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Jake's correspondent is well informed - presumably an economist - but I'm surprised that he does not aver to a growing discussion on the topic of renegotiation of the ECB/IMF plan which is moving centre stage in the political debate as the main point of difference between Fianna Fail (no significant renegotiation possible) and the opposition parties whoo are making a renegotiation a central part of their platform.
A political discussion TV programme last night (Tonight with Vincent Brown) had an extended and vociferous discussion between Antoin Murphy (TCD economic professor) who basically took the FF line, and Philip Mathews (Fine Gael Candidate, ex banker), Constantin Gurdiev (TCD Business School) and Paul Somerville (Financial consultant and Independent candidate). The latter three argued vehemently for a renegotiation based on the infeasibility of the ECB/IMF plan, the false assumptions it was based on, and the recognition that this was as big a problem for the Eurozone as it was for Ireland.
The political argument is about what is renegotiable, what cards Ireland holds, and what the best strategy is - so Jake's comments are apposite. I had been wondering why Ireland wasn't making common cause with Greece, Portugal etc. and Jake's comments go some way toward clarifying that, but I still think a political alliance will help to create the perception of a systemic problem throughout the Eurozone that requires a systemic response.
The deposit flight from the banks is ongoing (I wonder is my overdraft safe with Allied Irish Bank?) and Ireland is facing down the barrel of the ECB threatening to withdraw the liquidity tap which is keeping them afloat. This has been the bargaining card which has enabled the ECB to "force" the Irish Government to Guarantee the banks and turn private debts into public liabilities at a time when the gravity of the situation wasn't apparent to key decision makers (that's another story!).
Basically any OP ED which outlines a negotiating strategy which a new Government could adopt - especially one endorsed by a pan-European discussion forum - will add credibility to the opposition case and improve the chances of those candidates and and parties that are making that case. Basically Irelands's electorate feels that it is being bullied by hugely powerful forces threatening to close it down and doesn't understand what bargaining chips it does have. I suspect most would settle for even a 1% reduction in the interest rate - until the next instalment of the crisis.
What we must do is explain how a much more radical strategy is possible, even if it is ultimately watered down in whatever euro-compromise ultimately emerges.
Index of Frank's Diaries
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