November 22, 2012

Goodbye to all that: just what would we do if UK left EU?

Posted in Irish Independent · 207 comments ·

What would we do if, or possibly when, Britain leaves the EU? In recent months the chances of Britain actually doing so have risen sharply. Diplomatically, it would still be a big move for Whitehall, but with 56% of British people wanting to leave the EU outright, the next few years could be increasingly fraught for Britain and the EU.

And it is not just the British becoming increasingly disillusioned with the EU; the EU are becoming noticeably less inclined to understand the British position on many issues.

Tomorrow, the British will be cold-shouldered at an EU summit once again. The view from the continent seems to be that the British are a pain. If they left the EU, the EU could be just fine without them.

Let’s think about the latest row the Brits are having with the EU. The British want to freeze the EU budget, or at least their contribution. In contrast, the EU institutions, backed by the politicians of other EU member states, want a 5% increase in the EU’s institutions’ budget.

So what the Brits are actually looking for is austerity for the EU itself. What’s so wrong with this? After all isn’t the EU the main cheerleader for austerity as a policy? What is good for the goose is clearly not so good for the gander.

It seems like a reasonable position to take and one in which it is supported by Germany, Finland and the Netherlands. However, while the others play politics behind closed doors, David Cameron is constantly under pressure from the Eurosceptics in the Tories to dig his heels in to satisfy public opinion.

Anyone who has ever lived in the UK knows that a referendum on British membership of the EU would be won handsomely by the No side and this is, I suspect, what Cameron wants to avoid, particularly as he is trying to win an independence referendum in the more traditionally pro-EU Scotland.

In Ireland, getting away from the influence of London was the clear driver of our EEC policy in the 1970s when London was seen as still dominating our small republic. But now that we have been freed of this insecurity, is it still clever to think that a European Union without Britain would be in our best interests?

I sense the anti-British feeling or insecurity with respect to Britain has diminished hugely in this country since the 1970s. For most people, the UK is a good neighbour. It is a neighbour with whom we share so much that it would be almost inconceivable to think of daily life without Britain, from the perspective of TV, newspapers, popular culture and sport.

For Ireland, there appears to be a tendency amongst the political classes to behave as if Britain doesn’t exist at all. Despite the absolute centrality of Britain in our economic affairs, for example, one gets the impression that when senior officials from the Department of Finance look out east they see all the way directly to Holland as if the big island called Britain isn’t there at all.

Yet, if we look at patterns of trade, 52pc of all our EU imports come from Britain. It is by far and away the biggest market for our biggest employing indigenous sectors, agriculture and tourism. British banks are exposed hugely in Ireland, having lent some €60bn here in the boom. It came as a surprise to many of us to hear the British Chancellor of the Exchequer state that Britain exported more to Ireland than it did to India, China, Russia and Brazil combined.

It is not just trade that binds us together; the demographic flows between the countries are extraordinary when seen in the context of two separate jurisdictions. One of the most striking legacies of this intertwining is the fact that there are more British people today with one Irish grandparent than there are Irish people with Irish grandparents. In the past few years we have seen the pattern continue. In our boom, the biggest ethnic minority in Ireland was the English. Since the crash the main destination for Irish people emigrating is still Britain, and London in particular.

So what might happen if Britain were to leave the EU? The most significant fact, which is not fully appreciated, is that the EU would suffer an enormous loss of status. There seems to be a view that the EU wouldn’t suffer, but Britain would suffer a slump in prestige and position. It is not so clear this would be the case. The EU without a major country like the UK would be diminished on the world stage. It’s northern European, free-trading character would also be diminished, as would its budget.

For Ireland, it would mean being part of an enterprise where of the two other countries we joined with in 1973, one isn’t in the euro (Denmark) and one isn’t in the EU (Britain). Far more importantly, it would mean our two major trading partners, the US and the UK, would not be in the same orbit politically and we would be tied to a project which we would be entirely unsuited to economically. Ireland would be a total outlier in terms of economic integration, while culturally we would be in a club with which we share practically nothing.

These are big issues. Understandably, we would want to row our own boat independent of London, but equally we should at least be sure which way the current is going and be sure it is bringing us in the appropriate direction.

David McWilliams’ new book ‘The Good Room’ is out now.

  1. CAP and UK Rebate


    • transitionman

      On the button Georg.How will Irish agriculture adopt to not being on €2 billion annual social welfare?
      Business as usual is huge growth in dairy production to feed the new middle class of the east. What happens when the energy system of farm inputs collapses. Are we incapable of seeing the opportunity for low density population to feed ourselves and export to UK?
      Again its another Peak Oil issue with Andy Wilson attempting to think through logical solutions.

      No powerless politicians can implement this only individual farmers who can see beyond the unsustainable cheques in the post from CAP.

  2. Adam Byrne


  3. aidanxc

    The idea of hitching our wagon to the UK is ridiculous. Whatever democratic deficit we may experience regarding the EU from time to time it is nothing compared to what life would be like in the UK zone-of-influence. The UK hegemony is the past. Our future lies in being an equal member of the EU and the wider global community. The anti-EU sentiment in the UK is primarily driven by emotion rather than logic. I cannot think of anything more debilitating that going in to reverse gear and reverting back to life pre-1973. We need to ‘man up’ as a nation and stop looking to piggy-back on the UK.

    David, as for your (very weak) points about cultural affinity with the UK, (we don’t all have grandads from Scotland like you) I don’t imagine that UK would turn in to North Korea if it were to leave the EU so you can rest assured that you would still get your Eastenders and whatever else passes for culture these days.

    • Aidan

      Where did you hear me say hitch our wagon to the UK in the article??? Please stick to the point. I am saying is the British may leave the EU and this is a serious dilemma for us. We are already in the currency which makes no sense and unless or until we start watching German TV, supporting Borrussia Dortmund and speaking German, culturally we will always be more part of the greater English speaking world. Thats all.

      We don’t do enough trade with the EU nor are our labour flows sufficient for the project to absolute make sense for us.



      • aidanxc


        Your article implies that, if the UK were to leave the EU, we would need to consider either going with the EU or with them.

        The problem with your perspective is that it is short term and short-sighted. Yes, there are problems with the EU but leaving the EU because the UK did so would be going from the frying pan to the fire. The euro crisis will be resolved because the cost of not doing so is too high. When everything settles down (it may take years) we will have better financial regulation and better crisis management abilities.

        The company I work in wants and needs easy and unfettered access to the EU markets. We need to get over the days looking across the Irish sea for our economic prosperity. The % value of our trade with the UK has been declining for decades and will continue to do so as we embrace globalisation and the opportunities it offers us.

        As for your argument re cultural affinity that’s just a complete red herring. Would you expect the UK to block it’s borders and become a hermit state? I don’t think so. And, you know, not everyone in Ireland is a lap-dop for English football. There are better things to do in life rather than swear undying loyalty to a foreign brand and their marketing departments – e.g Chelsea, Man U etc. People can and will chose whatever they want to be in to but the idea of gambling our economic and broader national needs on the altar of Eastenders and Liverpool is a nonsense.

        • bonbon

          This is simply ridiculous : “The euro crisis will be resolved because the cost of not doing so is too high”.

          This is the kind of “thinking” FG is noted for. You are about to get a cold shower. The Euro is likely to break that “market” – I presume of course you do not mean the financial markets?

          • aidanxc

            Well, I am only quoting many economists such as Paul Mortimer-Lee of BNP Paribas but obviously you know better. The fact that it is a simple maxim doesn’t make it wrong.

          • bonbon

            Hollande has failed to deliver on campaign promises to separate investment banking off, and I wonder what BNP has to do with that?

            They are lecturing the government that exact mantra “Too Costly to Let Fail”, a variation on Too Big to Fail, sung in cacophony. The Euro is actually Too Big to Bail.

            A look at the EU budget talks below shows what really is going on.

      • Paul C

        David – your article posed the question “Just what would we do if UK left EU?”
        - a question many of us have asked ourselves – so I read it …….. but you offered no answer to the question. Not even a point of view.
        bit disappointing mate.

    • ict

      Are you seriously suggesting that we have as much in common culturally with say Lithuania or Bulgaria as we do with Scotland? Of course we don’t.

      A curious consequence of Irish nationalism is that it cut us off from the wider celtic world, and had the effect of splitting the (already fractured) Gaelic world between the Catholic Irish on the one hand, and the (half Catholic / half Presbetyrian) Scottish Highlanders on the other. The UK of today is not the Imperial monolith it was when we left over 90 years ago. Although I don’t expect the Scots will vote for independence, they are nevertheless increasingly becoming a semi-detached member of the union, a trend which is likely to continue, driven by the demography of the generation who remember WW2 being replaced by those who don’t.

      Surely we would be better to be part of this emerging Anglo-Celtic arrangement (which is more or less where we have been for most of our history) rather than hitching our wagon to some central European project?

      • Eireannach

        The British Isles is still an Empire, as it has been since Edward I Longshanks.

        England imperially rules the ‘Celtic’ periphery, to the extent that they even deny the existence of languages like Gaelic or Welsh, other than for stand-up comedy amusement.

      • aidanxc

        I don’t think one needs a political or economic ‘arrangement’ with the UK to maintain cultural links with it.

        We need to paddle our own canoe rather than run back to mammy because the euro hit us! Our future lies within a community where we have a voice (i.e the EU).

        If the UK was healthy economic environment then Newcastle, Glasgow and Cardiff wouldn’t be the economic backwaters that they are. London is a vortex that has drained the rest of the UK of its vitality. Compare that to the balanced development in Germany where there is no city with more than 4 million inhabitants.

        The idea of being part of an Anglo-Celtic arrangement is a joke. Why would we blur our identity with our neighbour who would end up benefiting more from it that us?

        I always suspect that the notion of some ‘arrangement’ with the UK comes from a lack of confidence in one’s self or maybe its because people have been brainwashed by British soaps and the like.

        • Eireannach

          It’s Leopold Kohr again.

          London is too big for England, it dominates it.

          Dublin is possibly too large for Ireland, in a mirror of the English situation.

          England is far, far to big for the other 3 nations, it dominates them.

          It’s not stable, it’s unstable. The German development, the Bundesrepublik model of large cities evenly distributed, is healthier.

          We are sadly s

          • bonbon

            I think you mean To Big to Bail? Well London certainly is.

            Britain in fact pushed the EU, and the Euro to demolish the last traces of nation-state in the region. FF and FG fully supported this geopolitic. Whatever Cameron may appear to say or avoid, this policy will continue as long as the City is not Glass-Steagall’d.

            And I can thoroughly document every detail of this.

        • Deco

          Germany has balanced economic development up to a point. But the German people at least make every effort to aim for it. And mostly it is a matter for the private sector.

          Can’t say tha about many countries. In Britain it is complicated by the fact that none of the three political parties is serious about it. The Tories will not gain from it. And Labour prefer to have sink estates which will always vote for them.

    • cubabm

      “Our future lies in being an equal member of the EU and the wider global community .”

      Dear Aidan,

      you need to wake up and smell the coffee….how can you intimate that we would enter a reality whereby we would be seen or even allowed to be an equal member of the EU no less the wider global community. I believe the past two years has shown us what membership of the EU actually means.

      In the words of George Orwell…”All the animals are equal but some are more equal than others”



      • Eireannach

        Ah yes cubabm,

        But ‘doing things our own way’ in Ireland could be described as a chimpanzees tea party.

        We messed up in Ireland and we’re not going to leave the EZ and EU, even in a referendum people would vote to stay with the standardization, security and stability of the EZ and EU.

        So get used to it – chimpanzees tea party is over. 200,000 empty houses rotting in the fields is the mess that has to be cleaned up.

      • aidanxc


        In the EU we have a vote and, at times, a veto. The problem is that this crisis was never envisaged and therefore the mechanism required to fix it has yet to be fully fleshed out. Per capita we have far more voting rights than the Germans in the running of the EU, also the voting mechanisms for the normal running of the EU require qualified majorities (not just based on share of vote but also on a quorum of EU members). In any case, however imperfect it might be, it is still better than living in the economic influence of a country into whose running we have no input.

  4. Beer_n_Skittles

    This is a piece that really got me thinking. I’m doing a bit of reading on Europe’s Varieties of capitalism and I think you’re on to something much deeper. The basic premise of Hall and Soskice’s (?) argument is that there are two “ideal types” of capitalism; Liberal market economies (LME’s) and Coordinated Market Economies (CME’s).

    They vary quite a bit:
    Finance: fast-paced, short-term relationships with investors for LME’s. Long term and mutually beneficial agreements or partnerships for CME’s.

    Innovation: faced paced, highly expensive projects tied closely to IT and phrmaceuticals (LME). Paced innovation tied to engineering (VW, Audi etc), design and mechanics (CME).

    Production: cheaper labour costs, high staff turnover used for mass production and project-based highly skilled work. Mostly tied to services (LME).

    Long term agreements for hihgly skilled workers. Has a particularly sharp advantage in manufacturing and exporting goods (CME).

    Taxation: Prefer to cater for business by keeping taxation and market regulation low, remainder spread over other channels (individuals etc)(LME’s). Markets are coordinated through taxation and regulation, significant presence of consequence for non compliance (CME).

    The poster boy LME’s in the lit of European VOC have always been Britain and Ireland. Only recently has Poland (among other countries) begun showing signs of moving towards the LME side of the spectrum, a long and difficult task.

    This is why certain types of businesses flock to the UK. They might require specific financial needs, certain taxation incentives or their mode of production just suits an LME better. These factors are simply not present in CME’s (Germany, France, and the Nordic countries). The countries are not worse, they may just be a bad fit.

    If Britain leaves the EU, it could make Liberal Market Economies WITHIN the Union unsustainable. This is because a non-European alternative is near by (geographically).

    I think you’re right, if the UK do leave the Euro, Ireland is given food for thought. It may need to consider its options.

    But further, I think that other Liberal-Leaning market economies will have to weigh the options of either a) Leaving the Union and continuing competitionas an LME or b) Rearranging institutions and begining the long road to the other “ideal”, at the far end of the spcetrum.

  5. Beaver

    Cameron, unlike all the other gutless EU politicians is doing the right thing in attempting to freeze the EU budget. The eurocrats are on ridiculous packages which inclde 56 days holiday a year and higher wages if they have more children and special lowere tax rates because they dont want to pay belgian tax rates. Its a similar trough to the one in the Dail and of course they want it to expand it at the expense of the outsiders.

    • aidanxc

      The percentage of the EU budget which goes on the salaries of eurocrats is miniscule (though, yes, like civil servants here in Ireland and elsewhere they get a good deal compared to the private sector).

      The EU budget funds stuff life roads, schools, research, EU integration, CAP and other such things which have given us all a better quality of life.

      If Cameron actually had some guts he would stand up to the anti-EU brigade within his own party. However, he’s only worried about being re-elected. For the UK to leave the EU it would be akin to economic suicide. They need the EU more than the EU needs them. If they were to leave, Frankfurt would take over as the undisputed financial centre of Europe, American companies would have even more reasons to base themselves in Ireland than the UK and inward investment from China and developing markets would gravitate towards the EU and away from the UK.

      The talks of the UK leaving the EU is just sabre rattling. They throw their rattle out of the pram, nurse their wounded ego (its difficult for them to swallow that the Germans are the economic force within Europe) and then we all get back to business again.

    • Deco

      The EU funds a whole heap of stuff which requires media advertising, and in some cases the EU even helps media funding….compromising coverage of the EU itself.

  6. Kevin Lyda

    Your article essentially makes an argument for more engagement with other countries and institutions besides the UK. We are too dependent on the UK for our economic well-being. The current austerity in the UK – effects hidden till now by the Olympic spending – will be affect Ireland soon enough.

    The EU isn’t perfect, but it’s a bigger and more varied market.

    Going it alone with the UK is more Irish parochial thinking. You’re better than that David.

    • Kevin

      Where did I say we should go with the UK?


      • miec

        Hi David

        You have not stated it directly, however, the implication can be found in the paragraph below:

        “For Ireland, it would mean being part of an enterprise where of the two other countries we joined with in 1973, one isn’t in the euro (Denmark) and one isn’t in the EU (Britain). Far more importantly, it would mean our two major trading partners, the US and the UK, would not be in the same orbit politically and we would be tied to a project which we would be entirely unsuited to economically. Ireland would be a total outlier in terms of economic integration, while culturally we would be in a club with which we share practically nothing.”

        If the UK leave the EU trade can still continue between Ireland and the UK as it does now. The currencies between the two will still be the same, and Ireland can still be a gateway for multi-nationals to set up and trade with the EU. I cannot see how the UK leaving the EU will impact Ireland’s economy but I am open to correction.

        I also fail to understand your point about us having nothing in coming culturally with the EU? Yes we share a common language with the UK, some similar sports, TV, entertainment etc but literature wise Irish culture has been heavily influenced by the French and to some extent Germany. (Yeats, Synge, Beckett, Joyce, etc, etc)

        • bonbon

          The founder of modern Eire, Arthur Griffith, which anyone can view in the United Irishmen broadsheet, quoted Friedrich List of the German Zollverein (Customs Union) as the key economics inspiration for sovereignty. List’s, almost unknown in Eire (hence the Tiger “cluelessness”) :
          American System of Political Economy

          is a direct point-for-point demolishment of British so-called free-trade.

      • wildata

        Hi David,
        Is the cold truth not that as a Country we are finished,and the 4-6 million people on this Island
        will eventually have to become part a “statelet” of Europe, or returm to the British fold.
        Assuming we get out of the current mess in even 10 years the truth is we cannot ever generate the money
        needed for the people now aged 30-50 of this country to retire in any digity.

        • Lord Jimbo

          I think there is a lot of misunderstanding of David’s article, he is merely putting forward the unlikely prospect of the British leaving the EU and stating Ireland has a lot in common with the UK, most especially in trade terms and adds in the issue of the Scottish referendum on independence; the changing geopolitical nature in which Ireland has to operate which is always interesting to entertain, David is hardly proposing we join the Commonwealth :-). Interesting article but would have liked if it had drilled down more into the issues, especially trade numbers, maybe that can be done in a future article. David is spot on when he talks about the changed nature of Irish-British relations, which is something which strikes me very strongly, the improvements since 1997 have been pretty remarkable, probably more achieved in that period than in the previous 400 years.

        • aidanxc

          Wildata, are you just some bot that’s paid to make stupid comments or do you actually believe your own drivel?

  7. Eireannach

    Leopold Kohr, in his excellent book ‘The Breakdown of Nations’, explains very lucidly and convincingly that all federations, where one state or nation is overwhelmingly powerful in comparison to the others, are unstable.

    He cites Switzerland’s canton system, the Austrailan federation and the United States as stable federations, because the constitutent cantons/states are similar enough in size for a stable enough balance of power.

    Europe is not that stable, because Germany and France are so large incomparison to others, but that instability is stabilized somewhat by the power of the French régions, and the balanced nature of regional development in France, as well as the German Bundesrepublik structure of equally-powerful states.

    Which brings me to the ‘British Isles’. England has always been too large and powerful for a stable federation of the British Isles. 52m people in what is the country with the greates density of population in Europe (at 407/km2, it’s even greater that the Netherlands at 405/km2) will always dominate the 4 other parliamentary regions of Ireland, N. Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

    England wants to leave the EU. This has major implications for Scotland, Wales, N. Ireland and Ireland. This is an indication of how unstable the balance of power is in these islands. Englands knows this, which is why it is disinclined to listen to its Celtic periphery, other than make jokes about it.

    We would be better off staying in the EU and leveraging our position as the only English speaking region of the EU, than region a federation of the British Isles dominated, as a long-term fact, by the interests and culture of England, and the south east of England in particular, most people of whom never venture north of the Watford gap in all their lives.

    England, protecting its banks interests, refusing to sign the social chapter and so on is not the path we should follow. If we left the EU they would dominate us again very quickly and they know it.

    • straboe1

      I concur with the views of Leopold Kohr. Our relationship with Great Britain after the Act Of Union was a disaster for us, but I also believe that our entry into the EU had the same consequences. Lokk at how we were treated bt the two big countries Germany and france when we got onto financial difficulties, we were forced to repay all the money nthat was owned by wayward banks to their financial institutions. Examine how people with with little means are being treated as a result. Our community support infrastructure is being decimated, schools hospitals etc. I would ask pople to examine the position of Iceland, a much smaller economy than us, they are doing much better than we are. They are still in control of their own economy, including their fishing rights which are so valuable to them. We are not an independent republic as a lor of people suggest, throuhg bad leadership at all levels in our society we are pawns within a European project, and we have leaders who are afraid to even try to be independent.

      • aidanxc

        We also had to repay the British and US banks (not just the German and French ones)

        • straboe1

          It was the German and French who forced us to cover the banks indiscretions. The Germans at present are conserned about their housing market balooning, yet the people purchasing houses are putting deposits of 25% down on these properties. Yet their financial institution negligently loaned to Irish Banks where these banks were giving mortgages of 100% and more to their clients. The way were have been treated by them is a gisgrace, we should never have had to pay that money back. If only we had decent leaders!

          • Eireannach

            Brian Lenihan made us cover the loses of our banks! The ECB/EU just wants us to stick to that position, taken by Brian Lenihan which was cheekily intended, by the way, to suck in money from other unguaranteed banks in Europe into our banks and recapitalize them in a zero sum selfish gesture that backfired on us.

            Have you forgotten that already?

          • bonbon

            Exactly, and Bundesbank chief Weidmann now this week pours ice water on FG’s rainbow chasing again, that the debts Lenihan and Cowan incurred are not part of the ESM bailout fund!

            Bailing out the banks instead of splitting them up was the greatest crime against the nation-state of Eire ever committed. And who exactly are the “unsecured” bondholders one might ask?

          • straboe1

            It’s easy to say thet Brian Lenihan is to blame for our predicament, eventually we will find out in the long run, that the super powers in Europe put so much pressure on our government that they eventually had not got the balls to resist what was happening. For a long time we have had weak leaders who are not capable of standing up for the citizens of this country. Again I ask people to examine what happened in Iceland.

  8. gizzy

    I think it is fair to ask the question what would happen if the UK left. The EU is a fairly cold place at the moment as it is. The Germans and Dutch have in built superiority complexes that do not lend themselves to open healty economic or financial union. The French have it too but it is a bit superficial.The UK from their past and still to some degree had the same complex but it may be waning. The Germans and Dutch do not like to be challenged by the Brits but that challenge is vital to any sort of healthy union. What will the EU be like if they leave and we stay in as insignificant member on the periphery of Europe. I don’t know the answer but the question is worth asking.

    • Eireannach

      I think if we had a referendum in Ireland – do you want to remain in the EU or leave the EU alongside the UK? – the vote to remain in the EU would be +60%.

      • Ravished By The Sheer Implausibility Of That Last Statement

        or we would continue to vote on the same issue until that desired outcome was obtained

  9. Eireannach

    BTW have the Englih eurosceptics approached their Irish/Scottish/Welsh counterparts to discuss their plans if and when they leave the EU?

    Have the English eurosceptics put much thought into how this will effect ‘the Celtic periphery’?

    I very much doubt it. Now THAT is a sign of things to come if we leave the EU!

    • Ravished By The Sheer Implausibility Of That Last Statement

      Little Englanders have as much chance of leaving the EU voluntarily as Texas does of seceding from the Union

      • All of Texas yes. But Texas negotiated a right on joining the US to be able to split into 5 equal parts if it so chose later. Technically then those 4 new subdivisions would have to be added as new States into the Union. This implies they wouldn’t be US States at the outset as the previous State of Texas would no longer cover the existing territory.
        Time to review your chances comparative?

        • bonbon

          These issues were settled at great cost at Gettysburg.

          The EU was never a nation-state – the root of the entire problem. 2 attempts to define a constitution – “life liberty and property for the banks” were voted down by founding members France and the Netherlands.

  10. DC

    Actions and Consequences.

    Some of the issues exercisng politicans in the UK are as follows.

    The possible high level of unemployment resulting from loss of trade with EU members and the effects of the exit on international investment.

    U.K financial services industry may encounter a number of restrictions and face massive shrinkage.

    The imposition of trade Tarrifs by the EU.

    FDI investment (especially in manufacturing) may be curtailed due to lack of direct access to EU markets.

    On the flip side of the coin the UK could focus on trade ties with the BRIC economies, Africa, Australia, Canada and the USA – the engines of growth in the next 20 years. Maybe the commonwealth instead of the EU may hold the key for UK growth and prosperity.

    The damage in Prestige and Finances to the EU would be considerable, and the scottish independence issues only complicates the matter.

  11. KD

    Hi all,
    For the last circa 35 years of my conscious life I have watched with interest at the persistence of people to continuously superimpose their internal model of the world on the reality. So when I hear things like we should have more engagement with other countries and institutions besides the UK, I have to smile.

    Fact #1: We have been a member of the EEC, EC and now EU for 40 odd years. If we have not managed to engage with the other countries at this stage, then I doubt we will have a paradigm shift over the space of a couple of years. So the question we have to ask, and ANSWER, is “Why?”. This is what I think David is getting at. As he has had to note twice now, he is not suggesting that we “hitch our wagon to the UK”.
    Fact #2: We have made no inroads in learning other languages and it’s unlikely this is going to change significantly. So again, “Why is this the case?”. It’s certainly not from lack of opportunity. My opinion on this is: English is the language of commerce, and since the UK, USA, Australia and half of Canada are 1st world English speaking countries, then this is where we naturally go as a first port of call to develop new markets and emigrate. So people are naturally lazy and why go through the hard work of learning a new language when you don’t have to.
    Fact #3: Notwithstanding our fraught history with England, there is no getting away for the fact that geographically and culturally we are closer to the UK than the EU mainland. No amount of mental contortion changes this fact. Eireannach makes a very good point on the fact that even within England (not even the UK) it is reasonable to suggest that there are cultural divides. But in the context of wider Europe, then we certainly appear very similar. I’ve often wondered if a random person from central or southern Europe can distinguish between persons from Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales. I doubt they would even pick up on accent difference. And we are immersed in “English” culture: TV, literature and sport. Go into any pub in any part of Ireland, rural or urban, and the Primiership will be showing on the TV.

    So David’s article is timely and, maybe, for the first time, Ireland can have a full and thorough debate about the our place in the world and the best strategy to deal with, and take advantage of, both current and possible future realities.

    • aidanxc

      “We have made no inroads in learning other languages” ??? What college/school have you been to recently and what are you comparing to 40 years ago??? There has been massive progress in building closer links with other EU countries notwithstanding the inclination of people to gravitate towards those with whom they share a common language. There are Irish communities across Europe (Brussels, Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris, Madrid etc etc) which hardly existed (with the exception of Paris) 40 years ago.

      English is the language of commerce but you don’t see the Swiss or Dutch or Japanese advocating some sort of special arrangement with the UK! We need to get over the past and stand on our own two feet. We can have whatever cultural links we want/don’t want with the UK without having to sacrifice our economic well-being and our independence. If, as you contend, people from certain parts of Europe couldn’t tell the difference between us and the British then that is because we are still crawling out from under shadow of the UK. If we dilute our identity with the UK’s then we will lose as London is seen as the epicentre of the UK. Do you want Ireland to be like Wales?? We’d end up with a distinct identity on only 4 days of the year – i.e when we play England, Wales, France and Scotland in rugby.

      The notion of doing something as backwards as regressing back to pre-1973 beggars belief.

      • KD

        Answering you last comment first, I did not suggest that we revert back “pre-1973″. Similar to David, I’m only asking the question. On that, I don’t know what is the best course of action for Ireland.

        On the language issue: I lecture in one of those universities! And we have joint agreements between both European and US universities for study abroad years. And here is the interesting thing: we started with a French university and the uptake was as expected. Since we broadened it to some US colleges we now have had to apply a quota system. Now that’s a small sample to infer generalisations, but my empirical observation is that the evidence is there: our students have poor language skills. (By the way, so are mine and from what I see, so are many of my other academic acquaintances). I agree it’s much better than 30 years ago, but in absolute terms it’s still poor. Also, since I’m in engineering, I get to observe where our graduates end up: UK (engineering, financial services and graduate study), Canada, Australia and the US (primarily graduate school). And to finish on this point, take a look at the evolution of the European universities: many are moving to delivering their bachelor degree programs to English – which lends credence to your suggestion that better links are possible with the EU. However, since these developments are market driven, it is fair to infer that the move to English delivered degrees in the EU bolsters my point about English. Again, these are only my personal observations.

        I would distinguish between “cultural links” and “cultural similarities”. Of course we can develop cultural links: my point is not about developing cultural links, but economic links. And, I think is a fact that the strong individual and corporate tendency is to take the easiest and most comfortable route to markets. After all, our graduates would surely find travelling to France, Germany, etc. much easier that Australia or Canada.

        I agree with your comments about identity – but that’s not my point. (In fact I suspect that we would agree very much on the issue of identity). You can look at any system at any resolution you like – finding the appropriate one is the key. And asking these hard (and given the debate inspired here by David’s article, they clearly are hard and deep) questions about our real relationships with all our national neighbours. Like I said, the question is “Why it is so?” rather that “it should be so”.

        • bremlin

          I work as an engineer in Germany. Acceptance of foreign degrees is much better than it was 15 years ago. At that time an Irish Bachelor of Engineering was considered significantly inferior in Germany/Switzerland than their Diplom Ingenieur. The Bologna process gutted German technical education and now employers are sceptical of any young graduates no matter where they’re from. There is continuous moaning from political circles and employers about skills shortages but I think this is just because they want to force engineering wages down even further.

          I first worked for a US multinational here and most of the non-Germans were given private German classes to get them up to speed on the language. It took about two years to get to a useful level. I recruit US and Canadian students on a student exchange program and we organize German language courses for them. Some learn, some don’t, all get by pretty well. There’s some bashing of the language skills of Irish people but we tend to get along better with foreign languages than other anglophones when we have to.

          So many of the Master’s courses here are in English and have low fees or no fees. There are plenty of cities where student accommodation is quite affordable and I would recommend any young Irish engineer to complete their Bachelor in Ireland before doing a Masters in Germany. Employers here quite like English mother tongue engineers that speak good German. Ireland needs such people at home, to sell our products abroad and even just to source parts at a cheaper price than the UK middleman.

          • bonbon

            You are exactly right with “I think this is just because they want to force engineering wages down even further”. There is an incredibly destructive “competition” with dumping cost tenders for engineering services using various terror methods (India etc). This “effort” is because of the Euro. The really stunningly stupid aspect is those engineers support the very cause of this gutting of a powerful engineering economy.
            I won’t even mention, yet, the suicidal destruction of the nuclear industry.

      • gizzy

        Now exactly how are we standing on our own two feet at the moment. We are on our knees and begging.

        • aidanxc

          Get up and stand on your two feet and stop this incessant defeatism. Ireland would be much better of without the many Joe-Duffy-type moaners on this forum. Seriously, I have never come across such a collection of wimps and quitters. We need to take control of the situation – no that doesn’t require a coup in the Dail! It’s not like we are in a war or a famine – yes, things are tough but they have been much worse in the past. If our great grandparents could see us they’d be embarrassed by the level of whinging going on.

    • Eireannach

      I speak fluent French, my younger brother speaks German and Swedish. But all my adult life I have marvelled at the general lack of curiosity of the majority of the Irish people RE: learning foreign languages. Even Irish.

      The passion just isn’t there – for Irish (ok, more and more it is, thank God), French (people still think oh-là-là is enough), Germany (the ‘Nazi’ language), etc. etc.

      The passion for English premiership soccer, on the other hand, is there.

      If the Irish spent as much time learning European languages as they spend following the ins and outs of signings and transfers in the English league (while we have our own soccer league that they don’t support), we would be turning the corner, in terms of morale and self-confidence at least.

      Instead, posters here want to take the past of least resistence back to the UK, because that’s what leaving the EU will mean, even if the bawk talk PR is about how it isn’t, that’s what it’ll be. Our punt nua will be pegged to sterling and we’ll be back where we were before 1979.

      The ‘pressure’ (because there’s no passion) to learn European languages would dissipate, and England could look at us as a backward version of them again, that never experienced the industrial revolution.

      So we’d be the cute Ballykissangel place that used to speak Gaelic ‘but have entered the modern world now’.

      • bonbon

        Anyone who has lived in the UK can tell you that spoken English is a study in itself! In fact the only ones who can correctly pronounce Shakespeare is us Irish! The Royals prefer Brutish, if you get my drift, and mumble. And Cameron – get him to recite Shakespeare!

        So pick up a Shakespeare sonnet or play and speak it out – that’s a sound “rte” and “bbc” would never allow.

        And I did not even mention French and German, yet…

    • Eireannach


      RE: the fact that we speak English, let me make one important point.

      Saying we speak English and hence have stronger ties with the Anglophone world is what our teachers called, in my secondary school….

      …. an EXCUSE FOR LAZINESS!…. :)

      I’m with aidanxc all the way.

      Going back to the UK is an ‘excuse for laziness’.

      England will have a great laugh. Unlike the French and Germans, who see a charm and poignancy in our donkeys-and-turf PR marketing, the English see us as a pathetically inept wanna-be version of them.

      If we leave the EU to buddy up with them, it’ll go straight to their head because it’ll prove their stereotypes of Ireland right all along!

      We’d be wanna-be English again. Hip hip hurrah! Three cheers for the failed cosmopolitan European Irish. Oh dear, oh dear! Guffaw, guffaw!

    • Deco

      Most important language. Just learn how to speak it intelligently. I don’t mean with a Ross O’Carroll Kelly accent, or sounding like an Oxford graduate. I mean so that it is clear, understandable and accurate. And the other half of that is to be able to listen. To be able to grasp the essentials of the situation at hand. Now, surprisingly enough, not enough people do this.

      Second most important language – Mathematics. Maths is a series of expression of principles for understanding complex phenomena.

      After that, perhaps German or Spanish. German, for commercial existence on the continent. Or Spanish because it is so widely spoken in the Americas.

      • Adam Byrne

        Precisely! If you cannot speak your own mother tongue correctly (and there are plenty who can’t) then you are doomed!

        Listening is also an art form in decline. Too many people like the sound of their own voice, especially when they are talking absolute, uneducated, pompous nonsense. There are smart people around that we can learn from if we just shut up for a minute and listen!

        As for languages, I speak Hungarian which was difficult to learn but I don’t think I will be using it much in the future (although you never know). I’m moving onto Spanish next year for exactly the reason you mentioned Deco, as I’ll be heading back to the Caribbean in a couple of years. French is also useful there and I did that in school so I have some latent knowledge. Spanish was quite easy as compared to Hungarian when I did a few classes a couple of years ago. It helps that the grammar is mostly regular and it’s completely phonetic. Looking forward to it!

        Switch off ‘I’m a celebrity’, put down the ‘can a’ Bud’ and get on that BBC language site that Philip recommended is what I suggest – but will they? – NO!

        • bonbon

          The Bard, Shakespeare, is the best medicine – speak out some of his works, it is amazing that current English speakers have trouble.

  12. Sensitivity

    I think this article is fantastic and for many reasons. It is written as a basis of facts before us and draws selective historical analysis that make a lot of sense .It allows the reader to think for themselves and does not direct the reader with any answer for a direction to take . Why should he ?

    On observation of the critics above maybe when David said : ‘

    ‘I sense the anti-British feeling or insecurity with respect to Britain has diminished hugely in this country since the 1970s’ .

    Maybe it hasn’t but still the critics watch their British soaps like addicted whelps .

    • aidanxc

      Fantastic??? Maybe Fatalistic…

      If I don’t advocate a tie-up with Spain does that make me anti-Spanish? I don’t think so. However, if I don’t advocate a tie-up with the UK that somehow makes me anti-British!! It’s good to see that double standards are alive and well.

      It appears to me that the Sunday-Independent mindset has come to dominate the thinking of many of the chattering class. i.e. wouldn’t everything be frightfully jolly if we were part of the UK??

      Where is the rational thinking, where is the learning from the past, where is the clear understanding of the current situation?

      Ireland needs to assert its position in a highly globalised economy where the internet has erased many boundaries and we are no longer bound to our nearest geographical neighbour.

      Our identity is a national asset which (for those who need to be so crass and money-focused) can be of real economic benefit to this country. Why subscribe for an English-lite, ‘I-can’t-believe-it’s-not-England’ identity when we can have our own?

      Ye of little faith!

      • Eireannach


        Precisely. John Allen, you’d be happy with a future Ireland that could be descibed quite succinctly, if acerbically, as:

        ‘A bogger England’.

        So we’d have little Englanders, having a great laugh and even littler Father Ted bogger Englanders, called ‘d’Oirish’.

        I followed Beckett and Joyce to Paris. There are 1000s of other Irish like me. We see Ireland as more than England with de few cúpla focail to make de difference.

        Oh ye of little vision! Of ye who lack good cheer!

        Cheery my hearts! Stout-heartedly, I entreat ye to have courage. We have pulled down the signage in miles, our signs are in Kilometres. We are in the EZ. We are in Europe. Our destiny lies in Europe, not in the old C19th British Empire.

        • wildata

          Sadly all we had to do in the 20′s was mind the place and paint everything green.
          Instead we wrecked the place, and in our embarassment joined Europe.
          The Brit’s are a lot more forgiving that the Europe we are in, and at least understand Father Ted !

          As d’Oirish we have earned our Caps !

          Our Destiny might well be in Europe, but not as a Sovereign State………..
          We cannot run a Sovereign state.

          • wildata

            A sovereign state is a political organization with a centralized government that has supreme independent authority over a geographic area.[1] It has a permanent population, a government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states.[2] It is also normally understood to be a state which is – READ THIS – neither dependent on nor subject to any other power or state.

          • Eireannach

            Obviously we’ll be a constituent state in the federal state of Europe.

            How on earth can there be anybody left in Ireland who doens’t understand that of course we are pooling our soverignty in Europe, like everyone else?

            What a backward country. We all wake up now, in 2012, and feign surprise that the EU is becoming a federal state? Un-be-lievable.

            We will be a federal state of the EU or tied to sterling and a federation of the Britsh Isles, which will be utterly dominated by the dark arts of the City of London financiers.

            Take your pick. I chose the EU.

          • aidanxc

            Woe is you!

            Yes, we can run a sovereign state. If having a house bubble and bust was indicative of not being able to run a sovereign state then Japan, Finland, USA etc might as well throw the towel in and ask someone else to run their countries.

            Yes, we have problems but we have the wherewithal to fix them if we just stop moaning and self-flagellating ourselves and just get on with the job at hand.

            We live in a time of incredible opportunity and yet too many people have already quit. If we were living back in the Famine days then I might not be so upbeat but the world is our oyster if we just look up and seize the opportunity.

          • bonbon

            @Eireannach : It is amazing to use that trick – seemingly sovereign, and then push Sir Oswald Moseley’s United States of Europe. How can anyone soil the nation state of Eire with the brown (black shirt) British imperial drive to destroy every nation state nearby? And with fluent Gaelge – the ultimate insult!

            The “federal state of europe” is pure fascism as we see now with the policies of that Golem in Greece. One must be totally insane to promote such a “state”.

  13. wildata

    Hi All,
    Is the cold truth not that as a Country we are finished, a litle like the small corner shop and the Multiple ?
    The 4-6 million people on this Island will eventually
    run out of money to fund a state, and have to become part a “statelet” of Europe, or return to the British fold.

    Assuming we get out of the current mess in even 10 years the truth is we cannot ever generate the money
    needed for the people now aged 30-50 of this country to retire in any dignity.

    Nobody owes a few million incompetent fools, especially those prepared to repeatedly elect crooks and fools, a living.

    We are out of road. A failed state run by crooks almost from day one, the silence on the Pensions Time Bomb in the Media says it all.

    Our current Political and Economic “Leaders” are simply prepared to let all slide once the leather runs smooth on the EU passenger Seat.

    They will borrow all they can to maintain the insane salaries and pensions they are on, for as long as they can make it last.

    Already the best paid in the world many salaries are multiplied by a factor of 3-10, when you consider that many peoples pensions funds would need to be in the region of 2-3 million. This for people who never earned a million in thier entire working life !

    35% at least of the country are in this category, the silent cute hoors who know which side the bread is buttered on.

    The “Media” never publishes straight out figures on who earns what, and what the real cost of thier remumeration is, recently a thoughtful report on how our pensions commitment will cost 100-300 Billion in
    the period of the next 15-40 years was quitely shelved.

    • Eireannach

      If you are Irish and you are self-reliant, you’ll be ok.

      Look at all the craft breweries and other export-oriented, productive startups. These type of businesses are very encouraging and I salute, support and celebrate them all, as stout-hearted, self-reliant souls.

      The lazy gravy-train Ireland of getting your bum on a cosy seat in the civil service, Dail, etc. is definitely running out of road and in trouble, the same way a lazy overeater who doesn’t exercise eventually gets fat for all the world to see.

      This country is divided in two – one half are out jogging every night, zooming past clad in lycra on their racing bikes every weekend and so on.

      The other half is going all the way downhill.

      It’s a matter of choice. The comfort zone is disappearing very fast, however.

      It was always going to come to this.

      Choose self-reliance.

      • bonbon

        “self reliance” – the Mussolini model so beloved of the Time magazine that they put Enda’s mug on display. Mussolini’s “community” and “self-reliance” were hailed by that very same mag. in the 1930′s.

        Brewing beer and cleaning bio-sess pits is not a future for Eire. Dump this British “small is beautiful” diktat.

  14. Irish Community

    We Irish have changed as a community in our own country and the old Irish that we were is now no more .The genetic pool is new so are the languages spoken . The business alliances are more numerous and along many new ethnic lines .

    Those of us that never emigrated yet have done so by implication by staying in Ireland and without learning any foreign language . They will be the new poor of tomorrow unless they have political party support .

    • wildata

      John, there is a terrible reality coming, in 20 years 4-X million “Irish” on a rock in the North Atlantic, trying to be part of a Europe with dramatically reduced world influence, and totally strapped for money.

      This population will be forced to live on about 40%
      of what is considered considered “Managing Income” in todays terms.

      The older part of this population will live on half that, and of course the young and able will be long gone.

      To avoid this future we need to embrace the UK, and the U.S. and stop kidding ourselves we have any true
      empathy with Europe. After 40 years we are little more than ze “Cabbage Heads” in the minds of most Germans.
      The French could not care less about us,or we them,
      some footballer had a “hand” in this.

      As for the newer Baltic and Eastern States, all have had dreadful experiences or Irish bigotery and greed relayed to them by mistreated migrants returning from the Celtic Feline.
      Think Eurovison Song Contest if you doubt this.
      We ain’t winners no more.

      English is our Language and mindset, period, agreed we need to / should change it, but we will not..

      Sadly this will all play out and little will ever change.

      The total RESET of the Irish culture, both Politically and Socially, that is necessary to avoid this is not even a cloud on the far horizon.

      Apologies for odd line breaks – new to this.

      • Eireannach

        You’re a coward wildata.

        The French, who I speak to every week in my job en français, have a President who is defending our demand for a bank debt deal.

        Our greatest champion in Europe right now is Hollande, not Cameron!

        You can’t speak any European language so you feel left out, as well you should. If you spoke any European language you’d have a good job tomorrow.

        Retreating wounded to the English-speaking world will not be met with a warm hug from the Brits, but with a wave of sniggering into pints all over the UK.

        • ”L’Etat c’est moi”

          Alors Allors ……hmm Hollande must rid France of its statism first before it can reclaim any new Bank arrangement .The French language needs new borrowed words to make that happen .

          • Eireannach


            I’m a true blue Dub. You use a few crap pathetic expressions in the French language to characterise a huge multi-ethnic country that is 675,000 km2, compared to 85,000km2 of the island of Ireland and 230,000km2 of the island of Britain.

            That makes France exactly twice as large as Britain and Ireland COMBINED.

            That makes France the size of two British Isles’s!

            And you think ‘l’Etat c’est moi’ or ‘oh-là-là’?

            Is it any wonder you want to hide away down in rural Ireland from the effects of being in a union with that country, when your knowledge of it, its awesome size, it’s marked regional differences, from the plains of the Loire Valley to the craggy peaks of the Alps, is ‘l’Etat c’st moi’.

            But there’s nowhere to hide John. Rural Ireland had its boom, and built houses like drunks all over the place, including on flood plains.

            France has 56 nuclear reactors and a barrage of nuclear weapons.

            Which to you think will be more influential in future, rural Ireland of France?

          • Argot may have inspirations , ‘ a ciel ourvert’ …’ a cote de ses pompes’ , ‘ a’ l’envers’ etc

      • Roaring Bay

        Currently , I am studying the conspiracy of the ethnic cleansing of Baltimore ( Co. Cork ) by Morat Rais ,a Turk pirate , in 1630 and the gang that he colluded with on land to achieve that end and the slavery that followed and their destination to Algiers a cosmopolitan city in its time .

        This story resonates with today only this time we know that the conspirators were The Irish Government and The Mandarins .

      • aidanxc

        What a load of whimpering, surrender-talk!

        You know, we are 7th or 8th in the world for quality of life – that’s not bad for a country that lost half its population though famine and emigration 160 years ago. As a nation we have made incredible progress despite the current economic woes. They will pass. We just need to step up to the plate and take the challenge.

        • wildata

          Same self servng waffle that Irish politicians perfected over years.
          The brutal truth is if we had not lost half our Population, we would have foundered, just like today we MUST send them away.
          As a nation we have made little progress,
          We still suffer;
          IGNORANCE and RACISM
          30 % OFFICIAL POVERTY

          We are little more than a loose collection of interest groups, all out for number one.

          • aidanxc

            Well, I can’t disagree with some of your points as you are a great example of it yourself e.g IGNORANCE.

            Your figure on poverty is INCORRECT. See here

            Racism?? You should go live in the UK, France, South Africa, Australia, USA to get an idea of racism. We are a tranquil oasis compared to those countries.

            Who needs an army?

            We didn’t run up a debt – the banks (private institutions) did. Need I go on??

            As for your point – ‘no sense of national spirit..’ – well, speak for yourself.

          • Eireannach

            You’re some cry-baby wildata.

            I employ people in Ireland because it’s a rich country, with a comfortable standard of living.

            You’re like a Joe Duffy caller on cocaine, blabbering your cry-baby sob story.

            We’re doing ok in Ireland, tedious lazy whingers like yourself notwithstanding.

          • aidanxc

            Well said Eireannach.

    • France has lost its triple A rating , it is heavily taxed , hostile to capitalism , labour market is heavily regulated , entrepreneurs are discouraged under the existing regime, famous wealthy entrepreneurs are contemplating leaving , many famous French entertainers have already left for Geneve , too many strikes , youth unemployment over 25% , serious bainlieu social issues , largest non Christian ethnic group in Europe , political corruption with the elite is common-place , state employees spend and live like the Monarchy of Louis IV, social welfare scheme is a ponzi scheme , poor competitiveness etc

      Hollande has a mammoth task ahead and speaking French does not make it easier .

      • Eireannach

        France has problems – you don’t say?

        Does the UK have problems?

        Does Ireland have problems?

        Will we stay in the EU with France and 25 others, or (re)join the UK outside the EU?

        I know which outcome I’d prefer.

        We’ve accepted the euro, we’ve accepted the kilometre. Let’s finish the job, rather than try and go back to what we already know. That to me is the choice of people who have lost confidence in the future, in our future.

        I say stay the course, don’t lose heart and try and go back to some imagined comfort zone.

        • Ronan71

          Speak for yourself about accepting k/mh, I find it ridiculous that this was foisted on us when the one land border in the country is to the North where all signs are in mph.

          Also if you want to move to the UK with your car (assuming it was made post 2005) you often have to spend substantial money getting a mph speedo fitted otherwise it won’t pass the MOT in the UK. Genius! After all motoring isn’t nearly as expensive as it should be in this country (tongue firmly in cheek…)

          Frankly I don’t want to be more integrated with the Germans or the French, and not necessarily with the UK either but take the course of action that suits Ireland’s interests (selfish and all as that might seem) best. Through trying to be good little Europeans we now have no control over our economy, no currency of our own, (I seemed to remember the punt worked just fine for me), and are constantly reminded about how massively overpaid we are compared to other countries who happen to have average costs of living 20-30% less than ours.
          If the price of staying the course with the Euro and all that comes with it is decades of low growth austerity then no thanks! I’d rather the country take a chance and see what happens. Iceland had to guts to and it seems to have been the right path.

          • Eireannach

            Ok Ronan, moving to the Kilometre doesn’t suit you.

            You maybe reckon we ought to leave the EU alongside the UK, go back to the mile and the punt and the rest of it.

            Fair enough, everyone is entitled to a view.

            We’ll have a referendum on this question some day, I’m sure of it.

  15. Norman Speight

    There is widespread hatred of the EU in the UK. This, of course, is fostered by the right-wing press who always play up to perceived views in all areas. Nevertheless, that, on its own, doesn’t mean that it is necessarily wrong. People in the UK pay an average of some £300 each for the privilege of being in the EU for very little return. We (like the Irish) hand over monies in VAT, in import duties from non-EU countries, we also have to submit to European Court judgements including no right to appeal against the dreaded European Arrest Warrant (doesn’t require any proof of the offence, or indeed, any evidence to be brought before a Court of Law prior to extradition) a particular point of abrasion for English people. So what’s the benefit? Trade? Well, that presumes that the UK couldn’t trade, or would find trade difficult if they were not in the EU. Really? Why? the UK trades more with countries who are non-EU than it does with the EU. Indeed, it is currently pushing for more trade with China – and it will get it. Just what has Ireland gained from being in the EU? Well, grants and loans it is true. But has Ireland’s economic condition improved as a result? I can’t see it, but then I’m English (therefore prejudiced I point out).
    I think the UK WILL leave. I also think that the EU will become increasingly economically problematic. Why? well, how many ‘meetings have the ‘Leaders’ had, how many ‘agreements’ More to the point with how much success? Judge by the evidence, not the promises I say. Or, as the French would say
    “Pas Delle yo Rhone cas nous.”

    • Eireannach

      Weighing up the pros and cons of EU membership.

      I think in these budgets talks, Germany and its allies will simplify the matter for you.

      Basically f**k off nobody cares what you think anymore.

      Now, your move.

      • wildata

        Hi Eireanach,
        Coward ? no Work ? sorry, plenty of Work, and not retreating into the English Speaking world, I COME FROM THE ENGLISH SPEAKING WORLD.
        And not ashamed to admit it, like many Europhiles, you detest the real Ireland, which was about people and community,a Society not an Economy.

        Drunks ? You forget you are on a piece of space rock with a timer ticking, drunk is not a bad thing now and again !!!!

        Good luck with the 56 nuclear reactors, and as for the nukes, Paris is the only Capital that capitulated without a shot fired in WW2.

        Saved by US and UK and IRISH lives and they are SO desperate to forget the embarrasment of it, they are still licking German A***s, rather than look the English speaking world in the eye.

        I would say f**k off, but you already have.
        When the French repeat Vichy, they will send you home,
        hope Norman Spreights lot will have you, there will be nothing here for you.

        • Johno

          And lets not forgot about Henrys handball! Dasterds the lot of them!

        • Eireannach

          Well wildata,

          In the future, if, or more like when, the UK leaves the EU, Scotland, Ireland (North and South) and Wales will have to think about how to react, what to do, etc.

          In Ireland, our speedometers and road signs are in Kilometres now. We’ve gone metric, the UK hasn’t. Somehow I don’t think it will. We’re in the EZ, and the UK most definitely will not be joining the EZ.

          The question will come before the Irish.

          Will it be onward into deeper EU integration?

          Or will it be back to the mile, back to the pound (or ‘punt’ for de cúpla focail), and reversing DMcW’s use of that English expression ‘hello again to all that [sic]‘.

          We voted for Lisbon. We voted for the fiscal compact. Will we accept a banking union in Ireland? Maybe losing our corporation tax? But gaining the benefits of being inside a mega-market for the long term.

          Clearly, I want us to stay in the EU. We’ve walked this path, there was a few major hiccups when the EZ started, but onward to greater integration and balancing of regions. That’s how they do it in France and Germany, so that’s the model they’ll have for the whole EU – balanced regional development.

          I’m a democrat so I accept what the Irish vote for. So far, they’ve voted for more EU. Will that change when the UK leaves the EU? We’ll see.

        • Eireannach

          I live in Ireland Wildata, I’m setting up Game of Thrones Tours, film locations tours in Northern Ireland.

          I’m from Dublin and this is my country too.

          You’re an Anglophile, I’m not.

          I’m the type who accepted the support of the Jacobins in 1798, then fought in 1916 while you were off with Tommy in the trenches.

    • Eireannach

      Of course, it’s England and the English that won’t to leave the EU, not the Scots and Welsh so much.

      But in England, England-Britain-UK is still the same thing, because these marginal rocky peninsulas are not that important really, are they?

      Which is why the Scots have a referendum on continuing UK membership.

      The easiest part will be goading the English to leave the EU. Easy-peasy.

    • transitionman

      I agree with you”I think the UK WILL leave. I also think that the EU will become increasingly economically problematic. Why? well, how many ‘meetings have the ‘Leaders’ had, how many ‘agreements’ More to the point with how much success”
      Where is the EU economic growth? The debt problems of Greece Spain Portugal Italy? Debt that cant be paid wont be paid. Foisting austerity and federal united europe on the citizens has no democratic mandate. The institution cannot be funded by Germany alone. Eventually we will default on the debt. By that time our political classes will have sold us the United EU solution ?
      Look down the dark road of Climate Change Peak Oil and economic collapse before you you think the cycle will right itself in 10 years time. The boom is getting boomier.

  16. Tony Brogan

    For a discussion as to whether to join or leave this or that organization It may be instructive to know who runs the various clubs, and how and why they do so.

  17. MediaBite

    Some bonkers responses to the article here. To leave the EU could not possibly be to revert to ‘pre 1973′ Ireland – a silly thing to say. The world has indeed moved on. Most alarming thing here is the tunnel-visioned Europhile nature of some comments. It may take ‘some years’ to get to the EU utopia from here? Even if it is possible, who the hell is gong to pay for it along the way?

    • Eireannach

      Ireland outside the EU would be utopia, would it?

      With Sinn Féin or FF in government.

      I know exactly how difficult we’re having it right now, but I say stay the EU course.

      I’d say a majority of Irish would vote to stay in the EU in a referendum.

  18. Philip

    To be honest, I really do not think it matters one whit if UK leaves or stays. The importance of a nation state is not what it once was.

    I love Europe and the UK. I’ll still be visiting them and trading with them as before.

    We need to move away from this idea of trading blocks and stop looking outside at short term solutions to retain some vestige of a status quo. Are we to rusk to the apron strings of the UK for some vestige of protection…or equally to the EU becasue it is a bigger trading block. It’s cobblers. Ireland needs to not give a $hit and aim to keep its links with everyone and focusing on building itself – we have a lot to do. Emigrate and come back when you have learned a few languages and skills and bring back business, links and ideas – UK or EU or anywhere else for that matter.

    Daft article.

  19. Pat Flannery


    The reason “52pc of all our EU imports come from Britain” as you say, is because we are on the U.K. electrical system and drive on the left side of the road like them. Try getting an Irish agency for almost any international product they will tell you that you must buy from their U.K. distributor.

    This means that the U.K. has a built-in monopoly on the sale and distribution of all automotive, computer and consumer electronics into Ireland together with all after sales service and spare parts. They are not our biggest trading partner; they remain, as they always were, a profiteering middleman, a nation of shopkeepers, with Ireland as their captive customer.

    We should not only stay in the EU we should switch our power supply and road systems to EU and US standards and get out from under the UK’s gatekeeping stranglehold. The savings in direct trade with China and elsewhere would pay for the transition in very short order and be a great economic stimulus effecting the transition. It would open up the E.U. “used” market and enable many start-up Irish SMEs to buy quality used French and German cars and all kinds of manufacturing and business equipment.

    • Ronan71

      Ok, so you might save a bit by cutting out the UK middleman when buying certain equipment/cars/products/etc, but in order to do so you would have to rebuild significant chunks of the motorway network and all major road junctions (realign slip roads, lights, merge lanes, etc), rebuild or replace most buses as well as swap over the steering wheel (unless letting passengers off into oncoming traffic is your thing), complete the job the greens started when they changed the rule on car tax in 2008 of destroying the second hand value of the 2 million plus cars already on the road which are right hand drive, have complicated junctions at the border with the north for changing traffic sides (as they have to have for example between Hong Kong and China), change all car park entry and exit systems, and that’s just off the top of my head. “Cheap second hand cars from Germany or France”??? Only if VRT is scrapped, which isn’t going to happen! Plus it would put pressure on people to change their cars for no good reason.

      I’m sure the rate of accidents would soar too for the first couple of years. Would be great for a few months in summer for the US tourists in the west though, pity about the people who live there!

      I’m sure people would not mind changing every phone charger, plug, and possibly every TV, appliance and so on just to meet a common standard to get away from the UK (just for the sake of it, it seems), or at least buy enough adaptors, step up or down transformers, and so on to keep harvey norman happy for a generation.

      Yes on balance it makes sense to completely rebuild existing and well established infrastructure to cut out the UK middleman, bound to bring in huge cost savings… Yes the Swedes swapped from driving on the left to the right in 1967 but it took a major program of education, preparation and so forth to do it, and the number of cars on the road in 1967 in Sweden then was a fraction of the number today, and the road system was not nearly as complicated or extensive. Plus the change had been flagged for years and people gradually changed cars to LHD models over time. Plus they had a good reason to do it, as the countries they have land borders with all drove on the right.

      I think the point being missed here by a country mile is why would Ireland have to choose the EU or the UK. I’m sure a free trade/work/travel agreement would persist with the UK (as it should given how connected the countries are, to pretend otherwise is frankly living in denial) while we continue in the EU.

      I’d say a majority of the Irish population would vote to stay in the EU, not sure if I would be one of them if I’m honest, but a significant minority probably would not, so to then ignore their point of view would be unfair considering the principle of proportional representation in Irish democracy.

      Personally I’d like either an independent Ireland with control of it’s own currency and domestic policy (which we don’t have) with free trade and travel with both Europe and the UK and not under the thumb of either! Seems to me a bit of an insult to those who fought for independence from the UK to simply swap London for Berlin, which is how I see it frankly.

      • Eireannach

        If the UK leaves the EU, Ireland of course has to chose between falling under the sphere of influence of either the peripheral UK, or the EZ core.

        Currently, we are in the core. We have not shifted our mindset fully to the core – as your remarks about how awkward the change to Kmhs has been – but we are in the core, for now.

        If we leave, we do not get to have our own system of measurement, we go with metric or imperial, end of. Our punt nua will be pegged to sterling, as our exporters will insist on stability.

        We are too small to be do anything other than orbit a neighbouring star. Will it be Britain, dominated by England and London, or the core EZ?

        A policy of so-called ‘independence’ show typical Celtic Tiger hubris, a lack of realpolitik, a delusional sense of self-importance and a lack of geopolitical noos.

        • Ronan71

          I think we will have to agree to disagree, I don’t think much would change for us if the Uk left the eu, it might actually help us to be a middleman in terms of trade between the eu and the uk, who knows.
          I personally think metrically for most things anyway, my point is why change the measurements of distance in use when the other part of our island wasn’t going to? Purely a sop to the EU.
          More importantly it still seems ridiculous to me that I can go to Spain, France, Germany, et al and spend the money in my pocket but if I drive to Belfast I have to change it? When the uk didn’t adopt the euro nor should we have.
          As to being in the core, well perhaps you could say we are in the periphery of the core! If our economic needs (eg our interest rates) matched those in Germany then all would have been fine, but we got the wrong rates at the wrong time which has let to much of our woes.
          I suppose Ireland gained something from being independent from the uk, higher self esteem maybe, avoided large scale death and destruction in World War II (although I would argue that being neutral in the war against fascism and Hitler was wrong I’m itself), ummmmm, not sure what else really to be honest. (Oh yeah, we would not have had our own team in the Olympics, that I agree would have been a shame),
          The uk in 1921 was a highly unequal society, a rigid class structure an so on, all repugnant to most Irish patriots and so on, and a major reason for fighting for independence. However, by not being part of the uk after the Second World War we missed out on the NHS, motorways and better roads in general, and being in NATO which would have seen large sale investment in the country in the form of airbases, ports and so on by the states. (If WWIII had broke out we would have been nuked anyway by the Russians if they bombed the uk and even if they did t the all out would have got us anyway). So on balance I think we missed out not being in NATO.
          Someone in an earlier post made a disparaging remark about the welsh and how they are only different to the English when playing rugby, I think that’s pretty insulting considering how they seem to have more people as a percentage of the population speaking welsh on a daily basis when compared to the use of Irish.
          Ultimately I think the point of what David was trying to say was that the uk leaving the eu would mean changes for Ireland and I think he is right, but saying we would have to choose to remain in the eu, or the uk sphere and not retain a foot in both camps is not correct in my opinion. Ultimately anyway no matter what we will be dominated by a larger entity, as we are just a small nation and trying to go for complete economic independence isn’t a great idea either, to my cynical mind it doesn’t seem to be working out too well for the North Koreans!

          • Eireannach

            Disparaging the Welsh and even the Welsh language, disparaging the Scots for their bagpipes and tartan, disparaging the Irish as potato-eating rednecks.

            This is the sad, parochial world that reawaits us if we chicken out of the path we’re on and leave the EZ and the EU.

            We had a flood of credit into Ireland when we joined the EZ and it overheated out property market big time. But I don’t remember many people complaining about it at the time. The people who blame their own household debt on the fact that we joined the EZ get no sympathy from me, because I remember the carry on of them at the time, they weren’t moaning about all the money flying around at the time. It’s bare-faced hypocricy to cry-baby about the outcome now.

            We have chosen our path. The Kilometre is now ‘baked into the cake’, it would be preposterous to ask the state to take all the signs down and put the miles back up. It’d make more sense to tell N. Ireland to switch to Kmh as they PLEDGED to do in the early 1970s, but still haven’t done so far.

            Our strongest position is in the EU and EZ, even as, especially as, the UK leaves the EU. We’ll still be able to cross the border and trade will be fairly free, but RE: American, European and Asian multinationals we’ll have a major USP in the British Isles.

            We are in the EZ.

            We are in the metric system.

            We are not going back.

            In a referendum, this is how the majority of Irish will vote.

            Bonbon can waffle on about his LaRouchPac NWO masterplan, but the EU superstate will emerge and the Irish will vote to remain part of it.

          • Ronan71

            “The people who blame their own household debt on the fact that we joined the EZ get no sympathy from me, because I remember the carry on of them at the time, they weren’t moaning about all the money flying around at the time. It’s bare-faced hypocricy to cry-baby about the outcome now.”
            How chairtable of you. If you let a child go mad with a bag of sweets would you then be angry/surprised if they threw up all over you? It’s as clear as day that the “easy money” made possible by the introduction of the Euro caused the credit bubble to a large degree here!
            Forget about the k/mh thing! I could not give a monkeys about it, I was just using it to make a point about the Irish government doing things to make us more “European” for the sake of it.
            As to the EZ being here to stay, that remains to be seen, and there are many who think ultimately it will either fail or split up into a two tier currency.
            You are probably right about how the country would vote too, but that doesn’t automatically make it right. We voted yes (the second time) for Lisbon and for the fiscal compact (like turkeys voting for christmas if you ask me) and I’m sure we will keep on doing so, but not me. Countries don’t have friends, they have interests, and the Germans only care about not loosing their shirt in paying off others debts, and refuse to see they have any responsibility for the mess that is the EZ crisis. All well and good, but as is already happening their economy is slowing down too as no one can afford to buy their goods anymore in the parts of Europe where incomes and consumer spending has been sacrificed on the altar of preserving the euro at all costs.
            I remember being in McDonalds on the 1st of January 2002 and some moron (or so I thought at the time) was complaining about getting his change in Euros, “I want Irish money” he said. I thought “so what?” money is money, as long as I have enough of it.
            Now we have the euro in crisis, and people want to save it at all costs! Seems odd to condemn ourselves to years more paltry growth and economic depression just to try and save the ideal that is the EZ? What ever puts the most money in my pocket it what I’d be in favour of, and if that makes me mercenary or self interested, then fine, no problem, what ever puts the most bread on my table thanks.
            The short sighted decision to join the Euro, combined with the abject failure of the regulation of the financial system in this country is at fault for the crisis we are in right now, and to tell people they are “cry-babies” for saying so is repugnant to me. I thankfully resisted using my mortgage for paying for anything other than my home, and did not get sucked into the buy to let madness and so forth (thankfully, I was badgered many times to do so) but to get up on my high horse and berate people who made a mistake in believing the hype? No, that’s pretty nasty really.

          • Eireannach

            “What ever puts the most money in my pocket it what I’d be in favour of, and if that makes me mercenary or self interested, then fine, no problem, what ever puts the most bread on my table thanks”.

            This is exactly the sort of short term thinking the Irish would vote against in a referendum.

            The emergence of the EZ is a massive undertaking. It got off to too flying a start, we now understand. It needs a banking union and standardization.

            This is the conflict – between those who want a strong and largely regulated and standardized Europe to emerge, and those who want to do things their own way.

            We did things our own way in Ireland during the Celtic tiger, and now we have 200,000 empty houses rotting in fields.

            We did things our own way and no bankers are in jail.

            We did things our own way and builders built shoddy 40m2 one bed apartments, for quick money.

            We are living in the shambles and rubble of our petulantly individualistic and short termist culture.

            Put it to a debate, then a referendum vote.

            As with the Lisbon Treaty second time around, as with the fiscal compact, the Irish will vote for the security and stability of a standard EU/EZ way of doing things, not for the cavalier ‘great craic’ of doing things ‘our own way’.

            We will stay in the EZ, in the EU, in the metric system, etc. because a majority of Irish prefer this path.

            They will not vote to abandon this for the unknown of ‘our own way’, not for a very long time indeed.

            And they’re right.

          • aidanxc

            Seriously, Ronan, why in God’s name should we have stayed out of the euro just because the UK did? Do we not have a mind of our own (and don’t give me the current euro crisis as a reason – that wasn’t foreseen by 99% of people.) Also, joining NATO and being part of the UK are not one and the same. As far as I know De Valera was against joining NATO in the 50s despite what it might have offered us.

            As for the Welsh 4 days of identity (when playing rugby) it was a Welsh man who told me that and said the concept was unfortunately common amongst his compatriots. I am just the messenger.

          • Ronan71

            Seriously Aidan right back at you, why in God’s name did we join the Euro in the first place! Denmark, Sweden as well as the UK stayed out as they had the foresight to see it was against their national interests to do so. Hard to imagine the credit bubble happening without being in the Euro. The loss of control of our interest rates in itself was catastrophic.
            From an individual point of view, apart from avoid the “massive inconvienence” of using another currency when in France, Spain, Germany and so on, I can’t honestly see what benefits it has brought us.

            My point about not joining the Euro when the UK didn’t is that they despite all the pro-EZ rhetoric here remain are largest trading partner and most likely will continue to be so. With the Euro being essentially German in terms of value, that means Irish exports to the UK are more expensive than they otherwise would have been if we still had control of our own currency.

            Adopting the Euro led to price and wage inflation in the early noughties, then led to a massive credit bubble and now has robbed us of the mechanisms for lessening our unrepayable debt burden and left us as the mercy of the larger nations in the EU. Great! Just what our forefathers foresaw for an “independent” Ireland.

            I think it’s safe to say I have a diametrically opposed viewpoint on the issue of Ireland, the EU and the relationship to the UK, and that’s fine, and frankly I think I’ll leave it there, the beauty of democracy, you are entitled to your own opinions.

            Having worked in the UK, and had the odd moron give me some anti-Irish crap from time to time (so what, f*ck them, the losers, water off a ducks back for me)on balance I wonder why I ever moved back here, from a (for all it’s many faults) largely functioning, mature, developed country to this backwater. I think it was the hype of the celtic tiger years that fooled me, and the reasonable desire to be near family (more on my wife’s part) but either way I’m back to stay now, and I resent having my future and that of my kids sold down the river to rescue the dream of European Federal Union, which is what would be required it seems to make the Euro work. I’m very grateful there are some people in this country such as DMcW to frequently point out the suicidal path the goverment seems to have us on from the economy’s point of view. I’d love to be more optimistic, to believe as you do that by staying the course all will be well, but frankly I don’t.

      • Deco


        Valid point. The problem is that there is an element in Irish society which is too lazy to run ourselves as a sovereign country.

        Being independent requires sacrifices, commitment, maturity and organization.

        And a lot of people in this country have been conditioned in the last fifteen years to think that “we are living in a modern age, therefore everything should be easy”. A big part of the EU-sell is threaded into this assumption.

        Lazy thinkers for Europe. Kiddults for Europe. Easy street kids for Europe.

        • Ronan71

          Have to agree with you there Deco, it seems to me the reason that this current crisis goes on and on is that no hard decisions are taken.

          Lots of kicking the can down the road and hoping for something to turn up to make it all grand again amongst our ruling classes.

  20. aidanxc

    That’s a very valid point Pat.

  21. Pat Flannery


    One further factor to consider when Britain leaves the EU is that the U.S. is slowly but inexorably going Hispanic. Anglos are already in the minority in California. Obama could not have been re-elected without the Hispanic vote.

    The Anglo-American “special relationship” is sun setting. Britain is foolishly assuming that the U.S. will always be its “special” friend. Not when Hispanics replace white European powerbrokers in Washington D.C.

    The U.S. will more and more look to its own hemisphere, southward to the growing economic power of Central and South America.

    Ireland must not make the mistake the Brits will undoubtedly make. We must not follow them into a jingoistic valley of death based on a romantic image of their past glory. Let them have their economic “Charge of the Light Brigade”, but without us Irish.

    The U.S. will not save Britain from its Continental foes, as it did twice in the 20th century. The U.S. will not destroy Europe to save its perceived “British” heritage from the Hun. On this Thanksgiving Day the English Pilgrims are a distant myth in California, as they will soon be in rest of the U.S.

    The jolly old Brits will finally vote themselves into oblivion. And they will do it with such Churchillian pride that the old man will rise up out of his grave, cigar in mouth and cheer them on, right over the white Cliffs of Dover.

    It will truly be their finest hour.

    • Eireannach


      Check out website. It has an infographic of migratory flows across the planet.

      The largest cross-border movement of people by a long way is Mexicans into the US. But it’s officially only 12million. Unofficially, it might be 20million.

      The US is less Europe-oriented already, and Mexico and Central-South America is growing in importance. But as a nation, it has contacts with a rising Africa, even India and SE Asia, and of course Japan.

      The US connection with Ireland and Britain remains, but is on the arc of decline.

      The UK is not leaving the EU with a plan.

      It is simply not prepared to be what geography has determined for it in the new global power arrangement – to be the 3rd most powerful country in Europe, after Germany and France. It doesn’t accept this, because it means Germany and France shape Europe more than it does, and for centuries England has not let anyone else shape its world, it expects to shape the rest of the world in it’s image.

      The geopolitical decision the UK is making is that there is one last chance to be Number 1, that is as the Number 1 most powerful country in the second speed of a two-speed Europe. So they’ll drop out of the France-German core and try and pick off as many countries as they can – Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, etc.

      They’ll spread propaganda about how bad the EU is and how better off you’d be outside it – whether you’re Irish, Spanish, Italian, Greek, they’ll say the same thing.

      But perfidious Albion is not saying this for our benefit – they’ll just be using us as pawns against their geopolitical rival, the Franco-German-Benelux core.

      They couldn’t care what happens to us outside the EZ and EU, they just want to stop the influence of core EZ-EU now and they’ll make up any specious argument to leverage their power in this regard.

      They will especially flip the lid the moment anybody brings Russia into the fold. The whole thing is totally predictable when read from a ‘Britain’s strategic vital interests’ point of view.

  22. tony_murphy

    Britain leave the EU? if only. There will never be a vote if there is a chance of it taking the UK out of the EU. Too many on benefits.

    Many Irish people are quite happy in the communist EU (Barrosso is a maoist don’t forget), they are so brain washed by the sewer stream media. They are happy to let the Authoritarian’s run everything.

    The farmers think it’s great because of the grant cheques. If only they seen the wolf in Sheeps clothing. Those with bogs are beginning to see the light, yet many are still too stupid too see it.

    The politicians love the EU as well… The trouser so much money for themselves

    I hate the EU and everything to do with it

  23. Norman Speight

    Why the hell does so much of this conversation degenerate into either a repetition of what went on in the past, who died for their country, or for another country’s war (Irishmen died in their thousands in the first and second World War NOT fighting the English, but the Nazis, there is a slight difference, as did many other non-English, indeed as did many English, what relevance has that to the EU?). Debates on the EU have nothing to do with the matters concerning what the ‘English’ have done against the Irish in the past. Neither are they – or should they be – an opportunity to vent your opinion on what you personally think of the English, the Scots, or indeed anyone else.
    For God’s sake, we all live in the present. The English didn’t force Ireland to join the EU, neither did they force Ireland to borrow money to get out of debt. Both many Irish and many French think the English are S**ts – so what? what the hell does that contribute?
    OK. I’ll agree with you, they are (and I’m English)Feel better?.
    This is not about history it’s about where you are now and what do you do to get out of the SH1T. Oh, and if you didn’t notice, England is also in the same Chemical. Oh, and Greece, Spain, Portugal etc etc. Perhaps their problem would be solved if only they just vented their hatred on the English. Yes, that might be the way forward, if only they did that, the banks would go away, God might send another Son to earth, factories would open and we could all win the lottery. Good thinking (what’s the name of your boozer by the way?).

    • bonbon

      I’m afraid the Tiger abhorrence of truth has infected you. It is curable by the way, but it is a painful process for those who cling to British Black Shirt Sir Oswald Moseley’s USE, which actually was Churchill’s “suggestion”.

      The British Empire’s EU and Euro, shows its true mugshot with the destruction of Greece – even worse than the Nazi’s (their Golem also). The Troika is a terrorist attack on every nation-state, exactly what Hitler wished for – he also propose a Frankfurt Reichsbank!

      Pan Europe the “continental” side of the fascist coin, is the Kalergi-Coudenhove plan from the London School of Economics Mont Pelerin Society.

      This is what lurks behind the current discussion.

    • Eireannach

      Breaking up the EZ or EU is not the solution.

      Defaulting within these institutions is the solution.

      But we have to chose to make the EZ and EU work first, then default later.

      If you reckon we should break the whole thing up, then it’s pure and utter typical English eurosceptic propaganda.

  24. neilmurphy

    I don’t think it’s a question of hitching wagons to either/or.
    In fact, if the UK did leave the EU, I would say it would be quite likely Ireland and the UK would extend the Common Travel area to allow free trade as it is now within the EU. Ireland would most likely be in a very good position to bridge the UK and the EU. E.g. If a French company can’t free trade with the UK but Ireland can, the French company can set up a base in Ireland to do so.

  25. bonbon

    Some totally uninformed opinion (in the damnable Tiger tradition) on France and what Hollande is actually doing in this current theme must be urgently rectified. The entire suicidal mantra of FG is using complete lies to back it – even worse than FF. Their entire strategy is now in tatters, and they are laying the country waste.

    Hollande’s Shock Therapy à la Francaise

    Nov. 21, 2012 (Nouvelle Solidarite)–France is still digesting the shock-therapy announced by François Hollande and his Prime Minister, Jean Marc Ayrault, during the first week of November.
    In a sense, all of this was included in the presidential program of François Hollande, who had clearly announced his intention of reaching the 3% deficit limit by 2013, and zero deficit by the end of his five-year term in 2017. But the extent of the cuts and reductions in euros had not been really presented as such. Yet, while this is the biggest fiscal austerity package ever to have been adopted in France, The Economist last week had on its cover an attack on France, accused of being the ticking bomb of Europe in the coming period, {for not having adopted enough cuts and tax increases}.
    Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has accepted almost all of the ultraliberal Pact for the competitiveness of French industry, prepared through a government commission by industrialist Louis Gallois and presented on Nov. 5. The main measure is a tax credit for companies, amounting to 20 billion euros between 2013 and 2015, in the form of lower employer contributions on salaries equal to 1 to 2.5 times the minimum wage. That, according to Ayrault, should lower labor costs by 6% on those jobs and generate some 300,000 to 400,000 jobs by 2017.
    At the same time, the VAT will be raised from 19.6 to 20%, and from 7 to 10% for restoration and housing, although it will drop from 5.5 to 5% on basic necessities. Those increases, which apply as of 2014, plus an ecological tax effective as of 2016, are supposed to bring in half of the 20 billion given to companies. The remaining 10 billion is to come from cuts in government spending.
    The government, through either hallucination or baldface lying, is presenting this plan as one that will lead to the reindustrialization of France! But the companies have no obligation with respect to the money purported to be saved. Ayrault claims that since the lower costs only apply to low-paying jobs, the funds will automatically go to relevant 25% of French industries. But even if then that turns out to be the case, there is nothing that requires those industries and industrial services to invest the money in job creation; they could use it for anything, including speculation.
    Again, both the Ayrault and Gallois reports paint a disastrous picture for French industry and stress the need to reinvest in R and D and high-tech as a driver for French industry, but absent an active dirigist policy, companies are unlikely to make long term investments that are risky. One recent study has shown that the bigger beneficiaries of this policy will be the commercial distribution sector (hyper- and supermarkets, etc.), which employs around 750,000 workers, and the financial sector, which employs 350,000.
    The status of French industry as laid out in the Gallois report is disastrous. Industry accounts for only 12.5% of the GDP as compared to 18% in 2000, and France ranks 15th out of the 17 Eurozone countries, far behind Italy, Sweden, and Germany. Industrial profit margins have shrunk. While hourly productivity remains high, it has not grown over the past decade in France, because machine tools, digital technology, and robotics have not kept pace. Italy and Germany have, respectively, two and five times more industrial robots than France. In the health sector, where France used to be avant-garde, there are fewer MRI units than in Spain. The only sectors in which the country remains in a leading positon are luxury goods, aeronautics, nuclear energy, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, and food production (farming).
    Business and banking services, of course, have ballooned in recent years. Of the insurance companies’ pool of 1,680 billion euros, only 110 billion, or 15%, was invested in non-financial French companies.
    The banks, in this context, have become all powerful, something which explains why Francois Hollande also reneged on his promise to carry out an effective bank separation. After intense pressure from the banking lobby, that reform is shaping up as even less constraining for the universal banks than the recommendations made by the Liikanen group.

  26. bonbon

    A hilarious piece from the Irish Times !

    Could rejoining the UK be any worse than this?

    “It’s not such a radical idea. A one-time columnist for The Irish Times (now pontificating in another place) used to regularly make the case for re-entering the Commonwealth. If that organisation is good enough for former colonies such as India, Australia and Papua New Guinea then it’s good enough for us. After all, the Australians can’t stand the English, but they stubbornly refuse to disengage from a coalition comprising the nation’s former slave states.”
    “It’s all academic anyway. After the events of the last week, it seems unlikely that the British would want us back. Come to think of it, the Vandals or the Huns might have thought twice before inviting the current State into their pillaging hordes.”

  27. 30somethingHiBrit


    Boys and girls – you have missed the point.

    Forget Empire. Forget the queen. Forget the elites.

    Focus on “now”.

    David’s rather skewed stats on grandparents make a key point.

    The political union was broken in 1922.

    The cultural union is now stronger than ever.

    Dara O’Brian fills theatres in the UK.

    BBC, Channel 4, Sky are the rich cousins to RTE.

    The immediate escape hatch for the Irish is London.

    My mother (middle class South Dublin) emmigrated to London in 1964 and married an Englishman – my father. I’m a crossbreed (like my son who is quarter British/Irish/Jamiacan/Monterserratian).

    I remember kids at school in the 1970s picking on my Irish blood as supporting the IRA. Wankers.

    That is inconceivable now. The Irish are now regarded as cousins rather than scum. (harsh but true)

    We are in a cultural and economic union. Of course we are relevant to each other.

    • Eireannach

      Of course we’re relevant to each other and of the same blood, since at least the C12th Norman conquest of Ireland.

      So should we in Ireland whinge that everything that’s wrong with our country is ‘Elf and Safety from Brussels? Should we snigger at the euro as ‘EuroDisney?

      Should we be eurosceptic like our Tory pals in dear old Blighty?

      If you put it to a referendum, I think the Irish will vote to stay in the EU by the same margin that the UK votes to leave the EU.

      Our relations will improve even more when our paths well and truly separate in this regard.

  28. 30somethingHiBrit

    I think the Irish can make their own decisions. The problems in Ireland relate to the “Insiders” – which is a mixture of the FF establishment and Brussels. If the UK leaves the EU – may I suggest the Irish approach should be pure self-interest? It is a detached approach from the EU. Within the EU – but with an punt nua?

    Anglo-Irish can’t get much better. Consider:

    a) Settlement on the 6 counties – agreed. (Ask Gerry Adams if you don’t agree with me).

    b) Common Travel Area – solid. (Bizarrely the DUP are the guardians of this).

    c) Cousins – part of the family – but not under our control – the visit of the Queen last year shows this.

    Remember – there are large numbers of us on the island to the right with two passports – one with a Lion, a Unicorn and a Harp. The second one just has a harp….

    • Eireannach

      Punt nua? You mean the pound, but pronounced ‘punt’ so the Irish can use their cúpla focail and feel delighted and independent?

      We are in the EZ and the Irish are not going to vote to leave it.

      Only the old foggies on the DMcW website, who dream of the free air of ‘independence’ all the time, could even entertain the idea that we’ll chose to drop out of the EZ, which has no get-out clause anyway.

      We are in the EZ, at first it was like winning the lottery, now it’s severe austerity, eventually it’ll just be our money.

      A majority of Irish would vote to stay in the EZ if asked.

      So we better get used to the euro. Greece might fall out, or Spain or whoever, but as has been said ad nauseum ‘we are not Greece’.

      In the end, when the risk is not too great, we’ll be given a deal on the promissory note. We’ll be delighted, Enda will get another European of the Year Award and meanwhile the UK will be leaving the EU and having a mother and father of a domestic of what in the world they are going to do now that England’s empire will be basically a truculent Scotland and a demoralised Wales.

  29. “Understandably, we would want to row our own boat independent of London”. Not in a thousand years David. You are a bit of dreamer son and you waste your intellect writing hollow articles. Give me evidence to the contrary and give us some hope. Not one person in this country can come up with a credible plan for the future because they see no future without chains. Like they know deep down that they are royal fuck up merchants

    The future died years ago and there is only today. Grey skies and battering Atlantic winds. The same tomorrow and the next day. It’s a warped country and no place for thinking people with spirit. They don’t like that sort here in old catholic backward ireland

    As individuals we have to imagine our own future elsewhere and make it happen. We have to find our niche and work hard. If that means learning a foreign language or three then so be it. Far better studying and learning than watching Chelsea or Easterders in the evenings. Or the morons in Fair Shitty

    They are paying 14k a year for language skills. You’d need to be insane to get out of bet for that or simply have no confidence in your own worth. In fact you’d want shooting for being such a prick

    I will leave this delinquent backwater for ever one day soon and never mention the bloody place ever again. Leave them to their superstitions and 19th century institutional thinking. Fuck them. I will miss the few good Irish people I’ve known and the 22% who will be voting FF can spin on it

    They deserve all that’s coming to them and can get on with it. The fighting irish

    • Eireannach

      You can get a great start learning most major languages online at

      If learning a language replaces watching football or Eastenders, it means the penny has dropped and people are finally, finally, finally getting out of the comfort zone.

      The Polish and other East Europeans are about 15 years ahead of us in this regard.

      But then again, the USSR and Warsaw Pact communist zone was always quite sci-fi and futuristic. We in Ireland/UK just thought we won the Cold War, they would speak English, we ruled the roost and were top dog, so kick back, open a can of crap beer and “relax” in front of Eastenders.

      That comfort zone is over now, thank God. Justice is done.

    • aidanxc

      I don’t get the defeatism!

      You sound so bitter and that is regretful. Ireland (as with most countries) is what you make it. Far away fields are greener (I’ve lived in 6 different ones) and no place is perfect. If you want Ireland to change then you should be part of that change.

      • Eireannach

        I lived abroad for 9 years, in Paris and the Middle East.

        It’s true though. A lot of Irish need to go abroad, broaden their horizons and see why we score highly in quality of life indexes.

        I brought French people around Ireland on coach tours all summer.

        Vast empty counties like Mayo and Donegal and the Peninsulas in Kerry, the baskets of flowers in front of pubs in rural Ireland, the Tidy Towns awards signage in front of lots of delightful towns.

        The French think Ireland is a picturesque world full of people offering warmth and intimacy because we are not as ravaged by the ruptures of 19th and 20th century modernity as other countries.

        Irish do need to go abroad to appreciate our country, not superficially, but deeply. The need to get away from her to see her wild beauty from a distance, as others do who come here in their 10s of 1000s at the moment, and love the place.

        • bonbon

          Do you dare tell those happy tourists exactly why Mayo is empty and “charming”? Would it spoil the fun, rain on the parade, to tell the truth about the genocide that the country has still not recovered from.

          Bring them to Tra Doilin, and point out the plaque there and tell them what was found buried in the beaches.

          Still Dublin has problems with truth, to protect the “tourist industry” perhaps? Same carryon as the protected banks.

          Maybe “Ireland does not default” is from exactly the “Ireland was not ethnic cleansed” poster boy?

      • I felt defeated when I wrote it. It happens to us all.
        Today is another day and the sight of pensioners marching in Dublin this Saturday was encouraging especially when they had only very limited backing from the trade union movement

  30. bonbon

    All the talk of splitting the EU (which is cracking up anyway), the UK “leaving it”, implying “it” will continue, is foam on the beer. The real split is of the banks – both on policy now and the inevitable breakup of universal banking, separating retail from investment. Cameron is desperately trying to avoid this breakup with a choreographed sideshow.

    British Establishment Faction Pushes Glass-steagall

    Nov. 22, 2012 (LPAC)–The battle over ring-fencing versus a Glass-Steagall-style separation of retail and investment banking is raging in Parliament and the British media. Today, the subject came up on a BBC news segment featuring former NM Rothschild head Sir Evelyn de Rothschild, Jon Moulton of the private equity firm Better Capital, and former Gordon Brown adviser and Goldman Sachs managing director Jennifer Moses. While the term Glass-Steagall was never uttered, the debate over ring-fencing versus separation was front and center. Moulton called explicitly for separating retail banking from investment banking, noting that the banks would tunnel under any ring-fence designed to keep retail banking assets out of the casino. Moses backed up that contention, saying retail banks should act more like utilities. Sir Evelyn was more circumspect on the matter, calling only for proper regulation and supervision. But he did call hedge funds “one of the most dangerous instruments in modern times.”
    In related news, Bank of England head Mervyn King told the Banking Standards Commission that while he once favored total separation, he now favors the ring-fencing approach, but that Parliament should keep an eye on the matter to make sure the banks aren’t “burrowing under” the fence. Paul Tucker, the BOE deputy governor, who is the bookies’ favorite to succeed King next month, said the idea that full separation would make the financial system safe was “nonsense.”

    • Tony Brogan

      Unfortunately no amount of ring fencing or GS will affect the operation of the central banks. This is what the Rothschilds control and how they execute their huge fraud against all the peoples. They create a diversion to shroud the actity they want to remain and wish to have left alone.

    • Realist

      How will your suggestion help 2 countries that failed the most:

      • bonbon

        Iceland has active motion in the parliament on Glass-Steagall, after their President took action. Ireland with FG and FF have done what everyone knows here.
        So to recapitulate monetarist recipes are doomed to failure, and that included the Austrian school’s mantra. What is need is a 3-point simultaneously applied plan with Glass-Steagall – FDR’s method, National banking based on public gredit (can be private with public duties) but most importantly massive reconstruction of the ruined physical economy. This is simply not comprehended by the Austrian School – the deafening silence on the 3 aspects of the Triple collapse Curve shows the weakness of monetarist approaches.

      • bonbon

        And “burn the bondholders” is the spirit of Glass-Steagall, Irish made. One way or the other this will happen.
        Even the von Mises web page acknowledges “While Iceland allowed its banks to go bankrupt, the Irish government chose to bail out its banks. So, in this sense, the Icelandic authorities did the right thing, and Iceland has consequently outperformed Ireland economically.”
        Where paths diverge is on reconstruction. Hyperinflation without Glass-Steagall is extremely destructive. Public Credit after Glass-Steagall has divested us of the cause of the problem, will enable the greatest jump in economic platform ever seen.

  31. Tony Brogan

    ‘The most urgent problem facing the US and the Western nations is not a ‘fiscal cliff.’ It is the pernicious corruption in the financial system that has captured the politicians, and distorted the public conversation by the distortion of the media and the opinions of ‘experts’ through the power of big money.’

    ‘Government is actually a collection of people and government policy is usually determined — even in modern, Western countries — by groups of people operating BEHIND government: Kingmakers they used to be called.’

    The above are a couple of quotes of commentators on the current scene.

    All the discussion on the blog about what should or should not be done ignores the underlying problem of Ireland or indeed every country.
    Who is pulling the strings?

    There is no doubt that the international elite money changers are controlling the finances of the world. They organized the central banking system. The primary mover in this is the Rothschild dynesty.
    Through money movement and investment they control the corporations and the polititians. Thereby they control policy and they have their people in positions of power and influence throughout the world.

    There is little reporting of this in the MSM as the media itself is controlled by the same monied interests. For example Rothschilds own Reuters news agency.

    Until this issue is faced and dealt with there will be no resolution. Individuals may debate each other, rant and rale about each other but it is all to naught with no effect except to divert the energies on to side paths following red herrings.

    Others who have attempted to change the system have died for their efforts. Unless a people is educated to the problem and alert to te issues nothing can be done. An individual politician doing the right thing will be assinated. Whole nations have been attacked.

    Recent are Iraq and Libya, neither of whom had a central bank but successfully ran their economies with their own currency. Iran has no central bank and is on the list.

    In order to change the system to one of prosperity away from serfdom requires energy, courage and committment as was demonstrated by the founding fathers of the US and even the Irish Repuplic.

    Nothing will be resolved until the central banking system is eliminated, the fractional reserve banking system is prohibited, and the people return to a sound money system.

    All else is ‘sound and fury signifying nothing’

    In the meantime your currencies are devalued, your institutions are decaying, your living standard destroyed. Graft and greed surrounds you. As an individual defense, all that is left is to stay out of debt, and save in real assets of land, silver, and gold.

    Alas DMW does not discuss or comment on these more fundamental issues.

    I’ll post this commentary again and hopefully you will take the time to readit and deliberate on its contents

  32. Tony Brogan

    Marc Howe | November 21, 2012

    Legendary investor Stephen Leeb says that in the current economic climate investors should expect gold to continue riding strong “until it just breaks out in a major way.”

    Speaking to King World News the veteran money manager observes that growth in the developed world has stalled and recessions in leading economies are deepening.

    Austerity measures in the EU have failed to take effect, and the Europeans are now realizing monetary expansion must continue. In the US, despite the provisional boon provided by a bounce-back in housing, no new industries are being developed to continue growing the economy.

    Leeb’s conclusion is that gold continues to remains the top pick for prudent investors.

    This all leads back to gold as being the number one currency of choice. No one in the mainstream really acknowledges the bull market in gold. What better evidence is there for a continued move higher in gold? What you hear from the mainstream media is that it’s too late for gold.
    The storied investment guru also expects a major breakout in gold soon, and looking back to historic prices patterns in the late 1970′s advocates investing in junior gold miners.

    The lessons from the late 1970s are that these are the kinds of stocks which can fool people. They can trade dull for quite a long time and even drift lower. But in the 1970s, all of the sudden they just took off.

  33. Tony Brogan

    Dave from Denver…

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012
    Got Gold? Central Banks Are Getting Large Quantities
    With investing, if you are not early you are late – Hal, long time friend and colleague
    Brazil’s Central Bank announced the purchase of over 17 tonnes of gold in October. Here’s the commentary on this from UBS precious metals strategist Ed Tully:

    There may be a flutter of excitement in the market today with news that Brazil’s official reserves of gold rose 17.2 tonnes in October, according to IMF statistics. This follows on from the 1.7 tonnes of buying in September and brings total Brazilian gold reserves to 52.52 tonnes. This is a chunky purchase by a central bank, and the gold market will likely sit up and pay attention to today’s news, not just because of its size but because this is a central bank that has not been active in the market for some time. Gold struggled in October, and without this official sector buying the move below $1700 would likely have been much more severe than the short lived dips transpired to be. Today’s news confirms much of the market chatter at the time that official sector buying was taking place and was one of the key factors that gave prices a reasonable floor last month.
    In fact, several non-Fed/BOE Central Banks increased their gold holdings by over 40 tonnes in October. We know that China, in addition to retaining 100% of the 25 tonnes per month it produces, has been importing bullion hand over fist.

    Gold and silver have been unusually resilient in the face of one of the more overt attempts by the U.S. bullion banks to trigger a COT open interest liquidation sell-off. For those of us who have been trading and researching the metals market for the past 11 years of the bull market, the attempted manipulation has never been more transparent, nor has the ability of the market to withstand this big bank flagrancy.

    Here’s the Bloomberg report of the October Central Bank buying spree: LINK Without bloviating on the significance of this aggressive and rampant CB accumulation of bullion, please note that several countries besides Germany are now making noise about repatriating their gold being “safekept” by the Fed, BOE and Bank of France. Switzerland has proposed legislation being introduced in order to force the issue, The Ecuadorian Government has called on its banks to repatriate 1/3 of their foreign-held gold and the Netherlands is starting to make noise about doing the same.

    The name of the game is “accumulate physical – not paper (GLD, CEF, GTU, etc) and make sure you have trustworthy custodian.” That would be either a private domestic depository or under lock and key in your own house, with Smith and Wesson are your guard dogs.

  34. Tony Brogan

    Thursday,November 22, 2012

    Once again we come to you as the humble messenger and past predictor of today’s major issues!

    On January 20th of this year we penned an article entitled, “Forced Expatriation Coming to the USSA”. In it we stated, “We can clearly see that the United Soviet States of America is putting in place the necessary tools to be able to strip whoever it likes of the so-called ‘privilege’ of being a US citizen.” And, yet again, it looks as though it is coming to pass.

    With the massive influx of personal petitions to secede from the USSA, many right wing thought leaders have lashed out and are now petitioning for a process wherein anyone who signs a petition to secede is stripped of their US citizenship and deported.

    The founder of RedState, the leading conservative blog for “right of center” immoral online activists, Erick Erickson filed the petition and stated “We here at RedState are American citizens (slaves). We have no plans to secede from the union,” he wrote. “If you do, good luck with that, but this is not the place for you.”

    He states that to call for secession is an act of treason and should any elected official propose such a measure, he or she should be tried for treason and summarily removed from office.

    He goes on to state, “Mr. President, please sign an executive order such that each American citizen who signed a petition from any state to secede from the USA shall have their citizenship stripped and be peacefully deported.”

    Thomas Jefferson would spew his coffee across his dining room table if he heard that from a so-called “patriot.” Jefferson stated in his first inaugural address in 1801, “If there be any among us who wish to dissolve this union, let them stand undisturbed of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.”

    Even fascist, genocidal murderer, Abraham Lincoln stated in 1848, “Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up, and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable,– most sacred right–a right, which we hope and believe, is to liberate the world. Nor is this right confined to cases in which the whole people of an existing government may choose to exercise it. Any portion of such people that can, may revolutionize and make their own of so much of the teritory as they inhabit.”

    Of course, a little less than ¼ score and 7 years later he rained down terror on the South for trying to secede… not to “free the slaves” as Steven Spielberg would like you to believe. Anyone questioning that just needs to listen to Abraham Lincoln himself who stated:

    “I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in anyway the social and political equality of the white and black races — that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.”

    That aside, Redstate founder, Erick Erickston, likely worships at the feet of Jefferson and likely goes to bow at the Lincoln Memorial, with Lincoln’s two hands firmly planted on two fasces… yet he is saying exactly the opposite of what they said.


    “You can’t quit…because you’re fired!” That seems to be the message behind the petition to strip citizenship of anyone who has signed the various recent petitions for secession.

    It’s almost funny. The petition to strip citizenship is obviously an angry reaction…but the petition would in a sense give the objects of that anger exactly what they want: separation from a country/government they no longer want to be a part of.

    Of course it gets a wee bit more complicated. Those who want to secede wish for their entire state of residence to separate from the US. These people don’t want to become stateless exiles; they want to take several thousand square miles of familiar space and all the infrastructure and people therein with them.

    That would be ideal. Getting to live exactly where you want in the US without the burden of US citizenship… If that means not having a third or half of one’s income stolen to pay the interest on the debt that funds foreign wars and the police…then any moral, sane person should jump at the chance!

    That’s not what it would mean, however. That’s certainly not what the petitioners calling for stripping citizenship are after. What they want for the secession supporters is exile…or worse…like military imprisonment or execution.

    Sadly people simply aren’t allowed to become stateless on purpose. The US will only allow you to give up citizenship if you’ve got something else lined up. If you don’t, then then you can’t give up your US citizenship. So unless the US will be sponsoring new citizenships for those it wants to kick out, they will become stateless in a state-filled world and be all but excluded from travel, business and employment.

    Of course, if it suits the US government’s purposes, they will be looking to be able to strip anyone of US citizenship when it strikes their fancy. Just look at the hissy fit thrown by Democratic Senators Charles Schumer and Bob Casey when billionaire Facebook co-founder Eduardo Savarin wanted to sever his ties with the US and its tax collectors. That’s why the senators came up with their “Ex-PATRIOT Act” (Expatriation Prevention by Abolishing Tax-Related Incentives for Offshore Tenancy Act). This act would bar those who were deemed to have renounced US citizenship for tax-avoidance purpose from ever setting foot back on US soil.

    As Yale Law School professor Bruce Ackerman put it: “[T]hey either remain Americans or they repudiate their homeland forever.”

    While Senator Schumer is ready to forever exile anyone who forsakes US citizenship to avoid lifelong tax robbery, the diabolical Senator Joe Lieberman, along with Representatives Charlie Dent and Jason Altmire, has put forward the Enemy Expatriation Act. If the bill passes, it will add “terrorism” or “providing material support” to terrorist organizations based on the decision of the secretary of state to the list of reasons the US government can remove citizenship.

    The Enemy Expatriation Act was just the latest insult added to the injury of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act that President O’Bomber signed a few months prior on the first day of the year. One of the provisions of that act was the indefinite military detention of American citizens without stated cause and without trial.

    Now, like all good politicians, Obama has said that he does not like that provision and will not enforce it:

    “I want to clarify that my Administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens…

    “Section 1022 seeks to require military custody for a narrow category of non-citizen detainees…This section is ill-conceived and will do nothing to improve the security of the United States…I reject any approach that would mandate military custody where law enforcement provides the best method of incapacitating a terrorist threat.”

    But he still signed the bill…

    “While section 1022 is unnecessary and has the potential to create uncertainty, I have signed the bill because I believe this section can be interpreted and applied in a manner that avoids undo harm to our current operations.”

    By this point it should be obvious that there’s no length to which the USSA won’t go. It’s too bad that when they strip you of citizenship they won’t exile you to someplace nice, like Paraguay or Chile. If that were the case then we’d advise you to sign the first petition you see! However, chances are more likely that you’ll be going to Guantanamo instead.

    If you want to end up in Paraguay or one of the other countries freer and less extortionist than the USSA, you’ll have to take matters into your own hands and be proactive (see TDV Passports for more). Or check out our expatriate refuge in Chile, Galt’s Gulch (with new logo) if you want to plant your first flag abroad now to protect yourself.

    Given the way the wind is blowing it surely won’t be too long before even applying for foreign citizenship will be deemed illegal. Time is running out. We hope you have begun to square your affairs away before our next “we toldya so” article.

    Anarcho-Capitalist. Libertarian. Freedom fighter against mankind’s two biggest enemies, the State and the Central Banks. Jeff Berwick is the founder of The Dollar Vigilante, CEO of TDV Media & Services and host of the popular video podcast, Anarchast. Jeff is a prominent speaker at many of the world’s freedom, investment and gold conferences as well as regularly in the media.

    Happy Thanksgiving, dear reader. Or as Jeff would say, “Happy Indian Holocaust Day!” Sincere apologies, but I can’t linger too long today. I’m in the middle of dinner with my housemate and her family. Besides, I decided to use the holiday to try to eat my way up to the next weight class and I’m a little woozy with calories. Four pounds down, three to go…I think I’m going to make it!

    Our comfortable little bungalow has been decked out for company. The living and dining rooms are glowing with seasonal cheer and the entire house smells delicious. It’s so warm and festive here in the house on this most American of holidays here in the middle American heartland. It makes me especially sad to think of how the nation has become the type of vicious imperial police state that the historians will be shaking their heads about for thousands of years. And it’s only going to get worse!

    If you can, you should definitely insure yourself with slave papers from another, less muscularly oppressive tax farm. Paraguay is a fantastic choice…and the most popular choice among those in the know. Contact us to find out why.

    If you are going to be stuck in the USSA, however, don’t fret (too much)! It’s not the end of the world, for Pete’s sake; just the end of America. At least America as we’ve known it. Life goes on. And we’re aiming to make sure that for our faithful readers who subscribe to TDV Homegrown, it goes on just fine even as things get more insane in the US.

    Now, I have to point out that if they start rounding people up (for whatever stew of made-up reasons), then the second passport really would have been the much better investment. The editors and contributors at Homegrown really can’t give you much help if it comes down to urban curfews, perpetual electronic surveillance and concentration camps. So if you can, you really ought to check into that second citizenship and passport.

    Enjoy your holiday!


    Gary Gibson
    Editor, The Dollar Vigilante

  35. Lord Jimbo

    Ireland should deal with all; we are on the British-US axis and play a role in Europe, I don’t see that changing regardless of what the British may or may not do.

    I figure Britain will stay in the EU for trade reasons and you are bound to get these noises with Cameron trying to hangon to his party, next election will see Labour back in and conciliatory speeches made.

    The bigger issue is the EU itself and its budget of over €1 trillion, yet another EU building is going up in Brussels at the cost of €260 million which seems utterly insane given the some 18.5 million unemployed (according to Eurostat) across an increasingly fragmented and divided EZ.

    The British are right to ask the hard questions of Brussels and are supported in their stance by countries like Denmark who wisely to my mind stayed out of the euro, like Britain but not like us!

    • bonbon

      The really hard question is for all parties in the EU budget talks to drop immediately their austerity mindset

      Political Paralysis Blocks EU Budget Deal

      We have a huge reconstruction to start immediately. It is not just a monetarist dog-and-pony show, the physical economy (and that includes healthcare, education) is being destroyed.



    Found on bocktherobber dot com.

  37. All is not well in America.

    Food Banks Trying to Cope with Thanksgiving Rush

    • bonbon

      And NY Mayor Bloomberg had already banned food handouts ” to protect us from salt” more than a year
      ago. Imagine what the victims of Sandy are saying!
      This is the Triple Curve physical economy collapsing.

      U.S. Food Shortages Grow, as LaRouche Warned

      Nov. 22, 2012 (LPAC)–The deadly combination of decreasing food production, rising prices, a collapsing economy, and government austerity, is hitting hard at the most vulnerable Americans. Lyndon LaRouche has repeatedly warned that the combination of hyperinflation and food shortages would lead to starvation.
      As the economy collapses, more and more Americans are dependent upon some sort of food aid to feed themselves and their families. A record 47.1 million people receive food stamps under the Federal SNAP program, and millions more depend upon aid from local food banks, which are increasingly unable to meet the demand. For example, from a recent Reuters survey:
      * The LA Regional Food Bank has less than two weeks’ supply of food on hand, the lowest in recent history and down from a peak 3.3 weeks’ supply in 2010. It does not have the food to expand beyond the 640 agencies it already supplies, and has a waiting list of 565 nonprofit groups seeking help.
      * Government commodity purchases through The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) fell by {more than half}, to $353 million in the fiscal year which ended Sept. 30, down from $724 million three years earlier, according to the USDA.
      * Government commodities once made up 28% of the food flowing through the Feeding America network, which includes about 90% of U.S. food banks and provides food for about 37 million people during the year. This year, Food America said, government commodities only cover 17% of food provisions.
      * Second Harvest of Northwest NC has seen its monthly supplies of TEFAP products drop {by roughly two-thirds}, to 170,000 pounds from 500,000 pounds, while state budget cuts have slashed its annual funding by half, to $500,000. The food bank has spent a out $1 million buying food, but that hasn’t come close to covering the shortfall.
      * Government commodity donations are down by 50% to 700,000 pounds at the Northeast Iowa Food Bank for the fiscal year ended June 30. Local purchases and donations managed to cover about 300,000 pounds of the shortfall.
      * Food purchases by the Greater Chicago Food Depository have more than doubled in recent years, and now account for some 27% of its food supply.
      And let’s not forget: behind all these numbers, lies {the properly sobering reality, that all these programs and food banks exist and are necessary at all!} In the “world’s greatest economy.

  38. Philip

    Saw “Ear to the Ground last” night on RTE1. I like it. Said more or less same thing. Spud shortage thsi year due to bad weather. And there no more stories about food mountains and set aside etc. any more. Peak Food? Then again, we have 60-70% obesity in developed world. 40% drop in intake recommended. And then there’s plain food wastage 20-30% of average shop in UK. Bit of a mess really.

    • bonbon

      A child dies of starvation and diseases every 5 minutes, and a famine toll of 23,000 humans daily worldwide, is murder! Add to this the biofuel diktat from the EU and Obama literally burning food potential while more than 40 million Americans are on handouts. Now some will say as in 1847 “it’s their own fault” too many Irish. Do not support murder.

      Under Real Peace Conditions, the World Could Feed 12 Billion Humans; Famine is “Murder”

      Nov. 22, 2012 (EIRNS)–Jean Ziegler, the Swiss eminence grise of anti-war/globalization activities for several decades now, gave a passionate speech against underdevelopment and hunger last Saturday in Berlin, characterizing the present situation which sees a child dying from .”
      Among those to be held responsible for that, are the 10 agro-multis that control 85 percent of the food supply of the world, having no interest in secured nutrition for mankind but only in shareholder value, Ziegler charged.
      Ziegler’s description of the situation in the Sahel Zone in Africa can be taken as an indirect call for the Transaqua program: the farmers in Africa, he said, are as industrious as their colleagues in Europe, but they lack the basic infrastructure and technical equipment which allows the European farmers to produce 10,000 kilograms of crops per hectare, whereas in the Sahel, maximally 500 kilograms are produced. No roads, no water, no fertilizer. If ever any profit is made from the Sahel products, it is not re-invested but used for paying the debt. Lan grabbing is another disaster, taking away 41 million hectares of arable lands from the Africans, and yet another disaster are bio-fuels, which Ziegler denounced as a “crime against humanity.”
      But now, Ziegler charged, African conditions are coming to Europe: in Spain, 2.2 million children are undernourished — –an effect of the EU austerity policies, and 55 percent of the Spanish teachers bring food to the schools to feed their pupils, a phenomenon also observed in Germany, where children of Hartz IV program recipients are in a similar situation.

  39. transitionman

    Watch Listen Farage on RT Europe split in every way possible
    Similar to comments made here by those who did not get caught in history histrionics. Remember DMW is asking
    ” What would we do if, or possibly when, Britain leaves the EU?” to provoke the discussions we should be having.
    Philip watch ear to the ground again in particular to NGO rep who actually used the word Climate Change and energy shortage. See the stockbroker talk of major technological breakthrough to keep up with task of feeding the world.
    Food and energy poverty are other words for no more cheap oil.
    The con is keep everyone talking about a banking financial system that is past its use by date. The puppeteers will change the backdrop in their own good time.

    • Eireannach

      Oh yeah?

      Listen to Guy Verhofstadt rip into Nigel Farage, a c**t who is a member of the FIsheries Committee but hasn’t shown up for a meeting in 3 years.

      Ireland is in the EZ, will remain in the EZ and in a referendum, will VOTE to REMAIN in the EZ.

      You, DMcW and the rest of you are delusional.

      Ireland is in the EZ, the Kilometre, the EU and this is the path we’re staying on.

      The UK might leave the EU, etc, etc. but Ireland will remain in it.

      If you know Ireland, you’ll know I’m 100% right.

  40. Irish Personal Insolvency Act

    Today I was at a Professional Seminar on the above and related topics given by senior Barristers and Solicitors.The venue was not in Dublin.

    The major points that stood out to me were :

    The Act was created by the Bankers Lobby ; and

    The Ombudsman was created by the Bankers Lobby; and

    Lots of Waffle stuffed inside it ; and

    Very Unclear ; and

    Lack of procedure how it will work ;

    Vulnerable Pigs have yet to test how it will work and suffer the consequences; and

    The Act is undemocratic for any EU State ; and

    The Act as an ethnic cleanser to replace natives with foreigners who as we know do not have serious bank loans; and

    The Act is not decisive in its proposals and very confusing ; and

    All the above was learned from these professionals . What hope have the ‘little people’ have ?

    Native Irish will leave as a result .( Whare is Ivan Yates?)

    etc etc

    • SMOKEY

      John, While Im sure you are close to what it will actually accomplish, or not, I hated Ivan Yates guts.
      So as far as Ivan Yates is concerned, good riddance, a total and complete loser and whiner in every way.
      I have no faith in this act and it once again will fall short as it aims low and hits its target dead center.

    • bonbon

      The act seems there to bail out not mortgages but some other lobby as usual.

  41. Deco

    David asks a very serious question in this article.

    How exactly is Ireland prepared for the possibility that Britain might decide that the EU is a load of nonsense and that it would be in Britain’s interest to get out ?

    The sheer exercise of asking that question is aneathma to the entire “buy in” consensus that the EU is a success. Therefore we are bombarded with opinion (and most of the time that is all that it is) that is positive about the EU, and negative about anybody who questions the EU.

    There is currently no objective discussion about the EU. Except in Britain, Greece, and maybe Portugal. It definitely does not exist in this country. Just look at the rubbish from the IT or RTE before Lisbon 2. Simply put, the discussion about Europe is not a discussion at all, but a force field of vested interests being bought up with promises. The whole thing has become a horsetrading racket. And forget the “idealism”, because that is just a fairly veneerlike, and also pretty useless.

    Does this not tell us something about the intellectual deficiencies in discussion about the EU ? When clearly it is underperforming, economically ? When the growth that it achieves is highly correlated to increases in borrowing, and decreases in the interest rate ?

    Do the DoF have a contingency plan ? Do they even have a plan ? Oh yeah, they have a plan. They will do what they are told, and get paid for doing just that.

    Makes you wonder what the point in getting out of thhe UK was, when we are even less influential, now than then.

    Though in fairness, the patronising that we are getting is far more effective.

  42. bonbon

    Cyprus has agreed a bailout package with the European Union and International Monetary Fund and expects the lenders to confirm the deal later today, the island’s government spokesman said.
    If confirmed by the lenders, Cyprus will become the fourth euro zone country to request a sovereign rescue.

    The Mediterranean island sought financial aid — which could be up to €17.5 billion, equal to its entire annual economic output — in June, after its banks were battered by their exposure to the Greek crisis.

  43. bonbon

    Mr Van Rompuy had proposed a €25 billion cut in the allocation for agriculture from a budget plan tabled by the European Commission. Van Rompuy has now proposed putting €7.7 billion back into the CAP budget, so the reduction would be €17.3 billion. if accepted. Are Van Rompuy and co seeking to destroy the agricultural sector with these massive budget cuts?

  44. This is not about economics David because most people know by now that what is happening to them is about international politics, white collar crime, local corruption and our individual powers of reasoning and decision making. We can do a lot about the latter in the meantime and go back to the former later when it’s time to weed out those who are not putting in a proper shift

    The only economics that matter to most people now is home economics and we have all learned the moves and how to juggle numbers from day to day. We are all experts and it’s a pity that the government, the unions and the rich have not had the chance to experience austerity on a personal level

    I say it’s time they did because they might even discover it will make them feel admonished. They will only feel like us when they have genuinely taken some pain but still they hand out jobs (Gilmore’s missus) and behave like the French elites who knew not when to stop and who eventually reaped a hellish rage

    Sack them all tomorrow and let hungry blood in. At least it would propel us out into orbit away from our nighmare past and cowardice in facing growing up as a nation. Now that’s what I call shock therapy!

    We know the world is a sewer and how it works. We know that the fake politeness of politicians and media professionals is bullshit and that they do more harm than good

    We know about human nature. Neat economic theories can’t predict the whims of human nature and this is where you guys have serious problems. It’s not like you are dealing with physics, engineering or computer science. You can’t bluff these disciplines and that is maybe why the Irish are not too hot at them. It takes too much effort and discipline

    I believe Ireland could produce brilliant engineers if they were encouraged and given the right kind of education. Engineers for example who could discover how to harness wind and water power to power data centres located on the west coast which would be greener than locating them elsewhere. As Bonbon says prepare the western seaboard for the arctic route. As HAL says our leaders have no imagination nor inclination and he is dead right. That is before we mention oil and gas reserves. Sure we will just act like wankers and hand the whole lot to BP on a plate. Are you stupid if what

    The west coast could be the solution to our problems but Dublin is too far up it’s arse to see it never mind claim it for the nation. Sure we could always seek solace in great Irish minds like Willie O’Dea. The man who looks like he was made for Spitting Image. Wille is the last of the great Irish intellectuals

    Saturday, May 6 1972, Glasgow Evening Citizen newsreel:
    Celtic 6-1 Hibernian, Hampden, 106.102
    Leeds United 1-0 Arsenal, Wembley, 100,000

  45. Deco

    The dynamism and the sense of urgency in practical matters has moved from the West to the East. It is a matter of cultural happening.

    The greatness of the west is now superceded by the daftness of the West. The West is obsessed with daftness. The West has become intellectually defunct. Ironically, it was the continent that seemed most capable of averting this. But now, it is instead indulged upon.

    The East has been played out with daftness and now concentrates of greatness.

    You might be able to save yourselves as individuals. But the great project of the age aims to prevent you getting too far. It aims to use your efforts as a means of sustaining nonsense.

    The whole “more Europe” is an intellectual void of laziness, flawed assumptions, irresponsibility, rules for everything, and pretend.

    “more Europe” is Europe’s biggest problem.

    Strangely enough, I don’t think that Cameron has sussed this, even though he will be defined as the enemy of peace, happiness and tranquility for daring to question one aspect of the great singular project of the age. And Europe does this frequently, it falls in love with one transnational super vision that may actually turn out to be fraud.

    Don’t get caught out badly in the eventuality that it might not work out. A lot of people got caught badly when the ECB induced borrowing binge did not work out.

    David asks are the DoF prepared.

    We know that they are not.

    Next question : Are you prepared ?

    • bonbon

      I think “more europe” means more bills to most and the energy price hike in Germany, caused by greenie madness, to hit in Jan 2013, will shatter any complacency. The errors of trying to save the Euro and the green mayhem are inseparable and will act like the Erinyes circling. The puerile attempt to dissociate these 2 sides of the same coin will boomerang with a shock most do not expect.
      Are you prepared to dump the greenie pest with the Euro?

      The DoF will learn soon enough what Glass-Steagall means, but then for reconstruction another department, that creative department of the mind will be needed.

      • Deco

        Germany will face a choice. Phase out Nuclear Power and the Euro. Or sustain both.

        Germany’s energy requirements are massive. Any change will require massive investment. And effort to propo up the Euro will also require massive investment. The Greens want to pay for both. It does not add up. Even Germany has it’s limits.

    • Adam Byrne

      Eminently prepared Deco and yes, I will save myself as an individual because no one else is going to do it, especially not inept politicians!

      • Deco

        Adam, common sense is the key. Unfortunately, it seems as if the first principle of state institutional rule is to abandon common sense. I look at the mess ongoing in the nation’s finances, I can see another bailout on the horizon. I could be wrong. But the Irish economy is being propped up by borrowing, and has been reliant on increased borrowing for sustainance since about 1996.

        Since the end of the boom private sector borrowing fell, and public sector borrowing took it’s place.

        The politicians in power now, all made serious judgemental errors when in opposition. They have not got suddenly any smarter.

    • Philip

      Thanks for reminding us we need to keep that sense of outrage. UK is not the issue. We are letting too many idiots think for us. The suits from banks know nothing. Neither do the idiots politicianss who cowen in their presence.

  46. bonbon

    Sberbank CEO: Euro Currency Bloc Will Break Up

    Nov. 23 (EIRNA)–Russian Sberbank Chief Executive Herman Gref said at the Euro Finance Week conference in Frankfurt yesterday that it is impossible to save the euro zone with all its current members in the long term, and added that the creation of a banking union which the Europeans plan, is a very difficult task. Gref said the “European Union was great idea,” but the creation of a single currency bloc wasn’t, as there are “great differences in competitiveness across the euro-zone countries.” He also questioned if it was pragmatic for the EU to create a single European banking supervisor along with the envisaged banking union, saying that “regulation [of the banking system] in the euro zone is very difficult.”
    Gref’s remarks on the future of the euro may be read as yet another trial by Russia to convince the EU to drop its arrogance {viz.} Moscow and enter talks on partnership and cooperation that treat either side as equal. The just-agreed technology and research cooperation in the ExoMars project is an example of where Europe should go: Russia has repeatedly offered joint space missions to the Europeans, which the European Commission has mostly turned down. Only after NASA pulled out from ExoMars, Europe’s space agency ESA showed interest in working with
    Russias’ Roscosmos agency.

  47. bonbon

    Political Paralysis Blocks EU Budget Deal

    Nov. 23 (EIRNA)–EU leaders failed to reach a deal on the European Commission’s budget 2014-2020 after two days of talks, the situation not having changed much from the one after the first round of failed talks yesterday late night. After that first session, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters: “I believe that the positions are still very far apart…. I think that we will advance a little, but doubt that we will achieve a result.” French President François Hollande also said that some countries needed to “contribute more.”
    Prime Minister David Cameron, leader of the extreme budget-cutter faction, has demanded billions in pay and pension cuts from the EU’s civil service, and presented EU heads with a paper setting out how Brussels could slash at least 6 billion euro off its staff costs, in order to stay at the 890 billion euro budget ceiling which the British side is demanding. Cameron wants an across-the-board cut of 10%. Germany wants the budget to be limited to 960 billion euros, but the European Parliament (which has veto powers to block the budget) wants a budget of 1,091 billion as the minimum.
    The President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, came up with a compromise proposal last night to fix the budget at 1,010 billion euros, which European Parliament speaker Martin Schulz rejected outright as unacceptable.

    Apart from the intrigues that belong to such summits, the main problem is that all parties in these talks are austerity proponents, preventing with all their political energies a policy which would supply the productive credit volumes in the range of 2 or 3 trillion over the aforesaid time-frame, which Europe needs to recover from the depression.

    Whatever deal might come in one of the next rounds of talks early next year, will be a bad deal, if the EU bureaucracy
    keeps its habits.

  48. joe sod

    first of all i agree that the anti EU sentiment in britain is largely emotional. Britain as you said is a major nation in the EU and I think it is more about them throwing their weight around and wanting to have a bigger say in how the EU is run, on this they maybe successful. Then they can turn to the electorate and say look at the power and concessions we have got. You rightly point out that the EU might lose status if a major nation like britain were to leave. But what about the implications for britain, if a no vote happened (im not sure which referendum would happen first) or was likely this would accelerate desire for Scottish independance. Britain leaving the EU and Scottish independance, this would be a disaster for britain, but then you couldn’t call it Britain any longer as all of britain is no longer one. What then for Britain , the commonwealth, largely changed since britain joined in 1973, some very powerful countries in their own right, it would be a laughing stock if it tried to throw its weight around as if nothing happened since 1973. Whether Britain likes it or not it is a big european nation (all of the european nations that count are in the EU). What happens in europe directly affects Britain, Britain is not America. In the two world wars america had a choice whether to enter those wars, Britain did not. I think if a referendum happens these realities will be driven home.

    • bonbon

      Why mix up the UK with Britain? This confusion is typical of Tigers that do not do any homework.

      There is no nation of Europe – that was voted down 2 times. Have you forgotten so easily? The Nobel prize for Peace endowed on the EU is a the same as the Obama Nobel prize.

      All attempts to impose a Pan Europe or USE, Churchill and Sir Oswald Mosley’y “vision”, have led to disaster – remember Hitlers 3rd Reich with the abolishment of all European nations?

      So the Euro being a British geopolitic from the get-go, is a disaster. The Cameron cameo-show is just that, considering the geopolitical maneuverings.

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