Merkel moves united Ireland closer?

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If the already unlikely prospect of a united Ireland was all but extinguished by the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent ever-spiraling legitimacy crisis, might these same phenomena be laying the basis for Irish reunification – albeit back within a U.K. context?

Consider the Republic’s current trajectory in the Europe envisioned by its dominant actor, Angela Merkel:

“We need more Europe, we need not only a monetary union, but we also need a so-called fiscal union, in other words more joint budget policy,” Merkel said. “And we need most of all a political union, that means we need to gradually give competencies to Europe and give Europe control.”

Much commentary mistakenly focuses on what such integration could mean. What’s palpably clear however is what we know such integration will not mean: a union where Germany has less rather than more power.

The giving of “competencies” is assumed in Germany to be peripheral countries, at least, doing the giving while “Europe” – i.e. a Europe dominated by the ascendant European Council and, therein, a dominating Germany – does the taking.

Put another way, if you’ve any doubt about the intentions of Germany vis-à-vis the give-and-take involved in this ‘more deeply integrated Europe’, ask yourself whether Merkel imagines any scenarios where German leaders or the German public would accept being overruled by a majority of non-German Europeans on major questions of governance.

Awful as the financial crisis remains, the pending political crisis will be much worse.

For the people of the Republic of Ireland and other formerly sovereign European states, this post-democratic arrangement will prove intolerable, detestable and unsustainable.

With a bankrupt exchequer and morally bankrupt, illegitimate political arrangements, how long until the answer to the question ‘Boston or Brussels?’ becomes: ‘Easy, London!’?

Doubt the Republic would ditch decades of hard won ‘independence’ from the U.K.? Just watch how recklessly Germany continues to ditch decades of unbelievably hard-won, post-WWII freedom from suspicion and hatred in calamitous pursuit of a reconquered continent.

The rules, written and unwritten, are all about to change.

  • Mister Joe

    Given those comments, it’s hard to square them with her opposition to Eurobonds. Or is she perhaps preparing the German people for the idea?

  • DC

    I know Max Keiser on RT was at one point totally and utterly convinced Germany had gone ahead regardless and re-printed the Mark/DM.

  • Ruarai

    Mister Joe – I believe you’re more or less spot on accurate about her attempts here. But they’re doomed and foolhardy attempts on several levels.

    The end game as always been Germany paying for/covering the costs incurred by others but holding out as long as possible as a means of extracting the best possible terms in exchange for opening that chequebook.

    Germans are understandably reluctant to pay for the debts incurred by others. However, where Merkel has, in my view, over-played her hand is in:

    a) Allowing the conveniently simplistic narrative of ‘Germans saved responsibly while others spent irresponsibly’ to become conventional wisdom in Germany. This is anything but preparing the German public for opening the chequebook. Such a tale fails to recognize the role played, for example, by ‘German’ banks irresponsibly lending to ‘Irish’ banks; money Irish banks then irresponsibly lent out. (Yet only Irish taxpayers where handed the bill.) Similarly, this narrative fails to acknowledge the massive benefits to the German export market brought on by access to cheap money in Greece and the rest of the Eurozone.

    b) It’s one thing for a strategist to act intransigently as a tactic towards securing an end. It’s another thing entirely when that intransigent actor is seen as a German nationalist, as Merkel increasingly is. Put another way, even if Merkel’s economic diagnosis and prognosis was valid, she’s spending, as I said in the post, decades of hard-earned German political capital on ramming this agenda through the teeth of resentful European colleagues and an increasingly furious and desperate European public.

    And the consequences?

    We’re still facing the collapse of the Euro and devastation for the European economy and beyond. But even if we avoid this and eventually achieve the balanced mythical ‘German-style’ economy for Europe Merkel claims to want for all of Europe, it will come at the cost of a collapse in political legitimacy across Europe – a collapse leveled, once again, at Germany’s door.

    You would think that the one driving German objective above all would have been the maintenance of Germany’s post-WWII non-antagonistic relationships with the rest of Europe. Clearly, it no longer is. And the price, as history indicates, could be devastating.

  • Zig70

    If the effect of war is to effect political and economic control of another nation state then Germany have most of Europe conquered without a shot. Ich bin ein Berliner. And if you think because you live in the UK that the arsehole Cameron is going to save you? Where are the americans and russians when you need them? Oddly you need the Japanese to blow a hole in the side of the US to start the ball rolling. 28yr low in the Japanese stock market, now that is quite a collapse.

  • wee buns

    Cameron, while paying lip service to euroscepticism, does not want the euro to collapse any more than SF wanted a No vote in the last referendum.

    As Pres. Higgins said, each EU state faces difficulties to provide opportunities for its citizens, but “it can’t leave the welfare of its citizens to the outcomes of markets assumed to be rational, but which are highly speculative and irrational”.

    Right. He means it is highly speculative and irrational to base political union upon a shared currency alone. So what is it gonna be based upon?

    The potential for union with the British pound at this moment in time (approaching 2016)?
    I can’t see it.

  • tuatha

    To misquote Tolstoy, Bankrupt countries are all alike; every solvent country is pecunious in its own way. Some of the latter make stuff, some grow stuff, some steal stuff, or trade the stuff others stole whereas those with the arse out of their Exchequer are identically potless.
    Usually through having borrowed too much for consumption (partying), speculation (aka gambling) and not for investment in their future (education), current (health) or the common weal (infrastructure).
    I agree that SF didn’t rilly, rilly want NO to succeed as they would have copped the opprobrium of the inevitably discommoded, who wouldn’t vote for them in a pink fit but control the megaphones of public discourse.
    However, one suspects that FG/FF (and maybe even Labour if they could activate their single, shared braincell) would have been more than happy to have NO win coz then they could have abrogated all responsibility for the coming shitstorm.
    Now they have to wear it – unfortunately we have to lie in the bed they made.

  • tyrone_taggart

    Ruarai,

    “this post-democratic arrangement will prove intolerable, detestable and unsustainable.”

    Why o why would anyone want to join with UK ?

    The democratic part of your post is strange what influence does a voter from Northern Ireland have on the UK governments economic policy?

  • cynic2

    I too am delighted to see Irish Republicans desire to rush in to join with the North as a province of the new German Superstate (formerly called Europe).

    I am intrigued. Is this symptomatic of a final realisation that they cannot manage independence and that the Euro is of more value than the republic?

    Or just an attempt to seize upon the Euros difficulty as another opportunity to do down the Brits?

    And when it all comes to pass, what will Republicans do then? Try to blow up Frankfurt in pursuit of independence?

  • cynic2

    “Why o why would anyone want to join with UK”

    Its a democratic state with a stable currency and is one of your biggest markets. It also has a Queen and in the UK Ireland would be big enough to carry some political and intellectual weight – something it wont have in the Fourth Reich

    Worth considering

  • Alanbrooke

    Tyrone-taggart

    A Northern voter has a small influence in the UK, he has practically none in the EU. He has 17 MPs out of 650 ( 2.5%) or 3 MEPs out of 754 ( 0.4%). Which is better having a small say or having de facto no say ?

  • tyrone_taggart

    “Its a democratic state”

    Head of state must be a Protestant.

    26 bishops of the Church of England sit in the House of Lords?????

    2nd chamber with a few hereditary peerage and the rest non elected.

    The parliament is even elected on a basis that you be the undisputed governmental of power with a minority of the vote ???????

  • tyrone_taggart

    “17 MPs out of 650″

    They could have 60% of the popular vote and still have no say.

    The gladiatorial English political system means that concision well.

  • cynic2

    Tyrone

    Must be why so many other states emulated it. Besides which we have a system that allows us to change it if we don’t like it. Its called elections. The fact is that so far we have chosen not to change it so far although the debate on the Lords continues. That is called democracy.

    By the way compare that to the IOrsih Senate

    Eleven appointed by the Taoiseach (prime minister).
    (ie political mates)

    Six elected by the graduates of certain Irish universities:
    (obviously fair as they have so many more rights than the rest of us and we know our place)

    43 elected from five special panels of nominees (known as Vocational Panels) by an electorate consisting of TDs (member of Dáil Éireann), senators and local councillors.
    (Lobby fodder for various sectional interests so guaranteed to be impartial there then)

  • sonofstrongbow

    How wearisome. For Irish Republicans it always comes back to Perfidious Albion.

    I can feel their pain. When they jumped upon the EU gravy train and had the Germans, and indeed the Brits as net contributors, pay for all the smart new infrastructure there was a collective ta-ra to John Bull: we’re on our way ye feckers!

    Unfortunately even as the Gombeen Nation donned its stripey suit and roared ‘A Bling Nation Once Again’ the economy’s sandy foundations were washing away.

    The Republic is tied to the UK both economically and culturally, and it says a lot about the UK’s maturity that the ties remain strong despite all the carping and anti-Brit rhetoric that so quickly bubbles-up at (almost) every opportunity.

    So come on lads! We’re all Brits living in the British Isles. Swallow that bile and let’s get on with it.

  • Alanbrooke

    tyrone taggaart

    I’d be interested to know how 3% of the UK population could end up with 60% of the vote. I think that’s taking vote early vote often a bit far.

  • SK

    “Swallow that bile”

    Said without a hint of irony.

  • lover not a fighter

    If the Germans have the good sense (from experience) to let the Russians be, how long will it take them to bring Britain under their sphere of influence ?

    Then Britain may have to use some “unorthodox” tactics to persue their struggle !

  • sonofstrongbow

    SK,

    Thanks for the comment. Glad you managed to rein back your sectarian tendencies this time. Someone put some manners on you?

  • http://nicentreright.wordpress.com/ Seymour Major

    There is nothing startling about Angela Merkel’s comments. She us just one of the latest generation of Europhiles which viewed the creation of the Euro as a stepping stone towards a European superstate.

    The current financial crisis is both a scare and an opportunity for the Europhiles. To get to their destination, they have to speed up the process of European political union in because the current debt crisis threatens to blow apart the whole project.

    Unfortunately for Merkel and the Europhiles, time is running out. Without adequate economic growth to shepherd the Eurozone during the next few years, there will not be enough time to set up political union before the temple comes crashing down.

    As for Irish Unity, I would agree that the chances of it happening (albeit small) would increase with the ending of the Euro.

  • SK

    Thanks for the comment. Glad you managed to rein back your sectarian tendencies this time. Someone put some manners on you?

    ______

    ‘Sectarian tendencies’? Coming from a beacon of tolerance such as yourself that hurts.

    Funnily enough I agree with you on this one though. If the day ever comes where we actually stand up to a Germany hell-bent on re-taking Europe sans the tanks, I have no doubt that it will “da Brits” that we turn to in the aftermath. They are a decent, tolerant, likeable bunch, and- big gulp of humility here- we rely on their benevolence. That’s why I find it so strange when I see folks like yourself waving their flag. A symbol of decency and fair-mindedness adopted by some of the most bitter, mean-spirited people in western Europe.
    Republicans have been telling you for years that you’re not British and you seem to have you heart set on proving them right. Super Prod.

  • sonofstrongbow

    Ah SK you were doing ok for a while, but just couldn’t help yourself could you?

    No worries though, coming from a “beacon of tolerance such as yourself” your sectarian epithets are not unexpected. Besides I’m sure you sit back from the keyboard with a self satisfied sigh of the job well done. Another blow for Ireland and all that kinda thing I suppose.

  • OneNI

    ‘As for Irish Unity, I would agree that the chances of it happening (albeit small) would increase with the ending of the Euro.’
    Seymour how do you reckon that? Will the Republic come under sterling? Seems to me that it will be their best option.

  • Mister Joe

    Things are always changing. Whether that always means progress is debatable (check Mickhall’s comment on the Slugger birthday thread). What is also true is that the future, by nature, is unpredictable. Live with it.

  • tyrone_taggart

    cynic2:
    “Must be why so many other states emulated it (uk goverment system).”

    If you look at what this excellent poster “cynic2″ said about one of the 2nd chambers copied of the British system you can agree with me it is a crap system”

    “By the way compare that to the IOrsih Senate

    Eleven appointed by the Taoiseach (prime minister).
    (ie political mates)

    Six elected by the graduates of certain Irish universities:
    (obviously fair as they have so many more rights than the rest of us and we know our place)

    43 elected from five special panels of nominees (known as Vocational Panels) by an electorate consisting of TDs (member of Dáil Éireann), senators and local councillors.
    (Lobby fodder for various sectional interests so guaranteed to be impartial there then)!”

  • tyrone_taggart

    Alanbrooke

    “I’d be interested to know how 3% of the UK population could end up with 60% of the vote”

    On a turnout of 5%

  • wee buns

    Mister Joe
    What is also true is that the future, by nature, is unpredictable.

    But…but…we voted Yes in the fiscal treaty…for STABILITY. Surely you don’t suggest it was a lie?

    Time is against the grand delusion of union by shared values, as opposed to shared currency/by stealth.

    But for the heck of it, which shared values do europhiles suggest form the keystone to a democratic EU?

  • Mister Joe

    ..which shared values do europhiles suggest form the keystone to a democratic EU?..

    The reason the union was set up in the first place – to ensure that another European war between the major states would not be possible, being so closely entwined. It has worked, so far.

  • Comrade Stalin

    cynic2,

    I suspect you may be in a minority with your delusions about the “stability” of the UK economy. The Prime Minister and has Chancellor have both gone on the record to say that if it had not been for their intervention the country would have been in the same state as Greece. The intervention to date has been the injection of some £360bn of printed money. Exactly how writing off debt by printing money is somehow superior to having to borrow in order to repay it is a concept I’ll never get my head completely around.

    The question of the RoI rejoining the UK is not a straightforward one. For many Northern unionists, the economic case is simple as the UK can meet the subsidies required to keep NI running. The downside is, as any Tory might say, that subsidies and state payouts disincentivise innovation and work. The Scottish seem to be indirectly proving this, as their government has an energy and dynamism that seems to be persuading people that they don’t need UK subsidies to be a success.

    During the boom years many people, including unionists, looked enviously to the south of the border as the economy raced on sand. That envy has now turned to a smug, almost self-reassuring “I told you so” (even though nobody did) tone but I do not think this will last long.

    I think in ten years time the Irish economy will have substantially recovered and will be powering ahead, perhaps with one foot on the brakes to avoid a repeat of the recent boom/bust cycle.

  • cynic2

    “delusions about the “stability” of the UK economy”

    …. its a hell of a lot more stable that almost all of the Eurozone and Ireland in particular

    “how writing off debt by printing money is somehow superior to having to borrow in order to repay it is a concept I’ll never get my head completely around”

    That’s one of the mechanisms that the UK can deploy to improve liquidity because its not in the Eurozone trap. In effect it debases the currency or rather reflects the currency’s true value. The big debate in the Eurozone seems to be that many of the indebted states want a similar mechanism but that will hurt Germany so the Germans will not agree. In effect Germany would be forced to underwrite their debts

    “The Scottish seem to be indirectly proving this, as their government has an energy and dynamism that seems to be persuading people that they don’t need UK subsidies to be a success.”

    Yes but they haven’t done the sums yet – or rather haven’t published them that i have seen – and Osbourne is keen to let them have control of income tax – on the basis that when the Scots look at the bill (in hard cash terms) they will baulk at the whole concept

    “in ten years time the Irish economy will have substantially recovered and will be powering ahead”

    I genuinely hope so but doubt it. I think the Euro is a busted flush and if Ireland is powering ahead it will be as a minor regional statelet within an EU Union ie independence will have been sold out for the cash

    So the question for the Irish people is, which wagon do you hitch to? The EU or the UK?

    For historic reasons (and the UK’s probable unwillingness to take them) the UK is out, so its the EU workhouse for the Irish. Their only other option would be to remain independent but adopt Sterling as their currency. This would be expensive and would in effect outsource macroeconomic policy to the UK, but might still be a better bet than simple domination by Frankfurt

    And God Bless any Irish Minister that ultimately has to put all this to the electorate and explain how the Republic was put in hock to keep FF in Guinness and Champagne at Galway Races

  • Mister Joe

    Most of us seem to have fallen for the big lie that some banks are too big to fail. What a con. Those who gambled in the hope/belief that they would become millionaires, even billionaires, should be supping on thin gruel.

  • cynic2

    “Those who gambled in the hope/belief that they would become millionaires, even billionaires, should be supping on thin gruel.”

    So that’s about 60% of the population of Ireland who gambled everything in a property bubble

  • Mister Joe

    Life’s hard, then you die.

  • wee buns

    Mister Joe
    to ensure that another European war between the major states would not be possible, being so closely entwined. It has worked, so far.
    Actually that plan only requires France & Germany (major states) perhaps Spain to be entwined – so what purpose do the rest of us lesser players serve?

    Cynic
    …. its a hell of a lot more stable that almost all of the Eurozone and Ireland in particular

    As long as Europe is trapped in a cycle where debt is being passed round and round in circles, it shall remain in Britain’s overwhelming national interest to support a major trading partner with which it has an ‘interconnected’ banking system. Ireland accounts for 5 per cent of Britain’s total exports abroad don’t forget. As already stated, it is complex case of codependency, not simply ”which wagon do you hitch to? The EU or the UK?

  • Mister Joe

    wee buns,

    Your head appears to be in the sand. Why have you demoted the UK and Italy as major states? As for the others, as an example, it may have escaped your attention that Germany violated Belgium’s neutrality in two world wars in order to attack France. Then they also invaded other present members of the EU.

  • wee buns

    MJ
    That was then – half a century ago when Europe needed to heal its wounds from war. Current needs differ. You might dispute that key to the EU’s is the Franco-German axis, and problematically their decisions (e.g ‘Merkozy’) have not been authorized by all European citizens.