Europhrenia – Is satire the new politics?

June 4, 2010 § Leave a comment

Please find below a video of two Australians explaining the Eurozone crisis. One line that would stick in the mind, if not in the craw, if it weren’t so vast, begins “How can broke economies lend money to other broke economies who haven’t got any money because they can’t pay back the money the broke economy lent the other broke economy… ?” Never mind that in the midst of the stat swirl, the debts of Ireland, Portugal and Spain are exaggerated, the big question is – How come it takes two Aussie comedians to provide such essential instruction?

I write thinking of economist David McWIlliams’ recent paper in the Irish Independent in which he drops something of a bombshell explaining that Irish banks haven’t been able to borrow these last few weeks. “The market is now as good as shut to us as money retracts from risky countries like Ireland to safer locations like Germany. This pattern is unlikely to change any time soon as the financial world comes to the realisation that the bailouts of recent months are only postponing the day of reckoning.” Interesting to note here that McWilliams also has his own satirical show running at Dublin’s Abbey Theatre. I suspect that if he just tells Ireland’s recent economic history straight, he’ll bring the house down. We usually assume that political satire relies on exaggeration for its effects, but political life has become so unreal that it looks like only humour can provide us with a reality check. I’m not sure this is an entirely welcome development.

 

Europhrenia – If Ireland is sovereign, then this duck will ride bicycles again

May 12, 2010 § Leave a comment

It’s a long time since we last heard from Taoiseach Brian Cowen, Ireland’s equivalent of Gordon Brown, but whose political career is unlikely to survive beyond the opening minutes of the next general election, let alone a week like Brown’s. Cowen is quoted today in Cork’s Examiner addressing the Dail, Ireland’s parliament, telling it that – “The strategy that the Government has been pursuing since July 2008 has been vindicated”. By recent events in Greece. At least, he offered, Ireland is “credible” on international markets and “we have not lost our economic sovereignty”.

It’s become a sport in Ireland these last few months to be uppity with the Greeks. Comparison is odious, n’est ce pas? But let’s look at Ireland’s credibility and its assumed sovereignty. Its banks are in hock to the banks of Italy, France and Germany to a post-modern aphonic tune of €12billion, €41.8billion, and a blood-freezing €127.4 billion respectively. According to the obscurantist genius of the times we live in, Ireland’s zombie banks have been bailed out a so far disclosed sum of €100billion, which “assets” are then shifted to the risk and the indulgence of the Irish nation and its institutions. In the midst of such gigantic cascades of money, it might just be simpler to conceive of what for an individual a massive burden of debt is, and then argue your way through to a glittering vision of his or her alleged sovereignity, autonomy, freedom. Let alone thinking that all risks traditionally assumed by banks confided to Paddy, PJ and Aishling, but think of how your own mood is affected as a new month begins by the number at the bottom right-hand corner of the bank statement that is now coming through your letter box? Free,  or magret of duck?

More Europhrenia blogs at presseurop.eu…

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