In the space of a few weeks, Stephen Collins,
political editor of The Irish Times, in an economic commentary,
swings from 'Bailout myth is a cocktail of half-truths and downright evasions
- Wide acceptance of an unreliable narrative about what happened
means we may never get to grips with the actual facts' to 'Kenny’s track record could land him a key EU position.'
It is however interesting that Enda Kenny
(taoiseach/ prime minister since 2011) would be a suitable candidate for the
largely ceremonial role of European Council president rather than the presidency
of the Commission which has a key role in EU policy making - - one that could be
well filled by Christine Lagarde of the IMF.
Kenny's optimism has been a positive thing, in particular when compared with
his immediate predecessor but it's nonsense to claim he has had a big impact on
investment inflows -- most of which come from the existing investment base (do
not be misled by American Chamber of Commerce in Ireland spin on the issue.)
Besides, the charm did not get far when it was claimed that there had been an
agreement at the June 2012 EU summit that Ireland would get a refund of the
State's €64bn spending on rescuing Irish banks - - the
curious thing about the claim is that it's still unknown which leader if any had
made such a promise.
It's easy to forget that Bertie Ahern (taoiseach/
prime minister 1997-2008) lauded by journalists for his 'common
touch' once radiated optimism, but what he shared with Kenny was a lack of
interest in the boring but crucial issue of reforming failed systems of
At the MacGill Summer School in July 2009, Enda Kenny, then leader of the
Opposition, asked why do we have a budgetary system in place that is unfit to
run a corner-shop, let alone a nation of 4m people?
In July 2013, the IMF
said on Irish government accounting, that there is no uniform set of
accounting rules and procedures applying to government departments,
extra-budgetary funds, semi-state bodies, local governments, and public
corporations. "This makes consolidating government-wide financial information
and promoting system-wide improvements in financial reporting practices very
costly and time consuming."
The bailout terms were met but in terms of preparing for a world of different
economic challenges, has there been change remotely comparable with what was
done in Sweden and Finland in the aftermath of their crises in the early 1990s?
Wouldn't it be a shock if we had a society where workers have equal rights
whether in the public or private sectors, including similar pension entitlements
(the majority of private sector workers do not even have an occupational
'War and Peace' of the Battle of Borodino in 1812:
"it was not Napoleon who directed the course of the battle, for none of his
orders were executed and during the battle he did not know what was going on
before him... Napoleon fulfilled his office as representative of authority as
well as, and even better than, at other battles. He did nothing harmful to the
progress of the battle; he inclined to the most reasonable opinions, he made no
confusion, did not contradict himself, did not get frightened or run away from
the field of battle, but with his great tact and military experience carried out
his role of appearing to command, calmly and with dignity."
However, a weakened Russian Army was allowed to escape and regroup.
Rather than Kenny's charm offensive, the vacuous 'Medium-Term
Economic Strategy 2014-2020' that was published last December is a better
pointer to the ultimate judgement on his leadership.
Irish Corporate Tax 2014: How official spin and distortion works - in short-term
Reality Check: Merkel did not agree to refund Ireland €64bn bank rescue cost