Fiscal Treaty Referendum

I don’t know what to think about the fiscal treaty referendum.  Let me be honest and admit that.

I just don’t know.

Every commentator I listen to seems to be making a good case, except of course the politicians, who are all untrustworthy.  There’s no point listening to any of them, on the right, the left or the middle.  Forget them.  Instead of listening to bluster, waffle and bullying, I’m trying to hear what’s being said by intelligent people who know what they’re talking about, but still it’s hard to make a decision.

The fiscal treaty referendum is a classic example of a dilemma, even though most people don’t know what a dilemma is.  If you ask most people, they’ll tell you a dilemma is a difficult decision, but that’s not correct.  A dilemma is a much more exquisite torture.  A dilemma is a choice between two unacceptable options, and there’s only one way to resolve it: decide which choice you hate less.

That’s what it comes down to with this vote.  You hate one outcome and you hate the other.

I haven’t quite made my mind up yet which I hate more and which I hate less.

Constantin Gurdgiev, an economist whose views I respect, has described the treaty as a fiscal suicide pact, following a monetary straitjacket. He argues that this referendum represents an opportunity to finally stand up against the German monolith and threaten to collapse the whole Euro edifice which the Irish state should never have been required to support on its own.  But what would happen if the Eurozone collapsed?

I can see his point.  It enraged me that the ECB forced our politicians to issue that pernicious blanket guarantee back in 2008, and it enraged me even more that they lay down and accepted their instructions from Frankfurt.

Karl Whelan, on the other hand, another respected commentator, argues that by voting no, we would cut ourselves off from any future emergency funding from the European Stability Mechanism which will be launched in July.  We won’t necessarily need any money from this fund, but then again, we might.

Whelan says that he’ll reluctantly vote yes, and that’s the nature of a classic dilemma.  No matter what choice you make, it will be a reluctant one.

Meanwhile, the public sentiment across Europe changes, with the Dutch, one of the few remaining Triple-A countries, rebelling against austerity, and the French president-in-waiting, Francois Hollande, making ominous noises.  Maybe Ireland should be pragmatic and postpone the referendum until the bigger global players have settled down, or maybe Enda is under orders to hold it as quickly as possible.  Who can tell?

I’ll have to think about this a lot more before deciding, but I’ll be making my decision based on logic, not political posturing of the sort engaged in by both sides at the moment.

One thing I will not be doing is voting against it because Fianna Fáil think it’s a good idea.  And I won’t be voting yes because Sinn Féin think it’s bad.

Now is not the time for irrational stupidity.  This is a time when we need to be mature and to vote based on our rational logical assessment of the situation, if we’re capable of such a thing.   And if we’re not able to be rational and logical, , maybe we’d be better off not voting.

47 thoughts on “Fiscal Treaty Referendum


    A voice of sanity at last! Somebody had to say this:

    “One thing I will not be doing is voting against it because Fianna Fáil think it’s a good idea. And I won’t be voting yes because Sinn Féin think it’s bad.

    Now is not the time for irrational stupidity. This is a time when we need to be mature and to vote based on our rational logical assessment of the situation, if we’re capable of such a thing.”

    Your words to the eyeballs of every voter in this country sir. Personally, I’m leaning towards voting No, but I really resent the way Sinn Féin & the ULA are campaigning on this to score political points. I am concerned that a lot of people will vote Yes simply because they don’t want to get lumped in with them. I wish there were credible centrists running a non-partisan campaign for the No vote. At the very least, it would raise the level of discourse.

    The Yes side parties are being SO obnoxious as well with their scare-mongering and their utter refusal to just outline sensibly why the Treaty’s so important to us, as if we were adults. I’m starting to like your approach; just ignore the politicians and hear what people qualified to speak have to say.

    I’m not claiming to be, but for what it’s worth I am leaning towards voting No. The proposed constitutional amendment pretty much says that the terms of the Treaty can be enforced even when they’re in violation of our constitution. I think that’s giving too much power away when the people making these economic decisions are a small group of unaccountable people from narrow backgrounds. If we vote No, then along with any developments in other countries, some of which you alluded to, we would be sending a message that we’re unhappy with the direction Europe is heading in. Then there might be a process of reform that would address the severe democratic deficit the EU is having at the moment.

    It’s risky but I think it’s the lesser of two evils. As you adequately put, Which choice do I hate less?

  2. Interesting article. It’s a dilemma to be sure. Personally I’m voting NO, as I don’t believe the scaremongering. We’ll have austerity either way by the sounds of things.

    Something I haven’t heard discussed much is weather or not it moves us closer to a United States of Europe. I’m not expert, but to me it sounds like it does. Title IV is named “Economic Policy Coordination and convergence”, Article 9 of which says that the “Contracting Parties undertake to work jointly towards an economic policy that fosters…. growth through enhanced convergence and competitiveness” and Article 11 says “that all major economic policy reforms that they plan to undertake will be discussed ex-ante”

    That sound pretty Europe-wide to me. I think the ceding of sovereignty, but I think it is a real issue. We can’t just look at the near term date of 2014. We are talking about our constitution!

  3. A pretty clumsy spelling mistake but is Gordon REALLY the worst guy for that on the internet? Come on.

    But the whole United States of Europe thing? The EU might be heading in that direction eventually. I don’t think there’s anything about that in the Treaty but it could be seen as a stepping stone. Would that set-up be the worst thing?

    In any case, I quite like what Prof. Yanis Varoufakis of Athens University said about that idea; that you shouldn’t set up a United States of Europe as a response to the crisis. Combining loads of countries is a huge commitment and the decision (if it’s a good one) needs to be made rationally & gradually, at a time when we’re not in crisis and we can actually think the decision through. It’s a long way off.

  4. I don’t want to decide on the basis of ” which hurts less ” because yes or no will hurt and hurt a lot.
    Firstly I don’t believe that the Treaty as presented will be full and final draft, the outcome in France will be a turning point.
    This Country has made far too many decisions based on fear, the security of future borrowings is no security, there is no way we can service existing borrowings based on current Governments approach.

  5. Karl Whelan outlines the horrific implications of a NO vote in an article titled “Ireland and the IMF After a No Vote”
    His conclusion: “However, ruling out access to the ESM and relying on whatever the IMF will be willing to provide to Ireland is a recipe for a far harsher near-term austerity than would occur with access to European funds”.

  6. This treaty is not one which moves the EU closer to a “United States of Europe”, or Federal Europe, or whatever name you want to put on it becuase it is not a European Treaty, and it is not using any instruments or institutions of the European Union.

    Also, the UK and Hungary are not party to it, so another reason why it cannot move us closer to a USE.

    It really is a dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t situation, but for me, I think that the less-bad option is to vote Yes.

  7. I would vote no. Leave the Euro. Burn the ECB. Bring expenditure in line with taxation. Start fresh. Then go back to the markets to borrow in order to stimulate growth. It will be fast and very painful.

    Any other way will be death by a thousand cuts.

  8. You’ve just tightened, what I was trying to assemble – only for me, this has been going on since the gaurentee.

    The quandary;
    1) How incoherent are the Politicians
    2)How honest/enlightened, are the Commentators – sometimes, they can take a 50/50 stance meaning they are half right all the time.

    Simple debates become complex and obfuscated, as nothing seems to be right or wrong – the “wrong” decisions are rarely reversed, so exist as being right or near enough.
    Throw the austerity/growth debate on top, and another contradiction is presented. Which of these it the correct way – neither and both?

  9. “Constantin Gurdgiev, an economist whose views I respect, has described the treaty as a fiscal suicide pact, following a monetary straitjacket”

    Gurdgiev is always great for a bit of melodrama.

    Wasn’t he in cahoots with Ganley at one stage?

  10. Re; The quote above attributed to Karl Whelan – “However, ruling out access to the ESM and relying on whatever the IMF will be willing to provide to Ireland is a recipe for a far harsher near-term austerity than would occur with access to European funds”.
    How about defaulting? Would that be so bad in the long run? Or a write off of paying private bondholders out of the public purse?

    Also I don’t see how it’s in Germany’s interest to not provide access to emergency funding if required.

    Sorry to ask some stupid questions here, but if we don’t ratify the tree-ate-hee (as Enda calls it), are we definitely excluded from getting access to this funding? Or is it another treat? Is this specifically in the treaty wording? Would the funding be there even if we voted yes?
    Is the euro doomed in any event?

    Re; “Constantin Gurdgiev, an economist whose views I respect, has described the treaty as a fiscal suicide pact, following a monetary straitjacket”
    Constantin is kind of funny sometimes with the theatrics and posturing.. but I believe he’s right here.
    The amounts we’d have to reduce our deficit by per year are too much.
    Also I don’t believe Europe knows best in terms of overseeing our budgets. So far they’ve sacrificed our country to save investors.

    In principle I’d have no problem signing up to a structured policy of austerity and that’s what it is, (we need to cut our spending etc etc bla di bla) but not when our huge deficits have been caused by the enforced payments to private investors.

    Another thing, Noonan and his scaremongering of much tougher budgets isn’t persuasive in any way.

  11. That tree-ate-hee pronunciation is ridiculous, alright. Even worse than say-fetty.

  12. Yeah, he’s a Mayo boy shur Alanzo.. he makes sense to the locals. :)

    Any thoughts on these questions?

    If we don’t ratify the tree-ate-hee (as Enda calls it), are we definitely excluded from getting access to this funding? Or is it another threat?
    Is this specifically in the treaty wording?
    Would the funding be there even if we voted yes?
    Is the euro doomed in any event

  13. No vote = shite situation
    Yes vote = shite situation we have to pay fines for being in

    As for the talk of not beign able to get money. Balls to that nonsense.
    The IMF have poured money into a lot worse than us.
    If Enda Kenny executed Fianna Fáil en masse and abolished elections he could still get a loan off them.

  14. If you have hard information to support that claim, I’d love to see it because that would certainly decide the outcome of the referendum, not to mind providing BTR with the scoop of the century.

  15. Would a yes vote stop partys buying election? Would if force a government to have a balanced tax system. Will it put a stop to stupid tax breaks that lead ot the property boom.
    these to me might be a reason to vote yes.
    Like it or not we joined the euro, so the value of each euro must be the same across all the members. This should have been done properly before it was introduced, and a method put in place ot maintain it.
    then again I could be talking bollox.

  16. Bock,

    while making up my mind, I’m factoring in the wishes of the Quisling Classes, all the insiders who have been cheerleading the economic treason that has been going on. They are only out for themselves hoping for a quick buck for themselves whether it’s to beef up the share prices, a nod and a wink on a parcel of land at knock down prices, a €100K plus job in Anglo/Nama/AIB, plum post on a state board or EU sinecure and fuck everybody else. Anything they are cheerleading for has to be looked at with a gimlet eye.

    More fool me, I voted for Continuity FF last time out, they were masquerading as FG/Lab.
    I have little faith in SF or ULA, but this country needs to be shaken up, or else we’ll be doomed to endless reruns of the same permanent government with different parties taking turns to carve the state up for their own supporters and backers.

    I don’t care who governs us, but do care that they work for the benefit of all sections of society and not just their own. The Quislings cheerleading for this treaty and doom mongering of the consquences of a no vote points me to a No at the moment. I haven’t seen anything yet that would stop the shite that got us here. So for now it’s a No and a fucking earful for any Continuity FF cunt that comes to my door.

  17. Bock, which piece of information?

    The fines are fairly well documented:

    As for the IMF not beign mad fussy about who they fund, that’s just going on past form.
    Books like Globalization and It’s Discontents by Joseph Stiglitz and The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein have given me that impression.

    It’s kind of a moot point though, because the EU itself is openly committed to supporting our government as long as they keep doing what they’re doing. An official EU statement, post-blackmail clause states: “We will continue to provide support to countries under a programme until they have regained market access, provided they successfully implement their programmes.”
    That’s to be taken in context along with the understanding that we are part of the Eurozone, so they don’t want us failing, and while we’re not perfect, we’re not exactly taking the piss.

    Michael Taft breaks that one down, and links to the official documents too:

  18. Davey, the information I meant was about the IMF’s intentions. I agree that there are many sides to the debate but if you have a clear indication that the IMF would make up any shortfall, I think that would settle the matter once and for all.

  19. Bock for what its worth. Here’s my tuppence worth.

    I will vote no. Why? Certainly not because I have been persuaded by one political party or another.
    Its because of my background in running a business.

    When our business went down very quickly in 2008, we had meetings with the respective banks to try and find a way out of the mess.
    We outlined a business strategy to the banks which included cutting our costs and more importantly would afford the company an opportunity to survive.
    They jumped up and down for a few weeks and threatened all kinds of shit. Eventually they calmed down and returned to the negotiation.
    We made some concessions from our original proposal, but not many. We advised them that if they want their money back, this was the only show in town.
    If they persisted in taking other actions they had threatened, it would close down the company (we would default) and they would get nothing back.
    After a period of tough negotiations they accepted our proposal. The business survived and we are all the best of pals now.

    You might ask what has that got to do with voting yes or no in an election.

    The answers is simple. Business people are the same the world over. And this is the key point. I hate saying this, but its true. In this day and age, like it or not, we must except that we don’t live in a democracy run by politicians. We live in a consumerist society where big business runs our politicians who in turn run our countries on behalf of big business.
    All business men want to make money. No business man will cut his nose off to spite his face. In other words if a customer of his (Ireland) cant pay back the loan in full and is going to go out of business if he is forced to. Do you think he is going is going to allow this customer to go out of business? especially (and this is important) if allowing this customer to go out of business would create instability within his own Organisation/business? Of course he wont. He will take the hit and will happily do business again with this customer (Ireland) once he gets back on his feet. I know the above comparison may appear to be very simplistic when compared to a country negotiating for its very survival. But I have a gut feeling that voting no is the right thing to do.

    You see you need balls when you are involved in a tough negotiation. This is a tough negotiation.
    And I genuinely believe that Enda and his ilk are fucking morons when it comes to negotiation.
    Its up to us now to negotiate on behalf of our country. I’m not flipping a coin. I am taking a calculated risk and voting no.

  20. “It’s kind of a moot point though, because the EU itself is openly committed to supporting our government as long as they keep doing what they’re doing”
    Yeah, I said the same Davey.

    They’ll be giving us funding if required.
    If you think about it.. not in their interests not to.
    We’re the poster child of Europe shur.

    The EU doesn’t need our ratification of this treaty.. only 12 countries required.
    It’s purely for political validation of it I believe.

  21. Bock, I don’t think the IMF would turn around and say “we’ll give you a loan” before the referendum, not least because if we vote yes, it brings us more in line with their way of doing things.

    However, VB did a good breakdown of what has been said, and hwo it’s bene handled by our media.
    Bill Murray, IMF: Anyone in the IMF can apply to us for a loan . . . The only countries from which we would not accept an application are non-members or those not in good standing of the previous IMF loans.

    Then Olga Stankova, IMF, tried to paly it down, saying his comments were about “lending procedures in general and not about Ireland or any other country specifically.”
    This was represented as refuting what he said.

    In practice though, it’s her saying “It means we can, it doesn’t mean we will”, rather than “we won’t”

    Personally, I loathe the idea of a loan from the IMF, but I also laothe disinformation.

  22. Apologies for awful typos, typing with one eye over each shoulder is a total pain.

  23. That’s what I’m asking. People are saying the IMF would certainly provide loans equivalent to the amounts we’re currently borrowing from the Troika. If there is certainty about this, I’d like to see hard evidence in support of it, from anyone who has that information.

  24. You see, thats the problem. You will not see any hard evidence. Did you not see how quickly Bill Murray was pulled back into line.
    This treaty will fuck us, every day in every Orifice,for the next 20 or 30 years and beyond.
    I agree voting no is a risk. But its a risk I would take.

  25. Well, Bock, apparently the powers that be think we’re mushrooms, so they’re keeping us in the dark and feeding us shite.

    Anyone that can help us to a loan wants us to vote yes, as far as I can see. So it’s probably going to stay that way. I don’t think the treaty is the answer, I just see more pain there.

    Anyway, it’s possible that we don’t need a loan from the IMF or the ESM. That’d be a nice surprise.

  26. That would be very good, but it’s unlikely. In fact, I always thought that the current loan is unsustainable and that ireland will be forced to default one way or the other.

    I’d still be happier with facts than with loud opinions from people on either side.

  27. It’s a fact that most if not all of the EU countries in the Eurozone will ratify it therefore it is not an ” austerity treaty “. It is also a fact that it should, DVWP, stop auction politics and hamper if not stop the power of lobbyists – the gubbermint being able to say “sorry we’d love to help yiz but our hands are tied.”

  28. You won’t find a statement that the IMF will provide funds to Ireland in the event of a ‘no’ result, however looking for such might be coming at it from the wrong direction.

    Historically countries have to be pretty much off the rails before the IMF absolutely refuse, and given Irelands track record so far we seem to be in the proverbial good books as far as quarterly reporting goes. for background reading (if you haven’t already been there).

    My current view is that the IMF would provide funds, but the question is ‘with what conditions’. Whether the debate moves to the stage of considering what those conditions might be before the actual referendum depends, I think, on the polls. The government will move it to that level only if needed.

    Additionally, and as a last resort, if the ‘no’ campaign builds and the polls show a probable ‘no’ result the government do have the option to postpone (albeit with lots of egg on face) and use the changing circumstances in Europe as justification.

    But back to the main point, look for evidence that the IMF would NOT provide the funds?

  29. Bock – nice article and very much to the point. I do not want to listen to the bluster of the politicians looking to score political points off each other – as was the case in the TV3 debate. I just want the facts – so I searched on line and found this article.

    I think the basic point has gone off in recent posts.

    We are NOT voting on the treaty. We are voting on an Amendment to our constitution which allows any terms of this stability treaty to take priority over any other previous article in our constitution.

    Now I would just like to remind people of a comment made in the Vincent Brown program after the debate…..that was that both French presidential candidates have stated that they will look to have the treaty amended (or at the very least have a growth policy added).

    So in effect we are being asked to vote into law and our constitution a treaty that has not yet been finalized.

    The referendum should be postponed until after the French presidential election at the least.

    I am leaning towards “No” at the moment.

  30. When the euro was created member states were obliged by the Maastricht Treaty to meet budgetary and spending limits. Indeed Sweden keeps out of the Euro by failing to meet those monetary and budgetary targets.
    So this new treaty appears to be duplicating some aspects of the Maastrict treaty,if so why bother and not just play by the rules.
    One article – 35 I think – confers immunities on the senior management of the EFSF.
    Golem XIV’s blog mentions whispers of a 1.5 trillion hole in German banks balances.
    These same banks were – through their Irish susidiaries – doing deals here that were totally illegal in Germany so when our banks went tits up the whole house of cards
    could have come tumbling down.
    My own belief is that this treaty if passed will amount to a coup d’etat. This coup started with technocratic governments being foisted on Greece and Italy.
    Our own government will,under cover of this: sell of the state’s assets,impose austerity on the people (an austerity that will not affect the wealthy or the politicians)
    and say that we forced them into this by voting yes while laughing all the way into their comfortable retirements.

  31. I am with Denis on this
    From the stability treaty web site FAQ

    “The amendment will provide for the State to ratify the Stability Treaty and to enact any laws necessitated by the Treaty. This will be done by simply adding a new subsection 10 to article 29.4 of the Constitution.
    It will state:
    “The State may ratify the Treaty on Stability, Co-ordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union done at Brussels on the 2nd day of March 2012. No provision of this Constitution invalidates laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by the State that are necessitated by the obligations of the State under that Treaty or prevents laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by bodies competent under that Treaty from having the force of law in the State.”
    The amendment will not include details of the rules agreed under the Treaty. If this amendment is approved by referendum, the details will be dealt with in laws made by the Oireachtas.”

    I have serious reservations about this, I am voting No

  32. I conclude that we’re damned if we vote No and we’re damned if we vote Yes.

    Should I just shrug and spoil my vote?

  33. You state the position clearly BOCK as fiscally we are banckrupt.
    But to pin a future course to a vote for which colour irrectitude to choose is surely futile, if not lunacy entirely.

  34. Michael Noonan has issued a warning that if the vote is “No” he will have to factor in greater austerity in his next budget. That makes my mind up, I’m going for “No”. Greater austerity is exactly what we need, particularly if means eating into the pernicious Croke Park Agreement. Better to have this than borrow even more money, for what? to pay the interest on what we’ve already borrowed.

  35. I will be voting NO.
    I stopped believing those politicians long ago, so I’m not even listening to them.
    The economists, too, are a mixed bag.
    So, I am relying on my own intellect and life-experiences, and those two things tell me to vote NO.
    I do not want austerity written into the Constitution.
    I do not want my children to life a life-time of austerity.
    I cannot understand how this small island can pay off those billions of Bank debt! Therefore, we are bound to be fined! How can we afford the fines on top of the Bank debt? It’s impossible and it’s crazy.
    It’s crazier to vote yes for such a crazy notion.
    I am also taking Martin Luther King as inspiration, when he encouraged direct action to open the negotiation door that had previously been banged in his face.
    A NO vote will force a few hands and those negotiating doors will have to open up.

  36. Making cheese sandwiches for my daughter this morning instead of ham because I have no money due been unemployed for over a year now..I thought of something actually a bit crazy…A question most of all came to my mind then the answer..When (and who)did any European country decide that our politicians would be getting these big fat salaries?..then my answer to our non trust of these so called rulers of countries..why do we accept this type of treatment? Aren’t we ‘the people of the country’ allowed to decide on where the money of our country goes?..why don’t we decide to have a leader who is paid a normal salary (and that salary can’t be changed unless voted by the people otherwise) and in this way we would have people who REALLY want to be a leader for the right reasons…and the only extras would be eventually a car with a driver a house and free flights..but it ends there! What we have done ‘the people of Europe’ is allowed the King and Queen attitude to develop into a role of has to stop…!!

  37. Bock,

    I came across this guide which puts things in plain English, written by two solicitors link/;

    It explains in layman’s terms
    – The ESM (European Stability Mechanism) which we don’t get to vote on.
    – The Fiscal/Stability/Austerity Treaty which we do get to vote on.
    – Amendment to Article 136 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (‘TFEU’), which locks both treaties into place. Again we don’t get to vote on this.

    All three are interlinked and you can’t really expect to vote on one without an understanding of the other two. It gives guides to the treaties as well as their texts so you can compare both.

    An initial reading of the ESM got my alarm bells ringing, particularly:

    Article 32: “The ESM Institution shall have full legal personality. It is immune from every form of judicial process and its property funding and assets are equally immune. Its documents and archives are inviolable as are its premises. Its communications are to have the status of state communications. ”

    Article 34: “Staff and Board members and anyone who has worked for or in connection with the ESM Institution are bound by absolute confidentiality which is to continue indefinitely after their duties have ceased.”

    Article 35: “The Boards and staff are immune from legal proceedings in respect of their work and their work papers and documents are inviolable. Every Member country shall promptly take the action necessary to give effect to this Article in its own law.”

    To me that is like NAMA on steroids, there is absolutely no oversight and we are supposed to lock ourselves and future generations into decades of Austerity to facilitate this???

    And I haven’t even got to the €11 billion that the Fiscal/Stability/Austerity treaty leaves us on the hook for.

  38. This referendum is not about the ESM.

    Also, if you have authority for the claim that the treaty will cost Ireland €11 billion, please share it.

    This is not a pro or anti-treaty site. It’s a pro-logic site, so come up with the evidence and leave out the irrelevant stuff, please.

  39. Bock,

    I have to disagree with your implication that I’m posting irrelevancies. The Fiscal/Stability/Austerity Referendum simply can’t be seen as a stand alone entity totally divorced from the ESM seeing as both the ESM and the amendment to Article 136 won’t be ratified in the Dáil without the Fiscal/Stability/Austerity referendum being passed. According to the Citizens guide I posted above. To me that seems fairly logical. Of course if you’re going to argue that this is irrelevant stuff, fair enough. Like you have pointed out to others before, this is not a democracy, this is a private site. However as someone who advocates the need for critical thinking in this country, I would have thought that you wouldn’t object to my posting a link to a layman’s guide along with links to text of both treaties so they can look and make their own minds up for themselves.

    Now I know you replied 5 minutes after my post so perhaps you hadn’t fully read the guide and texts of both treaties. This isn’t a pop at you or how you run the site. I like it, don’t always agree with it, but that’s what makes it so good. The chance to look at things in a slightly different way, and have reason to change your mind if you’re proved wrong, if I can be allowed to paraphrase Galbraith.

    As for my statement about us potentially being on the hook for €11 billion, well check out this article today where Gilmore thinks it’s “reasonable.”

    As you can see we have to pay €1.27billion over the next three years, and could be forced to pay up the rest of the €11 billion if another member state calls upon the ESM in an emergency situation. Things are getting so Kafkaesque at this stage that I could even envisage us being called upon to pony up the other €9.83 billion even if we were forced to call upon the ESM. I was joking, but only half joking. Very little would surprise me these days.

    So Bock I haven’t been taking the piss. I have posted links to back up my arguments, I don’t expect anyone to make up their minds just because I have typed something on here. Read what I say, look at the links and make your own mind up,* I think that’s in the spirit of this site don’t you?

    *Of course if you feel can convince me to vote the other way, work away. Isn’t that what this place is for?

  40. One correction from the last post, my figures should have read €9.73 billion instead of €9.83 billion.

    Didn’t you used to be able to edit posts a couple of minutes after you posted them?

  41. I took a look elswhere to see if I could find an objective perspective.
    This link is from Pakistan and what they assert leaves me thinking that this referendum is pointless.
    They assert that the ‘EU is officially dead in the water’; which spells doom for the euro, and put arguments to support that.
    Worse, they assert too that the dollar is a goner.
    Let us all cow-tow now to China (and Russia)
    Perhaps they are being arse-about-face in their assertions but it reads like good sense to me.

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