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Austerity? What are you complaining about? December 15, 2012

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics, Uncategorized.

From Stephen Collins in the Irish Times today…

Greeks were bemused to hear about the political row in Ireland over the cut in the respite care grant. Not only is there no such thing in Greece but there is no carer’s allowance in the first place.



Erm… there may be a few problems with his logic there…


1. smiffy - December 15, 2012

Well, not just the logic. It’s also – most likely – a lie. Which Greeks is Collins talking about? He’s obviously just making it up, in exactly the same way as Independent ‘news’ stories about something to do with the public sector (‘An Independent investigation has revealed that some public sector employee are still being paid a basic living wage’ etc.) is invariably accompanied by the line ‘This revelation will cause outrage in the hard-pressed struggling private sector’ or something along those lines.

Reporting, or (wishful-thinking) opinion? There isn’t even a line to blur any more.


Ed - December 15, 2012

You might notice one very large omission from the article (well there are several very large omissions, but this one is particularly striking for someone who spends much of his time picking over the findings of opinion polls).


WorldbyStorm - December 15, 2012


He’s also wrong about this being the first Greek coalition. AFAIK there was a coalition government in 1989/1990 comprising ND, PASOK and IIRC Coalition of Left and Progress.


2. Ivorthorne - December 15, 2012

Stephen Collins was wrong about something?

The man could have his own “Stupid Statement of the Day” article here if anyone could be bothered.


3. fergal - December 15, 2012

Another bootboy article form another godfather of austerity. While Collins sips his wine over the Christmas he can be satisfied that Greeks are bemused at us.
Interestingly,he quotes 3.5 million of cuts for us over one year and 13.5 for Greece over two years. That means around 6.25 billion over one year for about 10 million people in Greece and 3.5 million for 4.5m people in this state. Which is higher proportionally?
How another human being can write an article about Greece without showing solidarity with people who are being crushed by this madness is beyond tragic.A old woman committed suicide in the main square in Athens some months ago,by self-immolation,as she didn’t want to spend the rest of her life rummaging in bins. A family outside Athens had to put four of their children up for adoption because that just couldn’t feed all their children(ten all told).
Collins is immune to any common sense or reason on austerity. He is simply a godfather of austerity,like the godfathers of “terrorism” Collins bemoaned in the not too distant past,cheer leading as people die needlessly


WorldbyStorm - December 15, 2012

“How another human being can write an article about Greece without showing solidarity with people who are being crushed by this madness is beyond tragic.” That thought struck me too. There’s a remarkably detached air throughout his piece.


Paul - December 15, 2012

But we are planning on another 5.3 Bn in cuts aren’t we? Over 2 years. Or 8.8 Bn over 3 years, bringing the total over 6 yrs to more than 30bn. All to fix a hole that was less than 20bn to start with.
The Collins piece is pure propaganda. A newspaper is entitled to push its agenda, but a reputable one would insist that it’s writers present facts with some accuracy.


WorldbyStorm - December 15, 2012

Excellent point Paul. And it could be considerably more if the figures don’t add up… which seems almost inevitable.


RosencrantzisDead - December 15, 2012

Further to that, a fellow on the IT website pointed out the on a per capita basis our cuts are higher than those of Greece. They are cutting €13.5 bn over two years (6.75bn per year). They have a population of 11 m. We have taken 3.5bn out in one year with a pop. of 4m.


4. doctorfive - December 15, 2012

sent by the Troika no less


5. doctorfive - December 15, 2012

Good see to Labour enlisting more PR.

Sure wasn’t it communication issues that finished Brian Cowen’s regime after all.


6. greengoddess2 - December 15, 2012

I despair about Collins. I don’t know if any of you heard Brownes interview with the editor of the IT where he says he is a social democrat and it informs the newspaper. All I could think was – what about your chief poll Corr? The government here has a much more serious attitude which goes something like ‘ if the Greek coalition can do this then so can we. I have tried over and over to explain the fact that Greek society has been literally cannibalized. All kinds of social protection removed. We believe that it has violated the much- vaunted Charter of Fundamental Rights. Perhaps it is because I sit with Greek and Portuegues MEPS that I can see this clearly, but it really scares me that our Troika will insist on these measures too. Enda Kenny only goes into big rooms in black limos and meets corrupt Greek politicos . ( diplomatic incident alert).
There has been serious misrepresentation about the next TWO budgets. And after that it is the rest of the unplayable debt. I don’t believe the TDS in Labour are really aware of this. Or I hope not. But some of the Ministers are.


Paul - December 15, 2012

A social democratic paper with neo-liberals in charge of both economic and political coverage?

I suppose that leaves their sporting coverage?


ejh - December 15, 2012

but it really scares me that our Troika will insist on these measures too

As indeed they will where I live, when they finally get around to enforcing a “rescate” in Spring or whaeveer it is.


7. doctorfive - December 15, 2012

more from Keaveney

” Commentary from some Government Ministers and other senior party members on my recent decision to oppose aspects of the contained in the Social Welfare Bill is only serving to bring politics into even further disrepute. In my own comments on the events of recent days, I have sought to be measured focusing on issues of policy and principle. Some of my concerns about the budgetary process have now been echoed by a Government Minister, Simon Coveney particular in the relationship between the Economic Management Committee and the rest of the Cabinet “


8. Branno's ultra-left t-shirt - December 15, 2012

I saw the Browne interview and thought the editor’s assertion was clearly at odds with his paper’s general stance, to a laughable extent. Browne’s interview with the Saturday magazine editor Orna Mulcahy was more revealing; it was toe-curling (both interviewer and interviewee). Sometime ago the IT Saturday magazine did a feature on ‘working women’ that included nobody who was not either a senior public servant or a private sector executive. The great mass of Irish working women didn’t feature. The IT’s tone on a Saturday is so upper-middle-class that it’s almost embarrassing. (The sport coverage isn’t too bad I suppose.) The paper’s politics reflect its base- socially liberal for the most part, right-wing on economics, broadly FG-Labour with a few nostalgic ex-PD’s. Collins wouldn’t be too far out of step with them at all, though perhaps Fintan O’Toole would.


CMK - December 15, 2012

Last Saturday (or maybe the Saturday before?) the Independent magazine did a feature on how our young emigrants were going on at the four corners of the globe. All those featured were either models, scriptwriters, techo-entreprenuers, bankers, lawyers, advertising etc, etc. No nurses, no teachers, no builders, no electrcians/bricklayers/carpenters, no labourers, no secretaries/clerks/administrators, no truck drivers etc, etc. The Irish media is a parody of what a media should be. But the class bias in the piece in the Indo was even more blatant as was the inference of the article, which was: ‘look! our young emigrants are all doing fantastically and all that worrying about the long term consequences is unjustified.’


Ivorthorne - December 15, 2012

Where can I find Browne’s interview?


doctorfive - December 15, 2012

tv3 site, 29th of last month


Blissett - December 15, 2012

“(The sport coverage isn’t too bad I suppose.)”

Soccer and Rugby coverage fine, GAA can be poor enough to be honest, examiner and indo still best on that account


9. greengoddess2 - December 15, 2012

What we will see now unfolding is the tendency in political parties to behave in the manner of gangsters. Substituting assassination with character assassination. Very dispiriting.


rotpeterderaffe - December 15, 2012

I think you’ve put your finger on it there GG – capitalism is increasingly resembling loan-sharking, and the threat to ‘send the boys around’ is an intrinsic part of it.


10. crocodile - December 15, 2012

‘Greek society has been literally cannibalised’ ….I knew things were bad, but..


11. crocodile - December 15, 2012

For a better aspect of the IT, see Colm Keena’s article under Collins’s, about how intense lobbying by the pharmaceutical industry keeps drug prices artificially high here and in countries supplied from here. Big pharma was also to the fore in threatening repercussions if a higher tax or USC rate was introduced for high earners. Outside of the IT not many Irish papers would be going there.


12. rotpeterderaffe - December 15, 2012

I know I should be more analytic, but the man is clearly a turd.


gfmurphy101 - December 15, 2012

I know I should be more analytic, but the man is clearly a turd.+ 1, might add…sick of reasoning with turds, when we should be flushing……


13. CL - December 15, 2012

‘As the President of the Greek section of the Doctors of the World, I witness a tragedy unfolding before my eyes, with people lacking sufficient medication, remaining ill-nutritioned and living in conditions that are unthought-of of in a developed part of the world. We even see the re-appearance of viral diseases that had long-now disappeared from the country.’


14. greengoddess2 - December 15, 2012

Yes, it was from the medical NGOS that I work with that the full story as described above became known. Some conditions that have been treatable for decades may now become disabling again. The IMF initially disallowed certain drugs to be bought . Now the whole system has become at least partially dysfunctional. We cannot say that there is a direct comparison between the two countries . And I didn’t intend to us the word literal with ” cannibalized” . However we do have something in common. The Troika. They are NOT ARE FRIENDS, just in case any politician with the Stockholm syndrome is reading. In addition it becomes obvious listening to other countries in ” programmes”, that there are powerful vested interests that want there money back at all costs. Jack O Oconnors phrase, ” bagmen for the banks” is very accurate. I wish he would get his act together quickly, along with ICTU.


15. greengoddess2 - December 15, 2012

Misspellings everywhere. Bit of an exhausting week.


16. CL - December 15, 2012

The IMF programmes are doing serous long-term damage to human and physical capital. The ‘structural adjustment’ policies are depleting the economic and social infrastructure. And these long-term effects of how the power elite is dealing with capitalism’s crisis means that the distinction in the fiscal compact treaty between cyclical and structural deficits is meaningless.


17. doctorfive - December 16, 2012

“Every morning, Berlin’s Press and Information Office compiles a summary for Merkel of what the Greek press is writing about her. It often isn’t very flattering. But by now Merkel finds it amusing that the proponents of austerity in Greek politics are known as “Merkelists.” ”

– The Greeks, a few months a head of us as always.

Decent piece on Merkel.



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