My posts on economic matters seldom attract much attention on this blog, but right now I need to get some things off my manly chest. This one concerns the EU – not exactly a popular institution with our readers. In fact the many awful things attributed to ‘The EU’ should more correctly be directed at the egregious European Convention on Human Rights. All the attempts to apply the law to riotous immigrant welfare scroungers fall foul of this ghastly legislation, not the EU per se.
In Ireland right now there’s a major campaign underway protesting at our impending ‘loss of economic sovereignty’ to the EU. Frederick Forsythe has penned a series of impassioned manifestos begging us to leave the EU and become ‘independent once again’. I’ve no doubt Fred and all the others are totally sincere. I also think they’re wrong.
Loss of a country’s economic sovereignty is not a bad thing if that country is incapable of running an economy. And boy, are we incapable – at least in the conditions in which we found ourselves over the last ten years or so. It’s been claimed that the political culture in Ireland is totally undisciplined, avoiding the hard decisions at every opportunity, until the wheels come off. True, but it only goes part of the way. The wheels in fact came off quite a while ago, and we continued taking the soft options as the ramshackle chassis careered to a grinding halt in a shower of sparks and screaming metal.
Giving money to the Irish political class is like handing a wad of notes to an alcoholic staggering towards the pub, and insisting that he not spend it on drink. Their behaviour as our deficits hit astronomical levels was to keep spending as long as we could borrow. Irrespective of where, or at what price. Result: We’ve gone from having a very low debt/GDP ratio to one of the worst in the industrialized world in just a few years. The only way they’ll ever stop is when they – quite literally – can't get their paws on any more moolah.
And here’s where the EU comes in, in the stern form of Angela Merkel. We need a dominatrix like she: Stony Teutonic gaze, clad in thigh-length leather boots and brandishing a matching leather whip. We need her to tell the leprechauns that there’ll be no more moolah until they get their house in order. Best of all, she’ll spell out exactly what we’ll have to do: cut astronomical public sector pay rates and numbers and rationalise welfare. No longer will we have semi-state non-commercial executives trousering as much money as Steve Ballmer. It’d be too much of course to expect her to eliminate foreign aid, or even cut it significantly. Still……
The other thing that ‘the Germans’ (that's what the EU is now being referred to here) will do is tackle our culture of impunity. You must understand that nobody in Ireland is ever to blame for anything. You’re a financial regulator who falls asleep on the job, and wakes up to find that the whole banking system has collapsed? Not a bother. You go out on early retirement, on full pension plus a near seven-figure tax-free sum to help you along, with effusive homage to your years of ‘public service’ ringing in your ears. Every public functionary who has lead us into our current mess has enjoyed similar taxpayer-funded largesse. In North Korea they’d have been summarily executed.
So yes, a bit of Germanic discipline is just what we need. Believe it or not, I'm looking forward to the carnage, not least because we should see a cull of the parasites and a general cleaning of the Augean stables. Staying with the German theme, well, a bit of schadenfreude will do nicely.