I don’t think they’ll work.

Like

sonofstan - February 29, 2012

I was polled last night on it by RedC – so there’ll be one out this weekend

Like

Jim Monaghan - February 29, 2012

Down with the treaty of Westphalia. Return Scania to Denmark and Alsace to the Holy Roman German Empire.

Like

popeepopt - February 29, 2012

+1 Although I don’t know what the Danes are going to do with all those trucks, considering the internal combustion engine hasn’t been invented yet.

Like

4. Justin Moran - February 29, 2012

Interesting point on Sinn Féin’s position but one that puzzles me a little as well. I saw someone say something similar in one of the Independent newspapers recently.

Puzzling because as long as I can remember we deliberately, in all our media and policy, used the phrase ‘Eurocritical’ as shorthand to describe our position.

Like

WorldbyStorm - February 29, 2012

In a way Justin, and this doesn’t contradict your points, I use e term euro sceptic more in the conceptual sense than what SF itself might state publicly. I don’t think it’s unfair to suggest that historically, as with other left formations, DL and the GP spring to mind, SF was antagonistic to the EU project, and that softened somewhat across the 00s to a more euro critical position.

Like

5. Mark P - February 29, 2012

Sinn Fein, with the solitary exception of Mary Lou McDonald, ran away and hid during the Lisbon 2 referendum. I’m assuming that this time around they’ll be more prominent.

Like

Justin Moran - February 29, 2012

This is just utter nonsense. Quite apart from leading, and being identified across the media as leading, the campaign against Lisbon II, we spent more, delivered more and canvassed more in Lisbon II than we did the first time round – which itself had been a step up for us from previous referendums.

Mary Lou’s prominence in the campaign, by the way, might not be unrelated to her position at the time as both party vice president and the head of our No to Lisbon campaign.

Like

Mark P - February 29, 2012

We’ve always been at war with Eastasia.

Like

WorldbyStorm - February 29, 2012

Good thread here from just after the Lisbon II result which covers some if the same ground

http://cedarlounge.wordpress.com/2009/10/03/left-reactions-to-the-referendum-result/

Like

Justin Moran - March 1, 2012

Hadn’t remembered that thread. You do tend to forget Mark’s assumption of omniscience and an indepth understanding of other political parties if you’re not on the site often enough. :)

Like

6. Jim Monaghan - February 29, 2012

It is a chance to reject the troika. If they say it is just about stopping a future FF doing what they did again, Then we can simply say why are you carrying out FF policies and accepting FF deal with the troika.
Like many I see a second “bailout” anyway as things get worse. The question is when, before Portugal or after?
Unlike many, I just see stormy weather ahead whatever happens.
Look a lot like 1931.And now we do not have strong workers parties even sectarian ones.

Like

7. irishelectionliterature - February 29, 2012

I see Eamon O Cuiv has resigned as Fianna Fail Deputy Leader and party spokesman for Communications over Fianna Fails stance on the treaty.
Just what Fianna Fail needed a few days before their Ard Fheis weekend :)

Like

WorldbyStorm - February 29, 2012

Bloody hell. Well that needs a rewrite of my post for tomorrow! :(

Never a dull moment since Christmas – eh?

Like

irishelectionliterature - February 29, 2012

New Deputy Leader has (by FF rules) to be a TD. Willie O’Dea the name being bandied about at the minute.
Must be sickening for them that they can’t promote Averil Power.

Like

sonofstan - February 29, 2012

Are we looking at pro- and anti- treaty factions in FF?

Like

WorldbyStorm - March 1, 2012

If O Cuív has support yes? If not, then…

Like

irishelectionliterature - March 1, 2012

O Cuív on Vincent Browne with fairly populist stuff.
We need a better deal, the banks that lent to the Irish banks were reckless too and need to share the burden of debt.
Being tied to the limits of the fiscal treaty is crazy, uses the Household analogy, if a big bill comes in sometimes you have to borrow to pay it etc etc.

Going to be some few days in FF

Like

EamonnCork - March 1, 2012

From a pragmatic point of view O Cuiv is dead right. About the only hope FF have of an electoral revival is to position themselves as anti-treaty and then try to claim the credit when the referendun fails. They can always renege on this position if they ever get back into power. This is Ireland after all.
Martin’s ‘Tallaght Strategy’ position will do for FF what the original species did for FG, condemn them to irrelevance while they garner praise for their maturity from the pol corrs.

Like

8. Roger Cole - February 29, 2012

The EU is an imperialist project that offers nothing but perpetual war abroad and perpetual austerity at home. A no vote would be a major victory not just for anti-imperialist in Ireland but throughout Europe

Like

9. popeepopt - February 29, 2012

A formidable line of argument is to frame the question as ‘Vote No and be like Iceland or Vote Yes and emulate Greece.’

It’s going to be an uphill struggle to sow enough fear to get this passed first go around, is my guess. Especially as the momentum to adopt plan B (eject some or all of the peripherals from the Eurozone) grows in German ruling elite, and the prospects of bits falling off the ramshackle edifice becomes thinkable. The German Finance minister was the last one to alude to it, and Merkel has lost her Chancellor Majority (I kind of non-binding vote of confidence) on the issue.

If I were the Gauleiter I would push for a referendum a soon as possible – big rush of armageddon scenarios around a No vote in the compliant meeja, and minimise the time for ‘events’ to intervene. On previous form, the notion that the Irish Government will have the cajones to demand sweeteners from the centre seems a little far fetched.

Like

irishelectionliterature - February 29, 2012

Was reading somewhere today that the likelihood of sweetners is low due to the fact that the EU/Eurozone can move on without us if they wish. Unlike any other European Referendum where it had to be everyone that approved it before it came into being.

That argument is valid only to a point as all they really care about is the markets and if Ireland rejects the treaty they wont be getting all the unpaid existing loans back.

Like

popeepopt - February 29, 2012

That’s a good point – probably there won’t be too much effort spent on providing doomsday scenarios for the government to peddle. But for the loansharks Ireland has to be one of the best payers, so they’d be sorry to see us go.

But it’s interesting the fact that shrinkage of the yoyozone is now thinkable in the centre has changed the game.

Like

WorldbyStorm - February 29, 2012

yep, that’s something I hadn’t thought about, so much is happening so rapidly. But in the space of weeks shrinkage is a real possibility. Us perhaps, voluntarily, perhaps. Greece more likely and involuntarily.

Like

10. CL - February 29, 2012

‘the compact has the potential to strengthen the domestic political system since the Oireachtas can play an important role in ensuring the accountability of the Government in complying with the domestic fiscal law….
it is important to recognise that the successful implementation of the fiscal compact in Ireland requires significant technical and political adjustments. At the technical level, it will be necessary for Ireland to build a domestic capacity that can provide independent, high-quality assessments of structural trends in the economy and the public finances, since only an independent institution can provide the type of medium-term forecasts that will be trusted by the European Commission and the other member governments.’
Philip Lane.

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2012/0207/1224311397651.html

‘high-quality independent assessments of structural trends’ provided by an ‘independent institution’- a foolish belief in the objectivity and competence of technocrats, and a naivety that the ‘structural’ can somehow be measured even if it could be distinguished empirically from the ‘cyclical’, which it cannot.
Embedding such foolishness in the Irish constitution has no basis in reason; its source is ideological.

Like

11. tomasoflatharta - March 1, 2012

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,423 other followers

%d bloggers like this: