It is possible to put a precise figure in euro of the effects the so-called “austerity treaty”. Zero.

The problem with any referendum is the need both sides always feel to exaggerate the importance of whatever binary is involved. In the case of the Fiscal Compact it is clear that most of the decisions have already been taken both in principle and practice by democratically elected governments and the measure is nowhere near a solution to the ongoing problem(s):

…one of the striking features of the referendum campaign has been the strenuous efforts made by the No side to persuade voters the fiscal treaty will exacerbate austerity levels. Cuts of €5 billion are regularly mentioned.

Large numbers of No votes will likely be cast on foot of such concerns. Remarkably, however, such fears are legally groundless. It is possible to put a precise figure in euro on the amount of extra cutbacks and tax increases the so-called “austerity treaty” will occasion. That figure is zero.

Apart from Pete’s studious detailing of the issues here on Slugger, Greg Bowler has probably one of the most honest and comprehensive analysis of the problems that are likely to face Ireland in the event of a No vote. Regarding the French revolt:

“The backlash against austerity evidenced by the election of Francois Hollande in France and the CDU’s defeat in Nordrein-Westphalia is not an act of European solidarity. Rather, it is a backlash against austerity in those countries. Voters elected Hollande on a mandate to reverse cuts in France, not to advance money to Greece or Ireland.”

And here’s a passage that was rather too neatly stepped over by Vincent Browne last week when he seemingly ignored a very important difference between Iceland and Ireland from his Icelandic guest, Sigrun Davidsdottir’s point that Ireland is a significant target for overseas investors Greg goes down the darker end of a No scenario (which by the way no one in the No campaign will entertain answering):

“Assuming that we cannot borrow, only one option stands between us and bankruptcy in 2013. We need to bring our budget into immediate balance. This would require a correction of over ten billion euro in one year, far more than any previous budget. The deflationary aspect of this would knock our economy flat, and if we’re voting against the treaty as a blow against austerity, it hardly helps if we need the most austere budget in our history as a result.

4. We leave the euro…”

In which case:

“We can, in all likelihood, kiss our reputation as an attractive investment destination goodbye for a few years.”

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty