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MEANWHILE, IN ICELAND

By Pete Moore On November 28th, 2011 at 6:06 pm

Recession’s back, according to the OECD. It’s difficult to say how accurate the prediction is since the Bank of England makes it so difficult to find up to date money supply figures.

Somewhere recession is not back is Iceland. You remember it, small rocky place, no banks left since they all went bust. Iceland was battered more than any other nation in the European Economic Area because of its failed banks. The government wanted to stiff the people by loading bank debts onto them, the people told the government to get stuffed, all the experts predicted doom and free marketeers gave three cheers.

Last week Iceland’s credit rating was raised from Negative to Stable by S&P. Things seem to be moving the right way out of destruction then. In contrast to its report of doom for the UK and Europe, the OECD has a positive outlook for Iceland. GDP is at 2.9% and forecast to be 2.4% for the next couple of years. Unemployment is at 7.0% and falling. The Republic of Ireland, which (along with the UK) stands in contrast to Iceland in how failed banks were treated, has a pitiable GDP of 1.2% (almost as bad as the UK) and unemployment of 14.1%.

Well done to the people of Iceland. Their fight was right, they are vindicated and they are a lesson to everyone who is told that they must saddle the debts of banks which ought to have been allowed to go bust.

WORKING FOR THE MAN…

By David Vance On November 27th, 2011 at 10:23 am

In the Irish Republic, you can see how the State is tackling austerity;

Public Sector workers have received more than €1.2bn in incremental pay increases since Ireland‘s worst-ever recession began in 2007, despite the dire state of the public finances. Figures from the Department of Finance show that although the country has had to borrow roughly €20bn a year to run the State since 2008, length-of-service pay increases have continued across all departments, agencies and organisations in the public sector.  Staff are still seeing their gross salaries increase because the Government is allowing them to receive increased pay purely on the basis of time served.

This “incriminality” which characterises the State sector is the road to hell. No one should expect anything on the basis of time served, but rather on success achieved.

 

IRISH MARTYRS FOR EURO STABILITY!

By David Vance On November 24th, 2011 at 9:28 am

The Irish Government seeks to use a little reverse leverage on Frau Merkel and her Euro-Gaulieters;

“The Irish government has suddenly complicated the picture by requesting debt relief from as a reward for upholding the integrity of the EU financial system after the Lehman crisis, though there is no explicit linkage between the two issues. “We carried an undue burden for protecting the European banking system from contagion,” said finance minister Michael Noonan. “We are looking at ways to reduce the debt. We would like to see our European colleagues address this in a positive manner. Wherever there is a reckless borrower, there is also a reckless lender,” he said, alluding to German, French, British and Dutch banks. Mr Noonan hinted that Dublin is asking for some of interested relief on a €31bn EU promissory noted linked to the Anglo Irish fiasco, among other matters.”

You have to some sympathy with Noonan! Ireland allowed itself to take a bullet to postpone the “contagion” that rages through the Eurozone but expecting thanks for this is another matter.

Mr Noonan said the country will stay the course with unbending austerity, even though nominal gross national product (GNP) has already contracted by 22pc. Public wages have fallen 12pc on average under Ireland’s “internal devaluation” policy to regain competitiveness within EMU. There are likely to be further wage cuts in the December budget. “We have to face reality. There is no painless way, no soft option: we’re going to cut spending drastically, but with social cohesion. We don’t want the situation we see in Greece with people on streets and the foundations of state under threat. We’re not going that route.”

Not so sure that is the case – as Ireland imposes necessary austerity, as its property bubble collapses leaving half the country in negative equity, as unemployment sits dangerously high, and as a large immigrant community still remains within the small country, I wonder will the people take it all lying down? Maybe they will, but then again…

Europe's plans for treaty changes to enforce fiscal discipline in the eurozone may fall foul of popular anger in Ireland unless the EU creditor states agreee to share more of the pain.

 

NAASTY NAASTY?

By David Vance On November 22nd, 2011 at 8:33 pm

This story has caused quite a furore today south of the border;

THE mayor of Naas Darren Scully bowed to pressure this evening and resigned his position on the Town Council after he warned in a radio interview that he would refuse to represent members of the black community.

The Fine Gael councillor, was reported to gardai after he told the Kfm radio station he found “black Africans” to be aggressive and bad mannered. Naas Town Council called a special meeting this evening in the wake of the racism controversy.

Cllr Scully was accused of racism after the interview in which he said: “I’ve been met with aggressiveness, I’ve been met with bad manners and I’ve also been played the race card. “It’s been said, ‘You would help white people but you don’t help black people’.” He went on to say: “After a while of this I made a decision that I was not going to take on representations from Africans. I’ve said that I would be very courteous to them and that I would pass on their query to other public representatives who would take their concerns.”

Now then, was he right to resign? Is he a racist? I think he had little choice to resign given the fact that he did not stand on a manifesto of only helping friendly people. On the other  hand, IF he finds a particular group aggressive and ill-mannered, hasn’t he the right to direct them elsewhere? Is this an example of intolerance from ALL sides but the loser is the Mayor?

TECHNOCRATS RISE, DEMOCRACY DIES…

By David Vance On November 20th, 2011 at 10:24 am

I like this analysis from Eilis O’Hanlin in the Irish press today; She is talking about the rise of the “technocrats” across Europe as Democracy is pushed out of the way to accommodate the needs of Frau Merkel and co;

“This is not so much a democratic deficit as a total democratic bypass. Where’s the resistance? It’s certainly not coming from the European Left, but that’s no surprise. Soviet-style technocratic government was always socialism’s guilty pleasure. The people can’t be trusted to do what’s right for the revolution, so for a time the normal rules of democracy must be suspended whilst experts make the informed decisions on their behalf. Once the New Order is bedded down, then the little people can get their rights back. Only they never do, because the heirs of Plato’s beloved philosopher kings never willingly cede power except to others like them.

That sort of paternalism is endemic on the micro scale in left-wing politics. In Europe, it’s simply being transferred to national politics. The issues are too complicated for the uninitiated to grasp, so best to let experts run the world whilst the ordinary people watch TV and eat chips.

The process isn’t happening entirely without protest. Students in Milan are already out rioting against what they call a “bankers’ government”, but that, maddeningly, misses the point too. European democracy is not being subverted solely in order to prop up a free market system which allows incompetent bankers to flourish; democracy is being subverted in order to ensure the survival of a pet political project which would otherwise now be in ruins.

The “markets” don’t give a damn about the details, they simply want to make money. It’s the political class in Berlin and Paris which is pulling out all the stops to keep the federalist fantasy afloat. They’re the ones who’ve embarked on this course regardless of its consequences or internal contradictions.”

THE VAT OF THE LAND..

By David Vance On November 19th, 2011 at 10:28 am

It’s a financial death-wish for the Irish Retail industry!

Thousands of shoppers are expected to flood back across the Border after the Government increases VAT on a huge range of household items. There were warnings last night that the proposed 2pc Budget hike would drive people North — posing serious threats to the survival of struggling shopkeepers and retail outlets here. Consumers are expected to rush to buy household products, alcohol, cigarettes and petrol here before the new rate hits in six weeks’ time. The VAT gap between the Republic and the North will widen to 3pc in the new year. Finance Minister Michael Noonan was forced to admit the increase after Budget details were revealed in the German parliament.

Got that? Yes, the Irish Budget was revealed in the GERMAN Parliament. This is proof that Ireland is now a wholly owned protectorate of Frau Merkel’s Deutschland uber alles. It is being forced to wreck it’s economy in order to get the Debt level down so it can pay back the “bail out” which, as you know, was nothing of the sort. Pity Ireland – trapped in a financial web that it has no chance of getting out of. Had the politicans any vision they would leave the Eurozone, reinstate a new Irish Punt, and focus on rebalancing their economy in a sensible way. The trauma of the adjustments required to suit the Germans is going to severe, and perhaps Enda Kenny should think about answering “Ireland’s Call” not Germany’s demands?

IRISH REPUBLIC LEADS THE WAY..

By David Vance On November 18th, 2011 at 9:07 am

Whilst I can be critical of the Irish Government I am also able to recognise when it tries to do the right thing and in this area, it is at least trying;

The Irish government has announced plans to reform the public service by cutting staff numbers, culling the number of state agencies and axing a controversial decentralisation programme. The Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the plans were the beginning of “radical changes” across government. Currently around 297,000 people are employed in Ireland’s public sector. That figure will be reduced by 23,500 by 2015.

This cut, around 10%, is a start although not enough. However contrast the strength of the Southern Irish government on this with the utter weakness of the Northern Ireland Assembly. The latter seeks to protect every unaffordable public sector job. The reason for this difference in approach is easy enough to understand. The Irish Republic had to go into economic meltdown before it took a long hard look at its finances. Northern Ireland is in gradual economic meltdown and the political class here think they can manage that decline.

BUSINESS AS NORMAL

By David Vance On November 10th, 2011 at 8:45 am

The problem with the political establishment is that it ALWAYS takes care of its own – even when we boot them out of power. Just consider this;

FORMER Irish PM  Brian Cowen will get a taxpayer-funded pension worth more than €150,000 every year for the rest of his life.

His predecessor Bertie Ahern will pocket €152,331 annually. Mr Cowen is already entitled to the payment, even though he is only 51 — 14 years younger than the normal pension age.

And another 28 former ministers are entitled to annual payments worth more than €100,000. These include corrupt former justice minister Ray Burke, who served time in jail. Others getting more than €100,000 include former arts minister Martin Cullen and ex-health minister Mary Harney, who gets €129,805. Former Ceann Comhairle John O’Donoghue — who resigned amid public uproar over his lavish expenses — will get €119,177 annually, the same amount as former finance minister Charlie McCreevy. Pensions experts last night said private sector workers would have to amass pension funds of up to €6m to get such generous payments. Mr Ahern’s and Mr Cowen’s pensions would cost between €5m and €6m each, while Mr Burke’s is worth around €3m.

When one surveys the wreck of the Irish economy, and the genuine pain many people are experiencing, isn’t it a SCANDAL that these political parasites continue to feed off the taxpayer? If there was any fairness, any integrity, they would hang their heads in shame and refuse this largesse. Instead, they hold out their hands and greedily accept. Ain’t life grand when you are a crooked politician?

INCOMPETENCE RISING…

By David Vance On November 7th, 2011 at 8:16 am

You couldn’t make this sort of stuff up;

The Irish Government is still planning to nominate the head of the Department of Finance to a plum EU post, despite the fallout from the discovery of a €3.6bn debt.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore are standing over the Coalition’s decision to appoint the department’s secretary general, Kevin Cardiff, to Ireland’s position on the European Court of Auditors. Mr Cardiff is under fire over a €3.6bn accounting error, which saw the double counting of money borrowed by a state agency resulting in the national debt being overstated.

To mis-count €3.6bn is one thing, to be then chosen to represent your country on the European Court of Auditors is surreal!

THE NEW IRISH PRESIDENT SALUTING AMERICA.

By David Vance On October 29th, 2011 at 3:07 pm

Here’s the new Irish President showing his support for America.

Hat-tip to the excellent Mark Humphyrs.