Friday 6 December 2019

Ireland could learn a lot from Reagan and Thatcher in our current plight

• On St Patrick's Day this year as I watched the demolition of Tom Court at the hand of the English front row, a middle-aged man trying to push his way to the bar to order a round of drinks tipped me on the shoulder and said to me in a joyous tone how great it was to have our freedom. It got me thinking about how far from reality many Irish people now find themselves.

As it stands, our banks are on a slippery slope towards extinction due to the fact that the European base rate is fixed by people and not markets. Our banks are crying out for deposits and have begun to offer larger interest on savings than they are taking in on loans. This can only lead to one thing. It is time to allow the markets to dictate what interest rates should be before the next major crisis.

With democracy hanging in the balance all over Europe and civil liberties being trampled upon I wonder how long it will be before the politically numb generation stands up for itself?

The first step of the grand plan was the Lisbon Treaty. Until this point the presidency of the European Council was rotated amongst the prime ministers of each member state every six months. Ever since, the power has been handed over to a full-time unelected Herman Van Rompuy. He has set about installing technocratic governments in Greece and Italy and taking the power away from the people. The reasons for the collapse of democracy? Perhaps technocrats have more power to enforce austerity as they are unelected and never have to face voters.

Balancing the budget is the only way to get ourselves out of this mess. It is the common-sense method used by Thatcher and Reagan to stop the stagflation of the 1970s. The stagflation was caused by Keynesian economics that had created a welfare state in the aftermath of World War Two. Thatcher and Reagan cut the size of their governments, tore down regulations and allowed people to control their own destiny.

It was a tough adjustment but the results transformed both countries and paved the way for almost 30 years of growth.

Now we find ourselves at a similar point and we are all very hesitant to give up what we feel are our entitlements but this will be at great cost. As we have learned, a new breed of governance is filtering out over Europe and the only way to stop it is to cut government spending, cut taxes, deregulate industry and somehow prevent the ECB from fixing interest rates artificially low.

We are now being held together in the Social Undemocratic Superstate that is Europe. Fear will force many people to vote for things they deep down know are not right. Comparisons can be drawn with the former Yugoslavia and the USSR, but most would consider that to be crazy. We all know how that ended but how many of us know how it started?

Owen Neary
Castlerea, Co Roscommon

Irish Independent

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