Not quite yet but Ireland most certainly could turn out to be so.
So many significant excerpts I’ll post the entire article and intersperse my comments throughout – emphasis added:
“Ireland’s new government is headed for confrontation with Brussels after the country’s ruling party was wiped out on Saturday by voters in a huge popular backlash against a European-IMF austerity programme.
Exit polls and early tallies from Ireland’s general election heralded political annihilation for Fianna Fail (FF), the party which has ruled Ireland for more than 60 years of the Irish Republic’s eight decades of independence.
The unprecedented and historic defeat, Fianna Fail’s worst result in 85 years, makes the Irish government the first eurozone administration to be punished by voters in the aftermath of the EU’s debt crisis. Voter turn-out was exceptionally high at more than 70 per cent, indicating public anger at the government and the EU.
Late last year, Ireland was forced to accept a £72 billion EU-IMF bailout to cover huge public debts that were ran up to save failed Irish banks.
The bail-out was designed to prevent financial contagion that threatened the existence of the euro, but according to economic forecasts, the cost of servicing Irish bank debt and the EU-IMF bank loans will consume 85 per cent of Ireland’s income tax revenue by 2012, a burden that a majority of voters find intolerable.
GUIDO COMMENT: The bailout was most certainly not designed to “prevent” contagion. If the banks in question did not enjoy preferential accounting and legal treatment they would have failed long ago thus never achieving the position that allows them to threaten the system. Also, the author of the article should be careful how he constructs his sentences. “Voters find intolerable” to pay 85% of fiscal revenue to service a debt that rightly does not belong to them? Really? Is it only the voters find it intolerable?
Brian Cowen, the Irish Prime Minister and Fianna Fail leader, who stood down last month rather than face furious voters, was also pressured into implementing a savage £13billion austerity programme of tax rises and spending cuts drawn up by the EU.
The cost of the EU-IMF bailout in extra taxes for an average Irish family has been estimated at over £3,900 a year. Other deeply unpopular measures include controversial reductions to the minimum wage, unprecedented cuts to public services and 90,000 jobs losses in a country where unemployment is already running at almost 14 per cent.
GUIDO COMMENT: The IMF and the World Bank are finally doing to the EU what they to date were only able to do to dinky fringe countries around the world. Namely, ride in under the guise of lending assistance and saddling society with un-payable debt thus finally and effectively achieving the ultimate transfer of wealth from society to a restricted band of bankers and politicians.
“When people are angry, when you’ve just cut their pay packets, you are not going to be top of the pops,” admitted Tony Killeen, Fianna Fail’s campaign director yesterday.
GUIDO COMMENT: Wrong mate!!! The people are not angry because you cut their pay packets you idiot. The people are angry because you sold them down the river you blathering nitwit. You and your acolytes have betrayed not only the trust of the people but you have betrayed a swathe of ideals that range from democracy to plain vanilla decency without even mentioning fiduciary duty. You, sir, along with your accomplices are the archetype of the worse possible kind of politician in an interpretation of politicians that cannot inherently ever be positive because your only sorry excuse to do what you do is that the political process needs politicians.
In Dublin, Fianna Fail won just eight per cent of the vote in an electoral decimation that called into question the future of previously unassailable politicians such Brian Lenihan, the Irish finance minister.
“However bad people thought it would get for Fianna Fail, nobody thought it would get this bad,” said Michael Marsh, professor of political politics at Trinity College Dublin. “That is highly significant.”
According to exit polling carried out by the Irish RTE broadcaster, Fine Gael (FG), Ireland’s main centre-right opposition, had won 36.1 per cent of the vote. Labour, traditional FG’s traditional coalition partner, took 20.5 per cent, its best result ever. Fianna Fail took just 15.1 per cent share of the vote, representing a loss of 58 seats.
Sinn Fein, usually outsiders in southern Irish politics, recorded its own best result with 10.1 per cent, up almost five per cent on the last 2007 election. The vote share for Greens, FF’s junior coalition partner, plummeted to 2.7 per cent, possibly robbing the party of MPs.
“The political landscape of Ireland is completely and utterly redrawn,” said Roger Jupp, the chairman of the Millward Brown Lansdowne pollsters which conducted the exit polls for RTE.
Enda Kenny, Fine Gael’s leader, will later on Sunday, start to form a new government, almost certainly with Labour, after full election results under Ireland’s complicated PR system come through.
Both Mr Kenny and Eamonn Gilmore, Labour’s leader, have promised Irish voters that they will renegotiate the EU-IMF austerity programme to reduce the burden for taxpayers and to force financial investors to shoulder some of the bank debts currently paid out of the public purse.
GUIDO COMMENT: Investors should not shoulder “some of the bank debts”. Investors should shoulder 100% of the bank debts. That’s what investors do in all other industries. Indeed, that is the very definition of investor. So far, all I can say is that End Kenny is the best of the worst of political choices. He may yet turn out to be the William Wallace of the situation but, so far, the indications are that he’s going to be a politician with a different slant… but only a slant… Enda Kenny would do well to have a chat with Iceland President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson to get lessons in the use of moral compasses.
At a summit of centre-right EU leaders in Helsinki next Friday, Mr Kenny will use his position as Ireland’s new Prime Minister to beg the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, and French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, for concessions ahead of an emergency March 11 Brussels summit to restructure the euro zone.
GUIDO COMMENT: The author of this article is out of his mind. “Beg”!!!??? Mr. Kenny is holding all the fucking cards. He needn’t beg anything. The only thing Mr. Kenny must do is decide whether he’s going to be a politician or whether he is going to grow a pair of balls and be a servant of the people thus acting in the best interest of the people that put him in power. Mr. B. Obama was in a similar position and he chose to be a politician. Mr. Kenny now has the opportunity to join other democratic luminaries like Vaclav Klaus, Ron Paul and Olafur Ragnar Grimsson to show what fiduciary duty means.
But neither the two European leaders nor the European Central Bank or EU will permit any substantial changes, despite the huge popular Irish revolt against the bailout.
Chancellor Merkel will tell Mr Kenny that if he wants to reduce the high, punitive 5.8 per cent interest rate charged on EU loans then Ireland will have to give up its low corporate tax rates – a measure regarded as vital to Ireland’s recovery and one of the few economic policies it has not yet handed over to Brussels or Frankfurt.
The new Irish premier will also be warned that there is no question of forcing privately-owned financial institutions to assume Ireland’s £85 billion bank debts because the resulting market panic would spread to Germany and France, tearing the euro single currency apart.
GUIDO COMMENT: The only appropriate response to the “two European leaders” whom the author evidently feels is a foregone conclusion as to whom they are, as well as to Merkel, the ECB, the EU or the IMF is a plain “no!’. Personally a more appropriate response would be to tell them to fudge cake but, though devoid of emotional charge, a simple “no” will do. The EU has no power to allow or forbid anything. Once again. Ireland holds all the cards. More prosaically, Ireland has the EU and the Euro by the balls. Moreover, Merkel has no business dictating what economic model anyone should follow. Indeed, this is the essence of economic freedom. It is true that just like Vaclav Klaus has warned long ago the EU is hard at work to destroy the last vestiges of personal and economic freedoms but for the time being, people and nations still have a degree of freedom in choosing what to run and how to run it. Enda Kenny has the power to re-assert those freedoms and he needs not beg anyone. Enda Kenny now has the mandate of his people to tell these idiots “how it is and how it’s going to be”!
As Irish voters headed for the polling booths on Friday, the European Commission bluntly declared that the terms of the EU-IMF bailout “must be applied” whatever the will of Ireland’s people or regardless of any change of government.
GUIDO COMMENT: And there you have it. In an unwitting moment of candor, the EU admits to being nothing but a bunch of fascist statists hell bent on subjugating the people: “whatever the will of Ireland’s people”. Notice here the similarities with the prevarication of the US Government upon the constitutional rights of the people as reported here for example and in many other posts on this blog.
“It’s an agreement between the EU and the Republic of Ireland, it’s not an agreement between an institution and a particular government,” said a Brussels spokesman.
GUIDO COMMENT: Yeah and???!!
A European diplomat, from a large eurozone country, told The Sunday Telegraph that “the more the Irish make a big deal about renegotiation in public, the more attitudes will harden”.
GUIDO COMMENT: Good!
“It is not even take it or leave it. It’s done. Ireland’s only role in this now is to implement the programme agreed with the EU, IMF and European Central Bank. Irish voters are not a party in this process, whatever they have been told,” said the diplomat.
GUIDO COMMENT: This idiot is reiterating that the political will of the people is of no consequence. How much more evidence do you need to realize that the Berlin wall may have come down but these traitors are hard at work to build a much more imposing wall this time encompassing the entire West?
In the face of the EU’s refusal to substantially renegotiate the austerity programme, Mr Kenny’s new government will face a grassroots campaign for a referendum.
Dessie Shiels, an independent candidate in Donegal, said: “People have not been given the basic right of deciding whether or not they should have their taxes increased in order to repay bondholders who have lent to the banks.”
David McWilliams, an economist and former official at the Ireland’s Central Bank, has led calls for a popular vote under Article 27 of the Irish constitution, which requires on a matter of “such national importance that the will of the people ought to be ascertained”.
“We have to re-negotiate everything,” he said. “Obviously, the first way to do this is to make them aware that if they force us to pay everything, we will default and they will get nothing. So they had better get a little bit of something, than all of nothing. To make this financial pill easier to swallow, we must take the initiative politically. We can do this via a referendum.
“If the Irish people hold a referendum on the bank debts now, we can go to the EU with a mandate from the people which says No. This will allow our politicians to play hard-ball, because to do otherwise would be an anti-democratic endgame.”
Declan Ganley, the Irish businessman who led the 2008 No vote to the Lisbon Treaty, said Ireland must “have the balls” to threaten debt default and withdrawal from the single currency.
“We have a hostage, it is called the euro,” he said. “The euro is insolvent. The only question is whether Ireland should be sacrificed to keep the Ponzi scheme going. We have to have a Plan B to the misnamed bailout, which is to go back to the Irish Punt.””
GUIDO COMMENT: There evidently are some clear thinking people still around. Let’s all help the Irish do the right thing, the moral thing and the only thing that can ensure that a modicum of democracy is preserved.