First Peaceful European Revolt, As Irish Tsunami Ends 60 Years Of Fianna Fail Rule Following Banker Bailout Fury
Angela Merkel is carefully observing what can only be classified as a peaceful revolution in Ireland, where a stunning amount, over 70% by some estimates, of voters turned out to punish the ruling Fianna Fail party for its betrayal of the Irish people and for the latest (and what some say last) broad banker bailout. The Telegraph reports that "Exit polls and early tallies from Ireland's general election heralded political annihilation for Fianna Fail (FF), the party which has ruled Ireland for more than 60 years of the Irish Republic's eight decades of independence." Bloomberg adds: "Counting will continue today to fill the 166-seat parliament, with an exit poll giving Fine Gael and the Labour Party a combined 57 percent of the vote. Support for Fianna Fail, which has ruled for the last 14 years, dropped to 15 percent from 42 percent in the 2007 election, the poll showed." In other words, the Irish people have voted for a direct confrontation with the EU, and indirectly, for austerity: "Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny, likely to become prime minister, wants to re-negotiate the interest rate on the emergency loans and speed up planned spending cuts to narrow the budget gap. Labour is pushing for more tax increases." And the reason Merkel is not going to sleep much tonight is that Germany is next. The country, where the CDU saw a comparable annihilation in a recent Hamburg vote, faces several regional elections as early as a few weeks from now, and the political scene is expected to change drastically, as a warning to anyone who feels like putting the banking kleptocracy (again) over the interests of the taxpaying majority. But what is most troublesome for all those who think that the EURUSD at 1.38 is remotely credible, is that the European Nash Equilibrium is now completely destroyed, and the game theory defections are about to start in earnest: "Declan Ganley, the Irish businessman who led the 2008 No vote to the Lisbon Treaty, said Ireland must "have the balls" to threaten debt default and withdrawal from the single currency. "We have a hostage, it is called the euro," he said. "The euro is insolvent. The only question is whether Ireland should be sacrificed to keep the Ponzi scheme going. We have to have a Plan B to the misnamed bailout, which is to go back to the Irish Punt." Funny nobody even pretends that modern economics is even a remotely viable concept. Also, the Fed's plan of keeping the USD artificially low against most currencies is about to crash and burn mercilessly.
From the Telegraph:
According to exit polling carried out by the Irish RTE broadcaster, Fine Gael (FG), Ireland's main centre-right opposition, had won 36.1 per cent of the vote. Labour, traditional FG's traditional coalition partner, took 20.5 per cent, its best result ever. Fianna Fail took just 15.1 per cent share of the vote, representing a loss of 58 seats.
Sinn Fein, usually outsiders in southern Irish politics, recorded its own best result with 10.1 per cent, up almost five per cent on the last 2007 election. The vote share for Greens, FF's junior coalition partner, plummeted to 2.7 per cent, possibly robbing the party of MPs.
"The political landscape of Ireland is completely and utterly redrawn," said Roger Jupp, the chairman of the Millward Brown Lansdowne pollsters which conducted the exit polls for RTE.
Enda Kenny, Fine Gael's leader, will later on Sunday, start to form a new government, almost certainly with Labour, after full election results under Ireland's complicated PR system come through.
Both Mr Kenny and Eamonn Gilmore, Labour's leader, have promised Irish voters that they will renegotiate the EU-IMF austerity programme to reduce the burden for taxpayers and to force financial investors to shoulder some of the bank debts currently paid out of the public purse.
Quid pro quo, Clarice:
At a summit of centre-right EU leaders in Helsinki next Friday, Mr Kenny will use his position as Ireland's new Prime Minister to beg the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, and French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, for concessions ahead of an emergency March 11 Brussels summit to restructure the euro zone.
But neither the two European leaders nor the European Central Bank or EU will permit any substantial changes, despite the huge popular Irish revolt against the bailout.
Chancellor Merkel will tell Mr Kenny that if he wants to reduce the high, punitive 5.8 per cent interest rate charged on EU loans then Ireland will have to give up its low corporate tax rates - a measure regarded as vital to Ireland's recovery and one of the few economic policies it has not yet handed over to Brussels or Frankfurt.
And, of course, Mutually Assured Destruction:
The new Irish premier will also be warned that there is no question of forcing privately-owned financial institutions to assume Ireland's £85 billion bank debts because the resulting market panic would spread to Germany and France, tearing the euro single currency apart.
As Irish voters headed for the polling booths on Friday, the European Commission bluntly declared that the terms of the EU-IMF bailout "must be applied" whatever the will of Ireland's people or regardless of any change of government.
"It's an agreement between the EU and the Republic of Ireland, it's not an agreement between an institution and a particular government," said a Brussels spokesman.
A European diplomat, from a large eurozone country, told The Sunday Telegraph that "the more the Irish make a big deal about renegotiation in public, the more attitudes will harden".
"It is not even take it or leave it. It's done. Ireland's only role in this now is to implement the programme agreed with the EU, IMF and European Central Bank. Irish voters are not a party in this process, whatever they have been told," said the diplomat.
So is everything about to disintegrate, or will the status quo continue after all is said and done?
Dessie Shiels, an independent candidate in Donegal, said: "People have not been given the basic right of deciding whether or not they should have their taxes increased in order to repay bondholders who have lent to the banks."
David McWilliams, an economist and former official at the Ireland's Central Bank, has led calls for a popular vote under Article 27 of the Irish constitution, which requires on a matter of "such national importance that the will of the people ought to be ascertained".
"We have to re-negotiate everything," he said. "Obviously, the first way to do this is to make them aware that if they force us to pay everything, we will default and they will get nothing. So they had better get a little bit of something, than all of nothing. To make this financial pill easier to swallow, we must take the initiative politically. We can do this via a referendum.
However, just like in MENA, the Irish people, who have already sacrificed a part of their pension to keep the kleptocratic oligarchy fully funded and with another year of record bonuses, is increasingly ready and willing to throw the dice:
"If the Irish people hold a referendum on the bank debts now, we can go to the EU with a mandate from the people which says No. This will allow our politicians to play hard-ball, because to do otherwise would be an anti-democratic endgame."
Declan Ganley, the Irish businessman who led the 2008 No vote to the Lisbon Treaty, said Ireland must "have the balls" to threaten debt default and withdrawal from the single currency.
"We have a hostage, it is called the euro," he said. "The euro is insolvent. The only question is whether Ireland should be sacrificed to keep the Ponzi scheme going. We have to have a Plan B to the misnamed bailout, which is to go back to the Irish Punt."
And should that happen, the beinning of the end of the global Ponzi will be a fact. After so much posturing, will Ireland finally have the guts to what is right, or will nothing more than empty Dublin rhetoric rule the day even as the African revolutions spread to all middle east countries, and then to France...