Ireland should lead the PIGS to safer ground

McDave

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In the next month or two the domestic political landscape is set to change. The incoming government has a severe austerity budget to implement. However, it also has the opportunity to fundamentally restructure the Irish economy to approximate our income to what we earn.

In my view, even after the budget we are going to have to reduce our incomes further. And our costs will have to come down too. For example, hospital consultants will have to have a ceiling of €100,000 imposed on them, and the resultant savings will have to trickle down to bottom line health care costs. There a plethora of other examples which when implemented in total will result in a lower cost Ireland which doesn't have to borrow to meet outgoings.

We should look to achieve this result in the shortest possible timeframe. Having thus established to the Eurozone that Ireland no longer has a sovereign debt issue, we should then negotiate a haircut on our bank debts. This will demonstrate that we can make our outstanding interest repayments, return to growth and recommence borrowing on the international markets to service "legacy" debt. At this point we will no longer need ECB/IMF funding and we'll be off the Eurozone's back.

The point is, if within 6 months of taking office the new government can demonstrate it can agree to such a course of action and start implementing it, we will have created a template other PIGS can adopt. Whether they actually do so or not is their business. But if we stick to the game plan, we can turn our economy around and demonstrate that against all the odds we can still hack it in the Eurozone.

Any views?
 


McDave

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From the editorial in today's SB Post [link up on Tuesday]:

As to our prospects: "Ireland has basis for a successful and vibrant economy"

As to what can be done to alleviate much of the worst of our predicament: "it is hard to see any case for [...] repaying the remaining unguaranteed portion of Anglo Irish Bank's or Irish Nationwide's senior debt". And subordinated debt is still there to unload.

Both of these elements will go a long way to re-establishing a basis from which the Irish economy can move forward. Cutting ourselves some slack on "national" bond exposure could also do wonders for what remains of our tattered morale.

Despite the dire legacy bequeathed by FF, we can still face into the New Year with the prospect of an election, a new government and a possibility to change some of the conditions currently dragging us down.
 

tyke2010

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Daily Mail...Ireland?

Despite the dire legacy bequeathed by FF, we can still face into the New Year with the prospect of an election, a new government and a possibility to change some of the conditions currently dragging us down.

Hey there, I've a vicious anti-Daily Mail sentiment here in England. I've recently learned of the tragic news that the Daily Mail is now in Ireland. As you may or may not know, the Daily Mail is a rag over here...a Beano for grown-ups, armchair fascists and little-Englanders, who falter between the right and the far right!

With your forthcoming elections, who will the Mail be siding with in Eire? Here, they backed the Tories but they might as well not bother, as they're a media mouthpiece for the BNP. That said, they're heavily sceptical of the EU and very keen to maintain British pride (in the backwards, colonial way...hence why I'm rewarded with lots of red arrows everytime I write a comment on their site about how Ireland's woes came about thanks to the fat cats in Westminster).

I'm aware that Ireland has done well to show Britain (England) it's better off without them, and I think the last 80 years have definitely shown that, coupled with much co-operation with Europe.

How does the Daily Mail in Ireland view the EU? I'm asking as it seems odd to have a Euro-sceptic paper in a nation that's more Europhilic than Britain (England!). As a result, will you be voting for parties that work closely with Europe or away from it?
 

McDave

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Hey there, I've a vicious anti-Daily Mail sentiment here in England. I've recently learned of the tragic news that the Daily Mail is now in Ireland. As you may or may not know, the Daily Mail is a rag over here...a Beano for grown-ups, armchair fascists and little-Englanders, who falter between the right and the far right!

With your forthcoming elections, who will the Mail be siding with in Eire? Here, they backed the Tories but they might as well not bother, as they're a media mouthpiece for the BNP. That said, they're heavily sceptical of the EU and very keen to maintain British pride (in the backwards, colonial way...hence why I'm rewarded with lots of red arrows everytime I write a comment on their site about how Ireland's woes came about thanks to the fat cats in Westminster).

I'm aware that Ireland has done well to show Britain (England) it's better off without them, and I think the last 80 years have definitely shown that, coupled with much co-operation with Europe.

How does the Daily Mail in Ireland view the EU? I'm asking as it seems odd to have a Euro-sceptic paper in a nation that's more Europhilic than Britain (England!). As a result, will you be voting for parties that work closely with Europe or away from it?
I'd see it as a Eurosceptic intrusion in Ireland. There would be a significant Eurosceptic constituency in Ireland, mostly comprising Irish nationalists. But there is also a vociferous UK Trojan horse Euroscepticism here as well (also on P.ie, especially with a coterie of UKIP/Farage advocates/admirers).

It's hard to imagine who the Mail would support in the next election, unless a Libertas-style party establishes itself over Christmas. Certainly most of the mainstream parties will be advocating a restructuring of Ireland within the EU/Eurozone. SF will probably adopt a position against the ECB/IMF bailout, but I can't imagine the Irish Mail endorsing them! :)

No, I expect the Irish Mail to adopt a "noble" impartial stance. Unless Libertas, or an equivalent gets off the ground.
 

tyke2010

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I'd see it as a Eurosceptic intrusion in Ireland. There would be a significant Eurosceptic constituency in Ireland, mostly comprising Irish nationalists. But there is also a vociferous UK Trojan horse Euroscepticism here as well (also on P.ie, especially with a coterie of UKIP/Farage advocates/admirers).

It's hard to imagine who the Mail would support in the next election, unless a Libertas-style party establishes itself over Christmas. Certainly most of the mainstream parties will be advocating a restructuring of Ireland within the EU/Eurozone. SF will probably adopt a position against the ECB/IMF bailout, but I can't imagine the Irish Mail endorsing them! :)

No, I expect the Irish Mail to adopt a "noble" impartial stance. Unless Libertas, or an equivalent gets off the ground.


Ahhhh, interesting...I've been reading into Ireland for a while now, and have been asking myself whether there exists Irish nationalists who are precisely and only that: loyal to Ireland as a single nation, or whether Irish nationalists, as a people who broke free from Westminster tyranny, are loyal to Europe as a result of their sticking two fingers up at Westminster.

I'm sorry to see the Mail intruding and trying to stir things up. No doubt they'll fail, like they have over here, bar the minority idiots who believe what's written in it as though it's an example of a cutting edge newspaper! The other day, there was a non-story about an Irish TD who allegedly was seen celebrating [cough cough!] in a pub after learning his job was safe as other workers were facing the sack, when all it was was the TD in a pub having a few drinks...

I do hope the Irish Eurosceptics realise they're being manipulated if they believe that Farage and co are angels from the skies above, as the reason why we in Britain are constantly doing so badly in Europe is precisely because of our refusal to co-operate and be heard in a positive manner. Instead we've morons who throw their toys out of the pram, despise the EU and want us out of it, yet are happy enough to travel Visa-free (often on an EU driving licence when there's a vehicle involved) and undoubtedly bring back whatever goods they want from the continent.

As for Sinn Féin, aren't they quite supportive of EU (which makes them an even greater thorn in the Mail's backside)? I know, as far as NI is concerned, that Gerry Adams has made it known he doesn't want to set foot in the UK Parliament.
 

McDave

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Ahhhh, interesting...I've been reading into Ireland for a while now, and have been asking myself whether there exists Irish nationalists who are precisely and only that: loyal to Ireland as a single nation, or whether Irish nationalists, as a people who broke free from Westminster tyranny, are loyal to Europe as a result of their sticking two fingers up at Westminster.

I'm sorry to see the Mail intruding and trying to stir things up. No doubt they'll fail, like they have over here, bar the minority idiots who believe what's written in it as though it's an example of a cutting edge newspaper! The other day, there was a non-story about an Irish TD who allegedly was seen celebrating [cough cough!] in a pub after learning his job was safe as other workers were facing the sack, when all it was was the TD in a pub having a few drinks...

I do hope the Irish Eurosceptics realise they're being manipulated if they believe that Farage and co are angels from the skies above, as the reason why we in Britain are constantly doing so badly in Europe is precisely because of our refusal to co-operate and be heard in a positive manner. Instead we've morons who throw their toys out of the pram, despise the EU and want us out of it, yet are happy enough to travel Visa-free (often on an EU driving licence when there's a vehicle involved) and undoubtedly bring back whatever goods they want from the continent.

As for Sinn Féin, aren't they quite supportive of EU (which makes them an even greater thorn in the Mail's backside)? I know, as far as NI is concerned, that Gerry Adams has made it known he doesn't want to set foot in the UK Parliament.
The Mail sells papers here. I guess that legitimises it to an extent.

I can't speak for the spectrum of Irish nationalists. However, I would venture that most are against the EU and in favour of Ireland pursuing an independent path much like Norway, Switzerland and even Iceland. I can respect that view from the perspective that many of our predecessors went to a lot of trouble to gain independence. What I have no respect for whatsoever is the sneaking regarders of Farage and UKIP. A truly odious man and party, whose crocodile tears for Ireland utterly fail to conceal his sneering anti-European prejudices (as evidenced by his recent tasteless barracking of Rompuy in the EP).

If you'll forgive me returning to the OP, there are three options regularly argued here on P.ie: advocates (i) for leaving the Euro to set up an independent currency, (ii) to rejoin sterling and (iii) to stay within the Euro and tough it out. I'm of the latter view. If we can cut our costs and resume a sustained export performance while encouraging local enterprise, Ireland can map a path out of our current perilous predicament. We also have to negotiate a haircut for bondholders who "invested" in our under-regulated banking sector.
 

McDave

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'PIGS' is an offensive term invented by barrow-boy parasites in London as a smart-arse means of ridicule. Irish people should not be voluntarily using it. Its use is a disgrace.
Unfortunately it's widely accepted shorthand. One could say "peripheral" states, but that hardly covers Italy does it? It's even hard to argue that Spain is a peripheral state. What would you suggest?
 

tyke2010

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The Mail sells papers here. I guess that legitimises it to an extent.

I can't speak for the spectrum of Irish nationalists. However, I would venture that most are against the EU and in favour of Ireland pursuing an independent path much like Norway, Switzerland and even Iceland. I can respect that view from the perspective that many of our predecessors went to a lot of trouble to gain independence. What I have no respect for whatsoever is the sneaking regarders of Farage and UKIP. A truly odious man and party, whose crocodile tears for Ireland utterly fail to conceal his sneering anti-European prejudices (as evidenced by his recent tasteless barracking of Rompuy in the EP).

If you'll forgive me returning to the OP, there are three options regularly argued here on P.ie: advocates (i) for leaving the Euro to set up an independent currency, (ii) to rejoin sterling and (iii) to stay within the Euro and tough it out. I'm of the latter view. If we can cut our costs and resume a sustained export performance while encouraging local enterprise, Ireland can map a path out of our current perilous predicament. We also have to negotiate a haircut for bondholders who "invested" in our under-regulated banking sector.


You're not alone in your despising Farage. He is, as you say above, an odious man. His outbursts at the EU President and Belgium as a country were completely uncalled for, and I can't help but think that there was some divine justice when Farage's plane crashed last May. And yes, he couldn't give two hoots about Ireland, much like his cronies and supporters. He's a one-trick pony.

Anyway, sorry for the digression. The Eurosceptics here do want Ireland out of the Eurozone and to have its own currency, but only to spite Europe and nothing more. They're dying for the EU and the Euro to collapse and in a twisted way are pleased to see another Member State in crisis, and that's all they want really. I think the Euro can recover and remain strong. Ireland's certainly seen much prosperity with the Euro and I can see it recovering and continuing the Celtic Tiger. It's a very tough compromise on Europe, though. I think Ireland needs to make spending cuts, as we're seeing here, but an absolute no-no in my opinion is privatising anything owned/run by the State. In the long-run it would cripple Ireland.
 

Boy M5

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In the next month or two the domestic political landscape is set to change. The incoming government has a severe austerity budget to implement. However, it also has the opportunity to fundamentally restructure the Irish economy to approximate our income to what we earn.

In my view, even after the budget we are going to have to reduce our incomes further. And our costs will have to come down too. For example, hospital consultants will have to have a ceiling of €100,000 imposed on them, and the resultant savings will have to trickle down to bottom line health care costs. There a plethora of other examples which when implemented in total will result in a lower cost Ireland which doesn't have to borrow to meet outgoings.

We should look to achieve this result in the shortest possible timeframe. Having thus established to the Eurozone that Ireland no longer has a sovereign debt issue, we should then negotiate a haircut on our bank debts. This will demonstrate that we can make our outstanding interest repayments, return to growth and recommence borrowing on the international markets to service "legacy" debt. At this point we will no longer need ECB/IMF funding and we'll be off the Eurozone's back.

The point is, if within 6 months of taking office the new government can demonstrate it can agree to such a course of action and start implementing it, we will have created a template other PIGS can adopt. Whether they actually do so or not is their business. But if we stick to the game plan, we can turn our economy around and demonstrate that against all the odds we can still hack it in the Eurozone.

Any views?
So get credibility back & then renegotiate, with the associated but ueber painful benefit of devaluation through deflation?

Makes sense. However, we need leadership to achieve this. I'm mindful of John Kotter's work on business transformation, where you need create a sense of urgency, a coalition of interests, a vision - which is communicated, the removal of obstacles, short term wins help with momentum, to ensure ultimate success the change must be built on & the change anchored in the corporate (in our case national) culture.

So all we need is a credible leader with vision, who is articulate, not scared to make difficult decisions, who is prepared to work with & lead the different interest groups.

Also I'm sure the hyperactive, cuban heel wearing, rabbit chasing, midget in the Elysee & (particularly) Fr Dr Merkel will point out that by that stage we've already signed up to binding undertakings that they'll hold us to.
 

McDave

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I think the Euro can recover and remain strong. Ireland's certainly seen much prosperity with the Euro and I can see it recovering and continuing the Celtic Tiger. It's a very tough compromise on Europe, though. I think Ireland needs to make spending cuts, as we're seeing here, but an absolute no-no in my opinion is privatising anything owned/run by the State. In the long-run it would cripple Ireland.
I don't think we'll return to a C****c T***r scenario. It's a much-hated term here now. I would hope that if we take the right measures and get the appropriate support we can return to a path of less-exciting and sustainable growth a few years down the line. Cuts are very much on the agenda.

As are privatisations. I hazard that there would be significant support for some privatisations here, for instance the remainder of the state's share in Aer Lingus, and electricity generation, and a few lesser known semi-states. There is widespread resentment of the cosseted working conditions of many in some of these organisations. However, there would probably be less support for more strategic assets like the power supply network and water supply.

I think Irish people are looking for a balance between reducing debt and stimulating economic activity (through reducing costs). To that extent we're in better structural condition than Greece and Portugal, and should they run into trouble, Spain, all of which are beset by problems with various combinations of low pay, high unemployment, protectionism and restrictive practices and social unrest. If we take the right steps in time we can be the first out of the blocks and establish our credentials for continued Eurozone membership.
 

McDave

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Doesn't matter, we should not collude in our being demeaned. Anything else will do...
That's not good enough. The term has been around for ages now. If you're so offended by it, why haven't you even considered an alternative? When setting up the OP, I didn't want to produce a title with a litany of the affected states or use "peripheral states" (strictly not accurate either). Shorthand and acronyms stick for a reason. Whatever about their provenance.
 
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That's not good enough. The term has been around for ages now. If you're so offended by it, why haven't you even considered an alternative? When setting up the OP, I didn't want to produce a title with a litany of the affected states or use "peripheral states" (strictly not accurate either). Shorthand and acronyms stick for a reason. Whatever about their provenance.
It's not my job to come up with alternatives (though any alternative arrangement of the initials would do). I simply refuse to join in the demeaning of my own country, no matter how well-established or widely-used, that's all.
 

tyke2010

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I think cuts are the best way forward. There's always a choice between cuts or tax increases.

Ireland grew into a prosperous nature with an advanced infrastrucutre in less than 80 years. It's all there now, so I think public spending should be cut. Taxation would just drive people to despair, and there's be nowhere to get tax from.

That said, if banks caused the mess, they should pay a 'Robin Hood' tax and give some of their profits to the State.

However, the problem with reduced public spending is that once the recovery is over, the infrastructure won't be fit for purpose, so you've got the added dilemma of still investing in the future (railways on this side of the Sea are an example, thanks to privatisation in 1996).
 


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