Now we’re in the big time as Ireland is set to vote on accepting the fiscal stability treaty and the pressure comes on to say Yes. My online buddy, Prof Brian Lucey sent me a picture earlier today that pretty much sums up what’s going to happen. He knows all kinds of clever shit that I can’t understand, being a professor and everything, but I take one piece of wisdom from his writings: the European instructions on national deficits and suchlike have nothing whatever to do with science and everything to do with an atavistic German fear of going back to the days of the Weimar Republic.
I was always deeply suspicious of people who proclaimed in percentages. It’s an indication that they have no idea what they’re talking about but would like to wrap the academic flag around them while bullying you and me into agreeing with them. What is this magical figure of 3%? Let me tell you, this was dreamed up over a nice lunch and a congenial bottle of wine on the back of a table napkin. There is nothing scientific about it, but everything political.
Or to put it another way, it’s bullshit, just as the EU’s obsession with money supply is bullshit. At a stroke, Ireland could lose a €31 billion burden without anyone at all suffering. Our central bank could write it off.
Shane Ross was trenchant tonight when he demanded to know if the government had secured a deal in advance of the referendum, and I sincerely hope they have done so. The Dutch would do it. The Danes would do it. The Germans would understand precisely what the logic was, but will our home-grown buffoons grasp the same logic? I don’t know, but I greatly fear they won’t.
It seems to me that the European core would expect our guys to strike a bargain, just like any logical grown adult, and if that doesn’t happen, it seems to me, we will simply lose respect in the Union. After all, Greece, with no hand whatever to play, is securing far more wriggle-room than we are.
Is this because of our pathological Irish desire to be liked? I’m afraid it might be.