Friday 15 November 2019

John Drennan: Fiscal terrorists call shots in 'Appeasement Process'

We are learning the hard way that he who carries the biggest stick rules, writes John Drennan

The patented Michael Noonan song and dance show might have been in full flow over the last fortnight but none of Noonan's linguistic dexterity could disguise the fact that he, Enda Kenny and the formerly bellicose Eamon Gilmore are presiding over the second great surrender to our EU 'partners' and the bondholders of Europe.

In fairness, it is hard to declare war on your enemies when the previous administration has signed an unconditional surrender and the country is already occupied by our EU/IMF 'partners'.

But, while the Opposition's queries of "are you FF in disguise?" may have been utterly opportunistic, their analysis of the flight of our bright new Government from its plans to renegotiate our bailout was cruelly accurate.

Amid the whispering of Finance mandarins about how we have no option but to accept the very limited charity, and many rules, of the ECB the one piece of possible good news is that when it comes to this ongoing debacle, Ireland may no longer be alone.

So far the pithiest summary of the source of our Great Disruption came from those outsiders in The New York Times who asked if one bank could sink a country. The query was, however, also inaccurate on two fronts for it actually took Anglo, its zombie brother AIB, Irish Nationwide and the still half-alive, but really half-dead, Bank of Ireland to detach us from the herd of normal EU states.

The other flaw hidden within the greater truth is that the willingness of our, and Europe's, political and administrative elites to bow the neck to our all-powerful banks and bondholders is cannibalising the futures of the citizens of an entire continent rather than a single country.

For now, in spite of all the brave talk, our bright new government of all the Grumpy Old Men must fear that the fiscal Medusa of our banking crisis will suck all the air out of their administration in the same manner in which it turned the Fianna Fail/Greens coalition to stone.

And, in spite of Mr Noonan's weaving, they are right to fret about the possibility that like some old Nile crocodile, the banking crisis is still lurking in the fiscal reeds waiting for the chance to drown another political victim.

The spin may for now be all about government restoring 'confidence and clarity' to our dead banks but the clearest feature of our economic landscape last week was the belated realisation that over each of the next nine years, taxpayers will be paying out €3bn just to clear the gambling debts of Seanie FitzPatrick's Anglo Irish casino.

Even before we deal with the 'clarity' that will be provided by the future costs of the rest of the banking gamblers, Anglo Irish will, for the next decade, be a boot stamping on the future of the people.

Outside of the Anglo surprise, when it came to the issue of 'clarity', nothing epitomised the reality of our current degraded position more than a haughty lecture from unelected EU bureaucrat Catherine Day.

After a brief amuse bouche of bile about how the "shine" has gone off Ireland, a philosophical Ms Day informed us that we cannot default as a State because, when it came to the EU/IMF intervention, "nobody made us take out the loans".

Well, we have news for Ms Day, for to paraphrase the great Sixties' anti-Vietnam war slogan, "none of this was done in our name, lady".

Those loans were, in fact, taken out without the consent of the people who, the first opportunity they had, erased the Green Party from the face of the Earth and left the Fianna Fail party on a life-support machine.

It should have been astonishing that some two-bit EU bureaucrat could lecture a country in such a patronising and illogical manner.

However, the moral mendacity and, apparent absence of logic behind Ms Day's outburst are actually part of a far more subtle game. The great banking surrender, it seems, is starting to bear an unnerving resemblance to our unloved appeasement process.

There is, however, one key difference -- at least the motives of the first appeasement process were good.

Its problem was that the methodology that was used to secure the managed surrender of the IRA was vile, for trading with terrorists, created a duplicitous and illogical school of politics in which language never meant what it appeared to mean and straight talking was replaced by lies, deceit and spin.

Sadly, the new, equally deceitful, appeasement process is rather less noble, as the hidden objective behind the current lectures and moralising is to secure a different form of managed surrender to the fiscal terrorists of the bond markets.

Last week The Wall Street Journal noted wisely that "pain in German banks ought to be Germany's responsibility . . . not Ireland's".

Sadly, we, and Enda, are finding out the hard way that when it comes to international diplomacy and finance, the decisions are made on the basis of who is carrying the biggest stick.

It would, of course, be far too uncouth for our European 'partners' to admit Ireland has been forced to accept a fiscally illogical deal because the EU elites are too weak to stand up to rogue German banks and anonymous bondholders.

Instead, like the old appeasement process, they have decided to disguise this crude immorality with an opaque, outwardly moralistic language about how we, the Irish public, must pay "our" debts.

The new appeasement methodology is so similar to its predecessor that our EU masters are even using the same old peace process good cop/bad cop routine which we used to employ on those uncivilised Sinn Fein/ DUP types.

Last week, after Ms Day's outburst, it was Jose Manuel Barroso's turn to play the 'good cop'. The mandarin who previously berated Joe Higgins for daring to challenge the banking bailout was replaced by an avuncular figure who now believes that, when it comes to interest rates, there needs to be a spirit of "solidarity" since the costs will be very difficult for our "Irish and Greek citizens".

Sadly in spite of all the velvety sentiments, the iron fist could still be seen, for it was clear that the costs associated with Europe's banking costs will still be borne by the Irish and the Greek taxpayers.

In fairness to Ms Day and Mr Trichet, rather like Philip Larkin's parents, who did not mean to "f**k you up but they do", our new masters may actually mean us no harm.

But, like all those useless 'liberal' Sixties' parents, the decision of the European political and bureaucratic elites (and their surrendered Irish satraps) to appease our rogue banks is having a markedly similar effect.

Ironically, even as we are reduced to the status of being a Famine-style economic experiment, there is hope as the grand European pact of appeasement is having some unexpected side effects.

It is hardly a complete accident that self-proclaimed political giants such as Sarkozy are struggling to fend off the challenge from the previously politically defunct quasi-fascistic le Pen movement.

Ireland is no longer alone. We are, instead, the most high- profile example of the phenomenon whereby the European public are revolting against a scenario in which governments go to war with their people in a desperate attempt to appease the banks.

Our present crew would be wise to examine the fate awaiting Mr Sarkozy and the rest of his ilk for as Fianna Fail commends Fine Gael and Labour for their efficiency in implementing the fine policies that served FF so well, another very distinctive party are looking on with interested eyes.

Sunday Independent

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