Three (and an half) defining aspects of the current crisis… May 24, 2012Posted by WorldbyStorm in European Politics, Irish Politics.
It’s worth noting that a most unwelcome ingredient – to some – has been added in to the European mix by the election of Hollande and the Greek election results. This being even on the social democratic and radical left side of the equation a divergence from the orthodoxy at [almost in the Greek level] state level, and more importantly one that is being acted upon by Hollande.
I pointed early this morning to the way in which yesterday the dinner of EU heads last evening was, in the Irish Times, trailed as good for the YES side because – implicitly – Hollande would row back on his proposals. When the dinner outcome proved to be almost entirely the opposite no more was said about the referendum.
But it does point up in stark terms three of the defining aspects of the contemporary period.
Firstly, politicians when elected are not expected to stay true to their word but instead are expected to cleave to the orthodoxy.
Secondly, that this aspect outlined in point one is perfectly acceptable, that Labour, and indeed Fine Gael acted in some broader ‘best interest’ by resiling from stated policy positions. One sees it too in the coverage of Hollande, and the Greek political system, where the narrative – usually unspoken, is that they will all see sense and accept the inevitable.
Thirdly, that the crisis is apolitical and that the orthodoxy is the only way forward – is indeed the inevitable. Clearly Hollande and a broader, albeit hitherto submerged, oppositional element at EU state level don’t agree. But it has a resonance closer to home in the truly bizarre attitude of the Labour Party to the Treaty where even as Hollande, and others sotto voce, call its fundamental premises into question they press on regardless to the referendum. Linked to this is the idea that there is or are no paths out of this from a social democrat and left of social democrat position.
And the half? Well, it’s the patent inability of certain parts of the media commentariat to get to grips with all this. Despite those articles in the IT yesterday even a cursory reading of the international press would indicate that there was no deal done and the likelihood of agreement was minimal. But of that not a whisper in the Irish press. It’s as one comment on the IT a week or so put it under an editorial on the crisis – all the international editorial pages were awash with analyses that pointed in one direction while the IT editorial pointed in directly the opposite.
What’s fascinating to see is the process by which these aspects are slowly, and/or rapidly, being overturned. I can’t help but think that the gap between government rhetoric on this issue and the events happening at EU level is in some ways analogous to the days leading up to the arrival of the IMF/ECB on our shores some years back. The government of the day was desperately spinning that things were otherwise even when the feet of the international representatives had touched Irish soil. I’m not certain that it will have the same attritional impact upon the government, but it cannot fail to have some impact.
Meanwhile, had to smile when I read this on the RTÉ website.
EU leaders say text of fiscal treaty will not be changed
But the subheading changed that ‘leaders’ to ‘officials’…
European Union officials have confirmed that there will be no change to the text of the fiscal treaty.
And the main text changed it again to…
Two separate sources have told RTÉ News that there was “no question” of modifying the treaty, and that the growth agenda as pursued by French President Francois Hollande would be reflected in parallel initiatives.
[I see that this was later changed to 'Officials' in the heading - I wish I'd got a screen grab... ]