Friday, 30 March 2012

Michael O'Sullivan on the European project

Michael O'Sullivan, author of 'Ireland and the Global question', has an interesting opinion piece in today's Financial Times.


Paul Hunt said...

This euqivocal stuff is even worse than the cant, hypocrisy and bluster being propagated by the yes camp (if ye vote 'no' it'll be the end of civilisation as we know it) and by the no camp (vote 'no' to give the two fingers to this centre-right, austerity-enforcing hegemony in the EU - in particular, in Germany).

Yes, we all know that austerity without growth-promoting structural reforms is a negative-sum game, that the EU monetary framework is 'adolescent' and needs significant reform, that the 'fiscal compact' is an inter-governmental device primarily for the politcial benefit of the CDU-CSU in Germany but which is being dragged back under the Community Method umbrella, etc..but Ireland simply has no leverage or bargaining power in these matters. Is he saying Ireland should vote 'yes' only if it receives a cast-iron commitment from the rest of the EU that all of these issues will be addressed in a manner that will be in Ireland's interests? That's not on offer and to even hint at it is entirely misleading. Yes, these issues will be addressed - and much more in terms of expanding democratic legitimacy - but not at Ireland's behest.

Martin O'Dea said...

Hi Paul,
I believe the article was not particularly dealing with the vote - but with the failings of current Irish governmental policy and European leadership approach. I also think one of the core points is that it SHOULD be at Ireland's behest, saying that it is not is sort of missing his point again.
I think on this one, perhaps it was a compulsion to comment comment

Paul Hunt said...

You're right, of course, Martin. Tasc should hang a sign out over this site saying "Only believers in our "should be" utopia are welcome to comment".

It doesn't matter. In the next couple of months I'm reasonably confident there'll be a couple of developments that will seriously discombobulate the currently comfortable.

Paul Hunt said...

And as a parting gift to those believers in an Irish utopia..

Martin O'Dea said...

Paul, my motive in writing this to you was to highlight as a comment that just didn't stand up to any scrutiny as relevant to the post - in the context of someone who normally offers really useful counterpoints and is particularly strong in areas such as energy
Sorry I saw link - but didn't get it - perhaps I missed something

Paul Hunt said...


I agree that Michael O'Sullivan might have fallen foul of the 'curse of the sub-editor'. The strap-line was "Ireland must vote to end its humilation in Europe". Ireland is certainly going to vote, but is he saying whether Ireland should vote 'yes' or 'no'. He doesn't appear to be advocating a 'no' vote, but, then again, he doesn't seem to be advocating a 'yes' vote either. He seems to be advocating a 'conditional yes' vote, but that isn't clear either. If he is, I can't see how this 'conditional yes' would work in practice. That's way I described it as equivocal.

In any event it seems further comment here is pointless unless one is a 'believer'.