"If we vote 'no' to this treaty, we're fucked. Or even more fucked than we already are".
My local tyre dealer.
I suppose some people might say "what do you expect such a capitalist pig to say anyway?", but when you see someone operating a viable business in a cut-throat industry for many years, you wonder if he hasn't got a very good reason for keeping his eye on the ball.
What bothers me about the "no" side is their dishonesty. A couple of examples:
"DEMAND A BETTER DEAL"
Excuse me for asking, but who the hell are we to "demand" anything? The country was bankrupted by the previous government, in cahoots with the Central Bank and an eager new Irish landlord class who swarmed like flies around ordure at every apartment launch in the country.
After we joined the eurozone McCreevy - who was hailed as a genius by the likes of Kevin Myers, then writing in The Irish Times - slashed capital gains tax from 40% to 20%. The Irish Government continued to use property tax incentives to enable the building of apartment blocks that nobody would ever want to live in, in godforsaken kips all over the country.
"VOTE NO TO AUSTERITY"
Will voting "no" to the treaty end austerity? No. We will not be able to access European Stability Mechanism funds if we do so. That means we will be reliant on the IMF. The result can only be increased taxes or public service cuts. And don't mind the Shinners saying we can default - they are only looking to get into coalition with FF in the next election, and will say anything to get a vote. Until they get into power, of course.
So where is the blog on the Fiscal Treaty?
Well, I can see why people want to give the government a bloody nose. Then I can see the other cliche about dismembered noses and spited faces. It would be nice to see the bollocks we all know and intensely dislike, Phil Hogan, reined back with his raft of not-so-stealthy stealth taxes for fear of upsetting the electorate until he can get a "yes" vote in a second, tweaked election, but will that happen? Kenny has said it won't, but that means nothing, I suppose.
But let's get back to the issue. Don't kid yourselves. This is not about septic tanks, household charges and all the rest. It is about making legal the fiscal parameters (which have been agreed) which eurozone countries must observe in order to preserve the currency in our pockets
The problem is it does not go far enough. What is needed is closer fiscal and political union across the eurozone. We need a proper eurozone, with tax harmonisation (no VRT, no allowing multinationals - and U2 - to dodge taxes) and the same conditions and rules for every member state. Then we can have eurobonds, and stop the speculators targeting peripheral eurozone states on the markets.
That needs to happen. Whether voting "yes" or "no" will hinder or help, I do not know with 100% certainty. But it would be nice if people did actually vote on the issue in question, rather than heeding those who are being the most disingenuous.
Will it be a "yes" or a "no" vote?
It will be a "no", I can see it.
Let's see where that leaves us, and remember when the next election comes around.
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