29 February 2012

And you laughed when I held on to my Lisbon 2 posters

And so after weeks of speculation, the Irish people will finally be given the chance to exercise their Constitutional right to decide upon the Twitter Hashtag for the forthcoming Referendum on the Fiscal Compact Treaty (date TBD).

#fcref12 was an early front runner, proposed (I believe) by TCD Prof Brian Lucey, followed closely by #euref12 however as the day ran on and people's fingers started to tire, it would appear that the even shorter #euref and #ref12 were edging ahead. As we awoke this morning, much as in the US Republican Primaries, no side could claim a decisive victory. In fact many of those involved expressed their dissatisfaction with the quality of any of the candidates on offer, leading to rampant speculation that in the end many voters might simply opt for a last minute white knight candidate, with the much simpler #No being discussed quite widely (despite being dogged by accusations of running an entirely negative campaign).

Of course this controversy is the only open question for many of my online colleagues, for their voting preference in the actual Referendum is already a forgone conclusion, and it should come as no surprise to any of our more regular readers that here at Booming Back we will be strongly urging a No vote (and said so back when the Treaty was but a glimmer in Tim Geithner's eye). In fact so strong will this urging be that we will find it difficult to comprehend that there might even be a valid argument for a Yes vote. Indeed for the duration of this referendum campaign the role of the Yes vote on this blog shall be played by Rick Santorum, in a pair of speedos, and nobody in their right mind would want to see that, now would they?

See, this Treaty isn't about jobs, or recovery or being at the heart of Europe, or any of the other nonsense we heard during Lisbons 1 and 2, it's about a neoliberal ideology being imposed upon us that will destroy our concept of what the State is and what its responsibilities to the Citizenry are, and will lead to permanent austerity for the the majority of the Citizenry while rewarding a tiny minority for their reckless, selfish and probably illegal activities over the last decade.

Since the Treaty can be ratified and enacted by only twelve of the EU member states who have signed up to it, Ireland's vote will not decide the fate of the EU. We cannot be forced out of the EU, nor can we be forced to leave the Euro. The only consequence of a No vote will be that we lose the ability to draw down more funds from the emergency bailout program, and the only consequence of not having access to those funds is that if we cannot pay off our outstanding Anglo Irish bank promissory notes, interest payments and other property-crash related debts, then the Government will finally be forced to burn the bondholders, an act that, like Iceland, should have been the first action taken by the Government, not a measure of last resort.

So with nothing to lose, and the opportunity to regain a measure of our economic sovereignty by taking a stand, you would think that the opposition parties would by lining up behind the No campaign. While the Shinners, ULA and most of the Independents are indeed calling for a No vote, it should really come as no surprise that both the Greens (yes, they still exists) and Fianna Fail have said they will support the Government in this. What galls me the most about their declarations of support, particularly that of Micheál Martin in the Dáil yesterday, is the way in which they can stand up and proclaim that the Fiscal Compact Treaty is what's best for Ireland and the only way to get us out of the mess we are in, without once acknowledging that this mess is entirely one of their own creation.

Every time Fianna Fail and their Green enablers open their mouth they need to be reminded in as unequivocal a manner as possible that this is All Their Fault. They are the architects of this catastrophe, every humiliation we are being forced to endure as a nation is because of them, every slight, every injury, every lipsticked pig we are forced to kiss is entirely the result of their actions, the decisions that they made on behalf of a small minority of elites and the culture of greed and crony capitalism that they created.

No one should ever forget that, least of all them.

In Iceland they prosecute the political architects of their economic collapse, here we give them a pension or three, €367,000 in secretarial expenses and tax-free status as an artist.

But a No vote is not just a protest vote, it's not just an expression of outrage at the actions of three successive governments that bankrupted the country for the benefit of a few, nor is it an act of anti-European selfishness. The Fiscal Compact is as wrong for Europe as it is for Ireland, for it promotes a vision of Europe with neoliberal corporatism at its centre, not the Citizenry, where the needs of Goldman Sachs outweigh the needs of the many, and power is consolidated in the hands of an even smaller circle than before. Although the Treaty will most likely be enacted elsewhere in Europe even if the Irish dissent, as with Lisbons 1 and 2, and once again thanks to the actions of Raymond Crotty in 1987, we may be the only European Citizens afforded an opportunity to have their voices heard, despite the best attempts of the EU to silence us, thus we bear a certain obligation to act not just in our own self-interests but on behalf of all our fellow European citizens, however futile and purely symbolic this act may prove to be.

Vote No, for us and for them, and never let Fianna Fail forget why you're doing so.

Image: When you wake up you will remember nothing from last year's UpStart poster campaign. More images from the project can be found here.

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At 1:04 pm, Anonymous niall said...

It's far from clear to me that the only consequence of losing access to the bailout fund will be the burning of the bondholders. And also not clear that we have nothing to lose. We have plenty to lose, and I think a 20 bln correction within a year would demonstrate that quite vividly.

I just don't think it's that simple, sadly.


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