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Human Rights in Ireland >>
The Anglo Deal and a possible positive future for Ireland without FF/FG
Sunday February 10, 2013 23:12 by Ordinay Citizen
No More FF/FG
How we are being made to like a bad Anglo deal and only long term solution is for us to have a government without FF or FG and what they could do if/ when they get into power.
The ECB gave us a terrible deal initially on the Anglo debt to frighten off other countries who might come looking for a bailout. When the other countries did finally come looking for help it was only a matter of time before they gave us a better deal, as it does not benefit them to have a member state being crippled by a debt that they cannot afford to pay. They then give us a deal that would have been counted as bad in normal circumstances but appears better when compared with the crap deal they had us in and squeezed a 3.1 billion payment from us in March to make us feel some pain and remember how bad life could be.
Labour have to say its good as they did not listen to Labour Youth after the election who warned not to go into gov with a neo liberal party like FG. The EU and FG/FF sing from the same economic hymn sheet of leave the rich with as much money as you can so that they can eventually grow the economy...an idea that cannot only really have wings after lots of money has been donated by rich people to support people who argue for it. If Labour were in opposition they would probably have objected to this but their backs were against the wall and this was the only offer available to them.
So we saved the EU from imploding in '08 by guaranteeing the banks, a crisis that had its roots in the easy credit they gave us combined with the inability of our Central Bank to raise interest rates to prevent our economy from overheating because we were in the Euro. They have taken over €200 billion of our fish from our seas since we joined the EU and gave us maybe 30 billion in grants which has been cancelled out by this deal. In 25yrs time our children will have to take out more loans to pay the estimated 14 billion that the debt will then be, on top of the roughly 1 billion a year we will be paying in interest every year til then. I wonder will future generations question whether our membership of the EU was a good thing?
The Greeks did not obey the rules and they got debt forgiveness. The German economy benefits from the relatively low value of the Euro compared to what the value of the Deutsche Mark would be but for every winner there has to be a loser and in this loop slow economies like Portugal and Greece feel the pain. Due to our high exports we should be in the middle but FF and the PDs sponsored by our ruling elite created the banking mess that destroyed us and led to the EU bailing us out. Germany and the EU, the Bondholders, the Right Wing media and political parties are all happy with this deal so who could the losers be? ...The poor, the people who don't have private health insurance, the disabled in our society, all those who decent people have fought over the decades to protect and help have seen the assistance that states once provided being shredded in the name of austerity while the wealth of Billionaires continues to grow.
Ordinary people don't have time to get educated or fight as they are too busy surviving. All the while those with vested interests hide their creation of an unequal society behind words like competition in the work place and Free markets, when the only thing that is free in this system is the money of the elite as they move it to whichever country offers them the lowest tax rates.
This is no accident this was planned back in the 70s when Neo liberal economics was created to break the Unions but they also knew that if they destroyed the power of the Unions that they would break the power of the people to fight the ruling classes. The unstable economy created by a market where government intervention is limited actually benefits the elite as it means they can pay their workers less and gives them a free reign to destroy our environment.
People like Shane Ross give out about other Neo Liberals like Leo Vladkar for not being tough enough on semi state companies, arguing that private bus companies would do as good a job. I wonder how often either of them takes a bus? Mr Ross and other Neo liberal economists like Colm McCarthy or journalists Matt Cooper don't think or care about that fact that private companies run far fewer buses during non rush hour times or that most don't accept free travel for OAPS or an Invalidity Pension, a Blind Pension, Disability Allowance or Carer’s Allowance. Ordinary people, whose lives are affected detrimentally by these policies, actually often like these characters as they cannot see the underlying message they are pushing when they go on about the power of unions and so on.
So what can be done? Well we need a government without FF or FG. The problem is that we have an older generation brought up on fire and brimstone religion with deep fear pumped into their psyche on top of the fact that many of them are doing alright in the system so don't want to rock the boat too much. The furthest extreme many of these will go is to Labour. The polls show a rise in FF support and a possible FF and Sinn Fein coalition. If this was the case SF could show the bottle that Labour did not in '92 and force FF and FG to go in together, which would leave us in a mess for another five years, unless some scandal forced them to split. Then we could finally have the numbers to form a gov without FF/FG.
This new gov should open the tax books, as is the case in Norway and Sweden, so that we could see how little our elite are paying and back date the books to see how little they have been paying all these years. This would create an appetite in the the people for justice and tax rates of 60% to 65% for high earners would be seen as acceptable. We could go a step further and make all the assets of everyone freely available, the only people who would object to this are people who have something to hide. This way people could see who are the people who have the €1.4 Trillion (CSO figure) of our money in foreign banks and again people would be very open to a wealth tax on this money. A wealth tax would also encourage people to spend rather than hoard and get jobs like insulating their houses does, something that would create employment. Transparency would also allow some leverage for people who may need a high income after buying property at its peak.
We could quickly balance our budget and then change the tax take on our resources from the present 25% to 40% up to 80% as happened in Bolivia and Venezuela. We can use the money generated to create our own resource extraction companies and use the money they generate to invest in renewable energy, eventually leading us to exporting our excess energy. After all this is place we can tell the EU where it can shove its Anglo Debt. We can then take back control of our fish, allow our fish stocks to replenish, while the price of fish goes up and make billions a year when there are enough to harvest in bulk again.
So the near future is not so bright but there is light at the end of the tunnel. When people who care about our childrens' futures finally get into power our technology will have advanced to a state where we can create a sustainable economy. Once bitten twice shy, i believe that if we do achieve this that we will have learned from the mistakes of the Celtic Tiger and work to create a society where all benefit from our wealth. One where the rich still make money, because you have to motivate people to create wealth, but just not as much as they do now. A strong gov that cares about its people can work towards creating a society where working a four or even a three day week is enough to live comfortably, as is the case in The Netherlands. We can learn from countries that have good standards of living and not follow economic policies that create massive inequalities in society as many now are doing when they vote for FF/FG. In the distant future i can see us slowing our extraction of our resources to a level where we take what we need and ideally little more as we will be making enough from our fish and renewable energies as well as investing on organic farming and being a truly Green economy.
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Yes jane i read the new opinion poll which showed FF with 26% and was shocked. The farthest Left the older generation will vote is Labour and they have shot themselves in the foot by going in with FG. The positive to take from the polls is that the combined vote of FF/FG is falling, where once they got two thirds now they are heading towards half and i feel that this percentage will drop further as the next generation start to vote. The rise in support for a party like Sinn Fein, which got 19% in the poll, i believe has a lot to do with younger voters looking for alternatives. This generation were not brought up around the troubles and thus don't have the hang ups that the older generation have with SF.
SF don't get a lot of second preference votes and i think that FF wont get many either so they wont ever return to the highs of a few years back. You are correct about RTE and most of our media outlets, they spread distraction and attack the alternatives more than those in power. Most of those high up in RTE got there while FF were in and this is reflected in the way they are portrayed. Recently a show about the Crisis was aired and all the FF ministers were able to blame Cowen and Lenehan for everything, The journalist Brenda Power was on RTE recently and she said that FF were the only real alternative.
The more people understand Neo Liberal economics and how it attacks the basic services our ancestors fought so hard to get the more people will not vote for FF/FG. The system has been set up to have lots of commentators, who know all about the free market and use words like "competition" and so forth a lot but never fully explain what it all means. This is because they know that if people looked beyond the shiny surface that neo cons offer they will see some glaring contradictions. For example all countries who embraced neo liberal economics with its small gov and light touch regulation were hit hardest in '08 while countries like the Scandinavians who have strong gov and regulations were hit the least. The neo cons go on about letting the market decide but in '08 it was shown that the States are the insurance company for the market and like all insurance companies should be paid well but instead the markets attack countries every day for short term gain and give very little back for the mess they create. All these arguments are easy to explain but there is rarely a forum as debates revolve around the mess that neo liberalism has created rather than why we are where we are. The simple answer of greedy bankers does not go nearly deep enough, there have always been greedy people but the deliberate dismantling of gov intervention in all matters, that began in the 70s with Milton Friendman and the Chicago Boys, is the real root of so much of our present problems.
It looks likely that SF will have enough to go in with FF, this will be a test on long term strategy for SF. If they say no and Labour don't have enough this will finally force FF to talk with their natural allies FG and if they form a gov the Irish political landscape will have changed forever. People will no longer be able to hide behind Civil War politics, there will be a clear left/Right divide, something that has never existed since the foundation of the state and is the norm in almost every other country in the world. For an alternative to be possible we need Labour to get up around 20% again, which wont happen in the next election but maybe the one after that. This combines with SF, the ULA, a few Greens and a few Left Wing Indos and we could get the magic 83 TDs. If this gov immediately dropped TDs wages massively as well as ministers, people would sit up and take notice.
By then there will be very little left to bleed out of the poor and a real hunger for the rich to pay, even more than there exists at present. The budget deficit should be close enough that higher taxes, a cap on Civil servants pay of €100k a year combined with a wealth tax should bridge the gap and that will free us up to up our tax take on our oil and gas and lead to a brighter day.
Neo liberalism was always going to create a divided society, people are now being forced to ask the questions they never did before and i am hearing a lot more rebellious talk by ordinary people daily. THe neo cons had the head start but we are catching up, don't give up the gith will be long and there will be many more dark days ahead like the sale our forests and state assets but believe that one day we will be able to take back what has been robbed from us and create the society that many of our ancestors thought we would create when they fought and died for our freedom. The church took over then, followed by neo cons and their billionaire media moguls, who dont pay taxes here but who will one day not only pay their fair share but will be made pay all the money they should have been paying and if they try anything we will take their assets, their homes in Dalkey, yea that was directed at Bono and justice will be done.
A recent survey showed,we would vote fianna fail back in..I think the main problem is people tend to forget,and have the memory of a small fly,plugged into propoganda stations like RTE,which are not impartial and are employed by the state.
Another problem is there are very few parties to choose from,look around,all we have is FG,Labour,Fianna Fail,Sinn Fein(who get little votes),and independants,(who tend to be self serving careerists),and nobody in ireland has even heard of direct democracy,a new political party which has formed in ireland.
Nobody bothers to look for the alternatives,or they are too afriad to vote for them,thats part of the problem.