Higgins gave Barroso a proper dose of reality
The irony is that Joe and the left advocating capitalism will help their election bid -- centre parties need to catch up, says Brendan O'Connor
Published 23/01/2011 | 05:00
IN all the circus during the week, the most significant political moment was nearly lost. Surprisingly, it involved something that happened in the European parliament.
And more surprisingly, it involved Socialist MEP Joe Higgins. Joe, in fairness to him, told Jose Manual Barroso, president of the European Commission, what the whole country here is thinking: that the bailout is a sham. While Joe's little attack on Barroso was interesting, Barroso's reaction was even more interesting. As we would say in Ireland, he freaked.
In case you missed it, which you might have, what with the shenanigans in our own irrelevant chamber, it went something like this: Joe said that the emergency support fund that gave us to the so-called bailout was "nothing more than another tool to cushion major European banks from the consequences of their reckless speculation on the financial markets". He said it was a mechanism to make "working class people throughout Europe pay for the crisis of a broken financial system and a crisis-ridden European capitalism". He said that far from being a bailout, the IMF/EU intervention is "a mechanism to make vassals of Irish taxpayers to the European banks". He said that the EU had basically moved billions of private debt on to the shoulder of Irish people. He accused them of destroying our services and the living standards of our people.