Ireland Voting to Abolish Second Chamber

ABOLISH-SEANADToday Ireland is voting in a referendum to abolish the Seanad – the second chamber of parliament which costs some €20 million a year to provide a sinecure for recycled politicians who have been kicked out of the properly elected chamber by the voters.  Ireland is weighed down with too many politicians. New Zealand got rid of their second chamber and they carried on just fine…

ABOLISH-SEANAD

Call Me Chuka O’Munna

As revealed in yesterday’s Sun column, two-faced Chuka Umunna isn’t so shy about the ‘British Obama’ tag when he’s away from the public eye. When the President visited Ireland in the summer of 2011 he delighted his hosts by telling them of his Moneygall ancestral roots and dubbing himself Barry O’Bama. This year it was Chuka’s turn, speaking to guests at the Labour Irish Society’s St Patrick’s Day shindig of a relative from Sligo. Telling them they could call him Chuka O’Munna may have given the game away…

Happy St Patrick's Day Prime Minister

You knew he was Irish…

Shinners Show Up

Tory MPs are spluttering into their afternoon tea over this:

Dear Colleague,

Reminder:

Sinn Fein Briefing meeting for Members
Michelle Gildernew MP, 12.30pm, Room T, Portcullis House, Wednesday 16 January

I am writing to remind you of the invitation to attend invite tomorrow’s briefing with Sinn Fein MP Michelle Gildernew next Wednesday, 16 January. The meeting will be an opportunity to discuss the current political situation and in particular concern over the ongoing violence and protest in the north.

Many thanks to those who have already responded. If you are unable to attend but would like to send a member of staff to represent you, they would be most welcome.

If have any queries, please contact me on 07XXX XXXXXXX.

We very much hope to see you.

Best wishes,

Jayne fisher
Sinn Fein MPs

Despite refusing to be MPs they’re happy to use Parliament’s facilities to grandstand then…

Ireland Votes 60% / 40% to Ratify Fiscal Treaty

Fear triumphed over anger and the Irish government won a mandate to ratify the EU Fiscal Treaty on a turnout of 50.6%.

Guido bought advertising across Ireland parodying the Yes side’s CEO-fronted campaign (above) and is a little worried that people took it literally and followed the “advice” of Goldman Sach’s Lloyd Blankfein to vote in favour of paying billions to Irish taxpayer bailed out bond holders. As is traditional in Ireland we may yet get another repeat referendum if France’s President Hollande renegotiates the terms all over again…

Fine Gael Gets CEOs to Endorse Treaty ‘Yes’ Vote

Ireland’s governing Fine Gael party is campaigning for a ‘Yes’ vote in a referendum on the EU’s Fiscal Compact Treaty. Trust in politicians in Ireland is so low that they are getting business CEOs to front the campaign with endorsements claiming it will be good for business – despite the European Central Bank’s policies wrecking the economy.

Today Irish taxpayers are paying €2.25 billion in bond payments on unsecured bonds for failed private banks – some €500 for every man, woman and child in Ireland – a bad deal which Fine Gael voted for in 2008. Fine Gael are calling this treaty a “stability treaty”, it is in reality a treaty to surrender fiscal sovereignty.

Ahead of the vote in three days time Guido is trying to buy advertising in the Irish Times parodying the campaign with some CEOs who really are grateful to Fine Gael:

Incidentally the advertising campaign is “under review”.

Irish Taxpayer Sacrificed to Prop Up Eurozone Banks German ECB Board Member Speaks Truth ECB Press Office Erases Remarks from Transcript

On Thursday Dublin hosted a speech by Jörg Asmussen, a member of the Executive Board of the ECB, which in monetary and fiscal terms is now effectively the ruling neo-colonial power in Ireland, with German financial ‘advisers’ having been present in the Irish treasury for four years. Herr Asmussen was until January the advisers’ boss as State Secretary at the German Finance Ministry, responsible for Fiscal and Macroeconomic Affairs, Financial Markets and European Policy. When he speaks the Irish political and financial elite listen.

What they heard him tell them in a speech to the IIEA think-tank was a technocratic “steady as she goes”. Praising first the painful in the short-term reductions in state spending (10% cut in 2011) and the consequent expansionary fiscal contraction which has seen economic growth return and the trade deficit closed. Asmussen then spent a lot of time justifying why Irish taxpayers will have to bailout Anglo-Irish Bank bondholders for decades. The need for that long-term pain is not credible. 

Guido has long argued that the bailout of Anglo-Irish Bank was done to protect the investments of German banks (see Is the ECB Forcing Ireland to Protect German Investments? October 2010, Feck Off Euro-Socialists November 2010).

In a crucial section of his speech (audio at 27 mins 30 secs) Herr Asmussen says:

“The decisions concerning the repayment of bondholders in the former Anglo Irish Bank have been a source of controversy, decisions taken by the Irish authorities such as these are not lightly taken and the consequences of subsequent actions are weighted carefully, it is true that the ECB viewed it as the least damaging cost to fully honour the outstanding senior debt of Anglo however unpopular that may now seem, the assessment was made at a time of extraordinary stress in financial markets and great uncertainty, and protecting the hard won gains and credibility from the early successes in 2011 was also a key consideration and the main reasoning was to ensure that no negative spillover effects would be created to other Irish banks or to banks in other European Countries.”

Note that last line emphasised in bold. In October 2010, days after the then Irish finance minister refused in parliament to name Anglo-Irish bondholders, Guido revealed the bondholders list in a story that was followed up worldwide. German institutions figured prominently.

It is, as Herr Asmussen says, a matter of great controversy in Ireland that future generations of taxpayers have been sacrificed on the altar of the Euro to protect German banks. Could that be why the official transcript of the speech erases his candid admission?

“… Protecting the hard-won gains and credibility from the early successes in 2011 was also a key consideration, to ensure no negative effects spilled-over to other Irish banks.”

The shameful truth is that Irish politicians of all parties have gone along with the Bundesbank / ECB’s efforts to prop up their banks and the Euro project at the expense of their own people’s interests. Another small nation on Europe’s periphery – Iceland – let its banks default and has undergone an awesome recovery. Ireland got it from the horse’s mouth on Thursday, the ongoing bailout pain is for the greater good of other banks in Europe.

Hat-tip:  SpreadBetting.com via Declan Ganley

Post-€uro Preparations for Irish Punt

 

Looks like one important sector of Irish commercial life is preparing for a post-€uro future if this pub sign in Duncannon, Wexford, is anything to go by. Cheers..

Ken Patronises Irish as Navvies

Last month Ken Livingstone was an unwanted gate-crasher at an event in London with the President of Ireland, undiplomatically grabbing a photo-op with the Irish Head of State, to put on his leaflets without asking permission. The Office of the Irish President told The Irish Times: “There was no contact made about using the photograph in the literature” and Ken didn’t bother to have the courtesy to stay for the speech once he got his photo.

This week he was asked in an interview with the London Irish Post what he would do for the Irish, old Ken is about as patronising as it gets:

“Two two thirds of the jobs that have been lost in London have been in construction. This hits the Irish community hardest. What they and all Londoners need now is for London to start building again.”

As if all the Irish in London are still “navvies”…

Enda Game On

Ireland has just tossed a mighty spanner in the EU-works.  The Taoiseach has confirmed in the Dáil that the Attorney-General has advised a referendum is necessary on the EU’s fiscal union plan, “The Irish people will be asked for their authorisation in a referendum to ratify the European stability treaty”, Enda Kenny told the Irish parliament. Cameron was unable to veto the plan but the Irish people might just be able. The last time a €urozone prime minister promised a referendum on the EU, the EUrocat dictators replaced him with unelected technocrats. That won’t happen in Ireland.

Currently 20 cents of every euro of Irish taxes is going to pay the interest on the €uro-bank bail-out debts. The Irish bail-out plan is costing €54,800 per Irish household. Ireland’s future thus looks a lot more bleak than Iceland’s path of debt default and a devaluation of 60% two years ago which has seen the country rebounding: exports and manufacturing are growing by 20%, tourism is back near all-time highs, real wages are rising, unemployment is declining sharply, interest rates fell from 18% to 5.5% and the stock market has rebounded 50% from its lows. The bond rating agencies have already re-rated Iceland investment grade. In contrast the €uro-banker’s bail-out will only burden the next generation of Irish who don’t flee the crushing debts not of their making…

Ireland’s long love affair with Brussels has come to an end. It is not inconceivable that Ireland could vote no… making it stick is the problem…

Irish Budget Decided in Berlin

Today Dave is off to see Chancellor Merkel as we learn that advance copies of the proposed Irish budget were circulating for approval in the Bundestag in Berlin before being seen in the Oireachtas in Dublin. Elected Irish politicians will rubber-stamp the budget once German politicians have approved it.

German approved regimes have now been appointed in Italy and Greece, the Irish finance ministry is run by the Bundesfinanzminister with German “advisers” in Dublin acting as financial Gauleiters. In September 2008 the Irish government was instructed to guarantee the bad loans made by German banks who lent to the failed Anglo-Irish Bank and the Fianna Fáil government submitted, sacrificing generations of future taxpayers on the altar of the €uro. The Irish electorate kicked them out bringing in a Fine Gael government which promised to renegotiate the debts. In government Fine Gael too have bent the knee to Berlin.

As smaller sovereign states succumb to the German finanz-blitzkrieg it is difficult to see how the interests of those nations outside the developing German co-prosperity sphere are well served by the EU, particularly given that France’s AAA credit rating looks about as secure as the Maginot Line. It is Britain’s age old role to be a check on German domination of Europe, if Germany wants to reform the EU in its own image the British people should be given a referendum on their continuing membership…

Welcome to Low Tax Ireland

Downing Street will not be best pleased that Twitter has chosen Dublin not London as its European base. Dave and Boris invested in a joint Twitter charm offensive, with No. 10 briefing the Telegraph: “All that matters is that they come to London.”  They didn’t and Ireland’s business Minister Richard Bruton says it “is a massive win and shows there is real ground for Ireland’s claim to be the internet capital of Europe”.

Twitter joins Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Linked-In, Zynga, PayPal, eBay, AOL and Yahoo in Dublin, where the internet hub is generating thousands of high-tech jobs of the future. Can you blame them? Lower corporation tax rates and lower personal tax rates made it an easy decision for Ali Rowghani, the chief financial officer of Twitter. The UK has to become more tax competitive if it wants to attract geographically mobile internet firms.

Fiscally Ireland is doing what has to be done, an expansionary fiscal contraction is well on its way, GDP growth is well above the €urozone average, there is a healthy trade surplus. If the Irish political elite would steel themselves to exit the €uro, implement a controlled default on the bank debts and re-introduce an Irish punt pegged loosely against a basket of $, £ and €, the country would be free to thrive again. With UK banks holding £133 billion of Irish debt (equal to 6% of UK GDP), much of which is secured against London property, Britain’s fate is far more closely tied up with Ireland than Greece. The €uro as we know it is doomed, it is in Britain’s interest to focus on its trading near neighbour and leave Greece to Germany.

Returning the Favour

The EU press office reports on yesterday’s European Parliament discussions on Libya:

“EU governments need to stand ready for a decision in the UN Security Council on further measures, including the possibility of a no-fly zone”, in compliance with a UN mandate and coordination with the Arab League and the African Union stressed MEPs in a widely-backed resolution (584 in favour, 18 against, 18 abstentions). During the debate, only the GUE/NGL group was against this idea”

And who is this GUE/NGL group Guido hears you ask? Well the European United Left–Nordic Green Left of course. Big players like the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia, the Communist Party of Greece and the French Communist Party. Oh and Sinn Fein predictably…

Not a bad trade for shipments of 9mm Brownings, Glock and Beretta handguns, AK-47 Kalashnikov assault rifles, MP5 submachine guns, RPG-7 anti-tank rocket launchers, Soviet made DShK heavy machine guns, FN MAG machine guns, Military flamethrowers, Semtex plastic explosive and Strela 2 man portable SAMs.

Via The Quizzical Gaze.

13 Counts in Kilkenny

The Irish have been counting the results of their general election on… Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and still today, Kilkenny has gone to a thirteenth count. Imagine if last year’s general election had taken days to count, n0t to mention negotiate a coalition at the same time. The markets wouldn’t have taken kindly to that…

Centre-Right Triumphs in Irish Elections

The Irish election results (and Guido should caveat this by saying on the basis of RTE’s first preference exit poll) show that left-wing parties failed to make the breakthrough with Labour, Sinn Fein and the Greens combined getting 33% of the vote, less than Fine Gael 36%. Adding the Fianna Fail vote the parties of the centre-right got 51% and can count on support from many of the independents.

This will stiffen the resolve of George Osborne to persevere with spending cuts, Fine Gael ran on a Smaller, Better Government platform; reducing the number of overpaid politicians, a referendum on abolishing the second chamber and Lansley style reform of healthcare provision to a more marketised system. Fine Gael are promising to focus on the deficit by prioritising cutting waste and promising that income tax will not be increased. The Irish result shows that voters understand the need for spending cuts and deficit reduction.

Irish Election: Vote None of the Above?

Front runners Fine Gael are running on a Smaller, Better Government platform; reducing the number of overpaid politicians, a referendum on abolishing the second chamber and reform of healthcare provision based on the Dutch model where money follows the patient. They are promising to focus on the deficit by prioritising cutting waste and that income tax will not be increased. Sounds good, but Guido just doesn’t believe ’em, particularly if they end up in coalition with Labour.

Discredited Fianna Fáil are running on “substance” with no new spending commitments, but they’re widely and rightly seen as a bunch of crooks and shysters. The Irish Labour Party are worse than the crooks and shysters – they’re incompetent socialists. Sinn Féin are the only party that are in any way EU-sceptic and opposed the bail-out of bond-holders, at the end of the day they’re just too left-wing to stomach. Unless Fine Gael win outright, they will probably end up in coalition with Labour. Theoretically Fianna Fáil could support a Fine Gael centre-right government, and that might be for the best…

Quote of the Day

Gerry Adams wrote to John Bercow…

“A chara,

I hereby resign as MP for the constituency of west Belfast.

Go raibh maith agat.”

Iceland Shows the Way Forward for Ireland:Decouple, Default, Devalue and Develop

Iceland’s President, Olafur R. Grimsson, told Bloomberg TV on Friday that his country is better off than Ireland because they allowed the banks to fail two years ago and devalued the krona:

“The difference is that in Iceland we allowed the banks to fail. These were private banks and we didn’t pump money into them in order to keep them going; the state did not shoulder the responsibility of the failed private banks.”

The Irish bank bail-out is being foisted on them by the EU and the IMF whereas sovereign Iceland let the banks go bust and restructured the financial sector to keep the commercial sector serviced. As a consequence, “Iceland is faring much better than anybody expected” says Grimsson:

“How far can we ask ordinary people – farmers and fishermen and teachers and doctors and nurses – to shoulder the responsibility of failed private banks… That question, which has been at the core of the Icesave issue, will now be the burning issue in many European countries.”

Under this plan 20 cents of every euro of Irish taxes will go to pay the interest on the bank bail-out debts. The Irish bail-out plan will cost €54,800 per Irish household. Ireland’s future thus looks a lot more bleak than Iceland’s path of debt default and a devaluation of 60% two years ago which has the country rebounding: exports and manufacturing are growing by 20%, tourism is back near all-time highs, real wages are rising, unemployment is declining sharply, interest rates fell from 18% to 5.5% and the stock market has rebounded 50% from its lows. In contrast this euro-banker’s bail-out will only burden the next generation of Irish who don’t flee with crushing debts not of their making…

Britain and europe should keep their bail-out billions rather than foist them on Irish taxpayers to cover the responsibility for bad investments made by their own private banks. They can use the billions to bail-out their own banks directly if they want, without involving the Irish taxpayers…

Feck Off Euro-Socialists

Euro-Socialist and Green MEPs have tabled a motion calling on Ireland to double corporate tax rates as part of a quid pro quo for a bail-out. Not a single Irish MEP has supported the motion. Ireland should just tell them to “feck off”…

Douglas Carswell is right, Ireland should decouple and default. Coupling the Celtic Tiger to the euro was a disaster, it was inevitable that when economic cycles were asynchronous the big core EU countries would set interest rates to suit themselves. The ECB kept rates too low for Ireland’s over-boiling property market, which predictably bubbled over. Exactly as Euro-sceptics from Farage to Redwood predicted would eventually happen.

The Irish property crash has destroyed the banks, none more so than Anglo-Irish Bank, a bank run by corrupt allies of the governing Fianna Fáil party. The state guarantees proffered in the panic of 2008 to Irish banks gave them the backing of the state’s ‘AAA’ credit rating. Those guarantees have now sunk the state’s credit rating.

A World Bank report from back in May 2009What Went Wrong in Ireland? written by Patrick Honohan, Professor of International Financial Economics at Trinity College Dublin, put the blame squarely on joining the euro and having the wrong interest rates:

…the underlying cause of the problem was … too much mortgage lending (financed by heavy foreign borrowing by the banks) into an unsustainable housing price and construction boom. The boom seemed credible to enough borrowers given sharply lower interest rates with adoption of the euro … it was Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) entry that really started the housing price surge by sharply lowering nominal and real interest rates, thereby lifting equilibrium asset prices…

Honohan isn’t some obscure professor, since writing that report Honahan has been made the new governor of the Irish Central Bank. Left-wing British commentators like the Fabian’s Sunder Katawala, the Indy’s Ben Chu and even Polly Toynbee are trying to blame Ireland’s woes on low tax rates and free market reforms. No serious Irish economist attributes Ireland’s crisis to low tax rates. The reason Polly, Sunder and Chu want to present that argument is to stick it to those of us on the right who praised Ireland’s supply-side economic policy reforms, which is why they point the finger at the likes of George Osborne, Dan Hannan, John Redwood and Nigel Farage. It is intellectually dishonest of them to cite derisively the British right’s praise for Ireland’s successful free market micro-economic reforms and ignore warnings from the same about the macro-economic systemic risk of joining the euro. That is exactly what the left-wing commentariat is trying to do.

The micro-economic reforms that led to the Celtic Tiger pre-date Ireland entering the euro and were designed to improve the supply-side potential of the economy, make markets and industries operate more efficiently and thereby contribute to a faster rate of growth of real national output. Low taxes and freer markets achieved that objective – incidentally many of those reforms were championed in the 80s and 90s by the Progressive Democrats – the party of which Guido was a member. After joining the euro in 2000 Ireland had negative real interest rates, sparking an out of control property bubble.

German economic advisers from Frankfurt have been in the Irish finance ministry and central bank for nigh-on a year. Last month the ECB in Frankfurt mandated the Irish government to pay off European holders of Irish bank bonds – the European bail-out of Ireland is really a bail-out of European lenders to Irish banks. In joining the euro Ireland’s economic sovereignty was surrendered by Fianna Fáil with the support of almost the entire political class, consequently the next generation of Irish taxpayers have had their future mortgaged. Guido could cry for what the europhiles have done to his country…

End of an Éire

Thousands died in the transition from being England’s first colony, to an Irish Free State and finally an independent Republic. The ironies arising from the situation in Ireland are many. Joining the Euro, hugging the state tight to the whole European project and Dublin’s politicians slavishly obeying their new masters in Frankfurt has ended in disaster.[…] Read the rest

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Quote of the Day

Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner:

“We have no plans to write off existing student debt.”

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