March 2015        

Merkel’s poodle

Alan Hanlon

Adolf Hitler had a German shepherd dog named Blondi. Hitler liked to have photos taken of himself with Blondi, or with children, as part of his campaign to groom the German people into thinking of him as a man of peace, who loved animals and children, instead of the street thug that he was.
     Angela Merkel is frightened of actual dogs since she was bitten as a child, but she has her own human version of Blondi. His name is Enda Kenny. Every time the campaign of austerity is in trouble, Merkel’s Blondi is trotted out like a good little lapdog to sing its praises.
     In 2011 the Irish people rejected austerity imposed at the diktat of the Troika and our imperial masters. Unfortunately the new government was made up of the majority right-wing neo-liberal Fine Gael and the minority social-democratic Labour Party. The austerity programme was embraced with relish by both parties, despite claims before the election that they would renegotiate it. In fact Éamon Gilmore, as leader of the Labour Party, described Brian Cowen and Brian Lenihan as “economic traitors” before the election, and then went on to implement the exact same programme that Fianna Fáil had agreed.
     Even a former official of the International Monetary Fund, Ashoka Mody, said the new government had a mandate to force bondholders to pay for their reckless gambling, and that the austerity programme was self-defeating. Kenny and Noonan did not even ask for concessions, as was shown in Kenny’s interview with Miriam O’Callaghan before the Fine Gael party rally on the 21st of February.
     By following orders in 2011 they effectually made it more difficult for anyone else opposing austerity, such as the Greeks in 2015. Not once has the Irish government offered even a word of support to the new Greek government—quite the opposite: Blondi Kenny has been used by Berlin as a poster boy for austerity.
     The plain fact is that the Greek government elected in 2015 is the direct opposite of the Irish, with a majority social-democratic party and a minority right-wing party. If the Greeks had gained any major concessions on austerity it would have exposed the lie being pushed on the Irish electorate, that “there is no alternative.”
     Kenny and Co. know they are in trouble, and the Masters in Berlin are not too pleased. So far Right2Water have organised three major demonstrations, with a total of over half a million people out on the streets protesting against the creeping privatisation of water and against austerity in general. So far Kenny and the media have tried either to play down the protests, to vilify the protesters, branding them as dangerous agitators, to use the courts to imprison them for supposedly breaching injunctions, or to launch dawn raids with over-the-top numbers of police to arrest individuals.
     At the same time a campaign has begun against Sinn Féin, now seen as a bigger threat in the next election than Fianna Fáil (still regarded as a toxic brand, even though the current government is following their programme).
     It’s obvious to Fine Gael that the Labour Party could be facing meltdown in the next election. Consequently it is of little surprise that a new party, “Renua,” appeared on Friday 13 March. This is another right-wing party, anti-union and anti-worker. It seems to be composed of former Fine Gaelers who were even on the right of that party. It has no definite programme or policies other than a lot of fine-sounding statements about government confidentiality, honesty, openness, etc. In fact its function is to sweep up any independents in the next election; and if the Labour Party goes into meltdown there’s a possibility that the new party will pick up enough seats to enable Fine Gael to continue in power with a reduced Labour Party and Renua.
     One only has to look at the formation of this party. Since Creighton lost the Fine Gael whip she has attracted plenty of media attention, talking about a new party and even launching it at one stage. Now she has actually formed a party, with a plethora of right-wing campaigners, adept at using American-style branding techniques and who are media-savvy.
     Creighton says all forty constituencies will be contested. Where will the money come from? Although the Labour Party existed before the foundation of the state, it is barely able to contest every constituency, so if a new party can do this it will definitely raise questions over funding.
     Back in the real world, the euro has dropped in value against the dollar and sterling, thus boosting imports and allowing Blondi Kenny the opportunity to boast that austerity is working. That is convenient with an election coming.

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