Category Archives: European Crisis

Beneath Contempt

The Cause Of all Our Problems - Anglo Irish Bank

The Cause Of all Our Problems – Anglo Irish Bank (Photo credit: infomatique)

I find it seldom that I appreciate Angela Merkel’s utterances, though I do have a certain admiration for her. She has too much of an eye on her own electorate to be an effective European Leader, and I think she has largely abandoned any ambition of being an Adenauer or a Kohl. Perhaps there is no longer an agenda of greatness attached to leading what has become a failed project, or at least, a difficult cul de sac.

However I did agree with her last week when she said she had nothing but contempt for the Irish bankers from the failed Anglo Irish Bank, recorded during the financial crisis, singing “Deutschland über ales” after persuading the Irish Government to underwrite the banks. Far more objectionable was their trite and scandalous treatment of the Irish tax payer. Their contempt for the Government and the Financial Regulator, neither of whom, to be fair, appeared to demonstrate anything resembling competence during the entire financial crisis, was manifest in these recordings.

For many years now, the beleaguered Irish tax payer has accepted passively, the incompetence of our Government, and our bankers, but no-one could have reasonably guessed how odious they really were. Listening to these tapes exposes the cesspit of their attitudes and behaviour.

It is difficult to believe that these bankers are not in jail, or that not one of them has been put on trial five years after Bernie Madoff, for instance, went to jail in the US. It is even more difficult to believe, that this Anglo Irish Bank is the stable where NAMA (National Asset Management Agency – Ireland’s “bad bank) and the IRBC (Irish Banking Resolution Commission – the clean up operation for Anglo Irish Bank) recruited many of their own staff. The very staff who ran the country into the ground are tasked to clean up the mess.

But it gets worse. The Irish Government recently proudly announced the “creation of 800 new jobs” in Capita, whose “Financial management function” includes debt collection and restructuring. This new financial industry will involve the closure and receivership of many an Irish firm. Guess where the staff are being recruited from? Rumour has it that they will come from the recently closed IRBC.

So the very people who destroyed Ireland, are not just part of the solution, but are to be the agents of the tidal wave of misery and bankruptcy that is about to overtake the ordinary citizens of Ireland, as the remaining banks try to recapitalize. These are the new Jobs announced by the Irish Government.

Yes Angela, ‘contempt’ is a good word for what they deserve. In Ireland it is only a word however, and the reality is that ordinary citizens are under the cosh, and the very people who showed such contempt for the Irish people, are not in jail, as you would expect, but are being recruited to become the carpetbaggers sifting through the wreckage, to extract blood from the corpse!

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Falling Apart – Week 9 P.C.

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

../ The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity. – W. B. Yeats

Week 9 P.C. (Post Cyprus)

Its hard to believe, that we have become so adjusted to this crisis. News that would be shocking headlines just two months ago, hardly gets on Page 3 these days. Look in vain for upbeat news, it gets worse and worse, and nobody seems to either notice or care,

English: Various Euro bills.

English: Various Euro bills. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

This week these extraordinary things happened and nobody blinked!!!!

Things are gathering pace, and are too few out there advocating a continued unity. What is most remarkable about this week, is how everyone has become so used to these huge shifts in our political psyche.

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Slovenia on the ropes

Ljubljana, Slovenia

Ljubljana, Slovenia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Slovenia is selling the family silver, yet is still being jilted. The effort to save the sub-alpine country from bankruptcy takes an aspirational turn. The unfortunate quote that the new scheme is like  trying to control a falling airplane is juxtaposed to the plan to sell the airport and the National Airline!

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Jurgen Habermas

Jürgen Habermas during a discussion in the Mun...

Jürgen Habermas during a discussion in the Munich School of Philosophy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The politico-social disaster that will evolve with the breakup of Europe, has been referenced by the German Thinker and Philosopher Jurgen Habermas.

Habermas is a noted intellectual in Germany, and he has added his voice to the cacophony of thinkers pleading for a new enlightenment in political thinking, to avert the dissolution of the Union. It must be a truism, that an inability of our politicians to think beyond their local and national agendas is prescriptive for dissolution. Survival of the Union can only happen when there is integration oriented leaders, and visionary statesmen or women. It is the current pity that we do not seem to have anyone of stature at this stage to lead the continent. The sapping of political will is a key ingredient of the current crisis.

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George Soros

George Soros, billionaire

George Soros, billionaire (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One can almost get encouraged when wise council abounds. However wise council is ignored, and partisan political interests prevail. Germans can see no further than their forthcoming elections, and are busy claiming the high ground as the tsunami of European Disintegration approaches. To quote Yeats “the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity”. The crisis becomes more acute by the day, and the political inertia seems to deepen.

George Soros, has put forward a succinct analysis of the situation in The Guardian. He is saying what anyone with a brain has been saying since Cyprus. He has, however, put his mind to finding good constructs for the remedy of the situation. His options are the issuance of Eurobonds, or alternatively Germany leaving the Euro. Again, this is the choice between integration and dissolution, which has been a theme here at Paddyspiigs.

If Germany did leave the Euro, who else would go with them,- Austria? Denmark? Holland? This would lead to a two speed Europe with the separation of the Northern nations from the indebted nations. A natural consequence of the current political atmosphere. This is a solution that totally ignores the political, social, and strategic aims of the European Union. It would be a sad message to send out to the world at large.

Soros’s analysis does however make a significant contribution to the current debate. Hopefully someone will listen to him!

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Spain

English: Registered unemployment rate in Europ...

English: Registered unemployment rate in Europe (EU-27) – june 2009. Data from Portal Euro-Indicators on EU Commission website (Eurostat) Français : Taux de chômage enregistré en Europe (UE-27)- juin 2009. Données Portail Euro-Indicateurs sur le site de la Commission Européenne (Eurostat) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Spanish Unemployment Rate 27.2%.

6,202,700 out of work.

Spanish Youth unemployment of 57.22%.

Plan to pump €76 bn. euro into Spanish Banks.

Economist Fernando Fernandez says on CNN that it was a “good week for Spain”.

What else needs to be said?

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April 28, 2013 · 5:05 pm

Crying in the Wilderness.

Irish politician Michael D. Higgins of the Lab...

Irish politician Michael D. Higgins of the Labour Party. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

“What oft was thought, but ne’er so well expressed”

I must say I never had a lot of time for Michael D Higgins. I did vote for him in the recent Irish Presidential Election but mainly because of the appalling panel of six opponents that he faced, ranging from a one issue Republican (not the American type, for those not in the know, but the born-again IRA type), to an ex-Eurovision singer with a right wing agenda. “Michael D” as he is affectionately known (is there a “Michael C”??)   has been hanging around politics with an Arts/Crafts – Left wing agenda for most of his life. He was the safer option. Although he is a well known orator, he had certainly never inspired me. I general found him insipid, and what the Irish would call “aeery faerie” – insubstantial and irrelevant. He went on to replace two fairly hard hitting Presidents, Mary Robinson, and Mary Mc Aleese, both of whom have made substantial contributions to world politics and society, way beyond the narrow confines of the titular position that is the Irish Presidency. Michael D. was generally believed to be a weak substitute.

However, Michael D. has proved me and others very wrong in our opinions and if he were ever to read this blog, he can take it as a public apology for my prior held unsubstantiated opinions. Last week in an address that brought the European Parliament to its feet (an achievement in itself), he set out a vision of Europe that has not been articulated for decades. A vision of a society that is not to be judged through the narrow prism of fiscal rectitude, but of a society that has a broader vision of what it is and what it wants to achieve. A foretaste of this powerful speech is quoted below

A European Union – if it is to be respected as the great project it is and can be – must draw on the intellectual heritage and the intellectual imaginings, and the existing talents and capacity of the peoples of Europe. It is a fully authentic Union if it is characterised by solidarity.

If it is not of this authentic character just now, it must be made so by changes in consciousness and commitment, and through reasserting the idealism, intellectual strength and moral courage that drove the founding fathers of the Union. European Member States are peoples, with history, with current needs, with possibilities to be shared.

If we were, as an alternative, to regard our people as dependent variables to the opinions of rating agencies, agencies unaccountable to any demos, and indeed found to be fallible on occasion, then instead of being citizens we would be reduced to the status of mere consumers; pawns in a speculative chess board of fiscal moves in a game derived from assumptions that are weak, untestable or more frequently undeclared.

If you want more please  READ THE WHOLE SPEECH

or better still watch it: –   Michael D Higgins addresses the European Parliament

Congratulations Michael D. – your latest fan!

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