Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daoibh!
The government is trying to attract US tech companies to the UK by tempting them with the prospect of being treated on the NHS as part of the “expat experience”. Alongside access to free healthcare, US companies who take advantage of the UK Trade & Investment’s HQ-UK project are being offered exclusive perks such 24 hour processing for visa applications, a complete concierge service to manage the transition of the company and a relationship manager to help newly-arrived firms get connected. Whether the lure of waiting in a NHS walk-in centre is enough to tempt the yanks away from Ireland’s 12.5 per cent corporation tax rate is yet to be seen…
Well done to the FT’s Chris Giles, George Parker and Vincent Boland for the front page confirmation today of Guido’s story from back in October about the Tory offer to the Northern Irish unionists on corporation tax. As Guido’s readers in The Sun and here already know, the Tories have promised a deal on business taxes to allow Northern Ireland to compete with the Republic’s lower taxes. Guido’s unionist source told him it was likely the corporation tax rate would be cut from 20% to “12% or 13%” to compete with the lower tax rates offered by Dublin. “Anything but 12.5%, we’re not harmonising with the Republic. No!”
Guido is off with the kids to the parade in Waterford.
Lá fhéile Pádraig sona dhaoibh!
Today 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…
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…
You knew he was Irish…
Tory MPs are spluttering into their afternoon tea over this:
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.
Sinn Fein MPs
Despite refusing to be MPs they’re happy to use Parliament’s facilities to grandstand then…
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…
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”.
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.
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..
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”…
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…
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…
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.
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.
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…
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.