Bad political feedback loops

Niamh Hardiman has a post here which echoes one of the most important points George Soros made in his Trento speech: current EU policies are amplifying anti-EU sentiment, which in turn makes it more difficult politically to move towards the tighter Eurozone integration that is economically required to save the Euro project; which in turn exacerbates the economic situation, and so on.

I have two brief comments.

The first is that this sort of negative feedback loop suggests the need for a “big bang” approach to policy reform in Europe: not some temporary liquidity fix that will give the system a little more rope to hang itself with, but a fundamental shift in the policy stance, which could change both the economic and the political dynamics.

The second is that we have got to stop referring to parties which are willing to go along with the current policy mix as “pro-European”, as if a party like Syriza is anti-European or anti-EU (it is clearly not). When Mrs Thatcher set about dismantling the social contract that had defined Britain for thirty years, this did not make her anti-British, and nor was Arthur Scargill anti-British when he tried to oppose her. People disagree, often fundamentally, about policies: that is what democracy is all about, and the moment that “Europe” is defined with any one set of policies, rather than with a framework for deciding policies collectively, it is (or ought to be) finished as a political project.

I conclude that what the EU needs right now is a loyal opposition, willing to provoke an almightily row in order to promote change. Step forward Mr Fabius?

53 thoughts on “Bad political feedback loops”

  1. Kevin,

    Would you characterize SF as pro-European? What does pro-European mean anyway-being well disposed to people of European origin-that is about 95% of the population of Europe. Or being well diposed to some pan European political vision?

  2. I think we need to fix the existing problems, before looking at more integration etc.

    The current proposed solutions are a million miles away from getting debt to 60% of GDP. Over-indebtedness and overspending are the big problems in countries locked out of the bond markets (or those at risk of being locked out). Overspending can be tackled through EZ oversight and reform programmes. But to motivate populations in troubled economies, you have to offer them (and the markets) some sort of brighter future.

    My suggestion to tackle Over-indebtedness is as follows:

    1. Create a mechanism for debt reduction that applies to any country’s debt in excess of 70% of GDP. (e.g. a 100bn economy with 100% debt to GDP would be able to tap the fund for 30bn)
    2. A sovereign’s debt will be split in to two types: 0-70% of debt will rank senior to debt 70+%. This will be safer and will be traded as before. (this is quite similar to German pfandbrief structures)
    3. For debt above 70% of GDP, a super EZ fund is created using ECB(/QE). This fund will buy up existing debt from the markets. Participant countries then swap these with new bonds with longer maturities, a zero coupon and an annual principal repayment of 4%. So over 25 years the debt above 70% should drop to zero.
    4. In exchange for access to the fund a country must agree to oversight/ reform programmes.

    That just about covers the main elements (there’s no point in complicating something that won’t be used).

  3. Much as I’d like to see “a fundamental shift in the policy stance, which could change both the economic and the political dynamics” there’s simply no chance of that with the EU’s existing leadership, unless and until they are forced to abandon monetary union. The best hope is that they will be thrust into a situation where they must modify their goal, perhaps replacing the Eurozone with a “Euro standard” with each country pegging its currency to a Euro which is mainly used for international transactions as an alternative to the dollar.

    Perhaps then we can map out a new path to greater integration which gives greater weight to forging a European nation. There’s no sense in rushing towards political union just to make the ECB’s job easier.

  4. Text from Patricia the Irish_Sovereign_in_Exile:

    Step forward Hannelore Kraft & Mary Lou McDonald; the solidarity principle, fundamental to the European Project, must not only hold, but act.

  5. Isn’t there a moral hazard issue where proposals on solutions including huge writedowns of debt are coming from academics, who generally have unfunded lavish pensions but the sitting ducks in the private sector with decimated pensions and some with no jobs, are again in the frontline to be clobbered on cuts in sovereign debt?

    In countries where the insiders grab most of the gains, many of course want the keep the status quo and there is an emergency – – so why even wonder that somebody may ask for some reciprocation.

    So we can have eurobonds with no strings — no agreement on tax harmonisation of some sort, spending levels and so on?

    Isn’t this fantasy politics?

    President Hollande has put forward a raft of tax proposals – -and that can be part of the solution to France’s serious problems but surely only part?

    Instead of wiating for EIB funding to have some impact why not give everyone with public jobs a big pay rise?

  6. Good I say.
    The EU project is the heart of darkness , the central pivot of the market state monster many of us have come to despise over these past 4 decades or so.

    I dislike people socially enginnering me or my country to the point where a entire people don’t know whats up from down.
    I am not a conduit
    I am not a conduit
    I am not a conduit…….

    Shit – I am a conduit , just as people before me were cannon fodder.

    @Kevin
    Why do you want to repeat the US experiment ? – the history and geographical context of that fiefdom is so very different from this fiefdom.

    It took two wars with the Brits and a civil war and even after that it became a failure.
    Whats the end game of this social enginnering?

    Who benefits from this wealth destruction that people amazingly call growth ?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMV9F0_gNHQ

  7. Something happening Italy ?
    Who knows ?
    Probably not……
    The continent is simply dying.
    Its been a interesting entropy experiment none the less.

    http://www.economic-undertow.com/2012/06/19/grease-your-rope/

    When its more energy effiecent to trade with China rather then Greece what happens to our shared relationship ?

    Answer: it disappears

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRghETHFvYs

    Europe is a non place – it does not exist.
    Its merely a junction for the slave /energy arbitrage trade.

  8. @Kevin O’Rourke

    Both very valid points. Regarding the second one, we could call it the Isreali approach to quashing opposition – if you don’t support the current government and its approach to the occupied territories, then you must be anti-Isreali, anti-Zionist or even anti-semitic.

    There is even a worse development in Ireland. Many establishment media outlets now classify those that are not supportive of the government’s policies in dealing with the Troika as crazy. This was was most prevalent during, but not limited to, the treaty referendum.

    Examples:
    – after the treaty result the IT claimed the whole country breathed a sigh of relief, as if we were in danger of being overrun by lunatics.
    – after the BoI repo debacle with the promissory note repayment, the SIndo ran an editorial claiming that the ECB “blinked first” in dealing with the government. That is verging on propaganda.
    – George Lee’s documentary on Ireland Outside the Euro – need I say more?
    – I distinctly remember Pat Kenny ridiculing and dismissing Pearse Doherty during the last General Election campaign for merely suggesting a radical shift in policies involving growth, debt restructuring and the write-down of the promissory notes.
    – Pat Kenny also literally roared and shouted down a farmer who calmly suggested that the bailing out of the periphery will lead to reduced CAP expenditure. Whatever you think of the farmer’s point of view, such an eventuality is not beyond the bounds of possibility and he did not deserve to be roared at.

    This all amounts to a stigmatisation of government opponents as loonies, when in fact some of those same policies being advocated by the crazies are now being discussed at the G20 and will eventually have to be employed to solve the crisis.

  9. @ Ahura Mazda

    “I think we need to fix the existing problems, before looking at more integration “etc.

    the answer to a banking crisis is

    A Shift the problem onto the sovs
    B Political union

    It doesn’t make sense . It never did , really

  10. @Kevin O’Rourke

    Agree with the general thrust of what you’re saying. Re

    “not some temporary liquidity fix that will give the system a little more rope to hang itself with, ”

    Can you explain to us less economically-versed viewers why there is still (apparently) a big threat of liquidity crisis/credit crunch when the ECB has already pumped a trillion in recently?

    e.g.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/9342810/Prepare-for-Lehmans-re-run-Bank-official-warns.html

  11. @KOR
    Politics is like war.There are three thing you need to succeed, the first is money and the second is money and the third is money. Most if not all of Haughey’s bagmen ended up as state landlords–this was the payback.

    They bled the state dry with these ruinous leases organised by a cartel. It was instutionilised political corruption that is alive and well today.

  12. @PR
    Central Banks don’t print like treasuries -they need collateral (i.e they are loans, not money)

    Treasuries don’t need collateral , they can just print the stuff and extinguish debt.
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Note

    Interest is capital wasted.
    Europe is a interest whorehouse.
    Always was.

    Free treasuries would destroy the CBs globalist dreams as it would re nationalise economies – they will not allow this to happen as they extract wealth by playing one nation off against another.

  13. I’m not sure how tighter Eurozone integration is supposed to help the euro.

    Every euro has a corresponding debt because it’s created through the banks’ loan process. Every euro is temporary because it’s canceled out of existence through loan repayments.

    Tighter integration won’t change this. Equally if we left the euro and returned to the punt nothing would change dramatically of we got banks to create and destroy the new currency on parallel with debt.

    Bear in mind also that mortgages have hot their natural limit of taking two concurrent careers to repay and the only viable solution has to be carefully introducing a source of debt free digital money to service the modern economy.

  14. I’d love to collar Barroso and Super Mario and ask them how they see things 2 years out- what will things look like and how do they expect to get there ? It’s looking like the 3 billy goats gruff at the moment with a big troll called banking crisis living under the bridge between here and the future.

  15. Keep personal debt a constant (or a variable with only increasing value) in the equation but drive down wages and pensions.

    This would seem to sum up a get deal of popular understanding of current bailout and austerity programs.

    From one perspective, it is like asking someone to climb a mountain and descend a cliff simultaneously – an impossible task.

    Politicians know this of course and dipping into the tales of ancients conjure up the money nymph called ‘Growth’. But Growth is careful in who she weds. Most politicians haven’t the necessary dowry in their pockets to encourage Growth the settle down with them in a happy ever after union.

    Education, infrastructure, languages, the dogs dinner, al have been tried and unfortunately largely spurned.

    Europe is in for a very tugh decade in my opinion and more credit, more ESM, more whatever you’re having yourself, is a wallpaper exercise until the issues of labour costs and public expenditure are tackled. However, I don’t think these can be tackled in isolation for discounting personal debt. There must be an EU wide agreement on this. Country by country solutions are too mercurial and moreover are bereft of collective and coordinated long term focus.

  16. David Rosenberg in Haaretz (paywall)

    http://www.haaretz.com/business/the-lesser-evil-losing-egypt-or-losing-europe.premium-1.437174

    “In the end, Europe, and probably the euro, will pull through, but in the process both institutions will be chastened, discredited to a greater or lesser extent by the failure of the European model. That means Europe, for a generation or more, will not have the global standing it enjoyed in the post-war era. ”

    It won’t be good news for Israel either…

  17. @An Tanaiste & Minister of State for Europe

    For Your Information (FYI)

    Ten EU foreign ministers participating in a “study group for the future of Europe” aim to exert pressure to transform the EU into a federation along the lines of the US. Together they have prepared what the front-page headline in Die Presse describes as a “Plan for transformation into a European state.” On 19 June, the ten ministers* presented an initial report to the EU officials who will likely benefit the most from the initiative: Commission President José Manuel Barroso, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi and Eurogroup President Jean-Claude Juncker.

    The “study group for the future” initiated by Germany’s Guido Westerwelle, which does not currently include an official French representative, proposes to put an end to the dominance of national government leaders and give greater authority to the European Commission – in particular the European Commission president, who will be elected by universal suffrage and granted the right to form a “governmental team”, making him or her the most powerful politician in Europe.

    Read on:

    http://www.presseurop.eu/en/content/news-brief/2211991-10-countries-united-states-europe

    * Foreign ministers from Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Spain.

    p.s. Blind Biddy attended in an ‘observer’ capacity.

  18. Pringle is warning of that 1913 like moment again – check mate.

    legalnews.findlaw.com/article/01d972B1iZ9IW?q=European…

  19. The EU’s governing class has a strong culture of crushing and coopting loyal opposition. It will be difficult for it to reform.

  20. Irish economists who make significant contributions on growth issues tend to be rare.

    Michael Spence who chaired the Commission on Growth which looked at the factors which have promoted and impeded growth in several countries, says buying time for reform to work requires socialisation of short-term risk.

    There is no other way to keep bond yields under control and banks functioning while finding the right balance between excessively rapid and dangerously slow deficit reduction is important, and not all that easy.

    http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/clarity-about-austerity 

  21. On Feedback Loops: UPDATE ON EGYPT

    Election result announcement ‘postponed’

    Hosni Mubarak’s ghost – whether or not he is still alive at midday – will preside over today’s Egyptian presidential election results. For Ahmed Shafik and Mohamed Morsi represent the two faces of the narrative which Mubarak always used to maintain his power: stability or the Islamist nightmare. Shafik, Mubarak’s last Prime Minister, is the “stability” candidate who has already claimed victory. Morsi is the Muslim Brotherhood man who has already claimed victory. Add to this the childish and arrogant claim by the army and its greedy field marshal, Mohamed Tantawi, to hold on to all its privileges, no matter how Egyptians have voted, and today promises to be one of those bookmarkers that historians love.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/robert-fisk-only-the-military-are-guaranteed-victory-in-this-egyptian-election-7870081.html

    @Egyptians

    In Solidarity.

  22. @ John Corcoran,

    Real-estate is at the heart of the Irish crisis and not much has been done about setting it right.
    Central banking and monetary policy was taken from the people for a reason -they were too generous to themselves in the short term damaging the long term.
    Real estate should also be regulated by an independent body, not the average voter and the markets. Their role should be like a central bank, to maintain constant prices in realestate. They could use many tools like adjusting the amount of loans people can use to buy a property. e.g First property 90% loan 10% downpayment 2nd 50/50 3rd 10/90.
    Shelter is one of the 3 basic human rights along with food and clothing. Ireland still has hundreds of thousands of empty properties, many owned and being held of the market by its own Government. Meanwhile it has 15% unemployment, over 100,000 on local housing waiting lists and countless young people emigrating due to over-priced rents and housing. Irish diplomats should be forced to say these figures everytime they talk to someone about human rights.

  23. The number of TDs in the Dail is to be reduced by a whopping EIGHT! This huge 5% reduction leaves me lost for words.

    A more realistic reduction would be in the region of 60 or 80. No government has shown a willingness to take the parish pump our of national politics despite the terrible damage local patronage has inflicted down the decades. Noel Dempsey got into hot water with his own efforts to kill off the so-called ‘dual mandate’.

    Administrative and organizational reform as a concerted top down effort is sadly lacking in the Irish political landscape. There is much scope for rationalization of service, institutions, local authorities, but nothing happens. Minister Reilly’s faith in driving internal reform leads him to recruit ever more external consultants. He only has between 90-100k staff his disposal to choose from.

    Political feedback. Nein danke.

  24. We do indeed need parties which are in favour of european peace and unity to come up with considered stand points and initiatives which will move us forward and out of our zero sum world.

    Our Ministers and media constantly talk about what the deals ofr other countries mean for Ireland instead of what they mean fot he EU fand for democracy in the long term. Our Minister for Finance showed that he could be every bit as offensive as Sarkozy and others when he made calculated jokes at the Greek people’s expense in their time of need with the aim of dissociating ourselves from the Greek people.

    None of our Irish politicians seem to have a view on the effect of current reforms on democratic accountability or the sovereignty of the European peoples. None of our TDs have spoken about the specific extremist democratic backlashes which could evolve, or if they have they have not got their message into the media.

    I recently listened to Michael D. Higgins speech to the LSE entitled “Of Public Intellectuals, Universities, and a Democratic Crisis”.
    http://www2.lse.ac.uk/publicEvents/events/2012/02/20120221t1830vLSE.aspx

    It was an excellent speech even if it could have bee shortened somewhat. President Higgins highlighted the major intellectual and political crisis we are facing into and the threats to our personal and democratic freedoms posed by the rational markets myth. At least one person holding high office in Ireland is thinking of the bigger picture.

  25. @zhou

    We do indeed need parties which are in favour of european peace and unity to come up with considered stand points and initiatives which will move us forward and out of our zero sum world.

    Europe begins at home. Like default.

    The idea that Europe and the Europeans are ‘out there’ has been part and parcel of the supplicant psychology that successive governments nurtured for decades.

    It has always more ‘quid’ than ‘quo’ when it comes to Ireland;s dealings with the EU.

    The principle that Ireland might have some moral, political or economic obligations to Europe were carefully locked in the deep freeze of Inconvenient Facts only to be fleetingly defrosted on august occasion such as the appearance of the CAP cheque, the arrival of an EU bigwig or when Ireland assumed some EU mantle or other.

    How many of the cabinet carry on discussions with their EU counterparts in French, German, SPanish, Italian, etc?

    AS I said at the start, Europe begins at home.

  26. I think there will be some ‘political feedback’ for Air France later today who have announced this morning they are going to cut 5,000 jobs. Just what any newly-appointed French President wants to hear.

    Disguised state subsidy about to be rolled out? That will get the rest of them (Peugot, Total, Axa, etc.) with their hands out after threatening to cut jobs if they do it for Air France.

  27. @Seafoid
    A combination of absurdity (Krugman) & Poison (Ed Phelps)

    Sachs is as always wrong.
    He stated that China began to globalise at a more rapid scale post 1980 – but why ?
    Wage deflation / credit inflation in the west Baby.
    For every action there is a equal and opposite reaction.
    This post 1980 world accelerated that very old slave trade arbitrage thingy that they called capitalism before coal relocalized capital into 19th century like nation states.
    We don’t need higher Tax on captured citizens withen now market state boundaries -we need protection from off shoring tax / cheap labour havens.

    We need to smash globalism or it will smash us.

    Soros is as always closer to the mark but his motivations are very suspect – he wishes to further centralise fiat power towards the fat controllers.

    Sachs is however correct about the lack of long term infrastruture planning – but the monetary chaos of these past 40 years makes this impossible.

  28. @Dork

    We all probably need to read up on James Meade’s explanations of why freer trade benefit everybody before advocating abolishing globalisation completely. With that said, there are serious issues that need to be addressed.

  29. @Zhou
    I did not mention the word free trade
    Globalism is a slightly different fish using Corporate power to bend State monopoly power to its will.
    You are mistaken – this is not “free trade”

    Free trade requires free citizens interacting somehow – there is nothing free about a Chinese worker locked inside a cage – he is a unit.

    In the light of such a assault on ones Shire one must resist such nonsense words such as free trade in the context it is used.

    Those 4 guys are the bringers of this pox – with Sax deeply involved in the Rape of Russia. (Adam Curtis called his mark)
    The West sent out its Locusts post 1989 and when it experinced blowback from Asia post 1998 the locusts ate their mother.

    “A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself.

    For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist.”

    Marcus Tullius Cicero

    “Corporations have neither bodies to be punished, nor souls to be condemned, they therefore do as they like.”

    Edward Thurlow, Attorney General and Lord Chancellor of England

  30. @Alchemist

    Indeed, Europe does begin at home. Our politicians have neglected that fact for 25 years. Let’s hope they can change their ways.

    @Dork

    I only suggested having a look at the guy’s work – sheesh!

    Glad to see you have read a bit of Cicero – he was some fella to play the man and not the ball.

  31. @Zhou
    I am no Roman Scholar – I have merely read the Robert Harris Historical flicks on the subject.
    I got those quotes from a Jesse’s American cafes recent piece.

  32. @Zhou
    ps I see the normally reserved Yves Smith bring up the pound of Flesh thingy……
    You know where this goes don’t you ?

    The Jewish people in European historical past greeced the wheel of commerce but when commerce becomes all money and not goods whats happens to this power dymanic ?
    They give credit to the worst of us and therefore hang the lot of us on a monetory petard.
    After this period it gets real nasty.
    From Manchester to Paris things will begin to boil over.

    The West is about to close the shop for a few hundred years.
    This has the fall of Rome written all over it.

  33. @all

    Here is a link to an excellent piece based on Koo’s analysis. At the risk of being boring, I will repeat, again, the fact that the SGP was dubbed the ‘Stupidity Pact’ (in London admittedly) precisely because this stuff was at least in principle foreseeable – none of this is new or revelatory thinking.

    Don’t skip the link, read it. Personally, I would stick it up as a thread on its own.

    http://ftalphaville.ft.com/blog/2012/06/21/1053921/koo-on-german-bubbles/#comments

  34. Koo remarked,

    European policymakers simply do not understand the concept of balance sheet recessions. Inasmuch as many continue to argue—whether out of ignorance or emotion—that the current gap in competitiveness is attributable to laziness in the southern European countries, I suspect a proper policy response is still far off.

    How come this kind of analysis of the problem is never allowed to be broadcast on traditional media airwaves in Ireland? How come?

    I have watched everything from Vincent Browne, to the PrimeTime show, to George Lee, Pat Kenny and darn it, even Eamon Dunphy for my sins.

    In four years of constant waffle about the ‘crisis’ (which is hardly a crisis for those of whom, may be in a position to do something about it), there has never once been a broadcast from a politician, commentator or economist, which spelled out the basic nature of the problem as delivered by a few darn paragraphs, which were quoted from a Japanese balance sheet recession expert’s note.

    A note, which coincidentally refers back to policy conversations from seven years ago. A considerably longer time ago, since I have had the misfortune to have to dutifully tune into Irish broadcast media for my sources of economic wisdom & insight. BOH.

  35. @Brian OH

    “How come this kind of analysis of the problem is never allowed to be broadcast on traditional media airwaves in Ireland? How come? ”

    At the time of the debate (such as it was) in Ireland on joining the Euro, there was little but hot air and waffle for the consumption of the general public. There was also a bit of an undercurrent of self-satisfaction at breaking away from the UK and being promoted to the Bundesliga.

    I was advised that if I thought the coverage was so misleading and one-sided and it was such a bad idea I should ring Marion Finucane (now Joe Duffy, so to speak).

    I decided not to bother.

  36. Worrying New Data
    Euro Crisis Reaches German Industry

    German companies believe the euro crisis has damaged their prospects for growth in 2012, according to new figures released on Thursday. Manufacturing activity hit a three-year low and export orders have also seen a sharp drop. The data suggest the crisis is starting to hit the previously robust German economy.

    The purchasing managers’ index compiled by the research institute Markit based on a survey of 1,000 firms fell by 0.8 points to 48.5 percent — the lowest figure since June 2009, and below the 50-point mark which is considered to separate growth from contraction. The index for the whole of the euro zone was 46, the same as last month and the lowest level in three years.

    Markit’s Tim Moore said in a statement that there seems to be “a deepening consensus among German businesses that the euro area turbulence has already damaged their growth prospects for the latter half of 2012.” Business outlook in the service sector fell sharply from 55.9 in May to 47.0, the biggest drop in the survey’s 15-year history.

    The purchasing managers’ index for industry also fell by 0.5 to 44.7 points, the lowest value in three years. “German manufacturers were at the forefront of the downturn as a worsening global economic backdrop and the ongoing euro crisis weighed heavily on export demand,” Moore said.

    In June, export orders saw their biggest drop since April 2009. As a result, industry cut the largest number of jobs in two-and-a-half years. Although the sector sector is still taking on workers, the number of new hires was relatively low in June.

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/global-crisis-hits-german-industry-a-840230.html

    I’m surprised anyone should be surprised …. rarely pays to starve one’s customers!

  37. European Union
    Why German Europe is a non-starter

    21 June 2012Gazeta Wyborcza Warsaw

    It’s become a commonplace Berlin is to impose its political vision and economic order upon the EU. Not so simple, says a Gazeta Wyborcza columnist, because its social model is in decline and it is no more prepared than its partner political union.

    End of symbiosis
    The sources of Europe’s German problem – or Germany’s European problem – lie elsewhere and are more fundamental. Firstly, the current crisis has hit Germany hard. Not in economic terms, but in political and moral ones. Far from heralding the onset of a “German Europe”, it actually means its end. The common currency system was based on the German model, with the European Central Bank as a copy of the Bundesbank.

    The crash of this “Maastricht Europe” effectively undermines two assumptions crucial for Germany policy – that German solutions are best for Europe and that the German economic model thrives in symbiosis with European integration.

    READ ON:
    http://www.presseurop.eu/en/content/article/2217201-why-german-europe-non-starter

    The American economist Raghuran Rajan wrote some time ago that politicians are unable to respond to dangers of unknown scale. This is a good explanation of Ms Merkel’s stance. Until now, German policy has focused on limiting the damage and trying to preserve as much of “German Europe” as possible.

    In recent days, Chancellor Merkel mentioned the need for establishing a political union, a prospect the EU leaders will discuss during the summit at the end of this month. It is not Berlin but Paris that may prove the greatest obstacle in the process. The dilemma “the EU’s collapse or a political union” has become very real today. Perhaps Ms Merkel’s greatest fault has been her inability in recent years to prepare the public for either of these scenarios.

    Quite!

  38. grumpy wrote,

    I was advised that if I thought the coverage was so misleading and one-sided and it was such a bad idea I should ring Marion Finucane (now Joe Duffy, so to speak).

    I decided not to bother.

    Don’t get me wrong. A media without the views of Marian, Vincent, Eamon, Pat or George wouldn’t be fair to the large numbers of inhabitants of the island of Ireland (love them or hate them, or be indifferent), whose views and value system, some of the traditional media broadcasting, at its very best, tends to represent. I’m not saying that anyone isn’t entitled to hear some of their views aired in media, whether I believe a lot of it to be nonsense or otherwise. But what we tend to get in Ireland, is a bucket full. A bucket full.

  39. What I find remarkable about the current crisis, it is as if, on the spectrum of colours from yellow, to green, to blue, to whatever – there has been a very successful attempt made – to exclude one or two critical ranges in the spectrum. I don’t believe I can draw any conclusions from this, or see anything in particular that may be out of skew. It is just, that as a nation, Irish seem to develop selective deafness at various times in history, and as it appears to suit. When we have faced crises in the past, of a different nature, the solution may have been quite similar. I mean social or institutional crises.

  40. The traditional media broadcasters in Ireland, who are around a long time, may have spent so much of their careers and energies trying to chase down other trails, and are still in the business of following after those trails – that their resources at the moment – do not fully extend to that of exploring in all its dimensions the current one. Lets bear that in mind, that if those in mainstream Irish media else are still haunted by some ghost of the the past from 1950s to 1990s Ireland – maybe it is important that they should continue to follow that work. But we should not kid ourselves. They are not able to beat the trail at the moment. My point is, that in 2050, I hope there is some remnant left of the ‘Irish Economy’ blog left around, that will polish off the concluding stages of the investigation of what happened in Ireland between 2000 and 2010. But the reality is, by then, they will be viewed by a later generation as surplus to requirements, in a quite similar way that we view the mainstream presenters in media of today.

  41. Surely it is reasonable to say that political parties that support reneging on debts that their countries owe to European governments and European institutions are not pro-European. To read it otherwise is to confuse self-proclaimed rhetoric and revealed preference.

  42. Locally – another ‘moronic’ feedback looping Junior Minister

    TD’s dole comment is moronic, says colleague

    Comments by a junior minister that young people were being “handed” the dole and spending it on drink have been described as “moronic” by a party colleague.

    Waterford TD John Deasy accused Shane McEntee, the junior agriculture minister, of “stigmatising” young people who desperately wanted to work but in most cases were being forced to emigrate.

    http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/tds-dole-comment-is-moronic-says-colleague-198381.html

    Shane must be green with envy on the spotlite on Lucinda and Comical Brian .. and wants to get in on the troika …

    @An Taoiseach
    Reshuffle …

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