Quote of the evening

“Europe would not function any more if it changed course after every election.”

(Angela Merkel, quoted here, poo-pooing the notion that French voters might have any say over whether the next government ratifies this treaty or not.)

Words fail me, but they’re hardly necessary,

54 thoughts on “Quote of the evening”

  1. And recall that Merkel will be making campaign appearances in France to plea for Sarkozy’s re-election:
    http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/merkel-pledges-to-actively-support-sarkozy-campaign-181968.html

    Germany and France have provided very poor politicians…reality avoidant, jingoistic, afraid to make tough decisions….and now we’re all subjected to the French election. And note the Socialist candidate has pledged he is running against the Anglo Saxon world of Finance.

    The EU core appears doomed, and rather than Boston or Berlin…we need to think: London or Paris ?

  2. In what I feel was a slightly misjudged gesture of imperial favor the secretary general of the CDU was in Paris two days ago explaining to a UMP meeting how France needed the strong leadership of “someone like” Nicholas Sarkozy and that in later announcements the CDU said that it would be helping him in his bid for reelection in whatever ways they could.

    From the indispensable Financial Times ‘Sarkozy gambles on the Germany connection

    Mr Gröhe launched a fierce attack on the policies of François Hollande, the opposition Socialist candidate who leads Mr Sarkozy in the polls, saying his policies of redistribution would weaken France and Europe too.

    Those awful policies of redistribution that somehow caused the global financial crisis and our current recession by compromising our purity of essence.

    We forget just how far to the right the current German government has moved, and just what it means for the EU. It is a real shame that Merkel managed to ram through the latest iteration of the austerity and misery pact before Sarkozy was too damaged to sell out as much as he has, perhaps French democracy will prove to be more robust than Merkel wishes though.

  3. The Germans must project their aggressiveness because they are easy meat.
    Don’t yee guys see ? – they are a high quality mercantile state working in a depression – a classic vulnerability.
    They have declared war – its time to call their bluff.

    Don’t beleive the Hype – their Jericho sirens are harmless.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVBO61qg-kc

  4. The Transport Minister said he was not a fan of the system – which gives the public a say on significant political issues – saying he believed it to be undemocratic.

    “I don’t think referendums are very democratic,” Mr Varadkar told RTE. I think Leo Varadkar will get on exceedingly well with Frau Merkel.

  5. @ Kevin O’Rourke

    Words fail me, but they’re hardly necessary

    I wonder…

    This is a good bone to throw to the folks who appear to believe the Europeans are to blame for all our woes – – it beats having to deal with the bitter truth.

    Derek Scally in the Irish Times on Monday commented on the Captain Renaults who were flabbergasted by Kenny’s remarks in Davos:

    The same people who insisted that Ireland’s boom was all their own doing – nothing to do with EU investment or trade opportunities – now insist the bust is Berlin’s fault and Brussels’ problem. Privatise success, socialise failure and condemn anyone who points out the inconvenient truth.

    We’ve heard about failures of leadership and the labourious process of reching agreement on the debt crisis but when there is finally an international agreement and it is for example ratified by the national parliament of France, 1) it’s not democracy 2) a subsequent government could repudiate it and rewind the situation.

    Of course any governemnt can take whatever unilateral action it chooses but how long would multilateralism survive that?

    As for Ireland, maybe there should first be a referendum on the troika’s nefarious interference in our internal affairs such as trying to end legal cartels.

  6. @Micheal
    You really have no idea how national currencies work – you want us all to be good little German automans.
    The world does not work like that ,its a diverse place because it just is – this moment of time will pass – it was a failed experiment , get over it.

  7. Angela Merkel grew up behind the Iron Curtain. She was bred, trained, educated and instructed by a totalitarian system with nothing but contempt for the will of the people. She served as an agent of the Soviet Empire in East Germany, in their propaganda division no less.

    I believe that Angela Merkel’s early life under communism has informed her politics and decision making far more than any economic, fiscal, or political argument. I believe that fundamentally, she sees nothing wrong with compelling countries into a union dominated by a single powerful nation.

    Merkel will not listen to or even accept democratic votes in France, Ireland, or Greece. She has already toppled the last Greek government that attempted to do so, and the fear of god has been so put on our own spineless government that they will do anything to avoid Russian tanks rolling over the border—I mean to avoid Bundesbank Euros flowing out of the borders. Merkel is quite prepared to apply the tactics and philosophy used in the union of her birth, to impose the same kind of union on the whole continent of Europe.

    Angel Merkel will accomplish with a single currency what two empires before her could not do with 300 divisions. She is going to conquer Europe.

    Ireland is now at war with an emerging German empire. Our leaders may be prepared to sell our independence to former soviet apparatchiks; and if so they are no longer our leaders. The only government that we the Irish people can recognise is a sovereign, independent, national government. If Enda Kenny and Angela Merkel are not prepared to accept this, then the people must revolt.

  8. Competition is for people who cannot face up to alcohol.

    Next thing you know we will have a distribution network that anyone can have access to without contributions to the cause. The end of civilisation as we know it is coming to an end.

  9. It seems the French electorate are being given the option to try to go with the jobs and growth option. With their history of ‘equailty’ they will probably vote against the current system which is clearly helping the ‘elite’ at the expense of the ‘plebs’. Even Sarkosy is showing Europe the example with the FTT.

    Large countries like France are Germany need to stand united against the abuses of power of the financial industry.
    Its a pity that Merkel has thrown her hat in the ring for Sarkosy and would seem already to be unwilling to co-operate with a new French direction.

  10. @ Shay Begorrah: ” … our purity of essence.”

    Long time since I heard that phrase. And ironically enough, the overall situation in EU-land is similar. Rogue(s) on the loose with nukes (CDS, CDO, or “whatever your having yourself”). Lovely. Thanks for the memory!

    OFM: Your commentary about the youthful formation of a mindset is correct. ‘A Perfect Spy’ – le Carré; or a ‘Fall of a Titan’ – Guzhenko; come to mind, but some philosopher or other must have uttered words of wisdom on the same topic.

    “Immature strategy leads to chaos” – Musashi

  11. @ Desmond Brennan

    The EU core appears doomed, and rather than Boston or Berlin…we need to think: London or Paris ?

    or shock horror….first address the problems that are overdue attention in Dublin.

    @ All

    A referendum would be great gas for some – – addopting the abuse role of English football hooligans.

    One contributor links to a Battle of Britain move clip, the other declares: ” Ireland is now at war with an emerging German empire.”

    There maybe be jobs at a Rupert Murdoch tabloid for some of you.

  12. Hahahaha…. and this comes from Merkel, a politician with zero convictions displayed over her career span whatsoever, changing fundamental opinions like we change socks.

  13. Kevin,

    it appears to me that you are over interpeting Frau Merkel. It should be obvious to everyone if you are inconsistent in the way you apply yourself to any task you are likely to fail.

    The French electorate still have the option of electing a populist socialist nutter rather than a centrist snake oil salesman. It is their soverewign choice. However, all Frau M is saying that it might not work.

    The French electorate still have the right to make a massive mistake. Nobody is denying them that right.

  14. Unfortunately, its all a bit of a reminder of the Vichy government that collaborated with the Germans from 1940 to 1945. At that time, The term the term ‘French Republic’ was changed to the ‘French State’. So, I’m wondering should we get rid of the embarrassing term, the ‘Irish Republic’ and switchover to a more Germanic, ‘Irish State’?

    Speaking of the idiocy of ‘the Compact’. Its an appalling legacy of the ineptitude of EMU politicians in dealing with the fiscal crisis. Keynesians who want to save during good times will be able to do so; but those who want to spend during ‘bad times’ will be punished by the European Court for doing so.

    Its all a bit of a laugh really. The ‘Compact’ is the first step in closer political and financial union with Germany. The only way it can work is if all the other members of the EMU collectively vote for total annexation by Germany in new referendums.

    Oops, just remembered! The Plebiscite(referendum) was a favorite tool of Germany in WW11. The plebiscite was rolled out after takeover by the Germans to achieve compliance and subjugation of local regimes.

    Interestingly, Luxembourg voted 95% plus against the referendum enforced against their state when they were taken over. This stimulated their resistance movement.

    Crap, I shouldn’t be watching those discovery history programmes; they just give you nightmares 😉

  15. I’m not quite sure what to make of Dr Merkel’s recent utterings and this notion of joint appearances with Sarkozy during his election campaign (which is still an ‘if’ given he hasn’t actually put his papers in yet to officially declare his candidacy – his ego couldn’t stand the idea of fighting and losing).

    In conjunction with recently engineered ‘regime change’ in Greece and Italy from her quarters, one has to be concerned about what the ultimate intentions are. You have to remember that it’s only human to believe that what you are doing is the ‘right’ thing to do. Even despots and dictators think that what they are doing is ‘right’…. (and I don’t say this lightly) even Hitler thought that what he was doing was ‘right’. We just all have a different idea about what ‘right’ is.

    Unfortunately, a relatively small number of people around the world (not just in Europe) actually have the power to impose their version of what’s ‘right’ on the rest of us.

    Tony Blair must be looking at Merkel with great envy.

  16. Enda wants us to sign the ‘Compact’ in return for no deal on burden sharing, no deal on reduction of interest rates, no jobs, a vague promise of further lending, promise to pay back all odious debt to Anglo bondholders, ICB/PNs … AUSTERITY forever..Empty promises…where do we get these people from?

    Lucky these guys don’t live in the real world 🙂

  17. Can anyone with legal expertise here tell me if the government can be challenged on ratifying the ‘Compact’; if the AG states it does not conflict with the constitution?

    I’m presuming a Crotty can challenge the findings of the AG by taking a case to the supreme court; that the government can be prevented in this way from ratifying the ‘Compact’?

  18. @Michael Hennigan

    “A referendum would be great gas for some – – addopting the abuse role of English football hooligans.”

    Even hooligans deserve a vote based on the democratic principle of all those over the age of 18yrs having a right to vote.

    Perhaps some would like to confine voting to a smaller number as in FG party members of government?

  19. People who oppose the latest Treaty should be cautious about calling for a referendum.

    If we do call a referendum then we will be put under serious pressure from the EU for the referendum to enshrine a debt brake in the constitution and possibly to make the Treaty equivalent to, or subservient only to, EU law. The Commission and the Germans will decide that if the Irish are going to imperil the whole Treaty and political support in Germany by referendum then they might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb. It will also cause a massive rift with our EU partners whatever the outcome.

    If the referendum were so framed to amend the Constitution then it could result in an unrevokable debt brake which would not be a good result for those who oppose the Treaty.

  20. The term ‘EU partners’ has more meaning for a praying mantis killing its mate than it has for Irish taxpayers on foot of what’s been targeted at them by the jackboot Troika.

    On the other hand, there are those who think we got a great deal with the promise of more to come……

    The people should choose. After all, this is a democracy; or is it not?

  21. @Colm Brazel

    My view is that these are complex economic, financial, technical and legal issues. This is precisely the type of issue which I expect elected politicians and civil servants to educate themselves on and deal with properly. I do not want them to abdicate their responsibility by throwing the decision back on me, the guys behind the counter in my local spar shop and the barman in my local pub.

    Our TDs have ducked their responsibilities on EU Treaties once too often. It is time for the Govt to step up, do their homework and take responsibility for their decisions.

  22. I know TDOC meant it lightly but can I suggest that we not mention the second world war, the Nazi party or Hitler in conversations about Germany’s current elected government? Germany has an exemplary recent record on peaceful behavior in the last 67 years (well, for a member of NATO) and on human rights.

    Merkel is just another ambitious, wrong headed and empathy free head of a conventional conservative party left in a powerful position by historical circumstances and failings in international institutions, the hated political figures we should be comparing her to are Thatcher, late stage Blair and Pinochet.

    Can we leave embarrassing the Irish in an international setting to Enda?

  23. @Tull,

    +1

    You summed up the main choice facing French voters – a poplulist socialist nutter v. a centrist snke-oil salesman, but you forget the nationalist, populist, but photgenic, xenophobe. And you’re spot on about the inalienable right of French voters to make a stupid decision which Chancellor Merkel acknoweldges but this doesn’t and shouldn’t prevent her from advising that it might be misguided.

    @All,

    Could we tone down the anti-German rhetoric a bit? Germany is a model democracy. Oh that we could have their model of decentralised governance and an Oireachtas that was prepared to assert its primacy over government as the Bundestag does. Irish people should take note of democracy in action.

    It may be messy and slow and it may not generate the immediate results that Irish voters earnestly desire, but German voters were lied to for a long time and it’s taking their politicians almost as long to re-secure their trust.

  24. It’s just Standard Operating Procedure for the EU. Governments have to live up to the commitments of their predecessors. Hardly any decision ever gets rolled back, and never for any reason that smacks of democracy.

    Ireland gets hit by this sort of stuff all the time. The only reason it appears remotely shocking is that this time it is the French who are getting slapped around.

    Well, if its good enough for us it should be good enough for them too.

    (The upside is that they should be able to replace their nuclear generating capacity with a new renewable source – just attach a big generator to De Gaulle spinning in his grave.)

  25. @ PR Guy

    There is no big deal in leaders of the same European political grouping campaigning for each other.

    The then Spanish PM campaigned for Sarkozy’s rival in 2007.

    Bertie Ahern enlisted Bill Clinton and Tony Blair in 2007.

    Unfortunately, a relatively small number of people around the world (not just in Europe) actually have the power to impose their version of what’s right on the rest of us.

    All we need is a violin score as background as the victim’s cross is paraded through the streets.

    Few people had the courage or interest to express outrage when it could have made a difference.

    Because it usually pays dividends to go with the flow.

    Today, many are still availing of bubble gains when there was effectively no real growth in the economy from 2000.

    @ Colm Brazel

    Some of the comments here are reminiscent of the extremists who in the past used selective history to justify a campaign of misery on the island.

    Are former FF supporters so desperate to pin the blame on overseas scapegoats, for a disaster that was made at home?

    The focus on dumping vitriol on foreign politicians while there is no appetite for real reform and fixing broken systems at home, would be a joke if it wasnt so serious.

    A referendum would produce a lot of gas and irrespective of the result, the country would still be broke. On on the other hand we can always hope to rattle the tin ponny under Merkel’s nose. Anyone who believes that Peer Steinbruck would be a softer touch, is a fantasist.

  26. @ tull mcadoo

    Ms 35 Hour Week ha scalled Hollande ‘soft’ left.

    It’s crazy to rollback the retirement age to 60 when it’s so difficult politically to raise.

    This ‘socialism’ is pandering to the mainly comfortable while young people are basically left to the market to find jobs as temps.

    Meanwhile a male who retires at 60 can expect to live until 80. If he had entered the workforce at 25, that would be work of 35 years and dependency of 45 years.

    Eventually if the economy is run in deficit for 36 straight years, it will run out of road eventually.

  27. Zhou,

    just to show no hard feelings, I agree with you. This is a complex matter that ought to be left to our representatives. Sure, some of them are not the sharpest but there are enough of them who are well informed to take a decision.

    You are a legal brain, if the Prez refers the Bill to ratify the treaty to the SC via the COS and the SC rules it in order, it can never be challenged?

  28. When Papandreou called a referendum on the greek deal it was coted as a classic case of double level game theory. Papandreou realised the deal would not fly with the existing political situation in Greece so he tied his hands at the national level to improve his bargaining position at the EU level. When the EU leaders went apoplectic, it served to force the issue in Greece. He created a crisis because he was between a rock and a hard place and something had to give.

    There is no such justification for Enda Kenny at this stage unless he sees the IMF deal as totally unsustainable and/or too damaging to Irish social fabric in the long run. Of course then he would have to be ready to leave the Euro and there is nothing to suggest that he or his colleagues have the will to do that no matter what long term damage the IMF deal may cause.

    Apart from that, the Govt is probably justified in assessing that increased ECB support and increased German political support for measures to bring about economic recovery are the best prospect for Irish recovery.

    Personally, I do not believe that the government are psychologically open to the suggestion that the IMF deal and rolling negotiations thereof might be so damaging in the long run that it would be worth the short term pain of exitng the euro. This may change in the future if things continue to deteriorate but I honestly believe they will not change course come what may.

  29. @Micheal
    I am well aware of the deep contradictions in England as everywhere else in this world , I even mentioned I was exposed to Alf Tupper like propoganda when young…………….. but come on !

    I generally got on fantastically with Bavarians & even Prussians but most people recognize that underneath that thin projection of rationality they are COMPLETLY MAD.
    You just don’t get it Micheal – this forced union will eventually lead to carnage.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=53bdM2XNj_A

  30. @paul hunt

    ”..but you forget the nationalist, populist, but photgenic, xenophobe…”

    This whole thread is fearmongereing about foreigners (Xenophobic) ,Germans et al.

    If working class people object to too many foreigners in employment,taking housing,on the dole etc here in Ireland its called racism.
    However when the opinion makers ,economists ,University lecturers on here rip into foreigners when it affects their spheres of activity its called patriotism or Democracy.

  31. @Tull

    The Supreme Court would only confirm that the bill is constitutional which would preclude any future Court challege to its constitutionality. The Act would still have to be interpreted in such a way as to make it constitutional.

    It would not of course prevent the Dail from repealing or amending the relevant Act.

  32. @Sean
    Sean boy , you were not down in the trenches 10 years ago – this European experiment was not about Glorious Union but out & out attack on ALL workers by very organized capital.
    There was no way Irish working class youngfellas could compete with sophisticated Czech middleclass youngpeople.
    It was why we had a final credit orgy – all of the demand was taken out of the economy via wage cuts & money exports – so the banks flooded all compartments with credit.
    Get real lads – yee are still living in a politically correct Irish middleclass bubble which uses recently invented social mores to stop dissent.

  33. This is useful thread since it nicely illustrates the division between the pro business, pro current EU political arrangement crowd and the pro democracy crowd.

    @Zhou Enlai on why the people should not get to vote on international treaties

    My view is that these are complex economic, financial, technical and legal issues. This is precisely the type of issue which I expect elected politicians and civil servants to educate themselves on and deal with properly. I do not want them to abdicate their responsibility by throwing the decision back on me, the guys behind the counter in my local spar shop and the barman in my local pub.

    It is this misguided trust in political elites and senior civil servants (along with investing class interests) that has left us in this mess in the first place – Ireland needs less deference and more public debate, not less. More broadly it is absolutely crucial that European politicians be afraid to sign up to any international deal which they are unable to clearly explain the advantages of to their electorates. The catastrophe of the Euro/ECB/intergovernmental method could have been avoided.

    One of the people you are trusting to make this decision rather than the low paid service workers in your local convenience store is Enda Kenny. I think the woman behind the counter in Spar probably has a better grasp of the implications of continent wide Merkelism than Enda does.

    Really, we need a referendum on the narrow issue of acceding to the new fiscal compact and we need to reject it.

  34. I’m personally of the opinion that, whatever the ostensible complexities, there is an important question at issue in this deal which our government is less well equipped to tackle than the electorate at large.

    The question is whether the current track we are following is so damaging that it would be better to go our own way, even with all the short term problems that that would cause.

    This is not a question that has a correct technocratic answer, and is not a question that our government or public service is capable of approaching objectively. Over a period of decades, we have shaped the whole of our mainstream political class so that it is incapable of choosing anything other than minor variations on the Frankfurt/Brussels/Berlin/Paris way.

    My own belief is that the track we are following is bad for Ireland. I’d like to be part of an Irsh electorate that gets the chance to make that judgement for itself.

  35. What we need here is some political courage and fortitude. Currently it out of print and not stocked. Next delivery is most uncertain.

    How about we have our own Constitutional amendment to prohibit our own gov (and local gov) from continuing with completely unsustainable day-to-day spending by way of deficit budgets. If you explain the actual consequences to folk, what this means in practice – and lay off the “Sky-will-fall” stuff, then you might well get their attentiion, and positive result.

    If the same (or closely similar) idea is seen as an external imposition: expect opposition – of the mindless variety.

    This would put us in the driving seat. It would short-circuit this EU guff, and give the Agincourt salute to the ‘markets’.

  36. @Colm

    “Can anyone with legal expertise here tell me if the government can be challenged on ratifying the ‘Compact’; if the AG states it does not conflict with the constitution? ”

    Thought SF had already said they were going to do that if the AG rules out a referendum?

  37. Shay,

    We are a representative democracy. We elect TDs to tease the issues out on out behalf. If that does not give you the left wing utopia that you desire, I suggest you change the electorate.

  38. @Shay Begorrah

    I don’t trust our politicians and civil servants. I just trust plebiscites less. What turnout would you get? What about people who are not willing to vote becasue they know they cannot be properly informed?

    I have been reading up about the local and global economy for about three years now and I recognise that it is not within my wherewithal to get to grips with the economic and legal effects of these matters. Indeed, it is not within any one person’s wherewithal and many contingent future events are unknowable.

    I think that the best protection for democracy os to limit this latest treaty to being an act of the oireachtas therebby allowing us to change it in the future if we so wish, subject to the grief that will cause us in our international relations.

    I am deeply disturbed about the lack of democracy in the EU and in the USA, and at the disproportionate influence and power which banks and markets exert on our leaders and their civil services. I am infuriated by the socialisation of losses while bankers homa and abroad keep their millions.

    However, all this anger does not make me forget that plebiscite has long been a favoured tool of dictators. Napoleon, Mussolini and Hitler all used plebiscite to bolster authoritarian structures. He who chooses what is to be voted on exercises relatively unfettered power. Whilst the will of the people must be brought to bear to correct the ills we are suffering, we must be wary of the pit of authoritarianism and extremism which these ills are causing to open up under the foundations of our democracies.

  39. @ Tull and PH

    ” a populist socialist nutter v. a centrist snake-oil salesman”

    More like a centrist vs a failed centrist. Leon Blum is dead, you know.
    €20bn in extra spending and €29 bn in removed tax breaks is hardly Rosa Luxemburg. Sarko lost the AAA after saying it would define his presidency if France lost it.

  40. @zhou_enlai

    However, all this anger does not make me forget that plebiscite has long been a favoured tool of dictators.

    I had a bet with myself how long it would be before someone described a potential Irish constitutional referendum as a plebiscite (perhaps ungenerously I think of it as an unconscious betrayal of class loyalties).

    Just as I am sceptical of the relevance of the Nazi’s to understanding German conservatisms current entirely conventional, if sadly misguided, neoliberal agenda I think it is unwise to mention 1930’s dictators usage of popular votes to concentrate power and reduce accountability in a situation which is clearly about the polar opposite.

    We need referendums, or the threat of them, as part of the process to make European politicians resume their roles as more representatives than leaders. You can be sure that European solidarity will not make a return until countries feel the solidarity they are offering is to the populous and not the elite.

  41. @Dork

    The credit orgy was because there was nothing else of any value to invest in. So it went into housing on the periphery which turned out to be the financial equivalent of a blow up doll .

  42. @The Dork of Cork

    ”…Sean boy , you were not down in the trenches 10 years ago – this European experiment was not about Glorious Union but out & out attack on ALL workers by very organized capital…”

    I was being facetious.
    Having felt first hand the negative impact of mass immigration in the community I live in I have been denounced by many when I have objected to the pulverisation of my identity,economic well being,personal security etc.

    I have posted before about the impact the EU has had on my life and the community I live only to be condemned as a xonenophobe by a prominent university lecturer .
    The point I made still stands; When economists,lecturers,etc link current German policy with what the nazis did its acceptable because it affects your sphere of activity.
    I am just pointing to the double standard of the establishment which many who post here are part of despite the appearance they like to give of them manning the barricades for the rest of us plebs.

    What fills me with gloom is the prospect many on here will be rushing to seize power and fill the shoes of those politicos etc that will be cleared out if we do leave the euro. Perhaps a bit like whats happening in Libya ,maybe not as extreme or as violent as Libya, but we may end up replacing one set of thugs with another bunch of self important ‘opinion makers’.

  43. @seafoid
    Yes – it was more complex then that – it was the banking system going mad on leverage , which really is the destruction of capital hoping more capital will magically come out of the ground in the future – but the final mad twitching of the leverage mania was the series of housing debt bubbles around the world which was much more dangerous then the equity bubble mania of the 90s which also effected Ireland profoundly.
    Capital was desperatly trying to get a return via absurd labour arbitrage models in the end – pitiful stuff really , not since slavery has core capital been in such a business.
    @Sean
    Sorry Sean – I am mad as hell and missed that – its uncharacteristic of me really – but this whole artifice is beyond absurd.
    I am surprised they are still trying to put dodgy scaffolding on a even more dodgy structure.
    All the Capital is gone – squeezing one tiny bit more from the system will just prolong the agony.

  44. @Shay Begorrah

    Referendums do have their place. However, even if you think this is a suitable quiestion for a referendum (and I don’t), you need to consider that the EU might require that any referendum be a constitutional referendum (as is your preference) thereby making the agreement more restrictive and binding us in a much more permanent and restrictive manner.

    What if the referendum is passed 60% to 40%? What then? Are you happy to be constitutionally tied to a German sponsored economic theory?

    One major purpose of this Treaty is to provide political cover and support for the necessary measures to be taken by the ECB and by Germany. If that does not come to pass and stagnation and hardship are the future then all bets may well be off. However, it could be difficult to reverse the a constitutional debt brake at that time given the increasing number of right-wing flat-earthers in the country.

  45. @zhou_enlai

    What if the referendum is passed 60% to 40%? What then? Are you happy to be constitutionally tied to a German sponsored economic theory?

    Would I rather fight and lose on an important point of principle than just surrender the principle and hope someone won it back for me later?

    Yes.

    One major purpose of this Treaty is to provide political cover and support for the necessary measures to be taken by the ECB and by Germany.

    Necessary measures for whom? I have seen no evidence that suggests that Merkel is planning to change her behaviour in any way – why would she – she keeps winning? The ECB under Draghi are clearly less dangerous than under Trichet but their stakeholders now have everything they want – why would they do more?

    This all rather goes back to Paul Krugman’s venn diagram of the Eurozone crisis.

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/09/28/the-eurovenn/

    Since the set of “things that might actually work” are not amenable to persuasion, being things, we should have focussed on changing the things that were politically feasible (since these are opinions) and reinforcing the false German narrative about the European component of the global financial crisis by acquiescing to the fiscal compact seems guaranteed to do just that.

  46. My last paragraph had its sense reversed.

    Since the set of “things that might actually work” are not amenable to persuasion, being things, we should have focussed on changing the things that were politically feasible (since these are opinions) and reinforcing the false German narrative about the European component of the global financial crisis by acquiescing to the fiscal compact seems guaranteed to do the opposite.

  47. @ zhou_enlai

    “My view is that these are complex economic, financial, technical and legal issues. This is precisely the type of issue which I expect elected politicians and civil servants to educate themselves on and deal with properly.”

    Do you honestly believe that Enda Kenny, Lucinda Creighton or Eamon Gilmore are honest brokers in understanding “complex economic, financial, technical and legal issues”? I don’t. We already have Creighton telling us that this must be pushed through whatever the cost. Gilmore has not an ounce of credibility after Wikileaks showed him with a telephone in each hand. A story for the Irish who’s electoral choice had to be respected, and a story for the Americans…. I had to say that, don’t worry there will be another election. Kenny, was just about able to handle the repetitious 5 point plan and I don’t think our so called top public servants such as Honohan and Cardiff have inspired anyone.

    Personally, I want the Irish governments hands to be tied with raw hide when it comes to balancing budgets because the money is squandered on themselves but I won’t be voting for the FC unless the government get rid of Croke Park because it is a banana republic otherwise.

  48. @ Desmond Brennan

    “And note the Socialist candidate has pledged he is running against the Anglo Saxon world of Finance.”

    Well, there’s some hope there at least. The pink-shirted Masters of the Universe could do with a few good kicks in the goolies, they’ve gotten off lightly out of this collapse so far.

    @ OMF

    I don’t think it has much to do with the Soviet Union. The Iron Chancellor would have approved her aims (but presumably not her self-defeating means).

  49. I know people like Derek Scally take umbrage at the popular anti-German stance but to be honest, I got sick of the “Germans are great if only we’d listened to them” line a long time ago.

    The fact is that while they ran their own economy soberly, their financial institutions were quite happy to cash in on the good yields from Irish banks. Josef Ackerman hasn’t been lurking in the background of those EU Summits for nothing. We’re bailing out German banks along with French ones too.

    So, they don’t get their bread buttered on both sides.
    Wonderful sensible Germans!
    Who get all the money back they invested in Irish banks!

    If they’re so smart, why did they invest in the first place?

    In other matters – I agree with OMF. Merkel’s communist experience is worthy of analysis – at the very least so we can figure out what makes her tick and therefore how best to negotiate.

    Politically, if I was in government I’d refer the bill to the Prez recommending it goes to the Supreme Court because someone else will challenge it anyway and if the Court says a referendum is required it’ll play as a loss for the government. If they do it, it’ll keep the initiative with them.

  50. @sarahcarey

    ..I know people like Derek Scally take umbrage at the popular anti-German stance but to be honest, I got sick of the “Germans are great if only we’d listened to them” line a long time ago. …”

    ”…We’re bailing out German banks along with French ones too. ..”

    The Germans and French are acting rationally to defend the interests of their own people.The failure has been at the ECB to curb excessive lending when it was happening.

    @sarahcarey

    ”…If they’re so smart, why did they invest in the first place?….”

    They got their money back so it worked out for them.If you want to question who is so smart better to look closer to home.

    One of those listed as being paid on 25th January when the government handed over 1.25 billion was Goldman Sachs.The chairman of Goldman Sachs international is Peter Sutherland.
    A former attorney general he appears on rte and in the Irish Times (both bastions of liberal fundamentalism) when its referendum time to propogate his dire warnings of apocalypse if we did nt vote for Nice 1 and 2 then and Lisbon 1 and 2.
    The political establishment are in rapture of this man yet this carpetbagger pocketed millions in taxpayers money for his company on the 25th January .

    Perhaps the IT will take a more jaundiced view of Sutherland if he campaigns in any future EU referendum.But then that would require professionalism and objectivity.So I guess we’ll have to depend on foreign journos for that.

  51. @Sean

    Max Keiser did an hilarious riff on Sutherland the other night – “an all star international financial crook” apropos Goldman Sachs inventing some oil hedging index when Suds was chair of GSI and BP.
    I’ve always been fond of his geniality and intellect, but that’s worn off as he collects his A-G pension despite his independent wealth.

    On the IT, perhaps Derek should ask who wrote this editorial 🙂

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2006/0824/1156290374356.html

    For those without a sub: Some now very funny lines

    “How Ironic it is that we are approaching the tenth anniversary of the formation of the EU Stability Pact. For it was on the insistence of a German finance minister that countries wishing to participate in economic and monetary union agreed to abide by a code of fiscal discipline.
    At the time, Ireland was one of the countries with which Germany feared to share a currency. Ireland bravely accepted the pact’s terms and adhered to them with flying colours, only to see Germany – under the chancellorship of Gerhard Schroder – disregard the pact flagrantly.

    The student has now become the master.

    If Germany’s economy does indeed relapse into slowdown, its electorate may have to conclude that the time has finally come to accept a strong dose of its medicine.

    In doing so, it can draw inspiration from that medicine’s success in reducing unemployment in Ireland to the lowest level in the EU.”

    lol.

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