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Our new EU leaders: “Two out of three ain’t bad” July 2, 2019

Posted by Tomboktu in European Politics.
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To quote Meatloaf, “Baby we can talk all night/ But that ain’t gettin’ us nowhere/ … Two out of three ain’t bad“.

For the Right, that is.

  • Ursula von der Leyen (DE) CDU/EPP, President of the European Commission
  • Charles Michel (BE) MR/ALDE, President of the Council
  • Josep Borrell (ES) PSOE/S&D, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (and well away from any economic role where lefty ideas would be dangerous)

(And as a bonus, Christine Legarde (FR) UMP/EPP to be the president of the ECB.)

To misquote him, “And maybe we can cry all night/ But that’ll never change the way they rule”

I wonder if the European Parliament will block this because none of them were Spitzenkandidates.

Brexit from 1975 June 17, 2016

Posted by irishelectionliterature in European Politics.



As the Brexit Referendum approaches a leaflet I have from the previous UK Referendum….

In 1975 the UK held a Referendum on withdrawal from the EEC (there was no Referendum on the UK’s entry to the EEC) . The Referendum asked
Do you think the UK should stay in the European Community (Common Market)?

17,378,581 (67.2%) voted Yes and 8,470,073 (32.8%) voted No.
This Leaflet is calling for a No vote and is published by former Liberal MP Air Vice Marshal Don Bennett.
Interesting how Immigration wasn’t mentioned but there were echoes of WWII, a ‘Red Scare’ and other points almost harking back to Empire.

Belfast Lexit Meeting with KKE and WP, Belfast 14 June at 7pm June 12, 2016

Posted by guestposter in Communism, European Union, KKE, Workers' Party.
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EU Meeting

The Workers Party in Northern Ireland is calling for a class based response to the European Union debate and is in favour of a Leave Vote as part of a principled, socialist LEXIT strategy.

As part of the LEXIT debate the Party is holding a public meeting on

Tuesday 14th June at 7pm

in the Clayton Hotel.

Ormeau Avenue. Belfast

(opposite the BBC)

The guest speaker will be Elisseos Vagenas a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Greece, who will reflect on the lessons learnt in Greece from the Europe Union and the crisis in capitalism.

More details here

Paul Masons #‎ThisIsACoup‬ Documentary December 18, 2015

Posted by irishelectionliterature in European Politics.

It’s worth reading An interview with Paul Mason about the #‎ThisIsACoup‬ Documentary before watching it.

Recounting the moment last January when the leftist Syriza party was elected to power in Greece, Paul Mason said, “I knew it would be the most important political crisis of my life.”

The Documentary is in four parts , each below.
Well worth watching.

Stickers ……. August 21, 2015

Posted by irishelectionliterature in European Politics.

Some nice stickers from mainly Portugal and Spain that I was sent recently.



Getting the digs into Greece… June 30, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in European Politics, Irish Politics.

Pat Leahy has another excellent piece in the SBP at the weekend which asks why is the Irish government so keen to criticise Athens? In some ways it is not a huge puzzle. Despite a nominally social democratic component the instincts of this government are reliably right of centre on economic thinking (it has been breath-taking, albeit not exactly a revelation, just how willing the LP has been to accede to the orthodoxy economically. And one has to wonder just what mechanisms or resources inside that party there are to generate thinking on economics?). And given that that reflects European thinking small wonder that they are happy to attach themselves to the overall approach.

This has led to complete absurdities. Leahy notes that the Taoiseach in a bid to be the best European around (I paraphrase) came out with some bizarre stuff:

Last week he said at least two things that required further explanation, to put it kindly.
When asked by reporters if Ireland would support debt relief for Greece, he responded bluntly: “No.”
Officials later clarified that Ireland would indeed support debt reprofiling – or stretching the repayment periods and lowering the interest rate on debt, generally thought to be a form of debt relief. It was debt forgiveness, officials explained, that Ireland would not contemplate.


Kenny also said that Greece should follow Ireland’s example in correcting its public finances with growth-friendly measures. Here, he asserted that Ireland did not raise income tax.
“In Ireland’s case, we did not increase income tax, we did not increase Vat, we did not increase PRSI, but we put up alternatives to those measures proposed in order to keep a pro-growth policy and make our country competitive, grow our economy and provide jobs for our people,” he said.

To which Leahy responds:

Well, perhaps. The rates of income tax might not have been increased. But Ireland certainly increased taxes on income.
Ask everyone who pays the Universal Social Charge.

But as was noted by 6to5against, VAT increased too – in December 2011 from 21 to 23%. But I suppose such details are irrelevant.

Leahy makes the point that Dublin is merely articulating openly an attitude that is held widely in the EU, and he sums it up like so:

The political atmosphere and personal relationships around the Brussels negotiating table are toxic. But that is not the biggest problem. The biggest problem is that the two sides remain divided by issues of substance.
Let Schäuble and Yanis Varoufakis, the Greek finance minister, sum it up.
“We cannot allow any member state to spend money without limit and other member states to be liable for it,” Schäuble said on Friday at a conference in Frankfurt.


The same day, Varoufakis told RTE’s Morning Ireland: “When they say that they want more pro-growth measures, what they effectively are saying is we should reduce the minimum wages, we should reduce the minimum pension further . . .
“To do this in a country where one million families rely on a single pension because everyone else is unemployed, instead of intervening in employer pension contributions, is quite absurd, and it is a proposition that I am simply not prepared to put to my parliament.”

What’s most curious about all this is that we know – indeed the SBP editorial itself argues this – that the EU/IMF approaches are futile in relation to Greece, that they cannot work economically and that what is asked of that state and its citizens is both impossible and counterproductive.

The editorial says:

The Greek people have endured massive austerity, and it has not worked, because their economy is nowhere near as open as Ireland’s is, and is without the basic tax-gathering structures to be able to balance the books as we have.
Their negotiating positions have, at times, been unfortunate and haven’t worked out. But precisely the same thing can be said of Ireland.

And yet, on it goes. Testing the EU and the eurozone to breaking point, and perhaps beyond. And to what purpose? It is impossible not, now, to regard this as ideological and political masked as the inevitable. As and when that latter is demonstrated to be manifestly incorrect one can only assume the ramifications will be considerable.

Greece and German WWII Reparations – English – Die Anstalt 31 March 2015 June 29, 2015

Posted by irishelectionliterature in European Politics, Uncategorized.
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A viral video by a German satire show educates people about the true situation of the Greek reparations claim.
via doctorfive.

Greece to have a Referendum June 27, 2015

Posted by irishelectionliterature in European Politics.

Greece to have a Referendum on the bailout package that they have been offered

Following an emergency meeting of his cabinet, Tsipras said his leftist-led government had decided a package of austerity measures – made in a last-ditch effort to avert default – would be put to popular vote. The referendum will take place on Sunday 5 July.

Paul Mason has a good piece on it here

Greece, Ireland and the EU June 23, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in European Politics, Irish Politics.

Pat Leahy has a good overview of the Greek crisis, at least in regards to its political complexion in the SBP this weekend. Not least where he draws the clear political implications for this state in all the machinations of the past week and longer. He notes that:

The rhetoric on either side has hardened in recent days. Perhaps that is in anticipation of a deal at the last minute. Or perhaps it is a sign that no deal is possible. If that is the case, the eurozone is on the brink of fracture.

And he makes this point which I think is crucial.

That would be an historic event, and one which could lead to all sorts of unforeseen consequences, many of them nasty for Ireland. The German-inspired hard line is a consequence of the determination in Berlin to protect the parties of the democratic centre from populist insurgents in the rest of Europe: in Spain, in Italy, in France – and in Ireland. I think this is a mistake. Those parties will have to make the case for themselves. And remember it is the centre that has failed to govern Greece properly, not the radicals.

This is something that is far too under considered in the orthodox analyses. It was the supposed ‘moderates’ and respectable parties which oversaw the cooking of books prior to and during Greek accession to the eurozone and subsequently allowed for fiscal processes which intrinsically favoured those outside the Greek equivalent of PAYE. It was their approaches which Syriza was elected to remedy and yet – as is the way of such things – it is Syriza which is being blamed at this point.

Leahy suggests that Ireland may have taken a better course. We shall see. A lot depends on whether and if a ‘deal’ is done and what the terms are. No wonder Noonan is getting antsy. Something better than was delivered to this state – even if logically the Greek situation is much much more difficult – will have inevitable political implications.

He writes:

At the very least, the trials of Greece demonstrate that the “to hell with the ECB” approach is not without cost. And, possibly, ruinous cost.

It seems clear to me that events in Greece look like bolstering the government’s position, and severely undermining the case of the radical left and Sinn Féin. That may be horribly unfair on the minnows of the world, like ourselves. But that does not mean it is not true.

This seems to me to be a somewhat dubious proposition. Greece cannot make a deal which doesn’t have some give in it for them. Comparisons with our ‘deals’ will be educative.

But even if Greece leaves the eurozone, perhaps particularly if it does, and subsequently the EU, it is at the very least arguable that the ramifications, for all that we’re told they are going to be limited to us and others, may prove equally ruinous which would suggest that from the off the ECB/IMF line was utterly inappropriate for the sort of ‘union’ that we and others supposedly enjoy.

And that being the case…

An ideology uncontained… June 16, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Austerity, British Politics, Economy, European Politics.

This should be required reading for some, a piece on research that unsurprisingly suggests:

In a wide-ranging analysis of Britain’s performance in the decades before and after 1979, economists at the University of Cambridge say the liberal economic policies pioneered by Thatcher have been accompanied by higher unemployment and inequality.

But, more importantly:

At the same time, contrary to widespread belief, GDP and productivity have grown more slowly since 1979 compared with the previous three decades.

It’s always been remarkable how tenaciously the trope of productivity and growth increasing under Thatcherism has taken hold, and how uncritically it has been received both on right and parts of the left, and former left. I suppose that’s the thing with narratives, they provide massive simplifications that allow for reiteration of certain points, whether accurate or not.

There was one area that there was change… but… a double-edged sword this:

“Financial liberalisation was the sole aspect of the liberal market reforms introduced into the UK, initially in 1971-73 and more consistently from 1979, which materially increased the rate of economic growth,” the paper said.
“The freeing up of finance led to a huge, and eventually unsustainable, expansion of household borrowing. This temporarily accelerated the growth of consumer spending and hence GDP and of house prices, but in 2008 contributed to a banking crisis and the longest recession for over a century.”

Important, perhaps, to note that it was the ideological approach that led to the more recent events rather than ‘Thatcherism’ as such

But note again how the crisis of the last decade has not seriously undermined the broader narratives about economics and enterprise despite – by any rational reading – suggesting that those narratives are fundamentally incorrect.

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