The Yes campaign has launched a dirty tricks campaign to hide the real implications of the Fiscal Treaty.
The treaty would bring twenty years of hardship because of its demand for cutbacks of the order of €4 - €5 billion a year. Ireland has a huge level of debt for the size of its economy but the treaty demands that this be cut by one twentieth each year. On current figures, that is equivalent to stopping all spending on primary and secondary education.
It will also give greater control to the EU Commission to decide on the ‘nature, size and time frame of the corrective action’ if Ireland fails to meet their absurd targets. This is the same EU Commission that insisted that Ireland introduce a property charge and which ‘approved’ the use of Irish tax payers money to bail out Anglo-Irish bank.
This week’s dirty tricks consisted of three main stunts.
The first was the intervention of the Central Bank governor, Patrick Honohan, calling for a Yes vote. He claimed that a No vote would amount to ‘turning our back on a framework of European co-operation’.
Honohan claims to be an independent governor who stands above politics. He is supposed to be so independent that he has been made immune to all democratic pressures. No matter what the people or their elected representatives want, ‘independent’ central bank governors are allowed to take their own decisions on monetary policy.
This independence is, in fact, a total sham and Honohan’s complete lie that the No side are against European co-operation just proves it. Each national Central Bank has become a constituent part of the European Central Bank and so Honohan operates as an agent of the ECB in Ireland. This was the institution that insisted that the Irish people ‘re-capitalise’ private banks so that debts they owned to British and German banks be paid off.
Even the UCD economist, Morgan Kelly, has pointed to Honohan’s disgraceful role in Ireland banking crisis.
Honohan was appointed head of the Central Bank a few months after Brian Lenihan issued his infamous bank guarantee scheme whic h made the Irish people responsible for up to €450 billion of bank debt. Honohan could have used his position to call for the rescinding of the guarantee but instead claimed that that the bank debt was ‘manageable’
He supported a huge injection of state funds into the banks claiming that
‘the two big banks (will be) fixed by the end of the year. I think it’s quite good news. The banks are floating away from dependence on the State and will be free standing’.
Given this atrocious record on an area he claims some competence over, his advice to vote Yes has about as much credibility as the tobacco’s industry claim that cigarette smoking is not linked to cancer.
The second dirty trick is the brazen attempt to use taxpayers’ money to finance Yes material.
This started with the creation of a supposedly neutral and ‘factual’ website, - stability.ie - that is funded by taxpayers.
The very name of the site gives the game away. Whereas the treaty is known as ‘The Fiscal Treaty’ or ‘Fiscal Compact’ in every other EU country, it has been renamed as the “Stability Treaty’ in Ireland. The government apparently thinks that a nicer sounding name will help garner a Yes vote.
Originally, the website included speeches from Enda Kenny which openly advocated a Yes vote. But when the ULA MEP Paul Murphy pointed out that this contravened the McKenna judgement it was removed. Subsequently, Kenny’s junior partner, Eamon Gilmore, claimed that this was a gross act of ‘censorship’ from the left.
However, the bias did not stop at the inclusion of speeches. The website claims that ‘ The Stability Treaty is part of a package aimed at helping economic recovery and to prevent a repeat of the economic and financial crisis we’ve had in Ireland and Europe’.
This is supposed to be a straightforward ‘fact’ and not an interpretation of the Yes side. Opponents of the treaty, by contrast, claim that the treaty promotes austerity and that this will lead to a new recession in Europe. But none of their ‘facts’ or ‘interpretations’ are included in the website.
This distinction between ‘fact’ and ‘interpretation’ is of some importance because the government is delivering copies of the treaty to every household but is attaching its own interpretation of what this means. The stability.ie website already shows what they are up to.
Disgracefully, €2 million of taxpayers’ money will be spent on this Yes propaganda.
During the Lisbon 2 campaign the Yes side spent ten times as much money as the No side and they will probably do the same. But on top of that, they want to rob money from the public purse to fund their propaganda.
‘Voting for the treaty is just like taking out insurance on your house’. This is the spin that the PR doctors have come up with for government ministers to repeat.
Their argument is that if Ireland votes No to the Fiscal Treaty, it will be excluded from access to the €500 billion European Stability Mechanism fund, should it need a second ‘bail out’. Despite insisting that their cuts programme is working and the Ireland will not need to enter a second deal with the Troika, the government want to have their cake and eat it. So they re-label the ESM as an ‘insurance’ fund’.
If you take out insurance on your house, the first thing you need to know is what will it cost. Yet strangely, the Yes never mention the cost of their ‘insurance’. The reason is that it will cost Ireland a staggering €11 billion even to enter the ESM fund.
If your house were burnt down or robbed, you would expect the insurance company to compensate you. You would hardly expect their agents to come along with cudgels to demand you hand over your remaining cash or valuables.
But if Ireland is forced into a second deal with the Troika, they will be looking for even more privatisation; cuts in public spending and higher water and property charges. It is not a ‘bail out’ that Ireland will be getting but another beating.
It’s not ‘Vote Yes to get insurance’ but ‘Vote Yes to pay more.’