Economy Politics

The European Crisis

Before our eyes, the European project is disintegrating, and yet nobody seems especially perturbed.  It’s bizarre.  Have we forgotten that this thing was created to make sure that Europe would never again be visited with catastrophic wars? Even though it was hardly an unqualified success, given the slaughter in Yugoslavia, at least it kept the major powers from each other’s throats.

Regional wars we can live with.  World wars we cannot, and that’s the harsh truth.

As I speak, we witness the incompetent spectacle of David Cameron vetoing measures in the European Union, the first time such a thing has ever been done, and yet going home empty-handed.  Whenever leaders in the past have threatened a veto, they extracted some sort of concession, but Cameron, it seems, has simply succeeded in isolating Britain from its 26 partners in the EU, while gaining no advantage.  Furthermore, he seems to have alienated his coalition partners, the Lib-Dems, by failing to inform them before dropping the V-bomb.

Nick Clegg said that he was bitterly disappointed at Cameron’s actions, which can’t bode well for continued cooperation between his party and the  Conservatives.  And the extraordinary thing is that Cameron was fighting, not on behalf of the British people, but on behalf of the bankers in the City of London.  In order to protect a financial elite, Cameron decided to remove his entire nation from the European decision-making process.  In many ways, Cameron is like an educated, articulate Bertie Ahern, going to bat for the people who really pull his strings, at the expense of his electorate.

Clearly, gobshitery isn’t the exclusive preserve of Irish politicians but the Brits do it with more class.  Cameron looked like a worried schoolboy as he headed home from the meeting, and ultimately, perhaps that’s all Dave is — a pampered public-schoolboy with all the rhetoric and none of the historical insight.

Isn’t it worrying that the future of Europe is in the hands of such people?  Dave has no substance.  He’s a Hooray Henry who got lucky and is now utterly out of his depth.  The Germans, under Merkel, have no taste for dominating Europe.  Despite what people suggest, Germany is a nation still traumatised following its actions in WWII and reluctant to take a governing role in Europe.  Sarkozy, on the other hand – a prating coxcomb – seems to be intoxicated by power.  He detects his moment at hand and he wants to extract every last smidgin of hubris from it.

Let’s not worry too much about Germany.  The real threat in this drama comes from France, and what’s more, comes from one man’s ego.  Congratulations for nabbing Carla Bruni, Nicolas.  Wouldn’t we all envy you? But that doesn’t make you a statesman.

As every minute passes, the threat to the euro and to the European project grows, but what about Ireland?  Where will we be if it all implodes? In the modern world, a tiny country like ours has no chance of survival without strategic partnerships.  We simply don’t have a historical accumulation of wealth and resilience, unlike other small nations such as Holland, Portugal and Denmark, who built up vast reserves by robbing from the Africans and the indigenous people of South America.  I have no doubt that we’d have done the same thing if we could, but unfortunately, the English thieving kings beat our local thieving kings and that screwed that.

I never liked rollercoasters.  They always frightened the shit out of me but I know one thing about them: no matter how scared you are, you don’t jump out.  Hold onto your seat, close your eyes, and wait for the ride to stop.  Then you can complain.

We are in the grip of the biggest geopolitical upheaval we have ever known.  None of us has ever lived through such dangerous times and, like it or not, being part of a huge economic and political alliance like the EU is the only thing that will save us.  When the ride stops, we can complain, but now is not the time.

There are may things about our current relationship with the EU that I dislike but the alternative is something I like even less.  And yet, we need an alliance with a major power.  If not the EU, then what — the United Kingdom?  That’s the choice, folks.  Think about it long and hard.

24 replies on “The European Crisis”

I fully agree with the perspective you present here. I was lucky to grow up in post-WWII Europe and to travel to the different war-thorn countries now comprising the EU. Having seen all this, having talked to the people then and now. I’m convinced that in a world corrupted by globalisation and hyper-capitalism, the EU project is our best option. I think you’re right about the dinosaurs, such as Sarkozy. Let’s be happy that at least Berlusconi is out of the equation.

But what if Cameron is right, Bock (and, if nothing else, he might get a prize for a Machiavellian piece of populism that secures his future and destroys the Liberal Democrats), and his move turns out to be a leap from the bus before it careers over the precipice?

Sarkozy will be out next April. It’s unlikely that he will be re-elected. Let’s just hope that he doesn’t do any more damage until then and that Merkel can keep him on a leash. On the other hand you never know what an ego like Sarkozy’s will be able to do to safe his political skin.

Isn’t it amazing that politicians, elected to be leaders and managers, just think of their own career and power and don’t give a fiddler’s about the people they are supposed to represent? Scrap that. It’s not amazing.

As for Europe. I still believe that the European idea of unity is a good one. The only way to go, really. Nationalism and national interests brought more misery over the world than directives and treatys from Brussels and serves just the rich and powerful.
History has hiccups, we just happen to live in a big one. But we shouldn’t lose sight of the bigger picture.

If Ireland choses to ally with the UK, it’s not only disappointing, it’s downright stupid. The UK will not only be isolated from the EU but from their master USA as well. The USA know where their toast is buttered. The UK was important for them as a bridge to Europe. If the UK doesn’t belong to the EU anymore, it is not of much use for the US.
If it’s about an English speaking country, Ireland could jump in and try to be the new bridge to the EU. Could be worthwhile. But that would demand clever politicians.,, Ok, scrap that, too…

When in doubt follow the money. Find out who has it and who is using it to cause the problems. I personally think that it is a distablising attack by the doller manufacturers. Maybe I`m into conspircy country here, if the euro and as a consequence the european format fails there is only one winner ( currency ) and that is the doller.

Bock is correct, if we don`t hang in there together and hang on tight we is fucked. Cameron is protectecing the bankers not the british way of life.

Impossible to disagree Bock. It’d take an earthquake to make me vote no in the upcoming referendum – besides which, a little bit of fiscal discipline from sensible countries with a good progressive record (such as, yes, Germany) couldn’t be worse than the succession of Civil War, short-sighted subservient gobshites who have ran Ireland into the ground.

I don’t know if anyone saw that storyville programme on BBC2 the other night.It makes the bankers in Ireland look quite good when compared to that lot in the US.The corruption and skulduggery will leave you breathless.It was narrated by Matt Damon and can be found BBC I Player on the net.By the way Bock I concur with everything you say in piece.

…but what about ireland, you ask, Bock.
Not a worry, lad, we’ll be fine.
Like the Darling Buds of May, a series set in a corner of England where the sun never set, the rain was always gentle sun showers, and the biggest problem was the length of time it took for the home made jams to set, we’ll be happy with our lot. Never complaining too loud, taking what comes our way and laughing at the serenity of it all.
We have form, you know.
Reality never upset us, never made us fret or lose sleep. We’ve shown that we can take all that is put our way, no matter how hard, no matter how unjust or unfair. For we are the Irish, we are the little lad who said, please sirs, can we have some more.
It truely is Brigadoon.

I try to see the logic behind events in the EU, to no avail.

It seems to me that that terrifyingly mystical thing “The Markets” is in charge.

So the lives of millions of people are at the mercy of this out of control “Thing”.

Of course, “The Markets” is not mystical at all, but is operated by greedy idiot bankers acting in their own selfish interests.

The idiots-in-chief populate Wall Street.

Therefore political, social, and economic legislation enacted in the E.U. must ultimately please Wall St.

If Wall St. is not pleased it will attack the EU by tinkering with “The Markets”.

Maybe this is a totally incorrect reading of events, but if it is true, what, in the final analysis, would the EU have to do to please Wall St. ?

I suspect that the answer to that question is that there will be no pleasing Wall St. – ever !

And if that’s true, then the prognosis for the EU is very bleak indeed.

Lovely. Instead of taking down our pants for a fiscal colonscopy from a local doctor, unqualified, untrained and incompetent, we now have the option to go private and deal with true professionals. Still, a colonoscopy is a colonoscopy.

Funny though, gainfully employed folk will happily vote yes to such an examination, whilst those otherwise enagaged in Irelands favourite and time honoured cyclical sport, unemployment, will not. I wonder why that is.

The UK is having one of its ‘dads army’ moments, and it’s interesting to watch certain EU elements jump on the opportunity and push for their exclusion – highlights the lack of unity that was bubbling away there under the surface.

Yesterday, I heard a financial expert’s reply to the question “what exactly are the markets”. He said they were mostly investment companies, pension funds etc. The self same fucking idiots that fucked up my pension fund over the past ten years. Having made a bollix of that they have now turned their attention to the rest of the world. FSM help us !

Not that I am in any way a tory but I have to agree in some way with what cameron did, 75% percent of european financial transactions take place in london, part of the new euro deal was any clearing house doing more than 5billion worth of business would be required to relocate to the euro zone which is blantantly going after british business, so for the greater good or europe (germany & france) britain was expected to just sign that away.
I agree sarkozy will not survive the coming french election but he does seem to think his legacy will be moving the financial hub of the world from london to paris and then on to frankfurt.

The new euro treaty does not in any way deal with the impending euro debt crisis, they are fussing over indigestion while dying of lung cancer.

Something else for you to consider in the new euro deal is a common corporation tax, which will instantly wipe out just about the only thing the irish economy has going for it.

vote yes for austerity vote yes for being saddled with private banking debt …… Cant wait for use referendum

This fella has been right so far, but nobody really knows.

I’m surprised how people don’t seem to mind having amongst others, the unelected gobshite Van Rompuy who screwed up Belgium running everybodies show. More fiscal unity not resulting eventually in upping Ireland’s corporation tax, Haha, that’s a good one.

Blame the banker owned politicians & media plus the majorities time honoured method of dealing with the opposite of ” we all lived happily ever after” by sticking their heads in the sand. It’s probably a bit like the phoney war at the beginning of WW2.

I don’t think war in Europe is likely, I would be worried about Iran & Israel starting a scrap & pulling the big boys in.

I wonder if the Mayans did lottery number predictions ?

This fella is a very good source for what is really going on in the Irish & elsewheres troubled financial waters. I havn’t known him be wrong yet. He nicely sums up here that it will be much easier to find Higgs Bosun than find a plan to sort out Europe, if left to those whose plan 19 is no improvement on their previous 18. Baldrick wasn’t paid a gigantic salary & he at least made people laugh.

noonan on bloomberg telling them that basically if possible there wont be a referendum but that if there is it will be a referendum on whether to leave the euro or not … Seems the scaremongering starts here

well for a start i think there should be a referendum whether its required under the constitution or not and as far as im aware (though i admit i could be wrong ) Theres no legal way to force us out of the euro . I also think that with the feeling out there towards europe at the moment statements like noonan made could end up provoking a no vote

as far as i know (though i could be wrong ) theres no legal way to force us out of the euro , so instead of beginning a reasonable debate on the issue we get statements like this which may have the effect of provoking a no vote

It’s going to require enormous soul-searching but I fear we may get another barrage of hysteria from both sides. As I said, if we leave the eurozone, we’d better start thinking of getting hitched to the UK.

yeah i still reckon myself that we’re better off staying in than leaving but i hope against hope that our politicians can find the balls to secure us some kind of decent deal on the bank debt in return

This is the part of it I don’t understand and where my own patience with our current overlords starts to wear thin.We did what was “required” and propped up the euro by agreeing to pay back the bond holders. (I still maintain it was a necessary evil at the time but that’s probably not too popular an opinion around here these days, ha ha)
Now here we are, perfectly placed for Inda to have gone to that summit and at the 11th hour, declared that the deal was off, we were pulling the plug, and unless we got some serious concessions to our own rotten deal, they could all sit there as their respective card houses came down. He should’ve been all “Jenga, motherfuckers, ha ha!” (but in the politest, most roundabout euro-speak way of course). I don’t get it. I really thought him and Noonan were working some long con angle…

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