November 2013        

Will we or won’t we?

It is now clear that the Irish state will leave the “bail-out” or restructuring programme some time in December. The Government is spinning the argument that when we eventually get the EU-ECB-IMF supervision off our backs we will “regain our sovereignty” and independent action.
     The question has to be asked, When have we ever had full sovereignty and independence?
     They are claiming that Government policies have worked to such a degree that they may not need any “precautionary credit line” from the European Stability Mechanism, the euro-zone rescue fund. For this state to get access to such funds would require parliamentary approval from a number of countries, including Germany.
     The minister for finance, Michael Noonan, is selling the good news that Ireland is the example to be followed by all the peripheral countries. He has been burning up the air-miles in the Government jet, flying hither and thither. In the Netherlands he met the Dutch minister of finance and head of the group of euro-zone finance ministers, Jeroen Dijsselbloem. This followed meetings with the EU Commission, European Central Bank and IMF over the last two weeks.
     The EU and IMF, the Irish political gombeenmen and the media continue to pretend that there is a difference of real substance between the ECB-EU-IMF troika and the private corporate finance markets, when in reality they are the same and work to secure the same interests.
     New research has shown that the Irish economy has been stagnant for three years, while establishment analysts are predicting a growth of 1.2 per cent this year. This is far below what they claimed was necessary for us to “grow” our way out of the debt crisis a number of years back when they saddled the people with the socialised corporate debt.
     Economic activity throughout Europe is very weak and shows no signs of significant improvement any time soon. Yet unemployment continues to grow, being particularly acute among youth. Poverty is spreading like a cancer throughout the European Union.
     Meanwhile the German balance of payments is burgeoning, causing the United States to complain about “unfair trading.” What it really means is that German monopolies are making vast profits, while wages have declined and workers face increasing insecurity in employment as the “hiring fairs” spread.
     Regardless of whether or not we leave the current supervised restructuring scheme, there will be no let-up in austerity. There will be little growth in employment, and tens of thousands of people will continue to leave the country for destinations that themselves have shrinking opportunities.
     No, we will not “regain our sovereignty” or our independence: we have long since ceded what little independence and sovereignty we gained in 1922. The bailiff will continue to come and knock on people’s doors to repossess their homes. People will still stand in a queue for shrinking social welfare benefits. The plunder of public wealth will continue, in the form of privatisation, and the servicing of the odious debt will have priority over all other calls upon the exchequer.

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