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Important Article links roundup (YTD)


“EU paper on the Irish border manages to state much while saying nothing – except that it expects Britain to figure it all out” Dr Ray Bassett (Sunday Business Post)

The EU has finally produced a paper on the Irish border issue. To describe it as a paper, however, risks violating the Trades Description Act. The long-awaited document is actually a huge cop out. It point-blank refuses to clarify the EU position and states that the onus remains on the United Kingdom to propose imaginative and unique solutions. In Australian terms, the EU, and by extension the Irish Government, have gone walkabout. Michel Barnier added insult to injury by claiming that it had been drafted in close cooperation with the Irish Government. It is hard to envisage what they have been working on since it is essentially empty of any real substance, just a short descriptive document.

While having nothing new to offer, it again re-iterates the conditions which makes it impossible “to square the circle”. It states that any solution “must respect the proper functioning of the Internal Market and the Customs Union, as well as the integrity and effectiveness of the Union’s Legal Order”. In the immortal words of the great Henry Ford, “You can have any colour car you like, as long as it’s black”. Any solution can be proposed, as long as it does not allow Ireland and the United Kingdom any local derogation from EU conformity.


(Dr Ray Bassett is a retired Irish diplomat and former Irish ambassador to Canada)

Irish Seanad Special Select Committee on Brexit – Witness Statement by Anthony Coughlan

Most of the problems the Special Select Committee has been considering in previous hearings as resulting from Brexit would be avoided if Ireland left the European Union at or around the same time as the UK, for five principal reasons:-

(i) Leaving the EU would save the State money, as we are now net contributors to the EU Budget rather than net recipients from it;

(ii) It would give us back control of our valuable sea fisheries, the annual value of catches by foreign boats in these being a several-times multiple of the money we have got from the EU over the years;

(iii) It would give us back control of our law-making, free us from the rulings and sanctions of the EU Court of Justice, and therefore restore our State sovereignty and national democracy;

(iv) It would give us back a national currency – one of the two pillars of any independent State – and with it the capacity to run the independent exchange rate policy that is vital for our economic competitiveness, especially in the context of Brexit; and

(v) above all, leaving the EU along with the UK is the only way to save the Irish Government and the parties that support its policy from the guilt before future generations of implementing in our time a new Partition of Ireland.


“The logic of following the UK out” Anthony Coughlan (Village Magazine)

Logically therefore the only way to avoid adding new dimensions to the North-South border post-Brexit is for Brexit to be accompanied by Irexit. This thought may be so novel it will shock many. EU membership has brought Ireland good things. Most Irish people have positive attitudes towards it. But if the North is leaving the EU along with Britain we should be able to consider dispassionately the advantages of leaving too – and the drawbacks of remaining in it without the UK as a fellow member.


“The Main Issue in the French Presidential Election: National Sovereignty”Diana Johnstone (Counterpunch)

The confusion is due to the fact that most of what calls itself “the left” in the West has been totally won over to the current form of imperialism – aka “globalization”. It is an imperialism of a new type, centered on the use of military force and “soft” power to enable transnational finance to penetrate every corner of the earth and thus to reshape all societies in the endless quest for profitable return on capital investment. The left has been won over to this new imperialism because it advances under the banner of “human rights” and “antiracism” – abstractions which a whole generation has been indoctrinated to consider the central, if not the only, political issues of our times.

The fact that “sovereignism” is growing in Europe is interpreted by mainstream globalist media as proof that “Europe is moving to the right”– no doubt because Europeans are “racist”. This interpretation is biased and dangerous. People in more and more European nations are calling for national sovereignty precisely because they have lost it. They lost it to the European Union, and they want it back.

Read more: https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/04/21/the-main-issue-in-the-french-presidential-election-national-sovereignty/

The real difference between Iceland & Ireland (Cormac Lucey), & “How to abandon the common currency for a new national currency” (Nyberg)

Cormac Lucey, Sunday Times, 19/III 2017
At the height of the financial crisis, Michael Noonan stated that “Ireland is not Iceland”. Rather than stating the obvious, at a symbolic level Noonan was making clear that he didn’t intend Ireland to follow the same route as Iceland in terms of burning bank bondholders. So what happened in Iceland, and what lessons, if any, can our closest northwestern neighbour offer us?
… In Ireland we deployed €65bn of state funds to prevent our banks going bust. Much of that money ended up paying foreign creditors of our banks. This was done after the European Central Bank president Jean-Claude Trichet phoned Michael Noonan from Frankfurt and warned that if foreign creditors were burnt “a bomb will go off, and it won’t be here, it will be in Dublin”. Let the record show no bomb went off in Reykjavik when it successfully burnt foreign creditors.
Moreover Ireland is not Iceland, as Iceland retained currency and monetary sovereignty. A halving in the value of its currency restored international competitiveness. Ireland pooled its currency and monetary sovereignty with its eurozone partners. Following the outbreak of crisis, the euro rose against those of our main trading partners, especially sterling. That strengthened deflationary forces here and contributed significantly to Ireland’s economic woes.
Despite having a population of only a third of a million, Iceland asserted its independence by retaining its own currency and aggressively promoting its national interest in the banking crisis. Ireland submerged its independence in a continental currency and had to meekly follow the Nuremberg doctrine in obeying orders from Frankfurt.

Read more: http://cormaclucey.blogspot.com/2017/03/independent-iceland-teaches-great-deal.html

The following linked paper, co-authored by Peter Nyberg (“the same Finnish former civil servant picked by the Irish government  to report on how the banking system here collapsed”), was referred to in the second (postscript) piece in Cormac Lucey’s column, in the above-mentioned Sunday Times (Irish edition) Business Section.

Malinen, Nyberg, Koskenkylä, Berghäll, Mellin, Miettinen, Ala-Peijari, Törnqvist, How to Abandon the Common Currency in Exchange for a New National Currency (October 4, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2847507 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2847507http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2847507


The question of how to leave a monetary union has become an important economic issue during the last few years. Uncertainty relating to its costs tends to discourage political leaders from taking decisive steps towards an exit. This article provides thoughts on what the necessary steps are, what are the associated pitfalls, how they can be overcome, and how can an exit from a currency union be effectively managed to control associated risks and costs. Uninterrupted functioning of the payments system, political response and the solvency of the private and public institutions are shown to be the major determinants of the costs of an exit. Issues of public governance, such as legality of the exit, can become an issue only if political and public support for the exit is lacking.

Read more: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2847507

“The lesson from Brexit is that too much market and too little state invites a backlash” Kevin O’Rourke (London School of Economics)

It has recently become commonplace to argue that globalisation can leave people behind, and that this can have severe political consequences. Since 23 June, this has even become conventional wisdom. While I welcome this belated acceptance of the blindingly obvious, I can’t but help feeling a little frustrated, since this has been self-evident for many years now. What we are seeing, in part, is what happens to conventional wisdom when, all of a sudden, it finds that it can no longer dismiss as irrelevant something that had been staring it in the face for a long time.


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