February 11, 2016

Ireland & Europe, major decisions ahead but is anyone thinking?

Posted in Irish Independent · 112 comments ·
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It’s impossible to come to Berlin and not be filled with an enormous sense of history. Everywhere there are echoes and reminders of fascism, not least because the Germans have, admirably, come to terms with their own past and made their repentance extremely public and thorough. Public museums, all free, document assiduously the rise of Hitler, the terror of the 1930s followed by the total war of 1939-1944, culminating in Berlin’s Götterdämmerung in 1945.

 

United Germany is now the powerhouse of Europe, the one true European leader. Yet despite the wealth and the prowess, when talking to Germans you get a pervading sense of crisis here.

The refugee crisis is placing great strain on German politics because the notion that Germany will receive every migrant who wants to travel from the Middle East is beginning to scare the average German. Taxi drivers here, mainly from Turkey, claim that right now it’s not a problem, but it may well become one if the numbers continue to rise.

This is happening at a time when the German stock market has fallen by 30pc from its peak because of worries about the global economy and global demand. Germany is the world’s best exporter and therefore it has most to lose from a global slump. Add to this the Volkswagen debacle that has undermined the ‘Made in Germany’ brand for quality and honesty.

Meanwhile, Germany’s relationship with Europe is coming under strain – and it is a strain that will have significant implications for Ireland in the years ahead.

The first issue is the euro. As Europe’s growth rate falters, the ECB will again cut interest rates to further, negative territory.

Europe is now gripped with deflation and the ECB has to respond. Germany insisted that the rest of the Eurozone couldn’t raise government spending to get out of the recession, so interest rates have to be cut aggressively. This will send the euro lower, which should benefit German exporters – but the hard-money fanatics of the old Bundesbank will find it very hard to bear. At the moment the debasement of the euro is not a big deal to the Germans, but if it continues, there are plenty of people here who will be uneasy.

The other fear the Germans have is that the euro crisis will reignite, not in Greece but in faltering Italy. Germany could handle Greece, but Italy is a different story.

Furthermore, Germany is now at loggerheads with its former allies in Poland and the other central Europeans who don’t want migrants, but it looks like the Germans want everyone to take their share.

Indicative of the neuroses in Berlin are reports in the local papers that Angela Merkel is suggesting that Nato get involved in the refugee crisis in the Aegean.

All the while the EU is taking aim at Ireland and our tax rates, particularly the test case over Apple. The German government wants Apple to pay its taxes simply because Germany, with its massive capital base, has most to lose if the likes of Apple can divert cash through Ireland and avoid taxes. What happens if some massive German companies ‘do an Apple’ in Ireland? Germany will lose tax revenues. It’s not hard to see what side the Germans are on.

Talking of taking sides brings me to our election.

The issue of our relationship with Europe and what choices we have to make in the next Dáil are quite stark – but Europe will hardly be mentioned in the debates.

For years, the EU has been a simple deal for us. It was more or less win-win. We took their money and outsourced critical thinking to Brussels, pretended there were no conflicts of interest and just played the game of being good Europeans without ever really asking what that meant. We sent MEPs to ‘the continent’ and then forgot about them and adopted a European currency without even a debate.

However, with Germany now looking at our tax base through its collection agent, the EU Commission, and the Brits possibly on their way out, the Irish in Europe becomes a more complex issue. What is it for us now, this EU? If the Brits leave, we could find ourselves having to obey Italian, German or Spanish-imposed trade barriers on our nearest neighbour.

The solutions are not easy.

We can’t follow the Brits out the door immediately – because to do so would mean that the past 100 years, all the 1916 stuff, was actually a cruel joke. By leaving with the Brits we would be admitting that we are, and always were, essentially a satellite of London. However, to career off in a continental orbit, pretending that we are not an Atlantic people with deep cultural, familial and economic links to the Anglo/American world, would be financial suicide.

There are two Irelands: commercial Ireland and bureaucratic Ireland. For many years, their interests were aligned. The commercial angle revolved around Ireland having trade links with the EU but with Anglo/American tax policies for capital; the bureaucratic angle involved being pro-European. They complemented each other. Bureaucratic Ireland wanted to curry favour amongst Europeans at the top table, while never really standing up for the citizens of the country. So when, for example, the citizens voted against EU treaties, we were admonished by bureaucratic Ireland to vote again.

This is not the stuff that democracies are made of.

But now, for the first time in years, a conflict exists between commercial Ireland and bureaucratic Ireland.

Commercial Ireland, the Ireland of business, might have to, very quickly, exercise some critical thinking and restraint over bureaucratic Ireland.

Commercial Ireland lives in the real economy, the one that buys and sells, makes profit, employs people, pays wages and is largely held in some way responsible for what it does.

Bureaucratic Ireland inhabits the never-never land of the Dublin-Brussels corridor, which is entirely populated by civil servants and technocrats who have no reason to worry about commercial Ireland because their wages don’t depend on commerce. There is no relationship between competence and reward in bureaucratic Ireland. Consider the Central Bankers, Department of Finance heads and regulators whose incompetence helped destroy this economy. Who lost their job? Did anyone lose pensions? No, they were largely rewarded for their failures. At least the politicians were voted out, but the top civil servants remain unscathed.

Now we should be making hard decisions. Outsourcing critical thinking to the EU is no longer an option.

In the years ahead, we need a new plan, which deals with a different world – and if these two sides of the Irish ruling elite have to clash, so be it. The battleground may well be Apple and test cases like it.

With that in mind, as the election looms and we gear up to celebrate our own revolutionary dead in Ireland, here in Rosa Luxemburg Platz in Berlin the words of that German 20th-century revolutionary reverberate: “Freedom is always and exclusively freedom for the one who thinks differently.”

And there was me thinking it was Steve Jobs who urged us to “think different”?

Whether the advice comes from a communist revolutionary or a commercial revolutionary, the message is the same. A time comes for hard thinking. For Ireland, that time is now.


  1. breltub

    So, for discussion:

    - Leave the Euro
    - Ireland issues its own ‘hard philosophy’ currency
    - 2 taxes only, totalling a 25% effective tax rate:

    – 1 ‘central’ flat tax rate of 20% split between basic income (15%) and Government costs (5%)
    – 1 ‘county’ tax of 5%

    - Guaranteed income based on tax collected for all citizens
    - Remove HSE, & all other welfare types
    - Make health insurance mandatory
    - Roads, Schools, and Hospital infrastructure costs [not labour and services], subsidised based the county tax rate

    Thoughts?

  2. Grzegorz Kolodziej

    Probably the best article ever written by David for Indo (my hitherto favourite was the one about the Spanish Empires’s gold). Obviously, there are two schools of thought whether we are in danger of deflation or hyperinflation (or mine – first deflation, then hyperinflation), but I am not going to break my lance for it – dude, that was awesome.

    “What happens if some massive German companies ‘do an Apple’ in Ireland? Germany will lose tax revenues.”
    Here is what argument to use against German hypocrisy.
    According to 50 Shades of Tax Dodging report, Germany is the second biggest tax offender in the EU, with Ireland ranked only 10th.
    German corporations cheat on taxes massively by transferring all profits to subsidiaries. The European Commission estimates that as a result Poland is losing over 10bn euro a year. The frugal Germans do not spend their savings in Poland on drink, but on using dumping prices for their products in Polish supermarkets – courtesy to Polish taxpayers (some Irish banks do the same for German customers).
    In September 2014, a court in Athens found that Hochtief, a German construction company running Athens International airport had avoided paying VAT for 20 years. Now folks, this is gas – the top tax evader in Greece is member of the International Partnering Against Corruption.
    “ We took their money and outsourced critical thinking to Brussels, pretended there were no conflicts of interest and just played the game of being good Europeans without ever really asking what that meant. “

    There is some truth in that, though there is always the question of Ireland losing her sovereignty (repeated Lisbon referendum, the issue of territorial waters for fishing, Irish budget discussed in Bundestad before it was discussed in Dáil Éireann, etc.).
    From http://www.europeandme.eu/2brain/113-european-myth-1
    “In Germany there is a wide-spread belief that Germany’s status as main “net contributor” is mainly due to “paying the bill for the second world war. […]If we take a look at the data from EUROSTAT it becomes clear that the strongest net contributor to European budget is a Luxembourger, as every citizen in Luxembourg had a net contribution of 185 € per year in 2005. Luxembourgers are followed by the Netherlanders (162€) and Swedes (96 €). Hence, it’s true that the main contributors to the EU budget are EU15 states citizens. Nevertheless, which nationality are the net receivers? Polish? Czech?
    You’ll never guess. The net receivers do not come from Eastern Europe but are Greeks (351 €), Irish (271 €) or Portuguese (226 €), citizens of the EU15 states. A Pole, on the other hand, benefits by just 48 € per year from the EU budget, not to mention the Czechs, with 17 € a head.”
    I bet none of you – even David – is aware of that, so I’d like to clarify how on earth is that possible. To start with, Brussels (and in reality Germany and France) forced the new 10 member states to be eligible for only 25pc of EU15 subsidies to agriculture. Furthermore, Eurostat will tell you that Poland is the biggest recipient, but this is a bit misleading because Poland is so big that people need couchettes to travel across it on a train. Having considered the membership fee things start looking different, but the real fun begins when you calculate how much of those subsidies is actually made FULL use of. For example, Germany makes sure that they receive by far the biggest EU subsidies per capita for research and innovation – over FIFTEEN TIMES bigger per person than Ireland and Poland, according to Eurostat!, which – ta-da! – helps German exports; this is followed by Italy, UK and Belgium – and then there is a sharp decline in subsidies. As a result of all this, Poland is this year a netto payer to the EU (by a whopping 2bn euro). On the positive note, as a result of this – and China’s efforts to run the new Silk Road via Poland – Poland is able to respond to German threats of using sanctions and force against Poland to go and fuck themselves with their subsidies and their Mittel-Europa project (and by the way – this is to German embassy – rather than mentoring Ireland, should Germany not focus on signing a Peace Treaty with Poland and, after over 70 years of avoiding this topic, pay some war reparations to a country that has lost ¼ of its citizens as a result of Germany’s first EU project – before Poland obtains nuclear weapons from either China or the US?).

    But leaving the EU is not in the Polish interest long term – in the Polish interest it would be to have the EU limited to four freedoms with the UK and her sat.. befriended states, like Ireland and Norway, playing increasingly important role, equal to Germany and France (do not get me wrong – I do not wish for the collapse of Germany as I am not governed by emotions in politics, which I offset by being overly sentimental in love and friendships).

    Would that not be in Ireland’s interest too? But is that even possible? And did any Irish politician notice the new bloc of EU states being built – with Great Britain as a leader, Poland as the second leader and then Scandinavia and the Vysehrad Group (mind you, in view of the Brexit referendum UKiP has been studying the role played in the Polish election by non-mainstream media – Poland has arguably the biggest freedom of press in Europe (German press is the least free, even by law – no foreign media allowed), in spite of being the most open European country to foreign-capital media, which however did not manage to monopolise the public opinion)? It is not by accident Prime Minister Cameron went to Warsaw before he will go to see the Cailín Álainn Angela Merkel, as the Taoiseach Enda Kenny calls her (no, I am not messing – watch the debate on TG4 four years ago).

    Well, I do not think that any TD has noticed the new alliances taking shape in Europe. Surely, when things started getting hot between Poland and Germany after the October election, the leading story in Irish newspapers was and I quote: “Eight cattle died after an overhead power line fell on a field near Calluragh South near Lahinch, Co Clare.” Pity it was not politicians.

    • McCawber

      A hundred years on from 1916 and we’ve proven we can think for ourselves and be independent.
      So now after some mature recollection/reflection we can tell the Brits it was all a big misunderstanding, that Dev was settling old scores relating back to the Spanish Armada and like all imperialist (We’ll have to come up with some other word) gits was abusing our hospitality.
      He should never have been given asylum or a visa.

      We simply explain that what we really wanted was talk shop like the Stormont assembly, a few jobs for boys and for Westminister to do the hard yards (It being a rugby W/E and all that)

    • Joxer89

      I think it’s fairly obvious why Poland cannot be subsidized to the same extent as Ireland *per capita*, because Poland is a big country and Ireland is a small country (10 times smaller). Same goes for research funding in Ireland vs. Germany (which is 20 times bigger than Ireland).

      If Germans indulge in dubious and illegal practices, and of course there’s been plenty of rottenness in the way German businesses behave, then they deserve to go through the criminal justice system, and they do. And it is fine for other Europeans to criticize German hypocrisy where it arises on a political level, e.g. with respect to Greece. European citizens do not have a duty to worship everything that is done or said by Mr. Schäuble or Mr. Seehofer.

      What strikes me as curious, however, about the reactions of Poland and other new member states to the main issue that is causing tension with Germany at present, the Middle East and refugee crises, is that their attitude is converging strongly towards that of the Russian leadership. Keep the refugees out, treat them like crap, they are all spongers who we don’t need to take in and Germany’s policy is a disgrace, human rights are so much romantic nonsense, bla bla bla. People should reflect on where this is getting them. Those countries should have a good look at their culture of political debate, press freedom, pluralism etc. and see where it is going. I’m sorry but it is evident that the standard of political debate (or the parts of it that the respective regimes allow) is abysmal in Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary compared to Germany. Watch the political talk shows in Germany: on the whole, the seriousness and detail of the discussions have no equal in the rest of Europe. It should put the UK with its mother of parliaments to shame.

      Many of us stupid do-gooders in western Europe fondly imagined that the new member states joining the EU had something to do with wanting to become free and open pluralistic democratic countries and also with escaping from the Russian sphere of influence. Well, I think they should look carefully at where the hard refusal to do a fair share of taking in refugees (even if the EU gave substantial financial support), coupled with the massive intolerance on the basis of race and religion being articulated there, and the general hard-line authoritarian approach to government is leading them. Those kinds of attitudes and policies have a home and a brand, and it is Putin’s Russia. If you want to be helpless satellites of Russia again, just keep going right on down that path.

      If you want to be part of the EU, then it’s time to admit that you do actuallly have some things to learn, even from Germany. In terms of coming to terms with the terrible history of the 20th century, and taking steps to create forms of state organization that are sustainably better than that, then especially from Germany. Even from the real, flawed Germany that exists, some of whose businesspeople are crooks and some of whose polticians are nasty.

      • Sideshow Bob

        Let´s take liberal enlightened Sweden and Finland as a comparator countries then on the subject of refugees.

        Sweden, after processing applications of the so called refugees says the refusal rate i.e. people deemed to NOT be refugees is roughly 45%. In Finland it is 65%. It is fair yo say then that a good number of the people arriving are not refugees but illegal economic migrants.

        Can I ask you a question Joxer? Do you speak German, Czech, Polish and Hungarian and follow the respective political debates written using fact based journalistic techniques, in their native tongues, in all of these countries? Or are you just going on what you hear on blogs, i.e. translated second-hand opinion based on unsupported facts?

        • Joxer89

          I do indeed speak German and live in Austria, where we have detailed reporting from the neighboring countries and have their politicians and representatives on our TV most days.

          The distinction being made between refugees and economic migrants at the moment is of academic interest only. They’re coming anyway. Their reasons for coming are as good as any the Irish had for going to the USA in the late 19th century.

          This is something that is happening. It is neither completely out of control nor completely under control. The true utopian romantics are for me the ones who pretend we can make this historic phenomenon unhappen, and squash it back into the box of the tidy concepts we had before. We can certainly deal with it better, but only by accepting pragmatically that it’s here. That is exactly what Germany, Austria and Sweden and maybe a couple of others are doing. And if the rest of the EU were on board it would be a lot easier to manage – not to manage the whole situation out of existence, but to manage thos aspects of it which can be managed. e.g. putting up the people who are here with a minimum of human dignity (even the ones who will be sent back) and in such a way – as well dispersed as possible – that minimizes the problems for the surrounding society. A family in every village is manageable; a shed full of 1000 ppl next to a village of 200 is obviously not ideal.

          • Sideshow Bob

            Ok so, I defer to your immediate experience on the matter of central Europe. Still, you are getting the filtered Austrian viewpoint, which has to be distorted to some degree, but is probably better than what we hear here.

            On the subject of your comparison of `immigration´ to 21st century Europe with immigration to the Americas from 1850-1945(or Australia or New Zealand)these are two very different situations. All of these countries; the US, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Argentina, etc, were huge, underpopulated, developing (and in some cases still are developing). They invited people to simply turn up and immediately gain full citizenship with no promises of healthcare, housing, education, pensions or other help with general welfare being made to them or their immediate relatives. This is a gigantic difference. The situations are not comparable.

            And it is preventable too, if the there is a perception that it won´t work out. The cost in time and money to engage in such migration is high for the average migrant. Numbers entering or attempting to enter Sweden have dropped dramatically since they introduced controls and said they were going to deport tens of thousands of failed asylum seekers. It is not the poorest who usually travel, they don´t have the money. The migrants could be spending their money more productively closer to their home rather than paying traffickers a small fortune to cross frontiers illegally, and then to corrupt police along the way to look the other way while they go past.

            One interesting and very hypocritical historical aspect of the migrant vs. refugee question was that Jews fleeing actual Nazi persecution prior to WW2 were not treated as refugees and were denied access to the US and the UK as they were classified incorrectly as migrants. The question of defining who is a migrant and who is a refugee and who is not is off particular importance to the situation of genuine refugees, who need help as they are in danger and have no where to go. The present day mass appropriation of the term refugee for those that should be correctly termed migrants worries me greatly.

          • Grzegorz Kolodziej

            “we have detailed reporting from the neighboring countries and have their politicians and representatives on our TV most days.”

            You see, I have an enormous advantage in sourcing my information over you: I can watch, listen and read your media, but you cannot read, watch or listen any of the Eastern European media. As a result, you only think you have detailed reporting, but what you have is detailed yet shallow. First of all, remind me when was the last time you had any Law and Justice politician in your media participated in any debate? That’s right, never. Yet you claim you are entitled to have an opinion (and a very strong one too) on politics in Poland because you watch your censored media.
            Thomas Jefferson has said that the man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.

            The truth is that if you cannot read, watch and listen to the language of a country you are writing about, you have two options.

            1. Listen to other people who cannot read, watch or listen to media in that language.
            2. Listen to people from that country (so Poles, Slovakians, Greeks, etc.), but never be able to verify whether what they tell you is true.

            Now, German and Austrian media have a mixture of both. Now, read this link and educate yourself as to how your media have been lying to you:

            “http://www.currenteventspoland.com/commentary/Who-Defends-Polish-Democracy-with-German-Money.html”

            Yes. I am sure German agents in Poland are the most objective source of information.

            “We can certainly deal with it better, but only by accepting pragmatically that it’s here. That is exactly what Germany, Austria and Sweden and maybe a couple of others are doing.”

            Yes, you could have certainly dealt with that better. Not electing Nazi murderers in West Germany for burgermeisters would have been a good start, then paying some war reparations – like you did with Israel – would also be a decent thing to do (considering Germans and Austrians killed more ethnic Poles than Jews), then perhaps you would deign to sign a Peace Treaty at some stage, and finally – why do you obey 1940 Nazi laws regarding Poles as ethnic minority? Why Poles cannot have the same rights in Germany as Germans have in Poland?

            But you know nothing about it because of your censored,, self-complacent media.

            “the standard of political debate (or the parts of it that the respective regimes allow) is abysmal in Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary compared to Germany.”

            AND WHO DA FUCK ARE YOU TO JUDGE IF YOU CANNOT READ/SPEAK POLISH, CZECH OR HUNGARIAN?!

            “The distinction being made between refugees and economic migrants at the moment is of academic interest only.”

            It’s hillarious how misinformed one can be watching German media. Well it is not academic if the governments of those 3 enlightened countries – Germany, Austria and Sweden – are planning on deporting bogus refugees based precisely on that distinction. But again, your censored media did not even tell you that.

        • Grzegorz Kolodziej

          And worse than that – but it it too late at night to look for a source – they were supposed to be doctors and what not, but the majority of them cannot even read – official figures say. Sure you see it listening to them anyway

          • Grzegorz Kolodziej

            I put inverted commas and this did not come out as a link…

            Who-Defends-Polish-Democracy-with-German-Money.html

            There is Mr. Sulik in German media – a Slovakian Euroskeptic – but this is only because he speaks very good German and I have only seen him once or twice when he was needed. Considering the walloping Mr. Schulz and Mrs. Merkel got from Prof. Ryszard Legutko in the EU Parliament, no wonder no one from Law and Justice has been participating in any serious TV debate in Germany.

            I am open to corrections (by links)

      • Grzegorz Kolodziej

        I was going to post a more detailed response, but this got lost while clicking, so I will limit myself to a few points:

        1. You do not understand what per capita means. It does not mean that Germany gets 15 times more EU subsidies on Research and Innovation because it is 10 times bigger than Ireland. Actually, it means it gets 15 times more per head – 300 (that’s three hundred) more than Ireland as a country and over 30 times more than Poland as a country.

        2. It’s not about worshipping, it is about Germany mentoring other countries from Greece through Ireland to Poland while being the second worse tax dodger in Europe.

        3. “that their attitude is converging strongly towards that of the Russian leadership”

        And who is building Nordstream 2 with Russia bypassing Poland? Germany. Even Green Dutch MEP told you that during the EU debate on Poland, saying that you go behind Poland’s back and at the same time demand loyalty from the Vysehrad Group. Go and watch the full debate, rather than getting all info from censored German media.

        4. “Keep the refugees out”

        Surely you have mistaken Poland with Germany:

        http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/19/germany-must-soon-close-borders-to-refugees-transport-minister-tells-merkel

        And why did you tell them 800,000 could come the previous year and more this year? And that you will use force (Herr Martin Schulz) if Poland does not relieve Germany by locking those migrants who do not want to stay to Poland in camps, which, btw, you demanded to be located as far from the German border as possible?

        5. “they are all spongers” – not all of them are, but it looks like the vast majority of those you invited on this occasion are.

        In contrast, Poland did not invite spongers, but hard working people by taking almost a million migrants from Ukraine who work there and there is few problems with them – though this may change as Germany does everything it can to re-gnite the neo-Nazi political movements in Ukraine, which is very well documented.

        6.Yes, I watch all German and some Austrian political shows and probably know more about German law than you do (though you never know…).

        While I largely agree with you on political TV shows (not all of them are good – Mrs. Maybritt Illner shouts too much and the show it totally PC; I find 60 Minuten the best), I do not agree on press. There is no equivalent of the British Spectator in Germany.

        Last time I watched your ZDF political comedy show, the leading joke was the Mr. Jaroslaw Kaczynski is an identical egg twin but “the second egg fell down and crashed” (reference to plane crash in Smolensk which killed Mr. Kaczynski’s twin – the Polish President – and 95 other people). That was the reason the German embassador had been summoned.

        Well, one thing Germans could learn from Poles or the Irish is tact.

        Mr. Hans Martin Esser calls it (and plenty of other jokes) the worse propaganda since 1945:

        http://www.achgut.com/dadgdx/index.php/dadgd/article/mainz_wie_es_stinkt_und_lacht_propaganda_karneval_im_zdf

        while Mr. Alexander Wendt says that the last time he remembers such anti-Polish propaganda in Germany was done by STASI in 1981.

        It’s just a propaganda war from Germany on Poland (Germany as a state, not the people); the propaganda war will turn into trade war, if this is not stopped by German state (and so far there has been more willingness to dialogue on the Polish side, but gone are the time when Polish government will do everything it is being told). The next step is only the real war – and Germany will be responsible for it (it is alredy pushing for war in Ukraine, supporting anti-Polish government in Ukraine).

        “Es geschieht also alles Handeln unter der Voraussetzung, daß, wenn die dabei zum Grunde liegende Entscheidung der Waffen wirklich eintreten sollte, sie eine günstige sei. Die Waffenentscheidung ist für alle großen und kleinen Operationen des Krieges, was die bare Zahlung für den Wechselhandel ist; wie entfernt diese Beziehungen auch sein, wie selten die Realisationen eintreten mögen, ganz können sie niemals fehlen.”

        Carl von Clausewitz

        Erstes Buch:
        Über die Natur des Krieges

        Zweites Kapitel: Zweck und Mittel im Kriege

        ZDF – Zweiter Deutscher Faschismus. And it’s not even a joke.

        7. “If you want to be part of the EU”

        You want us to be in the EU – sure you export to Poland twice as much as to Russia and it is estimated that Poland supports 2 million jobs in Germany via profits transferred from Poland. Poland can be in or outside the EU. Outside the EU and before starting to implement the EU laws Poland has 7pc growth. After only 5 years of implementing EU laws (EC strictly speaking) it has 25pc unemployment (from less than 10pc).

        Similarly, Ireland can be in or outside the EU. It can be in Commonwealth, it can have a status like Norway. Germany is not an important partner for Ireland (realistically the only trade partners that matter for Ireland are the UK, the US (23pc exports) and China – Germany buys less Irish products than Belgium).

        Personally, I think that all in all it would better for Poland and probably (not quite sure) for Ireland to be in the EU, but the EU limited to four freedoms only. But who would subsidise German exports and R&D in such EU? I.e., already this year Poland is netto payer to the EU and its economy did survive the crisis only because it refused to adopt the euro currency (btw, the Central Bank President who refused to implement the euro was later killed in Smolensk plane crash).

        8. “If you want to be helpless satellites of Russia again, just keep going right on down that path.” – no, you want to be part of the German-Russian alliance; otherwise, why Nordstream 2? There is however some truth in that last point – Russia’s strategy is to support weak national states like Scotland in order to rip apart the EU and NATO and form alliance with Germany. It’s a topic for a larger discussion though and, like I said, I lost my original comment.

        P.S. “it’s time to admit that you do actuallly have some things to learn, even from Germany.”

        What do you mean “even”? No European country on earth has culture more rich than Germany in the past, except for Austria and, of course, Greece.

        • Grzegorz Kolodziej

          “because it is 10 times bigger than Ireland.”

          Late night – 20 times bigger than Ireland.

          Poor Poland cannot get as much agricultural or research and development subsidies per head as Ireland (the former means that food is so expensive in Ireland, so it’s not like the Irish customer benefits) because Ireland is small and Poland is big, but big Germany can get 300 times subsidies for Research and Innovation than small Ireland.

          Btw, subsidies kill European competitiveness anyway – but they are they and some countries get more than the others, not necessarily according to their population and wealth

    • Sideshow Bob

      Your EU numbers are rubbish Grzegorz.

      Poland from 2007-2013 contributed €22 Billion and received €30 Billion. Nett €8 Billion or roughly a €200 per head gain.

      Ireland 2007-2013 contributed €9.2 Billion and received €9.7 Billion €0.5 Billion nett gain or roughly €100 euro per head of a gain.

      ( From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budget_of_the_European_Union
      Main sources: European Commission and CEPS both referenced )

      • Grzegorz Kolodziej

        “Your EU numbers are rubbish Grzegorz”

        Please read carefully what I ACTUALLY wrote:

        “As a result of all this, Poland is this year a netto payer to the EU (by a whopping 2bn euro)”

        and what I wrote about making full use of the allocated funds

      • Grzegorz Kolodziej

        “Poland from 2007-2013 contributed €22 Billion and received €30 Billion. Nett €8 Billion or roughly a €200 per head gain.”

        There is one more thing you do not know about those statistics, Bob (apart from the fact that Poland is a netto payer just in a year were it has a wrong government).

        As part of a hidden commitment in access negotiations to the EU, from 2007-2012 Poland was forced to buy 47bn euro worth of foreign government bonds. Now, this is easy to verify (bonds, not secret commitment). Roughly half of them were US, the other half EU (mainly German and British).

        If you digged deeper than Wikipedia, you would find plenty of such bombshells…

        And who knows what secret commitments Ireland has?

  3. Colm MacDonncha

    I lived in Berlin in 1984,when the wall was up and checkpoint charlie was the route to East Berlin.The city was in black and white to the East and in Technicolour to the West.The Germans I worked with were less than positive towards the Turkish ‘Gastarbeitern’ that worked throughout the city,driving taxis,running (fab) kebab stalls,cleaning,driving buses…doing the jobs that the germans were reluctant to take on. I was consistently bemused by the constant references to Kreusburg,the suburb in West Berlin which had become something of a Turkish ‘enclave’ (read ghetto)in the city. Thirty years on I can’t help but wonder if those Turkish ‘Gastarbeitern’ and their children are now looking with no little concern at the hundreds of thousands of new ‘Gastarbeitern’ entering the cities of the new Reich.Will the ‘Willkommenkultur’ be extended to the same extent when further incidents such as were witnessed in Cologne at the beginning of the year become more widespread?

    • Grzegorz Kolodziej

      Colm, this is the difference between “refugees” and Gastarbeiters:

      - a Turkish Gastarbeiter coming to Germany, say in 1960s, would not have been eligible for any social welfare. No welcoming committee of lassies for him. His role was to work hard and pay money to the German budget to make sure that there is social welfare even for those Germans who are offered taxis to drive them to field to pick strawberries (authenthic example from 1990s – a RTL documentary).

      - a Pole coming to Ireland in 2004 gets no social welfare, no social housing, nothing – until he has two years of contributions. This is by law. A Pole coming before 2004 gets nothing and can only work if the employer proves that there is no Irish willing to do the job.

      - a “refugee” invading Germany gets EVERYTHING at the start. Free food, free housing, some money – and he can rape and pillage. He contributes nothing to the German economy – unlike the propaganda, the majority of them are not doctor but analphabetes. If he commits a crime, this is because of his social conditioning. More than that, native girls forced him to rape him because they do not wear Muslim dresses (Cologne Mayor Henriette Reker recommended that German women should change their behavior and follow a special set of rules to avoid sexual harassment).

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUr_KQbWNGs

      That’s why, whatever the relations between the Poles and the Germans are, you do not see Polish houses set on fire in Germany and you see lots of mixed marriagies, but in case of the “refugees”:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GoZNglbqYzo

      Three questions:

      1. Why should the EU citizens be discriminated against in getting access to social welfare and housing and “refugees” preferred (btw, I think social welfare and housing systems should be gradually eliminated in every country for everyone – and then you could have 1pc income tax, houses for 20,000 euro and no real unemployment)? There is some people in Ireland, both Irish and non-nationals, who have to pay lots of money to live in accommodation worse than those refugees – and if they have nothing to eat, its tough shit for them.

      2. What do you think will happen with attitudes towards refugees to Germany if the new wave comes from Turkey in spring?

      3. Do you invite people to a party and then, when they arrive, tell them to go to your neighbour and tell your neigbour you will kick his ass if he does not give them his daughters, free food and alcohol? Neither do I. But this is exactly what Germany does as a state. Are they surprised their leadership in Europe is questioned?

      Now, the really disturbing thought: what if the German government WANTS Nazism to make a come-back?

  4. Harve

    Interesting article David,

    I agree that the Brits leaving the EU would present major questions for the Irish as to which sphere we really belong in. I would be very interested in getting your views on what you see as the implications of a Brexit both for Ireland, the UK and the EU.

  5. NeilW

    It’s always amusing to see the Irish who struggled so hard to get out of the British yoke, then meekly accept a German one.

    The Scots are having the same debate and will no doubt head down the same path.

    Why is being shafted by the Germans so much better than the English? Do they use more lube?

    • Grzegorz Kolodziej

      Because the German empire and the British empire use different types of propaganda.
      The British empire used to boast how great and morally/racially superior they are.
      The German propaganda tries to persuade other countries how shit they are: profligate, xenophobic and stupid.

      Some countries react to that:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85fzGOsGtL0

      Some not:

      http://rsvpmagazine.ie/rabbit-teeth-german-journo-writes-scathing-article-on-the-irish/

      My comment to that article: dear educated and sophisticated Germans. Much as I love your food, your Autobahns, your Bach, Wagner, Schopenhauer, Carl Schmitt and many of your movies, despite being by far the biggest per capita recipient of the EU money for education, Poland beats you fair and square in PISA ratings in every category. What a waste of EU subsidies.

    • Reality Check

      It’s either Globalism or nationalism at this stage.

    • @NeilW You can Timothy Geithner to the ECB/EU queue lining up behind with Angela with her strap-on, ready to ream Ireland Inc. He well and truly shafted Ireland during the GFC and yet the same clowns carry on with their Saxon Foe nonsense. It’s the Paddywhackery version of Braveheart as history/politics and makes as much sense. Though it’s also fun, like watching that poisoned dwarf Mel Gibson ranting about ‘the Brits’ when he’s not jew-baiting with his ‘catholic’ crap.

      “Freedom is always and exclusively freedom for the one who thinks differently.”

      And Ireland will always, always be a slave to it’s dysfunctional past until the #NationalNarrative changes to one congruent with C21st consensual reality. David knows he’s lit the blue touch paper when he writes:

      “The solutions are not easy.

      “We can’t follow the Brits out the door immediately – because to do so would mean that the past 100 years, all the 1916 stuff, was actually a cruel joke. By leaving with the Brits we would be admitting that we are, and always were, essentially a satellite of London. However, to career off in a continental orbit, pretending that we are not an Atlantic people with deep cultural, familial and economic links to the Anglo/American world, would be financial suicide.”

      And he knows I’m a ‘twisted fire-starter’, so here we go. It was indeed a cruel joke, a sick joke played by nutjob Padraig Pearse with his Catholic Blood Sacrifice Easter Rising psychosis. It was a total failure in terms of securing Ireland’s long-term future prospects and opened the door for Delusional De Valera to come and trash the island with his American Hibernian nonsense. The Rising was opportunistic, enabled by the insane killing fields of colonial Europe as in-bred royals, aristocrats and generals had a mega turf-war where thousands of Irish lads died only to be erased from the national narrative whilst clowns still sang The Green Fields of France without having a clue.

      Instead of Thomas Payne and the French and American Revolutions clear blue water between Church and State, the ‘heroes and heroines’ of 1916 plotted a counter-revolution that would have U-Boats from Rome arriving in Dublin non-stop for the first century of ‘Freedom’.

      DMcW has written as follows:

      “The heroes of 1916 were economically clueless and the nation paid for it”

      “All this taken together explains how in 1913, on the eve of the Rising, far from being poor, Ireland was actually a rich country – one of the richest in Europe. Income per head was on a par with the Scandinavian countries of Norway, Sweden and Finland.
      Seventy years after the Rising in 1986, Irish income per head was half the income of the Scandinavians. What happened?
      Did our population expand rapidly so that our income per head fell – which would have been the inverse of what had happened between 1850 and 1900, when wages rose because the population fell? No, in fact, the Irish population kept falling up until the 1970s.
      Emigration remained at ridiculously high levels. Consider this: in the 1950s, we know that 450,000 Irish people emigrated to England alone. That is not taking into account the people who went to America, Canada or Australia. And we are talking about a decade when the rest of the world boomed. In the 1980s, again, when our major trading partners – the English-speaking world – boomed, we went backwards. This is hard to do.”

      “..we should acknowledge that the people who took over this country in the aftermath of 1916 in our name were about as economically literate as the Taliban.

      http://www.independent.ie/opinion/columnists/david-mcwilliams/the-heroes-of-1916-were-economically-clueless-and-the-nation-paid-for-it-34189127.html

      But it’s just too much for most folk to face, to face the fact that is Padraig Pearse hadn’t been bullied in the playground for his Brummie accent and had stayed fast to his Dad’s Atheism then it could all have been so different and, y’know, actually heroic. But it isn’t, not really. Only when you’re pissed and singing those rebel songs. Not that I have ever done so.

      I don’t agree with the rest of this as it’s pessimistic. There’s no need to return to the bosom of Britain or bend and spread for the Germans. What happened to the notion of an independent Ireland that triangulated itself with the Americas, Britain and Europe as an entrepot trading nation like the Venetians of old or the Singaporeans of today. Too ambitious, too risk and D4 was just too lazy. ‘The real plastic paddies have always been sitting in the Dail’

      all the best!

      mad paddy from Brum. Etc.

      • cooldude

        Great post Andrew. You’re a very sane Paddy. To be truly independent we have to leave the central bank cabal who are the ones in real control. The politicians just do as they are told, Merkel in particular. Our world is now run by the bankers who tolerate democracy as long as it votes correctly. If the people get it wrong they have to vote again or “regime change” is introduced. Russia must have kicked out the bankers because now they want to get rid of Putin. Here is an article which looks at these criminals

        zerohedge.com/news/2016-02-11/central-banks-are-trojan-horses-looting-their-host-nations

        • Yes, Ireland is now the Bankster’s prison bitch. Sadly it was ever thus. You’d think Enda would just fess up and drop his pants to the Nation and say: “Jayzus! That’s just how it is! aren’t we used to it? Does it matter if it’s Xtian Brothers or German Bankers? Or ‘The Brits’….or our special BFF on Paddy’s Day: The USA

          Thanks for support. I used to get mayhem in Small Heath when I’d stand at the bar of The Monica or somewhere and lads would be singing fake-Rebel Yell songs and I’d go: “it’s all nonsense, stop singing that crap, we need to write some new songs”. Got a few punches but I’ve the best Southpaw in the world. Last time I hit someone they were on liquid food for a month with a wired-up jaw. And that is absolutely a fact. Act Tyson Fury about me. He knows all about me via the Tribal fractal spin offs to Rathkeale, London and Manchester, not to mention Boston, NYC and Sydney. But hey! I’m just the shy bookish speccy4eyes type some of ye met in Kilkenny and Dublin. It’s al an act but what’s real and what’s cracked? #CrackedActor #MadPaddyInBrum. Here’s a GIF I made using Tyson, and Enda and the rest of those plastic paddies in the Dail know what they can do. Here’s the joining instructions: [amazed DMcW hasn't caved & banned me yet. Surprising but *interesting*]

          TYSON FURY RESPONDS & HITS BACK AT SEXIST CLAIMS, PETITIONS & THE SHAMEFUL PRESS

          https://gifs.com/gif/XDL3XA

        • Could not have said this any better myself!!!

          “But Werner says the same thing about the European Central Bank (ECB). The ECB has used loans and liquidity as a weapon to loot European nations.

          Indeed, Greece (more), Italy, Ireland (and here) and other European countries have all lost their national sovereignty to the ECB and the other members of the Troika”

      • mediator

        Thanks for that post – content would be alien to the majority of this countries people though

      • Sideshow Bob

        As far as I can see these industrial giants have the big names from the politician classes in their pockets. I think that all this noise coming from Europe about low taxes is being made just to keep the ever more aware plebs from getting too angry, mainly by giving the impression to be taking action.

        I think if there was any REAL desire to oblige these MNCs to pay more in the way of taxes where they operate that would have already happened, the money would have been grabbed a long time ago. It is easier to pick on and tax the people, I mean, where can they go to avoid it?

        (Adam excepted, of course!)

    • McCawber

      Distance lends enchantment to the view.

    • Joxer89

      It’s a bit of a rabbit/duck thing isn’t it? Either being in the EU is basically good and the last 8 years are a somewhat anomalous phase, or it’s all been a shite idea and this is it reaching its natural culmination.

      Undeniably good are I think the opening to wider markets, greater mobility of ppl to and from continental Europe, and the much more institutionalized relationship with our “opressors” (if that’s how we want to see them). The troika may be bad but it isn’t martial law; and the Brits may not have been entirely evil (as DMcW has pointed out, they were better for Ireland economically than the immediate aftermath of independence) but the representation of Irish interests to the British overlord was a much more informal, ad hoc and precarious business than our membership of the EU with Councils of Ministers, Parliament, presidencies, the ECJ etc. which is at least based on formal treaties, involves a legitimate Irish govt. (which 100 years ago the IPP and then Sinn Fein were not) and gives us fora and channels to raise issues officially.

      • Grzegorz Kolodziej

        “Either being in the EU is basically good and the last 8 years are a somewhat anomalous phase, or it’s all been a shite idea and this is it reaching its natural culmination.”

        1. Being in the EU of sovereign nations limited to four freedoms would be the best thing (provided the EU does not wage trade war with Commonwealth).

        2. If the EU turns into an overly regulated super-state with harmonised high taxes and Mr. Schulz saying force needs to be used, as he did, then it’s better to be out – maybe with a status like Norway.

        So the question is not in or out, but in or out in WHAT?

        • Joxer89

          The four freedoms have consequences. You can’t have four freedoms without levelling the playing field.

          The only possible solution to The EU’s democratic deficit is a proper federal structure.

          The national governments are its cause.

          • Grzegorz Kolodziej

            Joxer89,

            The best way of levelling the playing field is to simplify the EU law (the vast majority of the EU law is superfluous) and to leave tax and other issues in the hands of the Member States.

            Commonwealth, though not ideal, is an example of such cooperation; EFTA was going in this direction, but it became redundant with the advent of the EU.

            A proper federal structure itself is not a remedy the lack of accountability; furthermore, the more federal the European Communities were becoming, the less accountability there was.

            “The national governments are its cause.”

            There are no national governments any more, perhaps except for Germany and the UK. Even before Poland joined the European Communities (as you know, formally there was no EU before the Lisbon Treaty), the vast majority of its laws had been imposed from Brussels, and passed often without reading (due to large volume).

            Germany is in somewhat better situation as it is the only EU country which can actually refuse implementing an EU law if it is not compatible with the German Constitution – or Grundgesetz to be more precise, as Germany does not have a Constitution – look at art. 146 (in Poland for example the EU law is superior to the Constitution); but Germany in turn is limited by the – imprecisely called – Kanzler-Akte.

            Read memoirs of Mr. Egon Bahr – when he talks about Mr. Willy Brandt and the loyalty clause he had to sign after become the Chancellor.

            Most of the EU regulations are there because of the lobbying in the EU Parliament.

            I sometimes witnessed in the Irish courts that even judges, who are payed enormous amounts of money, do not actually know what Ireland has signed (I know of 6 such cases) – because it is impossible to know, given the scale of legal Byzantinism (in one such case the Judge was not aware that he erred on the side of law because Ireland is bound by a certain convention).

  6. michaelcoughlan

    “United Germany is now the powerhouse of Europe …………………………..but the hard-money fanatics of the old Bundesbank”

    The two above are CORRELATED.

    “all the 1916 stuff, was actually a cruel joke”

    Never were truer words spoken.

    This is a picture of an elephant David;

    http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/photos/elephants/#/african-elephant-standing_9033_600x450.jpg

    Here is another picture of a German elephant not spoken about in an article on Germany;

    http://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/feb/10/deutsche-bank-germany-financial-colossus-stumbles

    An why wasn’t the German Elephant discussed Dathi?……………………….

    Final thought for the day;

    The Germans are indeed the power house of Europe even after having their country and people chopped up twice last century.

    Will the Keynesian powers now chop up Germany a third time or will this elephant;

    http://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/people/peter-sutherland-moral-merkel-fragile-europe-sneering-ireland-1.2454732

    destroy it by ensuring that the human tide currently enveloping it (and not a military one) overwhelms the whole of Germany this century?

    Michael.

    • Sideshow Bob

      It could be argued that war was central to Germany´s growth and prosperity in the 20th and 21st century.

      And Japan, too, like rose from the ashes of the WW2 to be an industrial powerhouse. After opening up to the world, it had undergone an even greater modernization than Germany in the century preceding WW2.

      The idea that war can result in creation is a hugely contradictory notion. It clears space for new ideas, new people, and it can change humanity, human thought, human arts and engineering all on revolutionary and massive scale.

      America pulled itself itself out of the great depression and set itself on the road to prosperity and and global trade domination not with FDR´s social and economic programmes but with war time spending from the mid 1940s onward ( WW2 and early Cold war to Korean War ) see the following…http://humanscience.wikia.com/wiki/File:The_US_National_Debt.jpg

      The US had even up to 1939 or so, a relatively weak military but by the end of the war 1945 it was a world powerhouse in the area. The USAF went from 800 antiquated planes in 1939 to 80,000 cutting edge ones at it peak in 1944. And that figure excludes combat losses. It developed and manufactured new generations of all types of planes in time-frames of months. It now takes a decade, or more to do the same job. This massive spending, manufacturing and invention resulted in the enabling of a generation of young Americans (male and female) with skills, responsibilities and experiences that were key to it´s post war prosperity. The idea of WW2 creating huge amounts of human capital for society to benefit from afterwards is seldom addressed in history books or in any depiction in any media form. The obviously negative aspects of war are focused on only.

      Israel has actively used war, a military-industrial (and political) complex and even compulsory miltary service of it´s citizens to help develop the nation since been founded. Like it or loathe it, Israel has created a tech-savy highly industralized and rich nation from a narrow strip of resource poor land and war, or at least conflict, has been an ever present element during this period. They have engaged in conflict, or war, or military aggression involving destruction some 15 times since 1947 alone. War can be very beneficial, to the victors at least.

  7. Grzegorz Kolodziej

    Instead of Concert of Europe, we have a concert of the Vysehrad Group (dedicated to Cailín Álainn) – four members of the Vysehrad group:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YgVWot_xrxE

    And here we have Ireland’s dillemmas regarding being too mellow to Germany, the China problem and letting the refugees in:

    “Yip your mellow, yee ‘n yellow
    And if you hear a knock on front the door
    Do let me in because there might be more”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_C6lQrhjbg

    Yo

  8. coldblow

    ‘Freedom is always and exclusively freedom for the one who thinks differently.’

    I wouldn’t be in a hurry to take advice from Rosa Luxemburg any more than I would from David Bowie. I am happy to concede that David thinks for himself, and his record bears it out. When it comes to non-economic things (ie the liberal agenda), though, he doesn’t, not that he ever pretended otherwise. The reasons are psychological and understandable.

    The following is off-topic. I came across it yesterday evening while going through my notes. A few weeks ago David criticized climate ‘deniers’. The standard view is that 97% of scientists belive in AGW and ‘the science is settled’.

    Here’s a hilarious letter from three years ago by Richard Tol, soon after the NZ psychologist John Cook published his earth-shattering results:

    http://richardtol.blogspot.ie/2013/08/open-letter-to-vice-chancellor-of.html#!/2013/08/open-letter-to-vice-chancellor-of.html

    ‘I first contacted Mr Cook on 31 May 2013, requesting data that should have been ready when the paper was submitted for peer review on 18 January 2013. His foot-dragging, condoned by senior university officials, does not reflect well on the University of Queensland’s attitude towards replication and openness. His refusal to release all data may indicate that more could be wrong with the paper.

    ‘Therefore, I hereby request, once again, that you release rater IDs and time stamps.’

  9. coldblow

    And here is Tol’s summary of Cook’s paper from last March and there was of course more wrong with the paper, much more:

    http://richardtol.blogspot.ie/2015/03/now-almost-two-years-old-john-cooks-97.html#!/2015/03/now-almost-two-years-old-john-cooks-97.html

    http://richardtol.blogspot.ie/2015/03/now-almost-two-years-old-john-cooks-97.html#!/2015/03/now-almost-two-years-old-john-cooks-97.html

    There is so much to jeer at. I’ll content myself with this little gem:

    ‘Cook later argued that time stamps were never collected. They were. They showed that one of Cook’s raters [described by Tol as 'a small group of environmental activists'] inspected 675 abstracts within 72 hours, a superhuman effort.’

    The science may not be settled but this is wonderful ‘data’ for the independent-minded psychologist. Someone should tell Mary Robinson.

    • mediator

      Hi Coldblow

      Just idle curiosity but are you an energy analyst / economist / academic given few people would follow Richard Tol. Indeed its a pity we don’t have more like him in our universities and especially the IT sector which are increasingly being run by managerial types who are high on ambition and political nous but lacking in independent mindedness or ability outside off self aggrandisement

      cheers

      • coldblow

        Mediator

        Economics and energy are among the very many subjects I know little about.

        I understand Richard Tol believes in AGM but he has been very critical over the years of the IPCC and the climate lobby. I also understand he was in the ESRI but left after disagreement – Deco posted about that here once or twice. As a Dutchman he likes plain speaking, and he is thorough.

        Apart from this I am not a great fan. He used to write about water charges on the Irish Economy website. I am pretty sure he accepts the need for them while I don’t. He believes in all this rigorous scientific method stuff while I am allergic to it. I also find it impossible to suspend disbelief. I mean, I can tolerate the existence of scientists until they start seriously interfering with our lives. Tol is Teutonic. You must do this, that and then this. But he is great for annoying the IPCC and all its works because they (a *political* organization) pretend to be scientific but he tells them they how comically bad they are at it. He gets a mention in Christopher Booker’s book, questioning Michael Mann’s infamous hockey stick graph. (Notice by the way how Mann and Cook (a psychologist, for heaven’s sake) were two deservedly obscure figures until catapulted into fame by their, er, controversial original research. Mann (another extravert of course) reminds me very much of Carlos Ruiz Zafon, author of The Shadow of the Wind, one of the most cliche-ridden and all-round useless novels I have ever read. I wrote an unkind review on Amazon and actually used the phrase you read in my earlier post: ‘there is so much to jeer at’. I said I hadn’t finished the book but wanted to put the review up in case anything happened to me. I was surprised later, when reading other reviews, to find that someone else had said exactly the same thing.

        My own motive in going into detail about this (I mean, I could just form an opinion about AGW – it’s very easy after a few short minutes and move onto something else) is psychological. I am looking at the extravert streak running through all the nonsense. I’m pretty sure Tol is an extravert just like most of the main players. It can be entertaining though.

        For example, the author of this website:

        https://wottsupwiththatblog.wordpress.com/2013/07/26/richard-tol-and-the-97-consensus/

        tried to counter Tol’s criticism of Cook. This bit caught my eye: ‘So, this is where I get a little bit more controversial and somewhat more critical of Richard Tol. The problem I’m having with this whole event is understanding Richard Tol’s motivation. His claim is that he is simply interested in making sure that a piece of work is robust and done properly. Even if the results are correct – he says – if the strategy is flawed, the work has no merit. However, what I have issues with are Richard’s own style and his own strategy. Firstly, he’s often remarkably rude and unpleasant. I have been told that this is pretty standard in his field, but I find it a strange way to interact with other academics. It shows a lack of decency, and if you’re not willing to be decent why should others be decent towards you? As far as his strategy goes, he has spent quite a lot of time trying to convince people that John Cook’s reluctance to release all his data implies that he’s trying to hide something. Richard’s paper then consists of a set of statistical tests that the Cook et al. Data apparently fail… They might be perfectly fine tests to do if the goal was to study the people rating the abstracts, but that wasn’t the goal.’

        From my perspective that should be the goal. But the bit that interests me is his puzzlement at ‘Richard’s’ behaviour. Why is he running us down? We are all on the same side after all. He’s rude, that’s what it is. That explains it. File under ‘extravert cliche’.

        Where does this leave, say, David and Noddy (our fearless Warrior for Climate Justice according to Tubbs)? From their point of view is Richard still one of us? Is he still Richard or is he now Tol? (You may recall Georg’s post (our German correspondent, aka Laughing Bear) from a few years back about Prime Time’s Mission to Prey disaster. In the one sentence he referred to reporter Aoife Kavanagh as ‘Aoife’ (not ‘Kavanagh’) and to Fr Kevin Reynolds (who she had publicly and falsely accused of rape, no less) as ‘the priest’ (not even ‘Reynolds’). Hey Georg, where are you? We need you! I need to collect the data!

  10. ps200306

    Best article ever, David. I remember you writing years back about the inevitability of the currency union and the union itself collapsing under the weight of its own contradictions, although it might take some years. The paroxysms gripping Europe now may be the harbingers of those events. Whatever happens, history is being made right now.

    • McCawber

      The reason the EU failure is very very simple.
      Everyone thought it was a free meal and behaved accordingly.
      No discipline, everything to excess.
      There is no such thing as a free meal but nobody wanted to hear that.
      It was so bad that the Prime Minister of one of the countries even suggested to dissenters that they should consider committing suicide.

  11. McCawber

    Anyone who thinks Ireland is bending the rules any more than any other country is quite simply NAIVE.
    They are all at it. They all have their own little scams and schemes.
    The one thing Ireland should not be afraid to do is shine the light back at those schemes and say guys you f^cked us up the ass the last time but if you try it this time, we’re off. A Brexit is very likely and followed shortly after by an Eirext….. Well let’s put it like this. To lose one child is unfortunate, to lose two is careless.
    Sutherland and Jonker et al should be told politely when you guys get your own houses in order then tell us what how you did and we’ll use your example and expertise to correct our alledged failings.

    • @McCawber “Anyone who thinks Ireland is bending the rules any more than any other country is quite simply NAIVE.
      They are all at it. They all have their own little scams and schemes.
      The one thing Ireland should not be afraid to do is shine the light back at those schemes and say guys you f^cked us up the ass the last time but if you try it this time, we’re off. A Brexit is very likely and followed shortly after by an Eirext….. Well let’s put it like this. To lose one child is unfortunate, to lose two is careless.”

      Cue David Drumm’s arrival at Dublin Airport. Will he have jet-lagged lag fun Day 1, or play safe? Yes, he’s a very, very naughty boy but they were always the ones who impressed me. He can bring it all crashing down or…he can trouser his PTSD *compo* for keeping his secrets about The Oirish Bailout and put his feet up in some mansion on Dublin Bay. What amount of money won’t they offer for him to keep his gob shut? His return is like a perfect dream storyboard denouement, kf he’s got a dick and isn’t just another prison bitch. Is he a 4Real or just another tyke who briefly got lucky? How did he actually do anything wrong? He didn’t write the rules just shafted the clowns who did. That makes him a businessman and a playa in my book, not a criminal: that would be the elected politicians and their fluffer bureaucrats who enabled his spectacular heists…

      “dear hero imprisoned…with all the new crimes that you are perfecting…..oh, I can’t help quoting you…..David Drumm, do you know my name..oh, say you do…I am the last of the famous BanksterNational playboys…”

      “I picked it out of me arse!”

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Ms55x0jnxw

  12. michaelcoughlan

    @tony brogan.

    You don’t need me to tell you Tony; Gold is going parabolic.

    • Ha Ha Michael.

      Not parabolic, just a little bounce up Michael. Largest one day increase in 24 hours ever recorded so some say.

      On the evening news here was all the stats for falling markets and currency gains and losses and dead silence as usual when PM go up. A fall is always reported.

      CBC Communist Broadcasting Corp. Its had that name for decades and it is fully funded by the state.

      It has been a steady bull market for gold for two years in Canadian currency. All time high 1900 odd and tonight 1728 CAD.

  13. survivalist

    If anyone is going to benefit from defrauding the people (of any nation) it’s going to be the German Government and their ‘Deutsche Bank’.

    DB might need some additional revenue though it is doubtful it will come from getting the US giant Apple to pay tax.

    DB cannot be credited for their frank German forthrightness in doing things ‘right’ either, after all it has set aside $1.3 billion as litigation reserves, ‘which will mostly be utilized to settle lawsuits’.

    In my opinion the place of the 1916 rising is unlikely to be resolved/settled because it was a symbolic event. And as such many people will deem its actors nuts, misguided, failed, heroic, visionary etc. as it was a major symbolic act and can afford to generate nearly any meaning which is brought to it.

    There is no dispute between the business and bureaucratic classes as was noted in August 1915 and just 8 months before his involvement in the 1916 rising.

    “Yes, friends, governments in capitalist society are but committees of the rich to manage the affairs of the capitalist class.” James Connolly. What has changed?

    And also how will the UK ‘leave’ Europe? And if they did what would Ireland need to do to ‘follow’?

    • DB is insolvent. Not long for the grand reset. Are you all ready to be bailed in to save the bankers again and again……

      • DB 4% deposit ratio to liabilities plus 50 trillion in derivatives. Even if they win they lose as the counter party will be broke and unable to pay. Watch the dominoes fall.

        It will be every man for himself, every country for themselves. Nobody will care they are in or out of Europe just as long as they can eat.

        The best thing to do first is fire the central bankers and take back sovereignty with a national debt free currency. Without sovereignty no decision can be made by any country so the whole discussion above is moot.

    • The UK will leave Europa after a democratic mandate is given during the forthcoming Referendum. It’s either #FcUKEU or bend and spread for Angela’s strap-on and see the Shire reduced to ashes again, but by German banksters, not Luftwaffe. Ain’t gonna happen on my watch.

      “This Is England”. Not Ireland. I’m flying out to Lisbon on Sunday for some R’n'R, scene of Ireland’s total capitulation and ignominy. Lisbon Treaty? Concessions? “I picked it out of me arse!” Biffo. Bertie. Enda. Bruton: confederacy of dunces. It’s up to Ireland what they do when the English do what the Scots didn’t have the bottle to do. What then for the SNP? Lulzathon beckons. Ireland Inc will decide. But there’ll be a ‘heated debate’. Declan Ganley’s quiet, or I’ve not heard him pipe up much. Been busy in Mamma Roma, LA and E’bro, man.

      #1916ThePastIsAForeign Country

      Agree with you that #1916isIrishRorschachTest but still going to be epic event. I’ll be all over Dublin that week. In disguise. With ‘security’ discreetly alongside in case anyone fancies the have-a-go-hero stuff to silence the Brum Revisionist raising the ghost of Padraig Pearse’s Brummie Da as the Guiding Light that was extinguished by his son. Kind of Biblical story…more to follow on that….soon come!

      “In my opinion the place of the 1916 rising is unlikely to be resolved/settled because it was a symbolic event. And as such many people will deem its actors nuts, misguided, failed, heroic, visionary etc. as it was a major symbolic act and can afford to generate nearly any meaning which is brought to it.
      There is no dispute between the business and bureaucratic classes as was noted in August 1915 and just 8 months before his involvement in the 1916 rising.
      “Yes, friends, governments in capitalist society are but committees of the rich to manage the affairs of the capitalist class.” James Connolly. What has changed?
      And also how will the UK ‘leave’ Europe? And if they did what would Ireland need to do to ‘follow’?”

      This is England ( Ludovico Einaudi – Dietro Casa )

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiHY13eUObw

      • “Raise The Tricoloured Union Jack cuz Mad Paddy From Brum is BACK!” and the Shire Irish are “even better than the real thing”…

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gI9HYTuvdts

      • StephenKenny

        If the UK leaves the EU, it’ll align, by gravity, to a greater degree with the USA. That would be interesting to watch, given the open contempt with which the US generally treats the UK.

        It’s economy is totally dependent on the US Fed-backed speculative asset classes, and any severe wobble could take it to a Spanish or Greek territory.

        If an ‘independent’ UK ever tried to disobey US direction, just a limiting of currency interventions by the Fed would spin the financial and property sectors, and therefore the entire economy, into previously unknown recessionary territory.

        While interest rates are lower than at any time in UK recorded economic history (about 1,000 years), things can bump along, with ever increasing levels of accumulated debt. If interest rates stay this low, then the pension system will essentially cease to operate completely, adding a huge burden onto the taxpayer, while pushing speculative assets to ever higher levels, adding an ever increasing burden on to the shoulders of an increasing proportion of the workforce.

        The EU or USA? Hard to choose, hard to win.

  14. McCawber

    The Great Reset – That’s a great description Tony.
    We all sensed your frustration with us.
    We all agreed (privately) with you that the Great Reset is going to happen but no “Premise” should be allowed go untested.
    However we also know or feel that we are powerless to do anything (in the global sense) to do anything to prevent the Reset.
    However here’s another €20T question and the answer is crucial.
    Do we actually need the banks or perhaps how long could we do without the banks.
    In the 70′s there was a bank strike in Ireland lasting about 10 months.
    Even from personal expertise it wasn’t present, cash became king and we survived reasonably well.
    We still have cash (an abundance of it thanks to QE)
    What are peoples thoughts on the above.
    Basically if the banking system shut down for a month how would Joe Public cope.
    Secondly. How should that month be used by the authorities as in not giving our money to the banks.

    • You are not powerless

      You can take actions to protect yourself.

      Ask Michael, Cooldude Oft stated here already.

      • cooldude

        What is needed is for banks to become what they should be, a service industry to serve the needs of the people. Their ability to create money out of nothing via credit is pure fraud simple as that. The starting place is the central banks. They have to go full stop. These are private institutions with shareholders and they run monetary policy for sovereign or should I say ex sovereign nations. Shut them down as they are failures and institute a system of open market banking and a complete overhaul of the legal tender laws.

        If Tony wants to use gold as money let him. Same with Adam and Bitcoin. Open and free choice and competition and let people have free choice in what type of money they want to use. Let the likes of Tesco issue their own notes if they want. The important thing is to take the fraudulent monopoly off the banksters and stop the parasites from sucking up all the real assets. This would also involve the State issuing it’s own money but they wouldn’t be able to debase it too much or no one would use it for anything except to pay taxes.

        We are living in a Stockholm syndrome worrying about how we would survive if these criminals hadn’t kidnapped our society. Get rid of them. Their next move will be “bail ins” which are getting very close. Already happening in Italy I believe and soon to be widespread. They really have taken over the whole show and now they want to move to a cashless society and have TOTAL control of our lives. We really need to wake up and stand up to these criminals. Andrew is right we are all being shafted by these wankers and we are wondering how to survive without them. Wake up and grow a pair.

        • cooldude

          Read this to understand how the scam works. Also look up Professor Carroll Quigly’s book Tragedy and Hope which explains how these guys operate.

          http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-12-11/fractional-reserve-banking-pure-fraud-part-iv

          • cooldude

            Here is Egon Von Greyerz’s latest take on the world economy. He has been spot on so far this year.

            http://kingworldnews.com/legend-just-issued-a-dire-warning/

          • michaelcoughlan

            @cooldude;

            From the link;

            “The US is of course the best example of a country that totally mismanages its affairs. The US has had a trade deficit every single year since 1976

            What is even worse is the US budget deficit. The US has not had a real Budget Surplus since 1960! This is just incredible.

            If I take Argentina as an example, gold is up 6,000% against the Peso since 1999.

            As currencies fall, many countries will introduce exchange controls including the US. I would expect that to happen within 2-3 years at the most. For Americans, this would mean that they would be stuck in a collapsing currency. The next step would be forced investment into government bonds in order to finance escalating deficits.”

            You have to read it about 10 times before the magnitude of it sets in.

          • michaelcoughlan

            I was looking out the window at the moon high in the sky and it gave me the inspiration for this post;

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-DkyMXTo5Q

            geeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeettttttttttttt
            ssssssssooooooooooooooommmmmmmmmm!

            The US can always find dumb ass mother fuckers to go hunting humans and steal their assets to balance the books!

          • michaelcoughlan

            Dedicated to all you soon to be out of work senior management in Deutsche Bank;

            Earlier war (Korea)

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gO7uemm6Yo

          • cooldude

            Michael this is what I call a wow moment. I remember many many years ago hearing Bob Dylan for the first time and I just thought wow this guy is telling the truth. When I first read Egon I got the same sensation although I hoped he was wrong.

            He is right and the truth is the truth. Valedictory my ass. No articles about the economy since then and dont blame Daithi. He goes to these conferences and talks shite with all the other idiots. You need to look deeper to find the real facts. Egon is a scary but very real guy.

        • Thanks Cooldude. Succinctly said.

          • cooldude

            “The powers of financial capitalism had a far reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a FEUDALIST fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert by secret agreements arrived at in private meetings and conferences. ”
            Quote from Carroll Quigley’s Tragedy and Hope, Chapter 20.

            That is the system now in place throughout the world backed by the Western military. Anyone who doesn’t take their orders from the bankers is removed by force. Saddam Hussein and Gadaffi are a couple who stopped obeying their masters.
            Assad is their next target even though he has over 70% of the population fully behind him. This is why they won’t allow him to contest any new elections. Democracy is only allowed when it is useful for the bakers. This is a completely feudal system and the politicians are simply pawns in this heirarchy.

        • Every single word of this post is true cooldude.

          This post should be framed and put on every kitchen wall in the country.

          The ignorant masses are going to stay as they are though – ignorant – to the end of time too.

      • michaelcoughlan

        “You can take actions to protect yourself”

        I think I need me a flamethrower;

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4nknAzQPHE

  15. Joxer89

    It could a bit ironic if Ireland heads off towards Boston only to find that Boston is trying to be more like Berlin. And it is not entirely implausible that the tide of US domestic policy is turning towards social dmocracy and that in a few dacdes, the Post-Obama Era will be just as recognizable a thing ans the Post-Reagan Era.

    I’d hazard a wild guess that a fair few Irish people might actually like EU integration if we could have the bit that involves a decent, functional health service, as has been rumoured to exist in several coninental member states.

    Although even the USA looks like overtaking us on that one.

  16. McCawber

    Hiliary or Dinald that may be the question.
    Hiliary is a career politician and in hock to the system.
    Donald is his own man.
    The more I see the more I’m leaning towards the Donald.

  17. A handful of people are warning about the risks of the coming crisis and again they are largely being ignored. Investors and savers will again bear the brunt for the inability to look at the reality of the financial and economic challenges confronting us today.–Market Watch

    • McCawber

      Has anyone told them to commit suicide yet.
      If not we still have a little more time to prepare.
      YOUR WARNINGS ARE NOT GOING UNHEEDED

  18. http://www.cnbc.com/2016/02/11/is-the-us-economy- running- out-of-gas.htmlImport prices fell 6.2 percent compared to January 2015. The dollar has gained 21 percent against the currencies of the United States’ main trading partners since June 2014. U.S. oil prices were near 12- year lows this week.

  19. http://lawrieongold.com/2016/02/11/u-s-fed-continually-wrong-in-its-forecasts-why/

    By Stefan Gleason*

    “The last duty of a central banker is to tell the public the truth.”
    – Alan Blinder, former Federal Reserve Board Vice Chairman

  20. So much for peace talks. Is Saudia Arabia still a proxy for the US middle east and oil policies.

    We just gotta have that pipeline thru Syria to Europe no matter the cost.

    http://www.infowars.com/saudi-arabia-prepares-to-invade-syria/

  21. Mike Lucey

    By invading Syria, the Saudis are taking a proxy war on behalf of Washington to Iran the real target.

    All part of the plan now that Iran has come out with its decision to dump the petrodollar!

    ‘Cashing Out: Why Has Iran’s State Oil Company Decided to Dump the Dollar’
    Read more: http://sputniknews.com/politics/20160210/1034526032/iran-state-oil-company-dumps-dollar.html#ixzz402T45fTw

    Dropping the petrodollar didn’t work out too well for Mr Hussein or Mr Gaddafi and I expect it will be the same case for Mr Khomeini.

  22. Brilliant article David, just got to reading it now as I have been busy, but have been following the comments by email. Best article for months, if not years. Really wondering how all of this is going to play out.

  23. goldbug

    “when talking to Germans you get a pervading sense of crisis here.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=va9sBElkG_s

  24. McCawber

    Critical thinking.
    Don’t make me laugh.
    When you have a nation of cute hoors the one thing you will be guarranteed is a lack of a critical thinking.
    You and a few others were told to try suicide when you suggested some critical thinking.

  25. StephenKenny

    There is something that feels like the summer of 1914 going on at the moment. A range of small countries, each linked in various ways, to major countries, are taking increasingly intransigent positions in arguments over ownership of disputed territories and activities. This has flared into limited direct conflict. It has the potential to drag in the major countries, first indirectly, and then, as the conflicts don’t go the hoped for way, directly.

    It’s been coming for quite a while, but war seems to continue to approach . NATO has positioned offensive military units of all of Russia’s western borders, and has undertaken, or overseen, a range of coups and insurgencies in countries not friendly to the USA.

    To me, war just inevitable, it’s an ‘option’ which NATO has, and about which it is considering the pros and the cons. Eventually, as the western economies slide into yet another ‘recession’, the pros will outweigh the cons.

  26. http://schiffgold.com/key-gold-news/china-realizes-imf-goal-whats-next/

    China moving to enhance the strength of its currency by backing it with gold.

  27. McCawber

    UTOPIA UPDATE
    http://lofi.phys.org/news/2016-02-intelligent-robots-threaten-millions-jobs.html

    Utopia is now less than thirty years away and likely sooner

  28. coldblow

    It’s great to have Joxer on this board. I know he posted in the past but on this thread it’s like having a newbie, a replacement for Colm and George, someone I can rely on to disagree about everything and equally sure he is right, just like them. And me! I’m in Athlone and using a tablet so I’m not going to type any more for now.

    Joxer, do you believe in global warming? Please say you do. I ‘know’ you do! Pseudoscience, astrology and spiritualism? You don’t like them do you? Wonderful!

  29. coldblow

    Does David think the last hundred years were a cruel joke? That we would have been better off in Britain? What is ‘Bureaucratic Ireland’? I am a bureaucrat and I don’t agree with most of what we do but that is because we are directed by authoritarian political and media class who enforce the rules of others. There is no more sense blaming Bureaucratic Ireland than Opus Dei or the Knights of St Columbia!

    • McCawber

      The solution to the problems caused by bureaucratic Ireland and it’s master could be solved by some very simple adjustments to the top brass and supporting management.
      Their bonuses should be based on reduced spending and/or improved productivity.
      Currently they are encouraged to empire build.
      Encourage working smarter than harder.
      There are pockets of this sort of behaviour in bureaucratic Ireland just not anything like enough.

      • coldblow

        My point is that there is no Bureaucratic Ireland. This is a false dichotomy, like saying you have no problem with the Church itself (as Eoin Colfer said tonight to Gay Burne) just with the ‘hierarchy’, some small shadowy group of men hidden out of sight in the Vatican. Who rxactly are Bureaucratic Ireland? See? Now who really does decide what happens in Ireland? The press decides, following what they do abroad (eg the Irish Times follows the Guardian) and the politicians and the Civil Service follow their lead. Fennell calls them the licensed pulpits.

  30. This says it all really. The calibre of politician in Ireland is just pathetic:

    “Eight billion, plus two, minus credibility”

    http://www.independent.ie/opinion/columnists/gene-kerrigan/eight-billion-plus-two-minus-credibility-34430171.html

  31. ” but the hard-money fanatics of the old Bundesbank will find it very hard to bear. ”

    What is hard to bear? Why the printing of more money in order to lower the interest rates to even more negative than they are.

    Seems to me the real fanatics are those who think anything good can come out of QE to infinity. Just when is someone going to see the stupidity of the central bank actions. Repeating the same mistake time after time with the same results, or negative results is insanity.

    The only other question to ask is whether it is deliberate policy with the consequences known and expected.Then who benefits? Follow the money and the answer is self evident.

    The hard money advocates are the only sane people left. Calling them fanatics shows which side of the fence the writer is situated. Hard money is the only money with longevity and stability. Fiat central bank, paper money back by nothing, has an average lifespan of 40 odd years before imploding in chaos. It is in the process of failing yet again.

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