The Austerity Referendum

In Dublin yesterday, I took some photographs of the posters around Henry Street and Talbot Street. By my non-scientific reckoning, “No” posters outnumbered “Yes” posters by about four to one. Balancing this is the fact that the three traditionally main parties in the Republic, Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour are urging a “Yes” vote. Sinn Féin (according to polls the second largest party in the Republic) and assorted left-wing parties are on the “No” side.

Politics is about CHOICE. And the key thing is that those people who we might call the Political “Establishment”………and here I might add the business community, financial experts, journalists……are asking the people of Ireland to vote “Yes”. Indeed the sanity of those who want to vote “No” is being challenged. They are people from the backwoods, unsophisticated, alienated from the “system”. But as I believe that Politics is about choice….there is a peculiar “Hobsons Choice” being offered to the Electorate. The clear pragmatic choice is to vote “Yes”, recognising the fact that the three main parties have now asked the people of Ireland to confirm that they themselves are no longer fit to govern the nations finances and please could the citizens of Ireland take this aspect of governance out of their hands and hand it over to the European bankers.

Democracy sometimes has a knack of biting the Establishment on the arse. The Greeks ….who gave the word “democracy” to the world….voted against the politicians who were imposing Angela Merkels austerity. It wont of course do them any good … in a few weeks they have to do it again.

The legacy for European democracies is that their politcians have actually managed to restrict REAL CHOICE. In Ireland for example, no mainstream political party has been articulating the “No” case…it has fallen to Sinn Féin …..still somewhere between the margins and the mainstream……to rail against the notion of Austerity and loss of Sovreignty…..rather than to make a “reasonable” argument. The Irish Electorate are presented with a choice between Reason and Romance………Pragmatism and Gesture.

In a sense it is almost safe to vote “No” because the vote will either be ignored or the voters will be asked to do it again. Thats how European Democracy seems to work these days. How the Referendum plays out against the ongoing Greek Tragedy and the glimmer of “hope” or “resistance” of Francois Hollandes election in France remains to be seen. Will it embolden “No” voters?

I think it is a tragedy that people like Éamonn Ó Cuiv have been silenced by Fianna Fáil or that voices within the trade unions campaigning for a “No” vote have been marginalised by Labour.



The posters seem to stress the Pragmatism and Gesture split. Indeed all three “Yes” posters use the word “Stability”. Two of the three “No” posters use the word “Austerity” and the third does so implicitly.

Thats the Choice…….or Non-Choice.

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9 Responses to The Austerity Referendum

  1. bangordub says:

    Ahh, Bangor and Dublin in the one week !!!!

    • Yes. But its exhausting. Intended to “go west young man” today…..possibly Omagh……..but just too tired. I suppose thats the “catch”. They gave me free travel when I was far too old to really take advantage of it.

  2. bangordub says:

    Funny enough every single one of my Dublin friends say’s they are voting No. Not scientific but interesting, The mood is generally, totally fed up with austerity and the EU.
    Mr Fitz, take it easy for Gods sake, Have you considered taking Sammy with you on your travels? A sort of Johnstone and Boswell? At least he’d keep you safe from marauding Females on the Bus’s and Trains

    • The difficulty with the Referendum is that the result vote is almost irrelevant. What is going to happen is going to happen…and probably the Referendum is as much about raising a voice against whats happening…….on a whole range of issues….job cuts,water charges or even the building of very bad houses highlighted on Frontline this week.
      Seemingly nobody..politicians, bankers, civil servants, solicitors, churches, planners can be trusted…..and this referendum will be used by people (the “losers”) to beat the people who always seem to “win” no matter what happens. Nihilistic perhaps.
      I keep thinking that many will vote NO but secretly hope for a YES vote if only to be able to say in later years that they opposed it all. That they didnt take it lying down.
      But if the vote goes say 65-35 to the Yes Camp….it is a powerful boost to Sinn Féin and assorted lefties and the biggest loser would be Labour who seem (and being the minority party in Govt is not a help) to have lost the people they want to represent.
      Labour seem to be talking out of both sides of their mouths.
      The mixed message that people should vote for a Treaty agreed before the election of Hollande who they support trying to make it better.
      Thus two weeks ago Labour campaigned for this Treaty.
      And how credible is it that they say it might be even better?
      Amazed that you think that I WANT to be safe from marauding females on trains. 🙂

  3. bangordub says:
    Have a read of this !
    By the way, I’m only keeping you on the straight and narrow, lol (By the way, that’s LAUGH OUT LOUD, not the other one !!!)

  4. Pingback: #EUREF: Souveraineté ou survie du déluge? « Slugger O'Toole

  5. TBH FJH, I’m near certain that the ‘Yes’ camp will win. Personally, I am dead against it down here and when speaking to someone in a boutique investment bank on it, though he was not convinced about it he was voting yes for he didn’t like the uncertainty surrounding a No. He even acknowledged that it would do nothing for us in the mean time, however, he stole a metaphor of mine for the Sunday Business post that the referendum was like your Dad (Germany) wanting you on the Insurance (the Austerity Treaty) before he let you get behind the wheel (the Dosh/Firewall).

    Whilst I can understand the rationale behind the Germans wanting this cover, I would remind all of the German Banks’ sheer stupidity and lack of due diligence or decent risk procedures when lending ‘back in the day’. Further, they have been flailing around for 3 years, going from crisis summit to crisis summit, not doing what’s necessary to fix the problem; why would I give them any more power? The following is a great insight and largely ties in with my own experience of dealing with German Bankers, also, the German national fetish with human excrement is pretty fascinating

    For some balance, Michael also takes the Gombeen men to town too

  6. Also, best of luck with the new Travel Card, well deserved I am certain

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