‘Eternal optimist’ is a starting description of how I see myself. This past weekend for example I hoped Ireland might finally get that long overdue win over the All-Blacks, thought we’d beat Croatia to set us up for qualification in the European finals, wouldn't have been surprised had McIlroy won in the US, and finally, felt reasonably confident Cork would beat Kerry in the Park. Only one of those events came to pass but hope still springs eternal, so fingers crossed for a win in New Zealand next weekend, for a return to form against Italy and Spain, for Rory or one of the other Irish lads to win at the Olympic Club.
Where we’re going in the current currency crisis, however, a whole other outlook entirely. There’s a blogger everyone in this country should follow, Namawinelake, and today he/she/they has/have posted a most depressing scenario vis-à-vis our banks. It’s what I've been warning about for months, what I'm writing about this week in bondwatchireland, and it’s an extension of the reason we’ve been marching in Ballyhea and Charleville for 67 weeks now, and counting.
For four years we’ve been lurching from crisis to crisis, and every time the ECB/EU intervenes it only gets worse. Our own leader, Enda Kenny, reminds me more and more of George W Bush, down to the inane grin at the most inappropriate of times – all style, no substance.
You know that scene in the Michael Moore documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 where Dubya, on being told of the attacks on the Twin Towers, is panicked almost into rigidity, carries on as though he’s just been told ‘Lunch is at 1.30’? I believe our Enda is equally as blithely ignoring this crisis in the hope that it will just go away, that one of these days he will wake up and it will be just gone.
His ‘plan’ seems to be to keep doing everything he’s ordered to do by the ECB and the EU, to keep building debt and live off the crumbs they leave us, the crumbs also we manage to pick from under the tables of others (the interest-rate cut that came with the Greek bailout, the hoped-for break that might come with the Spanish banks bailout), and that eventually the ECB and EU leadership will lead us all out of this mess.
When our own debt situation has finally, irrevocably, undeniably, reached an unsustainable level (probably in about three/four years), Ireland – he seems to hope – will get a debt write-down. Because we’ve been such good boys and girls this of course will be granted to us without any conditions attached, no attack on our Corporate Tax rate, no reduction in either old-age pensions or welfare – that seems to be Enda’s thinking.
I believe otherwise. Month by shameful month the bank bondholders are being paid in full, that debt being transformed into sovereign debt. We started off holding a couple of aces, we still have a few good cards; not alone are we not using those cards, however, we’re giving them away, swapping them for rubbish so that in a few years we’ll be left without a single trump.
We don’t have a single leader of substance. I can just see Enda, Eamon Gilmore and Micheál Martin sitting across the table from Michael Collins, James Connolly and Eamon De Valera, Enda outlining the strategy: “Right lads, the plan is this – ye risk yere lives, take on the might of the battle-hardened British Empire Army with just a few thousand amateur soldiers and win our independence, we’ll hand over sovereignty to the ECB so we can get access to cheap loans so we can give it to our banks so they can stay open so they can pay off bondholders. I mean, we have to pay our nurses, our teachers, our Guards…”, at which point Enda nudges Michael Noonan and whispers, “Not to mention ourselves, and our pension funds, and our allowances, and our advisors, and Bertie’s €3,000/wk pension, and Brian’s, and John’s!”
You want to follow those leaders? I don’t. In Ballyhea and Charleville now for 67 weeks we’ve been marching to the beat of our own drum. We’re not begging anyone for anything, we’re demanding fair play and justice for Ireland, we’re demanding an end to the bank bondholder bailout. Last week we took our protestdirectly to the ECB HQ in Frankfurt; every week we march. Join us – Ballyhea this Sunday morning, at the church, 11.30am. If you can’t make it, start your own protest in your own town or village – we did.
Regards, Diarmuid O'Flynn.