16 thoughts on “Northern Exposure”

  1. Finland’s Timo Soini would likely find many counterparts among the Irish bbb – – burning bondholders’ brigade – – and vice-versa.

    Economic populists can take strong but contrary positions depending on the vantage point – – some no doubt are of strong conviction but would also be so in changed circumstances where the boot was on the other foot.

    Rational critics have tended to lament the ‘jellyfish’ politicians who have failed the test of leadership in critical times.

    It’s also a test of leadership to avoid boosting support for extremist parties that promote ethnic discord.

    I have argued that countries like Ireland have to show a serious commitment to reform of failed systems. It would be both helping itself and also showing to other countries that it is prepared for necessary change.

    We have made a start.

    It has been clear that the new Dutch government has taken a more severe position on support for periphery countries than Germany.

    We need to build alliances in Europe by looking forward; John Bruton’s apportioning of blame for the bubble has its place but at this stage, this focus will be no help to Ireland as it would only provide fuel for the likes of Timo Soini.

  2. Timo Soini is right. We are milking his cow. What surprises me in the context of his wider rhetoric is that he seems to be prepared to allow us to continue to do so.

    What’s going on in official Europe is extend and pretend writ large. It makes no sense as a strategy, and it is entirely right that the citizens of other northern European countries should destroy the political elites that are foisting the nonsense on them.

    The governments of peripheral countries desperately want to keep milking Mr. Soini’s cow, but that doesn’t mean their people will benefit over the long run from being allow to do so. It’s time to give us one or two last sucks while we balance our budgets, and quickly leave us to fend for ourselves.

  3. As before, we’re borrowing money from people like the Dutch and Finns to pay higher welfare rates and higher public sector salaries than they feel they can pay themselves.

    Whether you feel we should not repay the banking debt or not, this is an impossible PR message to maintain…for them and for us.

  4. @ MH:I have argued that countries like Ireland . . .” ??

    Michael, its people who make decisions – the effective decision makers being ‘elites’, who have (as you rightly point out) personal positions to defend. Its just that here, in Ireland, those personal positions are misaligned with the economic welfare of the taxpayers and those who have insufficient income to tax (so we apply ‘service’ charges instead).

    I note from the radio news this morning that minister’s salaries have been ‘haircutted’ – by what? I think it might be -7%!!!

    Now that’s what I call political nominality. The cut should have been -50%, which would have been reality. I fear we have a very long way to go.

    BpW

  5. @ Bee Cee Tee

    ‘What’s going on in official Europe is extend and pretend writ large’

    Isn’t it writ even larger in the US ? The primary disorder of our ‘end of history’ era is the capture of the polticial system by the financial services industry.

    This is the legacy of Greenspan’s Great Moderation, where price inflation was concealed in serial asset bubbles, and windfall’ mega profits were serially engineered.

    To the extent that one treats finance as a casino, real economic activities become secondary and governance vapourises. The truth will out in the end. The central bankers are not as calm as their po faces suggest, because they have a few questions to answer and they know it.

    No wonder Timo Soini gets votes.

  6. re Mr Timo Soini.

    He is a devout Roman Catholic and a fan of Millwall F.C..

    His True Finn party is hoping to do well (approx 17%) in the uncoming April elections.
    He is unlikely to be appointed to the Nokia board to help sell mobiles in Southern or ‘peripheral’ Europe.
    I don’t have access to the article, so I didn’t read it. Having managed to ascertain that his interests include True Finns and Millwall supporters, I will the article a miss.

  7. @Hugh Sheehy; BCT; et al

    Hey – we are paying them 5.8% interest. Where’s the beef?

    The Dutch admin are making Attilla the Hun look like a pussy-cat at the mo – rem that the Dutch Social Democrats (denk u vell!) had to vote for the Irish LOAN [not bleed1n bail-out] or it would not have passed Dutch Parliament as the zenophobic zingers dutch-nat-front refused to vote for it (nex time Wexford Youths in town vs Ajax – watch out); so did German social dems vote for Ireland even if their vote was not needed to pass it – sound lot since Willy B. As for Finland, quite a few are re-discovering their Vichy roots … nuff said on that, Olli is still a bit to the left of Attilla, thankfully, and in the more or less sane conservative centre … and he is correct to remind us of Charlie McGreevy, backed by Harney/McDowell/Bowel_Bertie giving the ol Harvey Smith to the EU commission in the early noughties …. sumptin to do with risk an konstruction ….

    as for France, looks like Ms Le Pen the front runner at the mo – poor Nicky now goin to nuke Muammar a al Maggie Malvinas to stir up a little local support [seriously today] – Angie not best pleased, and her FPD F_minister furious, and Paul McDonnell now in with a real shout of ousting poor Nicky as Angie’s pet Pet … could be in our interests (-; Gowan Paul – Tango for Ireland – do the state some service.

    On the local front, Dame Edna, as the New York Times refers to our Taoiseach, advising the Portugese later today on how not to do a bai.. er EU/IMF loan …. might as well bring in the Spanish and Italians as well …. the Greeks won’t pay anyway_The Commies having discovered our metaphor of the hangman’s rope and all the monks rioting … and a little reverse takeover of the Kore by the perii-Ferals might be on the cards. Nothing goin to happen late March anyway on the DEBT – a sideline on competitiveness, denial, and delusion ……

    The political wing of EU political economy takes a bit of figurin out these days …… oh – and the Belgians still don’t have a Goverment …. and nobody notices … and Ireland has a new one … and er …

  8. @David, they may not have articulated clearly what their beef is.

    If I was in their position my first beef would be that I don’t believe I’m going to get my money back or that the interest is going to keep coming.

    My second beef would be that the peripherals are a profligate bunch who should be running positive primary balances for their own good, and handing them money at 5.8% interest makes me feel like a loan shark.

  9. @BCT

    It’s only a paltry 40 billion – articulations are their problem (-; The Ferals have more important matters in hand, and are becoming more Feral by the day …….. ‘cept around here of course, where fairy tales abound.

    Seriously, politically – EU is a bit of a dogs dinner at the mo ….. centre left and centre right really need to get their acts in order ….

  10. @David O’D
    The beef with the 5.8% is that no-one else will lend us money at less than 9%.

    And given that we’re still not showing any likelihood of spending the money on anything other than high public sector pay and on welfare levels that are
    (i) higher than most of europe and (if you believe the newspapers)
    (ii) high enough to keep people out of work at salaries that would be regarded as generous for low skilled work in many countries, they fear they’ll never get their money back – which is why no-one else will lend us money….if you remember.

  11. well…apart from the fact that we promised to pay back a bunch of money we shouldn’t have promised to pay back!

  12. @Hugh Sheehy

    …. the beef’ refers to those norn-er rite-whingers who complain about lending us money @5.8% on which they are making a profit. Wait untill we have the longboats tarred and we’ll soon sort em out …… (-;

    As to no one else – our good friends in Frankfurt are backing The Governor at the crease, latest I hear he is 185 not out …. nominal interest … no firesales and ‘hold_em’ …

    As to cutting welfare & minimum wage etc I think you deserve a Minsky moment after your hustings in Dublin South East – we need wealth creation, indigenous export potential – not cutting low skilled and low paid labour …… as for public sector we need productivity in the relevant areas, if not fire them …. rem that premier of Singapore – he doubled the minimum wage forcing the low value added stuff out and forced singaporeans into education and skills – we are wasting them by exporting our most productive each week … there is no future in low-skill work – ALL work can be high skilled and productive …….. and all work in knowledge work …….

    Unit Labour Costs in the EuroZone

    http://www.levyinstitute.org/publications/?docid=1352

    Enjoy the Minsky moment – and my commisserations on your not attaining the Attilla the Hun award in DSE – but with G C G Khan around the competition was somwhat daunting. Do keep The Brass Balls of the Blog Award, and host it with pride.

  13. Who are these people who are refusing to work because they get more money on social welfare? Are there more of them than the people who are desperately trying to get work and can’t because there isn’t a job to be found?

  14. @Hugh Sheehy

    Read the paper: There is more to economic life than ‘labour cost’ – the IBEC drone, unchanged since me ears first functioned, of ‘keeping wage costs down’ usually spouted in solemn solemnity by pinstripes with an IQ of -5 or -6 or therabouts … and more recently ‘ concerns on the public sector paybill’ … little wonder we are where we are …

  15. @David O’D
    There is certainly a lot more to life than labour cost. It’s still a major factor in employment, whether or not the guys from IBEC have low IQs.

    As for concerns with the public sector paybill, they’re valid. The bill is too high.

    So are other bills.

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