Would Ireland be better off surrendering independence – some say we already have – and aligning itself as the 51st state of the United States of America?
Mike Soden certainly thinks so. Soden, a leading member of the government’s Central Bank Commission, has broken ranks and challenged the orthodoxy that Ireland could not survive without the EU.
“If Europe finds it difficult to accommodate the needs of the Irish electorate, should we look elsewhere,”asks Soden, who says we should stretch our thinking, widen our view and look west not east, in his new book on the financial crisis which has paralysed this country.
Soden was speaking after Europe told our government – the one we elected, unfortunately – that they would have to fit their austerity budgets into a four-year time frame as opposed to six.
In other words, an unelected cabal of unaccountable Eurocrats are dictating Irish government policy. If that isn’t a loss of sovereignty then what is?
Soden added: “Our membership of Europe has to have balance in all aspects, particularly in relation to our culture, our sovereignty and the price we pay for economic and financial independence. Have we unwittingly surrendered these precious aspects of our society as the price of European membership?”
Soden believes that aligning Ireland with the US would see a massive influx of foreign investment, a link to the dollar, a reduction in unemployment and even an annual payment to help us get our finances back in order.
However, he admitted that any such approach to the US would met with “massive disapproval” by our European neighbours and could be turned down by Uncle Sam.
The author Frederick Forsyth doesn’t think so however. Forsyth, who appears not to give a rat’s ass what Europe thinks, believes that with tens of millions claiming Irish descent in the USA that no American government could afford to reject such an approach.
Forsyth argues that we should not underestimate the emotional pull of Hibernia on millions of Irish Americans. Indeed, Ireland is like Israel in the sense that Paddy and millions of Jews worldwide look on both countries as their spiritual home.
Forsyth also writes that US states have greater autonomy from Washington that we have from Brussels. Indeed, can you imagine Washington telling Texas that they would have to squeeze their state budget into four years instead of six? The Lone Star State would take up arms to defend their right to strike a budget and fill those critters full o lead, unlike Ireland, which rolls over meekly and acquiesces to pointy-headed Eurocrats.
Forsyth adds that Ireland might conclude a concordat with the US on the basis of “most favoured nation state”.
Paddy has had an enormous influence on the USA since its foundation. Some of its greatest leaders, including JFK , were of Irish descent. Even Obama has relatives in Offaly.
But are Soden and Forsyth stark raving mad? Maybe, but at least they’re thinking outside the box and have come up with an original idea.
So would Uncle Sam look favourably on us wretched urchins from across the Atlantic, urchins who have contributed so much to the USA?
One thing for sure is that this Franco/German European experiment is falling apart. Ireland, Portugal, Greece and Spain are staring into the abyss and Germany are sick of paying for the rest of us.
Meantime, the French are so decadent that they won’t even work for an extra two years for their pensions.
The USA looks a good bet to me if they would have us, but we want to drop the auld neutrality nonsense before we go cap in hand. Uncle Sam likes his wars.
Bock adds: Let’s ask Matt Johnson.