VOICES IN THE WILDERNESS
Since this coalition came to power our banks have paid out over €45bn in bonds, more than a third of that total unsecured. Who benefited? Have a read of this, for starters.
Our national debt is now over €200bn, has increased year-on-year at a frightening rate, up by over €10bn in 2013 alone and still rising.
There’s a line from a Hans Christian Andersen fairy-tale I've used a few times – All the people standing by stood and cheered and cried, ‘Oh, how splendid are the Emperor's new clothes’.
Some, however, are not cheering. If you're not inclined to applaud the fact that the NTMA went back to the markets again this week and borrowed another €3.75bn, you might like to read the take of economist David McWilliams.
If you can take your medicine a little harder, a little meatier, if you're suspicious of the government’s claims of reducing unemployment, you might like to go to Constantin Gurdgiev’s blog and read some additional not-so-well-advertised facts. Constantin does mention emigration in this blog but couldn't input the actual numbers – imagine the picture it would show if he could.
This government repeatedly claims that the measures they have taken are progressive in nature, that they’ve hit hardest those who can most afford it – read this by economist Michael Taft and know in your heads what you already know in your hearts. Know also that those particular individual policies were NOT dictated by the Troika but rather were the very deliberate choices of this government.
If you're wondering what the hell we have to celebrate on ‘exiting’ this so-called ‘bailout’, read what this outside observer, Ambrose Evan-Pritchard, has to say.
ANOTHER YEAR OLDER, NOTHING LEARNED
We’re told our export figures are improving but even Michael Noonan admits this isn’t because of an increase in the export of goods – it’s an increase in services. And what are those? Well, think IFSC, think multinationals, then think of who and what got the world into this mess in the first place. The greedy and noxious element of the financial ‘services’ sector with the toxic trade in their toxic bonds, the multinationals using every rule in the book (most of which they helped to write in the last four deregulating decades) to avoid paying their fair share of taxes, thus increasingly skewing the capital/labour contribution figures.
Already indentured slaves to our European 'partners', Michael Noonan, Enda Kenny, Eamon Gilmore and Brendan Howlin want to see us put even more of our eggs in those two baskets, become even deeper in debt to the markets, even deeper in thrall to the multinationals.
What of investment in our own indigenous industries, what of encouraging and funding the growth of small and medium enterprise?
But no, instead this country is being slowly crushed. We’ve poured €70bn into our banks, most of that under coercion from our European 'partners' but do we now have a functioning banking system? Yes, if you're a bondholder; no if you're Irish and looking to start or maintain a new small business, no if you're looking to buy a new house and you don’t have 100% cast-iron security.
A TALE OF TWO NATIONS
In February 2011 we threw out the government that helped us into this hole of hell and elected the Fine Gael/Labour coalition, expecting they would take our fight to Europe. Instead they have taken Europe’s fight to us. In recognition of their success, at the end 2012 Enda Kenny was voted European Of The Year by a German magazine; a year later and Michael Noonan is voted Finance Minister Of The Year by European bankers (be certain though that this won’t be the end of their respective rewards from Europe).
Now, as we enter 2014, we have two Irelands, as put so eloquently and so poignantly in this letter to the Irish Times some weeks ago, the false front being presented to the world, and the real Ireland being slowly stripped of services, of working rights and conditions, of its own natural wealth and resources, an Ireland where people are being slowly crushed under the burden of increasing regressive universal taxes and charges.
NEW YEAR, OLD RESOLUTION
‘Hiding in plain sight’ is a well-known expression, a well-known tactic; in this case the truth is not hidden, it’s there for all to see. Some of us have known that truth for a long time. On March 2nd, only six weeks away now, in Ballyhea we’ll be starting into our fourth year of weekly protest, our fourth year of campaigning against this injustice. To mark the occasion we will hold a conference at which we invite all those mentioned above to attend.
Our hope is that we will wake people up to what’s been happening to us; our hope also is that our media will stand back and take a full, objective look at what exactly has happened in Ireland since the launch of the euro, the damage that has been caused in this country since the launch of what was a fatally flawed currency.
In the meantime we resolve to continue our campaign. The austerity measures aside, whether we were Switzerland or Swaziland what was done to Ireland was wrong and we will not just let it pass. We are currently in the process of building a cross-party cross-society coalition that will join with us in taking this fight back to Europe.
We have drawn up our own proposals for the lifting of the entire burden but right now our focus is on the Promissory Notes and the remaining €28.1bn in bonds that sit in the Central Bank awaiting sale to the markets. Those bonds represent a large portion of the most odious element of the banking debt; at this point, before they are sold into the markets, they are also the easiest element to destroy. The EU/ECB found the means to allow the issue of those Promissory Notes, they must now equally find the means of their destruction.
A happy, healthy and productive New Year to us all.
Regards, Diarmuid O'Flynn.