Monday 18 December 2017

Release us from age of austerity

Two weeks ago, this paper argued that the EU project had reached a similar tipping point to the peace process where, after the Northern Bank robbery, appeasement was replaced by demands on the IRA to engage in "acts of completion" so that "confidence" would be restored. Sadly, as Europe flirted with apocalypse last week, the confession by the EU president that our leaders were guilty of "undisciplined communication, complexity and incompleteness" is the latest example of how, when it comes to the debt crisis, our continent's leaders have been slow learners.

The mark of any great general or politician is speed and decisiveness in response to a crisis. Last week's decision of the European elite to prioritise their holidays above much-needed acts of fiscal completion bears a chilling resemblance to the first months of Brian Cowen's premiership when the then Taoiseach hid from the dragon's teeth he scattered with such incontinence.

It is no longer good enough for Angela Merkel to dance around the Tyrol Mountains in lederhosen whilst a continent burns. And it is not good enough for Italy, France or America, to wait until some dilatory date in the next week, month, or year, to dig a ditch across the fires being set by coked-up traders in hysterical bond markets. There should be an emergency G7 summit today of the world's leaders -- not their finance ministers -- which will send out a clear message as to how the western world will emerge from behind the current Maginot line of fearful ambivalence.

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